THE MORMON CURTAIN
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MORMON TEMPLES - SECTION 3
This topic is reserved for discussion, events and stories surrounding Mormon Temple participation, attendance or other. It is generally a collection of stories of Mormons who have attended Temples and their feelings.
| Seems like that's where I was when this happened at age twelve. After the dunkings, each girl had to go into a tiled cubicle with an old lady. We were expected to strip off our wet white jumpsuit and drop in into a a bucket while she eyed us up and down, then, gave out a small handtowel to wear walking down the hall to the room with the clothing lockers.
This whole episode was very embarrassing for someone in the earliest stages of developing breasts and pubic hair. It was also embarrassing how the woman made such a big deal about "that time of the month" before she would hand out the suits before we dressed and were dunked. I felt humiliated for a girl who had to sit in her street clothes and watch the whole event. The boys were snickering and pointing at her and leering at the rest of us before, during, and after their dunks.
Plus, the suits we wore turned flimy and transluscent when they were wet, and the legs were so wide we were all in danger of having them flap open and show everything as we went underwater and were being jerked upright again.
The whole thing was one of the most stressful and embarassing events of my youth. I'll never forget it. I could tell from the red faces and lowered eyes that other girls felt the same way, but we were all too cowed to ever say a word about it. Looking back, it was abusive and totally uncalled for.
I don't remember this in the Logan temple perhaps because I was older when I went there or because they had a better system with better dunking suits. Or maybe the boys went first at that site.
| My "Last Straw" was when I came to the conclusion that the man behind the curtain was not God.
It was when I was standing inline at veil in the temple going through the first time. I began to think about what I had done to get there. I had be worthy; meaning an active attender of church, a full thither, no tobacco, no alcohol, and pass the Bishop's test for recommendation, sustain the prophet, and on and on. Plus now at the temple I had to be washed and anointed, given a new name (Mosiah), new clothes and underwear, go through all these rituals of receiving the different priesthoods, the oaths, the tokens, the names, the swearing to keep secrets, the promise to commit suicide by shedding my own blood 3 different ways (1988) if I reveal the secrets. I also have to recite the other covenants like the Law of Consecration that pledges my body, my will, my life, my wealth, my everything to the church. I have to do all these things and several others that I have forgotten just to stand in line to meet the Mormon god. When I meet him I have to introduce myself to him and repeat the handshakes, the oaths, thetokens, the new names, and I have do it whispering in his ear with an embrace to keep it secret. I have to do all this or this god doesn't know me.
The thought came to me, if it was really God behind that curtain, he would know his child, his creation without a recommend, without being washed and anointed, without a new name, without new clothes and underwear, without making 3 blood oaths, without all the other hoops that you have to jump through. I wouldn't have to introduce myself to God! If he was really God, he would even know who I am no matter what kind of sinner I am, even if I had the smell of tobacco or drink on my breath, even if I was a thief or a lair, he would know me no matter who or what I am or what station or condition in life I am.
A chill ran over me as I realized that all I just did in the temple was in the name of the Son of God, and in this religion there are two Sons of God. Jesus and Satan, .......brothers. The question became who is behind the curtain, Jesus or Satan? Would Jesus whisper secrets, want me to make blood oaths, not know me, etc. and etc.?
The thoughts of how weird and bizarre this whole ritual was began to pour into my mind. It came to me that the Mormon god is not a powerful god at all or even a god at all. It is amazing to me just how weak and powerless the Mormon God is. He can't even keep track of his own creation he has to have the creation itself keep track for him and the created has the responsibility to save his own creation for him. You have to save your self, you have to save your dead (God can't do it?), the Mormon god is impotent. The Mormon god is not the Christian God that teaches differently, that he saves you, not by works, not by the temple, not by tithing, not by living the WofW, etc. etc., but by grace, a free unearned gift. The Christian God is a God that knows what and who he created and has a means for saving his own creation, he doesn't put that requirement on the backs of the mortals he created.
The Mormon god is omni-impotent!!!
The New Testament reads: Mat 8:22 "But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead." The Mormons are dead (just like Jesus was saying about the Jews of that day), so let the dead bury and baptize and endow the dead.
That was the beginning of the last straw, I began to ask questions, read and research and it took a while but I educated my way out. It cost me a wife and 3 kids, but I gained freedom and salvation.
See page 2, right hand column.
"Judge Anderson Decides Against the Mormons"
"Aliens Who Are Members of That Church Are Not Trained to be Good Citizens, Because Its Teachings Are Treasonable."
"Salt Lake City, Utah, November 30.
Judge Anderson to-day, in an eloborate and carefully prepared opinion, denied the applications for citizenship made by Mormons who had taken the Endowment house oath in the Mormon church. The application has created widespread attention, and for the past two weeks Judge Anderson has been taking testimony.
In his decision to-day he states the ground of opoosiiton to the admission of such applicants to be that the Mormon church is, and always has been, a treasonable organization in its teachings and in its practices hostile to the Governemnt of the United STates, disobedient to its laws and seeking its overthrow, and that the oath administered to its members in the Endowment house binds them under penalty of death to implicit obedience in all things temporal as well as spiritual to the priesthood, and to avenge the death of the prophets, Joseph and Hyram Smith, upon the Government, and people of the United States...."
| Mormons leaving the church seeking to find common ground with early disaffected Mormons are likely to make powerful connections in Mrs. Stenhouse's book, "Tell It All: The Story of a Life's Experience in Mormonism." Reprints are available for $16 through the Tanner's.
She was born in England in 1829 and described herself as "having religious tendencies from an early age." Becoming a Baptist at 19, she converted afterwards to Mormonism and married T.B.H. Stenhouse, a Scottish convert. The Stenhouses emigrated to Utah in 1855 and later became Godbeites before they ultimately left the faith altogether.
I find her voice is particularly compelling in "Tell It All," and in her description of the ritual anointings that follows, I hear echoes of the experiences of many--particularly women--who've posted here. I think it will be familiar to most . . .
As for her credibility, she writes in the Preface:
Startling and terrible facts have fallen under my observation. These also I have related; but my constant effort has been to tell my story in the plainest, simplest way, and to avoid exaggeration, but never shrink from a simple straightforward statement of facts. I have disguised nothing; and I feel assured that those who from their actual and intimate acquaintance with Mormonism in Utah as it really is, are capable of passing a just and impartial judgment upon my story, will pronounce without hesitation that I have told "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" (p. xiii)
This tone seems confirmed with her narrative on Mountain Meadows; she describes herself as [feeling] "utterly inadequate to tell the story of the Mountain Meadows Massacre--it is so shocking, so fiend-like. And yet it must be told."
The story that follows agrees with accepted historical accounts, and Mrs. Stenhouse doesn't engage in embellishments or wild speculations. It is noteworthy that she writes,
"[an] old friend Eli B. Kelsey travelled with them from Fort Bridger to Salt Lake City, and he spoke of them in the highest terms. If I remember rightly he said that the train was divided into two parts--the first a rough-and-ready set of men--regular frontier pioneers; the other a picked community, the members of which were all more or less connected by family ties. They travelled along in the most orderly fashion, without hurry or confusion. On Sunday they rested, and one of their number who had been a Methodist preacher conducted divine service." (p. 325)
So much for apologists who've criticized inclusion of the minister in "September Dawn." An accurate account of the murder of Parley P. Pratt in Arkansas is also offered, and his killer is identified as "Mr. McLean."
Her description of the attack on the Fancher Train and the individuals she names are consistent with those from its history, William Dame, John D. Lee, Isaac Haight, and George A. Smith.
She also describes the rock cairn monument constructed by Major Carleton's men, and notes,
It is said this monument was subsequently destroyed by order of Brigham Young when he visited that part of the Territory. (p. 334)
So far she's scoring 100% in my gradebook, and Chapter XXV is titled "Mysteries of the Endowment House:--Fearful Oaths and Secret Ceremonies."
Oh my! Trolls and anons and Van Hale . . . Trolls and anons and Van Hale . . .
Not many weeks after our arrival in Salt Lake City, my husband told me that we might now enjoy the privilege of going through the Endowment House.
Not having been through the Temple, I leave it to others to comment on the veracity of that one... And...
Now, I had heard so much of the Engdowments and the Endowment House that I quite dreaded to pass through this ordeal. (p. 352)
I knew well that no marriage was considered binding unless it had been celebrated in that place. I knew that the Saints, however long they might have been wedded, were under necessity of being reunited there before they could be considered lawfully married and their children legitimate. According to the highest Mormon authority no marriage is valid unless the ceremony is performed in the Temple. The Temple is not yet built, and as Joseph, the Prophet said, "No fellow can be damned for doing the best he knows how," the Saints meanwhile "do the best thing" and are married in the Endowment House. (p. 354)
The Temple robe, which is a long, loose, flowing garment, made of white linen or bleached muslin, and reaching to the ankle, had been placed upon us just before we took the oaths. It was gathered to a band about twelve inches long, which rested on the right shoulder, passed across the breast, and came together under the left arm, and was then fastened by a linen belt. This leaves the left arm entirely free. The veil consists of a large square of Swiss muslin, gathered in one corner so as to form a sort of cap to fit the head; the remainer falls down as a veil. The men wear the same kind of under garment as the women, and their robes are all the same, but their head-dress is a round piece of linen drawn up with a string and bow in front, something after the fashion of a Scottish cap . . . All marriages in the Endowment House are performed in these robes, and in them all Saints who have received their Endowments are buried. Besides our robes we were instructed to take with us a bottle of the best olive oil. (p.358)
Miss Eliza R. Snow, the poetess, and a Mrs. Whitney, were the officiating attendants on that occasion. The former conducted me to one of the bathing tubs, and placing me in it, she proceeded to wash me from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. As she did this she repeated various formulas to the effect that I was now washed clean from the blood of this generation . . . (p. 359)
There followed a description of the Adam and Eve story and the green aprons (Cricket showed me one of those, once, and yeah, verily, Toto and Wings and Sìòg were there to bear witness. 'Twas a marvelous work and a wonder!)
We all kneeled down, and with our right hands uplifted towards heaven, we took the solemn oath of obdience and secrecy. We sore that by every means in our power we would seek to avenge the death of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, upon the Gentiles who had caused his murder, and that we would teach our children to do so;--we swore, that without murmuring or questioning, we would implicitly obey the commands of the priesthood in everything . . . (p. 365)
So much for Van Hale, who was actually attempting to slip some of his How-I-Spent-My Summer-at-Sunstone material past us to serve his own agenda. I found the following about a week ago . . .
