Quick Like a Glacier

It’s been almost five and half years since I stepped into the baptism font and joined the rank and file of the Mormons. My husband followed me into the waters just over two years later. The clock thus started ticking; in Mormon time, we are officially two and half years late for the Temple.

In those years, we added a kid or two, bought and sold a house, continued to attend church, accepted callings and withstood family accusations of brainwashing and insanity. We kept the standards, lived the gospel and practiced walking this new, narrower path. We have smiled and nodded and deflected the eager questions of ward members and Bishops about when we were going. The year-mark came and went. We noticed, as time slogged on, the deluge of happy questions slowed to a cautious trickle- kind people not wanting to press, but now wondering why we haven’t gone. Did they do something wrong? Are they worthy? Are they spies? What’s wrong with them?

All jesting aside- and I still don’t have an answer- but I can finally say: We’re going.

I appreciate the eagerness of our friends and ward-members to see us move onto something so precious- and I understand converts counting the days until their year-mark. It just wasn’t the way for us. When my year mark came, I went to get a Recommend from my bishop, and while he ultimately left the decision to me, his council was to wait for my husband. At the time, waiting seemed hopeless- my husband had been a practicing Buddhist for well over a decade, and wasn’t interested in joining any church. Maybe I could wait a little while.

A little while happened, and I found my husband reading Our Search for Happiness and taking the Elders to a baseball game in the name of fellowship. Over dinner one night, one of the Baseball Elders asked him to name a baptism date, and instead of laughter, my husband said “Thursday”. I dropped my fork.

This is just how we do things, I suppose.

This Thursday, my husband is going in for his Recommend interview, and I have an appointment to renew mine. We haven’t told anyone yet- even though I know the ward will be eager and excited. Word will get out- after all, we have a Temple in our meetinghouse parking lot- it’s not like we’ll be going where no one knows us.

All three of our children will be able to be part of the ceremony. Two of them are old enough to not only remember the day, but already understand some of why this will be special. We are not stepping off into the unknown- rather, it feels like going home.

My heart is light and joyful. Since so many of you feel like not only ward members, but friends who helped me get here, I thought you might like to share our happiness. I wish you could be there too.

Comments

  1. Congratulations! It will be amazing, and the right time for you guys. Well done.

  2. Congratulations! That is really exciting.

  3. Oh, congratulations. :) *beams*

  4. Great news. One recommendation I make to people entering the temple for the first time is to think of the ritual as an induction into the family of eternity, and remember that eternity looks sufficiently different from mortality that the language(s) used to convey it eternity to us is/are distinctive.

    Sometimes I wish instead of blessing our children in church we could seal them in the temple. I envy your opportunity to enter the communion of eternal families with you children awake.

  5. Steve Evans says:

    Congrats, Tracy. I am also envious of your opportunities to savor something so wonderful for the first time.

  6. Oh, Tracy. Joy!

  7. Marvelous–peace be with you and your family.

  8. Terrific news.

  9. Bless you. And you’re not late. You’re right on time.

  10. Hooray!

  11. That’s awesome, Tracy. I’m really happy for you.

    We were sealed in the temple when our first child was a year old (and I was 7-8 months pregnant with our second). It’s an incredible experience. I can still see my son, all dressed in white, sitting on the altar between us. (I can’t believe he turns 18 next month.)

  12. Mark Brown says:

    …one of the baseball Elders…

    I love it. This just goes to show that we shouldn’t disparage all baseball baptisms.

  13. good news.

    Very happy for you.

  14. I also want to congratulate you, Tracy. It’s a huge step for your family– huge. I’ll be interested to read your first impressions and feelings once you’ve gone through. I’m also curious how it may affect your perspective of the Gospel. I teach Temple Prep in my ward and see a lot of people go through– and they all seem very happy once they’ve gone– but I wonder sometimes what they really felt that first time. I think some of them might be afraid to voice anything but joy. This year will mark my 30-year anniversary since I received my own endowment and, to tell the truth, I don’t recall my before-and-after impressions. So, for that, I envy you.

