Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Refiner's Fire

Doug and I were in SLC and had the amazing opportunity to watch gold be refined up close. I am banging my head against the wall that I didn't think to take the camera in... But I was completely overwhelmed by why this certain symbolism is used in the scriptures.

First, the gold goes into a very thick metal cup and gets put into a metal tub where the fire is. This fire was so powerful by itself that it was astounding to look at...and the people said the fire they have didn't get hot enough by itself, so they took what looked like a welding torch to it to get the fire even hotter every once in a while. I asked them how hot it had to be to refine the gold, and the answer was somewhere around 1800 degrees. Every so often he would drop in some powder that makes all the impurities cling to it and come together . After quite awhile of melting the gold, the refiner got the cup out and cooled it in buckets of water. He dropped the gold out onto the floor, and all the impurities were all together in a black shape on the bottom. He hit it and they all dropped right off.

Pretty simple right? I can't even explain to you what a powerful representation to me of why the refiner's fire is used as a symbol. You're going through a trial and it's really bad, and then when you think it can't get any worse, the fire gets hotter. It circulates between bad and worse, all the while you are (hopefully) learning what you need to and your imperfections are sinking down. When you bring the Savior into it, the imperfections or bad things can fall right off, just like in the gold.

It's odd to me how much this experience taught me..I definitely don't think it was a coincidence that we had this opportunity. I mean, I'm the type of person that gets emotional at gorgeous art and beautiful songs, not watching raging fires.. Not that I got teary eyed emotional at the experience, but I don't think I've ever felt so powerfully taught about a symbol and that I knew and understood why Heavenly Father chose that symbol to use for us. I remember that feeling of absolute understanding and I know that I was supposed to learn what I did.