Why We Wait

How does one balance honoring covenants with honoring family? Obviously, promises to God are greater than keeping familial harmony, but how do you “honor thy father and thy mother” when your parent(s) chose otherwise?

Part of the reason my husband and I have not gone to the Temple yet, despite having recommends, has do to with our extended family. As I already wrote, my family hates that I have chosen to be Mormon, and makes few allowances in their dealings with me. My husband’s family, while there are two other distant members, also is completely unsupportive. At every turn, it’s difficult, nigh unto impossible, to keep the family waters smooth.

When we go to the Temple, it will very likely be the last straw on my familial camel’s back. I am vacillating between jumping in with both feet, and being quite comfortable in my fence-sitting. I am in no hurry to make the relationship with my loved ones even more difficult, yet at the same time, I know, for my spiritual progression, there are more steps to be taken.

It seems like such a simple, clear decision when you just look at the words, but if you apply the situation to your own family, see if it feels so easy… If your mother disowned you and your children, your relationships with your siblings and their children were sharply jeapordized; would you be a big hurry to make that happen?

In all honesty, I have been influenced by some of the posts here and there on the blogernacle relating horrible temple experiences. Because my testimony is still far from vast and all encompasing, I find myself wondering if I am spiritually ready for what the Temple might hold. It worries me. A few good friends have been kind and forthcoming in their advice and experience, but it’s very difficult when so much of what happens inside is veiled in silence. (I know, sacred, not secret.) I don’t mean that in any sort of consescending or snippy way, only as a fact. When you have no one in your family who has done this, no one whom to look to for example or tradition, it’s honestly a bit scary.

There is also the reticence to begin wearing the g’s. My wardrobe is fully in complience already- that’s not an issue. But really, you all have had some serious complaining threads out in here about how much the g’s ride up, creep down, wiggle, bind, sweat, itch, and generally bite the comfort apple in the rear. Hmmm. And I’m supposed to wear these lovlies 24/7? It’s a hard one for a newbie.

In a way, I suppose I’m arguing for my limitations. The Lord expects better of me, and there is probably the hint of “lacking faith” in my hesitancy to take the final steps- and eventually, I know I’ll jump off the fence- and I know on which side I’ll be. But let me sit in the sun for just a few more minutes… and let the late rays of the day already gone warm my face one last time.

Comments

  1. Tracy, is there some reason for announcing to your family that you have gone to the temple? Does your mother do your laundry, or do family members regularly scrutinize your panty lines? (I know that sounds flip but I don’t mean to trivialize your worries. I’m just wondering why your temple attendance should become a matter of family discussion.)

  2. If you’re still feeling freaked out by the prospect of the temple, I would spend some more time learning about it before I made the leap. I don’t think God punishes us for being afraid, especially if we’re looking for ways to allay our fears.
    I assume you have a limited use recommend, go do baptisms with someone who is willing to talk more about the temple inside the temple. Luckily for me, I had a mom who was willing to talk a lot about the temple and I felt pretty excited and prepared to go when I went. I thought it weird but I still felt spiritual feelings there and a desire to go again and again. I think with respect you can talk about a lot of the temple, you can see what garments look like, etc. Anyway there is a lot I believe you can talk about the spiritual and practical parts of the temple before you go.
    Who knows with garments. When I started wearing them I loved them and eventually they just became a regular part of my dress so I didn’t notice them as much of a pain.
    Some people absolutely hate/d them. So who knows how you’ll react. It’s pretty personal as to how much you wear them.
    To be honest, I don’t go to the temple now out of my own personal/religious choice but I had a lot of fantastic experiences there that connected me to God and my family.

  3. For the record, I think all the complaining happens at other blogs.

    It seems strange that this would be the camel breaking straw, but you obviously know your family better than any of us. Mostly I am sorry. I’m sorry that you have to make such a choice.