>Van's thesis is that there was not an "oath of vengeance" in the temple endowment ceremony, thus eliminating a commonly understood motivation for the MMM. So does he make a case?
Will Bagley's response was at first surprising. He praised Van's work and research, and said it was a great paper that needs to be published - preferably in the Journal of Mormon History. He said he really likes it when "true blue Mormons" come to defend their faith with serious scholarship. But, and there is a but, Will doesn't completely buy Van's idea. Will said that Van is basically creating two piles of evidence, one for and one against, and choosing the one that ends up the largest. Will criticized Van a little for doing this, but Will went on to discuss some other sources that suggest there clearly was an "oath of vengence" in the endowment ceremony.
Sources like Mrs. Stenhouse who clearly doesn't have an iota of guile in her prose . . .
| What got me to doubting my Mormonism was something I noticed in the Endowment video. I noticed that it had fish and birds created on the 5th day of creation but also had all the animals created on the 5th day. Then Adam is created on the 6th day. After I got home from the my travels to the Temple, I checked my Bible and sure enough. The animals were created on the 6th day, the same as man. Then I check the Book of Abraham and the Book of Moses. Both had the animals created on the 6th day. This started to really bug me so on my next trip to the Temple a month later, I paid special attention to the creation as it was portrayed. Yes, they had it wrong.
I made an appointment with my Bishop when I got home and told him about my discovery and asked for an explaination. Quite honestly, he replied that he had never noticed that discrepency and would be going to the Temple the next weekend and would check it out. When he got back, he called me to come in for an appointment and the Stake President was also there. That should have been a clue that something was up. Anyway, my Bishop confirmed that in fact the Temple ceremony DID have the animals created on the 5th day. That he had called SLC to get clarification and was told by GA that it was "Newer Revelation". I asked him how I was supposed to teach my primary kids the creation story as it is in the Bible and Pearl of Great Price, knowing in my heart that it was wrong. The bottom line for them was, "Did I believe in new revelation?" I told them I thought new revelation should be consistent with prior revelation and not totally different. Wrong Answer. They questioned my commitment, my conduct, my thoughts, my studies, and readings. Something must have caused me to "lose my testimony." It was a 4-hour ordeal, I cried alot, I didn't know how to answer them. Finally, they said since I was female, I was not allowed received revelation since I didn't have the priesthood. So trying to find an answer for the obvious conflict was beyond my spiritual reach. I received a letter a few days later from my stake president indicating that I could no longer wear my temple garments, I could attend services but could not take sacrament. I was welcome to continue paying my tithe. Within just a few days I had gone from what seemed a seemingly insignificant error to being an Apostate.
It was tough. My best friends (TBM) wouldn't even talk to me, answer my phone calls, and avoided me at work. Then I started really digging about Mormon history, read "No Man Knows My History", and soon found the whole thing a disgusting fraud. How was I so stupid to be coverted to it in the first place? That's what boggles my mind. I have a Ph.D. and consider myself a very logical thinker. Yet two sister missionaries were able to convince me a bunch of hocus pocus and I was an active member of the church for 2 years. If I hadn't paid attention to the video, I might have been planning a weekend trip to the Temple this next weekend. Instead, I'll be rejoicing with my new found church affiliation.
| The mormon church has me permanently married, forever, in the hereafter, to a criminal who tried to kill me! True, I chose him and married him in the mormon temple, because he conned me into it, pretending to be kind and spiritual. He is the son of someone high-up in the mormon church, who prevents my petitions for divorce.
Mormons practice polygamy in the hereafter! When a MAN gets married in the mormon temple, then gets divorced or widowed, he can marry another woman in the temple, and if she dies or they are divorced, another, and another. All of the women are sealed to him for eternity in the hereafter. A mormon man is promised other wives, too, in the hereafter--women who were never married, or not married in the temple, etc. A WOMAN can only marry once in the mormon temple. If her temple husband dies, a widow can never marry another man in the temple. If she gets divorced, she can over-ride that marriage IF she marries another mormon male in the temple. My temple husband who beat me and strangled me, married another woman in the temple after I divorced him, so now he will have two wives in the hereafter. When he beat her, she divorced him, and had him thrown in jail. He is still a mormon in good standing, and receives the sacrament in jail. He is the son of someone very high-up in the mormon church.
Now, the rules get more unreasonable: I married someone else in a civil marriage, years later, but not in a mormon temple ceremony. According to mormon rules, our children are sealed (owned by) my wife-batterer first husband, and not their own father! My mormon in-laws did not consider them to be their real grandchildren, even though they were by blood. We won't get into how the mormon church separates families when it advertises it brings families together. This is a cult based on lies.
Are you ready for more? The mormons not only will baptize you, but they will perform a proxy "anointing" ritual on you and a proxy "endowment" ceremony on you. Then--I'm not kidding--they can perform a proxy wedding ceremony for you!
One last example, and I'll let you run away screaming. This is all so complicated to explain, probably because mormon thinking makes no sense. My mormon man friend was in love with my non-mormon cousin, and slept with her, but his mormon family pressured him into marrying a mormon. They got married civilly, and not in the temple. Anyway, my friend and his wife had three children, born and raised in the mormon church. My friend was very unhappy his entire marriage, because his wife was mean, and they never loved each other. After 15 years of misery, he divorced his wife and married my cousin, whom he should have married in the first place. He said she was his soul-mate. Later, his ex-wife died. Well, his children hate my cousin, the wicked step-mother, who is not a mormon. Guess what, these mormon children have planned to wait until their father and my cousin DIE. They are going to go to the mormon temple and have their father Temple married by proxy to their own mother (who he hates)! They can do that. My cousin is as mad about that as you are about your potential baptism.
All these rituals and ceremonies cost a lot of money, paid out by the proxy participants--10% of their gross income.
There is nothing we can do to prevent the mormons from performing these secret ceremonies for dead people. I do know that the families of the Jewish Halocaust victims sued the mormon church, and got them to stop baptizing them posthumously. (we call it "dead-dunking.") Imagine being tortured and killed for your faith and traditions, because you are Jewish--then have the mormons come along and baptize you a mormon on their records. It makes me cry.
God would never invent all this bull, or be this unfair.
| Because several posters have left the church prior to attending the temple for their own endowment, some have questions regarding the experience. As has been addressed, a person only attends the temple for their own sake a few times in their lives- endowment and sealing. Even as a member, I believed there was too much secrecy regarding the temple. In the temple there is no covenant not to discuss what occurs there (that is a misconception). The only promises are not to reveal the tokens and names of the tokens. Everything else, in my opinion, could be discussed openly and frankly by active members.
I have not included the words of the ordinances here. In some cases, the ceremonies are lengthy and would interfere with the purpose of this post. The actual temple ordinances can be found elsewhere on the internet.
I. Baptisms for the dead and confirmations
Usually Mormon youth and new LDS converts attend the temple to do baptisms for the dead. When a youth is twelve years old, or a new member is baptized, they can immediately go to the temple for this work after being interviewed by their bishop.
Youth and new members are encouraged to go to the temple wearing their Sunday best. Also, youth are reminded to bring extra underwear because they will be getting wet. Most often, the youth attend as a group with ward youth leaders and bishopric members.
Once at the temple, the bishop presents a group recommend to the male temple worker at the temple entrance desk. He reviews the list as the youth pass, ensuring that each youth present is on the list. This list can only be used once, on that visit.
The youth are escorted to the temple baptistery, which is usually off the lobby entrance and separate from other parts of the temple. After getting white jump suits, boys are escorted to the boys locker room and girls go to the girls locker room. These locker rooms are private with individual enclosed changing areas. Each youth removes his church clothes and puts them into a locker and puts on the white jump suit. After dressing, they assemble next to the font. Most temples have church like pews to onside of the font where the youth wait.
Once all the youth are assembled they are reminded to be reverent in the temple. A prayer is offered at the direction of the bishop. Then one of the Melchizedek priesthood holders who came with the group enters the font. He is dressed in a white jump suit too. There is another man who sits at a desk next to the font. His job is to provide names of the deceased person for each baptism. Finally, two men sit overlooking the font as witnesses. Their job is to ensure that the words are properly said and that the youth is fully submerged.
Once the youth enters the font, the man performing the baptism will hold the youth by the wrist, just like a normal baptism. He looks up to the recorder’s desk. Today, most temples have a monitor which projects a name onto a screen. The “baptizer” states the words of the ordinance exactly then lowers the youth into the water. The recorder inches the temple produced sheet of names forward, revealing the next name on the sheet of paper. Then it is all repeated again. Each baptism takes about thirty seconds or so. They will continue unless one of the witnesses interrupts. If there is a question, the ordinance is re-performed. After each baptism, the recorder checks the name completed. There are about six names per sheet of paper. Male names are on blue paper and female names are on pink paper.
Males can only be baptized for deceased men and females can only be baptized on behalf of deceased females.
Depending on the size of the group and the length of time attending, each youth will do about ten to thirty baptisms. After they are done, the youth exits the font and is handed a towel by a sister next to the font. The youth tries to squeeze most of the water out of the drenched jumpsuit before heading to the locker room. The floor from the font to the locker rooms is usually tiled and capable of handling the water.
Once in the locker room the youth re-enters the private changing area and puts on dry underwear and redresses into their church clothes. Hopefully they remembered to bring a plastic bag for their now wet underwear. Once dressed, they wait for their turn to do confirmations. (Some temples let the youth do the confirmations first, while still dressed in the white and dry jumpers, before heading to the font for baptisms).
The next youth enters the font and process continues until all the youth have had a chance to do baptisms. The men will change jobs every so often. The person doing the baptisms usually gets tired from all the lifting.
The youth are also able to participate with confirmations performed on behalf of the deceased. In the baptistery area of the temple is a room with a chair and a couple of slightly elevated side stool-like chairs with arm rests. The youth sits reverently in the center chair. Three Melchizedek priesthood holders are seated around the youth, facing him or her. Two of them lightly place their hands on the youth’s head. One performs the ordinance of the confirmation of the church and the gift of the Holy Ghost. The words are nearly identical as the ordinance is for the living. The second man helps by placing his hands on the head of the youth (the ordinance requires two priesthood holders). The third person is the recorder who uses the temple sheet of names. After each name is completed, it is checked off. There are six names per sheet. The youth do about the same number of confirmations as baptisms.
