To non-Mormons: You may wish to get some background by visiting this link first which is a video on the Mormon temple ceremony: Mormon533
I left the church so long ago that nobody had thought up yet the wonderful idea that the most sacred and holy ritual of their religion should be an audio-visual presentation. I mean, those were great minds at work, really in touch with God and holiness and so on.
I remember when I heard from my still-Mormon family members that the Endowment ceremony was now going to be presented on film, and that the temple - the House of the Lord - was going to be equipped with movie screens - I laughed out loud. I really thought they were putting me on!
My first time through the temple was the day I married my childhood sweetheart, August 27, 1952, in the Idaho Falls temple. In those days, it was the whole thing in one day: washing and anointing, endowment, sealing. None of this spreading the thing out. And no movies, and no popcorn. And no "temple preparation" courses.
It was very impressive. I was a little put off when the first thing inside the door was a cash register, with the bell whenever a sale was rung up, for folks who were renting the temple clothes. I thought immediately of the moneychangers in the temple.
The washing and anointing ceremony was very impressive. I wondered why there were locks on the lockers. I mean, this is the temple of the Lord, isn't it?
I wondered if the worshippers in the ancient temple ceremony also had to wear neckties.
The murals in the rooms were impressive and beautiful. I wondered how they did the flaming sword thing in Solomon's temple (it was a neon sign in Idaho Falls, and you could hear the click when the temple worker switched it on).
I wondered what would happen if somebody did actually say they didn't want to go through with it, and raised their hand. It never occurred to me to do it, I mean, I was going to get married.
During the whole thing I kept looking over at the other side of the room to see my bride. She looked kind of silly, in that fancy white bridal gown, surrounded by all the old ladies in their plain white dresses. And wearing that green apron.
It was so solemn, so impressive. I mean, this was the actual ceremony that God had instituted in the Temple of Solomon, and revealed to Joseph Smith in the latter days! But what's this Protestant minister doing there? Was he in Solomon's temple? When everybody joined in to sing the Protestant hymn, I thought, what's going on? I didn't ever remember even hearing this hymn in church, and here they are, singing it in the temple? (It was "We shall gather by the river," I think).
I wondered, when they said to raise your hand if you had forgotten the new name, how anybody could hope to be saved if they had already forgotten something so important. And if you raised your hand, who could help you? How would any of the temple workers know what God had given you as your secret name?
The secret passwords and grips and everything - wow! I mean, I had made up stuff like that when I organized secret clubs among the neighborhood kids, but this stuff was GOD'S secret club! Heavy!
The prayer thing was particularly impressive, I thought. And convincing, too: who would be so brash as to invent something as dumb as "Pale Ale" as the most sacred and powerful words by which to address God? It HAD to be divinely inspired!
What really convinced me was the "name of the Second Token of the Melchizedek priesthood" - it was so long and complicated - how was I supposed to remember it, to say it back? But I DID! It seemed the most natural thing in the world! I got it right the first time, without any help from the old temple worker, who patted me on the back.
Right behind me was my bride, whom I brought through the veil, and she told me her new name. It was all beautiful. And we went into the sealing room and got sealed, and everybody came around, all smiles and handshakes.
In the Celestial room that day an old friend of the family, faithful Mormon, came up to shake my hand, and asked me what I thought about it - wasn't it wonderful? Of course, I said yes. And then he said, "Oh, in the old days it was frightening! All this talk about ripping out your tongue and gushing your bowels out on the ground! It's much nicer now!" I remember thinking, but if this is the "correct, pure, unadulterated" endowment as established thousands of years ago by God, how could it have changed?
I learned later that in the version of the endowment ceremony my old friend was referring to, the patrons were also required to take an oath of vengeance against the United States, to avenge the blood of the Prophet Joseph Smith. That could not very well have been in Solomon's version, nor in the version revealed by God to Joseph Smith.
But in those days I didn't pursue that kind of non-faith-promoting question. And besides, it was my wedding day.
As my bride and I were driving off on our honeymoon, we talked about the ceremony. I had to confess to her that when she told me her new name, I wasn't sure I really had understood her clearly. I thought she said "Nary," which I thought was a rather odd name, useful only in a sentence like "she said nary a word!" She hesitated a moment, and then told me her new name was "Mary."
Well, I guess it doesn't matter. I won't be pulling her through any veils.
My name is Enoch, after the man who was translated to heaven without tasting death!
Richard in Oregon
I think I was in a daze for the whole thing. But, boy, they sure pour the attention on you the first time through. I remember my mother beaming as my escort...that comforted me somewhat.
I felt violated in the washing and anointings. But I was doing my "perfectionist best" to remember every word, every nuance, so I had no room in my mind for such trivial things as my entire being cried out against what was happening.
The endowment was bizarre. As we took our seats on the left and dad sat on the right, I remember wondering why "forever families" can't sit together in the temple. I wanted to sit with both my parents. I also remember trying my best to keep up and to not cry in frustration. Of course I didn't know enough to question then why I felt the need to cry in frustration in the house of the lord. I hated the movie. Stupid. This was in 1987 so I got the full, gory penalties. They scared me. I knew I'd never be able to live up to all those promises, so I just knew god was going to disembowel me before it was over.
