The Need for Better Temple Prep

I have long been an advocate of the need for better temple preparation classes and materials. This is grounded in my experience actually teaching the temple prep course (the entire course in one instance; individual lessons by assignment in a couple of others.)

I was surprised to learn in the process of teaching that course that it doesn’t actually prepare one to go through the temple. It is “temple prep” in name only. Rather, it is pretty much just a course in gospel living.

The old saying “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear” is applicable here. And we’re not adequately preparing our people for this experience (in my view, anyway).

I think part of the problem is this idea that we can’t talk about anything that happens inside of the temple outside of the temple. But I don’t think that is right. There are certain, limited, express things that fall into that category, but most members are needlessly overbroad in what they include under that rubric.

Somewhere along the way in a true temple prep class, the instructor should basically walk the class through the process from stem to stern. Someone who has been attending the temple faithfully for decades simply cannot remember what it is like to go through for the first time. You can’t take anything for granted. You need to cover things like what will happen at the recommend desk, the physical layout of that first temple, temple clothing, what will happen in the dressing room, obtaining a new name, and on and on. This kind of prep isn’t happening widely, and in my view it should be.

I know people whose fathers were temple presidents or workers who privately gave them this kind of substantive preparation, and it made a huge difference in the quality of their experience with the temple. And this kind of experience should not be limited to those who happen to have relatives who know what they’re doing; it should be more broadly available to our young people and new converts.

The need for genuine temple prep will become even more necessary with the flood of young women getting their own endowments at 19 in advance of serving missions. There are some aspects of the experience that will be easier for them to negotiate if they have been properly prepared; it is a bad idea to just throw them through the doors and hope for the best.

What do you think about this? Am I right, or do you think the existing temple prep materials are adequate? What would you like to see included in a temple prep course?

Comments

  1. I remember the first time I went and how I walked away from that experience confused but having felt the spirit, which kept me going to the Temple The whole process would have been better if, in general terms, I hade been through the whole thing step by step without treading on anything sacred.

    I think a lot can depend on your escort too, perhaps they need better or indeed some preparation on how to guide you through the process, how to make the Temple a positive and sacred experience and how to deal with concerns and questions.

    I would like to see an increased focus on an understanding of sybolism in the gospel, the importance of making & keeping covenants. I’m sure there is a wealth of material from BYU devotionals, CES firesides and General Conference that would improve Temple prep.

  2. I’m right there with you; our current materials are lacking. The only thing I learned in temple prep was that going through the temple is great (which, of course, was not big news, I’ve been singing “I love to see the temple” for two decades).
    My big problem was… over expectation. I’ll be honest, I expected weirder. Or more. Something to really mull over. To be fair, I went through for the first time long after the most recent changes, so it’s less weird than it used to be. After 23 years of being bored in sunday school, I expected something new and exciting. But really, it’s the same stories and principals we’ve always heard, with masonic ritual thrown in. So instead I find myself over-analyzing the choices the director of the cheesy films made, or why on earth god has bad grammar, or if masonic ritual really is eternal, or if it’s a mortal construct we can use to become better people.

    Keeping it all so “sacred but not secret” makes realistic expectations impossible.

  3. I couldn’t agree more. I asked my parents to walk me through the whole thing before I went through, and though there was (and is!) a lot to think about and work out for myself, I wasn’t surprised or caught off guard by anything. I’ve had several friends with an exact opposite experience and it’s been highly negative.

    More importantly, I don’t think we should be chucking people into the temple without properly explaining exactly what covenants they are making and obligations they are taking on.

  4. I had pretty much the same feelings as Jenn. In the end, the ‘spiritual prep’ sections seem okay – I felt like I was recommitting to things I already knew about. Looking back I wish I’d had a list to read before signing the contract, as it were, but I kind of felt like that was some of the point of the interview. If you can ‘pass’ that, then theoretically nothing you commit to later will be a surprise or even a change.

    It’s the ‘practical prep’ that’s most lacking. Fortunately my mother walked me through what more or less would happen from arrival to endowment room, but not everyone has an endowed friend who can do that for them. I definitely agree a walkthrough ought to become standard.

  5. whizzbang says:

    I fully agree that better preparation needs to happen. We had stake conference today and a fella told us he was active in the Church for 25 years without a recommend. He just didn’t want to go. So his bishop asked him if he wanted to and the man said yes. So this man had nights of discussions with the Bishop and his wife, had conversations with others about the Temple. Also before this man received his endowment the Bishop suggested he do baptisms first just to get a feel for the place and experience. So I think he was prepared. In saying this I had a YSA Bishop that explained EVERYTHING to people going to the Temple and it was not a good scene. Someone told the Stake President about what he was talking about it he got shutdown and told not to do that again

  6. whizzbang says:

    I forgot one thing! I think teh Celestial marriage class needs an overhaul as well! I took it once and it was a total joke.

  7. Left Field says:

    Good preparation ought to introduce people to the concept of a ritual drama. Too many people, even long-time attenders, seem to have the idea that we are “watching a movie” rather than acting in a drama.

  8. “I have long been an advocate of the need for better temple preparation classes and materials.”

    Amen.

    There is so little about the temple that can’t be discussed outside the temple, and I am a strong supporter of talking about almost everything that happens. I try not to give lengthy quotes, but there is no topic or question whatsoever that is out-of-bounds, imo – and almost no content restrictions.

  9. One thing I would put in the manual is that Freaky Stern Actor Narrator Voice is only a feature of the English version and the narrators in other languages give more natural readings of the script. So that part of things is not a universal thing, its just the church theatric voice tradition, which you also get in the kids BoM CD.

  10. I went through with the temple prep class . . . and felt deceived. It felt like I was pressured and tricked into making commitments with an audience of family members present. I didn’t know what I was getting into.

    It never felt right thereafter.

    I went for a few more years but have decided not to go again. I know quite a few others who had a similar experience.

    I think a more open process would help immensely. Maybe I would have had a better experience and feel different today.

  11. Chris gordon says:

    Agreed. Formal temple prep curriculum should give better cues as to the appropriate items to communicate beyond a general encouragement to be mindful of first-timers.

    That said, and to C’s point, we ought do better as family members, friends, fellowshippers, leaders, home teachers, visiting teachers, etc. to not delegate the prep to a well-meaning yet inadequate temple prep class. I’d be surprised if the developers of that humble little manual thought they’d ever be the be-all and end-all of the new patron’s preparation.

    Just as we cannot fault the gospel doctrine instructor or manual for failing to fill our spiritual tanks for the week when their role was never designed to, we need to all do better in a one-on-one context with those we love taking that step.

