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Terrified at the Temple

Let me be clear hear. I believe in being careful when discussing sacred things. While I do think that the things we “can’t” talk about are really limited to signs, tokens, and names, etc., I still try to be careful about what I say about the temple well beyond that. I want to tread lightly.

Still, after what happened to me when I received my endowment (in 1985) and my mom’s horror about it made me promise myself that I’d never let someone go through the temple without hearing this.

Now — as a regular member of the Mormon Momma community prepares to receive her own endowment — I want to share what I learned with her…and anyone else who might benefit. While I haven’t found written, authoritative reference to the concern I’m clarifying, I’ve seen the other general references published by the church and/or general authorities.

When I was a teen, we did baptism for the dead pretty regularly. After we were done, we were sent to a private shower to wash the chlorine off and take off the baptismal “whites” for the laundry. We were given a “shield,” which was kind of like a long, white poncho to cover ourselves while we walked from the shower back to the dressing rooms.

When I arrived to receive my endowment, one of the temple workers led me away from my mom (my escort) to a dressing room, handed me a “shield,” told me to remove my clothes and put the shield on, and then proceed to the “washing and annointing.”

I locked the dressing room door, sat down on the little bench, and nearly passed out. WHAT??? I didn’t know what to do. Where was my Mom? Where was Sam? Why didn’t they tell me about this???

Dutifully I undressed, but my head was spinning.

After a long delay — and a couple of calls from the temple worker to make sure I was OK — I finally left the dressing room. I was led down a hall. I felt like I was in a movie. The hall got longer and longer and looked like a tunnel with a spiraling ceiling.

My mind flashed back to the past month. My roommate, Suzie (who was a returned missionary and, so, had received her endowment years earlier), had said to me, “Now, Alison, don’t be scared. The temple is very different. But it’s neat. It’s just really different. So don’t be scared.”

The next day she reminded me not to be scared. For almost a full month, I was told “don’t be scared even though it’s really different.”

So this is what she was talking about.

This was much more than “different.” Here I am, walking down to a room full of men, with next to nothing on my body, to be “washed and annointed.”

I knew I couldn’t do it. I knew I couldn’t marry Sam or anyone who could be involved in something like this. And I was stunned beyond belief that my parents — my  conservative Mormon-Mormon parents — were in on it.

My whole world was crashing in around me.

Finally, we walked into the annointing room with…women. There was not a man anywhere to be seen.

Women? How could women perform ordinances?

So, to get to the point, women do the “washing and annointing” for other women (men do it for men) and the “washing and annointing” is more like a priesthood blessing than anything. It’s not some scary, crazy thing that was flashing through my mind. And you aren’t exposed or uncovered.

Later, when I told my mom what had happened, she felt awful. It just hadn’t occurred to her to tell me that women perform ordinances in the temple or really much else. And, to be honest, I’d never wondered much about the temple nor had I ever asked. I just figured when I got there I’d find out.

Since we don’t have a model in the “regular” church for females performing ordinances, it isn’t something we can assume that people know. In addition, they might be surprised that in a church that seems so “practical” we do, indeed, use lots of symbolism and ritual in the temple ceremony.

Even with the real importance of safeguarding the sacred, I think it’s a good thing to discuss the temple enough to prepare our members for what they will experience.

The temple preparation classes are a step toward that, but at least last time I taught it, about three centuries ago, still seemed very general and vague.

By sharing this I simply hope to save some of the fear that I needlessly encountered. The temple is different, but in a beautiful, sacred way. It it my hope that the first visit for our members will be as inspiring as every other.

{ 122 comments… add one }

  • marathonermom June 18, 2008, 7:33 pm

    Oh wow, I had completely forgotten, but I had a similar experience when I received my own endowment in 1989. I was preparing to go on a mission, so I didn’t have a fiance with me. If I remember right, I was the only female receiving her endowment in that session, and the others were all young men also preparing to serve missions. When the sweet temple worker told me to undress and put on the shield, I thought all of the first-timers would be going into a room together to be washed and anointed. Yikes! I don’t think I was as terrified as you were, but I was definitely concerned.

    I’m trying to figure out how to say this next part without sharing anything I shouldn’t. Those of you who have already been through the temple will know what I’m talking about. There is a piece of information you are given before you enter the endowment room that you are told you have to remember. (Y’all with me?) On any given day, there’s one word that they give to those who are receiving their own endowment, and there’s another that they tell those who are going through for the dead. The person who helped me with this step accidentally gave me the wrong one. When I got to the part of the ceremony where you share this information, the person I told it to got very frustrated with me for having the wrong word. It wasn’t my fault, but he made me feel like I had done something wrong. They took me out in the hall and told me the right thing, and I did that part over, but it kind of freaked me out!

  • nanacarol June 18, 2008, 7:56 pm

    Alison, thank you for sharing this for Delmar’s sake. The first trip to the temple can be quite an experience. I just wish more people had the insight to prepare those going better. I first went in 1973 to the Swiss Temple and was told not one single thing about the ceramony. Even though I had been a life long member it was the most unreal experience of my life. I remember the awful headach afterward. However, when our daughter went thru for her endowments. The whole ceramony was explained before she was taken back to begin her journey thru the temple. I sat there while everything was explained so beautifully that I wished that every person going could have heard it. Delmar and hubby, I hope your Stake President has taken you aside and explained all. I have known many Stake Presidents to do that. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in the privacy of his office. It will truly prepare you and it will be the most wonderful, scared experience of your life! LOL

  • Alison Moore Smith June 18, 2008, 8:38 pm

    Thank you, sincerely. I was worried about how this would be received.

    I remember only to TWO things from that first endowment ceremony. I was in the Salt Lake Temple, which is one of the few (two???) temples that do live (movie-free) sessions, so you actually move from room to room, with representations of each kingdom (if you’ve seen any of the temple books, you’ve probably seen them). My brother-in-law-to-be, Ned, had to carry a chair with him, because there were too many people for the chairs. The other thing I remember is looking at the light blue veil from my seat. That’s it. Nothing else.

    Funny, a couple of years ago, Sam and I went back up to SL to do a session–my first live session since–and there was nothing at all else that even seemed vaguely familiar.

  • kilpatrickclan June 18, 2008, 8:51 pm

    I lucked out a bit. When I was about 12, a “friend” of mine gave me a godmaker’s book and I read parts of it because I was dumb and 12. Anyway, there was all this stuff about being naked and people touching you. WHAT! So, I asked my Mom. She said that they got it right and wrong. She told me to rest assured that no one will see my naked body, which no one did. So, when I went when I was in my 20′s, she explained a bit more. I wasn’t scared at all and it was an enjoyable experience for me. Actually, my parents made the temple a very non-scary place. I used to help my Mom iron her temple clothes and remember seeing them folded on her bed. She would just tell me that I would learn about them someday when I get married (or not later in life). It just seemed like something adults do and she acted so at ease about it that I never had a problem or concern. On a lighter note, what is the deal with the temple and bad breath. I seem to always have a worker with halitosis. Maybe I am the one with the bad breath?!? My friend carries some of those pocket pacs that Listerine makes. I think I will start doing that.

  • Rachel June 18, 2008, 9:05 pm

    As I prepared to be married I remember my MIL (to be) talking about how scared and upset my SIL was when she went through, and suddenly I was terrified. No one had ever talked about the temple as a scary place in front of me before, my mom was always very much like kilpatrickclan’s–very comfortable and at ease, making it seem normal and wonderful. What on earth was there to be afraid of in the temple?! I had been excitedly anticipating this event my entire life, and was now scared stiff. I got all worked up, and dh explained carefully and vaguely about the washing and annointing, stressing that women would be doing the annointing. That was all I needed, and trust me, it made the whole experience better.

    Monday we went through as my BIL received his endowment, and afterward we talked a bit about how different the temple experience is from any other church ordinances. I thought back and remembered sitting in the temple the first time wondering when all this would tie in to what I’ve been taught my entire life at church, when it would “click” and I would go “Oh, yeah, this is the religion I’ve always known and loved.” I don’t think I’ve ever had that moment, but understanding has come over time. I am just so grateful that I didn’t have that feeling on top of the feeling of utter terror at the initiatory work.

  • facethemusic June 18, 2008, 10:49 pm

    I’ve known people to go through for the first time and be ‘freaked out’. And it seems like it’s always for the very same reasons that Alison expressed– they just have NO idea what happens, and because it’s so different from anything that happens in regular church meetings, it wigs them out a little and they sort of come out in a “I don’t get it” cloud.
    The odd thing, is that I had a totally different experience from them, even though I was probably more clueless than any of the people I knew who were slightly stunned by it. And I really can’t explain why.
    As I mentioned in another post, I’d never even seen garments before. Neither of my parents had been to the temple, and I’d never set a foot inside the temple before, since my father wouldn’t allow me to go on youth temple trips for baptisms. I was totally clueless. All I knew was, I would be getting garments, though I didn’t know what they looked like– I’d be getting my endowment, part of which I’d been told was about the Creation, and I’d be getting married. That’s it.
    First, the words of the blessing for the washing and annointing brought comfort to me in a way that I could never express. I was in tears. And that women were the ones doing it was WAY cool! And at the same moment I was pleasantly surprised by having women pronounce blessings on me, I also had a “well, DUH” reaction, too. We DO have a Heavenly mother. And a temple is THE place for God to commune with us, the place where heaven and earth meet, right? So it just made sense.
    Then when we went in for the endowment and I had my clothing, and saw Bill with his I was like “wow! This is so cool! It really IS the SAME church as in Bibical times!” The temple clothing and the entirety of the endowment and prayer seemed so “Old Testament” to me, and my thoughts were “This just makes so much sense. I can totally envision Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Ruth and Esther in their portable tent temples.”
    The only difference was we weren’t sacrificing animals! (would sort of ruin the whole “white clothing” thing, you know?? :)
    For me, the whole thing just seemed so natural. Not that I understood every little detail and immediately knew everything there was to know… but rather the progression of the endowment, the words, the instruction, the clothing, the whole big picture just seemed to make sense. It was so “House of Israel”– if you get what I mean.
    I really don’t know why I reacted the way I did. I wasn’t “prepared” in any special way. And I certainly wasn’t a scriptorian or someone familiar with ancient tradition or whatever. So I can’t explain it– I’m just very thankful!

  • delmar June 18, 2008, 11:34 pm

    alison. i don’t know how to thank you. this is something i’ve been told about by several concerned and caring friends, but i still can’t believe thats what is really going to happen. i just know its something i will get through. i’m not sure you can prepare yourself for such a personal thing. i know you are all told to make sure not to share sacred things with un-endowed members, but this is the sort of thing that makes me love you guys so much. you and friends such as kiar have a way of making me feel so calm and peaceful. luckily my hubby was endowed about 10 years ago and he too has also tried to “warn” me, but having it come from a women helps.

    fwiw: my wonderful mother in law has told me and my hubby that things have changed in the temple in the last few years…..and that unless you have been back to do a live initiatory session recently then things may not even be as some life long members expect. do i understand what shes talking about? nope. do i want to? yes! do i think i’ll ask her a few more questions before july 5th? maybe. will i survive? i’m pretty sure, but all the advice and kind words sure help calm my nerves.

    i love you all!

  • Alison Moore Smith June 19, 2008, 12:03 am

    delmar, yes, the initiatory has changed just a bit in the last few years–positively in my opinion. But HONESTLY, the OLD one wasn’t something you “had to get through.” It was my NOTION of what “washing” was going to mean and the lack of clothing and the idea that it would be a bunch of men that freaked me out. The “washing” isn’t what any of us consider as washing at all, the lack of clothing is because, well, you put your garments on (while completely covered) at the end, and it was all women. So none of my fears materialized.

    I just never want someone to even HAVE those fears in the first place.

    My suggestion when you do initiatory work is to LISTEN to the beautiful blessings.

    We love you, too. How I wish we could all be there when you attend. Believe me, we’ll be there in spirit.

  • facethemusic June 19, 2008, 12:17 am

    The “washing” isn’t what any of us consider as washing at all,

    YES! I think this is a huge misunderstanding. You hear the word “washing” and it’s easy to see why someone would imagine someone bathing them. But it’s not AT ALL even anything CLOSE to it. Not a hair of your head or any part of you actually gets “washed”. And you’re never undressed, except when you’re changing your clothes, but no one see you since you’re in a private stall.

  • Ray June 19, 2008, 8:02 am

    delmar, the advice to ignore the naked people is a joke among Mormons who know what non-Mormons assume about the temple. There is nothing to fear about the temple.

    Frankly, I believe sometimes we over-hype the uniqueness in a way that causes fear and trepidation. (You have NOT done that here, Alison.) It is VERY different than our regular Sunday worship; it is SO much more beautiful and inspiring and mind-blowing that it’s not even close.

    A good friend of mine who used to be a Protestant minister said the following after his first time in the temple (one of the smaller ones):

    “It feels so much bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside. It’s like the entire universe opened up in front of me.”

    Richard Bushman said it this way in a fireside I attended:

    “Mormons can be knee-deep in mud and muck in the morning then be immersed in and contemplating the cosmos in the afternoon.”

    Those are my favorite description of the temple – ever.

  • tspack June 19, 2008, 8:41 am

    I didn’t like the washing and anointing the first time I went to the temple (I have body issues), but it didn’t freak me out. What freaked me out was the prayer circle. It was so bizarre to me. I haven’t come across others who were bothered by that, so apparently I’m a bit weird (I’m okay with being weird ;-)). My immediate thought during the prayer circle was, “Oh no! Mormons are really a coven of witches!” After I got home that evening, I had to fall back to, “Okay, I’ve received a testimony that the church was true before going through the temple, so it’s still true after going through the temple.”

    I simply got used to it after going through a session a few more times, and now I’m not bothered by the prayer circle and actually think it’s pretty cool. But that first time….

  • Alison Moore Smith June 19, 2008, 10:06 am

    Thanks, Ray, I appreciate that. I, too, love those descriptions.

    I have to tell you, though, other than what I’ve posted so far, my biggest reaction the first time was, “That’s it?”

    I suppose I assumed it would be like climbing the mountain and talking to the guru on top. He’d reveal all the secrets of the universe and the meaning of life and my personal mission. Instead I just thought, “That’s pretty well covered in the Pearl of Great Price. Humph.”

    A few years later President Benson said that he attended the temple every week and that, every week, he learned something new. I thought, “Holy cow. I just don’t get it at all!”

    Since then, I’ve come to understand some things I didn’t before. Or at least I think I have. I really wish the celestial room was more of a “let’s chat about our experience” room than a “let’s sit quietly and contemplate the cosmos” room. I’m a person who likes to compare insights and notes and, at least to some extent, doesn’t completely trust her own instincts and interpretation. So I wouldn’t mind an “OK, it seems that I’m remotely on the right path here” validation. I talk to my husband about it, but only in the temple, so that doesn’t allow massive amounts of deep conversation.

    Mostly, for me, the temple has been a place to clarify what the issues are, not to get answers to them. The answers, for me, tend to come later, in regular life, after I’ve refined the questions.

    Welcome to MM, tspack!

  • Ray June 19, 2008, 10:33 am

    Alison, I think we talk about way less than we can and should. Michelle and I and compare notes frequently. I am a little more cautious with others, simply because I don’t know where there comfort levels are.