When we were all robed-up, I looked over at my dad and just about died trying not to laugh at the hat. And then I immediately chastised myself for being light-minded in the temple. I mean, we'd just promised to avoid all loud laughter and light-mindedness. *snicker*
I made it through the veil ... again feeling violated by those 5-points ... and got the celestial room. I thought the room was pretty but no big deal. My parents were all emotional and I played along, until dad asked if I wanted to go through another session. Without thinking, I said, "NO! Let's go." And I didn't do another endowment session until after my mission. I managed to do sealings during the temple visits while at the MTC. [missionary training center in Provo Utah]
Of course, I spent years berating myself for not being worthy enough to feel the spirit of the temple. Of course it was my fault. It had to be my fault. The church couldn't possibly be at fault. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I hated it. I hate everything about the temple. It just felt so ... wrong.
At each step in the ceremony I tried my best to "take it all in" and savor the experience. I thought the movie was OK... a little repetitious, but not any more than things like the sacrament prayer. I saw the part with the priest and thought (fleetingly) "Well *that's* kinda bogue..." but I considered it no meaner than the Book of Revelation where terms like "Great Whore of All the Earth" are routinely slung around...
In the Celestial Room (we're talking the Washington DC temple, here) I sat for awhile and said a prayer that I would be a good, faithful, loving wife and mother (yeah, I really did...now all of you can take your fingers out of your throats :)). The decor was... (I am still giggling over Steve's opinion of temple decor) very nice, I thought... I enjoyed the pretty chandeliers and plush carpeting. And the quiet. Hey, I could *use* some of that quiet now...
As some of you know, my real name is Debra. On the day I went through the Washington DC temple, the New Name de Jour for girls was... "Deborah."
"It's almost like a miracle," the temple worker gushed as she told me my new name... There were tears in my eyes as I sat there thinking that there must have been *some* reason why Almighty God saw fit to bestow upon me a "new name" that was basically my old name with a change in spelling. Maybe He thought I was a little deficient in the memory department and decided to take it easy on me... :) I had always wished my real name was spelled "Deborah" anyway...so I decided that was God's gift to me...
Of course I hadn't a clue that *every other* woman who went through that day was also receiving Deborah as her new name. That knowledge would definitely have put a dent in the "specialness" of the occasion. It's kinda like how kids are totally astounded by a stage magician's sleight-of-hand until they see how the trick is done...
My husband, who was one of the coolest people ever to draw breath upon this Earth, died five years later... He was a TBM to the end (so was I, at that point) so I never knew his new name.
Well, that's about it. It has been really interesting hearing everyone's stories about the temple. Before joining this list I never realized that some women got such non-scriptural-sounding new names. But then, when you think about how *few* women are actually mentioned by name in the Scriptures, you begin to see why...
Serra (you can call me Ray, or you can call me Jay...or you can call me Deborah)
Someone in my home town (church community) should have realized that the young girl I was had no clue about what would happen to me on my glorious Temple Wedding Day. I went over to my Bishop's wife to buy my garments and then after purchasing what she told me to get I went home to try them on. No, she didn't tell me I couldn't...so when I got home I took off my bikini panties and french-cut push-up bra and put on what would be the piece de resistance of feminine allure...I soon found "LDS' Secret" is slightly less sexy than "Victoria's Secret" --actually it was hideous. This was in the seventies and the garmies were still one piece. Yipes! Anything you would especially WANT covered was not and every other inch of my nubile young body was lost in yards of nylon. HELP! I ran back over to the Bishop's house and told his wife "these are too big, and do you have anything with a crotch?" She screamed in indignation that I had defiled the garments by trying them on and insisted that they were the right size. She then brought out a garment that she triumphantly advertised as having an actual crotch. Do any of you women remember the infamous "Flare leg" style? HooHooHoo. These one piecers had HUGE legholes and Yes, you were supposed to pee etc. out of the leghole! There was so much fabric that had to be gathered up ---well let your imaginations soar! If you wore these babies with slacks you looked like a french clown. To top the overall sensation this attire evoked--they were cut extremely short in the body so you had wedge-a-rama going on all the time among other perks...again let the imagination soar. . .
The next day I flew alone to Utah. No one in my family could go in the temple with me and for some reason, no one offered to at least accompany me. Oh well, at the time I had a head full of dreams and knew that the Lord wanted me to come to His temple. My fiance met me at the airport and we went to Lagoon ( the Amusement Park) and then headed for Manti were we were going to get married the next morning. How appropriate it was to take in a carnival with its stomach turning rides as preamble to my visit to "the circus" the next day.
That night we went to look at the outside of the temple. I was worried and felt very alone even with my fiance near. I asked him on the eve of our sealing day what to expect. He couldn't divulge anything. Who knows, if he had , maybe I would have run for the western hills..."Come on little lamb..."
