Last Monday I spent my morning at the Temple, helping clean.
When all the volunteers arrived, they said: you can't get by whispering today because the machines make too much noise. But don't worry--you can be reverent without being quiet.
They also said: in the four hours you spend cleaning, you may not find a single thing that looks dirty to you. But we don't just clean here to get rid of messes. We clean to keep the Temple from getting dirty.
After the general group training, they assigned me to a carpet-cleaning group. We used various machines to go over the areas where people walk the most to get rid of the little bits of accumulated dirt. And if you looked carefully, you actually could see how the carpet looked ever so slightly different around corners at the base of staircases and at the entrances to rooms. You could follow the men's trail and the women's trail if you focused enough on the floor.
And even without having to look carefully, you could see the water in the cleaning machines darken as they work got done. We were really cleaning.
When we got to the locker rooms, our supervisor told us which areas to focus on. "Be sure to get the path to the initiatory desk," she said, "plenty of people walk through there." Then she moved to a place in the front of the room. "Be sure to clean carefully here near the prayer roll," she said. "A lot of people spend extra time on this carpet."
So I went. And as machines hummed and people asked each other which circuit to plug into, I cleaned the well-used carpet next to the prayer roll box. Carpet hundreds of people had stopped to stand on while they wrote their loved ones' names.
And I understood what they'd meant about being reverent without quiet.