Driven by a passion for the scriptures and a serious pursuit of gospel study, Amy Hardison, of the Ridge Ward, Lehi Stake, gathered information about the temple and its symbolism for more than 30 years.
From that, the Mesa mother of four had the makings for a series of lessons.
“When our daughter was getting ready to go through the temple, I put together some classes for her,” Amy said. Then, over the years, “I used those lessons with my other kids and shared them with nieces, nephews and other family members.”
Seeing that the lessons she developed made a difference for people she cared about, and encouraged by her husband Steve, Amy took the next step, compiling the wealth of information about the temple into a book.
“While writing the book, I kept thinking, ‘How do I take things that have been so helpful for people I loved, and share them with others?’” Amy says.
Her book, titled Understanding the Symbols, Covenants, and Ordinances of the Temple and recently published by Covenant Communications “outlines the significance of temple design, covenants, clothing, names and more as a means of helping Latter-day Saints better comprehend the sacred nature of the house of the Lord.”
Her writing draws on her own experience of delving into the scriptures as well as what she has gleaned from “caring about the context.” She has studied ancient Hebrew and the works of the “Ancient World, the writings of LDS scholar Hugh Nibley and other intellectual publications, including the Anchor Bible Series.”
Amy says an understanding of the symbols of the temple is important.
“We can have an amazing experience in the temple as we feel the spirit and receive personal revelation, but when we add understanding, it makes the experience that much richer,” Amy says.
The book includes chapters on the symbolism of the physical temple, of the temple drama, and of the covenants and ordinances of the temple.
Amy believes one reason the response has been so positive is that the book, while “dense with information” is “extremely readable.”
“One of the things I think I can do is to take complicated information and explain it so it’s understandable and accessible. I like being able to do that.”
“I think the glossary of symbols is really valuable as well,” Amy says.
In addition to finding ways to organize and clearly state the information, she had the difficult task of deciding what should be included and what shouldn’t.
“There are different opinions about what is okay to say outside of the temple,” Amy says. She included only those things that had been published previously in Church magazines and similar publications.
Amy, who was born in Phoenix and raised in Phoenix and Mesa, graduated magna cum laude from Weber State University in 1980. She was a stay-at-home mother, and has been a volunteer Institute instructor for more than 20 years, having taught at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Tempe Institute (ASU), East Valley Institute and currently is teaching a midsingles class in Phoenix.
She and Steve, her husband of 38 years, have six grandchildren, three who were born this year. Amy says that although the process took several years, “I feel like the timing is perfect. Publishing the book at this time was the right thing to do.”
She says it has been gratifying to hear from readers that her book is strengthening testimonies and increasing faith and understanding.
“I’ve gotten some really wonderful feedback. It’s so satisfying just to know it’s helped someone and people have been so delightfully touched by it.”
“I’m just really grateful I had the opportunity to be a part of that in some way,” Amy says.