    I had a great experience in the temple the first time and I wasn’t particularly prepared, but I had a tremendous amount of family support. In the absence of that, I would get a lot of frank preparation (if you lived in Bellevue, I would get to teach your prep class :) )

  4. Steve Evans says:

    Tracy, for what it’s worth, my first time through the temple was bewildering, though not negative. When we were first married, Sumer and I worked in the temple and came to really love it. We now strongly associate the temple with our relationship and it’s something very special.

    My two cents: I’d go. You’re already married, and going to the temple to receive your endowments and be sealed won’t deprive your family of being party to a wedding ceremony they’d otherwise miss. And if you’re worthy and feel ready, the endowment is a blessing that you shouldn’t put off. It will help you and strengthen you daily.

  5. I don’t have to advertise. They will know anyway. My mom has spent time googling the church, and probably knows more about the Temple than I do.

    My family are all California, beach-hippie type people. We have all alwasy changed in front of one another, be it at home or out the back of the car at the beach, with no self-consciousness or embarrassment. No one sleeps with their bedroom door closed- ever. They have already questioned me mercilessly on why I don’t wear tank tops or shorts anymore.

    It’s personal, but they are already suspicious of my choices. If I suddenly hide in my room when I visit, close doors, etc, there will be a confrontation. And I just don’t want it.

    What do I do when I am visiting, and my mom enters the room as I am changing? Closed doors mean nothing. Locked doors are fighting words. I’m not saying this is right, but for me it is a fact.

    As I said, eventually, I know what side of the fence I will land on, but for now, here I sit.

  6. I’m with Ardis. Unless you still send the laundry to mom, or the family gawks at your clothing trying to spot the tell-tale signs, how will they know? One reason we wear those symbols of our covenants under our clothing, instead of visibly (contrast the clerical collar or the prayer shawl or the yarmulke), is that the reminder is for us, not for the neighbors or the rest of the world.

  7. My previous comment obviously makes no sense in light of Tracy’s #5. Check the posting times and go easy on me. :-)

  8. What it really boils down to is this:

    WHen I go to the temple, my family will no longer be able to think this is ‘just a phase’ I am going through. It will be real, and there will be physical reminders of how I am different that they are, instead of just the more ‘subtle’ mental and behavior differences.

    They will feel rejected in their ideals, and will feel even more of a need to attack mine, wheather I present them in that light or not.

  9. Tracy,

    When you are ready I would say go. Its a very personal decision.

    How would your parents even know? Have they expressed deep displeasure with the idea of temple attendance?

  10. OOoooh yeah. Scoffing, disdainful, belittling. You bet.

  11. Steve Evans says:

    Tracy, it sounds like mostly you’re concerned about garments and how to explain or hide them from your relatives. Honestly, you can probably still change in front of them, even with garments. Anyone who really hates the church already knows about them and won’t be surprised; you might get a “magic underwear” comment, but when you explain that you wear them as a reminder of promises you’ve made with God, they’ll just shrug and move on.

    In other words, I’d guess that this will cause initial awkwardness but nothing too disastrous, long-term.

  12. I’m not sure this is really about your family’s reaction, to be honest. They’ve already reacted to your joining the Church. Do you REALLY think that glimpsing some odd underwear is going to make them cut off contact with you??

    I wonder if this isn’t more about your own ambivalence about the whole thing. You’ve chosen a very different lifestyle from your family. There’s lots to work through here. Could you speak with an LDS-friendly counselor, or bishop, or somebody like that?

  13. Steve- it is about the g’s, but it’s also what I said in comment #8- there will no longer be any way for them to write this off as something that will pass, that eventually I will come around and see how stupid I was…

  14. MikeInWeHo- You make a good point, but seriously, it will be a tangible thing, another reminder of how different I am from them, and it will really be bad. Trust me. I’m already hanging by a thread… and these are people I love very dearly.

