A confession

I hate running. Lots of people like it–they run races, they discover untapped strength and joy, they get in physical and spiritual shape, they have intense emotions and “runner’s high.”

But not me. I started running in high school, and have run off and on ever since. I want it to change me–starting with turning my pudgy peasant-girl legs into something appropriate to one of those lithe, willowy “runner’s bodies.” I want to triumph over pain and adversity, experience the joy of doing hard things, feel strong and brave and capable. I never do. Yes, running has probably prevented my thighs from taking over the known universe, it has probably made my heart stronger, and it has given me enough energy to (barely) keep up with my children. But I still loathe every single step, and don’t expect to ever experience the transcendence other people describe.

Here’s the thing–I feel the same way about going to the temple. I have never liked it. I’m glad that I have gone, I can believe and hope that it is a good thing to do, but if I’m honest with myself, I have to concede that the comfort, joy, peace, and inspiration that other people describe as characteristic of their temple worship have eluded me.* This is ok with me–I have a firm testimony of the gospel principle of slogging, the necessity of doing what is right simply because it is right. I know what I should do, and I will keep doing it. I’m just puzzled that the common experience of my fellow Saints remains so alien to me, that, just as running has not transformed me in expected or hoped-for ways, the power of temple worship has not (yet) changed me from a pagan-music-snob-who-feels-the-Spirit-in-the-woods-and-at-the-beach-and-in-Symphony-Hall, to someone who is moved by the temple liturgy.

What about you? Are there things that seem to make most Saints you know feel warm and fuzzy that leave you flat? Conversely, are there things that are moving to you that no one else gets? Should we worry about this, or just give thanks for the particolored variety of religious experience?

——————————————–
*Please refrain from telling me that I should prepare better, or put more into the experience, or repent, or whatever else it is you may think I have not done. You may be right, but you may very well be wrong, and you don’t know me well enough to have any idea whether your advice will be helpful or painful or insulting. I have tried a lot of things over the years–there’s a good chance your way didn’t work for me. And I’m not all that interesting, anyway; I’m hoping for a more generalized discussion.

Comments

  1. xenologue says:

    What leaves me flat? Three words (names): Janice. Kapp. Perry.

    By contrast, even thinking of the first breath of Northern Ontario air in the summertime makes my eyes brim with both emotional and spiritual nostalgia.

  2. I can totally relate to your temple experiences. The first time I went to do baptisms for the dead (as a 14 year old) it was an overwhelmingly powerful experience. I was surprised and puzzled that the endowment ceremony did not feel the same. It was not until I had been going to the temple for 20 years that I had a wonderful spiritual experience while going through the veil. Since then it has suddenly become meaningful and a blessing to me.

  3. Kristine,
    Have you considered going drunk? I would imagine that might help.

  4. Kristine, you need to repent. et cetera.

    I’m just not moved by the beach/ocean interface. Try as I might, I can’t get thrilled about lying half-naked on a pile of dirt watching industrial effluents and SSRIs accumulate in the world’s salty water, while the sun mutates the DNA in my poorly protected skin.

    And crawdaddy, your allusion to the Eleusinian Mysteries is remarkably apt, all things considered.

  5. “Are there things that seem to make most Saints you know feel warm and fuzzy that leave you flat?”

    Family History, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, singing hymns, and The Proclamation on the Family. This could be a long list, but I will leave it there for now.

    I do not think we should worry about it, and instead should celebrate it. However, I am not sure in everyone else feels the same way. So, I hang out here.

  6. Baby blessings. I know. Shoot me.

  7. I think I’ll copy your *post-script and add it to each of my posts ;).

    I wrote one of the stories you linked to, and nothing has surprised me more than my conversion to running. Which is apropos of nothing except my reverence of Mystery. Because me, running? That’s a mystery I bow down before. And I wonder what other mysteries God my have in store. I’m open to it. In the meantime, I slog through a lot stuff.

  8. Kevin Barney says:

    I struggle with appreciating General Conference, much more than most Mormons I know, for whom GC is the highlight of their religious year which they look forward to with great anticipation.

  9. Tracy hates puppies, too. And Keyboard Cat.

  10. Family Home Evening and Family Prayer. But I’m sure it will get better.

    I actually like everything else in church. But it helps that my kids are still young. I think I’m gonna get burned out on Scoutss when that comes up.

  11. And don’t forget The Princess Bride.

  12. I, too, feel “flat” in the temple. I try to prepare myself. I try to have a good attitude. I expect each time that this will finally be “it”, that I will have some experience that is different from the outside world. And each time I come away feeling fairly “blah” and disappointed. It makes me much less likely to want to go.

    And if I’m honest with myself, I actually feel more at peace, more of an inner “warmness”, and more connected to God and my fellowman when I practice Buddhist meditation techniques. Why? I have absolutely no idea. It is what it is…

  13. Also, I had one experience that I considered truly spiritual in the temple. I had been thinking and praying about a problem for a while. As I opened the scriptures in the waiting room before going back for the session, a particular verse that is actually quite random jumped off the page for me. It described my problem completely. I felt in my heart an overwhelming feeling that my prayers had been answered.

    Unfortunately, everything subsequently fell apart and the exact opposite of the answer I thought I got occurred.

  14. Family history, for sure.

    I’ve long thought that the paradise afterlife and the celestial kingdom both look simply dreadful. Among other things, I can’t imagine anything worse than inflicting _Preach My Gospel_ on all the spirits in prison.

    I’m kind of hoping, should I actually make it to paradise, to sneak off and read a lot of books.

  15. I don’t get Liz Lemon Swindle. Not the human being, whom I’m sure is an excellent and wonderful person. But her art. I cannot even appreciate it’s kitsch factor. It’s hurts my eyes. Ugh. ‘Nuf said.

  16. Dallas,
    What’s wrong with you? Liz Lemon is one of the best characters on TV!

    Oh, wait–you’re right, that’s horrendous.

  17. I have had ONE amazing temple experience, and the oil from that -one- is what sustains me through the others.

  18. Had never heard of Swindle, but ouch.
    http://www.reparteegallery.com/pm-23173-159-jesus-the-christ.aspx
    Why is Jesus sneering?

  19. I love this post and appreciate your honesty. Every time I hear someone talk about the amazing insight they gain every time they go (or even just one time when they went), I’m left thinking: “What are these people TALKING about?”