  12. Agreed. The pamphlet and temple preparation book took all but 20 minutes to complete for me (though I understand, of course, that not all people are like this).

    I have often thought about what I could do to prepare someone for their first experience. Talking about the various rooms, etc., was an excellent suggestion and helped me on my first time too!

    Such begs the question of how much we can talk about though. I haven’t found any really good guidelines on what we should/should not discuss.

  13. KerBearRN says:

    I was blessed in that my Bishop, who was one of my oldest and dearest friends in the church (I called him my church dad–I am a convert) insisted on teaching me himself (with my fiancé in attendance). He said the same thing– that the classes were “a joke”. What I remember him most saying was that some things might seem brutal, but to remember than many of the concepts and bases were very old, based in Israelite law. That got me through the scary creepy parts (being honest here– I received my endowments back in the old days when they were much more frightening). I can’t say I enjoyed it or honestly even felt the spirit–it was fairy overwhelmed, trying to take it all in. But I did feel a real sense of awe, and that was good enough for me, to make it a good experience.

    Sadly, I remember hearing from the mothers of a couple of my friends that they had been so freaked out by the whole ceremony etc that they had only ever been once and never gone back. I reckon this is not unusual. And with a son on the cusp of entering missionary service (and therefore the temple), yeah, I would agree, prep needs to be more, well, preparatory.

  14. KerBearRN says:

    Erm, that’s “fairly overwhelmed”. In case my previous post gives rise to rumors of fairies and elves in the temple…

  15. Spot on, Kevin. And you are right to tie extra urgency to the flood of younger missionaries–both women and men (just barely!–at the tender age of 18).

  16. I remember taking temple prep and spending a ton of time on making certain I had a good grasp on the Garden of Eden story. Which, honestly, kind of bored me because I had read my scriptures before and had paid attention to the nuances of those chapters regarding the sequence of events (like was Adam created before all animals, asking questions like what is the point of him naming all the animals), even going to the extent of doing some minor comparisons between Pearl of Great Price and Genesis. And then I get to the temple and, well, even the more careful study I had done of the Garden of Eden story in the scriptures really had no bearing on my experience. The experience in the temple seems more symbolic ritual oriented than an attempt to synthesize or canonize a particular reading of the scriptural text. So unless I had simply failed to read and understand my scriptures at all I don’t feel like I would have gotten a ton out of it. I feel I benefited much more from reading Boyd K Packers book that the student manual is based on. Not that that was an encompassing preparation either but I felt I gained from it.

  17. JennyP1969 says:

    I was well before the 1990 changes. I had grown up hearing many a testimony about how the temple is peace and beauty, and just like heaven on earth. I couldn’t wait. My parents prepped me pretty well and I remember thinking it seemed a little…well…different than I expected, but I was confident the peace, beauty, and heavenliness would be manifest when I got there. But no, all my fasting, studying, and anticipation were for naught. I kept thinking, What’s going on? I felt uneasy and wondered why no one else did. I kept wondering what was wrong with me. I felt like a stranger in a very foreign household of God. Because of how far we lived from the temple I was married immediately following. The wording in the sealing ceremony brought final realizations that for me, there would not be any peace or beauty in the temple that first day, and if this was what heaven was like, I wasn’t going to be comfortable there. My wedding day was so sad.

    I had always been taught that other Christian churches had gone astray mostly by being steeped in ritualism rather than the simple and straight forward teachings of Jesus Christ. That first temple experience for me, and for some time to come, felt like everything ritual and nothing gospel. It felt nothing like the rest of Mormonism, and certainly nothing like the loving Jesus of Galilee. But I’ve had many cherished moments in the temple, so I endure the rituals and mysteriously odd symbolisms with sincere long suffering, forever wishing I was different than I am so I could feel comfortable there.

  18. As one of those people who is going to be endowed soon before leaving on a mission, what are some suggestions for how me and my friends might be better prepared for going to the temple? Any good websites?

  19. You can always read up at BCC!

  20. Yet Another John says:

    Yes, yes, yes! Better temple prep is a must. My son is marrying a neophyte in the gospel (her folks converted when she was young and have since fallen away) and her current bishop is not doing much to prepare her except to say she needs to take temple prep. Which they don’t know when the next one will start.
    I, my wife, and four of my kids survived our first trip to the temple due to being multigenerational members as much as anything. She will not have that in her bones and so we’ve taken it on ourselves to be alittle more forthcoming about the whole process. We have pretty much told her what to expect and now next time we’ll talk about the why, the incredible strength of covenants and what they mean to families . So yes, let’s prepare better for this important step in eternal progression

  21. I agree also and was confused during my first temple visit, but really felt the Spirit. As a bishop, I told members everything I could in preparation. There are really few things that cannot be discussed obviously. II explained the role of symbolism. They all seemed to have a great experience. The main points of emphasis should be relax and don’t worry about anything, realize the progress of Adam and Eve represent us as individuals, ask questions in the Celestial Room, take in the spirit of the temple and go back often. It takes time. For me, years and that’s just fine.

  22. Amen to the original post.

  23. I had great temple prep: I read an anti-Mormon expose, asked a friend whether it was accurate, he nodded and that was that.

  24. JennyP1969 says:

    Mapman, congratulations on your upcoming mission! I find Packer’s “The Holy Temple” to be helpful. Kevin Barney here at BCC knows even more. Talk to a few good parents, Bishop, CES director. From me, a grandmother, I recommend focusing on covenant making and keeping with God — the why’s of them, your part in them, and the promise of the endowment of power from on high to go with you on your mission and throughout life if you strive to do your part. Don’t try to immediately assimilate the symbolisms used as tangible verifications and remembrances, and relax into the sureness that they have multiple layers to discern and comprehend throughout life. Most of all, pray for a good experience — that you will find joy and rejoicing in the temple that sassumed day. I did these things in preparation, so I assumed such a blessing would be mine. But I think seeking that specific blessing through prayer is very important. May you have a choice temple experience and an unforgettable mission!

  25. JennyP1969 says:

    Oops, that’s joy and rejoicing that “special” day.

  26. I ended up feeling overwhelmed, confused, and slightly shaken after my first time through the temple. I had eagerly looked forward to going through, but as it neared (including the day of, in the temple), more and more people said, “There’s no need to be nervous.” I hadn’t been nervous until everyone was telling me not to be! And then, when I was in the temple doing the initiatory, I was left alone on the changing room for probably five-ten minutes and I started crying, wondering what I was supposed to do, and thinking “What on earth am I doing?”

    Even though I am a life-long member with a very active family growing up, I felt completely unprepared (I had never even seen temple clothing until I bought my own). And after it was all said and done, I felt weird about my experience.

