THE MORMON CURTAIN
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MORMON TEMPLES - SECTION 2
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.
| Am I the only one who thinks that the pre-existence doctrine (as illustrated by the Saturday's Warriors drama) is in conflict with the doctrine of eternal families (as embodied in the temple-based doctrine of sealings and eternal families)? |
There were great spirits and lesser spirits in the pre-existence.
Many of the most valiant and top leaders in the pre-existence were saved for the "last days", when their superior spiritual strength would be badly needed.
"Friends" and loved ones in the pre-existence agreed to form family relationships as needed to help each other fulfill their special missions on earth. This implied that sometimes a higher-ranking spirit would come to earth as the child of a lower-ranking spirit--particularly since the most valiant are generally reserved for the last days.
Temple/Eternal Family Doctrine:
Family hierarchies are made permanent based upon family relationships in this life. This implies that a father will always be above son in the patriarchal/priesthood hierarchy, and so on all the way down the patriarchal line.
Although never stated (probably because the eternal family doctrine developed without careful consideration of the pre-existence doctrine), this would also imply that any of the super-valiant spirits ("generals in the war in heaven") must become eternally subordinate to less-valiant spirits (one's who came earlier, but have higher standing in the patriarchal order simply by virtue of the order of birth on earth).
Don't these two lines of doctrine seem to be out of whack and inconsistent with each other? Has this ever been discussed in a gospel doctrine class context? It just seems to me that the pre-existence doctrine contemplates family and other relationships, including birth order and time period of one's mission on earth, as arrangements designed primarily to serve earthly mission requirements.
This seems to be at odds with the eternal family doctrine, which is focused on eternally locking people into superior and inferior positions in a permanent patriarchal hierarchy, based solely on the order of their arrival on earth and getting sealed into the patriarchal order of whatever LDS family they born into.
Great grandpa Buddy Bilgebutt could have been only a seargant in the war in heaven, but thanks to the eternal family doctrine and patriarchal order, he will eternally outrank the super-valiant spirit who arrived in the last days as his great grandson, Freddy Bilgebutt, even though Freddy's spirt was a 5-star general in the war in heaven. Make much sense?
| A well-known TBM lurker has claimed that "Mormon marriages solemnized in the temple enjoy a divorce rate significantly lower than the national average." |
The same could probably be said for JWs, Seventh-Day adventists and many other churches compared to the national average.
But what is the divorce rate of temple marriages?
Here's a factoid from Michael Quinn's book Mormon The Mormon Hierarchy : Extensions of Power:
"26 Jan, 1942 - First Counselor J. Reuben Clark tells reporter for Look Magazine: "Our divorces are piling up." Church Historian's Office in 1968 compiles divorce statistics since 1910 for temple marriages, "church civil" marriages, and "other civil" marriages. Although temple marriages have lowest divorce rate of the three categories, in 1910 there was one "temple divorce" for every 66 temple marriages performed that year., 1:41 in 1915, 1:34 in 1920, 1:27 in 1925, 1:30 in 1930, 1:23 in 1935, 1:27 in 1939, 1:17 in 1945, 1:31 in 1950, 1:30 in 1955, 1:19 in 1960 and 1965. Last rate for temple divorce is almost ten times higher than Utah's civil divorce rate a century earlier."
Quinn lists the temple divorce rate up until 1965 (1 divorce in every 19 temple marriages).
In a 1975 General Conference address, church President Spencer W. Kimball complained again about the high rate of temple divorces:
"We note the great increase in divorces. ... Our study reveals the fact that all too often it is because of their immoralities and their idolatrous worship of the god of lust. It is hard indeed to justify in one small city not far from us 272 divorces in the same time that 341 marriage licenses were given."
- Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, Spring 1975 General Conference, see also Ensign, May 1975, page 4
Michael Quinn also documents how bad temple marriages were in the late 1800's:
"27 Feb, 1889 - LDS political newspaper Salt Lake Herald's article titled, "FAILED MARRIAGES," regarding "the report of the Labor Commissioner Wright, presented last week, on the statistics of marriage and divorce in the United States from 1867 to 1886 inclusive," with following: In 1870 Utah had highest rate of divorce out of all states and territories. In 1870 Utah's rate was one divorce per 185 marriages. National averages was 1:664. States with lowest divorce rates are South Carolina at 1:4,938, Delaware at 1:123,672, New Mexico at 1:16,077, North Carolina at 1:4,938, and Louisiana at 1:4,579. In 1880 Utah had tenth highest rate of divorce out of all states and territories. In 1880 Utah's rate was one divorce per 219 marriages, which was more than twice the national average of 1:479. In twentieth century, divorce rates for LDS temple marriages starts out three times higher than this "divorce mill" rate for early Utah civil marriages.
Temple marriages were statistically a disaster for the early Saints who suffered under the "Celestial Marriage" doctrine of Mormonism. No surprise that by 1965 the temple divorce rate was 1 in 19.
Temple marriages contain a paradox. On one hand, you'd expect temple divorce rates to be lower than the national average - not because they are happier, but because the social pressure to stay in a temple marriage is much higher.
On the other hand, Mormons have a tendency to marry for the wrong reasons, to an incompatible spouse and with added church demands. Add to that the judgmental nature of the Mormon mentality and you get self-loathing and criticism of your spouse. When striving for "worthiness" doesn't make them happy, temple marriages end in divorce. This could explain the high rate of 1 in 19 temple marriages ending in divorce.
That rate may not be high compared to the national average, but it seems high for "eternal marriages" blessed with "priesthood power" and the "blessings" of the gospel. You'd think all that tithing and church activity would bless these marriages to stay together more.
So there seems to be a paradox in Mormon temple marriage. Theoretically it can make couples stay together, even when it's not working out. But at the same time, the temple marriage doctrine and the Mormon mindset can doom a marriage.
Look at the average TBM temple-marriage couple:
- They turn over 10% of their income to the church
- They turn over lots of family time over to church callings, meetings and study
- They, on average, have more kids and at an earlier time
- They turn over their adult lives to the church to give them direction, council and purpose
- They buy into rigid gender roles and unrealistic expectations
And what do couples get in return? How does any of that REALLY help a marriage? I would argue that the above things don't lead to blessings, but are actually burdens.
This was certainly the case in my marriage. It's been better than ever since we left the church. We have more family money, time and purpose. We have less marital strife from all those expectations and mindless obeying what the GAs say. The sex went from good to great.
On top of it all, when you learn that Smith stole the concept of a "Celestial Kingdom" from a 17th century writer, you realize the after-death payoff is make believe! If the church can't ultimately deliver on its promises of Godhood and celestial glory with infinite increase, then the whole thing is a scam to make someone else rich and powerful.
Temple marriage isn't about making people happier or even saving them. It's about serving the Mormon machine and making your family into a mini-cult that works just like the church.
No wonder it doesn't work out as well as advertised.
| It recently occured to me that some people visiting this board had a much different experience in the Mormon religion than me. Recently I learned, for instance, that Mormons sneak Cosmopolitan drinks and wear Victoria Secret lingerie.
I guess I really missed out.
Am I that unusual, however, when it comes to TBMs?
I took the WHOLE thing seriously. I mean I actually kept the word of wisdom (except for Diet Coke). I went to tithing settlement and felt awful if I paid 9% instead of 10%.
I faithfully attended the temple and submitted to the ULTIMATE mind control exercise: the annual temple recommend interview. Can you think of anything more cultish than the temple recommend interview?
When asked if I associated with enemies of the church, I sheepishly admitted to being a Democrat (Since leaving the church I've also changed my views).
I mean, I actually believed I had to wear the approved garment 24/7, and empowered some old codger to ask me if I wore the correct underwear!!!