  15. Ignore my #9. Posts are coming way to fast.

  16. I thought it was your husband’s mom who was the psycho? :)

    I didn’t tell my parents when we went to the temple. But I come from a family that never really talks about much of anything. (I’ve been to family dinners where the only words spoken were literally my grandmother complaining that there wasn’t enough salt on the potatoes.) My parents found out from my teenage neice, who was living with us at the time. My mom asked about my underwear, rubbed my shoulder to feel it, and that was it.

    I think of temple garments as similar to a wedding ring. Something you wear as a reminder of a covenant you’ve made.

    My advice, if you’re this conflicted over it: Talk to your bishop and/or get a PH blessing.

  17. Steve Evans says:

    Tracy, when you frame it that way, it’s a tougher boat. But then, if you end up not going to the temple, you may end up granting your family their wish: that you not really get into this “mormon phase.” It’s my experience that converts who never go to the temple have a far tougher road, and statistically are more likely to go inactive.

  18. Like Steve said, I’d just be honest, tell them what they are and change in front of them. It will be weird and tense for awhile, you’re clearly aware of that but if they’re going to buckle down and commit to the fact that their daughter/sister is a Mormon then the temple might help them.

    I recognize that at the beginning the hurt and arguing that comes from being upfront and honest is painful but usually it settles down after time and people just get adjusted.

    Funny that I’m on the other side. My family is all Mormon for miles and now that I’ve made some steps away from normal Mormon life I have had to deal with MAJOR fall-out. But it was gonna happen sometime so I figured that I should just be upfront and open and deal with the fire. It’s not done yet I’m sure but it’s better than it was.

  19. Susan- HA! We’ve got two different kinds of psycho going on here! Well, three if you count me.

    I so wish I could get away with a shoulder rub and a smile…

    Amri- good points, and we are probably in such similar boats, I respect your point of view.

    Steve- I know. We are going- we have already decided, and we know it’s important for our spirituality, but yet we lag…

  20. Tracy,

    1st, Garments are awesome. The only issues I’ve known to come up with garments is finding which ones are right for you (there are enough kinds so that at least one type is comfortable for everyone. My suggestion is to get one of each type when you first go and find out for yourself which ones you like the best.) The only other issue is that some people have lingerie fetishes coupled with a misunderstanding that they have to completely give that up. I don’t have a lingerie fetish, so that hasn’t been a big deal for me, but I don’t see that it needs to be an issue.

    But that isn’t the real issue:

    I guess you need to decide with your husband for yourselves if this is just a phase and if it will pass.

    Now here’s the kicker- I don’t think you can really know if this is a phase until after you go through the temple. This is from my personal experience and you and I may be apples and oranges, but I think it really depends on whether you want to commit to believing in this is the permanent solution for you or not. I think you have expressed that faith in previous posts, and I do believe in you as a wonderful daughter of God, even though I’ve never met you.

    My sister was a lot like your family, and thought I was a nincompoop and made fun of my garments and hoped this was a phase that would pass. You know what? This wasn’t a phase for me. But that was a phase for her. I think you can love the Lord and Your Family. I don’t think your family is the issue.

    I believe this Gospel is true with all my heart, and I love the temple. This first time I went through, I was unprepared for the mechanics of it, but the spirit was so amazing that I was able to hold on and grow to learn the mechanics.

    One more thing… Outside the usual suspects, the best book I’ve read that helped me to appreciate the temple was “The Savior and the Serpent” by Alonzo Gaskill. It doesn’t deal with the temple directly, but with the Fall, and it explains a lot of the symbolism there.

    Anyway, I think you need to pray about it, your husband needs to pray about it, and I personally believe the Lord will help you get to the Temple, through the Temple, and hold onto your family.

    Finally: this scripure has always given me hope, may it do the same for you.

  21. Tracy, it’s dangerous to give (or to solicit) advice on these sorts of problems. It seems like you are conflating two different problems, a concern about the temple and differences of opinion with the family. Realizing the two are different problems might help.