    So, I absolutely agree there should be more practical preparation beforehand (I didn’t even take a temple prep class since my bishop thought I was prepared enough. I assume it’s because of the lack of quality material taught).

  27. Thanks, WVS! I learned a lot from those posts and they answered some questions I had.

    Thanks, JennyP1969. That all sounds like very good advice.

    Does anyone know if the church has published a list of covenants in the endowment. Is it the same things as in the worthiness interview? My bishop has told me that the interview for the endowment has more things than for doing baptisms for the dead, but he didn’t tell me what the extra things are.

  28. I took the church temple prep class twice, and was still dragging my feet on going- the class is little more than a review of the plan of salvation and how to live like a good Mormon. Utterly useless in any practical, applicable way to actually attending for the first time. Those things are important, but in no way help a person understand what they are getting ready to do. It would be like teaching a class in “Getting Along with Others” and calling it preparation for marriage.

    What finally got me truly ready was good friends sitting me down and simply explaining everything that would happen- as Kevin said, from the entrance desk, through the changing rooms, the Initiatory, the Endowment rooms, and so on. They didn’t reveal the few specific things we cannot, but other than that, I had a step-by-step, clear idea of what I was in for. It took away the fear of the unknown and made it possible for me to actually pay attention, to some extent.

    I also think we need to drop the patronizing “It’s the most beautiful and wonderful experience of your life” lines we so often feed new converts. It sets up this weird expectation that is too often not mirrored in the actual experience. It’s different. It’s a little strange to a new person. It’s ceremonial ritual. It’s completely different than anything else, and it might, actually, take some time to figure out what it means to you. Setting it up on a pedestal that it “should” or “will” be something sets up the new initiate to feel the pressure to experience that, an if it (likely) *isn’t* the best experience ever (the first time) it can cause personal doubts and faith issues or even a crisis. It it possible for it to be those good things, but it usually takes time, experience, and personal spiritual work.

  29. I was fortunate to have a bishop who was thoughtful and thorough. In my recommend interview, he spent over an hour giving me a rather detailed description of what would happen — from recommend desk to celestial room — without revealing any sacred secrets. He also told me what five covenants I’d be making and how they compared to the ones I’d already made. He warned me about imperfect actors and ritualistic nature of the presentation.

    His most important advice to me: relax and let the experience wash over me the first time or two or three. He suggested I not try to remember everything. For the things I’d have to recall there would be help. And feeling the spirit of the experience was more important than the details. There would be plenty of time in my life to go back and sort out details in subsequent visits.

    I followed his model when I served as bishop and had someone going for the first time.

  30. Mephibosheth says:

    Agreed, Tracy M. I think the best advice I received was to not try to understand everything. Just be a sponge and take it all in. It’s symbols layered upon symbols and it wasn’t until about my fourth time through that I started get certain insights.

    The parts where you make covenants are very clear, though, and since you only get to make them for yourself once (after that you will be making them on behalf of others) I would recommend making that the focus of your first time through.

  31. LOL, RJH.

    As a missionary I was actually kind of relieved when my investigators found stuff about the temple online for that very same reason.

  32. Peter LLC says:

    Even though I am a life-long member with a very active family growing up, I felt completely unprepared (I had never even seen temple clothing until I bought my own). And after it was all said and done, I felt weird about my experience.

    Same here. For me the initiatory was a particularly jarring introduction to temple worship.

    The local temple president and matron is at least is keen to the problems even active members are having with the temple and were given most of the leadership training meeting at the last stake conference to address the issue. One practical suggestion they made was to consider disentangling endowments from sealings, i.e., making separate visits to the temple for each ordinance so that each could be appreciated in its own right rather having the endowment amount to something you do when you want to get married.

  33. I’ll be honest, I recieved my endowment exactly one year after converting to the church. Before converting I had no religious experience whatsoever but in my first year in the church I read the entire standard works as well as several useful companion books such as Jesus the Christ. I went to the temple prep classes and they were good. I’ll agree they are not a practical preparation but they were very useful spiritually particularly in stressing the importance of symbolism. My stake president met with me and my wife the day before we went and had a discussion with us pointing out and explaining several scriptures from each of the starndard works. I feel that this preparation combined with prayer, personal scripture study and scripture study with my wife was more than adequate.

    The one aspect of the experience I feel was lacking was that there is no preparation or real instruction for the escort. My escort was a lifelong member of the church, 30 years my senior, and well aquainted with temple worship however he served as a reassuring presence at best.

    I also feel that it is a shame that many people feel they cannot talk about any aspect of the temple outwith its walls. There are specific parts of the endowment ceremony that we covenant not to disclose but other than these, permitted that it is done so in a reverent and respectful way, I see no reason, nor am I aware of any scripture or commandment that would restrict us from discussing the spiritual aspects of temple worship in our homes amongst endowed members of the church.

  34. How about broader reform of the endowment? If we are going through by proxy, is it really necessary for us to sit through the whole production every single time? Couldn’t we cut it down to the actual ordinances for the proxy service. That would move it from a 2-hour deal to about 30 minutes, tops.

  35. Kevin Barney says:

    No. 19 WVS’s series on how temples work is terrific and highly recommended. I learned things from that series that even I, as a lifelong member, didn’t know.

    And no. 32 Peter LLC, I like the idea of divorcing (pun intended) endowments from sealings. Doing all of that on the same day is just too much.

  36. Left Field says:

    #34: To me, the actual ordinance *consists* of individually taking each son and daughter of Adam and Eve through their own personal fall and redemption, and finally meeting the Lord at the veil. It would seem quite disconcerting to allow living persons the ritual of being redeemed from the world, while those who receive ordinances by proxy skip that “whole production.” One thing that I really appreciate about the endowment is that by intention, every single person who has lived is brought one by one through their own fall and redemption. That aspect of the endowment isn’t superfluous, it’s the very core.

  37. I had a great temple prep class taught by the patriarch of our stake. We read from the Pearl of great price, we covered the basic covenants made, he discussed the ritualistic nature of ordinances including clothing, action and exact words. i felt very well prepared.

    My initial experience was still slightly stressful because I was so intent on understanding and consciously making a covenant. I’m very glad my parents had suggested going through twice (we lived over 2 hours away).

    I also found going to the temple with my grandparents an their dedicated friend a wonderful experience that really cemented my feelings for the temple. This darling old lady would go through 4 sessions back to back with me.

    I definitely think we can be more clear and helpful in temple prep. I didn’t realize that need until I got to the MTC and then on my mission to see how people didn’t all have my experience.

