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Since going through the endowment ceremony for the first time can be a shocking experience for many people, the church has temple prep classes available for people preparing to go to the temple. This is a great idea; however the classes in no way prepare you for what really happens in the temple. I personally attended all the temple prep classes twice before I took out my endowments and in none of those classes, or temple prep books, was it mentioned that I would be learning secret handshakes and passwords that I'll need in order to get into heaven.
I was also not told that I would be making promises to have my throat, chest, and abdomen slit if I revealed the temple ceremony to anyone the penalties were removed in I also was never told I would have to symbolically act out slicing my own throat and stomach along with everyone else. Also, I had no knowledge I would be making covenants to essentially give all my time, talents, and everything with which the Lord blesses me to the church.
Also, even before my temple wedding, I didn't know I had to promise to obey my husband. Although the temple ceremony says you can leave before you make the covenants, in reality it is very, very hard to do so. You are very confused, the peer pressure is enormous with everyone there doing the same thing so you naturally go along with it even though you don't fully understand what you're committing to, or may not really want to commit to it at all, but you feel you have no choice.
Also you naturally trust the church and don't think that they would ever do anything wrong. We don't know of anyone that actually backed out in the middle of the ceremony. The curiosity to see how the thing ends is also just too tempting to pass up. It is unfair to ask people to "sign a contract" that they aren't allowed to read in advance. Because the rites are secret, you have to agree to everything blindly, then discover what you've agreed to.
Is this how God works? We believe that members should know the details of the ceremony before going through it. Of course, we believe that investigators should be told about it also.
New members aren't even allowed to enter the temple before they've been a member for one year. The reason for this is obvious. The LDS church justifies withholding the details of the temple ceremony from its members until they actually go though the endowment session themselves by using the philosophy of "Milk Before Meat".
The idea seems to be that if investigators were taught the details of the temple ceremony before they joined, it would seem so strange that they wouldn't likely join the church. However, if they were a church member for at least a year, as is required before entrance into the temples, then they could be introduced to it in such a way as to not upset their faith.
This is even more evident in children born into the church that constantly are given positive, reinforcing messages about the temple, without ever knowing the details of the ceremonies until they actually receive their endowments which cannot happen until they are at least 18 years old.
Per wikipedia [on April 25, ]: The Church of Scientology holds that at the higher levels of initiation OT levels mystical teachings are imparted that may be harmful to unprepared readers. These teachings are kept secret from members who have not reached these levels. The Church states that the secrecy is warranted to keep its materials' use in context, and to protect its members from being exposed to materials they are not yet prepared for.
Is it okay for the Scientologist religion to withhold from its members their strange beliefs about aliens blowing themselves up on Earth 75 million years ago with H-bombs and how their essence controls us today until they are firmly indoctrinated into their church? If not, then why is it okay for the LDS church to withhold the strange practices of the temple endowment ceremonies until they are indoctrinated in the LDS church?
He was shocked and said that in the church he currently belonged to, they would not keep secrets from prospective members and could not figure out why God's supposedly true church would do this.
He said he would not get baptized if they would not tell him what he wanted to know about the church he was considering joining. The missionaries would not violate their covenants, so my friend never got baptized. When my friend asked me about it, I had not yet been through the temple either, and I just said that I thought it was reasonable that he had a right to know what he was getting into before he joined. This was before the Internet. In this Age, I'm sure he would just have looked up the ceremony with Google or another search engine to find out for himself.
The secrecy of the temple covenants keeps people from talking about it and perhaps leaving the church over it, but it also prevents some people from joining the church. With the Internet today, there are no secrets from inquiring minds, so it will be interesting to see how this issue gets treated by inquisitive investigators and converts in the future.