Do you realize how psychologically damaging that actually is? To willingly give someone else the authority to dictate what goes on your body, especially what covers your intimate parts?
My never-Mo girlfriends have been very helpful in de-programming me from the LDS non-sense. I have to ask them the simplest things. It's like I'm a teenager again and learning how to be a real woman for the first time.
I thought I was over all the damage from LDS Inc. But sometimes there are layers we have to work through. I know I'm over the initial phase of anger toward the church. Now I'm just trying to mend some still-broken pieces, trying to reclaim my autonomy and sexuality.
The worst part of it all? I accepted the "patriarchial death grip" and all the other shit as if it were NORMAL!
It gives me the creeps just thinking about the questions that I willingly answered ... so truthfully.
| Before I went to the temple for the first time, I took those temple preparation classes. After the classes, I really thought the temple was all about Jesus Christ.
They don't give you any real details in those prep classes and none of my TBM family or friends would tell me either. All I knew was that the endowment included a play/movie "about Jesus" and people made covenants to "be more Christlike."
So I entered the temple all excited, expecting the endowment to be about the ministry of Jesus Christ. Perhaps they would enact the Sermon on the Mount, I thought. 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 deeper meanings.
Above all, I expected the covenants to be related to Christ's ministry - helping the poor and the sick, forgiving others, loving one another. I imagined that I'd 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 something like that.
Yes, I was naive. I had just finished reading the four gospels and the image of Christ's life and his message were so vivid in my mind. I imagined the temple would be an extension of the main things Jesus wanted us to do.
My first time was through the Salt Lake Temple, where they still do "live" sessions. What a dissapointment! 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 people in the Book of Mormon either.
Even worse, "Jehovah" hardly even had any real speaking parts. He's nothing more than a glorified messenger boy, shuttling messages between Peter, James and John and Elohim. Satan, on the other hand, is the star of the show. He tells the temple patrons to put on their aprons and everybody does it! Now that's power!
There's no way anyone could honestly argue that the Mormon Temple is a bastion of Christianity or Jesus Christ. Mormons get more Jesus Christ out of a 15-second canned sacrament blessing than they do in the two-hour temple endowment ceremony.
If you look into the origins of the temple ceremony, this all makes a lot more sense:
Am I the only one who felt disapointed by their first temple experience?
| I vividly recall the day that I went through the temple for the first time.
I was expecting some weirdness, because I had some friends that actually broke into tears after they received their endowments. (They told me that these were tears from being freaked out. Not tears of joy.)
Anyway, I don't want to turn this post into my memoirs, but I do want to say that I have NEVER felt such a let down as I did when I went through the veil for the first time.
As I sat through the entire ceremony, I kept thinking about how wonderful it would be finally sit in the celestial room and speak with my family about the mysteries of God. But by the time I went through the veil, I felt shell shocked. I didn't feel the spirit of anything but confusion and distress.
My family was waiting for me at the other side of the veil and they all hugged me like I had just done something great. I had to force a smile and wondered what I was missing. I felt empty.
To top it all off, we didn't have a chance to talk about God or ANYTHING for that matter after the session. We were ushered out of the celestial room so quickly, you would have thought that it was simply an overly decorated hallway.
Whatever happened to feeling peace, praying, meditating, etc...?
I believe I have felt more of the spirit meditating in nature than I have ever felt within the gilded walls of any LDS temple.
| So even though we have been out of the church for several months my kids continue to ask questions about the church.
The discussion yesterday was the temple and the freemasons. My older son is currently reading Dan Brown's "Angels and Demon's" and is very intrigued by the masonic symbols etc.. So he and my younger daughter began asking about the temple and what goes on in it.
Last year I found a freemason site with pictures of men in some of the freemason ceremonial clothing. My kids thought it was weird stuff. I explained then that the morg temple clothing was "similar".
So yesterday I decided to dress up in the complete temple clothing so they could see it. My daughter was floored and kept asking if I was lying about having to wear this crap. My boys thought it was totally funny. I told them that had they stayed in the church they would have been wearing that stuff in 4-5 years. They then gave me a hug and thanked me for helping them "out"!
I am sure some will be offended by me doing this but too bad. Should my kids EVER decide to rejoin as adults, they will be well informed on what to expect and not be coerced into it with false promises of "further light and knowledge" as most of us were.
PS My wife knows I did it, thinks I was goofy but agreed that our kids should be very informed.
| A mention on the seminary thread got me thinking.
I've participated in the Hosanna Shout on two occasions, The dedications of the Washington D.C. and Bountiful temples.
At Washington D.C. I was 17 years-old. I had heard that the "shout" was a joyous and enthusiastic "ordinance". Both times it was dull and boring. It sounded really morose with all the joy sucked out of it.
As you wave a white handkerchief the words are spoken in unison by the congregation, "Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna to God and The Lamb" (Repeated three times).
I watched part of the conference center dedication while I was living in SoCal and Hinckley led it in SLC. I had never heard of it being done outside a temple until then. It was televised on cable for anybody to see. Before it was performed he said that it was a tradition held as sacred by LDS members and asked that anybody else watching not to mock it.
Have you performed the Hosanna Shout?
| I wonder why the early mormons chose such a macabre god to worship.
When the mormon god revealed his temple ceremony to his mormon prophets seers and revelators, you'd think the alarm bells would have started ringing and that they would have looked for another kinder, gentler god. But they didn't. They were happy with this grim, gory, gruesome god of darkness. To each cult it's own, I suppose.
In the early god-given temple endowment, there were various blood and death oaths, gifts given from the grim mormon-god to his mormon subjects.
The mormon god's diabolist, death oaths:
# 1 - First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood
"... we agree that our throats be cut from ear to ear and our tongues torn out by our roots."
# 2 - Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood
"... we agree to have our breasts cut open and our hearts and vitals torn out from our bodies and given to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field."
# 3 - First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood
"we agree that our bodies be cut asunder in the midst and all our bowels gush out."
Now, it turns out that the mormon god is also a muddled god.
The macabre mormon-god told his mormon prophets seers and revelators that the endowment and temple cult-rituals would never change. In the words of Joseph Smith:
"Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed"
Well, it turns out that in his old years, the mormon once-man, now-god god is developing Alzheimer's or something like that. The macabre god, with his now muddled mind, has forgotten about his promises never to chop or change the cult-rituals. The gruesome mormon-god has wobbled on the weird wording and graphic gore, ordering his mormon prophets seers and revelators, and temple cult-ritual script writers to slaughter chunks of the solemn and sacred ceremony.
In fact, the original non-changing rituals have now been changed numerous times over the years, each time the change being a dilution in the demonic deliberations, and from 1990, all traces of the gruesome god-given death oaths were themselves gutted and destroyed.
Still, it fills us with love, peace and heart-filled gratitude that we were ever blessed to be part of that pietistic pantomime doesn't it?
1. Reed Smoot Hearings, 1907, U.S. Senate Document 486
2. "Endowment Oaths and Ceremonies", Salt Lake Tribune, February 8, 1906
Yes folks, it's on all the public record.
| As you know one thing you have to do before you can server a mission is to take out your endowments (where exactly does one take them, anyway?). So. I had to go to the temple. My friend, who would actually get the pleasure of serving in France, had gone through the temple a few months prior to me. All he had to say was that it took some getting used (in reference to the garments). I asked him if he felt different, and he said no, except for the garments. He actually seemed rather blasé about the whole thing. Like many others I received no formal instruction about the temple. My whole life I heard that it was the pinnacle of spiritual experiences, a place where sometimes the Lord and His hosts visit to bestow further light and knowledge on those do their work for the dead there. It was a literal bridge between this temporal existence, and the spiritual world to come. I was excited, a bit nervous, but like a naïve child, expecting only another Sunday worship service; just this time a little more spiritual. Remember, I was 19, totally uninformed about the temple... just wanting to do the right thing...