    And I second what Kevin Barney said. I used to think I maybe just didn’t like it because my kids were little and we banished ourselves to the RS room so we didn’t disrupt the rest of the listeners, but now that they are old enough to sit (mostly) quietly in the chapel, I can’t use that excuse anymore. It’s long. Two hours long. And we have to watch it in the dark. Tough set-up.

  20. I am with you on both counts.

    I also have very negative feelings about the Young Women’s Theme chant.

  21. Or there’s this one, which I’ve always secretly referred to as Blue Steel Jesus:

    http://www.reparteegallery.com/pm-8995-159-jesus.aspx

  22. I have a hard time feeling good about General Conference, priesthood leadership meetings, sunday school, actually most meetings. I’ll stop there. But I slog through with it all, and sometimes very unexpected things move me, and I wonder if I am loony.

  23. Maybe it was my friend’s fault and they really aren’t that bad but she would plaster “CTR! RWH!” all over EVERYTHING like they were some kind of gang sign. (That and the guy she had a crush on had this one t-shirt with Helaman’s warriors on it that said “Mama’s Boys.”) She’s still like that- it’s all over her facebook page.

  24. Oh Tracy, that made my day.

  25. And, for balance, here are some wacky things that make me (and maybe no one else) happy: singing all the verses of the hymns, our bizarre use of the subjunctive mood in conducting meetings and praying, the deacons’ obsessive attention to protocol (especially since I know that the kid who is so careful about holding his arm exactly square with the sacrament tray just fought me for TWO HOURS before cleaning his fingernails), taking attendance in Sunday School.

  26. I feel the same way about running and most exercise, although I’ve never put the amount of effort into it to really reap any benefits.

    I also feel somewhat the same way about the temple, although I do feel that I’ve put more effort into that during the last ten years or so that I’ve been attending. I have had some good spiritual experiences there, and most of the time when I attend I have a general feeling of calm, but I always feel that I’m missing some sort of transcendance that I should be experiencing.

  27. I don’t like baby blessings either. Other peoples’ babies are fine. I don’t like having my own baby blessed because of that obligatory open house I have to host afterward (and yes, I do have to host it or face the offended wrath of 45 relatives who expect it (I’m spineless)). In fact, I dislike the idea of a baby blessing open house so much that when I found out my husband was deploying to Afghanistan the month before our baby was due, and would only be able to come home for a couple days at his birth, my thought was “we can bless him in the hospital room and I don’t have to host an open house” and it was actually a reason I was *glad* my husband was deploying when I had a newborn and if that isn’t sad, I don’t know what is.

  28. Also, just in case it wasn’t clear, this is in no way meant as a criticism of the temple, or a call for change of any sort. And it’s also not a criticism of people who do like it–I’m really only expressing puzzlement.

  29. Aaron Brown says:

    I don’t know how to begin to answer your question, Kristine. OK, I do know how to begin, but I wouldn’t know where to end.

    Basically my “warm-fuzzy-meter” has been defective since I was in my mid- to late teens. Rather than list specific examples, I’ll just say I feel like I’m living in a world where everybody’s meter goes to 11, all the time, except for mine. Sometimes I think there’s something wrong with me. Sometimes I think there’s something wrong with everybody else. I’m sure I’ll continue to vacillate on this.

    To answer your second question (while reinterpreting it a bit), I am rarely moved by cinema in the way that I “should” be, but every now and then a film will hit me with tremendous force, to the confusion of others. My wife still can’t understand why Charlize Theron’s performance in _Monster_ floors me like it does. Who knew the travails of a lesbian, prostitute, serial killer would affect me in the way no religious film ever has?

    AB

  30. I don’t get all the pioneer worship. As soon as I hear the word “great” twice in a row I immediately go catatonic.

    However, I get major major warm fuzzies from all the goofy YW stuff, even the ridiculous theme and the even more ridiculous and completely overwrought Girls Camp.

  31. Slogging. Yeah, get used to it. It’s what they do in heaven. Imagine, standing on a planet-sized glass ball, watching the next year’s Cowboys – Eagles game. What’s left to live for???? Slogging.

  32. Oh, Aaron–Satan has a counterfeit for everything, even The Princess Bride and other religious movies. Obviously, you need to put your life in order so that your warmfuzzimeter can work properly again.

  33. I rejoice on those Sundays when I awake and realize it is not Fast Sunday. I dislike fasting as much as I dislike running, but I feel better when I have fasted for a day (not during the fast though).

  34. Larry the Cable Guy says:

    The Jogger’s Prayer, by Tom Wolfe

    (the gospel parallels are eerily applicable)

    Almighty God, as we sail with pure aerobic grace and striped orthotic feet past the blind portals of our fellow citizens, past their chuckroast lives and their necrotic cardiovascular systems and rusting hips and slipped discs and desiccated lungs, past their implacable inertia and inability to rise above the fully pensioned world they live in and to push themselves to the limits of their capacity and achieve the White Moment of slipping through The Wall, past their cruisomatic cars and upholstered lawn mowers and their gummy-sweet children already at work like little fat factories producing arterial plaque, the more quickly to join their parents in their joyless bucket-seat landau ride toward the grave–help us, dear Lord, we beseech Thee as we sail past this cold-lard desolation, to be big about it.

  35. Mommie Dearest says:

    I thought I was the only one who reacted negatively to LizLemon’s emotionally overwrought illustrations.

  36. I wouldn’t describe it as a warm fuzzy, but more like an overwhelming obsession with family history work that overtakes me for about a month at a time every year or two. For me there is a power in that work that I wouldn’t expect.

    Also. I really, really like the Personal Progress program for the YW.

  37. I think you just need to run and go to the temple with a better crowd.

  38. To be honest, a lot of the bloggernacle is completely uninteresting to me. Does that count?

    I can relate to the temple thing. I stopped going for a long time, not for any particular reason, just got lazy. Then my husband decided he wanted to go back (after 20 years—his first and only temple experience led to him going inactive—long story), so we went together recently and now every time I go I learn something new. (We’ve been going every week since he lost his job.) It’s not always a mind blowing experience—never has been, actually—but every time, I feel different afterwards. Better.

  39. I can relate to the temple thing, but one thing that I always love and can’t quite understand the general resistance to is home teaching.

  40. My first temple experience is what kept me going for a long time. Not because other experiences have been bad, just meh.

    I only experienced runner’s high once–after an amazing eight mile run I didn’t want to end. Sadly, it did, about a half a mile from my house when a disk slipped in my back, pinching my sciatic nerve and causing me intense pain. I haven’t really gone back to running since.