  • facethemusic June 19, 2008, 11:27 am

    I really wish the celestial room was more of a “let’s chat about our experience” room than a “let’s sit quietly and contemplate the cosmos” room.

    I’m with you on that one!!

  • davidson June 19, 2008, 11:28 am

    Delmar, we love you and we’re so excited for you! This will be such a wonderful, sacred day. I wish I had a zillion dollars and could hop a flight and come to be with you on your special day, but since I can’t, I will pray for you. And I send you hugs and congratulations for preparing yourself and your family to go. Heavenly Father must love you so much and be so proud of your effort.

    Love you all, and I have to admit, I feel a little uncomfortable about what we’re doing here, not because the things you’ve said aren’t right or true, but because a public forum for the world doesn’t seem to be the place to discuss them. The temple prep classes are adequate and appointed by our Heavenly Father. If they are vague, they are vague under His direction. An interview between a bishop or a stake president and the couple seems to me to be the right place to discuss any further questions. I know this discussion is born of a great desire to help Delmar prepare, but I think if Heavenly Father felt these details were necessary in order for a person to be prepared, He would have included them in the instruction in some way. I do think we are discussing things too freely here. I do think our open discussion might be CREATING fear, not only for Delmar but for others who haven’t attended the temple yet. Our words are giving them fuel for imagination, and fearful imagination can drive away the Spirit we are seeking. There isn’t anything to fear in the temple ceremony, and there wasn’t even before the changes were made. We should attend the temple with an attitude of trust in the Lord and willingness to do His will. Isn’t it part of the test, as we prepare to attend the temple–to not know everything that will happen there, but to be willing to submit to anything the Lord requires of us? I think those mothers mentioned above who helped their daughters approach their initial experience in the temple with joy and anticipation and not a lot of specific discussion were doing it right. There are signs all over the Idaho Falls temple reminding us not to discuss these things outside the temple. I do not mean to offend, but I think we are discussing things that are normally not discussed outside the temple. My opinion. And I do love you for wanting to help Delmar, but maybe the best help would be to set an example of obedience and compliance. I think there was a great lesson in the story of Uzzah and Ahio, who put forth their hands to steady the Ark of the Covenant. There were rules that no man should touch this portable temple; they went to great lengths to make certain that no human hand touched it, lifting it with poles. But it was portable, and that meant it had to travel. Uzzah and Ahio were the ones assigned to drive the cart that carried the Ark of the Covenant to another place, and people followed behind in parade. The cart went over a bump in the road, and Uzzah reached out his hand to steady the Ark. He was struck dead. That seems harsh, doesn’t it! Some would say that Uzzah was just trying to help. But the Lord knew Uzzah’s heart. He wasn’t stretching forth his hand to steady the Ark so that it wouldn’t fall; he was steadying the ark to show people that HE COULD, and that he was somehow an exception to the rule that no human hand should touch it. He didn’t respect the Lord or His commandments. That ark would not have fallen to the ground; if ever an object were protected of the Lord, the Holy Ark of the Covenant was. The Lord’s covenant does not need steadying by mere human beings. And I am not in any way saying that anyone here was attempting to be prideful or to show their precedence over others; I am well aware that you were acting in love and concern. Does it matter WHY we reach out to steady the ark? All we need to know is that we have been asked not to; that should suffice. The Lord can do His own work. The commandment to not “steady the Ark” should also apply to people who feel obligated to tell priesthood leaders how things should be done, as if the Lord’s own instruction weren’t sufficient.

    May I just say, Delmar, that if you had never heard of Jesus Christ, and you attended one of our Sacrament meetings, the eating of little crumbs of bread and drinking of little cups of water would seem strange to you at best. But when you are a covenanted member, and you know what those symbols stand for, and you take them week after week, they become beautiful and significant and richly traditional to you. In the temple, you will be participating in new ordinances associated with new covenants, and because you have never experienced them before, they might seem strange to you. But as you come to understand what the symbols mean, those new ordinances and covenants will become as beautiful and sacred to you as the symbols of the Sacrament. Trust God. Tell yourself, “I may not understand them now, but I trust that I will in the future, and everything will be okay.” Go with the attitude of complete submission to the will of God, and you will be blessed. I do love you, Delmar. It’s going to be a wonderful experience. You are precious.

  • davidson June 19, 2008, 1:14 pm

    As far as needing to know in advance in order to be prepared. . .

    One day I was sitting in a Sunday School class, and the subject of families being sealed together came up. That has always been a bittersweet topic to me. I am sealed to my husband and children, but I am not sealed to my parents or brother and sisters. I am not sealed to this twin of mine, who has been my other half for longer than I can remember. The thought of not being sealed to her is excruciating. My mother went to the temple alone several years after I was sealed. I would have loved to have her there with me on my sealing day, but at the time, women married to nonmembers were not encouraged to get their endowments. Even though she can now attend the temple, and that gives me great comfort, I’m not sealed to her.

    So, I’m sitting in this Sunday School class, and they are talking about who can be together in the next life, and who can’t. My face was perfectly still as I tried to control my emotions, but the tears were streaming down my face. We have sealed thousands of our Italian relatives to each other, but I am not sealed to those closest to me.

    Afterwards, I went to talk to a dear old gentlemen sitting in the room. He is a past seminary teacher, a past bishop, and a past stake patriarch. He is also not known for being warm and cuddly, but he has a lot of knowledge. I asked him some specific questions about my father’s possibilities for the future, and I told him, “This subject is so important to me. I just feel like I have to know whether or not I can be with him in the eternities so I can prepare myself.”

    He didn’t answer my questions, but he wisely said, “Think about what you are telling the Lord. You are telling him that you have to know now. What if part of your test is not knowing? What if it is His will that you never know in this life? What if knowing isn’t necessary to your current preparation? Will you still love HIm? Will you still obey Him? Will you still seek to do what YOU should do even if you are NEVER sealed to your family?”

    It wasn’t what I was looking for, but as I went home and pondered on it, I saw that he was right. And I slowly came to realize that not knowing things we really want to know may be a very integral part of our preparation here. If we knew the outcome, it wouldn’t be a test.

    Maybe the same thing could apply to preparation to go to the temple.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 19, 2008, 3:28 pm

    I think if Heavenly Father felt these details were necessary in order for a person to be prepared, He would have included them in the instruction in some way.

    If that is the standard, then we shouldn’t talk about anything, ever, about any topic. If God wants us to know it, he’ll put it in a manual or inspire the bishop to speak up.

  • ChanJo June 19, 2008, 3:40 pm

    Davidson, you can have your opinion about this just like on any other topic. But from the outside this is what I keep seeing.

    You bring up and discuss all sorts of things, including VERY intimate details about personal things. With what you’ve posted about you, your husband, your kids, others in your ward/stake–it would be very easy to look up your ward and identify most of the people you talk about. We all know your full name and that your husband is the bishop. (Don’t you wonder if someone else in your ward hasn’t read here?)

    That is your business and for someone who mostly lurks here, maybe I shouldn’t say anything at all. Most of the time I like your posts anyway. But what bothers me is that while you do that, you also jump in and try to shut others down all the time. When someone else asks something you tell them they shouldn’t talk about it or that they should just “follow the spirit” or that they should just be fine not knowing because that is “part of hte plan” or something. But you don’t even do that yourself.

    Ive been endowed for a long time and don’t think anything that was said here isn’t common knowledge OUTSIDE the temple.

  • Ray June 19, 2008, 3:42 pm

    davidson, everything that has been mentioned here has been published by an apostle in one way or another.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 19, 2008, 3:57 pm

    Absolutely, Ray. You might be surprised at how much is published by authoritative sources.

    Some of the sources I’ve used to respond to questions from the Young Women are:

    Young Women Manual 3
    The House of the Lord by James E. Talmage

    The Encyclopedia of Mormonism has lots of info,too. My problem stemmed mostly from the fact that I had zero experience with women performing ordinances. Where else would I have contact with that, except perhaps in early church history?

  • kilpatrickclan June 19, 2008, 3:58 pm

    Hmmm. I don’t know anyone here on any personal level, but I liked what Delmar said. I liked the Ark story and will keep it in mind. Thanks. I also feel a little uncomfortable with temple talk, but understand that it is important. Maybe personal emails are better? Anyway, I am glad that you are getting your endowments. It is a very special experience. Don’t worry if it is not all angels and trumpets when it happens to you. I wish you a peaceful experience. Just remember that people are there to help you and you don’t have to remember everything. You have your entire life to figure it out. I myself like a nice quiet Celestial room, but that is just me. But…I do wish there was like a question and answer room…but maybe the point is that we come to our OWN conclusions. Hmmm. Food for thought.

  • Ray June 19, 2008, 4:36 pm

    In davidson’s defense, we are roughly the same age. My parents were raised with the idea that NOTHING in the temple should be discussed outside the temple, so I heard that growing up. There were times in our past that members literally faced severe persecution and pressure to talk about it, and the early admonitions to remain silent are totally understandable. Authorities like Talmage published excellent works on the temple (like “The House of the Lord” – a must read, imo), but the average member didn’t see the link between that and “discussing” the temple.

    Once anti- groups started posting the entire script on the internet and the Godmakers films were published, “secrecy” became next to impossible. Stuff is out there – both accurate and falsified. There are many ex-members who publish horribly distorted crap – taking certain things completely out of context and turning them into abominable things. Therefore, more modern authorities have begun publishing more faithful treatises. In this day and age, there is little about the experience that isn’t available to the public – from both faithful and antagonistic sources.

    Finally, if you focus very carefully on the words of all the ordinances in the temple, what can and cannot be discussed outside the temple (even among endowed members) is identified quite clearly. I never quote extensively from the ordinances, and I won’t give a step-by-step, detailed description, but there is relatively little I won’t discuss with family and interested friends. I’m just very careful how I do so.

  • davidson June 19, 2008, 10:29 pm

    Thanks for your assessment of me, ChanJo, and I’ll definitely take it into consideration. Thanks, too, Kilpatrickclan and Ray. Alison, I can’t see anything wrong with not discussing things we’ve been asked not to discuss. The sign at the exit of the temple just asks us not to discuss temple things outside of temple walls. That’s pretty simple and straightforward, and I guess we have to be reasonable about what discussion takes place and with whom. We’re not asked to not KNOW it; we are asked to not DISCUSS it. It doesn’t include a list that says, “You may discuss this and this and this, but we prefer that you don’t discuss THIS.” It just asks us not to discuss temple things. On the other hand, we ARE asked to participate in discussions of gospel principles, in Sunday School classes and elsewhere, and I see nothing wrong with doing that. If I err on the side of caution, that is my nature. I don’t mean to upset anybody. Just trying to be obedient. Just expressing my opinion about temple discussion when the topic came up. If you feel to do otherwise, go at it.

    ChanJo. One of the first things experts tell people when they are talking about abuse is to not keep it a secret; they are counseled to tell an ecclesiastical leader or a professional or a police officer or a . . .trusted. . .friend. I tried many of those avenues. I believe I was LED to discuss my problem with these good people here, and they helped me find an answer. It was unfortunate that it had to be in public, but it solved my problem in a way that no one else had been able to. I am grateful. I count these people at this website as those among my trusted friends. Are you one who would have me just keep my mouth shut and continue to suffer what I suffered for so long, in order to salute “privacy”?

  • Alison Moore Smith June 20, 2008, 1:36 am

    davidson, I don’t know what sign you are talking about. The only sign I’ve ever seen at a temple was the one at the Orlando cafeteria that said, “The food has already been blessed.”

    As Ray already said, nothing has been discussed here that isn’t published in publicly available materials by general authorities, etc. Well, except for MY fears that turned out to be erroneous. And I don’t think that’s the sacred thing they’re talking about. When the church publishes stories about amazing temple experiences in the Ensign, I doubt that less-than-wonderful ones are forbidden.

    When my YW in Florida started asking all sorts of things, I didn’t know where to start because I didn’t know what I could say and what I couldn’t. Obviously anything that is viewable by the public (in the open houses, etc.) isn’t verboten. For example, you talked about altars. They are in the temple. But since everyone sees those at the open house, they’re no secret, right? We speak of the veil and the different “kingdom rooms” because the are on the tour and published in books and magazines. And we can talk about temple dresses and slippers, since they are proudly displayed in the BYU bookstore, right? And we talk about baptism for the dead all the time, in great detail. But what else? I didn’t know.

    For example, I knew I could say you make covenants–because that’s in the manuals–but I didn’t know if we could say what the covenants ARE. (Which always seemed odd to me.)

    So, I looked at church materials, apostolic quotes and publications, etc., in order to answer them appropriately. I gave a couple of sources. You might want to look them up. Frankly, I was surprised at how much was published. You might be surprised, too. All the covenants are listed specifically. All the ordinances are described. There are symbols that are mentioned by generic name, but not by specific name, etc.

    If you choose not to speak about anything, that’s fine. But I feel comfortable speaking about or quoting things that others (such as James Talmage) have published.

    ChanJo, I do like to leave the forum open here, as much as possible. So both you and davidson are welcome to express your opinions. But davidson, I see some of her position. Let me explain if I can.

    No, abused spouses are not to keep silent. Absolutely. But I don’t think we are counseled by our leaders to tell a friend. That can be terribly problematic. But you say you were led to discuss very personal issues here. Would you consider that perhaps I was as well? You see, when you reveal such things–even in an identifiable way–it’s because you were inspired. When I do, it’s because I’m not “trying to be obedient” by “erring on the side of caution.”

    Ever since my experience, nearly 23 years ago, I have sincerely felt it was important for women to know that women perform ordinances in the temple. (That is also published info, but something that almost no one (pre-endowment) that I have spoken to knew.) Particularly when one of the ordinances includes the term “washing” (also published information)–a term which, in our vernacular, can conjure up images that are completely erroneous. You don’t even have to get to the shield part to have scary ideas about that–as is evidenced by what non-members sometimes say during open houses when they see various rooms and furnishings.

    And, honestly, I don’t think a public forum is wrong for that either. IMO, if the info shouldn’t be shared outside the temple, it shouldn’t be shared in private email or discussion, either. If it can be, then the more people who have clarification, the better.

    Maybe I’ll just see if Talmage will give me reprint rights to his book. :wink:

  • Alison Moore Smith June 20, 2008, 1:39 am

    On a side note, I think it’s hilarious how much Nibley published about the temple. But since he did it in the context of ancient temples and rites, it was just considered historical. :smile:

  • facethemusic June 20, 2008, 8:04 am

    On a side note, I think it’s hilarious how much Nibley published about the temple. But since he did it in the context of ancient temples and rites, it was just considered historical.

    Really? I’d be interested in reading something like that. Can you remember any specific titles?

  • Alison Moore Smith June 20, 2008, 9:35 am

    Sure. Let me gather some.

    While I was searching for the Papyri title, I came across a really great list of temple books. It includes all my sources and then some.

    Particularly read the Welch book. His premise is that the Sermon on the Mount was actually an endowment ceremony. He talks about how esoteric teachings have always been part of the church practice.

