Over conference weekend, my mind was somewhat preoccupied with thoughts of the temple. I know we’ve discussed this before (what haven’t we discussed before?), but this time I have some specific questions.
Firstly, a thought that has been with me since I learned how to speak, “The purpose of the Church is to prepare its members to go to the temple.” Does anyone know where this originally came from? For me, it’s a classic been-engrained-in-my-mind-since-childhood-by-parents-and-local-church-leaders.
Secondly, assuming the above roughly quoted statement is true, I may have difficulty comprehending certain connotations associated with it. The temple, to me, seems to be the most structured part of our Church. It’s the Church’s well-oiled machine constantly working. As I enter to participate, there are temple workers around every corner, welcoming, greeting, and helping. It’s hard to feel uncomfortable with so much love and support.
I have my choice of many tasks by which I can help further the work of the Church. It seems that usually, most (at least I) go for a specific reason or function. I mean, there is plenty of work to be done by proxy via baptism, endowment, sealing, etc, etc. In every case, though, there is little time for discussion and/or public enlightenment. A sense of personal revelation, personal answers to prayer, personal interpretation is felt and encouraged.
Thus, if I have a question (i.e. what’s the symbolic significance of tying what I wear on my head to what is on my shoulder?), I am likely to find many who are willing potentially to answer my question. But the answers will range from “I don’t know” to certain flavors of personal opinion mixed with my-uncle-knew-a-GA-who-said-that…with “it’s not important” somewhere in between. Certainly an on-line forum is not the place to discuss such questions but where then (in a structured, enlightening, non-speculative way)?
Even if in the temple, if more than two or three group together to discuss such matters they will be quietly asked to disband and move on. And rightly so, a flow has to be maintained and a few people using the Celestial room for speculation is hardly helpful. My point is that if the temple is truly the ultimate goal of members in the Church, how do we reconcile that notion with the complete lack of a classroom / discussion-like setting?
I’d love to take a course (within the temple itself) on the evolution of the temple ceremony, not because I feel a need to find out more potential flaws the Church may have, but because I would understand my belonging, my purpose much more fully. I am one who thrives off of discussion / conversation, the one thing the temple does not provide.