|Subject:||Temple Hype vs. Temple Reality...|
|Date:||Jun 20 09:28|
(From page 78 of "Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints", an official church publication)
"I see the temple and think of being married there someday" said [name deleted], age 16, of Oslo, Norway. "I know the promises you make in the temple are promises with the Lord. The things you learn there won't just change or disappear."
(From Perry Noid, who is no longer an official publication of the church.)
If you plan on getting married there be prepared for genuine disappointment. If some of your or your spouse's family are not members of the Mormon Church, they will not be allowed to witness the wedding ceremony. The wedding ceremony itself is not particularly deep or meaningful in content. It takes place in a relatively small room and is much less romantic than the traditional non-Mormon weddings that you are used to seeing.
As for the promises made "with the Lord", there is no reason to believe that a temple is necessary for you to make promises to whatever Lord it is that you worship. The old men in SLC want you to believe that the temple provides some kind of new and improved connection with God that you can't get anywhere else. This is how they sell you on the idea of paying 10% of your yearly income to essentially buy a 1-year pass to enter the temple. Believe me it's not worth the price of admission. Nothing in the temple draws you closer to the Lord, to nature or to whatever good thing it is you want to draw close to. The temple draws you closer to cranky, old temple workers, who will tsk-tsk and scold you at the drop of a hat.
You can feel more spiritual peace and joy in a nicely appointed lobby of a deluxe hotel.
Sitting next to a babbling brook in a mountain forest is exactly 235.23% more of a spiritual high than going to the temple.
To some extent, what you feel is up to you no matter where you are, but the temple is not conducive to peaceful, spiritual feelings. The temple and its busy work rituals actually serve as a distraction that makes it harder to feel spiritual peace and tranquility. People bend over backwards and strain to interpret the temple experience as something "special" because they are under tremendous peer pressure to do so--just like the Emperor's New Clothes.
As for the things you learn being things that "won't just change or disappear", please be advised that I went through the temple before 1990. At that time I learned a super secret/sacred embrace called the "Five Points of Fellowship". The temple ceremony has since been changed and that secret/sacred embrace has disappeared. I also learned three different bloody oaths, whereby I was made to act out gory self-mutilation/execution acts that would be "penalties" I would suffer if I were to reveal the secrets of the temple. Fortunately, those bloody oaths and penalties have also disappeared.
But if you want to know the big secret of the temple, it's this: there is nothing in the temple worth learning.
|Subject:||I agree - it can be one of the great anti-climaxes of TBM life.|
|Date:||Jun 20 10:14|
|I first went to the temple on my way to the mission field - no temple prep classes....no nothing....I went in cold. My main feeling for those few days was one of confusion. From my observation, those who feel let down or disappointed don't say too much and many of them conclude that their own spirituality mustn't be up to standard, like all those others around them who seem to be getting so much out of it.|
|Subject:||Re: Temple Hype vs. Temple Reality...|
|Date:||Jun 20 10:17|
|I can remember sitting next to windows in the Harold B. Lee Library to study while I was at BYU because there was a view of the temple. It helped me focus on my goal of going to the temple where I would receive my endowments, get married and truly learn about all of God's wonderful plan for me. Years later when I was living in Provo and attending the temple every week it finally hit me how stupid the whole thing was, especially when they changed the temple ordinance. Soon after that they quit getting my 10%. I haven't been to the temple in years and don't miss it a bit. The secrecy before you attend the temple is necessary because if members knew beforehand what went on in there they'd probably decide it wasn't worth it. You've got to catch them around the time they are getting married to make anything about it seem worthwhile.|
|Subject:||I think that few people dare . . .|
|Date:||Jun 20 10:49|
|I think that few people dare admit their disappointment with the temple. Mormons assume the fault is with them, they're not worthy enough, etc., etc.|
|Subject:||Mormons will tell you that it is your fault.....|
|Date:||Jun 20 10:57|
|that you don't feel the spirit whether it be in the temple or anywhere. It's just a way to jump on the bandwagon of making others feel better so their own inadequacies and insecurities won't seem so bad. Instead of owning up to the fact that the temple really is a big joke where you don't learn anything or feel the spirit, they have to put others down to make themselves appear that they have the spiritual corner on the temple market.|
|Date:||Jun 20 19:56|
|Subject:||Yes, to think of the temple as the pinnacle of your religious experience...|
|Date:||Jun 20 11:59|
|is definitely going to be a disappointment.