Once all the youth have finished doing baptisms and confirmations and have changed back into their Sunday dress, they reassemble at the pews near the font. Usually a member of the temple presidency thanks them for their time and efforts and reminds them of the importance of the work. After a closing prayer, they leave the temple.
The time that they are in the temple is about two hours, depending on the size of the group.
The completed forms are brought to the temple office and the bar codes are scanned. This information is transmitted to Salt Lake.
II. Own endowment
Only adults attend the temple to receive “their own endowment.” For many males, this occurs prior to leaving on a church mission, or prior to being sealed (married) in the temple. For most women, this occurs prior to being married or leaving on a church mission. Some adults, male or female, will receive their own endowment later after mission age and after marriage seems unlikely.
Prior to attending the temple, the person must be interviewed by his or her bishop and stake president. The purpose of the interview is to ensure temple worthiness. Most will have some sort of temple preparation classes taught. In my experience, these preparation classes are inadequate because the teacher is not allowed to discuss much of what occurs in the temple during the ceremony.
Once the person is found worthy, two recommends are issued, one is the standard temple recommend which now has a two year duration, and the other recommend is for a specific ordinance (i.e, own endowment or own sealing).
An appointment is made with the temple for a specific date or time. The person is instructed to be at the temple early and to bring garments and perhaps temple robes (for the smaller temples with no rentals). Also, if a sealing is to occur, other documents are needed such as marriage certificate for couples previously wed and birth certificates for children born to the couple who are being sealed to their parents.
Assuming that the person is single for this explanation, the person arrives at the temple. Most young adults are accompanied by their parents (or close previously endowed friends). They arrive at the temple dressed in their Sunday clothes. As they enter the temple doors they are greeted by a temple worker at the entry desk. The temple worker will have been previously told to expect the person.
(The temple is a highly organized place. Most work performed there is scheduled and the workers are highly trained to do temple work.)
In the temples where I served, a temple worker is assigned to accompany and guide the person and their escort. The escort is a person who comes with the attendee usually the dad or mother (depending on whether it is a son or daughter).
Once the recommends are checked, the person is invited reverently into the temple itself. The ordinance recommend is kept by the temple but the temple recommend is returned to the person for future use. The person is given a small colored tag to pin to their clothes so others know that is it that person’s first time. This tag is helpful to temple workers who can spend extra time with the person and make sure the person is properly instructed.
Normally, a member of the temple presidency speaks with the initiate about the sacredness of the temple and safekeeping the temple garment. The person is told how to properly dispose of the garment once it is worn out, and is instructed to wear it at all times. Men are instructed by the temple presidency and women are instructed by the temple matron or her assistant (these are usually the wives of the temple presidency members). The instruction lasts about fifteen minutes.
The person is escorted to the appropriate locker room (male or female). Normally, the temple has placed a reserve sign on the locker booth for the person. The person is given their own private changing area and locker. (Each changing area is enclosed and has about three separate lockers not unlike a gym). The person removes all their clothes and adorns a white shield. They have been given a one piece temple garment for temporary use. (I understand that this may have recently changed).
The person is escorted to the initiatory area, which is attached to the locker room area. (The person doesn’t leave the locker room). The initiatory room has four curtained enclosed areas (visualize a square divided onto quarters). The person leaves their garment on a handle in the first area. The person enters the second area. Usually there is a bench and small water faucet. The person sits on the bench. The temple worker (men for male attendees, women for female attendees) addresses the person. The first part is called the washing. When I worked in the temple the person is washed clean from the sins of the world and receives specific blessings for various parts of the body. The temple worker lightly touches those parts with a finger which is slightly damp. This part then another worker enters from the third section. The two place their hands on the attendee and seal those blessings.
The person is then escorted into the third area and is anointed. The process is nearly identical as the washing, but olive oil is used (I understand that this part may have recently changed). After the anointing, another temple worker enters from the fourth area and together with the anointer, seals the anointing by placing hands on the persons head. Finally, the person is escorted in the fourth area and the temple worker there, who just helped seal the anointing, places the garment on the person in a specific manner right leg, left leg, right arm, and left arm. The person is promised protection and finally is given a new name. The new name is considered very sacred. The person is told never to divulge the new name to another, except at a certain place at the temple. Every male at the temple that day receives the same name and every female at the temple receives the same name; however, the people aren’t told this.
This initiatory part of the endowment takes about ten minutes, in addition to all the changing. As the person leaves the initiatory area, they reenter their locker. The take off the temple garment and put on their own garment. If male, the person dresses in white pants, white shirt, white neck tie, white socks and white slippers. If female, the person puts on a white dress and white stockings.
The temple worker assigned as a guide then checks to ensure all the temple clothing are present in the bundle. For men, the temple clothes are a white temple robe (toga like), a white hat, a white sash, and a green apron. For women, the temple clothes are a white temple robe, white veil, white sash, and a green apron. The clothes are stored in a small white cloth envelope.
The person and their escort are then guided into the endowment room. (In some temples, they are escorted into a chapel, then the endowment room). In the endowment room, the person sits on one side or the other side of the room, depending on gender. Men sit on the right side of the room and women sit on the left side of the room.
Because it is their first time attending, a seat has been reserved in the front row for the person and their escort (usually mom or dad).
The first room in the endowment process is a theatre room. The lighting is soft. In front is an altar with a padded bench in front for kneeling. Behind the altar, or the side, are chairs for temple workers, men and women.
(This description does not include the ceremony itself it can be viewed elsewhere).
As the ceremony starts, the doors to the room are closed, a male officiator (temple worker) stands behind the altar. He is dressed in a white suit. He presses a green button on the altar and the recorded session begins.
During the session, the person is instructed to put clothes on over the white clothing being worn. Because there are repeated changes in robe positions, the escort is very important. The clothing must be worn properly. Also tokens (handshakes) are given to everyone present four times, corresponding to four different covenants.
At the end of the ceremony the person is invited to stand in the prayer circle, and afterwards, is instructed as to how to pass through the veil. The person is requested to recite back names of covenants and give the newly acquired tokens to a man on the other side of the veil (who represents the Lord). Most need help with this part of the ceremony, so a temple worker stands closely by to help the person. Once through the veil, the person enters the beautifully adorned celestial room where both sexes can now commingle. There are sofas and chairs for reverent and quiet visiting.
After several minutes in the celestial room, the person returns through a hallway to the locker room. They take off their temple clothes, not the garments, those stay on for good. They change back into their church clothing, pack their temple clothes into a small case, and meet their party in the lobby, where they exit.
The first time someone enters the temple for their own endowment, it takes about three hours. Later, when they return and go through for the dead, the session takes about ninety minutes and the total time in the temple is probably just around two hours.
After leaving the temple the person is now endowed. He or she now has a new temple name, wears the garment, has been given the tokens, and has made covenants. According the LDS belief, if the person lives his or her life in accordance with those promises, they will receive eternal life after death meaning they will live in the presence of God.
III. Own sealing
Both bride and groom will have received their endowment prior to being able to be sealed. They will have been interviewed by their bishop and stake president for worthiness and must bring a separate recommend with them for the sealing, in addition to their normal temple recommends.
Sealings are previously scheduled with the temple.
Sometimes, the bride will not have been through the temple, so on the day of her marriage, she will also go through for her own endowment. As the endowment is a tedious and tiring experience, most brides are encouraged to go to the temple for their own endowment the week prior to the temple sealing.
After both have put on their white temple clothes and temple robes, they are escorted to the veil room. The husband will then learn his wife’s temple name. He is the only other person on earth able to learn it (she will never learn his). This is accomplished by him receiving her through the veil, just as at the end of the temple endowment session. He stands on one side of the veil, in the position of the Lord (highly symbolic) and she stands on the other side. He asks her for the names of the tokens while they make the tokens through the veil. Once finished, he lets her enter into his presence on the other side of the veil. He now knows her temple name. Thereafter, the only other place she can tell him is in the celestial room and only if he forgets. This part only takes minutes. Temple workers sometimes call this the “short veil.”
While outside the sealing room, the couple usually gets advice from a member of the temple presidency. The bride has received help from not only her mother (if endowed and current temple recommend holder) but female temple workers. Everyone loves a wedding. The male has also been escorted that day too, but has not been as pampered!
Temple guests are escorted in to the sealing room. They must have current temple recommends. Two Melchizedek priesthood holders sit on either side of the sealer. They will be witnesses and will sign their names as witnesses. Commonly, the two witnesses are the fathers if they are temple recommend holders. Once all the guests have arrived, the couple is brought in the room.
The sealing room is a rectangular shaped room with a temple altar in the center of the room. It has padded benches along all four sides at the bottom for kneeling.
The sealer, a specially set apart male temple worker, officiates. He greets the guests and the couple. After very few words, he invites the couple to kneel at the altar with the husband on one side and the wife on the other side of the altar. They are dressed in all their temple clothes. As the sealing ordinance is spoken, they join hands on the final temple token received.
The sealing is very short. The only words spoken by bride or groom are one short “yes’ from each.
(The words sealing ceremony can be found on the internet).
After words, they can kiss each other (no “Hollywood” kisses are allowed). Then away from the altar, they can exchange rings it is not part of the ceremony. Guests are invited to greet the new couple as they exit the room. The entire ceremony is short, lasting about twenty minutes, depending on advice from the sealer.
After guests leave, the couple returns to their perspective locker room and dress into picture taking clothing. Usually the bride usually puts on a more elaborate wedding dress and the groom puts on a tuxedo. They leave the temple proper and take pictures outside the temple, where sometimes they greet others not allowed to have attended the ceremony. Once the pictures are taken, the re-dress into their church clothes and leave for a later wedding reception.
B. For previously wedded couples
If a couple is entering to be sealed, the procedure is nearly identical as previously described for newlyweds. If they have children, the children do not witness the husband-wife sealing, they enter latter. When the children enter the room, they too are dressed in white clothes, but not the temple robes. The sealer places each child around the altar kneeling.
There is an exact position for each child. As I understand, the oldest child kneels to the right of his father (who is at the head of the altar the wife is at the other end), the next oldest child is placed to the left of the father, the third oldest child to the right of the father - next to the oldest, the fourth oldest is the father’s left next to the second oldest, and so on.