  15. The song, “O happy day” goes through my head whenever I hear news like this. For me, It took about five years before I had a spiritual confirmation that I was ready to go to the temple. People didn’t understand, but I’m really glad I waited. I’ve seen what can happen when you jump into something too early and I know that it is best to wait until you’re ready.

  16. Wonderful news!

  17. I agree with those advising to wait until you’re ready. I think it takes a lot of understanding concerning what covenants are and look like before the temple makes sense, and I think that is in part a function of time.

    That said, it’s hard for me to fault the members of your ward for bothering you about it a little. It’s been a little while since I looked at the statistics, but I think the odds of a convert going to the temple if they don’t do it between the first and second year are saddeningly low.

  18. Yay Tracy! Good luck to you and your family!

  19. Tracy,

    Congratulations! Waiting for your husband to be ready I think is a good thing. When you get to have your little ones with you at the sealing, that is one of the most amazing moments in the church. Something definitely to anticipate, and savor the memory for the eternities.

  20. StillConfused says:

    Good job. And kudos to you for waiting until you were ready.

  21. Wow. Thanks for sharing this with us. It’s interesting to want to share in something so sacred with someone you’ve never met in person. I hope it is all you have ever envisioned – and more.

    My only advice: Try not to think much your first time; just focus on the feeling – especially in the celestial room and in the sealing room. You’ll have plenty of chances to “figure it out” later.

  22. Tracy yay! I’m really thrilled for your family. How cool to be ready together for this sacred experience.

  23. Wow, my wife and I received our endowments and were sealed with our two children one year and two weeks after our baptism. I can’t imagine waiting as long as you did but to each his own, I guess. Is there not a temple near your home?

  24. Good news! I smile as I think about the spritual feast you’re about to enjoy together. If you feel like so doing, a post-temple post would be welcome — after you’ve had time to reflect, ponder, and assimilate.

  25. Congratulations! This is wonderful news.

  26. Tony, that is great that you and your family made it to the temple and did so as soon as you were eligible, but it obviously doesn’t work out that way for everyone, for a variety of reasons. I think we should rejoice that Tracy and her family are being sealed together.

    Many members never marry in the temple at all, ever. And in other cases, such as a neighbor of ours, some go to the temple when perhaps they really aren’t ready, it means very little to them, and they don’t return. In the case of our neighbor, the wife and children are active, but the husband is not. So, is it better to make covenants and not understand them and not keep them, or is it better to not make the covenant until you are ready, prepared, and committed?

    We should definitely encourage and support couples and families to be sealed, but we also have to respect that everyone has their own learning curve and timetable.

  27. Latter-day Guy says:

    Many congratulations! I hope that your day is stress-free enough that you can really enjoy the experience. Ditto to #21.

  28. DW and I have a good friend who decided NOT to marry in the temple to her RM fiance — despite being completely worthy to do so — because she didn’t feel like she had adequately prepared herself first (she got married at home instead, and then prepared herself, and then they were sealed a year later).

    I wonder how many newlyweds would take that same approach, if they were truly honest with themselves? How many new missionaries are truly prepared for the endowment, instead of receiving it as part of the pre-mission checklist (suits at Mr. Mac — check, new shoes — check, endowment — check, give address to laurels at church — check, buy new scriptures — check …)?

    There’s nothing wrong with waiting until you’re ready, as long as you’re working toward readiness.

  29. Incidentally, it’s appropriate perhaps that someone link to Nate Oman’s classic post “A Letter to a Friend Going to the Temple for the First Time”:

    http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=3235

    (Although, the comments go downhill quickly, as everyone gangs up on Julie M. Smith. But the post is good.)

  30. Thanks, everyone, for your kind wishes.

    Yup, we waited. I had never heard the statistics about converts and the year mark, but that doesn’t surprise me. We aren’t your standard anything.