The first thing I had to do was get the packet of clothes. I peeked inside and was struck with curiosity about the green piece of silk. I asked my dad what it was, and he said don’t worry about it; I’d need it in the endowment session. I then went to a changing room, said a prayer, and changed into a white poncho thing. I felt extremely vulnerable as I went into this partition, and this old man mumbled some words, touched me on my thigh, rib cage, and somewhere else (I can’t remember the specifics, but to be sure I was not molested. In other words my genitalia were never groped, fondled, touched, or brushed by anyone.). I felt that this was a really strange situation that was unfolding before me, but I just went with it. I was sure things were going to get better. Well, they didn’t. In fact I became horrified rather quickly.
Much of my endowment session was a blur. I remember the film, I remember people changing into strange and slightly disturbing outfits (bakers with robes complimented by a green apron is the only way I can describe the way we looked). It was then that the question was asked. Something to the effect that if we didn’t want to go any further, we should then leave. My mom and dad looked at me. I knew they could see my stunned faced. They tried to look at me and smile, but I could tell that they knew I was about to bolt. My heart was racing. God I wanted to leave. Run Lance run! Run! GO NOW! But I didn’t. I crumbled under the peer pressure of having my parents’ friends there. I crumbled under the pressure of being the “last great hope” because my siblings had left the Church. I knew that if I were to leave, my mother’s heart would have been broken, and that I had failed her. I couldn’t bear to imagine her weeping at the thought that I too had rejected the gospel. No. I stayed. We made slashing gestures across our throats and abdomens. We made symbols, and promised to place the Kingdom of God before everything else in our lives. I met some man at the veil, we made the five points of contact, and he pulled me through the veil. I went to the Celestial Room. There was a mirror there, and the boy that was staring back at me was scared, in shock, and devastated. All I could think was, “But the Book of Mormon is true.” It’s true. I know it is. I can’t think about this right now. Put it away. Don’t think about the temple. The church is true. It’s true. It’s true. I know it is. God, why? Why?!
The Church isn't true. It's not, and the temple is a blessing in disguise because the feelings you have right now about that experience are the very feelings that are going to wake you up to reality. And reality is that the Church is just a goofy man-made organization that is bumbling along with no real meaning outside that which you attach to it. The temple was scary. Yes. But in reality the Church is silly. The whole thing is stupid, and you got a wake-up call from you.
| Joseph Stalin treated the average Soviet citizen like garbage but the public rail stations in Moscow were like palaces. The subways in Moscow were designed to be a form of control. The people had to depend on the state to go anywhere but the subway stations were palatial works of art. Stalin himself called them the People's Palaces. In truth, the people had no freedom and could only go when or where the state owned subway took them, but the beautiful chandeliars and fresco paintings made them feel like they were part of something special and they indeed were important just to be allowed in such a wonderful space.
The Mormon church plays the same tactic. It tells you that you are one of the few chosen ones. If you are a convert, well, you were one of the few who were smart enough and spiritual enough to get baptised. If you were born in the church, well, you were a choice spirit who was rewarded by being born in the church.
The temple is a private club that just drips of the "Aren't we special!" syndrome. Much like Stalin's palatial public train stations that made the Soviets smile with pride because they knew nobody else in the world had train stations that nice, Mormons sit in the Celesial room under the chandeliers and smuggly thing they are special and chosen.
The truth is, like the Soviets of the past, Mormons are stuck in a system that only takes and gives little back. Oh, there's all sorts of praise for being a good commarad or church member. Lot's of medals of honor but the pay is certainly lousey.
I personaly know members of the church who have no health insurance, but yet they pay 10% tithing and fast offerings. If these people go bankrupt because of medical costs, the church will just yell at them for not having medical insurance. It's the truth. The church takes and gives you nothing back but a chandelier to sit under and a non ending stream of praise telling you, "You are important!"
| I have a family member who got married in the temple over the weekend. In order to ensure that her single friends, nevermo family, and DH and I (the evil apostates) could taste a morsel of her glorious celestial sealing, she included a pre-reception ring ceremony in her schedule of events.
Before the reception, as I was helping some relatives prepare food, I asked one of the aunts if the couple would be doing something like exchanging vows at the ring ceremony. “No,” she said, “Saying vows is discouraged.”
“Discouraged by who?” I asked.
“Because they are not supposed to seem like they are mimicking a real wedding.”
“But isn’t that what they are doing?”
At this, DH cut in amiably, “I can see why they would do that.”
“So can I,” I said pointedly.
It never really hit me up until that moment how the church was ALL ABOUT CONTROL. The couple had already gotten married in the temple, and done everything they were supposed to do to get there, and now they weren’t allowed to say vows to each other in their own private backyard ceremony? I’m surprised the church even lets them have a ring ceremony at all.
The ceremony itself was one of the most offensive experiences I went through all weekend. It started out nice enough as the mothers got up and briefly expressed love for the couple and gave them some advice. But the main part of the ceremony was this horrible sermon by the bride’s uncle.
The sermon had absolutely nothing to do with the couple before him. It wasn’t even directed at them. Instead, it was directed at all of us who hadn’t been in the temple that morning. He lectured for what seemed like forever on the church’s eternal-families propaganda, asserting that no other church on the planet believed in eternal families, wow isn't the morg special. He said that even if we weren’t members, we should appreciate this wonderful doctrine. He said that those who were not members of the church also had no right to feel anything but happy that the new couple had gone into the mormon temple and thus would be together forever. He insinuated that if we felt any other way, we were terrible, unfeeling people.
After this preaching frenzy, the couple hurriedly put the rings on each other and rushed off to feed each other cake. The whole thing seemed tragic to me. Not only did the church cheat these newlyweds out of a nice customized wedding, but it also kept them from individualizing their own private backyard ring ceremony.
Nothing is ever about the members, is it? It’s always, always about the church and its rules, and its power and its control. Always.
| Many Mormons - both believers and non-believers - have a hard time understanding the Mormon temple endowment. Here's a list of questions I've compiled. Some are ones I had as a TBM and others come from e-mail I get as well as posts here. |
True Believing Mormons wonder...
1. Why are the days of creation different than those recorded in the Book of Moses and Genesis? The third and fourth days are backwards in the endowment ceremony.
2. In the Mormon scripture Book of Moses 3:15-25 it says that God commanded the man (Adam) not to eat from the tree of good and evil. God didn't command the woman, because she had not been created yet. So why is the endowment film different than the Mormon scriptural account?
3. How did Peter, James and John get bodies before they were born? Peter shakes Adam's hand, so we know they weren't spirits. According to Joseph Smith's handshake test for discerning evil spirits from good spirits, Peter should have refused to shake Adam's hand (unless he had been resurrected).
4. Satan wears an apron that he says is a symbol of his power and priesthood. Why then does Adam, Eve and the temple congregation moments later obey Satan when he commands them to put on aprons?
5. How could Jesus be on the right hand of God, in physical form looking like his identical twin, when Jesus had not been born or resurrected yet? Jesus says in the Bible and BoM that he wasn't perfected until AFTER the atonement.
6. So was Lucifer a snake as it says in the scriptures, or a man like it shows in the temple?
7. Lucifer picks the apple off the tree and gives it to Eve. But Lucifer doesn't have a body! What's up with that?
8. Where did Lucifer get his preacher that was preaching to Adam and Eve? Was he for real or just a ghost? If just a ghost, why was he dressed as a protestant minister with the collar for Adam and Eve to see?