It was a very crowded business day at the Temple and all the brides dressing rooms were full. I passed through and saw all these girls with mothers and sisters or friends helping them get ready. My mother-in-law did not offer to come help me so I was alone. The temple worker took me to an unused, old, industrial feeling dressing room apart from the other brides and told me to put on my temple attire. They had given me a packet of clothing so I put it ALL on. There were these long sleeved, long legged garments that tied. I put them on and again I was mystified-- anything I would have normally covered was not! I decided the ties must go in the back so I turned them around and proceeded to put everything I could figure out on...Well in puffs the bombastic and decidedly grumpy temple matron and she demands to know what is taking me so long. She shrieks when she sees that I have swaddled myself in all sorts of misplaced clothing. "YOU are holding up the session!" she lovingly shrills at me as she begins unwinding me. When she sees the on- backwards garments she loses it, "somebody should be in here helping you!" Duh.
The washing and anointing was bizarre. I returned to dress --and slumped --and cried.
The matron came in and yanked me by the arm---I was holding up the session.
It occurred to me that this was not my wedding day but something impersonal--en masse. It was efficient uber alles, but not loving, or in any way gentle for me. When we went into the first room ( it was live so you moved from room to room depicting the degrees of masonry--I mean glory)...Anyway when I joined the body of sealants I gasped as I saw a sea of the most ancient brides you have ever seen. There was something cryptic indeed about it. New brides, old brides...all smothered in white shrouds some called wedding dresses. We were seated on the left distaff side facing the alter up front. I spied my soon- to-be-husband across the great divide in the midst of what appeared to be a baker's convention. I nearly laughed.
"Why are we separated?" I mused as the proceedings began. ( Little did I know that this separation is symbolic of the very separate tracks that we would be put on churchwise and often otherwise-- for the rest of our lives. There's the old and new boys club, and the girls club and the twain shall meet in the hall...maybe.)
Now for the secret, sacred surprise! In comes Adam and Eve! The ORIGINAL Adam and Eve! This must be the big secret of the temple. Adam and Eve were so old and dilapidated that they could barely stagger up the aisle. "That must be the original first parents preserved to this day to reenact their blessings and calumny in the temple!" I was very amused. Finally something to really smile about.
Well at least both of the ancient of days had their knot tying skills perfected. I could NOT keep up with all the clothing and sashes . My wacky bridal veil kept sliding down on my forehead and I looked like old Mother Hubbard----but then all the brides look like old Mother Hubbard. Quite a "come hither" look. No wonder so many men go thither. After I somehow misplaced my slippers and we had to stop and wait til I and two workers helped me find them (found on the seat in front of me)--I was assigned my own dresser. As soon as it was time she would whip my bindings around to where they should be. Still, I had a hard time keeping it all in place. Too much slick material. When I looked in the mirror on my way out I looked like a fallen angel---one who had lost the wrestling match three falls out of five.
During the session I worried about remembering it all---but I was also scared out of my ever-loving mind. I heard no words at all about love. On my wedding day---no words of love. I heard threats, warnings, I was given signs and passwords --but no mention of god knowing my heart and wanting me to know His. No talk at all of Christ's love and true mission--to give us the gospel of LOVE and to show us the open door back home after we die. He gave us Hope. Christ taught us how to live AND how to die which is not death, but passing through the threshold of heaven. Beautiful. Love delivers us in both estates. But not in the temple. The temple service at that time seemed to focus on ways to take your life in a hideous way instead of offering a way of hopeful living. Instead of promising cheerful service in showing love ---we were contracting ourselves out to work as assigned --not to have service bloom out of Christ-like love. Instead of celebrating the fact that I could join with my husband and achieve a loving union---the ugly crassness of the words not to "have sexual intercourse with anyone else." seared into my brain. It was a literally a gutting, throat-cutting, intimidating wedding day. Hey, great way to kick off the ol' married life! I know the temple rites have toned down the violence now--that is one good thing. On my wedding day, I felt no spirit of peace or love or hope there and I was scared that I could not possibly be exacting enough to please the deity of this side of Mormonism.. I about died trying, but that's another story...
Just before our actual sealing I was lectured just not to expect to get my own way and my husband was counseled to be my steward...Oh if I had words to tell the heartache that philosophy caused. I was not to be one half of a glowing god- becoming partnership--I was to be a "mute fry cook" as my husband used to tease. But it seemed he had really been conditioned to expect a mute fry-cook who could produce children and let him return me to the lord as my steward with my time card all filled out correctly. The church says lately that couples are partners etc., but in practice they still consider the husband the steward and I for one do not want anyone breathing down my neck about the state of my soul when all they can go by is an outward appearance. Only my heart knows the truth about me and my hope is that God can see me there unabridged.
And I don't hide my face behind a veil to seek God in prayer---oh that prayer circle hurt. On my wedding day, I was sequestered and alone in mounds of anonymous fabric and not even God --it seemed--could bear the sight of a woman in his circle. How do I covenant to Love that which does not seem to love me enough to abide my sighting? No, I had to leave the temple to eventually to find God---or the animating spirit that moves the universe whatever we call it. The spirit found its way into my body's temple and my heart. Oh, the relief of being known and loved just as I am... its the first step of trusting that I can get to know God too...
well, back to my story...
So, I was then a married young lady. Our sealing room was full of my husband's family and friends and I was alone. Funny, to feel so alone on my wedding day.