My parents are true-believing members, and they told me the changes weren't that big of a deal. Decide for yourself by reading the actual pre and post versions right here: Ask a Bishop, or other members. Many of us have asked an Elders QP, a Bishop and other members that have gone through the temple before , and all have said that there were changes, but most claimed that the changes aren't that essential. Some of us have spent much time in the temple prior to wondering what kind of God would put these things in of slashing throats and disemboweling oneself.
Few members back then probably gave it much thought, it was just part of the signs and tokens. That is why some members say they don't even really remember them. Most people who attend temple do not think that deeply about it but rather it's a duty to perform.
The Five Points of Fellowship is one of the strangest things that many ask what has that got to do with getting into heaven? For those that haven't been through the ceremony before , it can be researched on the Internet on Masonry sites:.
The officiator demonstrates the Five Points of Fellowship through the Veil with the temple worker who represents the Lord, as each point is mentioned. The Five Points of Fellowship are "inside of right foot by the side of right foot, knee to knee, breast to breast, hand to back, and mouth to ear. Perhaps the answer to why the Five Points of Fellowship was ever in the temple ceremony to begin with is that it is in the Mason's rituals.
It is copied virtually word-for-word from the Masons. The original temple ceremony practiced by the saints included an oath of vengeance against the United States government for the death of Joseph Smith. The change was added by Brigham Young after Joseph was killed by the mob. This was removed in early Imagine if Mitt Romney was running for president after taking an oath against the United States government.
More on that here: Perhaps these kinds of oaths helped explain how the Mountain Meadows Massacre could even ever occur among the good Latter-day Saints men. Temple attendance was reportedly declining in the s even though baptisms were increasing and regular church meeting attendance was steady. The Church leadership naturally wanted to know why. A survey was given to some 3, Church members in to find out the reason.
Some excerpts of an article on the subject are listed below. Link is now dead. Although it could have been just a coincidence, it is interesting to note that within months of the publication of Buerger's article, the LDS Church made its own survey of the opinions of members concerning temple work. We hope that you will feel you can be candid and open in your answers…. We will not be able to associate your name with the questionnaire you complete.
Although Question 28 asked the person who had been through the endowment ritual if he or she "felt spiritually uplifted by the experience," it also probed to find out if the experience was unpleasant" or if the person "was confused by what happened. Although our photocopy of the page containing the "Comments" is faded out and difficult to read, it appears that the woman who filled out the Survey admitted she had lost faith in the church.
This is supported by her answers to Questions 77 and The "main reason for not attending LDS church services" was listed as: While many LDS will undoubtedly stand firm in their faith that the decision to change the ceremonies came by direct revelation from God, the evidence seems to indicate that the publication of the temple ceremony and objections to it by non-Mormons combined with criticism from within the church as evidenced by David John Buerger's article in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought forced the Mormon leaders to issue a survey to find out why temple attendance had fallen off and what members of the church actually felt about the endowment ceremony.
The results of that survey must have indicated that a significant number of people were offended by parts of the ceremony. Consequently, a new "revelation" was given to make the ritual more appealing to the LDS people.
Sometimes Mormonism is compared with a corporation. A business, using business type methods in order to maintain it's growth and profits. An interesting telltale sign of this is the use of surveys used to gain information from customers or potential customers in the market place. A survey tries to gain a snapshot of reality in order to make some adjustments in business plans to protect the organization and to enhance it's position in the business world. Several years back we were visitors in the Luton ward part of the St Albans stake and unusually the congregation was asked to fill in an official questionnaire during sacrament meeting.
It took us about minutes to fill in. The questionnaire was in a very similar style shown in this following example used to gain general information about different faiths in the USA - this example is in itself worth studying. Like the survey above, members were told that they could fill the survey in anonymously. It was a while back, but the type of questions included were similar to this vein:. I can't remember exact questions - but they were to find out the dedication level of members, what they liked or disliked about the church, how they perceived local leadership, etc.
