Subject: I got my endowment 14 years ago today: My experience
Date: Nov 16 19:20 2003
Author: kc

I just realized it's been 14 years today since I went to the temple for my endowment. I was 20 years old and went through the temple the day before I got married. It was the Washington, D.C. temple and I was a convert of 2 years.

I remember not knowing much about what the endowment was. I knew I would make covenants with God, and I had been told about the temple garments. My bishop's wife took me to purchase my first garments at the store, and told me to bring them, unopened, to the temple in a bag. I was mostly excited about getting married, and nervous about having sex, and not overly concerned with the temple rituals. I just wanted to get it over with so I could get married the next day.

It was my fiancÚ's first time to the temple as well. He was a one-year convert, and he was 36. I remember the temple was so beautiful: huge and white and a beautiful pool outside. The leaves were turning and the sky was blue. When I got inside I was nervous. It was a big place. Funny, I don't even remember who all came with me. I think a lady from my ward came to sort of guide me through it.

First I went into the locker room and was asked to take off all my clothes and put a big white sheet over my head. It was open on the sides, and I was cold, and very self-conscious. I thought, geez, what is this... Then they took me into a little booth thing and sat me on a stool. The old lady whispered the blessing in my ear. I was dizzy from nervousness, and was really surprised when she forgave my sins and said I was "clean every whit." Wow, I had no idea that happened again after baptism. And I didn't know women could forgive sins... it was mind boggling. I didn't like it when she ran her hands over my body with oil and water. It felt strange and immodest to me. But I accepted it as God's will. Soon she had my garments in her hands. She held open the bottoms for me to step into. It was so weird, having an old women hold my underwear and pull them up for me. I felt... stupid. Childish. Ridiculous. I don't even remember how she got the tops on me.

Somewhere along the line, after I got out of the booth I think, and changed into a white temple dress (and was grateful for the coverage), someone pinned some little papers onto me. One said OWN ENDOWMENT and I think said my name. I had the little "packet" cloth pouch thing with all the robes and veil and apron folded up inside and I felt odd carrying it. All the stuff was rented at the temple; I only had my own garments. An old lady took me aside and gave me a "new name" and I was a nervous wreck that I would forget it, and asked her to repeat it. It was Hagar. What an ugly name. I hated it. And I was angry at its implications: Abraham's second wife that he cast off, the one who was not the wife of his heart. I was becoming a second wife to my husband, who had been married before...was this a sign?

I don't remember much else about how I got to the endowment room. I don't remember a lot except how weird my fiancÚ looked in that hat, and why was it tied to his shoulder? I hated getting out the robes and trying to get them on in time. There were so many people. I had someone helping me tie my robes and stuff but it was awkward. The movie was ok, but trying to get all the handshakes and passwords right was nerve wracking. Why did I have to take off my slippers and put them back on again when we changed the robes from left to right shoulder? I was so confused, nothing made sense, but I tried to just get through it. Everyone was smiling and happy, and I was flushed and embarrassed.

The of course, they had the true order of prayer. And of course being my own endowment I was dragged up there with fiancÚ to chant Pay Lay Ale with a veil over my face. I felt so strange. I couldn't even think. And I also remember, all the times I was told to "bow your head and say yes." I felt slapped into submission. Obey your husband. Yes. (it was pre-1990). The promises of never revealing, and the suffering my life to be taken; the throat slitting and disemboweling gestures..I think I went mind-numb. It was unthinkable, so I didn't think.

Finally we were at the veil. I couldn't remember a single thing. The old lady told me all the answers. I shoved my inner knee against my fiancÚ's, I pressed my chest to his and felt his breath on my ear through the veil, his arm on my back, my breast touching him. I said the magic words and he pulled me through. (What the heck was it with the mallets hanging on poles? Why did they knock 3 times and God asks what is wanted? Isn't God omniscient?) I was in the celestial room with him and my ward members who attended. I was exhausted. It was white and whiter. I just wanted to go home.

I went to the dressing room and saw myself in a full length mirror in robes, veil and green apron. I couldn't bear to look. I just had to get changed and forget it ever happened, and look forward to getting married the next day.

I was so numbed by the experience that although my husband pleaded, I refused (with excuses) to go back for another endowment session for 5 months. When I did go back, the death oaths were gone. A lot had changed. It was easier to tolerate.

But I won't ever forget that first time.

Subject: Your detailed description caused my suppressed memories to flood back. It was horrible. I even passed out at the veil.