I went back to my secluded, echo-y dressing room...I got dressed tearfully, numbly--- relieved it was all over and went outside to have pictures taken. I had forgotten something in the dressing room so I went back in to retrieve it. When I turned the corner and peeked into the new, plush bride room I saw one one of the old temple workers had collapsed on the new thick red carpet. I knelt down beside her to see if I could help and one pale little eye pops open and she says "no dear I am just resting my back." We like to take a rest after the session. Sure enough, there were several more of the antique brides folded up in chairs or on couches ....that was another time that day I felt a giggle inside.
So, that was my temple wedding---my trip through Oz...No I didn't see the man (or men) manipulating everything behind the curtains that day --but as we drove off I swear I could see the sky full of flying monkeys who were carrying off my bikini panties and French cut bra...
God Bless you all who are my fellow wayfarers through grief. I will take what is worth keeping and disregard the rest.
I'll trust Jesus Christ's message: "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you." And within me.
5. Why my first temple experience was such a shock and disappointment..
Date: Dec 27 14:12 2004
Before I went to the temple for the first time, I took those temple preparation classes. After the classes, I really thought the temple was all about Jesus Christ.
They don't give you any real details in those prep classes and none of my TBM family or friends would tell me either. All I knew was that the endowment included a play/movie "about Jesus" and people made covenants.
So I entered the temple all excited, expecting the endowment to be about the ministry of Jesus Christ. Perhaps they would enact the Sermon on the Mount, I thought. Or maybe they would show the Last Supper and have us participate as disciples. Or maybe they would portray other scenes in Christ's ministry that were lost to time that somehow revealed deeper meanings.
Above all, I expected the covenants to be related to Christ's ministry - helping the poor and the sick, forgiving others, loving one another. I imagined that I'd see some of Christ's parables enacted, and then make a covenant to do as Jesus taught. For example, covenant to be a good samaritan or forgive the prodigal sons among us or something like that.
Yes, I was naive. I'd just finished reading the four gospels and the image of Christ's life and his message were so vivid in my mind, I imagined the temple would be an extension of simple things Jesus wanted us to do.
My first time was through the Salt Lake Temple, where they still do "live" sessions. What a dissapointment. Not only was the endowment far removed from the New Testament Jesus Christ, it didn't even have anything to do with what Jesus taught in the Book of Mormon either.
Even worse, "Jehovah" hardly even had any real speaking parts. He's nothing more than a glorified messenger boy, shuttling messages between Peter, James and John and Elohim. Satan, on the other hand, is the star of the show. He tells the temple patrons to put on their aprons and everybody does it! Now that's power!
I can't understand now why anyone could honestly argue that the Mormon Temple is a bastion of Christianity or Jesus Christ. Mormons get more Jesus Christ out of a 15-second canned blessing on the sacrament than they do in the two-hour temple ceremony.
If you look into the origins of the temple ceremony, this all makes a lot more sense:
Am I the only one who felt disappointed by my first temple experience?
Subject: As time went on
Date: Dec 27 14:36 2004
Author: Lost no more
As time went one, greater enlightenment never came. Leaders kept telling me that the Lord would reveal his will to the humble, worthy seeker of truth. I tried to feel something and I meditated as deeply as I could. Try as I might, sleep was pretty powerful at various points of the endowment, with sheer boredom or frustration overtaking my mind at other times.
You would imagine that the celestial room would be the culmination of the experience, worth the monotony of the preceding endowment ceremony, right? Wrong. It was frequently the antithesis of a spiritual journey with everyone milling about, talking, and laughing.
Now that I look back on it, the repetition of the endowment is nothing more than a ploy to keep the members busy and ever hopeful for a spiritual breakthrough; it's also a visible ticket punch attesting their worthiness to other faithful saints and watchful leaders.
I know it sounds like sour grapes, but the idea of "going to the temple" is so built up in one's expectations, only to become a repetitious chore or simply an outward sign of faithful alms-giving among the inner circle of believers.
Subject: On the way back after my first time I told..
Date: Dec 27 14:56
my parents that the ceremony bugged me and I was in shock. My mother looked like she was about to cry. She was also upset at my dad for letting slip that everybody gets the same new name on a given day.
The basic feeling I had was "hey I'm a member of a cult, sh*t!"
Subject: My first was SLC too.
Date: Dec 27 14:59
Going through the temple with the "live" (and I use that term loosely) old version was pretty creepy.
I had about the same feeling as you describe.
I was disappointed to find out God was about clothes and handshakes. It seemed like a kid's tree house club gone a muck. It lowered my opinion of God to think His values might be so picky like that. I was ignorant of ritual and initiation and why it is used in religion.
It seemed comical that Adam and Eve were both 80+ years old, being told to go forth and multiply since there was no way that lady had ovulated in 30 years.
The whole proxy thing was confusing, since I didn't buy the fact God would need a dummy person to go through the motions for others. Wouldn't He know the intent of the person and that would be enough?
Why didn't one person do the proxy work to represent EVERYONE at once instead of one at a time? What difference would it make being by proxy to do one or many? Give everyone the name secret name PAT and be done with it already!
The picky clothes and putting the slippers on and off felt like I was playing Simon Says!
