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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: September 10, 2020 12:40PM

COVID times setup a situation I don't envy. I have 2 missionaries out right now. Naturally my wife wants to have the missionaries in our area over. I'm supportive of my wife's desires. It also can be interesting like it was last night when one of them at dinner asked me if I believe in Satan. I told them I did not and an interesting human evolution discussion ensued.

But I digress.

One of the missionaries that we have had over for dinner before had been super excited to go through the temple when they opened for live endowments. This missionary told us a story of their grandparent's sacrificing everything in another country to travel thousands of miles to go to the temple. Their grandparents are either still in that country or emigrated to the US. But this was such a sacrifice for their beliefs.

And last night they told us that the temple wasn't what they expected. The other missionaries (there were two companionships here last night) went on an on about what actors they liked and which version was better. I asked them if they had ever been to a live actors endowment. They hadn't. They didn't know if they would like it and one missionary's parent had told them it was longer than the movie and that they wouldn't like it as much.

But that one missionary...so sad. You could tell they were trying to participate with the others. It was subtle but it was literally last week for them and I could tell they were still processing it. Imagine the family story of sacrificing everything for the temple sealing. Imagine being in a family where it was paramount and then having it be not what you expected? And then all the other young people talking about it like it was something like I don't know. Not popular media but something "special" but not "sacred" we can't talk about it.

Strange. The young Mormons today are obviously more open about their feelings and this one particular young Mormon made me feel very sad. They were on their mission for a month, had heard about this temple experience their whole life, waiting for that day and it comes giving them and unexpected experience. It was totally obvious that the experience wasn't as "cool" as the others were claiming but this missionary repeated the chant, commented on the actors, and such but there was a look in their eyes. One I read well. For all the temple changes it is still a shocking experience that throws a young Mormon into a weird place where they have to process things that they just might end up putting on a dusty mental shelf and trying to forget to ever process it. Just gush about the temple to cover up the WTF.

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Posted by: Gordon B. Stinky ( )
Date: September 10, 2020 12:56PM

I’ve never been through the temple, but it strikes me oddly that something that’s meant to be a spiritual experience uses a canned movie. How can that be spiritual? You would think that if the whole thing is legit, that participants would experience something real, something spiritual. Of course, many claim to, and repeat the chant, as E.B. noted above, but it seems that the spiritual things people genuinely note tend to be negative, feelings of dread, etc.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: September 10, 2020 02:33PM

Gordon B. Stinky Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> How
> can that be spiritual? You would think that if the
> whole thing is legit, that participants would
> experience something real, something spiritual.

I use to be a Freemason. In my opinion the Mormon Temple experience is as spiritual as my initiation to be a Mason. Actually, less so because it has no explanation before hand, no speeches telling one what the backstory is, nor an intelligible reason for doing it that a fraternal society has - the fraternity's bonding and initiation to their form of history and pageantry enlightenment.

But I digress.

I think Mormons in the 19th Century could have found the experience illuminating. They were a "hiss and a byword" to many outsiders. Their temple initiated them into being full participants in their dead being tied to them spiritually as well as strengthening their familial (sort of fraternal) bonds especially as it was widened in scope with polygamy.

But the attractiveness of the endowment (upon which all other ordinances rest) today is unintelligible and as corny as a hosanna hanky wave. These young people want to talk about it as a milestone in their lives and not a miraculous initiation into a sacred transformation. It is no different than taking their sacrament once they process all the handshakes and weird promising. I doubt the true believers among them even understand the need to "covenant" to things they would already do anyway. It is either a huge letdown or a mindscramble. Either way it is ineffective at generating a spiritual experience their first time through which means it fails spiritually but succeeds temporally in letting the young know that they are now fully vested in following orders and doing what they are told.

And maybe that is the purpose?

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: September 10, 2020 02:57PM

Yes, it must seem more like an initiation experience for them.

My understanding is that the initiation ritual for many fraternities and sororities is also based on the rituals from Masonic and other groups. I've been hearing that some NPC sororities are going through a sort of crisis right now because their ritual is heavily based on the Christian faith. They are trying to be more inclusive, but if they throw out the Christian faith elements of their ritual, there won't be much left for some of them.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/2020 02:57PM by summer.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: September 10, 2020 03:53PM

And the thing that is lost on the octogenarians in their COVID proof offices is the fact that this young generation (and it has only been getting progressively worse for the Mormon young) doesn't value "re-initation" "for the dead." As the generations proceed forward there is less value placed on initiations. Older folks are all about them but younger folks don't see what the point is. And Mormon initiation is pointless. Bringing back blood oaths might even be attractive to young people nowadays except doing it "for the dead" is meaningless. Why would a dead person care if their throat were slit ear to ear?

More young are living multigenerational (with parents) and not valuing the get out and get hard knocked (up or otherwise) into maturity. They aren't willing to see initiation into adulthood as anything more than their baptism was at 8 years old.