    As for the temple, there’s nothing wrong with having some anxiety. Some people develop (cultivate?) long-term issues with the whole temple program, but the vast majority of LDS have a wonderful experience in the temple. That’s probably what your experience will be. I think you should just pick a Saturday, ask a couple of LDS friends to accompany you, and go (I wouldn’t invite the whole ward). I think you owe it to yourself.

    As for the family … well, some parents have a hard time letting their kids grow up and become adults. You know, adults — people who get to make their own life decisions. Good luck.

  22. Tracy, your comments remind me of something from my BYU days. Five good friends return from their missions and live together. The sixth space in the apartment is taken by a freshman who is a relatively recent convert.

    Like all RMs we spend way too much time regaling each other with horror stories from our missions. At the last testimony meeting of the school year our freshman roomate stands and bears his testimony. He says, “I’ve heard all of my roomates’ stories about their missions, but I’ve decided to go on one anyway.”

    We all glance at each other with guilty looks.

    A lot of what you read in the bloggernacle is the same thing as RMs rehashing their missions. We complain and gripe and laugh over weird things that happened, but these are insiders trading war stories. To the ousider they sound daunting, even horrible, but to an insider they’re many times nothing more than rites of community.

  23. You can still be a good Mormon without ever going through the temple. Plus there is always proxy work.

  24. Kevin Barney says:

    On the g’s issue, on those occasions when you’re back home you could just wear normal underwear. Treat being with your family as the functional equiavalent of playing basketball.

    Before you go, you should find some LDS friends who are able to describe fairly frankly the nature of the experience. In my view much more can be relayed about it than is typical in temple prep classes. If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.

  25. I was going to say exactly what Kevin said. But then I think Kevin has become my brain, so that isn’t surprising.

    Do in fact have someone explain the nature of the ritual and the clothing. There are only a very tiny set of things which are verboten in public discourse. The rest is open to respectful discussion. If someone tells you, “you’re going to do this, you’re going to wear this, and you’re going to promise (roughly) this,” you’ll be absolutely fine. Alas, you might find it hard to get someone to do this, as most Mormons have this paranoid fear of discussing anything temple related, which is unfortunate.
    And yeah, when with the Californian beach hippies, be a Californian beach hippie. To a degree.

    In other words, what Kevin said.

  26. Wow, I would have thought California beach hippies would be tolerant of an alternative lifestyle. I’m so confused. Best of luck (and listen to Dave, Kevin, and Ronan).

  27. I too agree with Ronan’s brain on both points. But if that doesn’t work, well, then its time to remind your family that if they can’t respect your religious values then they ought to at least respect your nationality. People ought to be free to believe whatever they want to believe in the good ol’ U. S. of A.. (being California-bred I know all too well that brown-ricers of all people *ought* to have some empathy for those who put up a good fight to be true to themselves) And if that doesn’t work, well, you’re still young. You can take some lumps on the head.

  28. FWIW, I don’t think Kevin’s idea in #24 is a bad idea. If that’s the best way you can see it working out, I’d say go for it.

    That said, my recommendation would be to go to the temple and be open about it. I’d start by letting your family know before that you’re going to do it. Then promise them that all things about you that they love and value will not change (just as they didn’t change when you were baptized) and promise them that they’ll see over time that this is true. Then go to the temple and deal with the heat. Over time they’ll get over the fear and discomfort. It’ll be painful for all around, and I suppose there’s some small chance that they never will come around, but I think it’s so much more valuable to be honest and genuine and steady. Continue to reach out to them and love them and be the same person you’ve always been.

    You could well have a lot of pain in the short (or possibly mid) term, but in the long term it’ll be much better. Not just in terms of having the blessings in the temple (and I agree with Steve that they are substantial), but in terms of your relationship with family.

    All that said, I know this is a deeply personal decision that really depends on your particular situation. I wish you the best.

  29. ummm – “are you honest in your dealings with your fellowman?” and “do you wear the garment both night and day as instructed in the endowment and in accordance with the covenants you made in the temple?”