As each child’s name is read, the child places his or her own hand atop of the parents’ hand which are grasped in a temple grip. All the children’s names are called and sealed to their parents as if born into the new and everlasting covenants, meaning the children are now sealed to their parents forever.
This only lasts for about fifteen minutes. It can be a very emotional time as mothers know shed tears believing that their children cannot be taken from them, even by death.
After the ceremony, the family re-dresses into their church clothes in the locker rooms and leave the temple.
IV. Endowment session (Proxy)
The endowment session is the most common temple experience. Once a person receives their own endowment, they never attend an endowment session for their own behalf again. They attend as proxies for the deceased.
In smaller temples appointments must be made to attend the temple. At large temples, endowment sessions start every so often that no appointment is required.
The person enters the temple dressed in their Sunday clothes. The temple worker at the desk, checks the person’s recommend. The person then goes to the appropriate locker room. The person finds an empty locker and then changes into white clothing he or she has brought. Some temples have clothes the patron can rent. Once the person is dressed in white, they go to a small booth usually located in the locker room exit. They enter the booth, and a temple worker gives them the new name on behalf of a deceased person. The person is handed a small slip of paper with the name of the deceased person or if they brought their own slip for their own deceased family member they bring it into the booth to present to the worker. The words spoken are very similar as to the words used for a first time attendee except that for a recognition that the work is on behalf of the dead. Once the new name is given, the card is checked so that other temple workers know that the new name has already been communicated. Women temple workers provide this for women patrons and male temple workers take care of male patrons.
The person leaves the small booth. (From personal experience, at this point I try to remember the new name given to me.) The person then enters to the chapel, if it is a larger temple, or directly to the endowment room, if a smaller temple. When entering the room, temple workers ensure that the new name has been given by looking for the check mark on the name slip
As previously described men sit on the right and women sit on the left. One couple is asked to be the witness couple the man will take the first seat nearest the altar and the woman will take the nearest seat on her side to the altar. During the session, the witness couple have to leave their seats frequently as they go and kneel at the altar during the presentation.
(The presentation itself can be found on the internet).
Once the prayer circle has finished at the end of the session, and the instructions have been given to go through the veil, the person sits patiently and waits for their turn at the veil. Temple workers assist each patron through the veil. Most temples can process three to six women and three to six men through the veil simultaneously. Women temple workers are at each “female” veil and male temple workers are at each “male” veil. Their job is to help remind the person of the exact names of the tokens and to ensure that each token is properly performed. Male temple workers stand behind all the veil and test the person as to the tokens. Once the person has exactly made and spoken the tokens and their names, the veil is slightly parted and the person passes through the veil to the celestial room.
Sometimes, when the temple is full, a person may have to wait ten to twenty minutes after the session has ended to go through the veil; however, normally, it only takes a few minutes of waiting. Once in the celestial room, the person can reverently visit with friends or quietly prayer. However, no one is encourage or permitted to stay in the celestial room for very long. After the person leaves the celestial room, they travel to their locker room, renter their booth and change back into their church clothes. Temple clothing is either folded up and stored for later use in the small suite case, or returned to the temple if rented in a laundry slot.
The person then exits the temple through the lobby.
A session lasts about ninety minutes and person is in the temple for about two hours.
The small slips of paper with the name of the deceased are collected by the temple workers at the veil. Once collected they are normally handed to the man who officiated the session. He then brings them directly to the temple office where they are scanned using a bar code scanner and the data is transmitted to Salt Lake. If a patron brought their own card, it is brought to a location near the lobby for them to retrieve after dressing and before departure. A small boxed entitled “endowment” on the card is stamped with the date reflecting that the ordinance was completed that date. There are also small boxes for initiatory, sealing to spouse, and sealing to parent, on the card.
V. Initiatory (Proxy).
A person, usually by ward assignment, attends the temple to help with the initiatory ordinance for the deceased. Once in the temple, the person presents his or her own recommend. He or she may indicate that they are there to help with initiatory work as it is presumed that most patrons are going to attend an endowment session.
The person goes to his or her respective locker room and are given a temple garment and temple shield to wear. (Since I left some of this has been changed). The person takes off their clothes and puts on the shield.
The person then goes to the initiatory area in the locker room and takes a seat. Once the three temple workers are ready and the patrons are ready (hopefully there are three patrons so no time is wasted), the first patron goes into the first booth, as previously described above.
There are a couple of differences from initiatory work of the living. One difference is priesthood ordination. As the dead have not received the priesthood during life, dead men are ordained elders the male patrons sit as proxies. This is done in the second booth the washing booth. The temple worker quickly ordains the dead man an elder in the Melchizedek priesthood. The patron, upon entering the first changing booth was given a list of six names per sheet. Once the priesthood ordination is completed, the worker proceeds with the washing, just as with the living, except it is all done in the name and behalf of the deceased. The patron goes to the anointing booth then the garment booth. This is the other change. The deceased is not given a new name at this point (as would occur with a “live” ordinance.). The person is just dressed with the garment. Once the garment is placed upon the person with the appropriate language , the person exits the booth back into the first booth to await his washing again, on behalf of the next person on his list. The “clother” the worker placing the garment on the person, marks the initiatory box on the sheet once the garment has been placed on the person.
Initiatory is a “carousel” type of ordinance. Three patrons can go through at a time, one in the washing booth, one in the anointing booth and one in the garment dressing booth. It takes about five minutes per name. A sheet takes thirty minutes. Most patrons stay for three sheets (30 names). Once finished, the person changes into their clothes and exits normally with a lot of olive oil all over them! Again, this may have changed.
The sheets are periodically taken to the office for recording upon completion.
VI. Sealing (Proxy)
Those attending to the temple for proxy sealing are usually there by ward assignment. As usual, they present their recommends at the front desk and inform they are there to help with sealings. They then proceed to their respective dressing rooms and change not only into their white clothes, but also their temple robes. After fully dressing in their temple robes, they exit the locker room and proceed to the appropriate sealing room. Once there they find a seat and wait for everyone to assemble, especially the sealer.
Men act as proxies for husbands or sons and women act as proxies for wives or daughters. Also, two men sit on either side of the sealer and witness each ordinance. For sealing of couples, a man kneels on one side of the altar and a woman kneels on the opposite side of the altar. During the ordinance, works spoken by the sealer, they join hands in a temple grip. Each says “yes” at the appropriate place. The words are similar to a live sealing, but the work is mentioned as being done for specific deceased people. A sealing for the deceased only takes a couple of minutes, so the kneeling couple can do a lot of proxy sealings at one time. The sealer marks the appropriate box as a sealing is performed.
Because knees get tired, and most patrons are elderly, changes in assignments are made about once every fifteen minutes or so.
When sealings are being done for a deceased child, a male patron (patron is a person who attends the temple as opposed to a temple worker) acts as father by kneeling at the head of the altar. A woman patron acting as mother kneels at the opposite side of the altar. A male patron acts as proxy for a male child and a female patron acts as proxy for a female child. Each child is sealed to his or her parents with very similar words as used in sealing children to living parents. As each child’s name is said, the patron rests his or her right hand on the proxy parents’ gripped hands, resting on the altar.
Most proxy child sealing is done one child at a time, but if the sealer identifies several cards with the same family, he can do all the cards at once, using multiple proxies as children.
Sealings don’t take long. In a ninety minute time period, a lot of proxy sealings can be completed. Once finished, patrons exit the sealing room, change into their normal church clothes then exit the temple. The sealer brings the completed cards to the office for recordings and puts the uncompleted cards back into the stack for future work.
| While in the singles ward I met my wife. We dated for a few months, we decided to get married so I got my endowments in February 1991.
The endowment was a horrible experience for me. I felt I had been deceived.
My mom was there, my sister and brother in law, and my future wife. They all carried the all knowing grins before I went into the session. My BIL was my sponsor, the one who helped me through it.
I met with the temple president and they he talked about how special the temple was and that I was going to experience this great event and have spiritual enlightenment.
I went through the session and thought about leaving many times during it. I swore I could feel Satan’s presence when he showed up on the screen. Hair on the back of the neck and goose bumps. I felt many of the things we were doing were evil and contradictory to every thing I had been taught in the Mormon faith.
Secret Combination kept going through my mind. Hand shakes, gestures, and dressed in strange accoutrements just screamed this was wrong to me. This was nothing like doing baptism for the dead.
Two things kept me in the ceremony. First my family was there and I didn't want to make a scene. Second, I truly believed I would see angels or some spiritual manifestation when I went to the celestial room. This was implied by everyone that went through the temple.
After changing back to my civilian clothes and sitting in the lobby of the temple these family members smiled at me like I was now in on the big secret. The smile was nothing malicious but I thought it was more a welcome to the club and you passed the initiation.
When I was in the Navy I crossed the equator and I became a shellback. Essentially you are hazed for 8 to 12 straight hours. Beat with fire hoses; eat green eggs and ham, on your knees all day crawling on non-skid and a host of other sado-masochistic events. I was more comfortable going through that than the temple.
My family asked if I had any questions and I asked a few basic questions. They asked what I thought about it and I said it was interesting. They told me I would understand it better the more I went. My mom told me that the endowments were better now than a few months ago. They had recently changed.
I got married in the temple and expected a huge elaborate show after participating in the endowments. Talk about anti-climactic. The ceremony was done in 5 minutes.
These temple ceremonies really created doubt about the church and I had been back in less than a year. I rarely went to the temple anymore and when I would go with the wife I would cause arguments and then sit in the parking lot while she went inside.
She blamed Satan’s influence, I accepted that but my mind was working overtime trying to reconcile the temple with everything I had been taught in the church before I went to the temple.
Late in the evening sometime in 1994 or 1995 I was at my in-laws visiting when I saw the temple ceremony on a Public Access channel. It was almost word for word with some minor variations. The costumes were the same and they even had the veil, knocker and curtain.
I thought someone was going to hell for showing the temple ceremony but then the show had a break and it was explained the ceremony I just witnessed was a Masonic ceremony. WOW!
Since I couldn't talk about the temple ceremonies with anyone outside the temple I kept this in the back of my mind and tried to ignore what was in my mind even though my mind was screaming at me. I continued to renew my recommend. I only went to the temple for a couple of weddings after that.
| When I was seven months pregnant with what turned out to be a 10-pound baby (I was HUGE), I took a RS temple trip from my Florida home to the nearest temple in Atlanta, Georgia. We called it the "Red-Eye Special" because we would meet in the ward parking lot just before midnight, take an 8-hour bus ride to Atlanta, then spend the entire day doing endowments. We'd go out for dinner at a nice restaurant, and then turn around, and drive all the way back home, arriving at the church parking lot at midnight again.