I was gob smacked that the church leadership was relying on a survey in order to make decisions about leading the church. What happened to inspiration? Or was information and real world data the "new inspiration"? Although we don't have the results of the survey, just by talking with members, it's apparent that many members were not comfortable with the pre ceremony. Many people described it as bizarre and didn't want to go back again.
Naturally people disliked the death oaths. Having to run their thumb across their throat as if it was a knife in order to show their commitment to not revealing the signs and tokens to nonmembers can be frightening. Just hearing the words used can be quite chilling in what is supposed to be one of the holiest places on earth. The execution of the Penalty is represented by placing the thumb under the left ear, the palm of the hand down, and by drawing the thumb quickly across the throat to the right ear, and dropping the hand to the side.
I, 'John', covenant that I will never reveal the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty. Rather than do so, I would suffer my life to be taken. The Officiator demonstrates the execution of the penalty. The Execution of the Penalty is represented by placing the right hand on the left breast, drawing the hand quickly across the body, and dropping the hands to the sides. I, 'David', covenant, that I will never reveal the Second Token of the Aaronic priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty.
Rather than do so I would suffer my life to be taken. Penalty is represented by drawing the thumb quickly across the body and dropping the hands to the sides. Officiator completes the action. I covenant in the name of the Son that I will never reveal the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood or Sign of the Nail, with its accompanying name, sign and penalty. We, and each of us, covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, or penalty.
Should we do so, we agree that our bodies be cut asunder in the midst and all our bowels gush out. The penalties in Freemasonry were essentially identical to the penalties in the Mormon ceremonies.
It's very interesting to note that the Masons removed their penalties from their ceremony just four years before the LDS Church removed it from the LDS temple ceremony. Following is the link for the Mason's site which states that: They were always symbolic not literal and refer only to the pain any decent man should feel at the thought of violating his word.
In Freemasonry, however, the physical penalties were always symbolic and were never carried out. After long discussion, they were removed from the promises in Also many temple goers are converts to the Church and still had good feelings about their old churches they attended.
People objected to having the protestant minister referred to as an agent of Satan. Many people exclaimed "my pastor was a good man - he certainly was not in league with Satan". The actual text can be found here about halfway down:.
Temple goers had to repeat the phrase 'Pay Lay Ale' three times while lowering their arms while standing in a circle. This seemed very pagan-like to many members as you were basically chanting a phrase that has no meaning which we were told came from the true Adamic language that Adam spoke. In they replaced the phrase with the purported English translation 'Oh God hear the words of my mouth' but kept the lowering of the raised arms.
Perhaps another reason for the change was that 'anti-Mormons' were publicly harassing a LDS political leader while he was campaigning asking him what 'Pay Lay Ale' meant in front of a non-Mormon audience.
It was embarrassing for him to answer that question. The five points of fellowship is so strange, we're sure many LDS must have wondered why it was ever in the temple ceremony to begin with other than the fact that it was in the Mason's ceremony. Many women expressed their discomfort in the touching that went on with a total stranger of the opposite sex. At the veil, the temple attendee had to engage in the following ritual with whoever was the temple officiator at the veil at the time:.
Not many women were comfortable touching their breasts and legs to other men's chests and legs. Men didn't like doing it with other men either. It's one thing to do that with your spouse and quite different with a stranger or worse, someone from your ward that you didn't particularly care for. Perhaps complaints from members also helped the leadership of the Church decide that this part of the ceremony was no longer required for exaltation. We again must wonder why it was required as part of the ceremony for years but all of a sudden changed with no explanation.
We personally have witnessed good LDS members mislead and lie about the ceremony to nonmembers, converts, family members and Church members who did not go through the temple before We've heard people, who have been through the old temple ceremony, fumble over their words trying to figure out what to say when confronted with someone who has been told about the prior ceremony but is skeptical that good Latter-day Saints actually performed those rituals with the death oaths.