I kept telling myself not to be creeped out. I kept telling myself Satan created REAL cults to create doubt when people got exposed to the temple. I kept telling myself I needed a man to be my middleman to reaching God.
I was horribly disappointed to be separated from my husband through the whole thing. I had to bow my head and say yes to him. That made me bristle knowing it was wrong.
By the time I was outta there, I was mentally drained. It was my wedding day on top of that.
I decided God was one picky dude, and for the next several months I went back to the temple very often, to make sure I had everything memorized. I didn't want to be excluded from the "elite" because I said sinew where I was supposed to say marrow or anything.
Then for years I felt so SPECIAL because I was a full club member. I liked to make sure people could notice my garments because that was my way of letting people know I was one of God's special pets. We often were picked to be the demo couple in the session. We often were in the prayer circle. I bought into the whole mind trip.
I should have followed my gut reaction from the get go but I fought it. I knew something was creepy and wrong about it all, but it was my wedding day. The pressure was on, so there was no time to stall and ask questions.
Subject: Another SLC Temple initiate.
Date: Dec 27 15:11
Mail Address: email@example.com
Yup, I was indoctrinated at the SLC morgbot factory too. I remember very little about it except that it seemed strange to me that I could actually still have lascivious thoughts about that little hottie sitting across the aisle from me. That bothered me because Satan should not have had access to the temple to be able to tempt me with such things. The temple was/is no shelter from temptations or from Satan. It was even worse when I next went to a temple and saw the video. Believe you me, I wanted to see a little more of Eve and yet again, I was befuddled by the idea that Satan had enough access to the temple to tempt me with such lewd thoughts about our first mother.
In the process of thinking that problem through, I guess I drowned out all the other problems posed by the temple attendance. I was a true morgbot and a lot of the "first time" concerns people had never occurred to me.
Although, damn, that was a little hottie sitting across the aisle that day!
Subject: Two reactions:
Date: Dec 27 15:14
First, disappointment. I thought "THATS IT?"
Second, disbelief. It was like a totally different church than the one I had been raised in.
Of course, I numbed myself and went through the motions for years.
Subject: I wonder if this isn't a common experience..
Date: Dec 27 15:15
Author: Bruce Jones
but since it is supposed to be such a wonderful experience, people just bite their tongues, put on a fake happy face and tell everyone how wonderful they thought is was. All the while wondering what the hell was that all about?
It a word I thought the temple experience was CREEPY. I was a one year convert and 20 years old the first time through. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I found the whole experience to be completely foreign and cult like, I was completely freaked out, the funky clothes, death oaths, slashing bowels etc. I spend most of the time averting my eyes from the movie, I just could not watch.
This experience may well have tainted my Mormon experience for the next 15 years. It just never took hold, I was never a TBM. Perhaps I should be thankful for the freaky temple experience for shaking the foundation of my faith before I could be fully indoctrinated.
I think most Mormons are already well entrenched in mormonism well before going through the temple. They already believe it to be gods true church and so can more easily suppress the strangeness of the temple in their minds. For my own part, I cannot understand how any thinking person could go through it and not come away thinking that it was a very bizarre experience.
Subject: Re: Why my first temple experience was such a shock and disappointment..
Date: Dec 27 15:53
this has probably already been answered... I guess I'm young enough to have gotten the new temple ceremony and missed the death threat, throat cutting, bowel slashing days... what's that all about?
Subject: Re: Why my first temple experience was such a shock and disappointment..
Date: Dec 27 15:59
Author: Bruce Jones
Check out this link for information concerning the death oaths which were removed in 1990.
Subject: Re: Big let-down
Date: Dec 27 15:56
Author: Jane Aubrey
I didn't go through until I was 46....2 1/2 yrs ago. My sister was my escort, I had some other family members and a few close friends with me. Everybody was watching to see my reaction. I was quite disappointed....I thought it was going to be just the most wonderful and spiritual experience. I thought they would speak of the Savior more...it was creepy. The blessings in the initiatory were kinda cool, although I thought that being naked under that whatever it was, was real weird. When we did that secret handshake stuff at the veil, I was kinda in shock. All the stand-up, sit-down, switch sides with the robe, cover your faces and the chanting....it seemed like something out of a weird movie. I was told "Attend often, then you will learn and understand more" So I gave it the old College try. The only thing I liked was being in the Celestial room. Probably because it was so quiet and there were no distractions plus they usually have those beautiful chandeliers. The whole mirror thing looks cool too. My friends husband kept asking after, "Is she ok?" Funny, now I really understand why he was concerned. If I would've gone during the old version with the penalties, I would've really been freaked out. Just hearing about that really makes me sick. I'm so surprised people would keep attending...why would you? Interesting too that they did change it and they waited a long time to do that. I will say this, Temples are beautifully landscaped. I love looking at the flowers in the spring that are planted.
Subject: I knew the Mormon temple experience would be weird when..
Date: Dec 27 16:26
Author: I loathe to see the temple
...I went to purchase temple clothes with my mother and saw the old lady put an shiny green apron into the bag along with a white robe and goofy baker's hat.
...I asked my parents if I should bring my scriptures to the temple and they said I wouldn't need them.