Unless you can convince yourself that all that mumbo jumbo is some sort of religious experience.
How so many otherwise thinking people can go through the temple and shed that experience so quickly, coming back to reality, or can extol it as something spiritual, is absolutely more than I can understand!
|Subject:||Yep, in my case: temple = first seeds of doubt... n/t|
|Date:||Jun 21 07:45|
|I went to SLC temple (a live session in 1984) for my
first time. Came all the way from California for the "special"
experience on my way to the MTC. No parents, brothers, sisters or
friends to escort me....
I distinctly remember sitting in the middle of one of the rooms trying to convince myself this was "spiritual". The only feelings I had were very bad feeling (e.g., Satan, confusion, etc.) -- no one warned me of this -- not my parents, not anyone. I thought surely there was something wrong with me.
The next day I was off to the MTC -- went a couple of times while I was there. Still really weird, but the peer pressure was there. Went once on my way home from a shitty mission in New Zealand...
To make a long story short. The temple is where my first serious doubts of the church started.
Now, I'm off to take my kids on a primary activity to the temple on Saturday. The only reason I'm doing it is to "undo some of the brainwashing" that will be done by a bunch of religious fanatics....
|Subject:||My aunt went for the first time at the start of her mission, and...|
|Date:||Jun 21 12:54|
|it was a weird experience for her. She went to the
Swiss temple. The temple serves various European nationalities, but the
session she went to was all in German!!! They had some special sockets
on the front rows to plugin headphones and select different languages.
Unfortunately the system was out of order so she went thru' her first
ever session totally in German (which she doesn't speak or understand at
all) and was agog to see people standing-up, chant something in German,
then sit down and so on. She had no idea was it was all about and was
the weirdest experience she ever had. She is still in the morg though.
I wish I had had the courage to leave, but such was the pressure from all the people in my home branch having sacrificed so much and helped me so much that I thought something was wrong with me.
I never did reconcile the "most spiritual experience" tag with what actually went on in the temple.
What really freaked me out was all those people I knew that used to go off to Switzerland (nearly 700 miles away) for a whole week and come back on a high... This is what they did? I still can't believe it.
|Subject:||I think it's like the characters in Animal Farm, focusing on a meaningless project, and not knowing what's really going on..nt|
|Subject:||Re: Temple Hype vs. Temple Reality...|
|Date:||Jun 21 09:56|
|I remember going in April of 1985. My family was too
poor to make the trip to SLC to attend with me the first time, so I was
sent through by myself. It was a live session but I don't remember it
well, except that we had to get up and change rooms whenever the scene
from the story changed.
Not once did I feel the spirit that I was told I would feel. I can't say that it freaked me out at all but I was an unquestioning Turbo Mo at the time. Now that I'm a questioning mo, I can't find anything of value in the temple. It was all pretty shallow.
I think the only thing that impressed me at all was the fact that they had nice furnishings and decor. Being the poor white trash that I was at the time, I was rather awed by that.........
|Subject:||Re: Temple Hype vs. Temple Reality...|
|Date:||Jun 21 10:49|
|For me, the temple was shrouded in secrecy, so all I
ever heard about what went on there is that "you make
covenants" and that it was "the house of the Lord" where
I would feel the Spirit strongest. Personally, I didn't like the
secrecy--It scared me to death. I really did want to serve a mission,
however, and they don't give you a choice: you MUST go through the
temple before entering the MTC.
After sorting through intense emotions and fears(particularly over the garment issue), I took a 'leap of faith' and went through. I took a temple prep class, but it taught absolutely nothing and in no way prepared me for what I was about to go through. Nothing could have prepared me.
I came to the temple with as much hope and faith as I could muster and awaited the 'greatest spiritual experience' of my life. I was mortified very quickly.