Mainstreaming Mormonism has a cost. It devalues their peculiarities to themselves. The blowback is awful for their beliefs.

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Posted by: cludgie ( )
Date: September 13, 2020 12:10PM

But it's not just the canned movie, but the whole confusing and disjointed experience of the temple endowment, which is somehow supposed to "instruct" patrons. They never say how it instructs, or what we're supposed to bring home from the experience, and that is a mistake. If they cannot tell exactly what we're supposed to learn there and why, it's an admission that even the church leaders don't know, themselves.

But it was the church's idea to try to co-op what was essentially the induction ceremony for Blue Lodge Freemasonry. And as the endowment has evolved, it has only evolved into a realm of more confusion over what it is supposed to say and do for church members. Their whole lives they are taught to anxiously await going to the temple for the first time "to answer questions about the Gosplel Plan," but then get there and have a bunch of question marks in a bubble over their head like in a cartoon. So in a bizarre way, the temple endowment was held together with better glue when it was 4 - 4 1/2 hours long and contained all the signs, penalties, the confused preacher in league with Satan, and the "five points of fellowship." When they yanked out those parts out of the ceremony, and simply went on with the same ceremony without changing it and accounting for the gaping holes, it just caused more confusion by an already-confusing ceremony.

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Posted by: CrispingPin ( )
Date: September 10, 2020 02:06PM

They know from their own experience that the temple is strange and not the great spiritual experience they were expecting. They are in the process of learning that their mission is anything but “the best two years of their lives.”

Will they ultimately learn to trust their own perspective, or will they continue to find ways to believe? Time will tell.

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Posted by: Heartless ( )
Date: September 10, 2020 02:31PM

I remember well the days when temples outside of Utah and even around the world were few if any.

It was not uncommon for many couples to only go once in a lifetime. Many never went. I remember getting requests from friends overseas to do temple work for someone that passed away.

My wife went twice. Once with me some years after we were married, (there was no temple in the country we lived in) and a second time a few weeks later for a live session in Salt Lake. A few weeks later as we returned overseas she stopped wearing garments. It upset her that bad.

We often received requests from her family to help them visit the temple. She always wrote back telling them no.

One of my own ancestors wrote how grateful she was that all temple work for her ancestors was done and she didn't need to go to the temple anymore.

The temple is built up as heaven on earth and bitterly disappoints.

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Posted by: catnip ( )
Date: September 11, 2020 09:19PM

"The temple is built up as heaven on earth and bitterly disappoints."

You nailed it. I can remember my first visit, standing there in that bizarre outfit, feeling very "WTF???" because I was expecting some form of dazzling spiritual enlightenment that would knock my socks off (had I been wearing any).

When they said it was over and we could leave, I remember thinking, "WAIT!! When does the Great Spiritual Enlightenment thing happen??" It never did, and the whole thing was a huge waste of time. But if you were a good little Molly Mo, as I was for a while, you smiled and acted all sparkly-eyed and never let on that the temple was a gigantic fail. I was very, very disappointed, and after that, I never gave a testimony about how great the temple was. No more lies.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: September 14, 2020 10:53AM

Yes and how it disappoints.

If it were about personal individual spiritual enlightenment it would be the "further light and knowledge" it is hyped up to be.

If it were about helping dead people it would make sense in the context of dead people not being able to do things for themselves.

But it fails on both counts and does so epically.

There is nothing new in it except signs and tokens. The speeches are mostly removed. The narrative is Biblical except three of Jesus' apostles are involved. There is nothing Satan does different than threaten to buy up arms and reign with blood and horror. If that is further light and knowledge it is really weak.

As a religious passion play it comes across boring. The freak out stuff is the conformity of your forced participation (social pressure) and the conformity of dress. The only supposed further light is when you get to God's earth hotel lobby and get to meditate in a sacred space. But that feels more like a library at closing time and getting rushed out of a nice quite place with people.

And doing this all for dead people makes zero sense. The baptism, confirmation, and sealings make sense but this doesn't yet it is the key to all of this nonsense. So when young people go through for themselves they see Mormonism for what it is - a conformity cult. And their endowment is the key to all their past ordinances an worship and their future ordinances and worship. Conform or quit the church. This is the light and knowledge you get. Oh, and dead people love being retroactively made through you to covenant and promise to not have extramarital sex and give the life they no longer have to the church.

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Posted by: moremany ( )
Date: September 13, 2020 01:54AM

I wouldn't let these guests, who should be learning from and respecting the family, go on and on about anything but the table! It's virtue signaling. It's NOT Welcome here! I'd pound my fist, if I had to, and say "boys, we don't want to talk about that at the table", and a stern look or two (if you have them) might help confirm it. The liberty some fools think they can get away with when more decent things aren't spoken about at the dinner table, or they are given the floor to act (themselves) like heroes in no man's movie.

NO Mormonspeak or spiel. Only human kindness, in real time, for no reason or calling, and respect to all present... even if it means holding your tongue (until you get home).

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