 

Subject: Great description of it. Your story reminds me so much
Date: Nov 16 19:28
Author: Doug
Mail Address:

of my own experience it's amazing. If it were now instead of then, I would've had the guts to leave when they asked if anyone wants to leave. Thanks for telling your story and taking me back in time.

Subject: You summed up the entire experience with those words
Date: Nov 16 20:40
Author: S°vnl°sener - Insomniac
Mail Address:

It felt strange and immodest to me. But I accepted it as God's will.

For me anyway

Subject: "It was unthinkable, so I didn't think." Righto. Thx for the story! n/t
Subject: Amen! The temple is a creepy experience. I was born into the Church...
Date: Nov 16 21:16
Author: Perry Noid
Mail Address:

Naturally, I was taught from childhood to look forward to the "amazing", "wonderful", "sacred", "sublime" experiences that supposedly would be mine when I became old enough and worthy enough to go to the temple.

Not only was I disappointed by the experience, I was creeped out by it. When I went, they had all of the throat-slitting, disemboweling penalty gestures.

The goofy costumes, the bloody oaths, as well as the zombie-like chants and follow-the-leader rituals, all seemed to be like scenes from some hideous low-budget horror movie. It was definitely not the spiritual experience and enlightenment I had been looking forward to since childhood.

My spiritual/emotional reaction could be summed up as a constant scream in my mind along the lines of "WHAT THE HELL IS THIS??"

Of course in my verbalized consciousness, as a TBM, I wouldn't allow myself to say "hell" in the temple--not even in my mind. It was more like a stream of thoughts and rationalizations, as I tried to make sense out of nonsense: "Odd, a bit strange, yes really not what one would expect, definitely, uhm, weird, but there must be some deep spiritual significance here that I'm missing. Yes that's it. It's my fault because I'm not ready yet to grasp the deeper meaning. That's why it all looks like some absurd, nonsensical initiation ritual from a creepy fraternity. Eve is nice looking. I really hate the way my flimsy temple socks are getting sucked down past my ankles and into my slippers..."

Subject: Wow. That was really detailed.
Date: Nov 16 23:45
Author: Trying Dynamic
Mail Address:

Y'know I honestly can't remember the anointing with oil thing or what was said, all I remember was being in that little curtained room with the two old ladies.

I also remember, as you did, not being able to look at myself in the mirror in those temple clothes. Its pretty sad that more than likely somebody will try to bury me in those damn things someday.

Also I tried to find meaning in my temple name. Lucy. For a long time, especially when I started doubting, I thought that I might be of the same class of spirit as Lucifer, after all I was smart and rebellious! It devastated me to think that, I was only a little better than a demon!

It is shocking to see what you have written. I forgot so much and haven't been there in such a long time (thankfully). How could I have been caught up in such a crazy church?

Subject: KC......
Date: Nov 17 00:09
Author: Nora_AZ
Mail Address:

Thank you so much for your vivid description of what it must be like to go through the Temple.
It was so detailed I felt as if I were right there.

Subject: Really strange. Hard to believe so many accept it and don't run. N/T
Date: Nov 17 11:21
Author: cassandera
Mail Address:

 

Subject: Your story was very
Date: Nov 17 11:36
Author: billy budd
Mail Address:

well told. It made me recall vividly my own washing and anointing experience. I remember as it happened I thought to myself, "You better watch it old man." I found myself mentally preparing to slug him. That hadn't happened since I slugged Dave Brockbank in the 6th grade. What a nauseating experience.

Subject: The anointing was nauseating, Dave really did deserve a slug. N/T
Date: Nov 17 11:37
Author: billy budd
Mail Address:

 

Subject: Very descriptive and accurate
Date: Nov 17 11:44
Author: activejackmormon
Mail Address:

When you are born into the church and you go to church every Sunday, you have no idea that going to the temple meant what you experienced in the endowment ceremony. I had been warned by my parents that it would be different to try to mediate the shock, but even so, it was far different than I imagined.

My endowment came in the Salt Lake Temple and we moved from room to room. I think the thing that most freaked me out was the "pay lay ale" thing. That seemed so ritualistic and shall I say, "pagan."

I probably went to the temple only around 15 times as a TBM as it wasn't exactly my activity of choice. Every time, fumbling around with the garb was a common theme. I was always glad to get it over with. I never felt overwhelming urges for such a spiritual experience which contrasted greatly with my pre-temple expectations.

Thanks for the post.

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

 


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