  41. I hate running. But I really, really like walking. My sister-in-law can’t understand this because she is a very efficient sort of person. Running takes half the time as walking, she says. And I think, but my brain needs the whole time.

    The temple was a mystery to me for years. It was fine, but not something I looked forward to. That changed, though, when I started going every week during a personal crisis. I never did have THAT moment, but something about every week changed how it felt to me. Not every time is great or even remarkable. But now it’s like a good, long walk.

  42. Interesting. I actually like the temple, but dislike pretty much everything else about church.
    But if I have to pick one thing, it’s Fast & Testimony meetings. Slogging through that one Sunday a month, I think, should entitle me to copious amounts of alcohol.

  43. My ‘leaves me cold list” might have to do with my personality.

    I don’t get hyped about the church but I love the gospel.

    Not much for testimony meetings and missionary work. (I served and had a some success in the ‘field’ but it was a struggle.)

    I wish General Conference wasn’t so programmed. I understand why it is, but I prefer when the GA can take the time he needs to deliver the message.

    In the late 1950′s the Tabernacle Choir issued the album “The Lord’s Prayer.” (It’s available on the Sony label oddly titled Super Hits) I can still listen to that and it will cut me off at the knees. Later issues, not so much.

    Maybe the best understanding I had of eternity was when I saw the Milky Way reflected off a Canadian wilderness lake.

  44. Ugly Mahana says:

    Regarding your postscript, the Bishop who taught the Temple preparation class I attended prior to serving my mission told us that he had experienced revelation as a result of temple attendance only twice. In one of those experiences, he said that he was impressed that it was ok that he did not have an intensely spiritual relationship with the Temple. This Bishop indeed bore witness of the importance of Temple attendance, but emphasized the provision of proxy ordinance work more than the spiritual uplift.

    Temple attendance provides spiritual sustenance to me. But there are a multitude of gifts, and we should not think that all must be alike.

  45. StillConfused says:

    Temple was freaky. I didn’t care for it at all. Too much symbolism.

    My hugest pet peeve – the primary voice. You know that annoying high pitched voice that some of the women use. Drives me insane. I have turned off general conference before because the woman’s voice was so annoying. I remember listening to a conference a few years ago and there was a woman who talked normal. Wow. That was the coolest thing ever. I always told my kids that if I ever talked like that to just shoot me.

  46. If I were to honestly answer your question, it would expose me as a bad person. Actually, I don’t feel like or think I’m a bad person, but inside the framework of Mormon culture I am a bad person.

    So I’ll just say that I hear you on the original topic. Even at my most orthodox period, I never really “got” the temple. It always made me wonder if there was something about me (wrong with me) that was blocking its power.

  47. I used to dislike the Temple and the part that bugged me they removed. Now I like it, but no visitations or anything like that. It is just good to get away and be alone with my own thoughts.
    I love the gospel, but 3 hour church is too long.
    Love to walk and hate to run.
    I agree with #45 StillConfused the weird goofy phony voice and facial expressions some women use are irritating.
    I super hate being the ward widow.

  48. Anon for this says:

    Where to begin…

    Testimony meetings don’t usually do much for me; they used to, but now they mostly annoy me––particularly EFY/Youth Conference TMs. Thank the Lord those are behind me! (Unless there’s a really, really, embarrassingly over-dramatic testimony. There used to be a kid in my home ward… Every. Single. Month. It was hilarious in a Steve Carrel/this-is-so-embarrassing-I-can-hardly-stand-to-stay-in-the-room kind of way.)

    To be honest, after the sacrament, I spend most of Church waiting to leave. Most times, Sunday School and PH/RS are excruciating––there are, of course, a few lovely exceptions to the norm, but it seems whenever a teacher is talented and fascinating, somebody complains about their “unorthodox” approach (i.e.: their lessons aren’t reason-numbing, fuzzy, tearful treacle) and they are soon released. (“Church is like a drug: a drug that makes you tired and want to go home.”)

    For some reason, many members where I live go all gooey over “likening the scriptures” to their political ideologies. I hate politics at Church. ALL POLITICS. All the smiling efforts to prove that your party’s platform actually encapsulates the gospel-as-public-policy, while suggesting that anyone who disagrees with you is (at best) not very intelligent, or (at worst) not very in-tune/righteous. I also dislike the tendency––frequently on display when making veiled political statements––to use testimony as a rhetorical bludgeon. “I know that we must do all we can to care for the poor and needy” (so if you don’t support the healthcare bill, you’ll make Jesus cry), or “I know [wipes nose and/or running mascara] that we must protect the sanctity of the family unit” (so your choice to vote against Prop 8 was basically like sending a donation to NAMBLA while performing an abortion with your other hand, and while Jesus does have an appreciation for the ambidextrous, you still made him cry).

    I think reenacting pioneer treks is ridiculous. (The TMs after these fall into the EFY/Youth Conference category. Of course you felt “angels” helping you, you’re exhausted and malnourished; a few more days and you’d’ve been SEEING them.) “To show our gratitude for the suffering and privations our ancestors endured for the benefit of future generations, we’re going to go suffer like they did!” That’s like saying, “I’m so thankful for modern medicine I’m going to infect myself with diphtheria!” or “I want to show Jesus how much I love him. Quick, nail me to something!” (Wait, never mind.)

    The glowing terms with which we describe full-time missionary work also leaves me cold. The interesting thing for me has been that even some of the most warm and fuzzy purveyors of missionary warm-fuzzies tend to take a fairly different tone when behind closed doors with other RMs––thus the smiling public front smacks of little more than dissembling. I’m grateful I served (though there’s plenty I wish I could forget––a few months after coming home, I went to see a psychologist… It’s an interesting experience to go into a room thinking you’re just “a little blue,” and then come out of it with a PTSD diagnosis), but I wish someone had told me more of what it was really going to be like. A few hinted, but I’m sure they felt the same––intense––pressure that I do: “Put a good face on it. Nobody wants to hear about some of the ugly realities.”

    So, yeah, I really like the temple, actually. I find it peaceful and uplifting––gesture fraught with meaning; the silent, ordered minuet; the comfort of light and quiet; the familiarity of warm hands and soft words.

  49. Well, I hate running, too.

    And as for the temple — it’s cool for me. I was fortunate to have a couple of very good experiences early on, and have one every so often. But to be sure there are plenty of times when temple worship is pretty repetitive.

    The older I get the more critical I am of poorly prepared and poorly taught lessons. I try to contribute, to “move things along” if I can (but that’s not my job…), but it just doesn’t get me heart thumping.