9a. The Book of Abraham as well as the modern prophets have taught us that the earth was created around the star Kolob. It orbited God's solar system until AFTER the fall, when it was hurled through space and placed in this solar system. This scriptural doctrine contradicts the endowment, where we see the creation of the moon and it mentions our sun and the other planets too. (See http://www.i4m.com/think/lists/mormon...)
9b. If the Kolob doctrine is true, why is this not included in the endowment, which is supposed to be the "Lord's University"?
9c. Why go through the creation story if it is not true and contradicts Mormon doctrine and the Book of Abraham?
10. If the endowment is actual history, then why was it so radically changed in April 1990? Whole sections were altered and others deleted! If the endowment represented real history, how could it change? Was it not true to the actual events all along? Is the new version "more true to history?" (See: http://www.i4m.com/think/temples/temp...)
11. In April 1990 and January 2005 the covenants and penalties of the endowment ceremony also radically changed. Didn't Jesus say in the scriptures that a sign of false churches is that they change his covenants? (See: http://www.i4m.com/think/temples/temp... )
12. Where do you find a clear description of these "laws' mentioned in the temple?
1. Law of Obedience
2. Law of Sacrifice
3. Law of Elohim
4. Law of the Lord
5. Law of the Gospel
6. Law of Chastity
7. Law of Consecration
Some of those laws that temple patrons covenant to obey are never mentioned or explained outside the temple. If they are literal laws of God that must be obeyed, why are they not all clearly identified and expounded upon in church discourse?
13. What is the difference between "legally" and "lawfully" as said in the temple endowment covenant?
14. Adam raises his arms in the "true order of prayer", and who answers his prayer? Satan. Does this mean Satan can answer even prayers given in the "true order" ordained by God? What prayer is safe from not being intercepted by Satan? (See: http://helpingmormons.org/compare.htm)
15 Did God really send Peter, James and John down to earth and give Adam and Eve those silly temple clothes to wear? They didn't have a temple, so when did Adam and Eve wear them?
16. How could Peter, James and John be involved in the whole thing when they hadn't been born yet, hadn't been baptized and had not been through the temple? They weren't wearing garments themselves, so how could they be worthy to participate in the endowment events?
17. Temple workers stand is as proxys for Elohim and Jehovah during the ceremony, which makes it very sacred. But since someone also stands in as a literal proxy for Satan, doesn't that make the temple unholy?
18. What is the purpose of learning the "true order of prayer" if it can never be practiced outside of the temple ceremony?
19. Why does God require secret handshakes, names and passwords to pass through the veil and enter his presence? Can't God look into our hearts and know whether or not we are worthy?
20. Why are temple patrons required to make death oaths, when they are expressly forbidden by God in Mormon scripture? (see: http://www.i4m.com/think/temples/temp...)
20. If the endowment is centered on Jesus Christ, why isn't Christ's two top commandments included in the endowment covenants - love God and love your neighbor? Why isn't there mention of Christ's sermon on the mount or other teachings on charity and compassion?
Did anyone else wonder about this stuff before you realized the whole thing was a fraud?
| I thought about this question this weekend because of a talk I heard Sunday. The speaker quoted a GA (Faust, I think) who said that one of the reasons “saints” should attend the temple regularly is that temple attendance would make members of the church better people, better neighbors, better friends, better parents, better husbands and wives, and better Christians.
I thought about my experience attending the temple. I tried to be objective, something I couldn’t be when I was an active believer. I asked myself if attending the temple made me a better person and I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t honestly attribute any of my maturity to the temple. I was what I call an anal TBM. I live in the Midwest and attended the Washington, DC temple (a 12 hour drive) then the Chicago temple (a 4-5 hour drive) as often as time and expenses would allow. Then, miracles of miracles, we only had to drive 2 hours to the Louisville, Kentucky temple. There was a time when I loved to attend the temple. This weekend it dawned on my why. Those of you who only drove a block or two to the temple may not understand all these reasons.
First, attending the temple got you away from the pressures of work, home, and church for a few hours. Ironically, it was the church that caused the majority of these pressures. Second, you could sit quietly in the temple and “seek answers for your problems”. Interestingly, I NEVER got one answer to my problems in the temple – not one. No inspiration, no revelation, no voices, nothing. Did that stop me from believing that I would get an answer the next time? Talk about brainwashing. Third, and this one is, perhaps, the most important reason for going to the temple, was going out to dinner afterward with your husband/wife/friends. If you don’t think that it is very important, suggest that you NOT go out to dinner afterwards to you High Priest group and see their response.
Then I thought about what goes on in the temple and realized that there is nothing there calculated to improve people that you can’t find outside the temple. We make promises to consecrate our time and talents to God, rights? Wrong. We consecrate to the Church! How does that make me better? We promise to be faithful to our husband/wife. That concept is taught in so many other places that we don’t have to attend the temple to hear it and make those promises. Perhaps nowhere else do we promise “no evil-speaking of the Lord’s anointed” but that is so self-serving as to be transparent. OK, the one we don’t hear in many other places is the promise of “no loud laughter”. I wonder how many times that one has been violated during a GA’s talk.
The point is, the convents we made sure don’t seen to inspire mature improvement. The only maturity I see is the ability to endure mind-numbing repetition without falling asleep. Of course, many do fall asleep. I wonder how that affects the person for whom they are going though.
Another aspect of the temple is the symbols. We are promised that if we “give prayerful consideration to the things we see and hear”, their meaning will be revealed to us. Did any of you ever get such a revelation? I didn’t. In all my years of faithful attendance, I got zero revelations on the meaning of the temple symbols. I prayed for an understanding. I believed that the Lord would give me the promised understanding. Nothing – ever. I remember looking down the line as we gave the first or second tokens hoping that seeing all those arms and hands in those positions, I would see something that would make sense. Nothing – ever. Of course, there were times that a member of the temple presidency would answer questions in the celestial room and I learned some of the symbols that way. But those things were not by revelation and they certainly did not help make me a better person. For example, the idea that the cap is tied to those 3 loops on the robe represents revelation to our minds from the Godhead. We learn that in Sunday School (not about the temple clothing but about revelation) so what value is that sort of thing. It just seemed like silliness.
I ran all these thoughts by a TBM friend and she said that it wasn’t the tokens or words but the feelings in the temple that made her a better person. I said that I used to have those feelings sometimes but I also had those same feelings listing to Beethoven or Bach, looking a beautiful painting, walking in the woods, or looking at a sunset. She agreed. I asked, “Then why build these multimillion-dollar edifices just to get that kind of feeling when you can get it in so many other places?” She didn’t have an answer.
My conclusion is that good people are still good after attending the temple and bitchy people are still bitchy. I don’t see that temple attendance does anything to make people “better”. It’s just one more way that the church keeps the people under its control. It is an effective way to give them a break from the pressures of church assignments yet not let them off the leash. What a brilliant plan.
| Doctrinal Question: Did you marry your spouse and the Mormon church in your sealing?
The following is the sealing ceremony wording for those who can’t remember or who have never attended the temple:
Officiator: Will the Witnesses please take their seats at the head of the altar.
Witnesses: Take their seats as requested.
Officiator: Brother ______, [naming groom] and Sister ______, [naming bride] will you please take your places and kneel opposite each other at the altar.
Marriage Couple: Kneels opposites each other as requested.
Officiator: Brother ______, [naming groom] and Sister ______, [naming bride] please join hands in the Patriarchal Grip or Sure Sign of the Nail.