While the initiatory was 'different,' it didn't particularly bother me (other than the impersonal fast-talk that made it impossible for me to understand what was being said). It's weird, b/c I would have thought this part would bother me a great deal, but it didn't really. The real horror came next.
I can't explain how or why, but a very demonic spirit came over me as the endowment began--an intensity I had never quite felt before. Of course, I hid this, as so many people I had known growing up were there smiling my way. I hoped that it would be temporary and I would get that spiritual high when it gets to the 'good part.' I held in there.
Well, it only got worse as the session moved on. My insides were screaming--what IS all this!? What have I got myself into? I would never had agreed to this had I known ahead of time! But I was scared--I had already made the promise, and I was afraid to not go along with the program for fear of great punishment.
I thought I had reached a great understanding of a loving and caring heavenly father. I had resolved the many acts of emotional and spiritual abuse on the part of leadership in my life by saying 'they just don't understand the gospel.' Now I was re-experiencing that all over again from celluloid film. THIS is where they get it from! The punitiveness, the scare tactics--the whole nine yards. It wasn't THEM who didn't understand the church, it was I projected my positive values onto the church and thus was fooled. I felt deceived, betrayed, and manipulated. It HURT.
They say that you can talk about what happens in the temple only in the temple, but that's a deceptive line itself. You never get a moment to actually talk in the sessions. The celestial room is very quiet and it felt that if I said ANYTHING (no matter how polite) about my trauma...well it was well outside the bounds of acceptability. I just had to smile and shake hands when people congratulated me.
But maybe I just didn't understand it. Scrapping the whole thing now one week before I was to leave for the MTC was not an option. If I were simply mistaken, I would have forfeited the blessings of a mission, not to mention the incredible let-down and shaming that would accompany such a move.
What would I do anyway? School had already started (I left in early October) and going back to BYU anyway...Besides, I had made certain promises (albeit it felt more like blackmail) and I was afraid of the consequences if I SAID how I felt, let alone if I acted on them.
I felt compelled to at least let my parents know it didn't go as expected when they wanted me to go again two days later. That didn't go over very well. No questions were asked and no clarifications were made. The implication was simple 'you just don't get it and it is you're problem, not the Church's.' So I shipped out to the MTC as scheduled.
The rest is another chapter all together, but that sums up my 'great spiritual experience' of the temple. In the end, it was the Temple and the garment that served as the last straw. I just wish I could warn people without being labeled an apostate or a heretic. It was the church that let me down--I was and continue to be sincere. I haven't 'sinned'--it's NOT my fault. But such truths are very controversial, so they are never brought up. Until now--and only anonymously.
|Subject:||My grandma's statement after I went for the first time|
|Date:||Jun 21 10:06|
|"So, what did you think? Pretty weird, isn't
it? Everyone thinks it's strange the first time through."
A surprising statement from my TBM grandma, but it made me feel much better at the time. After hearing about how great the temple was my whole life, I wasn't about to come home and say - "Wow, that was bizarre."
|Subject:||This is exactly how my wife felt......a big letdown.|
|Date:||Jun 21 10:31|
|She told me she was surprised at how weird it was. All this hype and no real substance. She said she almost laughed when she saw other people dressed in those silly outfits. She didn't get it. She talked about her dismay at a relief society meeting. Shortly after that she was told the bishop wanted to see her. She never went. She told me, " I don't need him to tell me how my temple experience should be"|
|Subject:||Why do some Mormons love it so?|
|Date:||Jun 21 13:24|
|I was always leery of going. The secrecy and the
garments, and had no desire to confess my sins to bishop. Therefore I
married a never-mo.
But... my dad loved it. Parents must have gone to the LA temple 3 or 4 times a month. He had been a mason before converting. Swallowed hook, line and sinker myth about masonry and mo-temple being descended from Solomon's temple.