    I think we all have different spiritual gifts and different sensibilities, so it’s no surprise that we have different responses to things. I’m grateful to have spent most of my church life in units where that sort of diversity is appreciated, or at least tolerated.

    I taught at the MTC for a while and once in a while a missionary would confide that he or she felt odd not to be in a flood of spirit-induced tears from morning to night the way some were. My response was that often the tears were more emotion than spirit, and that in time the spirit would likely come one way or another. That’s been my experience, anyway.

    BTW, really like the Hopkins poem!

  50. #45–spot on.
    As an 11-year-old, I considered going inactive because of that voice. Or at least sluffing primary. I hated it.
    And now, as much as I hate to admit it, I’ll listen to the first couple of minutes of a woman speaking in General Conference, and then go do something else. There has been one single exception (and it’s probably the same one referenced in #45). I love to hear the gospel from a woman’s perspective, especially since women are underrepresented in General Conference, but that style of speaking just disturbs me.

  51. The afterlife does not appeal to me.

    Living five hours away from the temple really helps with diminishing the guilt for non-attendance. I felt much worse when I walked past the temple twice a day in Provo. :)

  52. Just responding to comment #4 – lying on the beach does not work for me either. But if there is a frisbee involved or if there is coral to look at – then I like the beach.

    Running is something I think about doing. Last year I got something going (and felt satisfaction with it for awhile) and then stopped. My problem is that I seem to hit this point (when I am running) where I get bored or just stop. I need to work past it and keep it movin’.

  53. I don’t like Liz Lemmon either. But I watch 30 Rock because I love Jack.

    I also don’t get the appeal of the temple. I really like the baptisms, but not the endowment.

  54. I’ve never gotten the obsession with the The Proclamation on the Family. The POTF in and of itself doesn’t bother me. But I find it strange that we (collectively) frame it and hang it up our walls. I’ve never understood what we are trying to prove… or why we need to put it in everyone’s face… just to remind us that men and women are different, we have responsibilities to our family, etc.? I don’t find it offensive, just weird.

  55. I’ve not read the comments, so this has probably already been mentioned, but…missionary work. I’ve made–or at least am in the process of continually making–my peace with it, but I can’t imagine ever liking it, don’t really believe it’s necessary (at least not in the form by which it is currently practiced), and strongly doubt I will ever find it spiritually rewarding.

  56. Eric Russell says:

    My biggest pet peeve in the church is charity – the whole principle, I don’t like it. I doubt I ever will. I don’t know why, I guess I’ve just never really gotten anything out of it. In fact, I wouldn’t mind if we just removed 1 Cor. 13 from the Bible altogether.

  57. Alex T. Valencic says:

    The one thing that I just don’t “get” that other members do is Gospel art and poetry in general. There have been a few visual pieces of art that I have found really awesome but, for the most part, I just don’t get them. And not just Liz Lemon Swindle. I feel the same about Greg Olsen, Simon Dewey, Del Parson, etc. (Okay, actually, Greg Olsen and Del Parson have each one a few pieces that I appreciate.)

    Poetry is even worse for me. I really just don’t get it. This is actually true for poetry in general (except for Shel Silverstein), but LDS poetry especially just leaves me feeling nothing exciting.

    And merely because folks are including some pet peeves, too, I am just going to throw out there that, as much as I enjoy hearing from others, if you ever start a talk with the line “Bro. So-And-So asked me to speak about…” or “Bro. So-And-So called me last night…” or “I was asked to speak about… and forgot about it until this morning…” I promise I will tune you out and either catch up on my Twitter feed or write notes to my wife about our upcoming Primary lesson. Stating your topic is generally a sign that you are not well-prepared, because it means that, by the time you are done, I won’t have any clue as to what your topic was. (I even hate it when GAs do this in Conference.)

  58. Thought-provoking post, Kristine. And it’s fun getting to know everyone just a bit better by reading this thread.

    I think with the Temple, there are many, many people who slog through because of an insight or an experience they had ONE TIME. Personally, I love symbolism, so I spend my time in the temple in wild flights of fancy connecting every tiny thing to some grand meaning. But it’s what gets me through, and I’m not really attending because it’s what I’d most like to be doing.

    My spiritual faves: Classical poetry. And yes, the beach. Canoeing, white-water rafting, waterskiing, sailing, swimming, EVERYTHING to do with outdoor water venues. Testimony meetings when the kooks come out. Sunstone symposium. Mormon doctrinal speculation of all persuasions.

    My yucks: Boring SS and RS lessons. General conference and the lecture format in most church meetings. Home and visiting teaching. The Ensign.

  59. don’t tell my husband but I really detest EFY music….technically not church. I also don’t like the whole saturday’s warriors, it’s a miracle… I like music and I like musicals, I just like quality. The fact that a certain thing refers to the book of mormon once, has a mormon in it, was produced or written by a mormon does not automatically make me like it.

    don’t tell my mother in law either. Bless her dear sweet child like heart which I try not to smush when I delicately back away from the newest bright shiny mormon thing

  60. Two of Three says:

    I’d take the wood, beach, fields, mountains, lakes etc over the temple anyday. The past few times I have gone I has been to please someone else. I have to stop doing that!

  61. “. . . gesture fraught with meaning; the silent, ordered minuet; the comfort of light and quiet; the familiarity of warm hands and soft words.”

    Nicely put.

  62. Simon Dewey art. Too glassy and contrived emotion. I am sorry, but nobody looks the way Dewey depicts them.

  63. As found in Alma, all things testify there is a God (very general paraphrase). There is nothing wrong with finding God and spiritual experiences in our own ways and places. We are all different so it makes sense that we will be moved by different things. For me, much of my spiritual growth in the church comes from sources outside the church.

  64. Like SMB, I don’t really enjoy beaches. I mean, I like the idea of beaches, but inevitably they are too hot and too sandy and not really that fun.

  65. Bro. Jones says:

    Church. Not THE Church, but Sunday meetings. Honestly, if a letter came down from the First Presidency saying that all Sunday blocks as currently organized were canceled, and that members in each ward were simply encouraged to put together their own fellowship, testimony, scripture study, or service programs for Sunday worship–I’d dance with joy.

    Pioneer worship. It’s gotten much, MUCH better in recent years–both in terms of lowering the volume on praising the handcart companies as well as broadening the definition of “pioneer” to include new members throughout the world–but in the past, yikes.