They say, "It wasn't like that," "I don't remember," "You're exaggerating," and even, "That was never part of the ceremony," when the simple facts about the pre ceremony are mentioned to them for verification. If this suppression of knowledge continues amongst the Latter-day Saints, we have little doubt that in a few years very few members will even know that there were death penalties in the temple ceremony.
It will be relegated to the status of 'lies told by anti-Mormons'. We have to wonder why anyone should feel embarrassed by anything that takes place in Heavenly Father's true church. One has to wonder if the LDS Church again copied Masonry by removing these penalties from the temple ritual four years after the Masons removed them? Or did God command the LDS prophets to change the ceremony via revelation? If so, why the need for the survey? It appears that the ceremony was changed for pragmatic reasons to appeal to the members' concerns rather than direct revelation from God.
We're left wondering though, why the most objectionable parts were part of the ceremony for years to begin with, and why exactly they were changed and by what authority.
Either way we are glad the changes took place. The washing and anointing part of the temple ceremony is always done the first time a member goes through the endowment ceremony part of the temple session. Many members including myself felt very uncomfortable doing Initiatories and never did them again. Being naked, even though you are covered with a poncho-type of garment that is open on the sides, is very uncomfortable.
It gets worse when someone touches you blessing your bowels and such. Although it is not sexual, it is very unnerving having someone administer to you when you are clothed or unclothed in this manner. Perhaps as a result of others feeling this way, this part of the ceremony was changed in so the participants are able to keep their underwear on and no actual touching takes place.
Interestingly, when members repeat the ordinance, they can do 10 at a time one right after another as opposed to making it part of the 2-hour endowment ceremony. This probably is done so that the number of Initiatories keep up with the number of endowment sessions performed as most members seem to prefer to do endowment sessions instead of Initiatories. In summary, the Salt Lake Temple originally had huge bathtubs for the "washing and anointing" ordinance.
All temple patrons were bathed naked and anointed with oil during the ordinance. According to the church, this ordinance is as essential as baptism and required before one can receive their garments. At some point, the ordinance baths were removed and patrons had to bathe before attending the temple. So the ordinance was changed to washing and anointing certain parts of the patron's naked body - including the groin and breast area. I say temple patrons were naked, but they actually wore a sheet of cloth with a hole in it, much like a poncho.
It was completely open on the sides, and wearing it still gave the full sensation of being naked. This open poncho, conveniently called a "shield" was also a requirement of the ordinance. When going through the temple for the first time, the Salt Lake Temple president told us new initiates that the open poncho had to be the same as the one Christ used to cover the naked man he initiated in the Bible See Mark Then in January the church changed the ordinance again. The ponchos were sewn up on the sides and temple patrons had to wear their garments underneath them.
The touching stopped and the washing and anointing is done with motions close to the body. The changes to this fundamental saving ordinance are akin to changing baptism from total immersion to a sprinkling on the head. Yet Mormons point out that changing saving ordinances is a wicked sign of a church's apostasy. So why did my grandmother's salvation require her to be bathed naked in a tub when members today receiving the same ordinance aren't even touched?
How could this eternal saving ordinance be coming from a timeless all-knowing God? I got my endowment in in the Idaho Falls Temple. I went through endowment sessions in all of the then operating Utah temples four! At that time, when doing a proxy endowment, you did the whole thing, including the initiatory, so I went through it several times in different temples.
For the washing and anointing, I disrobed in the locker room, put a shield over me, and walked to the washing booth, carrying the garment and a white towel.
In the washing booth, the shield was removed and hung on a hook while the washing and anointing took place. After toweling off, the garment was placed on me, the shield was put over me again, and I returned to the locker room. In addition to the embarrassment felt by many members during the Initiatories prior to , we can't help but wonder if the fear of lawsuits helped inspire the leaders to change the ceremony. With thousands of Initiatories performed each day by many different people, chances are sooner or later some perverted temple worker would accidentally touch someone in an inappropriate way or make some comment when the temple-goer was being initiated naked under the shield.