I think Mom went out of duty, everything was duty to her. She was/is enduring till the end and is many generation BIC Mormon.
|Subject:||My reaction after my first endowment session was...|
|Date:||Jun 21 13:53|
|no wonder everyone outside the church calls this a
cult! What the hell is with the baker's hats and fancy robes? Am I
supposed to really believe that all who make it to heaven will be forced
to wear these silly dresses and perform secret handshakes? Sorry, but if
that were true, the last place I would want to be is with 70 billion
Yet somehow I continued to go to the temple another six years before coming to my senses.
|Subject:||Even as a missionary....|
|Date:||Jun 21 13:53|
|...going through it for the first time while at the Salt Lake City MTC, I found it uninspiring and repellant. Numerous subsequent temple trips, including my marriage in the Ogden, Utah temple, failed to change my outlook. Even as a member of the Bishopric, and then of the Stake High Council, I went only enough to keep up appearances. I never "learned" anything in a temple, and try as I might, I never felt inspired or close to God in the temple. Being in nature, or in something like a petting Zoo where I'm feeding and petting gentle animals, has always provided me with a more loving, spiritual experience, actually, than any religious ceremony ever did. The natural beauty of the "Cathedral of the Pines", in the mountains of New Hampshire, I found spiritually edifying, when my mission companion and I visited when we were serving in the New England Mission. The "Cathedral of the Pines" is non-denominational, the sense of reverence and closeness to God that one can feel there, in the midst of such natural beauty, far surpasses that found in Mormon temples. I think part of my preference for nature over the temple, even when I was an active Mormon, was reading once in an environmental magazine, that when Jesus wanted to be close to God he went not to the temple, but into the wilderness.|
|Subject:||Okay, this is my theory....|
|Date:||Jun 21 14:21|
|...Let me just say first that my pre-1990 experience
with the temple was the most bizarre thing that had happened to me in my
then-20 years. It totally freaked me out. The church that I had grown up
in seemed to have no relationship to what went on within those walls. I
went in "cold turkey", as someone else said, and had no idea
what to expect. I have also attended the post-1990 ceremony and found it
to be much toned-down. It is palatable but, of course, pointless.
Anyway, my theory about the temple is this: LDS parents go along with it because it gives their youth a goal to reach adulthood without the vices of drinking, smoking, drugs, and teaches them to avoid premarital sex. Then, hopefully, they can find a lifetime partner that also shares these values. Of course, it doesn't always work that way, but it is a standard that is set. Unfortunately, there is the drawback of having to accept that "everything" taught in the LDS church is the TRUTH, which can be a BIG drawback.
So, my theory is that many, if not most, LDS think the temple is weird, but they put up with it as a necessary evil, because they perceive that the benefits of the standards it sets is worth it.
Of course, it can be argued successfully that those standards can be taught in the home anyway, but I think the LDS feel the support that "the Church" gives in setting these standards is worth the 10%.
|Subject:||Temple Hype vs. Temple Reality...|
|Date:||Jun 21 15:32|
|Personally, even at the height of my belief, I
thought it was very spooky, even though I was only there to do the dead
baptisms...I was totally freaked out and naturally when it was over,
pretended along with the friends I was with how wonderful it was...why
some people think its so wonderful still does not make sense to me...I
would just guess that they are too brainwashed to see what is going on
and have themselves worked up into such a frenzy that there is no room
for common sense...just got this from my cousin...I rest my case:
Incidentally, Lorna and I returned a week ago from a trip to Missouri and Illinois. In addition to seeing her daughter graduate from college, we spent a wonderful week touring historical sites of the you-know-what Church, and had an especially wonderful time in Nauvoo, where we attended the temple 5 times in 4 days. The newly rebuilt Nauvoo Temple is beautiful, and the Spirit there is so strong. The whole town seems like a sacred place - so peaceful and serene. We didn't want to leave. I share this with you because I want you to know that my faith in Jesus Christ and in His restored gospel is as strong as it ever was. I feel the spirit of this great work. Christ is at the center of it. I see it in the faces and countenances of all the people around me, every day.
|Date:||Jun 21 16:17|
|Here is an excerpt from "my story" that I
have been writing.