    Many many south africans went on their missions having gone through once or just during the week they stayed at the temple before their mission. It’s not enough time to digest.

  38. LessonNumberOne just reminded me that, prior to entering the MTC I attended the temple twice. During my 8 weeks at the Provo MTC, I attended each week. I found that to be very beneficial.

    I was not aware a temple prep course existed until I was sitting in the celestial room (at the conclusion of receiving my endowment) when a member of the high council asked me if I had attended. Having taught parts of the course since then, I can honestly say it probably wouldn’t have done much for me.

  39. I prepared for the temple by reading Nibley’s The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri. I also followed up by reading the sources he cited from early Christian and Jewish liturgy and ascension experiences-texts. I went through the Salt Lake Temple in 1977. The live drama with really old people playing the parts of eternally youthful Adam and Eve was the weirdest part for me. They also were not very good actors. However, when I went through, it didn’t feel Masonic to me in the least because virtually every aspect had some parallel in the second temple period Jewish and Christian texts I had read. For anyone who wants to benefit from what I had put together, this might be useful: https://byustudies.byu.edu/PDFLibrary/22.1OstlerClothed-f861f624-9df4-46cf-8436-350a99493286.pdf

    However, one aspect of my first experience was really instructive for me. When I arrived and they told me to take my clothes off I was worried because I had read some pretty scurrilous charges in anti-Mormon literature about what happens in the temple. So before they began to perform the washings and anointings I asked: “who is doing the women if this is a priesthood ordinance?” I was concerned about the brothers performing ordinances with partially unclothed sisters. The brother performing the ordinance for me said, “don’t worry, that is being done by the sisters.” But I was confused. I asked: “So how do the sisters perform a priesthood ordinance?” he looked at me and said: “you’ll have to go through the endowment and ponder it to get the answer to that one.”

    I appreciated the fact that he likely had an answer, but was reluctant to provide it so that I could learn how to learn from the temple endowment itself. He also honored my own spiritual journey by allowing me to have my own insights about the endowment instead of trying to tell me what it “really” means. I believe that the purpose of the refusal to talk about the temple endowment is precisely to give us spiritual and cognitive space so that we can come to our own inspiration and insight and revelations about it rather than having some pre-fabricated meaning made for us. So i won’t share what I learned from the endowment that day about that question, but I will say that it was answered for me with tantalizing promises of more to come if I would come back and ponder and meditate. I haven’t been disappointed in subsequent my experiences in the temple. There is always “more to come” in my experience of the temple.

  40. liz johnson says:

    I absolutely think we need better temple prep. I wasn’t even told what covenants I would be making (despite repeatedly asking), and when I was asked to make them, I felt like I was being tricked and put on the spot to accept them right then and there without thinking about them. And they’re kind of a REALLY BIG DEAL. I agree that there’s so much we can talk about in the right spirit that would help people prepare so much better, and yet we err on the side of “just don’t worry about it, just focus on whether it feels good” (advice I got a lot) rather than actually preparing people to make serious covenants and not get completely freaked out.

  41. Mapman 27 – In chapter 4 of the Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood B manual, you find this quote: “During the endowment we also promise the Lord to obey the laws of sacrifice and chastity and to be willing to give everything we have to help in His work. Because these promises are so sacred, we receive the endowment only after we have shown diligence in keeping Heavenly Father’s commandments. To remind us of these promises, we are given a sacred garment to wear.”

    Note that this includes even the law of consecration – which, as it’s the only temple covenant not made at baptism and is the most broad in scope, is often the sticking point of people receiving their endowments – though it does not name it.

  42. I was fortunate to have a really good temple prep class, taught by a former stake president. He walked us through the covenants we would be invited to make–which is something I thought was very important to understand beforehand. I also read President Packer’s book, which I highly recommend. Prayer and fasting were an important part of my preparation, though I decided against fasting on the day of, since I figured it would be better to avoid any possibility of fainting. :) And still, even with that preparation, I found my initial experience unsettling. Like Dave (#1), I felt the Spirit, so despite feeling overwhelmed and confused, I kept coming back. And I learned to seriously love, love, love the temple and symbolism. It just took some time.

    Mapman, in addition to the excellent preparation advice given above, I’d advise you to not expect too much of yourself on first attendance. Temple worship is really different than our Sunday worship, and it takes some getting used to. A lot of other missionaries I talked to in the MTC would say that their first time through the temple was the most amazing experience, and they were so well prepared that they were not surprised by anything–and I always wondered if they were saying that because that’s actually how they felt, or if they thought that’s how they were supposed to feel. It made me feel a little inadequate because that is not how I felt at all. Don’t pressure yourself to have your first attendance be the most amazing experience of your life. My other advice is to attend the temple several times, if you’re able, before you leave on your mission. You’ll most likely be able to attend while at the MTC, depending on which one you go to (in Provo and in São Paulo, we went weekly), but if you don’t serve near a temple, you won’t have much opportunity to go as a missionary.

  43. Even at the highest level in the Church, there is lopsided disagreement over how to talk about the temple. I suspect that changes will occur when certain opinions are no longer present in the Quorum. I think we really do need better temple prep and better temple education in general, so that people have better expectations, know how to talk about it, and don’t oversell the experience, which creates unrealistic and content-free expectations. I have done my best to talk about the temple in the bounds I understand to be appropriate. Fortunately, anything in the scriptures is fair game, and there is much more there than anyone understands, particularly in the covenant rituals of the Old Testament.

  44. As someone who just finished teaching temple prep in our YSA ward, I regret not being able to read this post sooner. My fiance and I team-taught it, and were both intent on trying to incorporate as much specific information as we felt was appropriate– though, like others have said, there are so few things that are out of bounds, but the cultural hedges are hard to overcome.

    Something I think that might have helped was using the terms “high church” and “low church,” explaining that many other religions use much liturgy, ceremony, symbolism, and ritual, and that Mormonism does not have that, except in the temple; so visiting a Catholic mass or Jewish service, etc., might be the most helpful preparation. We also tried to focus on tying the three ceremonies/ordinances to overarching principles that can help organize their thoughts when the minutiae is confusing– and how these stages of the temple align quite well with the universal stages of ritual that Arnold van Gennep and later, Victor Turner, explained (linking to other traditions helped me, at least, ground my temple experience in a reassuringly broader tradition). We also emphasized that these ordinances and elements are believed to be an age-old ritual, so of course it won’t exactly be our language or style; that’s ok, see it as an opportunity to link ourselves with believers of ancient times. But we definitely need better temple prep. We also practiced a bit of interpretation by reading portions of the Adam and Eve story, so that they felt used to taking one narrative and finding a myriad of personal meanings within it.