Given the nature of the ceremony in this lawsuit-happy world, the Church could find itself in many lawsuits and unwanted publicity. We welcome the change, but we still want to know did this change come about from revelation directly from Heavenly Father or was it inspired by lawyers for pragmatic reasons? Visit the site WhyMormons. The first thing to keep in mind is that we older Latter-day Saints who first went through the temple before were told by church leaders that the ceremony was given to Joseph Smith by revelation, that it had never been changed, and that it would never BE changed.
The Prophet wrote that baptism for the dead and the recording of such baptisms conform to the ordinance and preparation that the Lord ordained and prepared before the foundation of the world, for the salvation of the dead who should die without a knowledge of the gospel. The Lord revealed His displeasure over this situation in these words: This is from an article specifically on the temple ordinances. The author of the article is a General Authority, so he must know that the temple ordinances have gone through major revisions, including deletions of covenants, teachings and ordinances - over the last years.
If these were divinely restored in their complete form from "the foundation of the world" then why have they kept changing? And if Joseph Smith says they can never be altered or changed, how come the church did it? Who got it wrong, the prophet Joseph or the prophets that followed him? Such changes seem to contradict the LDS claims that the endowment is in the pure and unchanged form in which Joseph Smith is supposed to have received it by divine revelation. In fact, in the words of LDS leaders, such changes are actually a sign of apostasy:.
He set the temple ordinances to be the same forever and ever and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them.
These ordinances have been provided by revelation, and are in the hands of the First Presidency. Thus, the temple is protected from tampering. Click here for an extended discussion of the changes and how "changing the ordinances" is by LDS definition a sign of fundamental apostasy. Procedures for the initiatory are revised such that initiates clothes themselves in the garment before entering the washing room, thus eliminating the final vestiges of ritual nudity which had been curtailed by introduction of the shield, probably during the s.
Water and oil are applied to the head only, not to multiple parts of the body. Possibly out of consideration for the elderly and disabled, initiates are no longer instructed to stand while making covenants. Smith Research Associates, We've often heard that everyone is the same in the temple. Whether you are CEO of a fortune company or a simple farmer, you are treated the same. They encourage people to not wear any jewelry except a simple wedding band. Everyone wears the same simple white outfit.
We support the concept. It has its merits by attempting to avoid special treatment or stereotyping people by the way they look or what they wear. The white suit seems appropriate for a holy place. The white dresses also seem consistent with the theme. However we're a little confused by the hats. The hat that is commonly and irreverently referred to as a 'baker's cap' seems perhaps a little out of place.
Maybe it's just us, but we don't feel particularly righteous or holy wearing one. The veils worn by the women seem a bit dated. It reminds us of the Islamic countries where women must shield their faces in public. Of course in the temple it is only during certain parts of the ceremony. Temple clothes are eternally important as the Church instructs members to be buried in their temple clothes. The green aprons are seemingly a bit strange, but we do understand their significance and symbolism.
The Masons also use aprons in their rituals, however they are lamb-skin or white. Why is it done? The men don't do it. I hate it, it's archaic, and definitely does smack of Islamic devaluation of females. Certainly the temple clothes neither validate nor invalidate the temple ceremony, but we mention it as several people have told us it makes them feel somewhat silly instead of spiritual when they are in the temple. We suppose the Pope might feel the same way about his pointed hat.
They are obligated to wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment. Those who have been endowed in the temple must remember that the blessings that are related to this sacred privilege depend on their worthiness and their faithfulness in keeping temple covenants.
The garment provides a constant reminder of the covenants made in the temple. The garment should be treated with respect at all times. It should not be exposed to the view of those who do not understand its significance, and it should not be adjusted to accommodate different styles of clothing.
When worn properly, the garment provides protection against temptation and evil. Wearing the garment is an outward expression of an inward commitment to follow the Savior. The temple garment is considered so sacred that we should never take it off except for bathing, sports and swimming.