  • mlinford June 20, 2008, 11:57 am

    I think there will always be disagreement about how much you can talk about in the temple. I look at our current leaders, and I think they are actually pretty discreet. They talk about things in general ways, but don’t get very specific…unless you can see through what they are talking about.

    One of my most significant temple learning experiences happened while reading my scriptures. Like Alison, I wondered if what I had felt and learned really could be in the right direction. It was confirmed to me that I was heading in the right direction, because there on my bed, open to the very article, was an Ensign that had one of those Elder Nelson talks I linked to above. I was astounded at how much he had told me without telling me, and showed me where to find more light and knowledge about the temple. Ever since then, I am much more careful to really listen for those veiled kinds of teachings that prophets give. I believe they teach us a lot more than we realize a lot of the time…we just have to be willing to really listen and to put forth the work to open our minds and hearts to the Spirit.

    As to this article, I think helping people not be afraid by eliminating some basic misunderstandings within general knowledge is good — like that ‘washings’ are not anything that will violate privacy.

    But I tend to be like davidson in my personal choice of erring on the side of caution. And I think our leaders do in many ways, too. (I’m talking current leaders.) But clearly we each have to draw the lines where we feel they are appropriate. I don’t think anyone will be able to convince another to be more open, or more quiet. :)

    As for temple books, FARMS has a bunch of them. Truth be told, they talk about things I would never choose to talk about out loud. But that doesn’t keep me from reading them! :) And Welch’s book is something I found stunning. Again, I probably wouldn’t write such a book, and I don’t talk much about what is in there, but I loved reading it. If nothing else, books like these help me really realize how layered the meanings are and how much there is to learn.

  • mlinford June 20, 2008, 11:59 am

    Oh, and another resource that taught me a LOT about ancient temple worship was the OT student manual for CES.

  • Oregonian June 20, 2008, 12:29 pm

    mlinford I dont really understand what you say. You would _never_ talk or write about what farms does. because i guess you think its wrong or at least a problem. but you _love_ reading them.

    i think if you think they are wrong you shouldnt read them either adn if they arent wrong then why cant you talk abot it?

  • Alison Moore Smith June 20, 2008, 12:33 pm

    Michelle, that seems odd to me. To me that’s like giving my kid a BOOK about sex ed, but getting squirmy about TALKING about it with them. If the book is fascinating reading, they why not discuss it? If it goes too far, should we be reading it at all?

  • Alison Moore Smith June 20, 2008, 12:34 pm

    OK, I’m redundant again. Remind me to refresh the screen before I post…

  • mlinford June 20, 2008, 12:41 pm

    I never said it made sense, and I know it sounds odd. That’s why I put the smiley face, because I know it sounds silly. That’s just really how I feel, though. I love to learn all I can and ponder and study, but you won’t hear me personally talking about it. And perhaps that means I shouldn’t read them, either. But it’s sort of like reading Nibley…they talk about things in roundabout ways a lot of the times. But I just myself don’t feel comfortable vocalizing what I am learning and the connections I am making, and that actually doesn’t seem too out there. I can read something but learn something else that makes my big picture bigger, and I feel that I want to hold what I learn and feel close. It all means so much to me, and I just also kind of go by how I feel. And I don’t feel comfortable talking about what I learn in many cases. I also feel uncomfortable with some of what I read because I think sometimes people DO say too much. I don’t know where to draw that line, but to me it’s one thing to read something and another thing to say something. I feel bound about what I can say; I am still trying to figure out whether or not I should read things I don’t feel comfy talking about.

    I think the downside of reading someone else’s stuff is that it could pigeonhole our thinking. The fact that my most significant aha with the temple was with the scriptures and words of the prophets to me should say something.

  • Ray June 20, 2008, 12:48 pm

    “To me that’s like giving my kid a BOOK about sex ed, but getting squirmy about TALKING about it with them.”

    You mean that’s not the way we’re supposed to handle that topic? :confused:

  • Alison Moore Smith June 20, 2008, 1:03 pm

    Posted By: mlinfordBut I just myself don’t feel comfortable vocalizing what I am learning and the connections I am making, and that actually doesn’t seem too out there.

    I understand, but realize I’m not referring to someone talking about “connections” or “the bigger picture” between what is read and what happens in the temple. I’m referring to talking about what IS written. I don’t think the church in any way objects to what is written and published by FARMS.

    I think the downside of reading someone else’s stuff is that it could pigeonhole our thinking. The fact that my most significant aha with the temple was with the scriptures and words of the prophets to me should say something.

    But, ahem, the scriptures ARE “someone else’s stuff.” :wink:

  • facethemusic June 20, 2008, 1:07 pm

    Clearly, the problem here is that there are differing opinions on what is allowed to be discussed.

    Some think that we’re not allowed to discuss A, B and C, but others think that we can discuss A and B only, as long as we don’t get into too much detail. I think we all agree on what cannot be discussed at all, since for those things it is very pointedly made absolutely clear. But, you’ll notice there isn’t such a distinction for the other things. You’ll also notice that what is clearly not supposed to be discussed has NOT been discussed here.

    Those who believe that A and B CAN be discussed are saying that they aren’t discussing those things in any more detail than what is spoken of in regular church meetings, in the Ensign, or in the temple during pre-dedication tours to the average Joe on the street.

    And actually, if you think about it, what’s being discussed is more of what the temple ceremonies are NOT, not what they ARE.

    Anyone who still disagrees with the content of this discussion and/or is simply uncomfortable with it, and would rather be “on the safe side”, doesn’t have to participate. And no one will think anything less of them for not participating. I think we all understand.

  • mlinford June 20, 2008, 1:26 pm

    I don’t think the church in any way objects to what is written and published by FARMS.

    I think the church is pretty clear that what is published at FARMS does not have the stamp of approval of the leaders. I haven’t heard our leaders talk nearly as openly as those at FARMS do. For my own personal measuring stick, I don’t use FARMS as the example, I use the leaders and what we have through official sources. Again, I think our leaders say a lot, but they are a lot more subtle about it and leave us to make the connections. The FARMS and other writers are in my opinion sometimes too blunt about making those connections for us. Again, call me hypocritical because I appreciate what I have learned, but that doesn’t mean I will then go around writing and talking about the specific things that they said. That’s just me sorting through what I feel comfortable about, and it’s certainly not my job to tell others what they should be comfortable with. But then I appreciate the space to feel comfortable however that may unfold. :) None of us can tell another what is or isn’t appropriate. As Tracy said, we can choose to express an opinion about what is comfortable, or choose not to participate in discussions that feel too open, but on either side, we shouldn’t say, “You should talk more’ or ‘you should talk less.’ Just like so many other things, we all have to figure out where that line is.

    You brought up the scriptures. There is SO MUCH in the scriptures that points to the temple. But just because it’s in print doesn’t mean I will talk about it openly and how what I read connects to the context of the temple. Just because it’s in print doesn’t mean I should talk about it in the context of the temple. It doesn’t mean I can’t, but I tend to be one to err on the side of caution, and what others choose to write is in a sense between them and God.

    And I am still sorting through it all. I don’t have my lines all figured out. Just sort of thinking out loud here….

  • mlinford June 20, 2008, 1:34 pm

    and my other point about the scriptures is that they are designed, by God, to open up the mysteries of Godliness through the Spirit. FARMS books are not of that ilk, not matter how well done they are. They can open things up sometimes, but the scriptures have a power for us not found anywhere else.

  • mlinford June 20, 2008, 1:38 pm

    And in the end, I still go back to the fact that we will each have to figure out how to draw that line, so I’m not trying to make that decision for anyone else…just sharing my thoughts on it, weird though some may think they are.

  • davidson June 20, 2008, 1:49 pm

    You know, it had never crossed my mind that it might be appropriate to discuss WHAT GOES ON in the temple; I just assumed we shouldn’t, due to the signs in the temple and the instructions given by the workers. (Does anyone else’s temple have the signs asking patrons not to discuss temple matters outside of temple walls?) After our discussion here, I went looking. I searched LDS.org, and over and over again, I saw that we should only discuss APPROPRIATE temple matters. It left me wondering, then, what is APPROPRIATE. I can’t quite believe that what is appropriate for one family to discuss might not be appropriate for another family to discuss. ????? Either there are guidelines, or there aren’t.

    To me, it’s sort of like the discussion we had about cameras in the conference center. Even while we sat in the conference center listening to a speaker at the pulpit asking everyone to refrain from taking flash pictures, people all around us were taking flash pictures. Someone on another thread, (can’t remember who,) said perhaps they hadn’t heard the request because they were busy talking. But were they also blind? As people enter the conference center,there are signs everywhere telling people not to take flash pictures. Well, some could reason, it might be all right in certain circumstances. Maybe the family had come from far-away Africa and would probably never be able to attend the conference center or see a prophet there again–so is that reason enough to take a flash picture, after being specifically asked not to? Would it be excusable then? Or maybe someone who has terminal cancer is going to die in a few weeks and really wanted to see the prophet one last time? Is that reason enough to take a flash picture, after being specifically asked not to? I mean, it would probably be very comforting for the dying person to take home a picture of the prophet. Every person who came there had a different circumstance. It would be nice and wonderful to say, well, each family has to determine for himself what is right to do in that circumstance. Sounds like rationalization to me. They gave a request. Either you obey the request, or you don’t. It’s as simple as that, to borrow a phrase from Alison.

    This is taken from an Ensign article. The author indicates that we shouldn’t openly discuss CEREMONIES that are performed in the temple, and he quotes Boyd K. Packer. President Packer also gives some suggestions about what is appropriate when teaching children about the temple:

    “Throughout history, men have commonly used symbols to represent truths they learn. Many of the keys to understanding the temple endowment depend on an awareness of symbols. Symbols are such a simple means of expression, though years of temple worship are necessary to realize just how much those used in the temple can teach. WITHOUT DISCUSSING THE CEREMONY SPECIFICALLY, we can review the nature of the symbolism used there. For example, in the book The Holy Temple, Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Council of the Twelve writes:

    When we do ordinance work in the temple we wear white clothing. This clothing is symbolic of purity and worthiness and cleanliness. ?

    Members who have received their temple ordinances thereafter wear the special garment or underclothing. ?

    The garment represents sacred covenants. It contributes to modesty and becomes a shield and a protection to the wearer. ?

    The temple itself becomes a symbol. If you have seen one of the temples at night, fully lighted, you know what an impressive sight that can be. The house of the Lord, bathed in light, standing out in darkness, becomes symbolic of the power and the inspiration of the gospel of Jesus Christ standing as a beacon in a world that sinks ever further into spiritual darkness.

    That light is symbolic too of another kind of light spiritual light. ? How much spiritual light we may absorb as part of the learning process depends on our receptivity. ? (Elder Boyd K. Packer, The Holy Temple, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980, pages 42, 44, 71, 75.)

    Teaching Your Children about the Temple
    Your own attitude toward the temple can be a powerful teaching tool in preparing your children for the day when they will have the opportunity to attend the temple. As children become aware of their parents ? attitude of deep appreciation for the blessing of the temple endowment, they will look forward to this blessing in their own lives.

    You can let your children know the importance of the temple in a number of ways. You can place photographs and pictures of temples on the walls of your home. You can devote family home evenings to understanding, IN GENERAL TERMS, the temple ordinances. In family prayers and father ?s blessings, you may feel inspired to mention the importance of the temple. Discussing temple standards gives you the opportunity of sharing the principles of orderliness, modesty in dress, and the eternal family with even very young preschoolers, but especially with children preparing for baptism.”

    His examples seemed to me to be the essence of what he meant by the phrase “general terms.”

  • davidson June 20, 2008, 1:59 pm

    Oops. The above article was published in the Liahona in August 1988, not the Ensign. It didn’t list an author.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 20, 2008, 2:15 pm

    Posted By: mlinfordI think the church is pretty clear that what is published at FARMS does not have the stamp of approval of the leaders.

    The terms are quite different, are they not? I did not say they “had the stamp of approval,” I said the church doesn’t object. But, frankly, I think the link is much stronger than neutrality.

    FARMS was incorporated by BYU at President Hinckley’s suggestion. He said:

    FARMS represents the efforts of sincere and dedicated scholars. It has grown to provide strong support and defense of the Church on a professional basis. . . . I see a bright future for this effort now through the university.

    That quote, by the way, came almost a decade AFTER Welsh published the Sermon on the Mount book.

    I’m sure you’ve noted that the church is not terribly hesitant to censor what BYU professors write or say. FARMS is part of BYU and I’m pretty sure that if the powers that be objected to a particular work, they’d simply not let them publish the it from within a church-owned entity. And rather than giving it’s founder, John Welch, positions of authority, they’d probably be keeping him in check. Do you disagree?

    I haven’t heard our leaders talk nearly as openly as those at FARMS do.

    And why should they? Particularly in the context in which YOU hear them? What percentage of members care enough about ancient scripture, etc., to read ANY of the FARMS books? Why would they address this stuff at, say, General Conference, when it really is minutia, not something that needs mass distribution? (Particularly when we’re all still floundering with things like, oh, scripture study and home teaching?)

    Honestly, I would be shocked to learn that none of our leaders talk about these things with, for example, the authors of these books and the associates of FARMS, The Neal Maxwell Institute, etc. In fact, I would hazard a guess that they talk about it quite a bit.

    For my own personal measuring stick, I don’t use FARMS as the example, I use the leaders and what we have through official sources.

    The implication is that others do use FARMS as a measuring stick. I don’t think anyone said they do. But I do think FARMS–as owned by the church–is a reasonably “official source.” Still the question about FARMS was the legitimacy of READING it while still objecting to its content.

    The FARMS and other writers are in my opinion sometimes too blunt about making those connections for us.

    And in my opinion, if they were TOO direct, they’d be censored.

    You brought up the scriptures.

    You missed the winky?

    But just because it’s in print doesn’t mean I will talk about it openly and how what I read connects to the context of the temple.

    Again, I didn’t suggest that you should. I specifically said that in my last post.

    Just because it’s in print doesn’t mean I should talk about it in the context of the temple.

    Again, I didn’t see that suggestion. EVERYTHING in the temple is in print. Every version of the endowment in modern times is on the internet in complete detail. (Along with completely erroneous, made-up versions.) And I’m sure you don’t think that any MM regulars would suggest that we should just talk about it all because someone posted a web page.

    Personally, I feel fine quoting Talmage’s book that the church has published and made available to the public. I feel the same about things published by FARMS, that is owned by the church. And I respect your right to decide what you feel comfortable with.

  • mlinford June 20, 2008, 2:16 pm

    On this note, I just remembered that a letter was recently read over the pulpit to not discuss the temple outside the temple. I think caution is warranted, and I think davidson has hit on some important examples of what general can mean.

  • mlinford June 20, 2008, 2:31 pm

    Alison,

    I don’t disagree that FARMS has some measure of Church support. I don’t think the church leaders, however, would necessarily micromanage what FARMS does, either, or that the reason our leaders don’t talk more about the temple is because they don’t think people care about it. They DO talk about it, but do it in a less direct way.

    Who’s to say anyway that that letter from the First Presidency wasn’t a sort of censure for all those who talk “too openly” — whatever that means?