    I think we not only need better temple prep, but we need a post-temple class– not being able to discuss the temple anywhere seems bizarre to me, if it’s the peak of our spiritual education– though I’m sure the more sure-footed appreciate the lack of prescription and explication for the sake of their own hermeneutic freedom.

  45. Wholly 100% agree!
    I was the only member of my family to join the Church, same at 14. There was no temple prep class of any kind back then and had no idea of what the temple session would involve… Two friends went with me down to the L.A. Temple for my endowments as well as getting my garments. The most significant thing I recall was when at the veil I kept saying what I thought I should be saying rather than following the “ritual”. Needless to say, I was more depressed than impressed by the entire experience especially when my friends were grinning more than anything else as I tried to figure out how to put on the garment (back in the day of one piece).
    Since then I have come to enjoy the temple although at times I agree that they surely could shorten the process for those going through for proxy endowments. Once you’ve been through a session X times the more you tend to ‘hurry up and wait”. Although there was one time when my wife and I went on a particular night which was the Spanish night and went into a Spanish session with translator headsets. I “discovered” the switch which took you from language to language and must admit, when I found German (served my mission there many many years ago), I kept it on that channel and found a new insight into what I had come to accept as rote.

  46. Kevin Barney says:

    The Monk no. 43, is your temple resources page still up anywhere? If so, could you post a link? That was a great resource.

  47. Kevin Barney says:

    No. 39 Blake’s “Clothed Upon” article that he links to is terrific; I highly recommend it.

  48. It is, Kevin.
    http://mormonmonastery.org
    It has a Q&A (now partially translated into Spanish) and a thematically-arranged bibliography, with lots of links and sources.

  49. J. Stapley says:

    I’m coming late to this post, but I agree heartily. I’m the temple prep teacher in my ward, and they can pry it from my cold dead hands. I’m a huge believer that there should be no surprises when you go to the temple for the first time.

  50. Amen. The initiatory was particularly disconcerting to me (in the pre-shield days) as I had just been to my first OB-GYN appointment the day before, and seeing that oil receptacle looked frighteningly like some kind of medical tool.
    I also make a point of telling my kids that they are married in temple robes, including a green apron, so that isn’t such a shocker as it is for some who expect the tux and bridal gown look at the altar.

  51. Meldrum the Less says:

    My first temple session was unforgettable and something less than superb. I gave up a 4 year college scholarship to go on a full-time mission and considering the financial problems of my family there was a distinct probability that I would be going straight into the work force when I returned. All the clothing was purchased and the farewell talk given. I was 3 days from going into the LTM when I went through for the first time and too late to bail out of this course of action under anything but the most extreme circumstances.

    I was so astonished and revolted by the initiatory “blessings “ that I came close to bolting and running out of there. My father, a former professional boxer physically stopped me and making a fist he said in a voice loud enough for many to hear: “Whoa, my boy. If the old pervert steps one inch out of line I will knock him on his ass.” Which was no idle threat. With the same mentality that one might endure a painful medical procedure I finished the ceremony. I slept through the sessions during the LTM and was glad that the temple was far away and that was one thing I would never have to do for the rest of my two years.

    My father promised me that I would never have to go through that again and to just forget about it. I thought, but what about my future children? Fortunately he was right and they changed the initiatory ceremony. I would like to apologize to the poor old guy who was doing the blessings and the target of my father’s threats of violence. It was not pleasant for him either. And as it turns out, not even necessary.

    I violated the code of secrecy, risked sudden death at the hands of an avengign angel, and told my brother was was going to happen the night before and gave some feeble attempt to rationalize and defend the practices which i inwardly thought were abominable.He told me that it made a huge difference in the quality of their experience with the temple

    For my mother it was too little and too late. She was married in the temple in the early 1950’s and was so horrified at the initiatory blessings and the penalties that she never returned to the temple until I was leaving on my mission. She was understandably frightened of sending her oldest child to a foreign country that she only thought of as a former WWII enemy. But she was even more upset at the conundrum of being or not being there for my first temple ceremony. She had additional difficulty when my brother went. By 1991 when the changes were made, her health was beginning to decline. She did appreciate a few years of temple attendance especially since her Alzheimer’s dementia started to kick in not long after that.

    Those of our leaders who were slow and stubborn in changing that ceremony, I pity them. They had better have a good reason for not making those changes decades ago. Because my mother is the kind who will seek them out in the next life and demand an accounting of their neglect.

  52. Thanks Kevin. I just wanted to make clear that I am all for full disclosure about mechanics and better preparation for the temple endowment. I agree with your post 100%. I think if we understand the reason for respecting the sacred in the endowment we can discern what is wisest to leave unsaid and what we get to disclose.

  53. 38, but it’s not like those for whom the proxy work is being done are seeing the film through our eyes. All they need us for is the physical ordinance they can’t do themselves. In my view, that doesn’t include the stuff we “learn” in the film. We could do all of the physical requirements and leave the “training” to those on the other side of the actual veil.

  54. I meant 36, not 38. Sorry.

  55. Too often temple prep class is temple recommend interview prep, not endowment prep. If people are to the point where they are preparing to go to the temple they have already had plenty of prep for the interview. What they need to know is exactly what they are going to do in the temple and they need to be given a framework with which to process it.

    In my opinion this should include a description of the ordinances in detail, the covenants made, and the clothing worn. In fact the clothing should be brought out during such a class and discussed. While aspects of the ceremony that we have covenanted to not reveal should of course not be revealed in such a class, the definitions of tokens, names, and signs should be discussed.

    We should do everything we can so that the experience isn’t one of, “This is foreign, what have I gotten myself into?” That said, temple prep should ideally begin in the home with frank discussions from an early age so that none of this is shocking.

  56. I remember twenty years ago, there was some supplementary temple prep. I never saw it, but I taught temple prep in our ward, and heard that it existed. In our stake, our patriarch was responsible for doing it, but only in a group, and we never had more than a couple at a time who were preparing to do, so we never used it. I don’t know if it was unique to my stake or a church-wide program. I had assumed it was from Salt Lake.

  57. If not one source, another says:

    My Temple Prep class I attended might as well have been titled Missionary Discussions Review. My time would have served temple prep by reading and searching my scriptures on temple-related themes than attending that review class. Having been so disappointed by the actual lack of prep (like what do I promise in a “temple covenant” anyway?) I went and skimmed an ex-mormon account; trying to avoid the details but still understand the broader scope.

  58. Latter-day Guy says:

    Am I right, or do you think the existing temple prep materials are adequate?