  66. Here are my suggestions for you:

    First, you should prepare better to go to the temple. Not knowing you, I can’t say for sure, but I’ll bet you aren’t preparing well.

    Second, it would probably help if you put more into the temple experience. You know, try harder.

    Next, you should repent so as to feel the spirit more.

    Finally, you should do a myriad of other things I think you have not done.

    I hope that was helpful.

  67. I know this may sound Strange. The prayers on TV for Conference. I don’t know why, but I can never sit and listen. Sometimes I mute the TV during the prayer.

  68. YSA F&T meetings drive me up the wall. Except when they’re so crazy they’re awesome.

    And, um, they removed stuff from the endowment???
    Hmmm. Interesting.

  69. Thanks, jimbob :)

  70. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    I run, and I go to the temple. I perform each activity with more regularity than I would prefer. I, too, have never felt the satisfaction that others profess. However, I’m cynical enough to discount the experience of others. When I hear others relate the joy they receive from running, or the profound spiritual awareness that accompanies temple attendance, I find it easier to conclude that they have misinterpreted their experience. You see, I run and I go to the temple, and I’m not stupid – I know what those feel like!

  71. Britt — “Bless her dear sweet child like heart which I try not to smush when I delicately back away from the newest bright shiny mormon thing”

    Oh, is your wording ever perfect!

  72. There are lots of things about church that leave me feeling flat, but just like your running example — that’s always just seemed like life to me.

    What I don’t get is how ridiculous I find the modern temple ceremony (why a prophet packaged eternal truths in such irritatingly silly wrapping I’ll never know), and yet, I DO feel the Spirit there. Go figure.

  73. Bro. Jones says:

    #66 [high five] Thank you for your help.

  74. Our church, like all organizations, fosters conformity. Talk to people that go to a gym regularly and they’ll tell you about the high they get by working out. If someone told you, “I hate working out, but I’m vain and enjoy the attention I get by looking good,” would you respect him more or less?

    This same conformity bias applies to church. People tell each other they feel great because that’s what they are supposed to say.

    I generally do not feel uplifted by church, I feel dumber for having attended. But how can we have that kind of honesty in public? Can we tell people “Actually, while that scripture means X to you, biblical historians everywhere agree that it was trying to convey Y. You’re interpretation is incorrect.” We cannot.

    And so we’re stuck with telling people that they’re insightful, and their lessons were great, and they’re talks were so spiritual, and that everything is coming up roses. By purging honest feedback, we turn into Stepford congregations.

  75. ZD Eve (#14) – I’ve long thought that the paradise afterlife and the celestial kingdom both look simply dreadful.

    I’m hoping against hope that the afterlife is nothing like Mormons say it will be. Jesus promised me rest. REST.

    Disneyland also leaves me cold.

  76. Del Parsons and the story that his depiction of Jesus is THE Jesus.

    The Gospel Doctrine instruction manual most of the time.

    Most Mormon Pop Music.

    Early morning devotionals

    Women’s Conference.

    I love baby blessings and I love singing hymns. I love attending and participating in most things, even if I go in a little skeptical because when it so happens that I am moved by something I see or hear it makes it all the more true to me.

  77. I used to run 5K races; now I feel good about myself if I play Wii Dance Dance Revolution a few times a week…

    I like many/most of the hymns, but I can not get excited about our “fight songs” (Spirit of God, Ye Elders of Israel, High on the Mountaintop, etc.). Is the gospel supposed to get my psyched? Of course, I never could muster BYU school spirit either, so it’s probably a symptom of my perpetual blah-ness. I’m sure I am REALLY fun to live with…

  78. Slogging is highly underrated. Running has always been a chore, but I did it up until about a year ago, because when done regularly, I felt better generally. My knees have since told me that I can’t run anymore, so now I swim, and have pretty much the same experience. And that is remarkably similar to how I have felt about the temple. I’ve never had any really dramatic experiences, but I find that if I go regularly, I generally feel better. Slog on, sister.

  79. Loved the post and the comments. I feel the same way as Kristine about the temple, and I wonder if the unspoken secret truth about the temple is that most people feel the same way. If everyone loved it, they’d go all the time and we wouldn’t need constant guilt trips about temple attendance.

    I like visiting & home teaching. It feels like real discipleship to me.

  80. Hobby hose? Awesome.

  81. Alex T. Valencic says:

    Steve M (74) We aren’t supposed to tell people they are wrong, especially in church? Really? Wow! I wish I had known that. I tell people they are wrong all the time, especially when they are my 10-year-old Primary kids, and they take it quite well.

    And I had an awesome Institute teacher (who has floated through here once or twice) who was teaching the Old Testament and also happened to be getting his PhD in Hebrew Bible Studies. He told people they were wrong all the time.

    I’m glad that I’ve never been in one of these Stepford congregations of which you speak! I’d go crazy!

  82. Moniker Challenged says:

    I know there are always people who read discussions like this and say that the people who don’t absolutely adore the temple/pioneer worship/church kitsch/etc. are under the influence of Satan and will burn in hell for making these things known publicly for ANYONE to see, but… For what it’s worth, I think there are always folks like me who are encouraged. Look! Other people occasionally gag on things but stay positive, maybe I can hang on for at least one more traumatizing fast and testimony meeting ;-) Anyway, I wonder if our culture will or could ever get to the point where we celebrate (or at least acknowledge) the differences in people and how they commune with deity. I’m all about nature and solitude myself, and the temple gave me a wicked case of the jibblies the first time through (okay, and thereafter, really). I used to think it was probably due to some sort of alliance I must have made with Satan in my sleep (I’m not that interesting awake). Now, I’m leaning toward it being a personality conflict. So, I’ll concentrate on finding God where I can.

  83. Moniker Challenged,
    That is all well and good, but you are clearly going to hell.

  84. Moniker Challenged says:

    I know! I find it upsetting if only because I’d rather have good weather than company for the most part (see Mark Twain)

  85. Branch Council. Everyone is looking at their watches and the Presiding Person keeps saying we have to keep the meeting short. I am afraid to bring anything up because we might stay longer than the 1/2 hour alloted. I have never felt the Spirit in there and that may be why we have issues in our unit! (Not because I haven’t felt the Spirit – but because it isn’t there)

  86. Jen E. Fer says:

    I could go the rest of my life without being visit taught. Is there a sign up sheet for that?

    I come just a little closer to my breaking point every time I hear the words “I’ve had a really hard week this week” in Testimony meeting. It’s because I’m the spawn of Satan, I’m sure.

