What is that Strange Aroma?
Funny how something can trigger a very old memory that had been lost in time. That happened to me recently.
A Ministry friend, Bill, sent me a copy of a Mormon woman’s blog in which she shared why she was a member. I told him that if I did respond to the reasons she listed, the blog readers would instantly turn it into all the things Mormons hate about me instead of dealing with my responses to her points.
However, her key reason for being so attracted initially to the Mormon Church hit me like a brick. She said:
I still remember the smell of the chapel as I sat down five years ago.
It was a scent l I hadn’t smelled before–a scent that I’ve since gotten used to. The walls were bare except for some paintings of Christ and people I didn’t recognize and I wondered briefly where the crosses were. I remember touching the broken spine of a hymnal and only recognizing one or two hymns inside.
It was different. Somewhat strange. It was my first time in an LDS chapel and I had just turned 19. But I like looking back at that day. It was that day–before I even read the Book of Mormon–that I chose to be a Latter-day Saint.
Her comments reminded me of a time when I was in the Philippines with Dr. Ron Carlson and we visited a Buddhist Temple. There was a wonderful, low-key fruit-like scent that permeated the place and it was quite pronounced.
A year or so later, I was alone in Salt Lake City for a day and I went to the Temple Square visitors.’ Avoiding all the missionaries and helpers, I went through the place and eventually worked my way downstairs and sat quietly through all the presentations. All alone. So quiet.
Finally, I went around a corner toward an escalator that went to the main floor. Sitting there in a chair in a little alcove was a little, white-haired, elderly lady who had fallen asleep at her post. She looked so sweet.
I smiled and walked quietly past her, not wanting to wake her nor did I want to enter into any conversation that might offend her.
I stepped on the escalator and it started up from there. I had only gone a short way when the thing came to a loud clunking stop that woke her up with a start.
She saw me and did the “Oh Dear I must have nodded off ” … and then as an afterthought, she smiled wistfully and said.
“I just love this post down here. There is such a sweet aroma that fills my lungs here. Do you smell that scent. I think it is the presence of the Holy Spirit, don’t you? Have you ever noticed it anywhere else?”
I inhaled deeply and knew that scent instantly. I said, quite softly, “Yes, It is the exact same scent I smelled in a Buddhist temple in the Philippines.”
She rocked back in her chair and said, “Oh, My!”
And the escalator started up at that instant and I ascended upward as she watched me go out of sight. I thought, I just had my own “Holy Spirit ‘ Moment.