After buying a few pkgs of garments (I opened one at home to look at them and then felt ashamed, so folded them and put them back in the pkg for later) we went off to the temple. My fiancé, my brother and his wife (my ‘escort'), and my dad. Off to the castle to finally find out this wonderful thing I have been looking forward to. First things first. Put on a pink nametag, signifying this is your first time through. Hating attention on myself and luckily having long hair, I quickly learned to keep the pink tag covered up. Next in order: go to this room, go in the cubicle and take everything off. I really really wanted to lie at this time and tell them I was on my period and just HAD to keep my panties on. But I was in the temple. You don't lie there. I felt so self- conscious and mortally embarrassed to be wearing not a stitch under the ‘shield'. (A ghost-like sheet that I clutched both sides closed on) I stayed in that dressing room for a long time. I was willing myself to have the courage to leave. What would happen? Would my fiancé not marry me? Would my family cluck their tongues at me and say, ‘it's okay, we can try again later. It's not that bad.' But then I remembered the holy pain in the butt it was to get my recommend in the first place, so figured I'd better suck it up and get it over with. With tears of embarrassment and shame in my eyes I emerged from that little stall and led to a room with a curtain with a short round little old lady on a stool. She took my package of garments (ones that hadn't been opened), handed them to another lady who disappeared behind another curtain. She tried to reassure me and then quietly started saying some stuff really quietly. Stuff about being forgiven of your sins (I was thinking... am I getting baptized again?), then she proceeded to touch different parts of my skin, in short, made me feel downright creepy. Violated. When she finished, I was relieved and anxious to go get dressed. She then led me to another room where there was another lady on a stool. She started doing the same thing but with oil. I remember closing my eyes, clenching my teeth and willing myself to stay there and endure this. My future marriage depended on my enduring this. After this, I noticed my garments, opened, and hung over a bar on the wall. Instead of allowing me to be a dignified adult, they PUT these on me! Yes, they held them open, just as I hold underpants and pants open for my 3 year old child. And being in a trance like state, I stepped in. They could tell I think, that I was stunned into silence because they said, "normally we take the shield off of you and then put your garment top on, but we'll let you step into it." So like a robot I stepped into my garment top and they shimmied it up my body. I inquired whether I could go put clothes on and they said yes. Finally, I had passed one of the tests of the temple.... enduring the washing and anointing. For the record, I will NEVER in my life do that again.
My sister in law, who is just so sweet tells me at this point, "The temple is so wonderful. You can't feel any bad thoughts in here." Little did she know, I had already proved that statement wrong. On we went to the little chapel where I was relieved to finally see my fiancé. He knew how bad all of that was for me and hugged me for a long time. I wanted to leave. I felt just awful inside, like this was all wrong. But I had been told my whole life that the endowment was to be looked forward to, so I pressed on. We walked into the endowment room, and although I had tried to cover up my name tag with my long hair, they still made me sit on the front row so everyone in the whole freaking place could see me. I honestly don't remember much of the dialogue or even what the little old people up front looked like. I only remember what I felt. I felt baffled that I was sitting across the aisle from my future ‘eternal companion.' I remember we moved from room to room and getting to briefly see my fiancé as we moved to different rooms. I remember thinking how funny he looked in that baker's hat, but then repenting of my light minded ness because I was in the temple.... And most of all, I remember it being over and being relieved to get back in the car and leave the place. We ate at a little Subway on the way home. What a way to celebrate a major life moment!
|Subject:||Does anyone else feel stupid as hell about the temple stuff?|
|Date:||Jun 21 15:02|
|I was reading that thread about which side to tie your robe on, yada yada, and I find I am deeply ashamed that I went through that dozens of time with a straight face! What was the matter with me that I didn't think it was bogus from the start?????|
|Date:||Jun 21 15:09|
|I feel very silly, especially when I describe the
ceremonies to my exmo sibs that never went through them.
|Date:||Jun 21 15:47|
|I always had a gnawing feeling that something was not right. I went through the Provo Temple all by myself a few days before I entered the MTC. I was really spooked when the temple worker told me: "Take off all your clothes, put on this robe (skimpy little hospital type thing where my ass showed), and wait here until someone calls your name" When the temple worker starting "anointing" all my body parts, I was shaking. If he had actually touched my wiener I think I would have run out of there screaming!|
|Subject:||Yes, I can relate to feeling like a dunce on this one.|
|Date:||Jun 21 15:42|
|I just sponged the entire experience and if there
was any conflict or questioning I internalized that it was my fault or
my short coming.