    But here is where I get really creepy. I love singles wards. Maybe it’s the pressure of constantly being on display and the possibility that your eternal companion is IN THIS VERY ROOM (squeee!), but everything seems to be a little more prepared, polished, and thought out in a singles ward. I always come away feeling more uplifted or like I’ve learned something important in a singles’ ward than I do from family wards.

  87. FreeAgencyEnforcer says:

    I cannot stand hearing someone say (or worse, seeing it on the wall as part of some homey cross stitch) the phrase “I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it” and attributing it to the Savior. Has no one ever read Matthew 11:28-30?

    Also, Home Teaching in general leaves me flat, both being home taught and doing the home teaching. I feel little is accomplished in either case and I ceased having warm fuzzies from doing it ever since I was old enough not to be my Dad’s companion.

    On the other hand, cooking, very heated (one might even say contentious) philosophical and political debates (and it’s the exercise of debating more than what is being debated), and long, silent afternoons fishing on the lake shore are a few of the things outside the Church that have helped me to grow spiritually and feel tremendously inspired.

  88. I have to echo Mahana (44). There were very few times I enjoyed going to the temple, and they were all during my mission. I’d like to say I was more in tune with the spirit, and I’m sure I was, but in reality I think the best part was getting out of the sun, off my feet, and relaxing for two hours instead of walking 10 miles that day. Pure bliss.
    Nowadays, not so much. But I think its fine that I don’t burn with the fire of angels everytime I go, or that I’m even a little bored, or that maybe I slept a wink while the waters were divided from the land. Truth is I think we misunderstand a lot of things in the church as to their purpose.
    Examples: Tithing, contrary to popular belief, we do not pay tithing so that we can live in a $500k house while not contributing to our 401(k) because we know God will take care of us. (which is how I’ve found most Mormons to interpret “windows of heaven will be opened.” No, we pay tithing because our Father wants to make us givers. This is an easy way for him to teach us the power of sacrifice and giving.
    Similarly we don’t go to the temple to have our own Heart Blazing Mind Blowing experiences. We go because its an easy way to serve others (by doing their work), and remember how connected we all are in the universe.

    Other things that don’t make me shout hallelujah: Green Jello, Serving in Primary, and always always always Testimony Meeting.

    Things that often make me feel the spirit: Campfires with my friends while we solve the worlds problems, nugging with my wife.

  89. TyInTheSky says:

    I, too, could do without framed copies of the Proclamation on the walls or, even stranger, the half-transparent “The Living Christ” (whose text I like) overlaid on a red-robed Jesus. Ubiquitous. And obnoxious.
    However, I found one thing that has left me with a spiritual high every time I think about it. It was my junior year at BYU when I was taking a biochemistry class. I remember the day when we learned about ATP synthase, the proteins that are responsible for producing ATP in cells. I was touched so deeply by a truth in science–it was beautiful. I’ve been sustained through many anti-evolution, anti-global warming, anti-science vitriol through the years by remembering that I have been both spiritually and intellectually uplifted by science.

  90. I’m a big fan of F&T testimony meeting… when the local crazy stands up to deliver his sermon. Always entertaining, and when we’re lucky, the bishop even stands up afterwards to thank him for his testimony and clarify that the Church doesn’t actually teach anything he just said.

  91. I have to say going to church. I too have tried to “get into” it but just cannot. Not just because it is not in my native language either, because I felt the same way when it was in English. I will sure feel better about it now that I see I am not alone in not enjoying something that I am told is supposed to make me feel great. I would much rather be out on a nice run or ride than in church any given Sunday :)

  92. I hate the “Primary voice”, too. And General Conference syntax. And all things like unto them. I had a seminary teacher once who would make his voice high and breathy whenever he wanted us to feel the Spirit. It made me want to shoot myself every time he did it. Which was every single day.

    I love congregational singing. I love teaching the YW to sing. I especially love singing complicated arrangements of obscure Christmas carols.

  93. While I have had nice experiences in the temple, the repetition is hard for me. I rarely watch a movie or read a book twice unless it deeply moved me. The temple has provided me blessings however, so I put up with the repetition. The most amazing thing the temple does for me is how it helps my marriage. When my wife and I start getting on each others’ nerves all it takes is a temple session together to take the edge off and we feel good about one another again.

    I like to run when I have a goal such as a race I’m preparing for. I love running races, but its not always easy to find races that aren’t on a Sunday.

    Its hard to justify the time commitment to run just for the sake of running even though I do enjoy it. Similarly the temple also takes a time commitment. When my wife and I were first married we attended once a week. Then with each kid we scaled it back, and now were lucky to go once every couple of months.

    Things that drive me insane: Sharing Time in Primary.

    Things I tolerate but don’t like: Being told to share a spiritual thought or bear my testimony on the spur of the moment. Missionary work. Hometeaching inactives I don’t know and who don’t really want me on their porch.

    Things I enjoy: Clerk stuff, for whatever reason doing paperwork at church and busily keeping the kingdom organized brings me a lot of joy. Hometeaching people that like having me come over. Singing hymns with the Priesthood body. Waching every session of General Conference.

  94. StillConfused says:

    “I generally do not feel uplifted by church, I feel dumber for having attended. ” Oh can I get an eternal AMEN!!!

    The only time that I found Church to be fun or uplifting was when my daughter’s best friend was going on a mission and the two of them were the speakers. They gave unscripted remarks, referring to themselves as Nubes, they waved at people in the audience, they spoke in normal 21 year old lingo, there was NOOOO primary voice. Everyone was having a great time.

    When I hear someone start a talk with “I have been asked to speak on…” (which is so lame), I have expect them to say “But I think that topic is dumb so instead I am going to talk about …” At least then it would be interesting

  95. Kristine, you are a monument to candor and transparency. Dare I say your “confession” ranks among the best of the genre: St. Augustine, Rousseau, and Leo Tolstoy?

    Oh, and here’s my contribution, among a vast array of other vexing Mormon cultural artifacts: the relentless warfare against facial hair, along with the sacralization of business suits and neckties.

  96. Just a suggestion for F&T meeting: Testimony bingo

    - Have each family member fill out a bingo card before testimonies start with who they think is going to bear their testimony
    - As each person gets up, cross off their square
    - The first one with a line wins

    It really does make it more interesting

  97. to infinity... says:

    The ubiquitous use of the word “true,” and the idolization of scouts drive me crazy.

    On the other hand, I love having un-scripted (i.e. not SS) discussions with people who defend points of view other than my own – a real spiritual supercharge!