Gawd knows WHY I decided to take this trip in my condition. (Well I *do* know but I'm too embarrassed to say - something about a dead ancestor bothering me to finish her work before my baby was born). Anyhoo, I had to pee like every 15 minutes with that baby. She was sitting right on my bladder, so an endowment session was out of the question for me. An endowment lasts about 2 hours total and you can't leave to go to the bathroom.
So I decided to do "initiatories" for the dead (the naked washing and annointing ritual) where you go around and around in a little circle through tiny booths partitioned off with curtains. The temple workers bless you with oil and water all over your body parts, lay hands on your head, and recite weird incantations, then dress you in your new garments. The process for one dead person takes about 5 minutes. So it's easy to step away for a minute for a potty break if necessary.
So I'd been doing several rounds of wanda's and took a bathroom break. In order to do that, you have to walk naked through the entire locker room with nothing but a white poncho on that is slit all the way up both sides. Most women hold the sides tightly wrapped around their bodies in modesty. But in all my pregnant glory the sides didn't close well on me and I just did my best to dash to the toilet before tinkling all over the floor.
As I was making my dash to the bathroom, I zipped past a Spanish sister who pointed at me with shock and horror. She started screaming at me in Spanish. Well I don't speak Spanish but if I had to translate, her tirade went something like this: "Put some CLOTHES on you freak!! Don't you know you are in the HOUSE OF THE LORD?!"
Immediately she was surrounded by what looked to me to be the entire Relief Society of some South Florida branch. They all started babbling in Spanish at once, patting the sister on the back and trying to sooth her.
I didn't stick around to see what happened in all the hoopla. But I can only guess that she was in the temple that day to take out her own endowment.
Guess who had to get nekkid *next*?
| I remember changing into that weird poncho thing and sitting down waiting to go into the little room. As I was sitting there this old guy came out and started talking to someone and he had his arms folded. Then I looked down and through the slits of his poncho I saw his junk swinging back and forth. I threw up in my mouth a little. Its like he was a little tooo comfortable in the poncho.
When the endowment came we had to put on our robes and I looked right and saw my dad, brothers, and brothers in law all dressed the same. They looked like a row of bakers. I had to bite down hard so I wouldn't laugh. Then we had to raise our arms and hear the words of my mouth prayer. Everyone chanting the same thing as they moved their arms up and down. Creepy. I honestly couldn't believe we were doing this. It wasn't spiritual at all. It was shocking and made me feel weird.
My favorite part of the whole thing was listening to the devil. The newer version movie. The younger devil. He was awesome. I still have a hard time not saying some of his quotes.
"You can buy anything in this world with money"
"Here is some of the fruit of that tree."
"I will teach the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture"
"Now go and get Adam to partake."
"Quick, hide! Father will see your nakedness."
"It's delicious to the taste and very desirable."
I remember when I went to the stake farm to pick peaches with my TBM dad. I had a joke and couldnt hold it in. I grabbed a peach with my arm held straight out, I said "Here is some of the fruit of that tree" to my TBM dad. I said it exactly like the devil. He actually thought it was really funny. Which surprised me.
| On another thread started by Mason, we discussed the origins of Mormon changes in its previously heavily Masonic and very cult-like temple ceremony.
My point, which was perhaps not very clear, was that LDS Inc. began doing surveys in the 1980s when it, for the first time ever, hired PR agencies outside Mormonism.
What I wanted to say earlier was that the 1990 ceremony changes were not on the heels of a survey alone, but came after the church had gone through heavy criticism of the Temple being weird and cultish through exposure to to it by evangelical Christian groups, with the help of a couple of former Mormons who went very public with a book and film about the ceremonies.
This exposure caused negative public perceptions about Mormonism. It didn't directly affect most members--because most of the members who were either BIC or had strong testimonies continued to go (as I did) and simply ignored the negative press (such as the release of the book and film, The Godmakers), with the "they're just anti's" line etc.
LDS Inc. isn't really concerned with its members' feelings so much as with what the outside (non-Mormon) world thinks and says about Mormons.
They considered "softening up" the ceremony but were advised that to do so, they needed to warm the members up to a possible change, so they issued a series of surveys. Ultimately, this helped provide some buy-in for the members when the changes were finally made. Perhaps there were some in the Mormon marketing department who insisted that members' needs be considered. If a large majority indicated they felt odd or uncomfortable, this gave them the final the go-ahead to make the changes--but the changes were not solely due to the survey results.
Change is the last resort for LDS Inc. but it will make changes if public perception is in the way AND iF it doesn't cost them anything extra to make the change(s) in terms of their revenue model. Decisions they make have to be revenue-increasing.
I agree with you Mason, that most people who thought the old ceremony was "cult-like" stopped going before the change. When members stopped going, LDS Inc. put two and two together, that maybe the public critisms of the grueseome ceremonies or the revelation through the Internet that the ceremony was largely ripped off by the Masonic fraternity, were affecting some of the members, when in fact, the members (like myself) may have simply stopped going without ever really knowing or realizing they were similar to Masonic ceremonies. I knew about the book and film the Godmakers but didn't take note of what was in them until I was asked to work for their PR department. Then I picked the book apart and learned the church had attempted other PR efforts to quell the negative publicity by putting out a defensive book ("The Truth About the Godmakers" by Gilbert Scharffs, 1986, Deseret Book) but they also saw that so long as the ceremonies still contained the offensive gestures and Masonic-like aspects, it would continue to be attacked by its critics.
Ultimately, it was a business decision. They knew they could probably retain more members, and get new ones, by softening the ceremony, and also with the Internet, would not have to speak to the "old ceremony" (except to say "We don't do that anymore...") New members and their families, and generations after, would never know much about the old ceremony, and would be willing to continue going to the temple.
Mormonism has always been very big on surveys and research, numbers and statistics. Anyone who's been on a mission knows this. Since they are a business, they tend to make decisions and changes via reports, which are the result of research and surveys. They are old-school businessmen in this regard and sometimes don't realize until too late that their changes are too slow and insufficient to stem the tide of people leaving. They may have ideas to implement changes but won't act on them u ntil a report or study has been commissioned. In this sense, they are like government--a very bureaucratic corporation. They continue to use surveys as it is a time-honored PR practice and probably will keep morphing but IMO, only if and as it affects their bottom line.
You see changes as resulting from what outsiders think of Mormon doctrine. Fair enough. On that part we completely agree. The church will continue to mainstream itself. (Having said that, the Mormon church has also frequently shown itself to be quite capable of ignoring what outsiders think.)
You state that they want to keep tithing flowing. Again, we agree.
We differ on whether they alter doctrine to pacify inside pressure. You state that "they had to try to change the negative image the church was getting so members would keep going to the Temples ($$)". Members do not generally skip going to the temple because of what non-Mormons think. Members skip going to the temple because they don't want to go to the temple. The temple is bizarre for most thinking people. The changes to the pre-1990 ceremonies made the temple less bizarre. Meaning less revulsion, more attendance and more tithing. They definitely care about what the members are thinking. We'll just have to agree to disagree.
And they are still conducting surveys - and most of the questions have little to do with outside perceptions. I completed one in 1998? as a member and one in 2001? that was sent to all bishops.
| In June of 2006, the Mormon cult announced that it would be building a temple in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. In June of 2007, they began digging and laid the foundation for the temple, disregarding the outcry from the Tegucigalpa citizens that this new Mormon monstrosity would overshadow a historic Catholic Basilica- in fact, the Mormon cult's temple would dwarf it.
From the PR spinsters of Mormonism:
“Construction will no longer be pursued at the site adjacent to the institute building at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras and across from the Catholic Basilica de Suyapa in eastern Tegucigalpa. Construction of the temple was halted shortly after excavation for the foundation in September 2007 when opposition was met from Tegucigalpa city officials, who felt the temple would overshadow the iconic basilica. Despite months of negotiations, the Church did not succeed in obtaining a response of approval from the mayorship. Out of respect for the laws and to avoid any perceived stand against the Catholic Church, Church officials made the decision to relocate the temple.”
In this PR spin, the Cult doesn't mention the fact that they already excavated the site and laid the foundation of the new cult temple. And even though the cult didn't have permission, they continued to work on the temple site. In fact, the ground breaking ceremony was by “invited priesthood only”, meaning that locals that didn't have Joseph Smith's priesthood were not allowed to attend.
Remember, this is the same organization that sees Catholicism as “the whore of all the earth” (see Bruce McConkie, see the Book of Mormon). Mormonism has no respect for any other culture or religion. Mormonism wants the world to act and behave like Mormons and to look just like Utah County. Stop your foolish practices - put on this white shirt and tie and start paying your tithing.
| The temple is surrounded by some big, expensive looking houses. It is very box like in shape, like a big stack of shoe boxes in a pyramid. Having recently seen many cathedrals and churches in Europe (some as old as 1200 + years), the architecture of the building hardly impresses me. I'd call it an eyesore.
You have to go to a chapel, they show you a video of temples, the history of Draper, and then Tommy Monster says this and that. Then, you get on a bus which takes you to the temple. There was a big, long corridor of tents to keep people warm as they walked from the bus to the temple.
You enter at the lobby, which looks like a somewhat nice office building, with a painting of Joseph's Myth on the wall. There is a stone desk that has little blue flecks in it that catch the light in a subtle way and only at certain angles. It was kinda futuristic. Then, you start walking through the temple. The theme is brown, cream, grey, white, gold (for bling?), and some others. There are lots and lots of doors, an ungodly number, but for the open house, most of them are held open so you can get a bit of a sense of the great and spacious nature and layout of the building. Even so, many doors remain closed and no one gets to go in them.
The first thing you see is the baptismal font. It looks very office building like and somewhat futuristic. I remember thinking that it was kinda sci-fi because it has a blue and gold tile compass on the floor, the oxen, and the octagonal font on top. This is in a sunken pit in the floor with a big weird glass wall and then an area with some seats. I thought, "There's some ambiance here, like I'm at Disneyland on space mountain or in a neat office building. It's like the religion of the future- very modern, high tech materials surrounding the crazy rituals which are built with a sense of function and possibly durability but the fashion and art is only thrown in because it had to be. It's not been put there lovingly."