Many people that stopped wearing them have said what a relief it is to be 'normal' again and not feel embarrassed to change in a locker room, or to have the freedom to wear summer clothing on hot, summer days or when cutting the grass or other outdoor activities.
We're told that garments act as a source of protection for ourselves. Of course we've all heard those Mormon urban legends about someone whose body was burned horribly except for where his garments were and the like. Obviously garment-wearing LDS people die all the time in accidents just like everyone else does. Even faithful missionaries have been killed while wearing garments.
Perhaps its meant as more of a spiritual protection as the garments must be removed prior to engaging in certain morally-questionable activities. Perhaps it is from stories like this that many LDS continue to believe that the garments provide actual physical protection:.
His nephew Joseph F. Smith later explained, "When Willard Richards was solicited [by Smith] to do the same, he declined, and it seems little less than marvelous that he was preserved without so much as a bullet piercing his garments. Michael Quinn, "The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power," p. I remember my grandmother telling how she bathed without removing her garments. She only took off part of them as she washed herself.
When she was dried off, she'd put the clean ones on with the old pair still partly on her body. Many of the women were proud of saying they had never been totally without garments on their bodies since the day they first wore them in the temple - that included childbirth. Other women used to only go through this weird bathing routine during times of danger or tribulation when they felt they were most in need of the protection.
We don't know anyone that really likes to wear garments. So we have to wonder why Joseph would want to wear garments if the critics are right that Joseph did not really receive the temple ceremony from God, especially since the old garment used to go from neck it had a collar to wrist and ankle.
It closed in the front with four string-ties. Joseph Fielding Smith, for example, wore this style long after it had been replaced. One answer of course, is that God commanded Joseph to institute the wearing of garments. Another possibility is that Joseph believed in magical and mystical things such as seer stones; he believed that putting symbols on clothing would protect him from harm. When Joseph was killed, they found a Jupiter Talisman on his body.
This supports his belief in magical ornaments and symbols. People either view the wearing of garments as a blessing reserved for the 0. To some people garments are not that big of a deal but to others it's a real hardship. If you live in a hot climate it can be grueling wearing them in the summer time.
Also they must wear really long underwear that gets very uncomfortable when they sweat in the intense heat, unless they are specifically playing sports. Many married people, that have decided to forsake wearing garments, have said that their level of intimacy has improved immeasurably since they don't feel constrained in their choice of underwear.
Let's face it, garments can put a big damper on couples' sex lives. Even a supermodel wouldn't look sexy in garments. We have to wonder why would God want us to be unnecessarily uncomfortable? It's especially difficult on women as they are generally instructed to wear their garments under their bras. Many women say that is very uncomfortable and unnecessary, but they have to do it anyway. It's one thing to tell people to dress modestly, but that can certainly be done without garments.
If you can control people down to their underwear, then you really have them. When people see Islamic women dressed head to toe in burqas the black outfits with little slits for eyes on a very hot day at an amusement park or other public place, people don't admire their dedication, rather they feel sorry for them.
Good LDS people feel sorry for these women because we know it is totally unnecessary and not required by God. Similarly, non-Mormons don't believe that the LDS garments are required by God, but rather than feel sorry for garment-wearing members, they just think we're strange. Garments are the Mormon burqas - just worn on the inside. If garments are indeed something that God commands everyone to wear, then it's a necessary obligation, even if it is a burden at times.
However, if it is not specifically commanded by God, then it is a totally unnecessary burden placed on millions of people. How would you like to find out in the afterlife that God didn't really care what kind of underwear you wore and that you wore them for nothing? When we go through the temple for the first time, we all receive a new name. Presumably this is the name we'll be known by in the next life although there's no specific doctrine supporting this other than when it's said in the temple ceremony that the husband will call the wife by her new name and bring her though into the celestial kingdom.