...the temple preparation teacher said the temple experience will seem strange to someone not in the proper spiritual mindest.
...my mother told me that it is OK to hold the sides of the "modesty shield" together when you walk around the initiatory room.
...my usually very candid father (divorced, remarried; Mormon, but not TBM) groaned about having to go to the temple and would talk about it before hand.
...my mother told me I shouldn't use my soon-to-be wife's temple name as a way to command her to do things around the house.
...my mother told me that the temple is about the creation and why we are here and who Adam really was/is (see Brigham Young's now discarded doctrine).
...someone told me that the Masons were an apostate priesthood and that George Washington would have been a Mormon had the church existed then and would have attended the temple often.
...my mother told me that the washing and annointing shouldn't include sexual contact and if it did I should let her know.
Subject: The Emperor's Ugly Green Apron
Date: Dec 27 16:43 2004
Author: temple shmemple
I wish Mormons would discuss this topic beyond just the standard "you just don't understand it yet" line. This thread needs a long Bob McCue essay comparing Mormon's views of the temple endowment to the people in Plato's cave. Or comparing it to the story of the naked emperor.
I remember feeling horrified that each time I went to the temple it wasn't some great spiritual experience. I thought something was wrong with me. I thought it was kind of stupid, but then beat up on myself for having such satanic thoughts about the sacred temple.
I wish Mormons were not so secret about the temple and would actually discuss it with each other instead of using the same canned lines to reassure doubters. Coming to grips with the lameness of the temple ceremony is an important part of the recovery process. You finally get to say admit what common sense tells you: the Mormon temple ceremony is silly and lame.
Excepts from Mormon607
|Subject:||Threats in the Mormon temple.|
|Date:||Apr 12, 2010|
|The first time I went through the temple was in
September 1987. The thing I remember most vividly about that day, besides
the naked touching, was the "penalties." That's where I was asked to make
several blood oaths never to reveal the various signs, tokens and other
bizarre things that went on there.
The penalties involved various pantomimes where I had to pass my thumb across my throat, chest and bowels (IIRC) indicating different kinds of suicide while chanting with the rest of the room "rather than do so, I would suffer my life to be taken." (Short pause after "life" while the slashing motion is made.) That was the moment where I think I stopped caring whether the Mormon church is true or not. I didn't want to be part of it and felt trapped by my family and partly by these oaths. I didn't know how serious they were.
So, after returning from the Celestial room, I asked a temple worker a question. I asked what that was all about and if I was just threatened back there. He turned to me, put his hands on his hips with some fury in his eyes and said "Brother, what do you think?" I was very confused and didn't think of any of the comebacks that enter my mind now. I asked to speak with someone and got a few minutes with the temple president in his office. I was tired from the day and just didn't have the courage to make a big deal out of the penalties like I should have. I thought I would have more time to discuss it with someone.
Of course, the endowment timing had been well planned by my parents and church leaders, and ten days later I entered the MTC with the questions unanswered and a whole slew of new problems to deal with. The experience angers me to this day, especially when Mormons like my mother deny that the penalties ever took place in the temple.
|Subject:||It used to be all about secrecy. Now it's all about "sacredness."|
|Date:||Apr 12 09:50|
|*hands on hips* I mean, whattya think?
Really, it's stupid because EVEN IN THE TEMPLE no one will tell you. Personally, I think no one knows, but no one has the cojones to say they don't know. That's why I think they lean back and ask, "So, what do YOU think it all means, brother?"
|Subject:||Yeah! Can you believe it?|
|Date:||Apr 12 10:02|
|After all the planning to minimize the potential damage caused by the penalties, Mom denied it all wholesale. I confronted her on that. I told her that I SAW HER perform them that day. She said that I need to "get over it" and she's not going to discuss the temple. So, I guess it's a "lying for the Lord" thing.|
|Subject:||Did they introduce hypnosis in the post-1990 ritual?|
|Date:||Apr 13 09:14|
|Or possibly drugs that make people forget?
I only went to the pre-1990 temple sessions and, believe me, you don't easily forget it when you stand up in a room full of about 2-3 dozen people and are instructed to make hand motions that pantomime your own execution by disembowelment and throat slitting. How would anyone forget that?? How could anyone forget that?? How could a devout Mormon lie about that??
Just another sure sign of being nailed by a cult, I guess.
|Subject:||At some level you probably knew you were caught in a cult.|
|Date:||Apr 12 09:53|
|That ritual is sick, especially since you were not
warned in advance what would happen.
I'm lucky I never had to go through that. It's strange to think of the people I know who did and who thought it was a wonderful experience. Go figure.
|Subject:||I have to wonder about people like that.|
|Date:||Apr 12 10:17|
|You'd have to be pretty disturbed to consider the pre-1990 Mormon temple experience to be "wonderful" and "beautiful."|
|Subject:||You asked the temple worker a sincere, legitimate question…|
|Date:||Apr 12 10:24|
|…and you deserved a straightforward, honest answer,
Makurosa. As you learned (as we all have learned!) cults refuse to address
Even more amazing is your mother's denial of having done what you SAW her do with your own eyes, and her subsequent conclusion that YOU are the one with the problem because you are refusing to deny it like she is!
