Guest blogger Jamie Huston posts again!
Once, at an Elders Quorum Presidency meeting, I shared some of the notes I had scribbled in my journal the day before after going to the temple. I had gone looking for ideas for improving our work as priesthood leaders. I came out with a treasure trove of instruction. Some of the (obviously more generic) points that came to mind are: accept and cheerfully magnify all assignments, stay involved with those to whom you minister, and bring further light and knowledge into people’s lives.
One of my counselors at the time was blown away. A deeply spiritual man for whom I have the utmost respect, he had never thought of going to the temple with a gospel subject in mind and looking for guidance on it. This makes me want to share the idea, and hit you up for more ideas.
Not to say that we’re just passively going through the motions, waiting to be filled with the Spirit like third graders being drilled on their times tables, but as good as praying about our problems and fasting are, it seems to me that we can and should study the endowment very much the same way in which we study the printed scriptures: by looking for patterns, themes, symbols, and analyzing both the medium and the message.
We could well open up the Topical Guide and pick something. Perhaps the most fruitful gospel topic I’ve mined the endowment for and worked on in my journal is humility. I was overwhelmed by just how much the endowment has to say about humility. Although I worded my notes to remain oblique enough to not be inappropriate should someone else read them, I’d still be uncomfortable repeating most of them in this forum–most of the references to humility that I caught were tied into specific teachings and actions on our part–but some overall humility-related aspects of the ceremony include our being reminded of our imperfection and mortality; our being directed to seek out wisdom from others, to whom we should submit; our often perilous situation in this world; and our obligation to bring our will in line with that of God through lives of steady discipleship.
Most every important spiritual subject that I can think of has yielded meaningful insights from the endowment: marriage and parenting, finding joy in life, receiving revelation and maintaining our spirituality, etc.
No doubt this post is a big “well, duh” for most readers, but what I’d like to see come out of it is a reverent exchange of other ideas about things to look for in the temple, or other ways to study and apply the endowment. Thanks for the feedback!