    I guess I’m having a little difficulty with the last few replies offereing the option of trading out your garments when visiting the family. Seems like an awfully long basket-ball game to me. While I feel for your family situation, I personally wouldn’t go down this path. However, there are obviously others that are ok with it.

    I once had an institute teacher that taught my class a very poignant lesson on judging the decisions of others in regards to “compliance to gospel standards”. So, while I would not personally choose this path, I also would not begrudge you finding this an acceptable option. I would offer the suggestion that you talk it over with your bishop first, as he will be the one to deal with your answers to questions when you go to renew your recommend.

  30. KevinRonan- I like your singular brain.

    I really appreciate the sensitivity so many of you are showing in your advice. It really is nice- the potential for this to devolve is something I was worried about.

    As I read this and contemplate my own feelings, it helps me feel clearer about where I am- this is NOT and NEVER has been a ‘phase’- the very idea is kind of funny to me. It also is much more clear that my family isn’t likely to change, thus what I choose to do must be in line with what I believe- not done to garner immrobable approval. Let the chips fall where they may, and be an honest adult.

    Sometimes, at it’s best, the blogernacle is a wonderuful mirror to hold up and see yourself more clearly. Today is one of those days.

    Thank you one and all for your words of advice.

  31. I’m a one-note poster, but if you haven’t read it, consider browsing your way through the Temple Preparation FAQ at MormonMonastery, particularly the question, “What exactly do we do in the Temple?

    FWIW, I know of two Stake Presidents who have taken to recommending it to pre-Temple goers. Stake Presidents, not Bishops, btw, are the ones charged with making sure pre-Temple-goers are acquainted with the basics of what will happen in the Temple.

  32. Tracy,
    There are a couple wonderful posts about the symbolism of garments here and here. It’s this idea that, for me, is one of the most beautiful of all symbols we LDS have.

  33. Tracy, I think you are a marvelous, insightful person. I’ve been reading your blog since a little before Abby was born, and one of the things I admire most about you is your shining testimony. I have no doubt that you will reach the decision (about timing) that is best for you, your family, and your beautiful testimony. Thanks for being willing to share with us your life.

    Just something that quickly occurred to me–that even if the endowment ceremony is a little different in places (it didn’t bother me that much, but it is a little different), there’s another ceremony to consider–the sealing to your husband and kids. There’s nothing more beautiful in this world, in my opinion.

  34. i was panic-stricken to tell my family about being sealed (i never told them about receiving my endowment a few weeks prior). we had finally reached a comfortable silence about the church, after years of separation and heartache, and here i was, dragging it all up again. the only reason i felt i needed to tell anyone was because we still had the family christening gown from our daughter’s blessing (family wouldn’t go, but graciously handed the baptismal gown over) and i wanted to use it for our daughter to be sealed in. i was a chicken and emailed my mom a guarded letter about it. i was somewhat defensive, probably too straightforward, and just laid it out that it was something i felt strongly about and i was worried about their reaction. in reply, i got an email that began, “oh, …” i was blown away. she said if it made me happy and a better person, it didn’t matter. i never sent a return email and we’ve never discussed it.

    garments aren’t that bad, i promise. i actually feel uncomfortable without them… not spiritually, just physically. on the family front, i used to try to hide my garments. i gave up after a while, figuring they’d seen it all on the internet and knew i was wearing them. if we’re in town, my mom will sometimes grab a load of laundry and our garments might be included. i was horrified the first time i found a basket of clean, folded garments, but got over it. no one has ever said anything, though i sometimes have to remind my mom or sister that i can’t wear certain things if we’re out shopping.

    as for the temple itself, i had hesitations. i knew it was something we needed to do, but was concerned about what would happen in that big, beautiful, scary building. i had read faaaaar too much on the internet. (i once had a letter drafted, addressed, and stamped, all ready to be sent in to request my name be removed from the church records. i read a ton of anti stuff during that time.) my husband was totally oblivious to anything that went on in the temple, outside of baptisms and i worried about what his reaction would be. walking away, he said, “well, that was kind of different, but i don’t get what all of the fuss is about.” i walked away feeling silly for having been so pent up about what all went on. i think the build-up in your mind is far worse than anything you might experience.