Glad to be OUT of a system like that!
|Subject:||I haven't been since 1990|
|Date:||Apr 12 10:25|
|but even if they took all the penalties out, it is
still pretty disturbing. Just what I saw on Big Love made me feel like a
I never asked my mother about the temple, BUT towards the ends of their lives, my mother would make statements about my dad finding someone else if she died first--and she was NOT HAPPY about the idea. One day, I just dropped the bomb of polygamy on her--and she gave me a look I'll never forget. My family hates the idea of polygamy. My older sister has said clearly that if there is polygamy in the CK, she'll choose to go somewhere else.
Well--why be active mormon then?
|Subject:||Re: Threats in the temple.|
|Date:||Apr 12, 2010|
|I have been out for so long it seems like forever and
a different lifetime, but upon reading this thread It really hit me how I
was so brainwashed to just accept that no matter how disturbing and creepy I
felt when asked to do those signs for the first time I believed I was having
those feelings because of MY own short comings.
WOW how sick is that, really, a 19 year old kid is asked to do sick suicide style oaths and feels like there is something wrong with him for thinking it creepy and strange!
|Subject:||"The experience angers me to this day" Video LINKS|
|Date:||Apr 12 10:56|
|"The ( LDS Temple ceremony) experience angers me to
-Good! BECAUSE CRIMINAL acts should tick off people! On a more personal level its very VALIDATING to see that it offended at least a few other people -AS IT SHOULD!
I need to see some outcropping of sanity relative to the MORmON temple abomination.
I was overwhelmed & hamstrung emotionaly by the deal at the time. A young person has no real back ground or footing in rational adult thinking to reject this absolutely HELLISH blight that MORmONISM conveys.
The longer I live the more it pisses me off that my brain dead MORmON parents could find so much satisfaction in the temple molestation & threats I was subjected to as I followed the religious path they laid out for me.
It disgusting & troublesome.
|Subject:||Your comment on the timing is very insightful...|
|Date:||Apr 12 19:21|
|For the vast majority of TBM men, the endowment
experience comes right before they go on a mission that they have already
committed to. The social expectations are immense and the pressure not to
question too much is very effective.
Similarly, the vast majority of TBM women have the endowment experience either right before they go on a mission or as part of their temple marriage process. Again, the social expectations are immense and the pressure not to question too much is very effective.
You have to think that this is by design and that the Church policies are based on a conscious decision of the leaders to employ psychological manipulation.
|Subject:||I think it was a deliberate manipulation.|
|Date:||Apr 12 22:13|
|I was asking about the Endowment for a year before my mission. I began my mission just before my 21st birthday. They delayed me right up until the week before I entered the MTC. There's no other explanation. They clearly were trying to the sneak the evil that goes on in the temple past me and then exert enormous social pressure to get me on the mission before I had time to think about it. It was a deception that my parents and local leaders all conspired in. I don't know how it was for other people, just for me. But like everything else in this religion, I suspect it's like this for most other people as well.|
|Subject:||That's the way it was for me. They even told me that it was policy not to...|
|Date:||Apr 13, 2010|
|let someone in my position (single, male, young) go
through the temple until a formal mission call had been issued.
I was in a bit of a shock after the temple ceremony. But there was that whole "Emperor's New Clothes" thing going on and I didn't feel like I could make a stink about it without creating the impression that I wasn't "worthy" to go to the temple. I guess I mostly believed at first that there was something wrong with me, because I had heard nothing but praise and ecstatic (yet hushed and reverent) comments on how wonderful, sacred, special, enlightening, blah, blah, blah it was supposed to be.
Then, shortly after I started my mission, I ran into a convert who had gone through the temple. He asked me if I was as freaked out by it as he was when he went through.
"Well, now that you bring it up...."
That really got me started--realizing that my initial reaction (of shock, horror and disappointment) was maybe valid.
|Date:||Apr 18 02:11|
|I thought there was something wrong with me, too,
after going to the temple for the first time. Everybody expects you to be
all starry-eyed and dazzled by this overwhelming spiritual experience - and
it just didn't happen. But the pressure on you to SAY that it did is
Not until I found this board and learned that others were under whelmed by the temple did I feel validated. It was a HUGE relief for me.
|Subject:||A correction. The statement "I would suffer my life to be taken" did not|
|Date:||Apr 12 19:40|
|mean that you would take your own life but rather that you would allow someone else to take your life.|
|Subject:||It.s both ways.... take my own life or have it taken-they covered all bases.Will not go back n/t|
|Subject:||My own temple preparation.|
|Date:||Apr 13, 2010|
|I wanted to go through the temple at home, during the
summer I was engaged, but the leaders advised me to wait until my husband
could join me, from BYU. We went through 3 days before our 400-guest
I had enjoyed some fun summer school classes, two of which were a social psychology class and a sociology class, covering mass hyteria, group control, peer pressure, group bonding, and using models such as the Nazi Party, college fraternities, urban gangs, etc. I was on a sci fi kick, and read Brave New World, Walden II, and Orwell's 1984 that summer--talk about "temple preparedness!" During the entire duration of all the rituals, I kept thinking, "I know what this is! This is all man-invented to manipulate people!"