    Deseret Book is owned by the Church, too, but I don’t equate that with the church completely approving with everything that comes out of Deseret Book. :)

    In short, I don’t disagree that there is some measure of ability to talk about the temple without violating covenants. I just personally don’t feel comfortable talking as openly and directly as many do. That’s all. I completely understand your comfort level in quoting from these sources. It makes sense. I can’t logically explain my approach…it’s just about my personal comfort level and wanting to err on the side of caution. It’s a gut thing, and my tendency to just want to be cautious. And I know you respect that, so I think we can leave it at that, no?

  • facethemusic June 20, 2008, 3:02 pm

    Does anyone else’s temple have the signs asking patrons not to discuss temple matters outside of temple walls?)

    I’ve never noticed any… of course, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. But I’ve never seen any. And I haven’t been to very many temples— Atlanta, Provo, Timp, SLC, Winter Quarters, St. Louis and Nauvoo. The only ones I’ve been several times and are really familiar with are Atlanta and St. Louis and I’ve never noticed any signs about not discussing things. I’ll have to keep an eye out next time I go!

    Davidson, I agree completely with everything you said in that last post and I’m confidant that other would too. The problem is that they’re saying THEY ARE discussing it in general terms, and you’re essentially saying they aren’t.

    The same book you quoted from Elder Packer (and a talk was made from the same book) also says this: (I’m adding some bold text to empahsis a few things)

    The Temple Ordinances
    The ordinances we perform in the temples include washings, anointings, the endowment, and the sealing ordinance both the sealing of children to parents, and the sealing of couples, spoken of generally as temple marriage.

    Here is a brief summary of the information that is available in print with reference to the temple ordinances.

    The ordinances of washing and anointing are referred to often in the temple as initiatory ordinances. It will be sufficient for our purposes to say only the following: Associated with the endowment are washings and anointings mostly symbolic in nature, but promising definite, immediate blessings as well as future blessings. Concerning these ordinances the Lord has said, I say unto you, how shall your washings be acceptable unto me, except ye perform them in a house which you have built to my name? ? (D&C 124:37).

    In connection with these ordinances, in the temple you will be officially clothed in the garment and promised marvelous blessings in connection with it. It is important that you listen carefully as these ordinances are administered and that you try to remember the blessings promised and the conditions upon which they will be realized.

    To endow is to enrich, to give to another something long lasting and of much worth. In the temple endowment ordinances, recipients are endowed with power from on high, ? and they receive an education relative to the Lord ?s purposes and plans. ?2

    President Brigham Young (1801 ?77) said of the endowment: Let me give you a definition in brief. Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell. ?3

    I don’t think any more “detailed” information was given than that during our discussion here.
    Additionally, there are several talks and Ensign articles that mention the “robes of the holy priesthood”, prayer circles, etc.

    The things that were discussed here didn’t give any detailed information about any of these things, and certainly didn’t dicuss the ceremonies. Alison mentioned how she felt on her WAY to the ceremony part of it, but she didn’t say anything ABOUT the ceremony. As you quoted Elder Packer “Without discussing the ceremony specifically, we can review the nature of the symbolism used there.” I don’t recall anyone discussed any of the ceremonies specifically.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 20, 2008, 3:14 pm

    I don’t think the church leaders, however, would necessarily micromanage what FARMS does, either,

    I don’t think they micromanage them, either. At least not any more than they “micromanage” BYU and it’s profs. And I do think that if they were too free with speaking about the sacred, they’d stop the publication. They stopped George Pace from talking about relationships directly with God, others from talking about Mother in Heaven and feminist issues, priesthood issues, early church history, post-manifesto polygamy, 9-11 conspiracy theories. The list goes on and on and on. They haven’t exactly been shy about reigning in the publications of those who work FOR BYU.

    or that the reason our leaders don’t talk more about the temple is because they don’t think people care about it

    .

    First of all, I absolutely DO think they spend most of their time talking about things that (1) are salvational AND (2) the general church cares about. They don’t spend a lot of time talking about scrapbooking, even though a definite faction in the church loves it. The stuff of FARMS is stuff that some find interesting, other don’t. None is salvational in nature. You don’t NEED to discuss it–while there are plenty of things that are much more important. In my experience, they focus on things that are urgent and important, not just interesting. (Unless you count President Monson’s side trips to Idaho :wink:).

    That is my point. With the limited amount of interaction they have with us, why would they talk about such details? I suggest that if you spent many hours with them, in non-official settings, they actually talk about a lot of things they don’t spend time on in official addresses.

    There is another issue that hasn’t been mentioned within the idea of context. If I’m speaking to a group, and bring up a point that only a few understand, I either have to leave part of them floundering OR I have to take the time to explain it all. Wouldn’t it sometimes be better to just make a note in passing that some will find deeper meaning in?

    And, FWIW, I don’t think that Deseret Book selling a teen vampire book equates with a church-owned entity PUBLISHING a book and continuing to sell it for DECADES under their name. It’s at least a significant degree of separation. And, I think, precedence shows they wouldn’t tolerate if it were inappropriate.

    Anyway, here is a quote from the Ensign. Boyd K. Packer speaking. (Read that: authoritative.)

    The ordinances of washing and anointing are referred to often in the temple as initiatory ordinances. It will be sufficient for our purposes to say only the following: Associated with the endowment are washings and anointings mostly symbolic in nature, but promising definite, immediate blessings as well as future blessings. Concerning these ordinances the Lord has said, I say unto you, how shall your washings be acceptable unto me, except ye perform them in a house which you have built to my name? ? (D&C 124:37).

    In connection with these ordinances, in the temple you will be officially clothed in the garment and promised marvelous blessings in connection with it. It is important that you listen carefully as these ordinances are administered and that you try to remember the blessings promised and the conditions upon which they will be realized.

    Doesn’t this one quote reveal pretty much everything *I* did? The differences being that (1) I pointed out that “washing” doesn’t mean what you might THINK it means (which isn’t revealing anything about the ordinance at all) and (2) that women perform it for women. I have no problem with revealing that because it’s been published by the church elsewhere

    I also think it’s important because I’m guessing Elder Packer never walked through the temple being worried that he was going into a room full of men. But enough about that.

    Lastly, Michele, I don’t think you have to make sense of your position to me or anyone. But I am comfortable with what I write and speak on this issues and think I also have a good basis for that feeling. And, frankly, I think I do err on the side of caution. My caution just isn’t the same as yours.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 20, 2008, 3:18 pm

    Oh, for heaven’s sake, I’m redundant AGAIN! Maybe I should just let the rest of you post for me as proxy. :cool:

  • mlinford June 20, 2008, 3:25 pm

    Alison,
    I think you think I’m criticizing your post. In general, I was not. There were a couple of things I probably would have left out, but I don’t think it’s wrong to mention washing and anointing, for example. That has never been my point, so I don’t find any change in my general feelings after reading that quote (twice…er, three times, since I read it myself earlier today : ). Basically here, I’ve been speaking in generalities, not trying to defend davidson’s specific discomfort with this discussion, even as I understand her discomfort.

    Does that help?

    I hate discussions like this because I feel like we often end up speaking past each other and defending things that were never really intended or even said. I realize I have done this, and I feel like you are doing it, too…not really understanding what I’m saying. So I say, let’s stop. :)

  • kilpatrickclan June 20, 2008, 9:23 pm

    When I first went to the temple, I wanted to discuss it with people, but knew I shouldn’t. I had a good friend who was also endowed and she was a support during that time. I also had my Mom and others that I knew. I had all sorts of ideas about what I was seeing and hearing and doing and what it all meant. At the time, I thought I had it all figured out. Remember, I was in my early 20′s. Now, after 11+ years of attendance, I don’t try to figure out so much. I find myself enjoying the temple for different reasons now (mostly as a place to find a little peace and quiet from my kids:)). That is why I love that place. As I have changed, married, had kids, etc…the meanings have changed and taken on new dimensions. I can see why President Benson said that he still doesn’t understand everything. I am at peace with that. As omeone who seems to always have to have the answers (both at home and at work), it is nice to go to a place where I don’t have to have those demands placed on me.

    About three years ago, we had a special fireside with the temple president and temple matron. Only endowed members were allowed to go. We were able to ask anything we wanted. It was a nice fireside and I was surprised about the questions asked. Some were not that secretive, meaning they were things that you really could discuss (like paper white colored wedding dresses). Anyway, I think the resources are there to ask questions and get answers, you just have to ask the right people. I also like the idea of reading what has been published and/or supported by the church. FARMS perplexes me, but that is just the researcher in me, not the member.

  • nanacarol June 20, 2008, 9:30 pm

    I love learning and I hope I can ask this question. I have not been to Utah but a handful of times–please what is FARMS? Please explain.

  • mlinford June 20, 2008, 10:07 pm

    FARMS=”Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies”

    http://farms.byu.edu/

  • nanacarol June 20, 2008, 10:33 pm

    Thank you!

  • Lewis_Family June 20, 2008, 10:43 pm

    Ha, I was going to ask as well, and I live in Utah.

  • nanacarol June 20, 2008, 11:28 pm

    I went to the web site and it was really interesting to say the least. I read the speech that Bruce C, Hafen gave and it was so good. Years ago I had pulled an article out of the Ensign by Neal A. Maxwell on Discipleship. It really impressed me and I keep it in my journal. To read about Neal Maxwell was so good and I understand why he wrote what he did in the article. Oh, how I wish I could achieve just a little dicipleship. I try so hard and fall everyday!!! I want to be so strong about living the gospel. But I know that life is a process and I am just so hard headed at times. Aren’t we all?

  • nanacarol June 20, 2008, 11:33 pm

    oh, another thing. Yesterday I was browsing at our Public Library and came across a book by Larry Beardsly called Joseph Smith and his Mormon Empire written in 1931. I checked it out and started looking thru the book. He was talking about the Book of Mormon and all the changes to it. So I clicked on the Farms Site about questions asked and was immediately astounded to see an answer to a question that I had after reading his material. Isn’t amazing how when you have questions that you don’t verbalize out loud that the Lord has a way to get the answer to you. That is why I like learning so much!

  • Michelle D June 20, 2008, 11:37 pm

    I am late coming to this discussion. I can see both sides – the desire not to talk inappropriately about the temple as well as the desire to reduce the unnecessary fear.

    I grew up in a family where my parents’ weekly date was to the temple. It was an accepted part of the week; the older kids were babysitting because it was Temple Night. I had seen my mom wash their temple clothes. I had participated in baptisms for the dead – more than most youth because my dad made special trips with his 12+ yo kids to do family file names. (He still does this with grandkids.) I knew the vague basics. When it was closer to my own endowment and I wanted to know if there was more info I could learn, I talked with my parents. They told me some things, but the most important two things were to read the first 5 chapters of Moses and pay attention to it (not just read it as “it’s the creation story again”) and to attend with the intent of paying attention to the Spirit and listening to the words of the ordinances but not bothering to try to remember it all – and that there would be a temple worker there to assist me with any questions.

    My parents have been temple workers for YEARS and have served 2 temple missions. They take those assignments very seriously. Alison, if my mom had been with you when you went through, she would have explained in general terms what was going on, where you would be going down the hall, asked if you had questions and taken the time to listen to them. You would have known before walking down that hall that you would be met by women, when you would meet up with your mom as your escort again, and in very general terms what to expect when you received the ordinance of “washings and annointings.”

    I have occasionally been able to do initiatory and then immediately do an endowment session. I love how they are not 2 separate distinct ordinances, but rather how the one is preparatory for the other. Most people who go to the temple do an endowment session. I love taking the opportunity to do initiatory, endowment, and sealing sessions on a regular basis. It helps me remember the ordinances, the promises and blessings and covenants. I love going to the temple as often as I can.

    My favorite place in the temple is the celestial room. At times I want to have a whispered discussion about a new insight or question, but most often I want to contemplate and pray and soak in the Spirit to help me refill my bucket until I can return to the temple again. My parents drove 10 min, one way. We drive 2 hours, one way. Right now we can’t go weekly like my parents did. I want to linger as long as I can to feel the peace and serenity of the temple.

    Just a kindly word of caution for those who wish this room were a question and answer area: remember there are those who came seeking answers and strength for very real trials and who are receiving their personal revelation in the celestial room. There is nothing worse than having that serenity shattered by well-meaning congrats to an about-to-be-married couple or newly-endowed missionary, or by those seeking to discuss their questions and insights. :sad:

  • facethemusic June 21, 2008, 12:22 am

    Actually Michelle, people are TOLD by the workers that if they have questions after the endowment,they should quietly ask them in the Celestial room.
    Certainly, it’s inappropriate for people to go rushing over to a newly endowed member and loudly congratulate them. But people quiety approaching a newly endowed friend or family member, whispering a hushed ‘congratulations’, giving them a hug, etc, or people whispering sincere questions about the endowment isn’t inappropriate. Those who are there to “receive strength for very real trials” don’t have more of a right to seek what THEY want, than those who have sincere and “very real” questions and insights about the endowment. People aren’t ONLY there when they’re suffering and struggling. They’re also there when they’re basking in joy. The quiet and reverent joy and celebration one feels when they’ve just witnessed their child go through for their endowment. I hardly see how that can “shatter” the serenity of the Celestial room.

  • agardner June 21, 2008, 12:27 am

    Michelle, excellent comments. A thought just occurred to me about the discussing of things in the celestial room. When I went through, the lady helping me with the initiatories told me that this is one place where things COULD be discussed openly. Of course, I think it always has to be done with respect towards others and with a sincere heart, but it is good to know that if there are things you don’t understand, this is somewhere where you can discuss it a little more freely than in other places.
    I too am frustrated at times with those who consider the celestial room to be a receiving line or something. To me it is a place for quiet thought, prayer, or whispered applicable conversation only.
    I wanted to share something about that. After I was released from my mission, I was able to go through the temple with a sister who I had helped teach. The temple experience was very difficult for her, and she struggled for quite some time afterwards, until the bishop made an appointment for her to speak with the temple president about some of her concerns.
    She told me afterwards that she had spent several hours with the temple president and that she was so grateful that he took the time to listen and openly discuss things with her. One comment that he made to her is that he wished she would have said something to a worker or her escort in the celestial room so that they might have alleviated the concerns earlier instead of stewing over them for so long. I think that’s important to remember – we are all at different levels of understanding, and there is nothing wrong with seeking additional insight or counsel in an appropriate setting, and the celestial room can be one of those places…again, with respect for others who are there as well.

  • agardner June 21, 2008, 12:29 am

    Sorry face, I was typing when your post came up. We said some of the same things.

  • facethemusic June 21, 2008, 1:08 am

    no problem– happens all the time!

  • Ray June 21, 2008, 9:10 am

    This comment is not JUST because I am her husband, but also because I believe in parsing what people actually say:

    Michelle said she likes to quietly ask questions or discuss impressions in the Celestial Room; what she doesn’t like is when people congregate and talk in voices louder than whispers – or in loud whispers. I’ve experienced what she described – sometimes with her as she is praying and pondering; it really is disrespectful and can “shatter” the serenity of the location to have a group start talking AS A GROUP. It’s almost impossible for one person to be heard while another is talking, so it sometimes quickly becomes just a regular conversation – and is very distracting. A whispered conversation between two or three people is one thing; what Michelle described is quite another.