Some people liked the idea of getting a special name. I was excited until I found out that my name really wasn't special or divinely inspired. Everyone that goes through the temple on that day gets the exact same name. I got the 'new name of the day' and had I gone through the temple the day before or after I would have received a different special new name. Doesn't sound quite so special. We're not really sure what the purpose of the new name is. A bishop once told me it was my name in the pre-existence and that's what I'll be known as in the next life.
Almost all of the temple names come from the scriptures a few like Emma have been added , so the number of names is somewhat limited - perhaps a few hundred names or so.
If we're all known by these names in the next life, then there will be literally hundreds of millions of Abrahams, Ruths, Nephis, etc. If this is true, then in the infinite wisdom of God, all the people who were given a certain name in the pre-existence will magically go to the temple on the SAME day!
I served as a veil worker for a year while at BYU. Every day before our shift started, they would have a short instruction meeting and then hold up a small poster board with the "names of the day" on it; one female name and one male.
I believe that there are about 50 names for each sex that are rotated through. The male names are almost all biblical with Hyrum thrown in for good measure. Since there are fewer female names in the scriptures, they have more early Mormon names like Emma. If the patron's first name happened to be the name of the day, their new name defaulted to Adam or Eve; this ensured that everyone's "new name" wasn't the same as their "old name. One thing involving the special names that can be very offensive towards women is that the women must tell their husbands what their special name is at the ceremony at the veil when the husband is "the Lord" ; however the men are not allowed to tell their own wives what the husband's special name is.
This sounds kind of chauvinistic. No reason is specifically given for this condition. Many women are bothered by this. It makes women feel less important than men and not equals.
We have to wonder why Heavenly Father forces men to keep secrets from their wives. That certainly is not healthy for any married couple - especially for newlyweds. Right off the bat, the married couple is put on unequal footing with the husband knowing the wife's special name when she can't know his. We've been hearing more and more stories that temple names are being recycled.
Many people are reporting that temple patrons are performing endowments for the same deceased people multiple times. Some people report it as clerical errors while others state that sometimes the temples run out of names and just use names over again so the temple goers have someone to perform ordinances for. Regardless of the reason, it seems that the temple ceremony is not really for the dead, but for the living. If some of the ceremonies are meaningless, since they've already been done for those deceased people, then the ceremony is merely 'busy work' for the members and providing no value for the deceased.
We imagine it would be quite a let-down if someone drove five hours to do a temple session to only be told that they ran out of valid names. So we understand why the temples may sometimes recycle names but it doesn't change the fact that the dead do not benefit at all from having their ordinance work done a 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th time.
Former Temple Worker Experience. Your wedding day is supposed to be the most special day of your life. Why is it then that many LDS, particularly women, feel that their special day isn't really theirs?
Many LDS feel that the restrictions put upon them for their actual wedding when they get married in the temple make their experience less joyful than it should be and very much controlled by the Church. The first complaint is the outfits worn during the ceremony. Many brides and grooms have told us how awkward they felt wearing the hats during the marriage ceremony - especially since those attending were not wearing them.
Also the choice of wedding dresses by the women is somewhat limited compared to their nonmember friends. The mirrors symbolizing eternity is kind of nice, but hardly compensates for the other concessions that must be made by the couple.
There are no videotapes of the ceremony that can be watched for years later to be enjoyed by the bride and groom and future children. There are no pictures of the ceremony either. All the happy couple has to remember their marriage ceremony with are their fading memories.
By far the biggest complaint is that only LDS members can attend the ceremony. And then only 'worthy' members who have temple recommends can watch the ceremony. It was so sad. This man raised me, was a good, righteous man and wasn't even allowed to watch his own son get married. Many couples would like to have a regular civil wedding where they can invite their nonmember friends and families and not be subject to all the controls the Church has on their wedding.
The couple then wants to get sealed shortly thereafter. That makes sense as it satisfies the nonmember families, and they still get sealed for all eternity so everyone should be happy.