  98. Latter-day Guy says:

    96: I do a similar thing, but instead of putting names on it, I put various, commonly used phrases (“fiber of my being,” “I would indeed be ungrateful,” closing testimonies in the name of “thy Son,” which annoys me to no end) or types of testimonies (“thank-a-mony,” “confess-a-mony,” “organ recital,” which is what my family calls a long recitation of health problems).

  99. Preach My Gospel. I think it’s boring and sterile. I love love love funerals though.

  100. The temple movie. I keep hoping that one of these days they’ll redo it and get actors with less-ridiculous hair and better costumes. I also hope (against hope and against hope) that one day they’ll rewrite the script and allow those poor actors to use a contraction or two. Seriously, I think less tortured syntax would make a world of difference in how effectively the temple movie can bring the spirit.

    I do love the initiatory, though.

  101. I Am a Child of God. I’d be happy never to hear that thing again. I have nearly as strong averse feelings toward Teach Me to Walk.

  102. Latter-day Guy says:

    I would love to see a new temple film too. Higher production values, (such as heavenly bodies that don’t look like foam and/or cardboard cutouts, an Eden that didn’t come from a craft store, etc.); and would it be too much to ask for there to be a snake in or near the tree? Not delivering lines or anything, just present as a nod to the OT/POGP texts. After all, the Church replaces seminary videos every 10 years or so, I assume in an attempt to keep enormous bangs and other 1980′s images from getting in the way of the message. The current temple movies have been in use for double that, and every time I go I can’t help but think, Wow, that’s a lot of polyester! or, Why are members of the Godhead exposed at six f stops too bright?

    (Recently my Aunt went to a session in which the officiator spoke to the endowment group about a man who was receiving his own endowment that morning. The guy had tourette syndrome, and they wanted to prepare everyone for the inevitable times he was going to say something he shouldn’t––very audibly. Anyway, everyone about busted up when Eve came on the screen and the man immediately said: “Toooooo much makeup!”)

  103. Latter-day Guy says:

    Shucks. I hate it when I don’t close HTML tags.

  104. Mark Brown says:

    Someone with Tourette syndrome in the temple would definitely liven up the proceedings.

  105. xenologue says:

    104> Not as much as people with noisy gastrointestinal distress during a session. I was working as the sister follower that day so I couldn’t even crack up, and lemme tell you, farts bust me up like a third-grade class.

  106. Hugh Nibley wrote that he thought we needed to go to the temple often enough that we can do the endowment ceremony in our sleep. I have that one covered. And from the word of one of my friends, so does Elder Oaks. There is no symoblism at all for me when we are told to “Awake and arise.”

  107. My brother who went on a mission recently told me that he doesn’t understand the worship we surround missionaries. In fact, in his farewell talk, he specifically warned against heaping too much praise on the missionaries, as it was dangerous for both parties. This did not dampen our ward’s enthusiasm for my brother’s obvious virtuous qualities for choosing to go on a mission.

    My wife’s biggest blah probably is Relief Society. She just doesn’t get it. She wishes it was more based on logic than emotion sometimes, and she feels left out whenever everyone else is crying.

    She also hates Disneyland.

    Both my wife and I hate the pioneer stories. My wife hates the implication that if we’re not suffering, we’re not righteous, or that our point in life is to suffer. I don’t get it because I’ve never had pioneer ancestry and so I’ve never understood the worship. We also hate how people treat tithing as a surefire alternative to a prudent retirement plan or savings account. Both my wife and I have been paying tithing diligently whenever we could the past few months when both of us were unemployed and there were no spectacular blessings. We’re still active, though, which I think is the main purpose of tithing.

    One thing that is a pet peeve for me is when people act like because you don’t like some certain thing in Church culture (firesides, for example), you’re going to spawn the next Great Apostasy just because you said it out loud.

  108. Natalie K. says:

    I have never felt farther from my Savior than during my most recent (and probably last) Endowment session.

    But I adore Liz Lemon. And Jack Donaughy. And, now, James Franco. Does that redeem me at all?

    And I am kinda into the whole fasting thing. And love the 10% tithe. And I actually really, really, really like going to all three church meetings on Sunday (on the rare Sunday that I’m not scheduled to work and actually get to go)…… Maybe I’m a masochist?

  109. Neal Kramer says:

    I respond to Kristine’s original post.

    I enjoyed running once. It was a spring day. Probably in 1967. In gym class we ran the 600 yard run walk. I ran the whole way. I experienced lightness of being. I seemed to have transcended my earthbound state. I finished first by 10 yards.

    The next day we ran again. I felt like vomiting. So I did.

    I know that people die while running, especially non-smokers.

    I will not.

  110. I really do not enjoy Relief Society. Is it because of my social anxiety? My aversion to frilly and cute? My work in a male dominated field? My dislike of small talk and gossip?

    I’ve never felt like I belonged in RS. Others have said how they fell so much love and appreciate the service that the RS gives them. I don’t feel the love and I haven’t seen any service come my way. I really just don’t get it.

    On the other hand, music is the thing I look forward to every week. The Spirit always speaks to me through music.

  111. Four Words: I Believe in Christ.

    Without a doubt this is the most tortured, banal, awkwardly-phrased, too lengthly, and muuuch too overused hymn in the book.

    But utter the slightest criticism against it and you’ll be faced with a quickly gathering Mormon Inquisition ready to toss you in The Comfy Chair (and much worse) for your disrespect of an apostle. Look, BRM was a learned guy, and many of his other accomplishments stand as impressive memorials to his service. But that doesn’t mean he knew jack about hymnody. Can we please admit that the emperor has no clothes already!

    There . . . gasp . . . gasp . . . had to get that our of my system at last.

  112. Stake Conference.

    It takes out everything I love about church (the sacrament, getting to see my friends, participating in the lessons) and replaces it with the things I despise (large crowds, dry speakers, etc.) and then makes it longer (two hours instead of 70 minutes).

    While at BYU, my wife and I were told to show up at least thirty minutes early for Stake Conference to get a seat as there was not enough room for everyone who was expected to attend. My wife and I looked at each other and decided to let someone who would actually enjoy conference have our seats.

    10 years and five kids later, we have tried Stake Conference a couple of times but having bored cranky kids just compounds everything that I hate about Stake Conference. Now, each Stake Conference, we stay at home, read scriptures as a family and go out for a walk.

    Best. Sunday. Ever.