  • facethemusic June 21, 2008, 10:46 am

    If that’s what was meant, then I would certainly agree.
    What she actually said was

    “At times I want to have a whispered discussion about a new insight or question,”

    which was followed shortly later by

    Just a kindly word of caution for those who wish this room were a question and answer area….:There is nothing worse than having that serenity shattered by well-meaning congrats to an about-to-be-married couple or newly-endowed missionary, or by those seeking to discuss their questions and insight

    The way she phrased it made it sound like she was correcting a misunderstanding. “Cautioning” people who “wish” it was a question and area, suggests that it ISN’T. And the way the rest was worded sounded like she wasn’t just saying that large groups congratulating someone shatter the serenity, but people “seeking to discuss their questions and insight” shatter it as well. To me, that made the “sometimes I WANT to have a whispered discussion” sound like “I WANT to, but I don’t, since the celestial room isn’t a question and answer area.” Do you see how that could be misunderstood?

    But I realize now that it wasn’t meant the way it came across– thanks for “parsing”. :)

    I think we’ve ALL had an experience where people were too loud. (They’re never actually “loud” the way we think of “loud”– but in the Celestial room where it’s completely silent, even whispering can seem “loud”.) An entire group of people gathered together whispering would easily seem too loud, so I do understand. And if people were actually “talking” in regular voices, that’s certainly not appropriate. Personally, I’ve never experienced that.
    I suppose it happens more often at the “bigger” temples. I can EASILY see how it would happen at SLC. Oh my goodness– my brother was married there. I think he was like the 20th wedding of the day?? The lawn was PACKED with bridal parties and family members.
    And isn’t there only one celestial room there? How many endowment rooms connect to it?

    I’ve mostly only gone to smaller temples– there have been times when there were only 8-10 of us in a session.

    Ooooh and I just rememberd, I’ve also been to DC!

    .

  • Ray June 21, 2008, 10:51 am

    I see what you mean, face. Thanks for the clarification.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 21, 2008, 11:45 pm

    Honestly, I’ve never been in a celestial room that got even remotely rowdy. I generally just sit on a couch, holding hands with Sam. Sometimes I’ll see small groups hugging or talking softly. But the loudest things I’ve heard it soft laughter. Nothing that bothered me.

    And when I’m there about a serious issue, I hear less.

    But maybe Utah Mormons are just better than the rest. :smile::wink::wink::devil::devil:

  • davidson June 22, 2008, 1:10 am

    You know, I’ve heard that! :smile: :wink: :devil: Love ya, Alison.

  • Ray June 22, 2008, 10:26 am

    “But maybe Utah Mormons are just better than the rest.”

    No, Alison, it’s just easier to live up to the expectations of the Terrestrial Kingdom than the Celestial Kingdom we inhabit outside the Mormon Corridor. :fingersear:

  • Michelle D June 22, 2008, 3:15 pm

    Sorry for being misunderstood. I really didn’t word my last paragraph very well. Thanks for the parsing and the clarification and the now understood intent. :smile:

    With my parents being regular temple attendees and workers, I grew up believing, understanding, and knowing that the best place to find answers to temple questions was in the temple. We are all in agreement on this.

    Just so y’all understand my point of reference: About a year ago, we were in a session in which an elder was receiving his own endowments before leaving on his mission. We just might have been the only ones there not from his ward. (I heard in the dressing room afterwards that his former bishop, seminary teacher, YM leaders, home teachers, etc were there. Plus family.) The smaller temples seat about 40. They had to bring in extra chairs, and not just one or two, they actually put 5 chairs up in front of the regular seating, in addition to adding them in the aisle. I’ve never seen a larger session outside of a large temple. It was a good session. However, the celestial room was a huge gathering of well-wishers. The group literally took up half of the celestial room – and that is not an exaggeration. (Smaller temple = smaller celestial room.) In retrospect, it likely was not quite as loud as it seemed then. (I’m trying to be generous because I recognize this is an extreme example.) However, even the temple workers were looking at them multiple times as the noise escalated and they finally had to tell them to quiet down. A quiet congratulations and a hug are in order. A milling around of family and friends continually wishing each other congrats and pride in his accomplishment of reaching this important moment in his life is not – at least not in the celestial room. In a church gym or a home, it would have been somber. In the celestial room, it was unexpected and jarring.

    I admit that one of the reasons it bothered me was because I was there searching for the reassurance I desperately needed at the time. I cannot think of a single time I have been to the temple in the last 4 years when one of my reasons (not the only reason) for going did not include my recognition that I just could not keep going without some additional help and reassurance that He was still there and that the deluge of challenges we were experiencing really would have an end at some point and that I would be able to see the blessings in the midst of the trials.

    When the need is great, for the most part one is able to tune out extraneous noise and distraction. But not always. Not even in the temple. To me, that doesn’t point at anyone’s ability/inability to ignore the distractions as much as it points to individual agency and recognizing when you might be getting too loud for the time/place – i.e. recognizing and being accountable for when your actions/use of agency starts (or might start) to encroach on the agency of others. And while I don’t expect my own needs for peace and communion to override anyone else’s opportunity for their needs and answers to be met in the temple – I do expect those who attend the temple to respect the temple and the members who attend, and to remember where they are.

    I am not saying that any of you think differently; I know you understand the purpose of the temple. I’m just saying that the above experience clarified my personal definition and narrowed my interpretation of what is appropriate in the temple.

    I hope I didn’t just muddy the waters that were cleared up! Just trying to help you see why I would say what I said…

  • facethemusic June 22, 2008, 4:05 pm

    I don’t see anything muddy around here :thumbup:

  • Naismith June 22, 2008, 4:29 pm

    I wasn’t able to go to the temple until a few days before my wedding, a technical glitch because nobody had bothered to create a record for me in the two years I’d been a member and paying tithing.

    As a result, I was having to go to the temple and deal with all that new stuff, as well as dealing with the wedding stuff. The thing was, I would have been much more comfortable if I had been able to hear the words of the sealing, and know what I would be promising. As it was, I had no clue, and this was the late 70s when the temple sealing language had been criticized.

    So I was facing a wedding, dealing with all the gifts, flowers, arrangements, etc., but only perhaps 50% committed to actually going through with it, because I wasn’t going to agree to it if I wasn’t sure. I knew that my in-laws would hate me (even worse than they did) and people would shake their heads, but I didn’t care. It was my life, I wasn’t going to get it wrong for something that important.

    I think I could have enjoyed the day more, and been more committed to the wedding, if I’d had the experience of a friend, who was endowed four months before her marriage, had the opportunity to go to other sealings and attend the temple a lot with her husband. She didn’t have any stress from the temple that day; the focus was on her wedding.

    That is what I would like for my daughters.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 22, 2008, 4:35 pm

    Posted By: Michelle DI cannot think of a single time I have been to the temple in the last 4 years when one of my reasons (not the only reason) for going did not include my recognition that I just couldnotkeep going without some additional help and reassurance that He was still there and that the deluge of challenges we were experiencing really would have an end at some point and that I would be able to see the blessings in the midst of the trials.

    Wow, Michelle. Thank you. I hate to be someone who loves misery as company, but honestly it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who has felt that way at times. There have been times I have sat in that room, holding my sweetheart’s hand, with my head down, just praying, “I know I’m a pharisee, but can’t I please have a sign anyway?”

  • Alison Moore Smith June 22, 2008, 4:41 pm

    Naismith, I’m glad you brought that up. That is exactly what I was thinking about when I said, “For example, I knew I could say you make covenants–because that’s in the manuals–but I didn’t know if we could say what the covenants ARE. (Which always seemed odd to me.)”

    The public pressure of making covenants–when you don’t what they are going to be–does seem backward. I wish I had known beforehand as well.

    I don’t know how long they’ve offered the temple prep classes (or what they include, I have the manual, but haven’t taught the class in ages–is it the same?), but they didn’t offer them in the BYU student ward I was attending when I got engaged. Now doesn’t that seem like a prime target for temple prep?

  • facethemusic June 22, 2008, 6:07 pm

    Naismith, I think your experience is probably very common. I’ve always been under the impression that MOST people only get their endowments within a day or two of their wedding, unless they’ve served a mission. Is that right?

    My husband and I got our endowments the same day as our wedding– we went right from the celestial room after our endowment, to the sealing room. And for both of us, it was our very first time EVER to set foot in a temple, as I said earlier, we’d never even done baptisms.

    Honestly, I can’t help but wonder if part of the reason why that first experience was such a good one, (with none of the fears about what would happen, no sense of “weirdness” about the clothing or ceremony, no concerns about the reception, etc) was because I was just SO dog gone thrilled to have finally GOT there.

    Even on the way THERE something was trying to stop us. Our transmission went out just outside of Atlanta. Black smoke was shooting out the back of the car. We drove about 20 miles an hour the last 30 minutes of the trip in the EMERGENCY LANE on I-85, with Bill’s family following behind us. We pulled into the temple parkling lot not even knowing how we were going to get home! But we didn’t have time to worry about it either!
    Once we got inside everything else just seemed to disappear.

    I remember though, one of my friends who’d recently been married herself, pulled me aside in the hallway before the sealing, worried that I’d be thinking about my father (who couldn’t go in and therefore wouldn’t go to wait outside, either). She was worried that I would be feeling upset about his not being there. I assured her I was fine. The honest truth was, I hadn’t even THOUGHT about it. I had BEFORE, when I told him we were getting married in the temple and I knew he couldn’t go. And I WAS disappointed when he said he wouldn’t go to wait outside (even Bill’s family, who were all non-members who’d driven all the way from Missouri, drove ANOTHER 4 hours the day after they arrived in South Carolina, to wait for us outside the temple. My brothers waited outside as well. So I WAS disappointed that he wouldn’t go too.
    But the DAY of the wedding?? I honestly didn’t even think about it. I was just so excited to finally be there, so happy about getting my endowments and getting married that I didn’t even THINK about my Dad not being there, UNTIL my friend mentioned it. Then SHE felt bad for bringing it up!! :) But still, it didn’t bother me– I was SO happy and excited to be there that I really didn’t care about anything else at that point. Nothing like a little bridal self-centeredness, eh?? :tooth:

    Afterwards, we went outside, took some pictures, then waited for a tow truck. Can you believe it?? It was pretty funny. We’ve got it on video. Us standing there, me in a wedding gown, Bill in his white tuxedo, waving goodbye to our car as it was being towed out of the parking lot. It was SO pathetically ridiculous…we were all cracking up. We spent the night and Bill’s brother rented a car for us the next morning. (Neither of us had a credit card) We drove home and started setting up for the reception, went to mom’s house to change into our wedding clothes and got a call from the repair shop in Atlanta. $2,900 for a new transmission. That was our honeymoon money! So we had to cancel our honeymoon– which we ended up taking for our one year anniversary.
    Ahhhhh… the memories…..:jumping:

  • kiar June 22, 2008, 6:48 pm

    I was with my sil the day I was to get married, and we had to drive two and a half hours to get to the temple. We were all in convoy, in-laws, parents, ward members, hubbie to be and I remember feeling like I would throw up, so my sil pulled into a gas station, I yakked and then we were on our way. Except, there was no car with the groom, and his buddies. Ack! So we got to the temple and I was freaking out, almost in tears when 10 minutes later they pulled up, and a very sheepish Joe got out and said that he had missed the turnoff, and had headed towards LA! We went in, and I still have no idea what happened from that point on.
    I got my endowments the day before the wedding, and it was very confusing, since my mom (issues, issues, issues) couldn’t be there, my older sister was my escort, which was cool. I really don’t remember what went on, but I do remember the feeling of peace.
    I was actually considering not getting married in the temple, because my mom was married to a guy who hated our church, and she had been inactive for a long time. We actually talked to our bishop, and he told us to do what we felt was right. When I called my mom and step-dad to tell them we weren’t going to get married in the temple, they immediatly booked tickets to California for the date I gave them. For the next two weeks, I cried and cried and cried! I was in turn happy that my mom could be there, and angry that she would come for a civil ceremony, but not to see me get married in the place she had been teaching me that I needed to get married in since my birth! Finally, after lots of tears, and prayers and a very supportive mil and fil, Joe and I decided that were we needed to get married was the temple, regardless of whether my mom would come or not. So I called my mom and told her that she could cancel the tickets, since I was doing what I knew was right. Well, she ended up coming anyway, and dragged my stepdad, grouching and growling the entire way, (“what kind of church won’t let a mother see her daughter gert married, blah, blah, blah!” I felt like shaking him and telling him it was his hate for the church that had turned my mom away, to make him happy, so it was his fault, but whatever!)
    Anyway, to make a long story a little longer, I am relieved that I married my sweetheart in the temple, and I know my mom knows I did what was right. (we tease her about doing my stepdads work, now that he has passed!)

  • facethemusic June 22, 2008, 7:22 pm

    Joe and I decided that were we needed to get married was the temple, regardless of whether my mom would come or not. So I called my mom and told her that she could cancel the tickets, since I was doing what I knew was right.

    Bravo, Kiar!!!!!!! :swingin: :swingin:
    Guts and conviction. I like it!!

  • davidson June 22, 2008, 9:16 pm

    I heard something recently that I wish I’d thought of when my beloved dad couldn’t go to the temple with me. Some couples marry in the temple, but later have a ring ceremony for unendowed family members to attend. Wow! What a simple solution! I think it would help ease some of the hurt.
    Again, I admire my Mormon Momma friends who try so hard to do the right thing, even when it’s painful. Hugs to you.

  • delmar June 22, 2008, 9:55 pm

    In my line of work I’ve done several LDS wedding receptions. My first was one of my best friends. I’ve never heard of an LDS couple NOT doing a ring ceremony nowadays. Sorry davidson and others….its obviously an age thing, as time they are a changin. Lucky me this is “wedding” #3!

  • facethemusic June 22, 2008, 10:09 pm

    Wow.. yeah, it must be a “times are a changin” thing. When I got married, ring ceremonies were “strongly discouraged” as it gives the impression of a wedding. Of course, they also said no weddings in the chapel back then too, but I’ve heard of quite a few of those lately, as well.

  • mlinford June 22, 2008, 10:23 pm

    I guess to me the covenants have always just sort of made sense and are consistent with all our other teachings, so I personally have never really understood the need to have them all spelled out before. I personally think they really are — not like a checklist, but in concept — but maybe that’s just me.

  • nanacarol June 22, 2008, 10:32 pm

    By doing a ring ceramony after the Temple, doesn’t that say that what happened in the temple is not enough? I feel that we are such a generation of feel good times. I guess when Joe and Kiar got married we could have done a ring ceramony for her mom and stepdad, but I felt the reception was good enough. It was small and simple but we did what we could?

  • jennycherie June 22, 2008, 10:47 pm

    Posted By: davidsonSome couples marry in the temple, but later have a ring ceremony for unendowed family members to attend.

    This is what we did. My husband and I are both the only members of our families. We had five people present at our wedding with five more (my mom, brother, grandma, and 2 friends) waiting outside. The ring ceremony was really just an extension of the reception. They happened in the same room and our bishop was very specific in his instructions that it should not look too much like a wedding. My father did walk me in and my husband and I exchanged rings (obviously) but other than that, it resembled a Sacrament Meeting (where the topic was temples and marriage) more than a wedding. We did have a little more freedom in choosing music than there is for Sacrament Meeting but otherwise, it was very similar.