    The current temple prep materials are adequate mainly for starting fires. Not much else.

  59. I’ll add this. I think that an essential part of temple prep should be a debriefing after someone has received their endowment, which would include a frank questions and answers session.

  60. Kevin Barney says:

    No. 59 John Harrison, great idea. We focus so much on the before, we don’t really think about the after, and if someone has been thrown for a loop this would be a great opportunity to do a little damage control.

  61. I didn’t get a temple prep course at all. I got my mission call just as my family was moving to a new city. My new Bishop interviewed me, then sent me to be interviewed by the Stake President. I didn’t know either of them. The Stake Pres, gave me Elder Packer’s book, told me to reread the Pearl of Great Price and that was it. He did tell me I could ask my mom (my parents were divorced, so I couldn’t ask my dad) to show me the robes beforehand, I didn’t ask because I thought it was weird. I didn’t get much out of Elder Packer’s book or PoGP that I didn’t already know and I’m not sure I finished either beforehand as there wasn’t much time. My mom kept telling me I could ask her questions, but I couldn’t think of any and decided to just take it all in first. It was a surprising experience, but didn’t freak me out. Afterwards my mom asked again while in the Celestial Room if I had any questions. I said no, I wanted to figure it out for myself. In the MTC I went a lot, since I was there for 8 weeks. Repeatedly going again helped me understand the the temple better.

  62. When I went through the temple, I had never had a temple prep class. I really only needed 5 bits of information:

    1. I needed to know what covenants I was going to make (Talmage has a quote on this that was adequate to fill the gap. Packer quoted it in his temple pamphlet)
    2. The Temple in part contains a dramatic enactment which is an exercise in symbolism and is a movie recounting the Story of Adam and Eve (Bishop and Girlfriend prepped me and reading Abraham and Moses helped)
    3. What happens in the washing and anointing preparatory to that (Truman Madsen cassettes on President Hinckley gave me enough info on this)
    4. What are Garments (girlfriend covered this)
    5. Clothing for the washing and anointing (Bishop Covered) and clothing for endowment (I had a gap here and wasn’t prepared, but later Elder Nelson gave a talk in my stake which went over what scriptures the clothing was connected to, which was adequate.)

    I think that would have covered everything I would have needed to know.

  63. Oh, one bit I forgot. I think, in general, as an inoculation piece, a little more public clarity from the church around second anointing would be appreciated. That caused a bit of a crisis of faith for me when I had been a member about 5 years or so… Not because it was bad, just that I didn’t know about it, and it seemed so critical to know about…

  64. Nathan E. Rasmussen says:

    The best temple prep I got (and I studied voraciously from everything except exposés) was a BYU Honors course on the history of civilization called The Pen and the Sword. Not because it was in any way formally directed toward the Endowment, but because the minds that taught it were steeped in the Temple’s lessons, and that couldn’t help coloring everything. Their perspective had me ready for every one of the covenants, including the big one. The official church Temple prep did not do so good a job on that score. There’s a pretty good quote from Talmage in the Packer book (and booklet), but not as good as the one that haycockm (#41) turns up above. If the temple prep curriculum generally, and the interview process specifically, were that clearly focused on the nature of those covenants and being ready to take them, I think a lot of difficulty over the temple would be prevented.

    I was fortunate also to have been prepared for the mode of teaching by various means. I do wish that Truman Madsen’s “House of Glory” (ch. 8 in The Highest in Us) were part of the temple prep curriculum. I miss Nick Literski’s old website on the subject. Many people could have a better temple experience if “what you will experience” instruction were more widespread.

    But at the same time, I am supremely grateful for our thorough silence in the interpretive arena, and for the policies that back it up (e.g., temple workers are prohibited from offering interpretations to patrons). I think I would mourn to see more “what it means” instruction offered — not because I am “sure-footed” (Rachael #44), but because I have been changed by the process of walking with my uncertainties, because I have been blessed by the Temple’s polysemy, and because having the trust of God and the Church to interpret it by inspiration for myself is both a comforting and a confronting thing exactly when I need it to be.

  65. “a BYU Honors course on the history of civilization called The Pen and the Sword.”

    Pen and Sword was great, and Griggs one of my favorite professors. I wish he’d written more. It felt like a classical education from 80 years ago, taught in the Maeser building, with Griggs spontaneously playing piano and reciting classical greek while talking about Hesiod, Babylonians, Zion, and other fun stuff.

  66. @59 and 60, Lesson 7 in Endowed from On High, flawed though it may be, is designed to be taught after the temple-goers first temple experience. So at least there’s that.

  67. Chris G – #66

    I had forgotten that. Here is a link to Lesson 7. It really doesn’t provide a framework for the sort of discussion I had in mind.

    I think sometimes the manuals have a structure that comes from the point of view that nothing is confusing and that nobody would have a question that the manual didn’t already answer. I think this approach is especially harmful in the case of temple prep. I know that being critical of the manuals is a trendy thing for “internet Mormons” but the temple prep course is a lost opportunity in my opinion.

  68. Left Field says:

    #53: As I alluded to in both my comments, the film that is shown in most temples isn’t something we *watch* for its information content. It’s part of a drama we *participate* in. We ritually enact the fall and redemption of each individual person, with the posterity of Adam and Eve (that’s us) acting on the same stage with the others who help bring about our ultimate redemption, literally embracing the Lord as we enter His presence. The filmed version of the endowment unfortunately divides the ritual between the live actors and the filmed actors, but as the live version makes clear, everything that happens from the creation to the celestial room, is intended as part of single ritual on a single stage. The drama has no audience; we are all actors together. Every one of us, living and dead, witnesses the creation, walks with Adam and Eve in the garden, are cast out with them into the world room, and are finally brought back with them into the presence of God. To me, eliminating the film (or the corresponding portions of the live ceremony) would be analogous to ripping out every other page of the first half of Hamlet and then trying to make sense of the resulting play.

  69. YES better prep is needed!! I took temple prep 3x, went through the temple and wanted to RUN out. Of course, with an audience of many people in my ward there, I didn’t run. I went twice and haven’t been back since. It rocked my faith in the entire gospel and I can’t say I’ve ever fully recovered from it.

  70. I hated my first temple experience. I kept thinking, this is not the Church I grew up in. I felt like I had very little choice in the whole process. From even going to my father being my escort to the final covenant, what real option was there to back out? Had I tried, there are those who would have either directly intervened or the public nature of the decision would have been so unbearable I would have surely relented. You want better temple prep? Start with better “temple prep” prep. Those around me had no idea what they were doing to me. The experience very nearly drove me from my family and from the Church. And for what? So I could be fed neatly through their system? My wife loves to go, but I still feel uncomfortable there most of the time. I ache for the fulfilling experience others describe, but all I see in my time is waste.