    for me, being sealed to my husband and children trumps anything else. i know firsthand the pain caused by “choosing the right,” but when it comes down to it, your priority is to your husband and children first. i remember how horrible an experience it all was, joining the church and the years that immediately followed. but being a few years down the road from where you are, it’s gets a lot easier and it’s all been worth it. hopefully, once you jump in and make the “full commitment,” your family will chalk you up to a lost cause (which is what i think my family has done) and move past allowing your faith to be a division.

  35. aack, i forgot about html. at the end of my first paragraph, the return email should read, “oh, (insert childhood nickname here)…”

  36. Kevin Barney says:

    Let me second the Monk’s recommendation of the temple resources at the Mormon Monastery. Terrific stuff.

  37. Just a couple of pennies to throw into the discussion. I’m not a convert to the church and have not had to deal with a non-supportive family in relation to my membership. However, I have dealt with very unsupportive and, at times, downright mean in-laws.

    Two thoughts I’ve had as I read your post and the ensuing comments:

    • One thing I’ve learned about “difficult” situations with family and others is that time tends to heal most wounds. At one point during our marriage, I was not welcome in my in-law’s house. It was a very difficult time in my life, but looking back it seems like such an insignificant problem from which I have learned a great deal. The situation has completely resolved itself and not only am I welcome in their home . . . they actually like me.
    • The other thought I had was in relation to attending the temple. Like you said, “It seems like such a simple, clear decision when you just look at the words . . .” This is going to seem much the same, simple and clear. When I first attended the temple, I was full of anticipation. I didn’t have the “advantage” of the internet, blogs, or anything similar. My excitement came from a life looking forward to seeing what my parents did when they took those little suitcases to the temple. All I knew when I first attended the temple was that I didn’t know what to expect. I kept an open mind. My experience was wonderful. I remember walking out of the temple after receiving my endowment and thinking to myself, “Wow! I can go right back there and do that again . . . anytime I want.” That’s what I did. I attended the temple on average of three times per week for a month before I entered the MTC. It was probably the best thing I could have done.

    As for the garments, I think it’s just like any change in life. If you decide to like them, you will. If you view it as an inconvenience . . . you know the rest. Now, weighing things out as to whether to go or not . . . to me it’s a no-brainer. If you don’t go, you’re not eligible for the blessings reserved for those who have taken upon themselves the temple covenants. You can never go wrong doing what the Lord asks. Obviously it might rock the boat and stir the waters in the family, but the difficult situations life presents are what help us progress eternally.

  38. Tracy: I won’t presume to give advice, but I do want to offer an idea: Perhaps making it clear that this Mormonism thing is no phase will be good for your relationship with your family. Perhaps once they realize you really want to make your faith part of your life they’ll back off. Best wishes in whatever you decide.

  39. Re #31 — That is a great collection of quotes and information of which I was not aware. Thanks for sharing with everyone as well as Tracy.

    Everyone has their own perspective and approach. This is mine and quite particular (and peculiar) to me, but I offer it here because it might be helpful in your specific circumstances.

    My strong recommendation for temple prep reading material is always Mircea Eliade’s “The Sacred and the Profane.” If you are not familiar with it, it is a classic in the anthropology of religion by one of the great figures in the anthropology of religion. (You might be more familiar with Joseph Campbell, but his work is just warmed over Eliade.) In it Eliade summarizes broad themes to be found in sacred rituals of cultures throughout history and across the world. He never mentions Mormon temple ritual once, but it can be argued that the LDS temple rituals probably more fully encapsulate Eliade’s themes than any other single set of religious rituals.

    This might be useful to you in two ways. First, I believe that it can help Latter-day Saints more fully understand and appreciate the temple. But second, and perhaps useful in your situation, it can provide a vocabulary and way of talking about the temple that your hippie family might relate to.