Marriage Couple: Joins hands in the "Patriarchal Grip, or Sure Sign of the Nail." This token is given by clasping the right hands, interlocking the little fingers and placing the tip of the forefinger upon the center of the wrist. No clothing should interfere with the contact of the forefinger upon the wrist.
Officiator: Brother ______, do you take Sister ______ by the right hand and receive her unto yourself to be your lawful and wedded wife for time and all eternity, with a covenant and promise that you will observe and keep all the laws, rites, and ordinances pertaining to this Holy Order of Matrimony in the New and Everlasting Covenant, and this you do in the presence of God, angels, and these witnesses of your own free will and choice?
Officiator: Sister ______ [acting as proxy for ______, who is dead,] do you take brother ______ by the right hand and give yourself to him to be his lawful and wedded wife, and for him to be your lawful and wedded husband, for time and all eternity, with a covenant and promise that you will observe and keep all the laws, rites and ordinances pertaining to this Holy Order of Matrimony in the New and Everlasting Covenant, and this you do in the presence of God, angels, and these witnesses of your own free will and choice?
Officiator: By virtue of the Holy Priesthood and the authority vested in me, I pronounce you ______, and ______, legally and lawfully husband and wife for time and all eternity, and I seal upon you the blessings of the holy resurrection with power to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection clothed in glory, immortality and eternal lives, and I seal upon you the blessings of kingdoms, thrones, principalities, powers, dominions and exaltations, with all the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob [if living, he adds: and say unto you: be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth] that you may have joy and rejoicing in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. All these blessings, together with all the blessings appertaining unto the New and Everlasting Covenant, I seal upon you by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, through your faithfulness, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.
As I have reviewed this “ceremony” I continue to try to understand just exactly what it was that we were doing there. I do acknowledge that the spouse is mentioned, but it would seem that our promises extended beyond our spouse to the Mormon church as well “will observe and keep all the laws, rites and ordinances pertaining to this Holy Order of Matrimony in the New and Everlasting Covenant” Is the sealing ceremony nothing more than an extension or cap stone to the endowment ceremony whereby we promised to give all to the church including our very lives. Does this also apply through the sealing that our marriage and spouse could be offered up as well? In short, did we marry the Mormon church?
I would argue, that yes, we did indeed marry Joseph’s cult along with our spouse, however I would like your thoughts and ideas on this issue.
| Handshakes, Hats, and a Superhero Apron Cape.
Today I decided to clean out my closet. It has been a while since I did this, and my closet in particular was screaming for attention. As I removed my sweaters, shirts, shorts and a sundry of other apparel, I came across my black temple clothing bag. “Let’s have some fun with this,” I said to myself.
I called my ten-year-old son, as well as my seven, six and four-year-old daughters into the living room, “Come in here kids, I have something to show you!” I then proceeded to don my cap, robe, apron and sash all the while explaining to the kids that Mom and I dressed like this during our visits to the temple. My son began to laugh, exclaiming, “I am so glad we are out of the church and I won’t have to wear those stupid clothes!” I laughed and then my seven-year-old daughter said, “Dad, you look like a cooker man!” By now, we were all laughing and having a great time.
They were all fascinated with the slippers for some reason, and wanted to take turns wearing them around the house. My four year old took the apron and wore it in a Superman fashion while whisking too and fro throughout the house. My seven year old took the robe and wrapped herself in it while exclaiming, “Look Dad, I’m a mummy!” My son took a shine to the cap and asked if he could keep it and wear it around the neighborhood.
I then told them about some of the handshakes and things that we did while there. My seven-year-old daughter looked at me with a “you have got to be kidding me” expression, and my son just laughed. I then told them that at one time I looked forward to taking them to the temple, as I believed it was a special place, but now we know it’s a lie and made up by Joseph Smith. “It’s all a pile of crap!” exclaimed my ten-year-old son.
Part of me still had some reservations about doing this due to Morg programming. Nevertheless, I wanted my children to see the utter silliness of the whole dress up thing. My seven year old caught on how stupid it was ever to think that some handshakes would be necessary to get back to God. A sweet seven-year-old mind, uncluttered by the baggage of Mormonism could see right through the completely stupid mess, but I at one time could not.
I have to go now; Apron Girl and Cap Man are here to take me away to spirit prison.
| Did you really believe that you were going to be held to some temple covenant and your life would be taken in some gruesome manner (pre-1990)?
I know that people take these things seriously, they place a lot of importance making a covenant with God, but...
isn't it just pretend, figurative, play acting anyhow?
Mormons asked me how I could disappoint God and destroy my life by breaking my temple covenants. Easy. I said. They are not binding. Joseph Smith Jr lied about his claims and the temple rituals he set up are just silly, outrageous, goofy male Free Masonry adopted to his own idea of his religion.
And that goes for the regulation, official temple skivvies.
I asked a TBM recently if they would follow the prophet and obey if they were told to leave their apostate relatives, not have contact, kill them, or shun them.
Would they follow the prophet?
The answer was: no, not if was unreasonable.
Ah ha...the key is whether it is "unreasonable." I found a chink in the armor.
Well then, what about those undies they are afraid to take off? Is it reasonable to have a fear of taking them off or not wearing them to bed, etc?
So, the question becomes: is it reasonable to believe the temple covenants and rituals, handshakes, new names, are important to your life?
Is it reasonable to demand by covenant to give everything to the building up of the kingdom?
Is it reasonable to demand by covenant to pay tithing?
Is it reasonable to demand by covenant to: "avoid all light laughter, evil speaking of the Lord's anointed, taking the Lord's name in vain and every other impure practice"???
Is it reasonable to live the Word of Wisdom, when it it is full of inaccurate goofy health ideas for humans and animals, and has never ever been lived as written by the members?
Is it reasonable to not talk about what goes on in the temple? Why does sacred mean secret? Is that reasonable?
Is it reasonable to dress up in a goofy outfit, green apron, and (in the past) give total strangers access to our body under a sheet for "blessings"?
Is it reasonable to believe the BOM is inspired by God through Joseph Smith Jr.?
Is it reasonable to recognize the imaginary authority of th church leaders: prophets, bishops, presidents, elders, etc.?
I could go on and on.
The more I think about Mormonism, the more I see that it is unreasonable on all levels. But, that seems to be the beauty of it. Faith does not work well with reason! Looks like one can cancel out the other one!
I asked myself why I went along with this, knowing deep down that it was unreasonable, didn't make sense, but.... relied on faith and trusted people I thought would tell me the truth. I could not imagine that a huge church of millions of people would be that hoodwinked. But they are!
Probably one of the most difficult things to handle is knowing we placed our trust in an organization that was lying by omission and sanitizing it's history. The betrayal, is probably the hardest thing for humans to handle.
| I've spent a lot of time pondering the inane and stupid that is the LDS temple worship, if that is what it is - worship. Just this moment it dawned on me why "temple work" is so important to LDS leaders starting with Joseph Smith. The reason for its design and the clue to its demise lies in Mormon history.
Forget that Mormonism started as a pentacostal folklore movement of a primitivistical form of Antebellum American mystical Christian zeal.
Realize that in Joseph Smith's boasting at his cohesive powers, he took all of his happiness. Mormonism today reflects that same 19th century zeal for being a "united people" that is beset by a flurry of differences of opinion and worship.
What does the LDS temple represent? It is the predominant symbol of religious unity in America - the land of religious liberality.
The "prophet" nor his councils care if you or anyone leave his church. Like Smith, he will always have a coterie of people bound to him more than their blood would ever bind them to others.
The "temple" is the way. It is the path to salvation in the Mormon prophet's terms. It proves not only loyalty, but a resolve in people to follow him.