  71. I was born and raised in the gospel and freaked out at my first temple experience. No one prepared me, least of all my temple prep teacher who just told me endless stories of terrible things that happened to people who stopped wearing their garments. Upset it was that way and felt woefully unprepared. On the other hand, my formerly Catholic friend told me that he never felt comfortable in our chapels but our temples had the altars, kneeling, covenants, priest, etc he was used to. I guess catechism classes are a better preparation than primary!

  72. Blondechronicles says:

    Yes, temple prep classes need to be less vague. Having been married civilly, then getting sealed years later, the only “preparation” we received was a small booklet from my bishop with pictures of the inside of the temple telling me that the things that take place within are sacred. Yes, that was obvious. We didn’t really have temple prep classes and instead met with the bishop several times to bounce questions off of him; however, some of the questions I didn’t feel comfortable asking him for several reasons, some of which I just wanted to ask another woman, especially regarding the clothing and the initiatory. The best preparation I received and am forever grateful for was from talking intimately about the sacred ordinances with my sister and friend. I was already quite nervous and apprehensive for what was to take place, but that would have increased tenfold had I not gotten more specific information from my sister and friend. I SO wish that before the initiatory started that they would have talked more in depth about the symbolism within the temple. I still am clueless and think the temple would hold greater meaning to me if I realized what certain things mean and the way the temple is designed.

  73. whizzbang says:

    A few years ago a lady in my Mum’s ward went to the Temple. She threw a huge fit when she came out because she was expecting to get meat, as in free cuts of meat. Someone had told her that when you attend the Temple you get meat and so this lady thought the Temple gives that out! So yes we need better Temple Prep. classes

  74. I will add a third voice here for saying that Griggs’ Pen and the Sword class was the best temple prep I could have received. (Ben S, I think I was your TA!) When I took it as a freshman, I noticed that the RMs in the class perked up at certain points, and I started paying attention to the things that piqued their interest. The ways in which symbolism and creation were explored in a wide variety of literary and cinematic texts gave me a great foundation for approaching the temple as one of many creation dramas that mankind has been given over the millennia.

  75. The temple prep course is intended to help ensure that the initiate is minimally prepared in virtue and holiness for temple ordinances, on the assumption,only partially correct, that spiritual prep will carry one through the first few or several rounds of bewilderment in passing through these ordinances. As such, the temple prep course alone is inadequate. When I have helped prepare others, including my children, I review Exodus 28 and 29 for priestly garments and washing and anointing as scriptural precedent and then the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15, which I have come to call the parable of the endowment, where our prodigal goes out into the lone and dreary world to learn through his own experience to distinguish good from evil and then makes his way back home into the arms and embrace of his father, a beautiful tie in to the final moment of the endowment ceremony. Then I share with them an outline that I have put together of all the articles that LDS authors have penned about the ancient origins of virtually every aspect of temple ordinances (e.g., Nibley’s article on ancient prayer circles, and so on), which hopefully impresses upon them that the apparent novelty of these ordinances is not really novel nor derived from Masonic rites (although this can become a little involved). Finally, I try to teach that the endowment is at bottom about the atonement of Jesus and how we are to become one with the Father through the sacrifice of His Son (think again of the prodigal’s embrace with his father at the end of his journey)and about the at-one-ment of marriages and families with God in His holy house. This approach seems to help make the temple experience more intelligible and satisfying on the first go around. And all of this can be incorporated along with the temple prep lessons in a natural way that doesn’t offend one’s (at least my own) sensibilities about revealing more than one should about temple rites outside of the temple.

  76. Kevin Barney says:

    No. 73 whizzbang, oh my, what a story! (Someone should have explained when the promised meat was not forthcoming that we actually give milk before we give meat…)

  77. I’m so sad to hear of so many stories of people who did not have a good first experience in the temple. I can only hope that time has healed or will heal that. It can be a beautiful experience and such a painful one.

    While so many have jumped on the institutional failings of temple prep (e.g., the meager manual), I think that the larger failing is our individual relationship to the institution, and I continue to feel that’s the larger problem behind our gripes with manuals and correlation generally. As I read and hear of the unfortunate first experiences, my reaction is not to click my tongue at the manual but at everyone around the first-time patron who assumed a little temple prep class was sufficient. Or the teacher who thought it would be sufficient. Or the bishop who didn’t follow up beyond a worthiness interview. Or the parents. Or the fiancee. Or the spouse. Or the home/visiting teacher. Or the friend. All of those people had a chance to intervene and help prepare the individual to have a positive experience, and all of those people assumed that the church’s institutional solution was sufficient and deferred. Maybe we should have an institutional solution to these issues, and the institution should definitely be there to better support those who do not have a support structure in place, but I don’t think it’s a realistic expectation that just because there’s a humble temple prep class, or a marriage prep class, or a mission prep class, or a gospel doctrine class, that it takes everyone else off the hook to prepare and love and mentor.

  78. Fred,

    I wholeheartedly agree with your comments. In a recent discussion of the Prodigal Son, I stated that to me isn’t simply a parable, it is THE parable. It is the endowment, and we’re the prodigal. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy. As usual.

  79. Thanks,John. Another unpopular reading of the parable is the characterization of the older son as a Pharisee. I first picked up on this from Authur Henry King in his book, Abundance of the Heart, a great book, where he says that the parable begins and ends with a Pharisee, the setting being as I recall Jesus having dinner or being in the home of a Pharisee. There seems to be a lot of effort to rehab the older son as a model older brother who had a problem with envy or some other moral defect ( I believe that this was Elder Holland’s approach) without acknowledging his implausible perfectionist claims (he never,ever went against his father’s wishes – substitute: I always keep all 613 of Jehovah’s commandments along with the traditions of men) and his lack of compassion for his younger brother, which was one of the Savior’s main criticisms of the Pharisees. I agree that everyone is the prodigal (“God have mercy on me, a sinner”, in another parable involving a Pharisee and a tax collector) and the older son represents what we can all become if our hearts are rigid and proud and without compassion. Hang in there, bro.

  80. My first time through, I thought the Temple was a wonderful experience and continue to think that. However, before going to the temple I spent some years strongly interested in the Old Testament and studied it through several times. I felt the OT helped me prepare for the Temple experience because the OT discusses washing and anointing (Moses did this with Aaron and the other priests in preparation for service in the Temple) and there is a great deal of covenant making in the OT. If all you want are the basic teachings of Jesus Christ, then live them and you’re preparing yourself for the Terrestrial kingdom. However, in the Temple, Heavenly Father is essentially binding us to Him and letting us know what is expected of us if we wish to live with Him in the Celestial Kingdom. Through the Temple covenants, I feel so much more strongly connected to Heavenly Father and supported and strengthened by Him. Its a great blessing.