I wanted to back outof the temple and the marriage! But I was in too deep, with all the preparations, my parents, etc. Everyone said it was wedding jitters. I had dreamed of being a virgin bride in a white dress, walking down the country club stairs on my father's arm at the reception. Instead, my new husband drove past my family in the temple parking lot, honked the horm, waved the marriage certificate out the window, and said, "She's MINE now!" Instead of going straight to the luncheon my mother and aunt had made for the temple guests, he drove me to our motel, and checked in early. I was still sick and in shock from the temple, didn't want to be rude and miss our own lunch party, and I needed to get ready for the reception, and I didn't like the way he was approaching me. I pleaded and cried, and told him how I'd dreamed of being a virgin in a white dress, and promised him I would make it all up to him after the reception--that it would be run and romantic--but he got angry, and forced himself on me, and didn't care that I cried.
Gone were the dreams and fake promises of my childhood religion. I was in the middle of a sexist cult, bound in polygamy to an abuser, as his property, for eternity. I went to my beautiful reception barely able to walk (I didn't know I had internal injuries), thinking about those death oaths in the temple, trying to hold back the tears. I was in real trouble, and was not able to tell one soul, or ask anyone for help. That's how brainwashed and frightened I was.
|Subject:||What a horrible way to spend one's wedding day. Another wedding horror...|
|Date:||Apr 13 08:42|
|produced, directed and sponsored by the LDS Church.
They truly have mastered the art of making each individual feel isolated and
alone and afraid to speak the truth as they see it. F&T [fast and
testimony] meetings and
countless other group-think gimmicks create the illusion that there is this
big consensus of faith, conviction and love for the Church and all of its
programs. The result is that each individual is afraid to be the one that
doesn't belong and doesn't fit in.
Congratulations to all of us who eventually discovered that not belonging and not fitting in is a good thing when it comes to the LDS Church and its mind control operation.
|Date:||Apr 13 10:24|
|I think that's the worst Mormon church story I've ever heard. I don't know how you can continue to live in the society of Mormons after that, knowing that when you really need help you can't rely on any of them - not even your own family. It had not occurred to me what Mormon brides must experience having to perform these grisly blood oaths on their wedding day. Add to that being married off to a Mormon-raised sociopath. Absolutely horrific.|
|Subject:||Re: Threats in the temple.|
|Date:||Apr 13 08:39|
|I don't understand the denial thing at all. I don't
remember getting the memo at church which commanded us to lie about it, and
yet I come across it on the forums all the time.
I wanna go, "Hello?! I went through the temple. I distinctly remember being freakin' terrified and wanting to bolt from the room, but lacking the courage to do so, and there you sit denying it?!"
I remember looking back, to make sure the doors were closed, because I almost went, "I'm not doing that!" and walked out. I wish I had. LOL
Rather than being confused when they changed it, I was relieved that I didn't ever have to do that again.
Come to think of it, I think I must have been Endowed right before they changed it, because the second time I went through the Temple, that part of the rituals was gone. I think I must have just thought that you only do that part once, when you're going through for your own Endowments, and then you didn't do that again. I just remember being relieved when that stuff wasn't there.
|Subject:||What bothered me almost as much as the bizarre blood oaths|
|Date:||Apr 13 18:27|
|was the fact that there came a point in the endowment
ceremony where they stopped the endowment and told everyone that if they
could not keep the covenants they were about to make that they should
voluntarily leave. No one left. But, and here's the catch, you had to leave
BEFORE you knew what the covenants were. So how were you supposed to know if
you could keep them or not before you knew what they were? And then there
was the smothering peer pressure of everyone there watching. How
It was a total Catch-22 and an insidious manipulation.
|Subject:||It's like that with many of the Church's abuses.|
|Date:||Apr 18 09:57|
|Serving a mission for the Church wasn't exactly the
spiritually-uplifting growth experience that it was cracked up to be. When I
returned home, I was expected to speak in the most glowing terms about it,
and when I didn't it was like I had said something wrong. The thing that was
wrong was the experience, not my report.
But yeah, you feel so alone and confused after an experience like that, and it's a breath of fresh air when you finally meet another person who feels the way you do.
Related Mormon Temple Topics in particular: 474. My Mother Denies Making Motions of Slitting her Throat in the Temple Prior to 1990
Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church www.exmormon.org
See also the following topics about Mormon Temple Experiences:
15. Temple Divorces
|507. Women Write about their Temple Weddings||523. Was the Temple a Turning Point in Your Believing in Mormonism?|
|533. Video on the Mormon Temple Rituals||514. Summary of the Mormon Temple|
|550 Benson: Ground Zero in My Unbelief in Mormonism - the Temple||564. Did the temple ceremony help you leave the Mormon church?|
|570. The Making of the Mormon Temple Film||572. Mormon Temple Ceremony and HBO Big Love Comments|
|573. A non-Mormon Comments on a non-Temple Wedding||580. Did You Really Believe You Needed the Secret Handshakes?|
|607. Death Oaths in the Temple prior to 1990 - Older Mormons Deny they Existed|