    I would say Stake Leadership Training meetings on a Saturday nights is the worst part about church but I have skipped it everytime I have been told to go. You can have me all day on Sunday, but on Saturday, I belong to my wife and kids.

  113. Wow, a post about running and the temple, and I missed being in early on the conversation. My fault for not spending enough time blogging. :)

    I will say that my first temple experience was pretty awful, but I kept on slogging, and I have had some unbelievable experiences there. That’s what keeps me going, along with the whole “being obedient” thing.

    I love running, and I have since I was 14. I can understand why many people don’t. My wife hates it, but she does it.

  114. I love running, too, Geoff. I just wish I had someone to run with–it’s so much easier to get out the door when you have the buddy-system in place…

  115. 1) The part writing in ‘faith in every footstep’. Hummable chorus but strange intro and transitions.

    2) corporate culture

    3) The new G.A. talk in conference which nearly always includes ‘I’m not good enough’, praise for his wife, and a ‘cover all’ apology to anyone he ever offended.

    4) I don’t mind pioneer stories as much as I am bothered by fictional tear-jerker stories.

    5) The movie ‘Lamb of God’. I don’t feel ‘warm and fuzzy’ watching the crusifiction.

  116. i went through the temple for the first time almost a year ago, hated it, and haven’t been back. i’ve never really had any “issues” with the church before, i felt worthy to go, but going through put me into crisis mode, that’s how much i hated it. whenever i’m in church and people talk about the importance of temples i get uncomfortable, and when you’re paying attention to how often the temple is mentioned in church, IT’S A LOT. i think the problem with having an issue with the temple, opposed to other aspects of the church, is that the temple is central to the church and talked about ALL THE TIME. so when you have an issue with it.. it’s not really a minor thing. it’s made me question my testimony and i struggle with doing the simple things now… going to church, praying, etc. it’s made me feel really lonely in the church and made me wonder if people just say what they think they’re supposed to say instead of how they really feel when it comes to the church. anyway, i appreciate your honesty. i’m just not sure how not liking the temple hasn’t made you question your testimony more.

  117. Natalie K. says:

    meli, I’m with you.

    But I think there are people like us, who have distinctly negative feelings towards the temple, and other who only “don’t enjoy” the temple. I have a friend who believes in the temple, has no “problem” with the occurences, but just finds it incredibly boring and tedious.

    I think that the major freak out I feel in the temple is a whole different ball game. And yeah…. nothing quite like that to put a sledgehammer to a once rock-solid testimony.

  118. “It’s made me feel really lonely in the church and made me wonder if people just say what they think they’re supposed to say instead of how they really feel when it comes to the church.”

    Yeah, there seems to be a lot of that going on, and it’s probably the source of all the cognitive dissonance. I think not liking the temple is something like being agnostic about the historicity of the Book Mormon. It doesn’t have to be a deal-killer.

  119. I don’t get much out of the temple either. But what I really want to say is people who want to enjoy swimming should check out “swimming for every body”, and those who want to enjoy running (to which group I do not claim membership) should read “chi running”.

  120. Natalie K. says:

    “I think not liking the temple is something like being agnostic about the historicity of the Book Mormon. It doesn’t have to be a deal-killer.”

    Maybe not a deal-killer for membership…. but for a testimony? You’ll have to explain that one to me.

  121. Natalie, your testimony is properly centered in Jesus Christ, not the Temple. The temple is an ordinance-house, the tent in the desert that contains the altar where we make covenants. That’s important enough, I suppose, but that’s all it is. A testimony about the temple will not bring you salvation or happiness. As such it doesn’t have to be a deal-killer at all.

  122. I just read a quote recently from a newly-called counselor in the Mesa Temple presidency and he said:

    “…when you had been to the temple sufficient enough that you can hear the words of the ordinances during your daily life, that’s when the temple becomes a great influence in your life.”

    I think that’s where the true power of the temple lies.

    I have also been struck by the fact that whenever I visit the temple and and try and imagine the Savior being there, it is not a stretch at all. It’s like if he walked into the room, it would be no surprise. The notion that he is real seems to be more palpable whereas outside the temple that same ‘palpability’ is decidedly NOT there.

    But I guess it makes sense, it is His house after all.

  123. I just read a quote recently from a newly-called counselor in the Mesa Temple presidency and he said:

    “…when you had been to the temple sufficient enough that you can hear the words of the ordinances during your daily life, that’s when the temple becomes a great influence in your life.”

    I think that’s where the true power of the temple lies.

    I have also been struck by the fact that whenever I visit the temple and and try and imagine the Savior being there, it is not a stretch at all. It’s like if he walked into the room, it would be no surprise. The notion that he is real seems to be more palpable whereas outside the temple that same ‘palpability’ is decidedly NOT there.

    But I guess it makes sense, it is His house after all.

  124. Thanks, Steve, for replying to Natalie so succinctly. I would add that to me testimony starts with the eternal things we hope for, including that:

    • God lives and has power
    • Jesus Christ lives and has power
    • through the Holy Ghost God can guide us to a life of joy
    • priesthood power exists
    • mercy/redemption are available through the Atonement
    • there is a link between obedience and blessings
    • we will be resurrected after death
    • we can be exalted after death
    • there will be eternal progression after death

    As we gain assurance about these things through the Holy Ghost, our hope is transformed into faith line upon line, precept upon precept. The restoration, the scriptures, the temple, etc. are simply vehicles to facilitate the growth of our faith.

  125. And, see, observing, when I try to picture Jesus in the temple, all I can imagine is him knocking down the gaudy furniture and building a big bonfire with the plush pillows.

    Natalie, meli, I agree that it’s a much bigger deal to have negative feelings about the temple than about, say, a hymn that, at worst, you have to sing (or listen to) a half-dozen times a year.

    I probably made my difficulties with the temple seem less worrisome than they are to me by my comparison with running. But if you knew how much mental and emotional real estate my dissatisfaction with my chubby mesomorph’s body occupies, it would have made more sense. (You’d also have lost all respect for me and concluded that I’m a shallow twit).

    However, while it is a really big deal, I also agree with the assertion that it’s not a dealbreaker. The many changes to the endowment ceremony over time ought to alert us to the fact that we don’t yet have God’s final word on the matter–I hope and trust that things will be made clearer “in the fair schoolroom in the sky.” And in the meantime, I can find plenty of repenting and serving to keep me occupied. Those of you who are less wicked than I am may have more trouble with that :)

  126. So I got assigned to give a talk today, on preparing to visit the temple. I’ve actually gotten some pretty good insight here.

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