Editor's note: The following is a version of a submission written for "LDS Temples Book," created by photographer Scott Jarvie.
I was 9 years old when I attended the dedication of the Bountiful Utah Temple. Being so young, I don’t remember much about what was said that evening. I remember my parents picking me up from my friend’s birthday party early to go to the dedication, something I was, at the time, not too thrilled about. I remember getting all dressed up, my hair still wet from the luau party, a white handkerchief folded neatly in my purse.
And then I remember the feeling I had when I listened to President Howard W. Hunter speak. All of my young girl thoughts about missing out on presents and cake quickly faded, and a quiet, comforting peace settled into my heart. I was grateful to be a part of something so special and sacred. I remember sitting next to my parents and feeling at home.
From that moment on, I felt the Bountiful Temple was “my” temple.
There were many evenings where my family and I would go for a walk around the temple. When I was a teenager, I’d meet my friends on the boulevard and together, we’d walk reverently around the temple grounds and watch the sun set over the Great Salt Lake. We’d wonder about what sacred covenants we’d make inside someday, and whom we’d make them with.
It was on the grounds of the Bountiful Temple where I received a phone call from my sister about expecting her first baby. It’s where I decided to pursue a career, and then later, set that career aside for the man I chose to marry. It’s where I spent hours in the waiting room, the baptismal font, the grounds, and the atrium fervently praying about that man I chose, and whether I was making a good decision. It’s where my bishop at the time told me he felt I had made the right choice. It’s where my sister and I went to be baptized and confirmed for my deceased great-grandmother, a choice experience I will never forget.
The day I went through the Bountiful Temple to receive my own endowment, my mother presented me with a temple bag with the Bountiful Temple embroidered on the face. I treasure that little bag, and the memories it still brings from that special day.
I was married in the Bountiful Temple in December 2005, almost a decade after I went to the temple dedication as a girl. The feelings of love and joy almost cannot be expressed as I thought about how every important decision I had made had led me, ultimately, to that holy place where “families can be together forever.”
Now, I live many miles from the Bountiful Temple. Every time I visit, I think back on my life as a young woman. I examine the woman I am now, and ponder on what my future still holds.
I have a picture of the Bountiful Temple hanging on my family room wall. It is the temple of my childhood, where all my dreams were prayed about, sorted out and realized. It is a reminder of what truly is important in life, a compass that will hopefully guide my own children home, to their Heavenly Father’s house.
Carmen Rasmusen Herbert is a former "American Idol" contestant who writes about entertainment and family for the Deseret News.