Anyhow, they took us about a maze of clear plastic that went up and down stairs and side to side through halls. I got a bit disoriented because it's so fun house and maze like. Even with the doors all open and the quick pace with which we moved, it was still hard to know where I was. It must be so much worse when you're only using one part of the building and you're cut off from the other parts. I guess they do it to add mystery and confusion?
There were two ordinance rooms- one after the other. They had a little cushiony pedestal thing with lace on it, a stage? with some shiny silver curtains, chairs, and a chandelier. Both were identical in every way and had a sign that said, "This is where we receive instructions on how to return to our heavenly father."
Next, we saw some rooms with murals. One appeared to be Mount Olympus viewed from the peaks just to the south of it. The other was an autumn scene in a forest. Both were kinda neat, but kitsch as well. Then, we saw the celestial room which is located in the big central phallus of the building. It was somewhat cool, but certainly not the most amazing room ever and also dull. It's very tall, white and square. There is a big chandelier that looks like it cost a lot of money. There is a dome on the ceiling that has lilies carved on it. The carpet is cream colored and floral designed. There are some stained glass windows and furniture.
I also saw the sealing room, the brides dressing room, and a whole lot of other stuff. I guess a somewhat interesting thought I had was when I was in the sealing room I looked in those mirrors that reflect each other. As they go off into the distance, the image starts to warp and bend due to the imperfections in the mirror. It reminded me that infinity is improbable and eternal life isn't possible because entropy eventually makes everything wear out. Ironic considering what they represent.
The repetitive rectangles and 90 degree angles on the outside echo the entire interior: Square. The whole place is kind of a fractal of ever appearing squares. 90 degree angles- what architectural originality!
I guess I can't think of much else, and I'm just telling you all this off the top of my head, but here is what I left thinking:
"That was a strange, fun-house office building, religion of the future, needlessly elaborate, kitsch-designed, repetitive, nouveau riche, rather large, silly, memorable and bland place."
I know my bias makes me rate the building lower, but as a fan of architecture, I would rate my favorite European cathedral a 10, the SLC temple a 4, and Draper a 2. It was weird and cool at the same time. Cool in a, "Wow, that must have cost a LOT of money," way. It was the same kind of awe as when you walk into a rich yuppie couple's house and they have the granite countertops that they are so proud of, the mass produced tasteless paintings all over the wall, the thick wood doors and cabinets, plush carpet, expensive lighting, shiny fixtures, etc... but it's so modern and artless that there's nothing to love about it.
In a lot of ways, it echoed the cheap cinderblock, puke orange carpet chapels that dot Utah, only on a larger scale and with the use of more expensive materials.
There is no detail, artistry or intricacy to the building.
Anywho, it's not worth checking out unless you just have to see what a temple is like inside and you live nearby. Otherwise, save your time.
| My wife and I worked for two years in the L.D.S. Temple in Manti, Utah. This is a temple where the ceremony is what they call "live": that is, unlike other temples, where much of the drama is presented by motion picture, in Manti there is no film. Everything is done in person by men and women who have been appointed and set apart as temple workers.
As a Mormon, I had come to believe that the temple was supposed to be the most sacred place on earth, a place where God did dwell.
When I first started working as a temple worker I was very excited to accept the calling. During all my life in the Mormon church I was told, and I believed, that the temple was the most sacred place on earth and that in the temple one could get closer to God than anywhere else. I was told that this was his house. I was also taught that the Adversary - that is, Lucifer - could not dwell in this holy place. I had been taught that belief by my Mormon friends and by church leaders.
The first day I started serving in the temple, I was amazed at all the conflict I saw between the temple president and his wife as they handled the affairs at the temple. There was resentment, arguing, bickering, jealousy, bad feelings back and forth and foul words that I would not use with my own family. Many of the other temple workers were not happy at all with the temple leadership. It seemed as if I was being placed in a dysfunctional home and could not get out. As time went by it got worse and worse until the presidency was finally changed. I thought it might get better then, but other problems came up.
At this time I was also serving in the Bishopric and we had as many problems in the temple as we did in our ward.
I had worked there for one year when I was called to the position of assistant supervisor over our shift. That required more meetings and more responsibility. One of my jobs sometimes was to gather up the used name tags that the patrons wore with the name of the dead person for whom they were going through the temple as proxy. These tags contained the name of the dead person so that temple workers could read the name off the tag when needed at various places in the ceremony. I would return the used name tags to the temple office, but then I found that the same names were used a second day, and to my amazement the same names were used for a third day. I thought, What is happining here? Why do they use the same names three days in a row? I asked my supervisor about it and he told me that they always used the names of all persons submitted to the temple for temple work for those three days consecutively, and then they are sent to another temple and used again the same way and so on and so on. I thought that thiswas very odd. It was as though they did not have enough names for patrons to use fresh names each day. Why would they waste the time of each member going through the temple for the same person for three days in a row, when the ceremony had already been done for that person the first time?.
The next concern I had was about the attendance for each temple session. Only three to fifteen church members were going through each session each hour of the day, hardly enough to make it worth while to even keep the temple open. Saturdays were the only days they had full sessions, which would have been about 125 church members per session. The church leadership was very concerned about temple attendance. Why were they not getting members out to the temple? This was a serious problem church-wide. It was determined that one of the main reasons for poor attendance was the ceremony itself, parts of which were very offensive to some patrons. So they conveniently removed and changed some of the more offensive parts in the ceremony, to try to increase attendance.
They also wanted to cut down the time it took to go through a temple session. Patrons were dissatisfied with how much time was spent in going to the temple. So the leaders felt that if they cut down the time maybe more would attend. They had already cut the ceremony down several times from its original eight-hour verson in the early 1900s to four hour sessions in mid 1900s, then to two and one half hours per session in about 1970, to one hour and forty five minite sessions in 1990. The sessions would start at 7:30A.M. and run every hour until 9:30 P.M.
Apparently the prophet was so concerned about attendance and numbers he sent a bulletin to all the temples asking help in trying to find out what to do to increase temple attendance. So at the temple meetings leadership asked for suggestions as to how to get members to attend the temple. It was decided that each ward would be asked to get at least 15 couples or more to attend the temple daily. That was a joke, trying to get more members to attend or to make a showing. It seemed the church was more concerned about numbers than dealing with personal feelings and making it worth while for patrons and temple workers, who were giving their free time to work through the daily sessions. They even suggested that certain couples be called on a one year mission just to serve as patrons to go through temple sessions. They tried everything. Anyway, temple attendance was and had been for several years very, very low.
After serving and going through sessions and learning the temple ceremony I wondered why anyone would attend the temple ceremony. Most people who had been through it more than a few times thought it was boring, most people went to sleep during sessions, or did not pay attention. Those going to the temple for the first time often felt very uncomfortable, but because everyone acted as though it was sacred and important, they just figured that there was something wrong with themselves. They were told to come back often and then they would understand better what the ceremony was about. I think that most first-timers left with fear and amazement as to their frightful experience.
When I attended another temple in another city they had a sign in the foyer asking for volunteers to work in the temple. The sign was posted for a year and may still even be there today. That was in a town with a 75% Mormon population and many retired couples. I always wondered why there was such a problem getting church members to attend the temple. There was just no interest. While I was serving in two bishoprics over a five-year period, it was always a serious problem to get church members to attend the temple even once every two months, and the church leaders suggest one should attend at least weekly.
The changes in the temple ceremony have been very drastic since the original temple ceremony was instituted by Joseph Smith. One of those changes involved something that really bothered me, which was removed in about 1927. It was a part of the temple ceremony up to that date, called The LAW OF VENGEANCE. Temple patrons were told to stand and raise their right arms to the square and told: "You and each of you do solemnly promise and vow that you will pray, and never cease to pray, and never cease to importune high heaven to avenge the blood of the prophets on this nation, and that you will teach this to your children and your children's children unto the third and fourth generation. All bow your heads and say yes." Does this sound like a Christian church if there is no room for forgiveness?. This oath was one of the main reasons that 125 people - men, women and children - were killed (shot mostly in the head) by members of the Mormon church in 1857. And then the church tried to cover it up and blame it on theIndains. These horrible murders in southern Utah were later known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. The participants who did the killing were commanded by local church leaders to "do their duty" .... and that was to shoot and kill the men, women and children above the age of seven years of age, so there would be no witnesses. They were commanded to avenge the death of the prophets.
I found the Mormon temple not at all like I had been taught to believe it would be. The temple ceremony was one of the main reasons I left the Mormon church. I soon realized the Mormon church was not the church I had been told it was or I thought it was. It certainly was not the church of God as I had been told.
Many who came to the temple never wanted to come back. It was a very depressing experience for me and my wife and very sickening, especially if one believes that it was designed by God. I was ashamed of having served there, after I found out the truth. I realized I could no longer serve a God who was so changable, violent and deceptive.
The temple ceremony used in the Mormon Church was copied after the Masonic order that Joseph Smith belonged to, as did other members of his family. If you read the Masonic temple ceremony you will find it almost identical.
I am glad I left the Mormon church when I did after thirty-five years of dedicated service. I really call it imprisonment of the mind and body. We are now free to enjoy the rest of our lives in peace. Thanks to God for opening my mind to the deceptions of Mormonism before my life was over. I hope members in the Mormon church can begin to think for themselves, instead of allowing the church to do their thinking for them, and realize that the Mormon church is not at all that it purports itself to be. In my experience the Mormon church claims it is a church that brings families together, but I have in my thirty-five years of experience found just the opposite: it separates more families than it has ever brought together.
The Mormon church claims an 11 million membership, and the truth is that only 35-40% are active in the religion. I found myself and others in Mormonism to be very judgemental with others, and church members would look down on others that were not members, either feeling better than them or feeling they were not going to heaven unless they joined the Mormon church. That is in itself a sin, to judge others. If the Mormon people would spend as much of their time judging themselves and allowing others to live their own lives, as they do judging others, they would be a better group of people. - "Happy"
© 2000 Richard Packham Permission granted to reproduce for non-commercial purposes, provided text is not changed and this copyright notice is included
| I did this ritual in the SL and Logan temples when I was a kid.
The TR interview was simple. All of the 12 and 13 year olds lined up at bishop's door. He took less than a minute with each kid. He said something like, "Do you believe in the church, the prophet, and do you try to attend your meetings and keep the commandments?"
We each answered, "Yes."