Without the temple, Mormonism is just another denomination. With it, no matter how it dwindles, it is a force for proving people's resolve to follow one man and his many councils in what he and they determine the best for you.
Can any other religion lay claims to such a resolve in the people that profess its virtue?
Only a cult.
Mormonism is one its way to being a worldwide accepted, esteemed, and praised cult and the temple leads the way.
Get rid of the temple and you don't have Mormonism anymore. You just have another religious system of belief that holds both the ridiculousness and the righteousness of its adherents higher than the ridiculousness and the established cohesive power of its prophet's will.
Take the temple away from Mormonism and you might as well take the prophet with it.
| I had a nice visit with a TBM Mormon friend of mine. Him and his wife were invited to the Idaho Falls temple for what they thought was going to be a special endownment session for church leaders and their spouses. What it turned out to be was a chapel meeting with the temple president and it was all about guilt tripping the priesthood leadership and relief society leadership into making sure more church members go to the temple.
Apparently there is a major push in the Idaho Falls temple district to do this because of fear the Rexburg Temple is going to steal a lot of temple goers and workers.
My friend was discusted. He was saying they want us to put spirituality into quantifiable goals like we are selling cars or insurance of something. He says the best I can do to make sure people go to the temple in my quorum is to have good teachers teach the lessons so we have a spiritual priesthood meeting on Sunday and that we get as much home teaching done as possible.
As we talked more my friend just sighed and said, it's never enough. I've done everything the stake president and bishop have asked me to do. PPI's, increased the hometeaching percentage, have better lessons in priesthood. Now theres a huge push to be missionaries and live in the temple.
All I could say is it wasn't the old church we grew up in. He agreed. Since this guy is still a major TBM and his wife is too, he would be offended at my view of what's going on. What's encouraging is the church is becoming more and more burdonsome to these people.
The way I view the situation, is the temple is the main tool the top church leadership uses to rope in it's members. If they can keep you going to the temple they got you hook line and sinker. It doesn't matter if you lie in the interviews. Probably a good percentage do. It's that they still get some of your money and free labor and if you are a parent, they get your kids too so they can brainwash them into little Morgbots.
This is why the temple cerimony has been streamlined and the garmets changed over the years. If the members had to wear the one piece, trapdoor garmets, they would bolt from the church. Hinckley understands this and when the women don't like being subjected to their husbands, change that too.
What they want is to use the temple as a tool to get your assets, time, talents, and family. Being banned from family weddings and being treated like a second class citizen is the punishment for not having a temple reccommend. This is why the temple is pushed.
Step one is to get you going to church. Step two is to use social and family pressure to get you in the temple. The more the church herd into the temple the more money and power over the membership the church has.
It doesn't matter if garmets get shorter or if they streamline the temple cerimony more. That's filler for the most part. It's the temple reccommend proccess that locks your in.
| I've posted this information before but it's been a few years. With all the threads lately about the McTemples that sit empty most of the time and speculation about whether TSCC is losing money on them, I thought I'd post it again.
A number of years ago, I worked with a guy who was a CPA and had worked for the finance dept. at COB. He'd been there a long time but finally had to force himself to leave in order to "preserve his testimony" because the everyday workings of church finance were taking its toll on it.
In particular, it was when they started building the mini temples and how it had nothing to do with inspiration, amount of temple work that could be done in that area, or anything other than how much money it would bring in that was the determining factor of where they built temples.
I was still in the church at the time, but very disillusioned and I think he felt safe confiding in me. But some of the things he told me really made sense. For instance:
It takes at the most, 9 months for a mini temple to pay for itself. You KNOW the one thing the Morg is good at, it's making money. Gordy Geezer can talk through his old saggy butt all day about what a "blessing" a temple in your area is, he knows darn well, the blessing is to the corporation.
They do extensive statistical research to figure out how much of a surge in tithing they will have when they first build the temple. This is usually enough to finance the whole thing. If you've been slacking on the tithing thinking it's too much trouble to drive 4 hours to the temple anyway and you'll start paying 100% again the next time you have to go to a wedding, you'll think twice when you see the temple every Sunday because it's right next to the chapel. There will be a big push on people to prepare themselves and sacrifice for "their" temple.
Once the temple is paid for, it costs very little in upkeep. There are no property taxes. Not only do they not have to pay for grounds upkeep, janitorial workers, temple workers, etc. because they "call" people to these enviable positions so they can work for free, but it also keeps lower-income people paying because there is a push to call people as temple workers who might have had trouble keeping up on their tithing before. No one is going to let their tithing lapse and has to go in and tell the bishop they can't do their temple job anymore because they can't get a recommend.
Even if your ward only has an assigned temple night one night a month or once a quarter, people still have to keep their recommends current (hence keep tithing current) so they aren't embarrassed and have to make excuses for why they can't go to ward temple night. In short, just that empty building sitting there is generating a lot of money just by virtue of its guilt-producing presence.
It can sit empty most of the time, all TSCC has to pay is a little overhead/upkeep and the utilities. In the meantime, the land is not only appreciating, but it is a valuable asset on the books. Where does the financing for malls come from? They can technically say they don't use "tithing money" for the malls, but they can use their great assets (such as monetary value of temples) to finance other projects that DO bring in a lot of money.
In short (or long) the temples are the Mormon Money Machines. And the best part is that the sheep easily fall for it and get all awe-struck when they get their own temples and as predicted, open their wallets. It will be a long, long, time before you start seeing any of these money machines shut down. We'll continue to see them built, maybe not on such a grand scale, because when this scheme was first figured out, they needed to populate the main money-generating areas of the church with them, but they'll figure out where there are enough members in other parts of the world to generate enough money and have a valuable money-producing asset.
| During the past month I went to a marriage and sealing ceremony in the Las Vegas Temple for the marriage of a brother in law. My wife (active, but a dwindling testimony) and her many active sisters asked for tissues as soon as they got into the room expecting a good cry for their little brother and his new wife. It did not happen.
The sealer, sat in the chair the entire time, with the exception of the moment he gave the sealing prayer. For about 5 minutes (no kidding), he spoke about how sealers had just been instructed not to give "advice" to newly married couples as a part of the sealing ceremony, and that he would not give advice. He said they had been instructed only to speak about the importance of the ordinance, and to focus on the ordinance and the priesthood. He went on and on about how these were new restrictions, and that he felt the changes were good because the church is focussing on the most important thing, the ordinance. During this entire speech, he remained seated. In a big room, it was very awkward.
It was the only ceremony I have been to where the sealer did not do the whole look into the mirror, and see eternity thing. He didn't do it.
At one point, while talking about the new changes, he said "I know it seems like I am doing too much talking about myself and the new restrictions" but it is important.
He then began to quiz, no kidding, the new bride, fresh through the temple about the different promises she made during the endowment. It was terrible because she was lost. Finally, my brother in law started answering for her. Very awkward.
Then he just got up, said the prayer, and waa-law, they were sealed. He then had everyone march past them to congratulate them, and when 1/2 of the poeple had already exited the room, the sealer remembered that they could exchange rings. The other temple workers called everyone back, even more akward, and they exchanged rings in a rushed moment. He was sure to remind everyone that the exchange of rings was not a part of the sealing ceremony and had no eternal significance. That is all he said. No comment on how nice the rings were, that the circle represented eternity, or anything kind.
I felt like telling him that he was a dumb-ass and had ruined the whole thing anyway. The whole ceremony became focussed on the rules rather than the love. It was cold.
I thought my view might have just been my personal bias agains the church (looking for flaws etc), but my observations were confirmed by everyone else after the ceremony. I have never heard so much "murmurring." My wife and her sisters were all complaining after it was over about the sealer, how he sat the whole time. How focussed on himself he was. My wife commented that he was so dry and impersonal that there was no place for her to even cry. They were upset.
