Wednesday, April 04, 2007

My thoughts about going through the temple for the first time

Here were my thoughts as I went through the temple the first time:

"Before my initiatory, when I was first told to take off all of my clothes and put on the shield, I questioned the person who gave me the instructions if he really meant what I thought I heard him just say. I would be immodest, basically naked walking around among these strangers and some men I knew from my ward. I was embarrassed, but I did it. I really did not like the men touching men. I reflexively jumped when my abdomen was touched. I was very happy, yea, "dripping with happiness" when I was allowed to put my clothes back on. But, before I left the changing room, I saw a man come down from upstairs and he had what I thought was the silliest clothes on. I could not help but laugh. I looked back at my guide for an explanation, but he said nothing and was not laughing. I then got the sinking feeling that I was laughing about something sacred.

Once the endowment began and I saw naked Adam and Eve (always convienently hidden behind bushes) I could not believe I was looking at naked people in a room of adults of both genders. When I saw Satan, I remembered back to when I was little and my mom had corrected me when I said that Satan was red with horns and a tail, but she told me that Satan was a handsome man. I asked her how she knew and she would not say, but now I knew that she got it from this movie.

As my escort helped me get dressed, I realized that I was now putting on the clothes I had seen in the dressing room. As we learned the signs and tokens, I thought Pres. Hinckley knows about this. All of the church leaders since Joseph Smith did this. The whole time I was growing up, everyone in my ward and my parents knew about this, and I didn't have a clue.

This is just like the secret combinations God warned us about in the Book of Mormon that is so evil and is blamed for the destruction of the entire Nephite civilization. I guess if Satan has his version, then God would have his version, too, since Satan is nothing more than a copy cat.

When the endowment was over, I was disappointed. I had expected to learn some really cool, profound doctrines, sort of like the ones I had read about in the Journal of Discourses (yes, I read parts as a teen), but even more awe inspiring. My whole life people had talked about how awesome the temple is, but now that I had gone through, I was thoroughly aware of how un-awesome it was."

Throughout the next several years, I did make the best of it, and I felt what I called the Spirit many times, especially in the Celestial Room. I spent a lot of time thinking about the symbolism and could read our life's journey into the symbols of the endowment. I guess I now see it as cool imagery and a neat teaching technique. But, I always longed for so much more. I wanted to be so close to Jesus and my Father in Heaven. And though I often felt close, there was always a wall there that I could not get past, and I was hoping the "veil" would get then there. Though my heart could be filled with love and gratitude to the bursting point, I wanted so badly to be able to see God and feel his arms around me. And I wanted to learn more of the solemnities of the eternities. So...

I read everything I could get my hands on about church doctrine and history. That eventually led to my rejecting the truth and authority claims of the church. I am now atheist and believe that the endowment is the product of Joseph's imagination mingled with Masonic symbols.

1 comment:

Bull said...

I had similar thoughts, doubts, and bad feelings on going through the temple. I recently wrote about my endowment on my blog.