  40. i JUST caught the “honor thy father and mother” in your first paragraph. honoring your parents doesn’t mean you do whatever it is that might please them, especially when you’re an adult yourself. it means you need to be respectful as to how you go about it. so long as you are respectful, i don’t think you have any worries when it comes to keeping that commandment.

  41. I am so glad someone else mentioned the physical discomfort of the garments. That’s a real issue for me too. It is quite hot in summer where I live, and adding an extra layer seems unthinkable. Also, though it seems so petty, I have always found big underwear to be uncomfortable, and any sort of clothing at night to be binding and restrictive. I suppose God will make that go away if I ask? I’m sure he will. I’m sure the temple endowment itself is more than worth any discomfort or inconvenience from underwear. It seems so silly to let that stop me. But I have to admit it does. The idea that from now on always I must wear it… =)

    The other thing that feels wrong or dishonest or not-forthcoming to me is that I want to know what I’m being asked to promise in advance, to be sure I *can* promise it. Some of the baptismal interview questions took me by surprise, and felt rather invasive. I support Planned Parenthood, for instance, because I believe it does wonderful things for women, and for teenagers, in education and services. I explained to my interviewer and we discussed whether that disqualifies me from membership. I believe, had I not had a sympathetic interviewer, I might have been denied baptism.

    In a way, I am also staying outside the temple to show my solidarity with our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, who currently can’t go, and with all the unmarried women who weren’t allowed until not too long ago. It’s weird how temporal things get in the way of our spiritual advancement, isn’t it? Just typing this has made me see that none of this matters in the long run, and I should just go. =)

  42. Kevin Barney says:

    JWL, good suggestion on reading Eliade. I find it interesting that the word “profane” literally means “outside the temple” (from Latin).

  43. WHen I go to the temple, my family will no longer be able to think this is ‘just a phase’ I am going through. It will be real, and there will be physical reminders of how I am different that they are, instead of just the more ’subtle’ mental and behavior differences.

    I guess I don’t really see this, since lots and lots of folks leave the church after going to the temple. Just check out one of the dissafected-or-ex-mormon blogs/discussion groups, and it is obvious that the temple does not automatically accomplish or ensure anything.

    They will feel rejected in their ideals, and will feel even more of a need to attack mine, wheather I present them in that light or not.

    The second does not follow from the first. I have a daughter who stopped believing and going to church in high school, had her name removed in college.

    Do I feel rejected in my ideals? Absolutely. (I can’t even express the devastation and sense of failure.) Does that give me the right to attack her ideals? Certainly not.

    I try to respect what she believes, and read what she recommends, and support who she chooses to be at this point in her life. I try to get to know where her head is now–I recently watched Whedon’s Firefly/Serenity DVDs, because that daughter loves them and I wanted to understand her better. She respects me enough to ask me to be her birth coach, and to be the executor for her will.

    Tracy, if your parents hassle and belittle you, then they have a problem. They are NOT acting the way responsible parents act when their adult offspring make different choices.

    If you make such major life decisions to try to avoid hurting them, then you are being an enabler to their toxic behavior.

    You deserve better. How would you feel if something happened to you, your husband, or one of the children and you were NOT sealed? You are entitled to that assurance.

    Now, if YOU still have issues, that’s a different matter. Of course, it should be on your unique timetable…but your family issues were the first thing you mentioned.

    Sorry, Tracy, but your family are not going to love you better if you put this off. Because anyone who would belittle their children’s/sib’s decisions has a real problem with their capacity to love.

  44. Tracy, I know what you mean about the family realizing this isn’t just a phase. I paused after “I will not attend church nor accept visitors from church” before moving on to “I will no longer officially be a member” due to my parents’ feelings only. Even though I was ready to move on in that way, I wasn’t ready to break the news to them that I had moved on.