The next week we were off to the temple, full of excitement about entering the sacred hall where Jesus communed with GAs and ghosts paced the floor biting their fingernails in anticipation of being dunked into the one true church.
The women called us together and with shame in their voices asked us to confess if it was that time of the month. I think one girl from another ward was forced to sit on the sidelines and be smirked at while the rest of us were found worthy to participate.
A big embarrassment for me was the flimsy outfit, a white one piecer, paper thin, with utilitarian buttons neck to crotch. The legs were so wide a splashing wave could flap open the suit up to the waist.
What's worse is that we were nude beneath the suits. Bras or panties might have embroidered days of the week or gray elastic threads which would nullify the baptisms.
The experience wasn't so bad for me. I was able to keep the wide leg openings from rising to high. I did feel like a drowned rodent though from climbing up and down the stairs nearly being dunked for a ghost and confirmed in a stones throw and dunked again and again.
At the end, each girl was forced to strip naked and drop her sopping suit in a bucket before the matron would hand over a handtowel which the girl tried to wear from the stripping stall to the end of a hallway and the locker room.
It was humiliating for me since I grew up with constant reminders that modesty's more important than food or water. This temple experience told me that modesty is good and proper in daily life but is something the church owns and takes away at will.
Does anyone else remember doing this ritual?
Was ther oogling?
A picnic after?
A lunch in the cafeteria or in a restaurant?
Was the experience scary, embarrassing, fun, spiritual?
| I work in film production, and worked on both temple films when they were re-made. The first we filmed entirely on stage at the LDS Motion Picture Studio in 1988; the second was filmed out on location in 1990.
The studio built a complete film processing lab in order to avoid outsiders seeing the footage when the film was processed. It was an astronomically expensive undertaking, and for a number of years afterward they kept the lab running to process church stuff, but eventually the costs WAY outweighed the benefits, and they have since shut it down (smart since everything is moving digital anyway).
There are at least three of us who worked on the temple films who are now openly gay and no longer mormon. I know of at least two others who are still active and in (public) denial.
I have TONS of stories about those experiences.... I cannot even tell you what a horrible experience it was for everyone. Everything went wrong, all the time. Tempers flared. There was so much tangible tension on the set all the time. At the time, of course, everyone thought it was satan trying to prevent the projects from being made -- but now, looking back, I think it is way more accurate to say that the energy just was not lining up.
We would drive endlessly, leaving at 3am, to arrive on this huge church-owned ranch on the Utah-Wyoming border, a ranch so vast you can stand there and horizon-to-horizon was all church property. We'd film all morning, then take a long break in the middle of the day, then film again all afternoon-evening. The hours were horrendous; often the weather was awful. One day we all fled to the trailers because a huge stampede of mad cows came crashing through base camp, tearing through everything.
We had code-names for all the characters so that anyone picking up our walkie-talkie broadcasts would have no clue what we were doing. Adam and Eve were referred to as "Jack and Jill" and Peter James and John were called "The Three Bears." We nicknamed the film itself "Chronicles." God and Jesus were "the shiny guys."
Before production, the entire studio was dedicated by Hinckley as a Temple, and no one was allowed on the lot without a recommend. I think once both projects were done it was assumed the studio was "un-dedicated" since no one came back to remove the official designation as a "temple."
The scripts, wigs, and other props were kept in a large vault (pretty much exactly like the big bank vaults you see in movies) and every morning we had to count every page of every script to make sure none were missing; scripts were never set around anywhere but were always in someone's personal possession; at the end of the day we again went through every copy of every script to count pages. (Forget that anyone could have taken a script to the copy machine down the hall and made 50 copies; no one really admitted that at the time!) But it was almost freakish how terrifically important we all were. You would have thought Armageddon was on the verge of happening if we slipped up on one thing.
We filmed the altar for Adam and Eve on a private ranch here in Utah, but when we made contact of course no one told the owners what film it was. One morning after we had built the set but before we started filming, we got a call from the owners, completely unhinged and upset because they had found a stone altar on their property and thought we were doing satan-worship!! At that point, the church told us to let them know about the project so they would not freak out again. That location was awful; deep mud everywhere, and we had to make new roads to get our equipment to the set. Then of course the helicopter was a nightmare, because of the wind it created....
Anyway, I am rambling, but this thread brought back a ton of memories.
As far as the ceremony itself, the creepiest thing to me at the time of my first experience was that - before the ceremony even begins, you have to raise your hand and covenant to abide by what you are not even aware of at that point, or else you can withdraw, of your own free will. How can you covenant to accept everything you have not yet even seen? That was wacked to me. But of course, with everyone you know sitting around you, it's not like you would dare say "wait a minute, tell me what I am getting into and THEN ask me to covenant about it."
For years I kept all my paperwork related to the temple films, thinking one day they would be a really cool souvenir to show my kids. But after my catharsis of getting ex'd, one day I just threw it all into the dumpster along with my temple clothes and garments.
My last trip to the temple was devastating. I was in a terrible marriage to a mentally-ill wife, and of course was struggling greatly with my homosexuality, and in the celestial room I just prayed for help and guidance - why, when I was trying SO hard, was everything in my life so miserable? Why was god not there to help me be strong? Why was I forced to go to the temple alone and not with my wife, whose illness was religiously-induced, and who therefore was never able to draw strength from church, but only increased misery? And I sobbed in the celestial room and there was utterly no response from the universe. I was completely bereft of comfort; and I somehow new that if solace was not to be found even in that 'holy' place, that something was terribly wrong - and not necessarily with me.
It would be a few years before I got divorced and then came out. But that last trip to the temple was the beginning of the end for me. As I left, I was determined never to return. I would later lie my way through interviews, knowing I would never use my recommend, but knowing I HAD to have one or I would no longer be allowed to work on church films.
For some of us, it unravels slowly, and for others like a bolt of lightning. But when you come to now certain aspects, and, frighteningly, when you *allow* yourself to ask the searing questions, part of you knows, even then, that you're on the way out. At least in retrospect it feels that way.
| Note: This is prior to the 2005 changes to the Temple Ceremonies.
You are taken to a locker room (think High School PE class). You get undressed, and are whispered to put the shield on, take you garments with you to this shower curtain cubicle. Since I was married as a teen, and before the slitting one's pretty throat pantomime was ended...polygamous long-john, one piece undies were "temple garment".
Keep in mind, this was my wedding day!
Since we were told not to question by those we most loved (Mother, aunties, grandparents, and RM husband to be), in we go to drink the kool-aid.
Honestly, I knew something was wrong with this picture at that moment.
The touching began, all in the guise of holiness. I knew everyone in my family had done this at that very moment. Not before! And it was done. She got the garment, and held it open for me to step into. Why? I don't know. (At that time, all garments were one piece. Perhaps so we did not fall down from the slick floor?)
And back to the locker room to now put our pretty dress over these polygamist long-john underwear. And this was again...my wedding day. The first person on one's wedding day to touch you in the temple is not your husband or wife. After all those years of being taught not to pet, or touch another person, to be modest.
The first person to touch your naked body on your wedding day is a stranger.
| Speaking as a BIC guy, married to a nevermo girl for several years before going to the temple after she converted, I must say neither of us knew what to expect.
My wife told me last night that she hardly remembers the day because she thinks she was in a state of shock.
I was told by someone, prior to going for the first time, that we both would have to remove our street clothes, get naked, and go through some sort of ordinance.
I was a bit apprehensive, as it wasn't explained whether we did that together, in the same room, in front of other people, or what, so I was just a bit reluctant to go through the whole process. But, as others have said, "family" and friends put so much pressure on you to do it, you just do it.
I was a bit relieved that it was a separate, from the females, ordinance, although thinking back now, maybe it would have been more fun to do it together. LOL.
We went through in 1980, before all the changes, and wore the open "sheath".
Anyway, the old fart who touched me, had no respect for my privacy, and got so near my equipment I was sure he was going to touch me there. I was getting pretty uptight before it was finally over. And then going through the motions in getting to the celestial room, I really wondered what the hell I had gotten myself and my good wife into.
After we left the temple, my bishop said "I hope that was a good experience for you". I just looked at him and said "interesting is a better way to express it". After that, I fought every attempt to get me back in the temple. But as a HC member, I was "required" to go. Yuk.
Thank doG, we are almost two years out of the cult.
| Not Yours.
What you own is the ability to cow Church membership into silence about the most sacred event in their lives. And at that, you've been pretty successful. Nobody dares talk much about the Temple outside of its "sacred" precincts.
However, what you do NOT own is the ability of former members to talk about our Temple experiences. Like you, we went through the Temple, were washed and anointed, clothed in the "holy garment of the priesthood," watched the Temple film, learned the signs and tokens and were finally pulled through the veil. Our Temple experience is as much a part of our life experience as is yours. The difference is that we are no longer bound by any oaths or covenants that we executed under duress within Temple walls. (You might want to ask Elder Oaks what an "unconscionable contract" is.)
And, since we are no longer bound, we are as free as we want to be to discuss what happened to us within the Temple. (And, I would argue, no member is bound by the unconscionable oaths sworn within the Temple.) Some of us may choose not to discuss the Temple, for whatever reason.
That's our choice. But some may choose to do so, and that is ALSO our choice. You can't take that away from us. It is part of our life experience.
You can stamp your little feet and issue statements that are alternately sad and outraged, but the fact of the matter is this: You Do Not Own My Temple Experience. And I am free to talk about it if I want.
And, if the former members who are writers on "Big Love" want to write about the fictional Barb Henrickson's thoughts about the most important thing in her previous Mormon life, particularly since she's facing excommunication, that is their literary right. They can take their life experiences and mold them into a narrative for their fictional television show. And, again, stamping your little feet and issuing statements is not going to change that right.
So, my advice to you, President Monson, General Authorities and faithful members, is this. Understand that those of us who lived in your world are no longer bound by your secrets. We may choose to honor those out of respect, but we are not bound, and we are FREE to discuss the Temple. This should have been obvious to you years, nay, decades ago.
Again: You Do Not Own My Temple Experience. Not Yours. Live with that.
| "I don't understand the temple, so I'll keep going until I do!"
How many have you have heard that one? I must have heard it quite literally dozens of times. It would seem to me that no one really has ever been able to figure out just what the endowment is really about. You go the the temple prep courses, which don't prepare you for anything that actually happens in the temple, and when you go there's a bunch of stuff that has no real continuity or sense. But real believers always say that it's proof they have to "return to the temple often." Maybe this was just a brilliant ploy by the church, eh? I dunno.