HOWEVER, the church refuses to support this and enforces a one-year waiting period penalty on couples should they get married outside of the temple first. Why does the church do this?
We assume it's to impress upon the couples obedience and the importance of the temple ceremony over all other things - families included. It works, as very few couples opt for this.
Also there's the stigma associated with having a civil ceremony in the chapel. LDS people naturally assume the couple is 'unworthy' and must have had some sort of sexual relations before getting married if they have a civil ceremony before getting married. For many converts, it creates more problems for their families and forces people to choose between their families and the church. We have to wonder if this policy is really commanded of by God or is it the policy of man. We wonder why the church that prides itself on 'the family' can sometimes do so much harm to families by excluding non-member family from something that is so family-oriented as a wedding.
Perhaps this will change some day. The exclusionary policy actually prompted some people to start a petition to have it changed. The petition was to allow for the option of having a civil ceremony outside of the temple without penalty to the couple.
As other countries like England require a civil ceremony prior to any religious ceremony, we don't see why the church can't allow its members to have a civil ceremony first where everyone can be invited. It's been our observation that whenever the church moves a little towards mainstream, that this makes the church look more appealing to non-members as well as members. The petition is done in a respectful way and we hope the church will one day adopt this practice.
There seems to be an absence of love in the actual temple marriage ceremony. It seems to be more about obeying God and the Church. Jane was a new bride, taking out her endowment at a temple along the Wasatch Front. A soon-to-be sister-in-law would help guide her through the session, showing her which shoulder to put the robe on, how to tie the on the veil that would shroud her face and ensuring the green apron was placed on the outside of her white dress.
Jane didn't know any of it before she was sequestered inside an endowment room of the temple. She was, however, both excited and nervous. She had wanted to marry John since she was a junior in high school, waiting for him during his mission, and now the moment was about to arrive.
As part of the Washing and the Anointing, the temple worker touched Jane lightly on her skin near very personal areas of her body. Jane was quite unnerved by this contact with a stranger, in ways she'd avoided letting even her fiancée touch her to keep her virtue and chastity as taught vigorously to her in church. Then in the endowment session, she was hit with promise after covenant she made for the rest of her life, and then told that if she dared disclose the names, the signs and other tidbits told her in the session, she may have to forfeit her life in implied alarming methods.
The prayer circle chanting in ancient Hebrew and ritualistic miming of signs and penalties made her wonder if she was joining a satanic cult rather than progressing in a Christian gospel. A sickness formed in the pit of her tummy. But she couldn't embarrass herself with her groom's family or others who expected her to stay the course.
The damage, however, was done. Jane made the decision to slowly remove herself from activity in the LDS church. It didn't seem at all what she was raised to believe.
Before the first year of her marriage was done, she and her return-missionary husband were completely inactive and living a life outside of the church, trying to put the bizarreness of the temple into a forgotten moment of their past.
The above story was told me by Jane name changed by her own request , and I myself encountered something similar when I first went. I was disgusted that I had to promise my own death if I dared discuss or revealed the ongoing of the temple. I was a month away from entering full-time missionary service to Guatemala. By the end of the endowment, I was determined to call off the mission and get out of the church.
My parents felt my shock and cancelled their plans for the next several days to take me on a trip to Bear Lake and isolate me so that they could convince me that all would be well. By the end of that weekend, I was consoled that I would in fact be okay and that the temple may, on the surface, seem ritualistic, but was much deeper than I understood at the time.
After my mission, I served as a veil worker in the Idaho Falls temple and attended weekly sessions for over a year. I was inoculated and had memorized every word of the ceremonies in the temple. Years later, after entering a career in science, I would investigate where the rituals, the oaths, the signs and the penalties had originated through Joseph Smith. That newly discovered information once again threatened to put my testimony and membership in a tail spin.
There are several experiences by LDS recalling their first temple experience here: I was a nineteen year old boy about to enter 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. 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 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 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.
But I was confused.
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