Yesterday we were at the temple. While my children and I were waiting outside for my wife to come out, I asked my children if they wanted to peak inside. There is a little waiting room just inside the entrance; a person does not have to have a temple recommend to sit in the waiting room or stand just inside the front entrance. My oldest daughter shook her head, “No, I do not want to go in.” I quickly realized it was because she did not feel comfortable entering the temple wearing her play clothes. I asked if she would go in if she was wearing church clothes and she nodded and said, “Yes.”
I was touched by her sensitivity, her discomfort at the idea of going in the front (even at my suggestion) in her play clothes. This reminded me of a story from Joseph F. Smith’s life. Quoting Pres. Hinckley’s rendition of the story:
“While serving [in Hawaii Joseph F. Smith] experienced a remarkable dream. I quote from his narrative concerning this. Said he:
‘I was very much oppressed [when I was] on a mission. I was almost naked and entirely friendless, except [for] the friendship of a poor, benighted … people. I felt as if I was so debased in my condition of poverty, lack of intelligence and knowledge, just a boy, that I hardly dared look a … man in the face.
‘While in that condition I dreamed [one night] that I was on a journey, and I was impressed that I ought to hurry—hurry with all my might, for fear I might be too late. I rushed on my way as fast as I possibly could, and I was only conscious of having just a little bundle, a handkerchief with a small bundle wrapped in it. I did not realize … what it was, when I was hurrying as fast as I could; but finally I came to a wonderful mansion. … I thought I knew that was my destination. As I passed towards it, as fast as I could, I saw a notice [which read B-A-T-H], ‘Bath.’ I turned aside quickly and went into the bath and washed myself clean. I opened up this little bundle that I had, and there was [some] white, clean [clothing], a thing I had not seen for a long time, because the people I was with did not think very much of making things exceedingly clean. But my [clothing was] clean, and I put [it] on. Then I rushed to what appeared to be a great opening, or door. I knocked and the door opened, and the man who stood there was the Prophet Joseph Smith. He looked at me a little reprovingly, and the first words he said: ‘Joseph, you are late.’ Yet I took confidence and [replied]:
“‘Yes, but I am clean—I am clean!’
“He clasped my hand and drew me in, then closed the great door.” (April 2007 General Conference).
Joseph F. Smith in his dream came upon a mansion. Before entering it, he prepared himself – even though he was in a hurry – by bathing and changing into clean white clothing. He took the time to be prepared to enter the mansion. Joseph Smith softly chided his nephew Joseph F. for being late but Joseph F. was there and clean. Just as Joseph F. Smith felt in his dream that he needed to take a bath first and become clean, my daughter recognized that she would only feel prepared and ready to enter the temple if she was dressed more appropriately. I learned a lot about reverence from my daughter’s example.