After they truncated the temple endowment ceremony in 1990, it left great holes in the already disturbingly nonsensical "session", and now it's even less understandable than before. At least the whole schtick in the older version with the minister, singing the hymn, seeing the poor minister get stiffed by Satan, etc., added some kind of story line, even if it was a stupid one.
(NOTE: When I first started going through, in the SLC temple Satan wore a Masonic apron complete with columns, checkered pathway, and compass/square, as his "symbol of my powers and priesthood." I thought that was gutsy, implying that Masons were Satan-worshipers. The minister used to lead the congregation in "Somewhere the Sun is Shining"--it was in an older version of the hymnal--although that hymn would sometimes be replaced by "Onward Christian Soldiers". The old actor folks would get confused and say their lines wrong, and someone would prompt them. Elohim and Jehova (generally rickety old guys in their 70's and 80's) appeared in... AN ELEVATOR!! Land o' Goshen, it was great. It was also about 4-5 hours long, depending on how many folks had to get through the veil, and how far back you were. You had to hold your bladder. I'd get to the veil and
Whew. I can still remember it, sort of. How'd I do?)
| Actually, it has been over 15 years now so it's time to talk about it.
What initially led me out of the church wasn't the doctrine (at least not on a deep level yet), but it was my own exhaustion. I was the Young Adult leader in my singles ward and I was very good at it. It was a full time job keeping everyone happy, entertained and living righteously. I had a horribly abusive family, but I had moved away from them and thought that would be enough. After going through just hell with them, it hadn't yet occurred to me that the problem was the church and it had poisoned my family.
So, I was going through the motions of my calling and became quite the celebrity in the ward. That wasn't my intention, I'm just naturally outgoing.
I need to say that at the time I was living with a relative and was not working full time because I was "serving the Lord" full time instead thinking at the time that if I did that that he would bless me with a husband. (Obviously I don't feel that way now, just Morg crap from years of indoctrination).
So, I've been doing the calling for about 6 months. Remember, this is after doing the same calling in a different ward in a different state for over a year, doing the mission and all the stupid callings as a teenager. Also remember I was what I thought was a TBM.
Well, in July of that year we all went to the temple. I walk in the endowment room and go to sit down and immediately start to feel like the energy, my life force almost was being drained from me. I just couldn't focus, felt horribly tired and like my body was dead. When it came time to stand up, I did, but then colasped to the floor. Obviously this freaked me out because I was the picture of health, robust and a "friend of the friendless". Well, I somehow pulled myself together and was asked if I wanted to continue. I said "no". This in and of itself was a big deal. So I left the endowment room and got just outside and collapsed again. I just couldn't move. All the temple patron was worried about was giving her back that damned piece of paper with that name on it. It was stupid.
Fast forward. I go home, start feeling better, shake the whole thing off and go back to the temple a month later. Same thing happened. This was not cool. Something was wrong and now my sub-conscience was awakening to the fact that something about the church was dead wrong.
Two months later I'm at church and I meet this young woman who obviously had had a rough life. She was LDS newly off her mission but physically she was not the preferred size or shape and was treated as such. I saw her pain and befriended her. I did this knowing that I was sort of bending down to help her up emotionally, but I thought that this is what Christ would do and excused the fact that I knew I was getting involved with someone who had some really serious issues. But I was "Cherie!" I was the "friend of the friendless" whose job it was to make everyone feel like they were loved, even to her own determent. (btw, I'm over that thinking now. If the "Lord" has some work to do, he can bloody well do it himself!) Well, apparently I was about the only person who had befriended this person in a long time and she decided I was her savior. It became totally suffocating for me. I listened, I understood, I helped, I did everything a good friend was supposed to do, but she was railroading all over my boundaries, the ones I didn't know I had yet.
One day, I don't remember if I was at home or at church, but I was walking and then suddenly, all my energy was gone and I collapsed. Every time I was around her this happened. I was scared. I tried to will myself to be "fine" as all good Mormons do, but it never lasted more than a couple of days. If I was at church, and someone started spouting Mormon crap I'd just lose all my energy and fall in the floor and I'd have to be taken home. I felt like I was a cripple.
Finally, it happened, the most frightening, most wonderful day of my life. I collapsed and couldn't get up for 3 months.
During this time the most amazing thing was happening to me. I was reconnecting with my "true self". Whenever I'd try to get out of bed and assume the normal "Cherie, the expected entertainer, 'friend to the friendless', the one who never has any problems but who is always there for others", my energy would just leave me. It was as if my true self was saying..."Cherie, it is time to leave this church, this family, these people, and realize that you are ok, you have boundaries, you don't have to say 'ok' when you don't feel 'ok', and you can say no!"
Finally, after three months, I had learned to stay away from all things that would suck my energy and I've been fine ever since.
However, it was my wake up call that something was horribly amiss with the church and that is when I googled "anti mormon" and found this site! I stopped going to church before I found out about the real history. For me that was profound.
From there I started a major journey to reconnect with myself and the world and plug back into my hopes and dreams. I went to counselling and for the first time learned the word "boundary". She actually asked me "how I was". No one had ever asked me that before. It just changed my life.
I've now walked away from my tbm family, the church, and even my country for awhile to give myself a chance to be with "Cherie" again. It has been amazing.
I think the point to all of this is that under all the bullshit we are taught at church, there is still the current of "self" that still flows through us and for some of us that "current" becomes a raging "river" and you are forced to listen to it. I'm so glad I did.
I think that to be in touch with yourself is to be free and it is true that when you follow your self, your heart or what have you, you will always find your own happiness. It might not be others, but it will always be for you.
I just sit here so thrilled that my spirit was so smart to collapse. It knew that that was the only way to get my attention as I was so TBM at the time. Our "selves" are amazing.
Go HBO! Show the world the crap that lives in the temple!!! Whoo Hoo!!
| Growing up as a faithful member of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" I always looked forward to going to the temple. I have many memories as a child of my parents taking their little suitcases and going for the evening to attend the temple. They wouldn't say what they actually did in the temple and their suitcases were off-limits. Nonetheless, I looked forward someday to going with them to that special place.
After my 19th birthday, I took those standard church temple preparation classes at the Stake Center. After the six classes, I was even more excited about attending the temple because they expounded on the teaching that temple worship was centered around Jesus Christ.
Those classes didn't provide any real details about the temple ceremony. And none of my family or friends that had already participated would tell me what happened there. All I knew was that the temple endowment included a play/movie "about Jesus" and church members made sacred covenants to "be more Christ-like."
So I prepared for my first time all excited, expecting the endowment ceremony to be about the ministry of Jesus Christ. I thought, perhaps they would enact the Sermon on the Mount? Or maybe they would show the Last Supper and have us participate as disciples? Or maybe they would portray other scenes in Christ's ministry that were lost to time that revealed spiritual meanings.
Above all, I fully expected the temple covenants to be related to Christ's ministry - helping the poor and the sick, forgiving others and loving one another. I imagined that I would see some of Christ's parables enacted, and then make a covenant to do as Jesus taught. For example, covenant to be a good Samaritan, or forgive the prodigal sons among us, or not judge others.
To spiritually prepare for my first temple experience, I read the four New Testament gospels. So the example of Christ's life and his message were so vivid in my mind. I imagined the temple would be an elaboration on the main things Jesus had lived and taught us to do.
My first temple experience was the Salt Lake Temple, where they still do the "live" ceremony instead of the movie.
What a disappointment.
Not only was the endowment far removed from the New Testament Jesus Christ, it didn't even have anything to do with what Jesus taught the Native-Americans in the Book of Mormon either.
Even more of a let-down was that Jesus (called "Jehovah" in the endowment) hardly had any real speaking parts. In the temple endowment, Jehovah is nothing more than a glorified messenger boy, shuttling messages between his father, Elohim, and Peter, James and John.
Jesus Christ's brother Satan, on the other hand, is the star of the temple ceremony. For example, he tells the audience to put on their aprons and everybody does it. He preaches little sermons to the audience and converses with Adam and Eve.
After attending the temple, there is no way I could honestly believe that the Mormon temple is a bastion of Christianity or Jesus Christ. I get more Jesus Christ out of a 15-second written blessing on the Sacrament every Sunday than in the two-hour temple endowment ceremony.
What was your first temple experience like? Was it what you expected?
| This has been discussed before on many forums but I think it is key aspect of the temple experience. The temple ceremonies involve a string of unethical practices that leave a person very little opportunity to change their mind.
1. You are not informed a priori what is going to happen.
2. Without any information you are asked if you want to change your mind before the doors are shut not to be reopened until the ceremony is over.
3. The doors are closed and presumably locked.
4. You have all of the pressure of family and friends surrounding you who would be very disappointed in your "unfaithfulness", "rebellion", and "unworthiness" if you were to not follow through by performing the entire ceremony.
5. The expectancy of a mission or a wedding in the following days. You would need to cancel your mission or wedding if you did not follow through with all that entails. This would include contacting all of the wedding guests. Many people would suspect "immoral behavior" because you were not marrying in the temple. The same would be true of not serving a mission after backing out of the temple ceremony. This would greatly influence the person’s standing in the Mormon community, their prospects for marriage, and many friendships would be strained.
6. During the ceremony you swear before god, angels, and witnesses under threat of death pre-1990 and currently under threat of eternal punishment not to reveal what you have learned.
7. Many people feel disoriented after the washings and anointings particularly in the past when you were naked other than a poncho with no sides.
8. You are subjected to the identity masking practice of dressing identically in white with everyone else in the room.
9. You are subject to the disempowering practice of dressing in odd temple robes, faux fig leaf aprons, and unusual hats.
10. Many people are confused and disoriented by the fact that their family and friends in attendance have participated in these bizarre ceremonies repeatedly in the past and have been pressuring you participate too.
11. Many people are also dismayed or concerned that they are participating in secret oaths and combinations that are forbidden by the Book of Mormon.
| Not for five years after your divorce. Of course you can attend the temple (meaning they want your tithing), but you can not officiate or be a veil worker.
It seems strange that if you are worthy to get a temple recommend you are not worthy to work in the temple.
I have a distant friend who was divorced and just remarried six months ago to a widow. She officiates one day a week at the local temple, he says he goes through sesssions, but they won't let him work their with his wife until his five years are up.
The church continues to discriminate against divorced people. They will always be second class members, and not equal to other members.
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