I admire exmos I meet who never bought into the scheme, even from young ages. Their independence and autonomy are inspiring to me now.
I will go to the grave not knowing how my personality would have shaped up if I had never been born and raised Mormon. It may very well be that I would have sponged in any organized religion of the day and it so happened to be Mormonism.
With the perspective of being officially out and away from the morg for nearly ten years the situation is so clear and obvious...it does beg the question - How come it wasn't obvious back then?
|Subject:||I can't believe I couldn't see how sexist it is!|
|Date:||Jun 21 16:56|
|Ironically, it was a friend who is still completely
TBM who pointed out to me how sexist the ceremony is, with Eve standing
mutely by Adam's side after the Fall, looking adoringly up at him and
all of the other men!!! I can't believe now that I NEVER questioned
anything about the temple ceremony at all. I was so trusting and
believing that I never looked at the whole thing critically. It IS embarrassing.
It amazes me how I, an intelligent, educated, thinking person once accepted ALL of the codswallop. It gives me compassion for those who are in the same position I was in.
|Subject:||Re: my experience|
|Date:||Jun 21 17:17|
|I enjoyed your excerpt. My experience was the same
as yours, except mine was "pre-1990" so it was even more
bizarro. Suffice it to say that I was so stunned I remember little but
slashing my throat in pantomime. Oh, and I was helped into a one-piece
garment, which was all that was available then. Those were strange to
Oh, and in those days, you got married immediately after your endowment. I also remember being stuck in a crowd of ladies, on my wedding day, while my fiancé sat across the room. How romantic!! I remember thinking that if I could talk to him, we could both skedaddle out of there and head for Las Vegas. Forget the reception!!
|Subject:||question for Lara re: interval between endowment and sealing|
|Date:||Jun 21 20:16|
|Lara, when you were married, were women allowed to
go through the endowment ahead of time, or did it all (endowment and
temple marriage) have to be done on the same day?
(I realize that sister missionaries would already be endowed, but I meant women who did not do a mission---i.e., the majority of women marrying in the temple).
|Subject:||Oh, it was like a marathon.....|
|Date:||Jun 21 20:29|
|...I remember having to get up at something like
6:30 a.m. to go over to the temple. I did the personal endowment, went
through a session, then directly after that got married. It seems like
our wedding luncheon was at noon. You weren't allowed (though I don't
know if anyone had ever asked) to go ahead of time to get your personal
endowment, the way that it is done now.
I guess somebody finally figured out that this was cramming too much stuff into what was supposed to be the bride's special day.
|Subject:||Sounds like a recipe for wedding day burnout|
|Date:||Jun 21 22:38|
|Except for returned sister missionaries, the brides had no idea what they're in for, assuming that nobody "talked" outside the temple. It must be weird enough just to go through the endowment, let alone the cookie-cutter, meaningless sealing ceremony.|
|Subject:||I kinda liked it. The take-no-prisoners Christianity resonated with me (n/t)|
|Date:||Jun 21 23:21|
|My first temple experience was shortly before my
mission. I attended with my best friend, bishop and my former young
men's president. I can still remember standing in the Celestial Room,
and the bishop asked me what I thought. So I told him.
"I think we all look like the Phillsbury Doughboy."
Ah, I can still recall the lecture that followed!
Shortly before that incident the I had been asking the bishop various questions about what the symbolism was in the endowment, and what the various articles of clothing were for (like the hat). He couldn't answer a single question I had!
Related Temple Topics
19. Feel Ugly in Temple Clothing? | 32. The Changing Temple | 33. First Time to the Temple 1
127 Temple Marriage Ceremony | 155 New Names Given in the Temple | 165 Not allowed to the Temple Wedding
169 Can Temple Ordinances be Changed? | 234 Changing Rules? Temple Marriages
238 She Can't Stand The Temple | 243 Temple Hype Versus Reality | 42. Washing and Annointings
44. Stopped wearing garments | 13. Non-Mormon and Garments