    I know people wondered what was up, but we knew we were moving forward. We knew if we rushed things just for the sake of appearance, we would crash and burn. So, we waited.

    Now, we’re as ready as we’ll ever be. I know we are better prepared, and have deeper testimonies than we had two years ago. I know we’re 4×4 with the Lord, and he’s OK with our path. I know that we are ready to actually make promises and have the ability to keep those promises.

    I always felt it would be catastrophic to go before we were ready; it always seemed better to wait than to make covenants we were’nt prepared enough to understand.

    To answer someone who asked, there is a Temple within our ward boundaries. Most of the people in our ward are Temple workers, and we drive by the temple every day going home from school.

    It’s already a part of our lives- and it has happened slowly, organically, and at a pace we can claim as our own.

  31. Kevin Barney says:

    queuno, I’m glad you posted that link. That letter contains the kind of basic information about the temple that Tracy and her husband really need.

    (Congrats on the decision, Tracy!)

  32. #26: my husband went inactive because he had a bad experience in the temple. He eventually came back to church and has remained active, but he still hasn’t returned to the temple. Well he went to see his sister sealed, but that’s it.

    It won’t be long before our oldest will be old enough to go on a mission. That should be interesting.

  33. Tracy — I feel connection with what you’re saying. After a rather long time, I’m going to be getting a TR soon, and I’m getting a group of friends together to go down with me when I go for the first time. The temple’s a couple of hours away, so it won’t be quite like your trip. But, yet, I feel the connection.

    I’m very happy for your family. I wish you the very best.

  34. Might I offer some other advice? Your sealing is a big life event, not unlike getting married. Don’t feel pressured to invite a horde of people from your ward just because they are in your ward. Invite who you want to invite.

    Sometimes ward members take liberties on how involved they should be in “big events”.

  35. queuno- thanks for the advice. We already plan on keeping it small- at least that’s our intention.

    When my husband decided to be baptized _on Thursday_ , we told no one except the Bishop and the Elders. We did no song, no program- just the required witnesses, and a dunking. That’s the way he wanted it- and there were gasps in SM on Sunday when the Bishop announced it…

    I think he will likely insist on the same for our Endowments and Sealing.

  36. Neat.

  37. Oh, that’s wonderful! Just wonderful.

  38. Congratulations!

  39. I’m so happy for you Tracy! My heart is full.

  40. Guy Noir, Private Eye says:

    Some people who left other churches (catholic) because they were weirded out by rituals have a similar reaction to going to LDS temples. Be prepared. Although very few if any ‘faithful’ will talk about it, you can learn a bit to prepare yourself by online research.
    Some of the ‘truly weird’ stuff has relatively recently been dropped, but some still remains.

  41. On-line research to figure out the temple? No thanks.

  42. “Although very few if any ‘faithful’ will talk about it”

    You don’t spend much time here or in Temple Prep classes or in any of the wards I’ve attended or reading the church’s published information, do you? “Faithful” – “Truly weird” – If you’re going to go over-the-top, there have to be more powerful ways to do so.

    (Should have been included in #41): I won’t go to a Mormon to try to understand Catholic ceremonial symbolism; I won’t go to internet research to understand the temple.

  43. Latter-day Guy says:

    Well, to be fair, Ray (re 41), there is a lot of good info out there. Mormon Monastery for instance is fantastic.

  44. Mormon Monastery is a fabulous site. I highly recommend it.

    I’ve more than done my research, and I know just about everything that happens, save the actual language, which I have purposely avoided finding out.

    Many truly faithful people have been quite generous about sharing their knowledge of the temple, even going so far as to show me the clothing and explain what it was about. I don’t think it’s possible to be any more prepared than I am, and I have done so by learning from faithful people.

    That said, if the comments devolve into snarky remarks about the Temple, I’ll delete and close the discussion.

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