  45. About wearing garments while with your family: it is my understanding that garments aren’t supposed to be exposed to the view of those who don’t understand or respect them. IMO, that includes your family. If closed doors are ignored and you are expected to change clothes with your family, I would say you’re under no obligation to wear your garments during those visits.

  46. One very helpful thing to know is that you never promise or covenant to wear garments at any time in the temple. You are TOLD that you WILL. Feel free to wear whatever underwear you like after going through the temple. There are many ways to remember your covenants.

  47. Um, geena, that is not even close to a reasonable analysis of the temple covenants/expectations. If that is your attitude, best not go.

  48. Ya, I still don’t “get” the endowement ceremony(who does?). When I do go back to the temple, I find myself pondering the weather or my schedule for the following week or how I can be a better father/husband. Far from the deeper meanings that I have been told exist in the ceremony. But the greatest day of my life was kneeling across the alter from my wife at our wedding/sealing. There were profound promises made that day and amazing feelings, insights and revelations felt and understood. It is my greatest comfort everyday of my life that if I stay true to those promises, in the end, my family will be together forever. And not because the old/wise sealer said it was so but because I felt it and understood it that day and (almost) everyday since.

  49. Molly Bennion says:

    Tracy, You have a great heart. Consider all the good ideas and go back to it. I almost commented on your last post on your family, but, as often happens, by the time I saw it, all the good things had been said. Pretty true here too (like Kevin’s #24), though I would add, as a convert whose family was very much against my joining the church, that I am most moved by your understanding both of the importance of the church and its ordinances and of your responsibilities to your family. After a very difficult start, by very sensitive actions and some good luck, my parents and I couldn’t be much closer and that is a great blessing to us all. It’s also a great blessing to my husband and children. Mom nd my husband are great friends. It is my non-member parents who have taught my children how to be a loving grandparent and how to live courageously through the problems of old age. They will need those lessons. Though church requirements are important, God is love and the primary means to return to him is to learn to love. Sounds to me like you know that well and will let your heart take one step ahead of the rule book. Dilemnas like yours are what the gospel and life are all about. My very best wishes.

  50. A couple of tools that have helped me recently–things I wish someone had told me years ago:

    1) I’ve always realized that the temple is filled with symbolism. But that doesn’t mean there’s a one-to-one correspondence between each icon and what it signifies. (This means X and only X.) I’m constantly catching myself for taking something too literally–taking something for an icon when it is possibly just part of a grand symolic picture. I wonder: how would the ceremony have been different if the gospel had been restored in an Eastern culture? The truths would remain, but the representation might have been totally different. For example, does each memorized word equate with something we will actually say after we die? Will there be a physical veil? Etc.

    2) Temple is theatre. Why don’t we just go inside the temple and read a transcript of what is said and done? Because script (or any other medium) has its limitations. I love doing my gospel reading and I’m thankful to be literate, but I believe you can study the gospel through other media and become literate in those “languages” too. We are asked to “read scriptures” daily, but I like to think that can also mean “reading” or interacting with a piece of religious artwork where no words are involved.

  51. Proud Daughter of Eve says:

    Tracy, you sure sound like you’re in a hard place. I’ve been in a pretty hard place myself lately and like you, that hard place is because of the relationships between my family, myself and the church. It’s not the same problem by any means but its similar enough. I really feel for you. You’re in my prayers.

  52. “Tracy, if your parents hassle and belittle you, then they have a problem. They are NOT acting the way responsible parents act when their adult offspring make different choices.

    If you make such major life decisions to try to avoid hurting them, then you are being an enabler to their toxic behavior. ”

    right on!

  53. I never understood the allure of the temple. My first time was terrible. I was not prepared and had no support. I attended 10 or 15 times after this with my spouse and dilike only increased. My wife frequents the temple monthly but, I suspect that I will never go back.

    I assume that at least one of my kids will get married in the temple, many of my nieces and nephews will. Too bad I wont be able to participate because my mind does not work in the authorized manner

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