A week later I was speaking to my brother in law, who is an active TBM, who was involved in another sealing a few days later in Utah. He was also present for the sealing in Las Vegas. Despite his utter TBM status, he complained that the Utah sealer did the same thing as the one in Vegas. The Utah sealer did not stand at all until the actual sealing prayer (this may be a cooincidence). Made the same comments about the new changes and the restriction on giving advice, and that he was instructed just to do the ordinance. My brother in law felt the new ceremony was cold.
The church is ever increasingly more corporate, and obsessed with rules. Rules for everything. The church is becoming so sterile. Even for active members. Of course its all a sham, so it shouldn't surprise me. But it is getting difficult for even believing members to endure.
| Some of you might be wondering why I even care what the mormon church does or says about anything. And you would probably be right since I haven't considered myself mormon for 15 years.
I was thinking the other day about how pervasive American mass media is about weddings. There are magazines devoted to weddings and receptions. There are conventions with wedding planners, hair stylists, florists, pastry chefs, photographers, etc. It is an enormous, billion dollar industry.
Whether or not it's empowering for women - the vast majority of little girls will be sucked into this culture. Bridal gowns are costumes for halloween. Music videos are filled with weddings and wedding imagery (Think a simple kind of life with Gwen Stefani). Many successful movies (Father of the Bride, both versions) are based around this pie in the sky wedding fantasy that many women have. In an episode of the sitcom Friends a few years ago, one of the characters brings out a binder filled with clips and cutouts for her wedding she had come up with at the age of 10. I saw a children's cartoon (Little Bear) with a fake wedding with an aisle the other day. These fantasies all have aisles and brides in gowns and veils. It's literally everywhere.
So - with this tremendous pressure on mormon women to marry and to marry a mormon, what kind of planning does a mormon woman get to do for her actual wedding ceremony? Nothing. She actually has no idea what the ceremony will be like. No one, not her mother, teachers or friends are allowed to talk about what happens. There is no beautiful strapless white gown in her future as she walks down the aisle.
There is no aisle.
In popular culture - people can choose to do lots of things. They can exchange vows in front of immediate family or just a justice of the peace. Getting married outdoors, on a beach, on a baseball diamond is trendy. She can wear pants. While a gay couple can't get married legally, there are plenty of gay weddings. In the end, who cares what a couple decides to do? It's what the couple wants. A mormon woman has no idea what she is in for.
As an adult, I've read more about the mormon ceremony - it's published lots of places on the net and in books. Of course it's seen as horribly offensive to active mormons - who feel the ceremony is sacred and should never be shown to outsiders. (Never mind the fact that it is directly lifted from the Masonic rituals). Many might argue that I should respect others' beliefs - yet this is one part that I find hard to respect. The sacred part of the ceremony should not be the knowledge of the ceremony itself - but the spiritual reaction. AND at this point - when anyone who looked could easily find what happens - why does the secrecy matter? What purpose does it serve?
I agree that some of the wedding culture (like prom culture) is just plain sexist and bullshit. Some women spend so much time planning for their weddings that actually being married seems like an afterthought. Others become depressed after the wedding is over in a "what now" type funk. And yes, at one point the wedding and dowry were an exchange of property (women) from their fathers to their husbands. Weddings and marriage have not always had a glorious tolerant history.
Yet Utah LDS/mormon leadership is (as usual) completely out of touch with popular culture. This isn't surprising since most of them are over 90, white, male and rarely leave Utah.
There is no cultural comparison for a mormon woman to look forward to her wedding ceremony.
I'm not suggesting that I would have stayed mormon if I had actually been able to look forward to my wedding. There are so many reasons why I left - this wasn't even a blip on my radar.
All I'm suggesting is - how can a wedding or marriage be an ideal for a young woman if she doesn't even know what she's in for? It's not an attractive prospect. It's terrifying. Not only does she not know what she's in for, she has to remain pure and chaste in order to get to that pinnacle. Again - she has to sacrifice, possibly lie to herself and others about something in which she is completely in the dark about what happens there.
I cannot imagine how I would have reacted at my wedding in the temple when I saw the men putting on green aprons and chef hats. Then - I would put on a veil - covering my face! Because there is a definite separation there of what the men do and what the women do.
Sure, the leadership does a phenomenal job of indoctrinating children into going to the temple. "I love to see the temple" is a common primary (young children) song - or "My body is a temple". Songs like this are sung by little mormons (as young as three) all the time. They never sing about how going to the temple requires 10% of your income to the mormon church. I guess that's not as important.
It's simply not fair to keep women (and men) out of the process. I'm sure by keeping everything secret that people don't think about how wacky everything really is. It's a method of control and manipulation. There's no question the mormon/LDS church is moving towards a more non-discript, not as separate religious order. If so, this ceremony will have to go - or at least, the secrecy will have to go.
| It was time to go...the youth temple night for baptisms for the dead was that night, and since I was a counselor in the Young Women presidency, I needed to be there on time in order to help out.
I had recently received my "Limited Use" recommend for adults who were able/worthy to do baptisms for the dead, but were unable to have a full-use recommend to do adult things in the temple like take out the endowment or other things. My bishop had a little group of women in the ward who had not taken out their endowment like I hadn't, and he pushed us to go to the temple to at least do baptisms for the dead.
I arrived, and since we were unsure how many kids were actually going to show up, I checked out a white jumpsuit to wear just in case I was also needed to perform baptisms. I changed in the girls' dressing room, and the Young Women president and I helped the girls in there until we went out and sat on the benches overlooking the font where the kids waited to begin doing baptisms.
It looked like enough kids showed up, so soon I was in the dressing room helping the girls with getting ready (and helping them stay quiet and reverent) after they came out of the water. The YW president was in the little hallway that led from the font to the dressing room, and she was handing out towels to them as they came up out of the water. She went to get more towels, so I helped her by taking over handing out towels as the girls got done. I sat on a little stool holding dry towels next to the guy who was reading the names to the baptism performer, and across from me sat my bishop (and friend) and one of the Young Men presidency members. I'd hand a towel to those leaving the water as they got to the top of the steps, and then I'd get another towel and wait for the next kid to come out of the water.
Fast forward to the next Sunday. The Young Women president, a very sweet woman who also happened to be the stake president's wife, stopped me in the parking lot at church and said she needed to talk to me.
"Um, Lisa, I hope you're not offended by this, but I was asked to talk to you about helping out in the temple. Um....you can't help with the baptisms like that anymore...can't hand out towels. What you can do is stay in the girls' dressing room to help out, or sit in the chapel and help anyone who needs you, but you aren't able to go into the font area anymore. I hope this doesn't upset you....." I could tell she felt really uncomfortable doing this. I wondered who had put her up to it. Probably my bishop, who was there that night. She is a very sweet, very calm and unassuming woman, and we were both highly uncomfortable. I guess it's also possible she talked to her husband about it if SHE was the one who didn't like it, and he told her to talk to me. I don't know.
I stood there feeling pretty stupid. I had no idea that I was unworthy to HAND OUT TOWELS. Especially if I was worthy to actually step into the font and perform baptisms. I didn't quite know what to say.
I answered her, "No, that's fine, no problem. OK. I'll remember. I won't do that again, now that I know it's forbidden."
She said she was sorry again, and she hoped I wasn't offended, and I assured her I wasn't offended, and I said something to make her feel better, and we said goodbye.
I wish that wasn't my last temple experience to remember. Before that it had always been a very special place to me, a place where I felt a lot closer to God. Not so much anymore.
| The closest temple when I was young was 1200 miles away. Then it went to 450 miles and now it's 15 miles.