    Posted By: nanacarolBy doing a ring ceramony after the Temple, doesn’t that say that what happened in the temple is not enough?

    Not at all. It’s a nice gesture to reach out to those family members who are deeply hurt by a temple marriage who do not begin to understand our doctrine. My mother-in-law has four children and never got to see a single wedding, in spite of the fact that two of her children have been married twice. It meant *SO* much to her that we would go to the trouble of planning something extra so that she could be a part of it. I think it is easy for us in the church to say that non-members can choose to wait outside the temple and that should be enough but that is a very, very painful thing–especially for parents. Caring about that and trying to ease their feelings (particularly in a ceremony that allows us to explain *why* the temple marriage is so important) in no way diminishes what happens in the temple.

  • davidson June 23, 2008, 9:18 am

    Amen. I think, too, of the direction we receive about sealing families together. There is a “pecking order” of permission. After a nonmember dies, permission is needed from the closest living relatives before the work can be done. (I learned that “closest living relatives” means spouse first, then children.) That causes some problems for some of us who greatly desire to do temple work, but have relatives who are less than thrilled about the prospect. I questioned it and was told by the director of the family history center here in Idaho Falls that the Church is all about STRENGTHENING families, not driving them apart. If even an ordinance would drive family members further apart, it is suggested that it not be done. If family members’ feelings are that important in sealing work for the dead, surely they are of great importance in sealing work for the living. I think the ring ceremony is a recent nod to the feelings of family members who can’t participate in the actual ceremony and is in keeping with creating unity in a family, which is the all-important goal anyway. Just my thinking. I’ve never actually seen a ring ceremony, and I liked hearing about yours, Jenn.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 23, 2008, 9:37 am

    Posted By: nanacarolBy doing a ring ceramony after the Temple, doesn’t that say that what happened in the temple is not enough?

    I don’t think so at all. The exchange of rings is NOT part of the ordinance. Although you are allowed to do it after the sealing, most sealers will actually specify that it’s not part of the ordinance. So whether doing it in OR out of the temple, it’s still an addendum to the actual sealing. And I don’t think in EITHER case it means the “sealing isn’t enough” any more than a dress, reception, invitations, etc., do. They are all just tradition and ceremony.

    Posted By: mlinfordI guess to me the covenants have always just sort of made sense and are consistent with all our other teachings, so I personally have never really understood the need to have them all spelled out before. I personally think they really are — not like a checklist, but in concept — but maybe that’s just me.

    Michelle, that’s not what I meant. I think they are all consistent and, in fact, very unsurprising considering the teachings of the church. But BEFORE going into the session, I didn’t KNOW that the covenants would be just be common sense–because I had no idea what they were.

    So when the gravity of the situation is explained and you’re told to speak up if you aren’t willing to accept the covenants, it’s kind of like, “Well, how do I KNOW, since I don’t know what the ARE???”

    To me it was like a friend saying, “Promise not to tell anyone if I tell you something?” or a kid saying, “Promise you won’t be mad if I tell you?” And I’m thinking, “Well, it depends on what you are going to me…”

    Considering the seriousness of the covenants, I think it is better to know what they are beforehand (like you do when being baptized) BEFORE you get in the water, so to speak. Once in the temple, your only option is to get up an walk out or refuse to commit to a particular thing PUBLICLY. If you know beforehand, you have the option of deciding not to go because you are not ready to commit to such things.

    The covenants were published by Talmage. My kids will read those and know what they are before they are sitting in a session.

  • Naismith June 23, 2008, 10:51 am

    I guess to me the covenants have always just sort of made sense and are consistent with all our other teachings, so I personally have never really understood the need to have them all spelled out before.

    I don’t disagree that they are consistent, but that’s a viewpoint that came to me years afterward. At the time, everything to do with the temple seems to be so drastically different from everything else we do at church (if for no other reason than that anything else can be done with a baby on your hip).

    SInce one can see a sealing as long as one is endowed, it would have been helpful to do so. I felt stupid and disadvantaged at being the only one in the room who had no clue what was coming.

    I also think it is a lot of pressure to tie up the wedding along with the temple stuff. Because of the fact that you risk ruining a wedding if you have a concerns about the temple. I have a friend who was a convert, and married a newer convert, and so they didn’t go to the temple until later. She didn’t feel good about it the first time she went, and withdrew from the endowment when that choice was offered. But they were still married, and they could work it out at their own speed, and hardly anyone even knew.

    Whereas for a bride, the consequences are very different. My non-member parents had flown out, my in-laws had invited all their relatives…calling that off would have been much more disruptive.

    But my husband totally understood throughout, and was totally supportive of me doing whatever felt right. And of course I did choose to go through with it.

    I understand that for folks who have to travel distances to a temple, endowment that same day is about the best you can do. But lots of people are endowed weeks or months before, and I think that is healthier overall.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 23, 2008, 11:43 am

    Posted By: Naismith(if for no other reason than that anything else can be done with a baby on your hip).

    :rolling:

    SInce one can see a sealing as long as one is endowed, it would have been helpful to do so. I felt stupid and disadvantaged at being the only one in the room who had no clue what was coming.

    Oooo. Amen to that. I said, “I do.” :shamed: Which still answers the question, but…accckk!!!

    But lots of people are endowed weeks or months before, and I think that is healthier overall.

    I most sincerely agree with all you said. I did receive my endowment a few weeks before our wedding, which was less mind-blowing and tiring than doing both at once (getting married is mind-blowing enough). Even then it was very tied to the wedding. Thus my head-spinning walking down the hall, thinking I was going to have to call off my church membership, the wedding, ties with my family… it was all swirling down the drain in my head at that point.

  • delmar June 23, 2008, 1:30 pm

    Oh and I could rephrase what I said. I’ve never been to or done an LDS wedding…..add: where there are non LDS relatives…and a ring ceremony was not done at the reception. I obviously haven’t been sealed, but from the reactions of my clients and their relatives, this didn’t take away anything from their sealing or say it wasn’t good enough. It was something to show the symbolism of marriage to the “outsiders” and let them feel involved.

    From my experience heres what has happened: Everyone arrives at the reception and are well aware via the invite that there will be a ring ceremony, they are seated in a typical pew style (using rows of chairs) or just around the tables, the non-lds dad walks the bride down the aisle, she is met by her spouse. The bishop or a M Priesthood holder says something about the rings, they are enchanged. The couple is announced “for the first time in public” as mr & mrs whatever. They go back down the aisle and everything turns in to the reception stuff. Its sweet if you ask me. Definately not taking away from anything. Honestly I think ring ceremonies for LDS couples have more meaning that regular “till death do us part christians” as the ring is truly a symbol of how long WE will be together. Rings for other couples SHOULD have an end. I might be stepping on toes here, but thats how I’ve come to feel recently.

  • delmar June 23, 2008, 1:34 pm

    Ok and back to the sealing. I talked with my hubby about it a little bit recently. If you know going in that you are being sealed for time and all eternity what can be any bigger or scarier than that? Its more than forever! Its for EVER!!! Am I being completely naive?

  • davidson June 23, 2008, 1:50 pm

    It makes me giggle. I know a couple in a past ward who were being sealed many years after being married. Her husband was kind of a character and he made everybody laugh all the time, but I can see how it might have been hard to live with him. She said, “Why don’t they have a half-an-eternity plan, so I can see if I can stand it before I make a full commitment?” She was kidding, but it gave me a glimpse of her concerns. It IS a huge commitment. I feel for you, and I hope you find the peace you need.

  • Ray June 23, 2008, 2:12 pm

    There is a couple in our ward who were married, separated temporarily, “re-married” (new commitment ceremony when they got back together, then sealed a year after they joined the Church – at about 70. Overall, they had been married for almost 50 years when they were sealed.

    The wife said, “We figured it was about time we got it right.”

  • mlinford June 23, 2008, 7:59 pm

    Alison, Naismith, I don’t disagree about the idea of having an idea of what one will be covenanting. But that can easily be done using many materials, not just Talmage. :) (I have read enough talks that basically sum it all up so I’m not worried about that…plan to teach the general concepts all along the way as my kids grow up.)

  • facethemusic June 23, 2008, 9:57 pm

    I understand the desire to know ahead of time, what you’re going to be promising. BUT I think we DO learn what we’re going to be promising before we go. We don’t learn the actual covenant word for word, but we learn about these things in YW, in Seminary and Institute–I think we just aren’t paying attention, and/or aren’t putting things together. I can see this now that I’m an adult and have been TEACHING the lessons for so many years.

    Like take this for example, from the New Era:

    ” There are special areas inside each temple for the various ordinances. A large baptismal font supported on the backs of twelve sculpted oxen is used for baptism for the dead. In other areas are cubicles in which individuals are ritually washed and anointed before endowments can be performed. In the older temples, larger rooms are decorated to represent the Creation, the Garden of Eden, this world, and the terrestrial kingdom, and in such endowment rooms, participants watch and hear figurative presentations in which scenes are acted out, depicting by whom and why the earth was created and how one may come to dwell again in God ?s presence. The participants make covenants and receive promises and blessings. This is known as receiving one ?s endowment. ? A veil symbolically divides the terrestrial room from the celestial room, which suggests through furnishings and decor the peace, beauty, and glory of the highest degree of heaven. Also in the temple are smaller sealing rooms, where temple marriages and sealings are solemnized for the living and vicariously for the dead ? (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1992, p. 1447).

    Out of respect for its sacredness, members of the Church who have attended the temple are asked not to talk outside the temple about the details of the temple ceremony. However, the promises you as a member are asked to make will not surprise you. They are consistent with teachings you have already received, including obedience, sacrifice, order, love, chastity, and consecration.”

    Really, the only parts you don’t know about ahead of time are the parts we don’t discuss. But now that I’m an adult and have been through Gospel Doctrine classes and heard references to these things in class, in conference talks, Ensign articles, I can’t help but wonder if I just wasn’t paying attention.

    This quote is in several lessons and talks on the temple: Brigham Young
    Let me give you a definition in brief. Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell”

    This is quoted in several manuals. So we do learn about the existence of these things and that we will be taught them in the temple, we just don’t learn the details.

    So, isn’t it true then, that we DO learn what we’re going to be promising? I wonder if as teenagers/young adults we just aren’t letting it soak in and/or aren’t paying enough attention, aren’t putting 2 and 2 together????

  • delmar June 23, 2008, 11:03 pm

    Face, what you said above would all be nice and good if all of us were raised in the church. Please remember that all of us are not! This I believe is what has led to so much confusion and scared feelings over preparing to enter the temple. Because too much of what we are about to experience is an assumed knowledge. For converts we don’t have the same opportunity to learn these things since we missed primary and ym/yw. Its very true that temple prep class and the temple prep book DO NOT teach you nearly enough. I honestly think I’ve learned more from all of you here. Luckily I’ve been searching online lds.org and reading my scriptures and getting open advice from quotes like you included.

  • Ray June 23, 2008, 11:09 pm

    EXCELLENT point, delmar. Truly excellent point.

  • facethemusic June 24, 2008, 9:19 am

    Of course Delmar– it would be different for those who are new converts. My husband had only been baptized for one year. He got baptized in October of ’89 and we got married in November of ’90.

    But, in a way, your post kind of reinforces what I said, because even Alison, myself and others who DID grow up in the church said that they didn’t really know what would happen, and /or that they didn’t realize what they would be promising. Word for word? No, we didn’t no what the covenants would be word for word. But we were taught the general idea. And really, the covenants aren’t any different than what someone would expect. I mean– the law of chastity??
    Life long members know darn well about that one and the others are just as logical and should be quite familiar by the time we’re young adults old enough to be getting married…. “the promises you as a member are asked to make will not surprise you. They are consistent with teachings you have already received, including obedience, sacrifice, order, love, chastity, and consecration“.
    So my point is, even lifelong members sometimes have the same concerns, and seemingly, many even go to the temple not knowing anymore or at least, not knowing very much more, than a new convert. >”. (Talking about the covenants and the promises you make) So I think maybe we just weren’t paying attention???

  • davidson June 24, 2008, 9:34 am

    I think Face was talking to those of us who have grown up in the Church, and I don’t think she meant at all to discount your experiences, Delmar. I’m sure she is “keeney” aware of the fact that not everyone has that experience and opportunity to grow up and be taught in the Church. I also think you are not disadvantaged, necessarily, by not having that experience. I know you have lived worthy to receive the Holy Ghost in your life, and He is a kind and constant teacher, able to tell you anything you really need to know. She pointed out how all the teaching in the world can’t be effective until the Holy Ghost bears witness of it in your heart. Kids can go through the programs of the church without having the programs of the church go through them. Adults, too. We are all works in progress, but we can save ourselves some unnecessary suffering by making a few simple decisions.

    At the risk of having my motives misunderstood. . .again. . .

    I wish I could go back to a teenage Alison and wrap my arms around her and do something to help alleviate her fears and concerns about the temple experience. There are different ways to do that, different approaches. For some, it would be to give more information. For some, it would be to give less information and emphasize the principle of trust. I have learned a lot here. I was not aware that temple experiences are discussed as openly as they are by General Authorities, and that surprised me, as it did Alison. We taught the temple prep classes repeatedly to the young people in our singles branch. We taught what we were asked to teach. I never felt any urgency to give as detailed an explanation as is “allowed”, and by allowed, I mean “as is published.” I don’t think the young men and women we taught were less well-prepared because we didn’t delve into details. I can see I have some books to read, but I still think it wouldn’t be necessary to discuss in detail everything they will encounter, every covenant they will make. I think it is interesting that the temple open houses I’ve been to didn’t include a tour of the initiatory area, and you won’t see pictures of the “cubicles” in temple publications.

    You have mentioned some things you intend to teach your children, and I would like to mention some things I intend to teach mine. I am not saying that my ways are better than yours. My own experience has taught me that this aspect is also necessary to teach: trust. We’ve talked before about this beautiful scripture, one of my favorites:

    “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding; in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

    I intend to teach my children that Heavenly Father wouldn’t ask us to do something that is inappropriate or tasteless. He wouldn’t ask us to make a covenant that isn’t in our best interest. We don’t need to “lean to our own understanding” in order to be prepared. I wouldn’t ask blind obedience of my children; He wouldn’t ask it of us. To prepare them, I would ask them to get a testimony of a loving Heavenly Father, a Savior who lived and died to offer us what is offered in the temple, and living prophets who would not lead us astray. With that testimony firmly in place, I would ask them to trust, to offer “sightful obedience.” To let go and let God, (borrowing a phrase from another religion.) I would teach my children that it isn’t in their best interest to be suspicious of God or the things He asks of us. I can say that born of my own experience. There was a time when I was inactive in the church. There was a time when my membership was in danger. I fought my way back from that, and believe me, it was a fight! For a long time, I COULDN’T go to the temple. Sometimes I felt like I would never be worthy to go there, no matter how hard I tried. I felt like Face did; when I finally COULD go worthily, I was so thrilled to be there that the tears just streamed down my face. Every little thing was significant and beautiful. They could have asked me to stand on my head! and my head would have gone down and my heels up immediately. ANYTHING for Him. I felt that way then, and I feel that way now. Coming that close to losing my membership taught me how truly precious my membership in the Church is, how beautiful and sacred it is TO BE ALLOWED to make covenants. It was no longer a matter of “Do I have to do that?” It was a matter of, “Oh, please, may I?”