  81. #80 – “On these hang all the law and the prophets.”

    I tend to think that if we are living the “basic teachings of Jesus Christ” we are doing what is expected of us if we wish to live with and be like our heavenly parents. Everything else flows from that foundation. Otherwise, our adherence to the letter of the law only won’t exalt us.

    Frankly, I think the issue is that we actually aren’t living the basic teachings of Jesus Christ. Rather, we are building so many hedges about those teachings that we often cover them completely.

    Pres. Uchtdorf has talked about that more than once in the last few years during General Conference.

  82. As a convert at 16 years of age, I was stunned at the endowment, wondering if I’d walked into another religion on accident. That said, it is now a wonderful experience for me. In the times I have taught the temple prep class, I go beyond the lesson manual to include many things about the process, but also about the symbolism behind the endowment: we are going through an eternal round, where we are guided, first by angels and then by Christ, into the presence of God.
    I agree there is much we can discuss in regards to the temple. In fact, I’m doing a series of posts at mormonendowment.com (More Good Foundation site) on ancient and modern temples.

  83. In a recent Stake Conference, our Temple President referenced the temple prep manual, BKP’s “The Holy Temple”, and the special Ensign issue “Temples”, as the only temple prep materials necessary. Having recently taught the temple prep class, that can be sufficient if you spend a little more time on certain aspects of the lesson. Although I highly recommend a “walkthrough” lesson. This would discuss clothing and temple layout (start here, go there, do this, change clothes, etc.)
    I grew up in SLC and first went to the temple 13 yrs ago. During my interview with my Bishop, the summer after my senior year, he asked if I had attended a temple prep class. “Nope.” “Are you going to the SLC temple?” “No, the Jordan River.” “Good. This will be a lot easier.” He then did his best to try to tell me everything I needed to know in an hour. Due to the importance of the temple, we really should do better than that. Especially with many more YM & YW going to the temple shortly after graduation.

  84. I felt very prepared for what I found in the temple, but I’m one of those you lucky ones that you describe–I got a lot of prep in my home from the time I was a kid. My mom loved studying ancient and modern temple symbolism, Old Testament, Pearl of Great Price, read FARMS and particularly Nibley, encouraged us to do the same, and expressed her love of the temple to us often. She also listened to Truman Madsen tapes in her car while we were traveling together over the years, including an address on the temple given at BYU in the 1970s that included some helpful points–including David O. McKay’s confession that he was disappointed the first time he went through the temple, followed by his confident assertion that pretty much everyone else was disappointed, too. It dialed down my expectation that I would find the temple wonderful right away but simultaneously emphasized that much there was to be kept for private inquiry and discovery. I feel like I was perfectly prepared to enter that space and see it as a sanctified space of uncorrelated pondering, but only a small percentage of that preparation was conscious on my part or others’ part. Most of it I just absorbed over many years in my home and in my own study.

    As to the official temple prep class I took and the assigned reading (Packer’s book)–it was fine, but if I’d had nothing else as prep, I’m sure I would have found the experience more difficult to incorporate into my spiritual world. It wouldn’t have driven me out of attendance or church activity, but I doubt I would have so quickly latched on to the temple as something meaningful to me personally. So much of what’s in the temple ceremonies is in the scriptures or other published church literature–heck, we even get to see ritual temple clothing on deceased temple patrons in their caskets, so I don’t see any reason why we can’t show those to people in temple prep classes. We don’t have to explain everything about them, but there’s no reason not to share what is clearly not off limits, particularly when those things are now being widely displayed and commented on negatively by detractors. One of my uncles went through the temple soon after being baptized in the early 1970s and was extremely weirded out, didn’t go back, and fell out of activity for decades. I don’t know what temple prep was like back then, but if it was as vague as it was when I took temple prep years later, then I’m not surprised that he freaked out–the standard prep classes are probably lacking for many lifelong members, and particularly for most new converts who haven’t had years in the church to gradually learn about and embrace the other deeply unconventional aspects of Mormonism.

    Can feeling the spirit in the temple help a new temple patron muscle through questions and misgivings about the ritual aspect and continue on until he gains a testimony of temple worship? Certainly, and that’s how it happens for many, but if the Church leaders wanted to test us like that, they wouldn’t bother having special temple prep classes in the first place.

  85. When I teach the class or know someone personally who is going to the Temple for the first time, I give them a copy of this. If people understand the background and history of the symbolism, then it really greases the skids.

  86. whizzbang says:

    At Kevin Barney-oh yes…oh yes and what is more she was upset and wanted to hitchhike home. I live in Winnipeg and this was in Regina, Sask so a 5-6 hour drive! I think we also need better Celestial Marriage classes

  87. I wonder how my boyfriend will take this when he decides to go to the temple. How do I explain it’s really weird, mormon underwear does exist (and isn’t sexy), and we didn’t steal the signs from the masons?? this all made so much more sense when i was younger and didn’t do any personal research and only did as others told me. The temple experience is just slightly weird and boring.
    BTW- we didn’t steal signs from anybody, right?!?!?!

  88. Joseph Smith used the Masonic rite as a springboard for the LDS endowment. He did this in regards to many revelations he received (Bible Translation, even the Book of Mormon translation did not directly use the plates).
    That said, the Masonic rite and Mormon endowment are very different. Women were/are not involved in the Masonic rite. Priesthood concepts were not in the Masonic rite. Christ and Celestial glory were not part of the Masonic rite.
    That said, a lot of the endowment is found in the Book of Mormon, brought forth long before the Nauvoo/Mason ties. Ritual always seems weird to the uninitiated, regardless of religion. It seems very strange in Mormonism, because we have little ritual outside of the temple. As for it being “boring” that all depends on what you are looking for in the temple. If you are looking for exciting new doctrine to be spelled out to you, then you are in the wrong place. If you enter in with an open mind to personal revelation, then you can exclaim (as did Hugh Nibley) that you always learn/gain something interesting in the temple.

  89. I know that preparing yourself a head of time with the thought of attending often is key. I felt the same way when I went through temple prep. “That’s it?”

    But the learning comes with frequency.

    Here’s a Temple Attendance Tracker I use to get the temple more often. I spent time designing it so I can proudly put it on my wall and take it seriously.

    Take a peek: http://www.joelnielson.com/temple-attendance-tracker/

    Thanks,

    Joel

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,403 other followers