The farther away it was the more "special" it was. You had to make a bigger sacrifice to get there. Also you didn't know the people in the temple so it was easier to mythologize the experience (familiarity can certainly breed contempt). It also made me think more about my own worthiness.
So in the local temple it's all with the local joes you see every week at Church. If the guy officiating at the endowment session is that bozo who makes the stupidest comments in EQ and hardly ever does his HTing, that makes the experience, well, less "speshul".
I think Gordo's "inspiration" was that it would be a unifying and strengthening factor, but I think it's had an opposite effect and makes it harder for the morg to perpetuate its myths.
Related to this I can remember my disappointment when Gordo explained his "inspiration" for the small temple initiative. He was being chauffeured around in a limo when the thought popped into his head. At that moment another issue went up on my shelf that later came tumbling down.
| Shortly after the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma temple was dedicated, I was asked to be an ordinance worker. It was an honor for me. I was in my mid thirties and looked forward to learning more about the temple. I had gotten to know the newly called temple president, Jerrell Chesney, during my service as a member of the Open House Committee which he chaired.
I ordered my white suit and shoes and showed up for work. I met a lot of really nice people in the temple. Almost all of them were great people.
That first week was hectic. The organization was still lacking and Pres. Chesney was busy trying to fit all the pieces together. I remember one humorous incident when Chesney walked up to me and asked if I had ever officiated a session before. I told him that not only had I not officiated a session, I hadn’t even been a follower yet. He put his hand on my back and in his deep Oklahoma twang, while pushing me into an ordinance room full of people, told me to push the green button on the alter. That was my first session. After a week or so, things calmed down considerably and we began having normal training and assignments.
During the prayer meetings prior to each shift we watched a training video, learned the new names (male and female) and then asked questions. There isn’t a lot of training about meaning, just procedure. In fact, we were told not to share our own personal opinions about temple significance with others. Each was to learn from the Spirit, we were continually instructed.
But most of the temple workers were aged and had worked in other temples for may years. They were bored stiff. They taught me a lot about the temple ceremony. I would spend hours looking at the film looking for jet contrails, telephone poles and other evidences of non-Adamic technology. They taught me about staying alert by playing these little games.
Apparently these good men and women, who had spent enough time in the Lord’s University to have earned several doctorates, could find nothing more instructive than looking for bloopers.
| I was a nineteen year old boy about to enter the MTC. My twin brother and I were to enter the MTC about two weeks apart, but we went to the temple the day before I reported to the MTC. My parents were very excited about us going to the temple. For my mother, it was, I believe, a way for her to see herself as a successful mother.
We left our home and traveled to Utah. We stayed with my uncle at his home in Orem. The night before I remember going to sleep knowing that in the morning life would be different. I wasn’t sure how it would be, but I knew that I would have to wear garments. I had felt a little ripped off when I went to buy them. I had worked hard to save money for my mission and part of it was used to purchase holy clothing. I honestly thought that they were pricey and that the Church should sell them at cost.
The night before I rested in my bed wondering what life would be like. The big moment was going to happen. I was to learn the great secrets of the temple. I had always been taught that the temple was the holiest place on earth, that Jesus walked its halls, that angels frequently appeared there. I had an uncle who swears that his deceased brother appeared to him in the temple and had a conversation with him regarding why he died and what he was doing in the Spirit World. All these things raced through my head. I felt in awe about entering a place where heaven and earth literally co-existed.
Eventually I fell asleep. I was awoken early by my parents. I showered and ate breakfast. I dressed in my suit and we drove north to the Salt Lake Temple. As we approached the entrance, I felt somewhat apprehensive. The man at the booth examined our recommends and an eager guide was there to show us where to go. I believed that those men at the desk had supernatural power to discern every bad and evil thought I ever had. Would they let me in? Mercy was shown and we were permitted entrance.
My twin and I were given lockers next to each other. There we met our “triplet.” Coincidently, a third young man was there to receive his temple endowments the same day prior to his mission. He had the same last name and the temple workers had assumed that we were triplets.
We made our way to the washing and anointing area wearing only a shield, which exposed much of my body. I held my garments in my hand as I followed our guide. I felt weird being so exposed. As I entered the booth, I remember that a lot of my body parts were blessed. It seemed pretty strange to me – unlike my previous experience in Mormonism. Lastly, a man dressed me in my garments then told me my new name, “Jonah.” I had never cared for that Old Testament prophet. I was a little disappointed by the name and thought that perhaps God was trying to humble me- but for eternity? I didn’t want to be a Jonah.
As we headed back to the lockers, a temple worker ran up to us and warned us not to discuss our new names with anyone – not even with each other. I thought that was a little strange as I had already been told that I could never reveal the new name by the temple worker in the booth and my mother had told us many times that we would receive a new name that had to be kept secret.
We dressed in our white clothes and sorted through our temple robes and aprons making sure that we had everything. Once our guide made sure we hadn’t left anything we followed him to the front row of the chapel area. We sat down with our dad, next to the other new missionary who was sitting next to his dad. I was very surprised that all the men had to sit on one side and all the women on the other. I didn’t quite understand this separation.
My mother beamed with pride. I saw her smiling over at me. I saw uncles and aunts whom I had seen in years wearing white clothing. My sister and her husband were present. Then the endowment presentation began.
At first it was just plain boring. The presentation of the creation was disappointing. This was the endowment? Then we started receiving handshakes, making signs and learning penalties. I was blown away. This seemed like a secret combination to me. I had a sick feeling in my stomach. It seemed that the Book of Mormon had warned against such secret combinations which used handshakes. I was a bit confused. I looked over at my mom and she had a nervous apprehensive look on her face. I understood why. I knew that at the end of the session I would be expect to repeat information. I focused myself on remembering all that I could.
Slowly, the presentation dragged on. The elderly temple workers performed their roles almost robotically. I thought it was strange that an actor played the part of the devil, who seemed to have a significant role in the presentation. I was somewhat fascinated by his apron and the symbols on it. I wondered what they represented.
We moved from room to room. By the time the presentation was nearly complete I was frightened that I hadn’t really understood my religion sufficiently. What had I missed that had failed to prepare me for the sacredness which I was not seeing? The temple didn’t feel sacred.
During that morning, I had wondered how many in the session were deceased people. I really did believe that there was no separation of living and dead in the temple. I had assumed that angels were there too. At the end of the session, we were told that we would be presented to the Lord at the veil. I had missed the explanation that a temple worker would be performing this part. My name was called and I was escorted up some steps to the veil. I looked for Jesus’ hand to reach through the curtain. My heart was beating quickly. Out came the hand of an old man. Within moments I understood that Jesus really wasn’t there. I repeated all the information back, making the tokens with the help of a temple worker. I passed through the veil into the beautiful celestial room of the Salt Lake City temple. It was full of people dressed as unusual as I was. My parents were already there. My mom was shining as her two sons came to her. My dad didn’t respond much but seemed to want to talk about the room, not my experience.
Everyone was happy. But I was confused. The experience was different than what I had anticipated. My mother explained that I needed to go often to understand it better. After a few minutes, we left and returned to the locker room where I shed my robes for my suit, attired now in my garments.
When we left, I was afraid.
Eventually, the strangeness of the temple wore off. Repeated visits makes it all seem normal. But one thing never changes, the look of people’s faces in the session company. As an officiator later in my life, I would often look at the faces of those attending. Nearly all of them had an empty look. No smiles, no interest, no nothing. We all just sat there enduring to the end. I also saw the nervous looks of mothers whose sons attended for the first time. It always reminded me of that day in 1985.
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