    I will teach my children that we came to earth to be tested. Part of that test comes in NOT understanding everything that is asked of us, but being willing anyway. Think about Thomas! Thomas, in his doubts and fears and concerns, said, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Thomas finally believed, AFTER he saw and felt the prints in the Savior’s hands and feet. This is such a tender story in the scriptures. The Savior talked to him about good, better, and best. He said, with great love and acceptance of Thomas, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” Notice that the Savior didn’t say, “Those who believe ARE MUCH BETTER than those who don’t believe.” He merely reminded Thomas, and all of us, that those who believe and trust sooner are BLESSED sooner. He is waiting, even anxious, to bless us, but it takes a certain amount of giving up on our part. We can cling to our fears, or we can exercise the self-restraint to “let go and let God.” It is about making a decision in advance, “I will do what is required of me. I don’t understand it now, but I trust that I will understand it later. I trust that I will not be led astray.”

    Trusting God as we go to the temple might be preparation for harder tests of our trust. Our Father is determined to test us to the limit, and that is done in great love and understanding. I actually like the word “prove” better. My husband says that in aviation there is such a thing as a “proving ground.” Before a new airplane is ever allowed to fly, its engine is taken to the “proving ground.” It is put through all kinds of tests. If a problem is found, it is fixed, and then it is “proven”, over and over, until all the bugs are worked out. They don’t throw an engine away because it has a few problems; they work with it until the problems are fixed. It is worth too much to just discard it. When a plane’s engine is finally “proven”, it is installed in the plane, and the pilot is free to fly it. The word “test” sort of implies a pass or fail kind of thing, and that is certainly not our Heavenly Father’s aim with us. We are infinitely precious to Him, too precious to throw away, and He works with us until the bugs are all worked out, for however long it takes. Maybe right up to the final judgment. Then we are good to go.

    The tests an engine goes through are rigorous, though. It just wouldn’t do to say, “Well, I think this engine is okay, so we’ll install it and be done with it.” They test it to its limits. People’s lives depend on the trueness of that engine.

    I think about the tests that Abraham and Noah and Nephi and other prophets experienced. They had progressed to the point that they were prepared for those excruciating tests of their agency. Someone, somewhere along the way, had taught them to trust God. Maybe a mother. They proved their trust. One thing I will teach my children in preparation for what they might face is that “whatsoever God is requires is right.” If, in one circumstance, He requires a righteous man not to kill, and in another circumstance he requires a righteous man to kill, whatsoever God requires is right. I remember hearing Truman Madsen talk about Abraham and Noah and the trust they had in God. He was speaking to the students at BYU in a devotional, and after recounting the ancient prophets’ trust and commitment to stand strong through the proving, he made this wry comment, “We don’t want to be counted as the group that squabbled about dress standards at BYU.” He surprised us and made his point with that little sentence. There had recently been a lot of anxiety about whether or not the dress standards at BYU should continue the way they were. Nope, we’re not prophets; we’re not there yet. And He doesn’t expect us to be. But prophets lead the way, show us the path to take. We are wise when we do, and we can eliminate some of fear and anxiety if we make that purposeful decision to trust God. Even a newbie can do that.

    I printed this scripture in calligraphy and had it displayed in my living room:

    “Believe in God.
    Believe that His is,
    and that He created all things,
    both in heaven and in earth.
    Believe that He has all wisdom, and all power,
    both in heaven and in earth.
    Believe that man doth not comprehend
    all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
    Believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them,
    and humble yourselves before God,
    and ask in sincerity of heart
    that He would forgive you.
    And now, if you believe all these things,
    see that ye do them.”
    Believe.

    Mosiah 4: 9-10

    Please, please, don’t misunderstand. Certainly we can educate ourselves appropriately. I am not trying to shut anybody down or cut anybody off. In love and friendship I am offering the truth I learned the hard way: the final answer is to trust God. That will cover what education will not. We can “reason now together”, can’t we? I have discussed more with you than I have with any of my other friends, including my twin sister. I am comfortable discussing with you. I hope you understand that I say what I say in order to offer a different perspective, in the same way you offer your unique perspective. We edify each other when we share our hearts. I, too, hope this temple experience for Delmar is comfortable and beautiful. What I offered I offered in the hope to comfort and help.

  • facethemusic June 24, 2008, 9:50 am

    I’m sure she is “keeney” aware


    HA!!

    Kids can go through the programs of the church without having the programs of the church go through them.

    Well said!! I remember once having a discussion with one of my brothers (Who’s now been totally and completely inactive since he was about 14 or so.)

    But I remember being at my mom’s house– he was probably around 18 or so. And we were all chit chatting about something, and somehow Nephi and and the broken bow got brought up and my brother had no idea what we were talking about. And I remember thinking… how in the world can you grow up in the church and NOT know the story of Nephi and the broken bow???
    So now– touche on me! With everything I’d been taught BEFORE I went to the temple, I should’ve known and understood more than I did. I think some of that might be that I didn’t have parents who went, no FHE, no “religion” in the house, etc.
    It’s a lesson for ALL of us. It’s not really the CHURCH’S responsibility to teach our children these things… it’s OURS as parents. The church is there to SUPPORT the family, and AIDE the family in teaching our kids the gospel, provide leadership, ordiances, etc.
    But it’s the PARENTS’ job to make sure these things are truly understood.
    We all need to do our best to make sure our children are properly prepared.
    This has been a great discussion to help me remember that! James will be going to the temple in 5 years for his endowment before his mission!!!
    Yikes… I’m feeling old.

    I think you’re right, too Davidson. In a nutshell–it’s a combination of both– learning and studying and coming to know what we CAN know, what we SHOULD know, then leaning on the Lord for what we CAN’T know, or don’t yet understand.

  • nanacarol June 24, 2008, 10:23 am

    Finally, some voices of reason. Good points one and all. Davidson, you made an excellant point about trusting the Lord. I think at times, and myself included, forget to trust the Lord. Last night my dh and I were reading from the book “The Infinite Atonement”. The one thing that struck me was that even the Savior did not know for sure if he would have to go thru with it!! The question he asked was, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me.” Luke 22:42. Even the Son of Man had to trust his Father to get him thru the most terrific suffering that no other man could endure. Surely we all can go the temple and trust His will to be done. Delmar, you sound prepared!!! Keep reading those scriptures. And I know that the day you go, all your Mormon Mammas will be praying for you . I wanted to come but now one of the Sisters I visiting teach is going thru for her endowments on the same day at the Sacramento Temple and she has sweetly requested that I be there!!!

  • Alison Moore Smith June 24, 2008, 10:31 am

    Posted By: mlinfordAlison, Naismith, I don’t disagree about the idea of having an idea of what one will be covenanting. But that can easily be done using many materials, not just Talmage. :) (I have read enough talks that basically sum it all up so I’m not worried about that…plan to teach the general concepts all along the way as my kids grow up.)

    OK, so I’m not sure what your point is. Do you really think I was advocating that ONLY Talmage be used? Or just that it’s a good idea to KNOW what the covenants are before you go? Using something besides Talmage to explain the covenants is still “spelling them out.” No?

    As I said, when you’re asked to speak up if you’re unwilling to accept the covenants, it’s kind of hard to make a reasonable assessment UNLESS you know what they are.

    If you object to teaching specifically what the covenants are via church-published, public sources, then we can just disagree.

    Posted By: facethemusicI understand the desire to know ahead of time, what you’re going to be promising. BUT I think we DO learn what we’re going to be promising before we go. We don’t learn the actual covenant word for word, but we learn about these things in YW, in Seminary and Institute–I think we just aren’t paying attention, and/or aren’t putting things together.

    OK, let me be more clear. Yes, as I said, the covenants are things we already know we should do. Almost completely (with some variance as the endowment has changed) the covenants are things we have already been taught. But that fact in no way addresses what I said. The fact that they are pretty standard IS NOT COMMUNICATED BEFORE the ordinance. So, the person receiving the endowment has NO WAY TO KNOW that they are going to be pretty standard fare.

    When you are asked if you want to withdraw–you DO NOT KNOW (again, unless you were explicitly taught)–what you are withdrawing from. You aren’t told, “In the endowment you promise to eat cheese sandwiches every Sunday for the rest of your life, if you are unwilling to do so, jump up and raise your hand.” You aren’t told, “In the endowment you’ll make covenants, but they pretty much fit in with the regular stuff you’ve been taught all your life, nothing whacky or bizarre. If you don’t want to go along with the general church plan, let us know right away.”

    You are told that you’ll be making some covenants that are really important, we’re not going to tell you what they are, if you don’t want to, say so now.

    I can see this now that I’m an adult and have been TEACHING the lessons for so many years.

    Well, of COURSE you can. But so? Being able to see references to covenants AFTER you’ve been through the temple and “teaching…for…years” is completely irrelevant. What I’m talking about is knowing BEFORE.

    Really, the only parts you don’t know about ahead of time are the parts we don’t discuss. But now that I’m an adult and have been through Gospel Doctrine classes and heard references to these things in class, in conference talks, Ensign articles, I can’t help but wonder if I just wasn’t paying attention.

    Or maybe you went to the temple before 1994, when that article was published? Or maybe you weren’t even born when it was published? The article was a good one, but I think that supports my point, rather than refutes it. If we really HAVE to have been “paying attention”–or just not out with a fever–the week the one lesson vaguely explaining the nature of the covenants, then maybe it would be helpful to make sure every potential temple-goer has a specific review. Maybe that’s in a class or maybe by the bishop, or whatever.

    This quote is in several lessons and talks on the temple: Brigham Young
    Let me give you a definition in brief. Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell”

    I’m not sure how this would be helpful. Maybe to let you KNOW there are signs and tokens. That might be helpful IF it were explained to you what “signs and tokens” are. (Be definition.) I remember hearing those terms all the time as a kid, but had no idea what it meant. They aren’t really part of our culture much anymore.

    Anyway, rather than hoping that my kids find a 1994 New Era article (my oldest was 7 at the time) or that they will print another article that gives those specifics, I plan to make sure myself that my kids know about things that caused me concern. And I hope they’ll pass that on and add anything I missed.

    Posted By: delmarFace, what you said above would all be nice and good if all of us were raised in the church. Please remember that all of us are not!

    I agree and, Tracy, I think no matter what we “lifers” don’t know, we still know way, way more than recent converts. As delmar alluded to, we assume a great deal. There is a psychology/economics principle called “the curse of knowledge.” The principle basically states that when we know something it’s almost impossible for us to imagine what it’s like NOT to know it. Therefore, we become lousy communicators, because we assume so much and can’t even identify what we are assuming. In fact, we probably don’t even notice that we are assuming.

    That’s just one reason why it would be a really good idea to have a bunch of, for example, unendowed members (or various lengths of membership) on the temple prep curriculum committee. And a variety of Young Women on the YW curriculum committee. Etc.

    Posted By: facethemusicNo, we didn’t no what the covenants would be word for word. But we were taught the general idea. And really, the covenants aren’t any different than what you’d expect. I mean– the law of chastity??

    But we (I speak for myself and my peers) were NOT taught the law of chastity IN THE CONTEXT OF THE TEMPLE COVENANTS. Yes, I knew about it–over and over and over (just like I “knew” it was “the girl’s responsibility”…). But I didn’t know it was a temple covenant. So I didn’t have any “general idea” about what the temple covenants would be when I went through.

    WHEN I HEARD THEM (AFTER I had already agreed to accept them…ahem…) I realized they were pretty standard. Also realize they were a bit LESS standard in the old endowment, pre- (what was it???) about 1986? 1987?

    Posted By: davidsonI wish I could go back to a teenage Alison and wrap my arms around her and do something to help alleviate her fears and concerns about the temple experience

    Thanks, davidson, but please let me be clear. I had absolutely zero concerns about the temple when I was a teenager. None whatsoever. Two of my good friends, Marnae and Kim, has this “secret red book” that Kim kept under her mattress. Every time either of them heard a “temple secret” they wrote it in the book. They were convinced they could figure it all about before they went. (We were, I think, about 10 or 11 at the time.) I was the one who thought it was silly and goofy. I figured I find out when I went and really didn’t give it much more thought. (FWIW, I don’t think they stuck with the plan very long either.)

    When I went through the temple, I was 21. It was only when the above situation OCCURRED that I had any concern at all. It was the spinning hall thing. And later, when I was asked whether or not I would make the covenants–not knowing what they were–was I a bit taken aback (this occurring just after the spinning hall moment), when I was still not entirely sure what was going on.

    The only other thing that took me off guard were part of the men’s attire because I inappropriate laughed out loud. :shamed:

    A few weeks later, when I got married, the only surprises were the fact that brides wear their temple clothes over their dresses, etc.. OK, I knew that really, but not having been the least concerned about the whole thing, I didn’t think through what that meant, nor did I ask about it (thinking I shouldn’t really talk aobut it). Back in the olden days, brides all wore their wedding dresses in the temple and I had these HUGE, 80′s sleeves. It was quite a production for the temple worker to arrange that and, really, looked pretty goofy. I knew I couldn’t wear my own veil, so I was ready for that. The entire upper part was beautifully lined (they are really used to that in Utah) and the train was bustled. My dress had short (mid-upper arm) sleeves, so we had purchased full-length fingerless gloves that covered my entire arm, every centimeter. But they wouldn’t let me wear those (wouldn’t say why) and brought me flannel pajama sleeves to wear. When I almost burst into tears, my cute mom said, “Do you think you have some sleeves that are a bit more fitting with the style of the dress?” They brought me some prettier ones.

    So, after the ceremony, when Sam and I met at the bottom of the stairway to go up for pictures (SL temple), he looked at me and said, “Wow! Your dress is really gorgeous!” That was really his first glimpse of it. :shocked:

    I’ve had three nephews marry in the past few years. All of my new nieces wore a different dress in the temple and their “wedding dress” to the parties. I kind of like that trend. Other cultures do the “multiple dress” thing and it makes sense for Mormons. It allows you to choose from a wider variety of dresses (while still being modest). The temples are also much stricter about what you can wear inside. And, in my own experience, it can be difficult to get those who answer the phones at the temples to commit specifically to what is and what is not allowed.

  • davidson June 24, 2008, 10:32 am

    Nana, I am so impressed that you are your husband are studying a good book together! That is one area where my husband and I fail pretty miserably. He reads his things, and I read mine, and we love and share the things we learned with each other, but as far as formal study goes, we haven’t done it together since we were newly married. We used to take turns reading chapters in a book and discussing them, but he felt that I was a better reader than he was (??????), and he was embarrassed. End of companion study. We’ve kind of tiptoed around that issue these twenty-five years. I actually think he is a very good reader, and I tell him that, but he sells himself short. He always has insights to offer that I never considered before. I think you’re doing it right.

  • mlinford June 24, 2008, 10:59 am

    Alison, I think you are reading a lot into what I’m saying. Don’t. All I’m saying is that I don’t think it’s necessary to go to Talmage to be able to find out what can help one to be prepared. Tracy’s quote is an excellent example. But, sure, Talmage is another resource. Go for it. :)

    Delmar, I agree with those who say keep reading. And I tend to think differently about the other element — I personally believe that through the gift of the Holy Ghost, converts can be as prepared if not more than ‘lifers’. So much depends on your personal commitment, study, and obedience. Lifers may get more cultural experience over time, but doctrinally, I think you can be as prepared, imo.

    I say this because of what I saw happen in the life of a convert I taught. I was simply amazed at how quickly the Spirit ‘caught him up’ to the doctrines and teaching and understanding. The more he was obedient and studied and opened his heart, the more he was able to ‘catch up.’ I think there is more than the principles of psychology to consider. The Spirit just works differently than usual studies could show.

    Again, I think there is a difference with cultural understanding, and some other kinds of intangibles, but I would not automatically sell yourself short because you are a convert. I say this to express confidence, not to minimize or dismiss how overwhelmed you probably feel…so if you feel I’m dismissing your feelings, then please just ignore me. I just think of what would have helped me be more prepared, and really, I think you are going to be more prepared than I was, growing up in the church notwithstanding. Had I studied as you are, etc. I would have been more prepared. My yw experience and even that chat with my dad right before really didn’t do what I think your personal study and preparation can do.

    Just another point of view. Keep up the great work.

  • delmar June 24, 2008, 11:07 am

    unfortunately i’m one of those converts that people never believed was a convert. when i finally decided to be baptized it took several people by surprise considering 1) i could quote things gospel oriented better than them and 2) i think because i am married to a rm/lifelong member and we’ve been married for almost 6 years now and 3) when my old ward met me they might have assumed a little considering we were lving in my il’s home while they were on their mission. not sure?

    its only been 18 months or so since my baptism, but certain people in my old ward said i had a better grasp at certain things than lifelong members….and that was back around my baptism. i guess i could have suspected i’d be fine, but this is one time i feel ok asking for advice. you can all ask kiar, i don’t ask for advice or help very often, so you all should feel blessed!

  • partone June 24, 2008, 11:22 am

    I personally believe that through the gift of the Holy Ghost, converts can be as prepared if not more than ‘lifers’.

    I don’t get why this makes sense. Some are more prepared than others. Some converts are more prepared than some life members and some the other way. Doh. but given the very same circumstance, the one with more experience will probably have more experience and knowledge. That’s just common sense.

    Yes God can come down and throw preparation on you with magic. But most of the time the regular process is reliable.

    Sometimes I wish Mormons could just work in the realm of reality instead of always jumping to miraculous power or to start a discussion and then stop it with “follow the spirit” or stuff like that. Most of the time we follow the regular rules of learning and growing so why can’t we focus on that most of the time?

    Del Mar, I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t really think it does so much “depends on your personal commitment, study, and obedience.” I think you can be incredibly committed, study until you turn blue, and be as obedient as possible, and you will STILL probably be limited by human limitations. You will still probably learn a bit at a time and probably still need the years of experience to have years of experience. I don’t want you to feel bad just because you don’t have a miracle of understanding dumped on your head. Even most of our prophets learn just like “regular” folks most of the time.

    I am very happy for you and hope you have a great experience. Being sealed to your family is such a happy time!

  • mlinford June 24, 2008, 12:17 pm

    delmar,
    I think it’s fine that you are asking for advice.

    partone,
    Of course all of us will be limited by personal limitations. And sure, if delmar has only been a member for a year and a half, there will be some elements of experience that simply can’t be made up by extra study. My point was that the Spirit still can do amazing things with helping someone learn faster than is usual with human capabilities. We see that with Joseph Smith. He was an unlearned schoolboy, but was able to learn at an amazingly rapid pace, in large part because of the power of the Spirit that opens the mind and heart to things. Sure, there is always a regular progression, and sure, that takes time. But I think converts can be optimistic and confident in the Lord that He can help them along…that being a convert doesn’t have to be such a liability that leaves people feeling less confident or able to be prepared and to be able to learn. I don’t think that is so far out there to say. But I in no means meant to suggest that there isn’t humanness in there for all of us, and that we all learn line upon line. But that line upon line isn’t just about time in the Church. It’s also about humbly receiving what we learn and striving to follow it and live it. God doesn’t bind us just by our mortal timetables, but also allows us to learn and operate by spiritual processes that are just as real as the human ones. The interaction of the two can bring lots of variation, but I just wanted to make sure that delmar doesn’t just focus on the mortal time that she has been a member.

    And again, I don’t minimize the fact that there is a lot to learn as a convert, and delmar, I hope you don’t think I’m minimizing it all. Again, my comment was meant more as an expression of confidence and hope rather than dismissing the real challenge it probably is to learn and grow and change as you have in the past couple of years.

    Don’t know if that makes my thoughts any clearer, or just muddies it more.,

  • facethemusic June 24, 2008, 1:45 pm

    the covenants are things we have already been taught. But that fact in no way addresses what I said. The fact that they are pretty standard IS NOT COMMUNICATED BEFORE the ordinance. So, the person receiving the endowment has NO WAY TO KNOW that they are going to be pretty standard fare.

    So are you saying then, that it would be helpful if they considered that some people who are there for the first time may NOT have any idea what they will be promising (maybe they’re new converts who either didn’t take the temple prep class, or had temple prep teachers who didn’t explain things very well, or possibly are life long members who never really grasped or missed the temple information given in talks, lessons, etc) and that it would helpful for the officiator, at the beginning of the endowment session to say something similar to the quotes I posted previously, and say something like–

    participants watch and hear figurative presentations in which scenes are acted out, depicting by whom and why the earth was created and how one may come to dwell again in God ?s presence. The participants make covenants and receive promises and blessings….the promises you as a member are asked to make will not surprise you. They are consistent with teachings you have already received, including obedience, sacrifice, order, love, chastity, and consecration.”.
    And THEN give them the opportunity to back out or proceed?
    If so, I can see what you mean and how that would be helpful.

    Being able to see references to covenants AFTER you’ve been through the temple and “teaching…for…years” is completely irrelevant. What I’m talking about is knowing BEFORE.

    Right, but my point was that I think I WAS given an opportunity to know before and I just either wasn’t paying attention or didn’t put 2 and 2 together. That one quote was from ’94, but when you look at all the similar references, in all the different manuals, in talks, etc– you see that many of them have been made over the years and they’re in several manuals. So I think I WAS given the opportunity to understand it far better than I did BEFORE I went, I just didn’t recognize it. And now that I’m an adult and I’m teaching the lessons, I CAN SEE how many opportunities I was given THEN so that I COULD know BEFORE I went to the temple, but for some reason, I didn’t absorb them. Does that make sense?

    Anyway, rather than hoping that my kids find a 1994 New Era article (my oldest was 7 at the time) or that they will print another article that gives those specifics, I plan to make sure myself that my kids know about things that caused me concern. And I hope they’ll pass that on and add anything I missed.

    I agree completely– that was my point when I said that really– it’s up to us as parents to make sure our children understand, rather than depending on the church to teach them.

  • davidson June 24, 2008, 1:46 pm

    I’m with you, Michelle.

    The direction from the Lord himself is to seek learning BY STUDY AND ALSO BY FAITH. Instruction from the Spirit is a very real, comprehensive way to learn. He can and will tell you things you never knew. Most of the time, the regular process is reliable. And inferior. Maybe you’ve never been to the missionary training center, where you don’t have to “have years of experience to gain years of experience.” I have seen missionaries gain in a few weeks the knowledge and experience it might take others years to learn. They experience speaking a language they had never known, which for others might come solely as a consequence of dedicated study. Their study and effort is concentrated, but so are their blessings. Magical preparation? Magical, as in difficult to comprehend how the process is accomplished? Oh, yes! And beautiful, and spiritual, and something to be so, so, so grateful for. A real gift. That’s my feeling, Partone. When you scoff at inspiration from the Holy Ghost, you are scoffing at something that is very near and dear to me.

  • davidson June 24, 2008, 1:59 pm

    Were you cut off mid-sentence, Face? If so, I am sorry, and I support you. It seems like there can be all kinds of apostate opinions expressed here, and it surprises me that Alison would cut off someone seeking to arrive at understanding, while allowing the faithless expressions to wallow on unchecked. Hugs to you, dear.

  • davidson June 24, 2008, 2:02 pm

    Ah, wrong again. Maybe you were just editing your comment while I was trying to read it.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 24, 2008, 2:13 pm

    Yes and maybe, Tracy.

    As I said, I don’t know what’s in the temple prep class. I just know they didn’t offer it in my BYU single ward. I did take a marriage prep class at BYU (from George Pace). He never talked about the temple at all. Mostly we learned weird things like never, ever, ever, ever tell your husband he’s about to make a huge mistake because it bruises his ego. (Sounds a bit like “keep sweet,” doesn’t it?)

    And I don’t know what really is in the manuals. I don’t know if the manuals actually say, for example, “this is the law of chastity, the keeping of which IS ONE OF THE COVENANTS YOU MAKE IN THE TEMPLE.” Or if the manuals do say that, how often they say it, how explicit it is, how many teachers actually quote that line,how many times that particular lesson or lesson might be skipped, etc.

    I taught YW in Florida for a total of about five years and in Utah for another one. In spite of being a very “by the book” teacher, my “kids” one year had no clue about what the covenants were. I looked up the Talmage stuff BECAUSE it wasn’t covered in the lessons and BECAUSE they asked. I wanted an authoritative source to give me an idea of what I could say. In my experience–even as an adult, although it’s been since 2002 since I was in YW–it’s not addressed much at all and very often not specifically enough or with enough repetition to be understood. So even today I doubt it’s just a matter of the kids tuning in.

    I’m not really, however, promoting that we imbue the youth manuals with temple info. IMO that’s much like trying to teach a 14-year-old (non-mother) about nursing a baby. Who cares? When the endowment becomes more relevant–in a temple prep class or bishop’s interview, for example–this information will, IMO, be very helpful.

    In this year’s YW manual the most explicit quote is from Talmage. :smile:

    In the endowment, members covenant to observe the law of strict virtue and chastity, to be charitable, benevolent, tolerant and pure; to devote both talent and material means to the spread of truth and the uplifting of the race; to maintain devotion to the cause of truth; and to seek in every way to contribute to the great preparation that the earth may be made ready to receive her King, the Lord Jesus Christ. With the taking of each covenant and the assuming of each obligation a promised blessing is pronounced, contingent upon the faithful observance of the conditions ? (James E. Talmage, The House of the Lord [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1968], p. 84).

    This is a great, helpful quote (to this issue), but if it only comes up once every three years and/or if the teacher skips it, then it isn’t much help.

    In addition, I think it might be helpful–in this day of easy access to rampant anti-mormon stuff–to explain that “sacrifice” as referred to, does not mean we kill animals or other people. I think I’ve told you that even in the Orlando open house some non-members touring the site said that the baptismal font “must be where they sacrifice the animals.” So that word, standing alone, could sound odd.

  • MamaB. June 25, 2008, 9:57 pm

    Alison…this was a great post!! I felt the same way on my endowment day.
    The comments are fantastic!
    I always learn something when I come here……THANKS!

  • facethemusic June 25, 2008, 10:11 pm

    I always learn something when I come here……THANKS!

    Hey Mama!! Welcome, welcome!!! So have you come out of lurkdom? I’m not sure I’ve seen you post before– but I’m glad you did!! The more the merrier!!

  • Lewis_Family June 25, 2008, 10:17 pm

    lol, blog and site stalking is so in these days :wink:

  • MamaB. June 25, 2008, 11:04 pm

    I’m from the old site…..I grew up in Alison’s neighborhood. We go way back…

  • facethemusic June 25, 2008, 11:24 pm

    Well, we’re glad to have you in our “neighborhood”!!

  • davidson June 26, 2008, 6:56 am

    Yes, welcome back, MamaB.

  • Alison Moore Smith June 26, 2008, 8:18 am

    I nearly fell over when I saw MamaB. over there. I’ve been wondering how she was doing. I had a huge crush on her older step-brother when I was probably ??? 13? I even babysat her a couple of times. I’m very proud of that.

  • Lewis_Family June 26, 2008, 9:18 am

    So does that categorize MamaB as one of us younger momma’s if she was young enough to be tended by Alison?

  • Lewis_Family June 26, 2008, 9:19 am

    PS The name list over on the left in is order of seniority… so if someone’s name is above yours, means they were here first… just a little fyi :smile:

  • facethemusic June 26, 2008, 5:15 pm

    The name list over on the left in is order of seniority…

    Do I assume correctly that you were just kidding? Or are you serious?

  • Alison Moore Smith June 26, 2008, 10:30 pm

    I think she’s right. I don’t remember reading that in the Vanilla features, but it makes sense of what I see. I’m always first, and I’m also the longest here.

  • Lewis_Family June 27, 2008, 8:57 am

    lol, no I was being straight up, click on each name and look at the join date.

  • facethemusic June 27, 2008, 12:06 pm

    Interesting!! I never noticed it before! Maybe I need to brush up on my observation skills… :)

  • Gospel Workers June 24, 2011, 2:25 am

    The faith and commitment expressed by the precious people communicating through this format is so commendable. However, the salvation by the grace of God through His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, seems not to be the main emphasis through all the rituals and ceremonies that seem so unrelated to the Gospel that is presented in the New Testament Scriptures. It seems even contrary to the teaching of Apostle Paul that we are saved by grace through faith and not by our own works of so-called righteousness. Salvation, as offered in the Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament is “not of works that anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:9). Please read this entire chapter to perceive and appreciate the sufficiency of what the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ by His life and ultimately by His death upon the cross of Calvary, further accomplished by His resurrection, ascension, and present intercession and advocacy on behalf of all the redeemed believers, all by His grace, mercy, and truth, providing for the justification of sinners and the sanctification of those who are saved, and eventually the glorification of those who continue in His grace and truth (John 1:14 & 17). Please do not misunderstand, but the more some of us come to learn about the LDS church, the more convinced we are that it is thoroughly a man-made exclusivistic and elitist religious system, rather than completely Christ-centered and essentially Bible-based. This is why many Christians have difficulty recognizing or referencing Mormonism as representing evangelical Christianity. As sorry as we are to make such comments, it behooves us to honestly share this serious and sincere concern about whether LDS people are actually born-again children of the Living God. So much of Old Testament religiosity with a lot of Free Masonry and other esoteric elements are woven into it to the confusion of what Jesus the Messiah really established as His church and the kingdom of God.

  • jennycherie June 27, 2011, 2:56 pm

    Gospel Workers,

    “Please do not misunderstand, but the more some of us come to learn about the LDS church, the more convinced we are that it is thoroughly a man-made exclusivistic and elitist religious system, rather than completely Christ-centered and essentially Bible-based. ”

    In that case, you must be reading anti-Mormon literature rather than truly studying the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through its own doctrine, members and scriptures. If you want to learn about Latter-day Saints, then talk to active, devout members of our church and read our books and meet with our missionaries. If you want to preach your beliefs, by all means, do so. If you feel the need to “cry repentance” unto those who believe differently, it would be great if you would do it in your own space.

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