|DC Temple, photo taken by RJ.|
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
The Mormon Temple - and why it's not special
The Mormon Church teaches that there are three different levels of heaven. In order to get into the very highest level you must go through The Mormon Temple. This includes something called “getting your endowments out” (where you will get mormon underwear/garments) and learning the secret handshake to get into heaven. You also have to be married and sealed for time and all eternity to your husband or wife.
Growing up in the church there was a lot of hype surrounding the temple. You’re not supposed to talk about what goes on in there. They say it’s “sacred” but that's really just a fancy word for secret. As a kid the temple was a big mystery. It was hush hush and no one talked about what happened inside, but every Sunday “temple attendance” was mentioned at least once, usually more. Growing up around this made me insanely curious about what went on in the temple. When I finally got to go I was pretty disappointed. There was nothing except for a boring movie, few handshakes, and sayings though a curtain, all while dressed in silly clothes. I thought it would feel special, but it just felt odd. I didn’t understand why it needed to be so secretive, why it was so important to my “salvation”, or why people were told to go frequently.
The experiences I had in Mormon Temples were not religious or from God.
I’m sure people will say things like, “Oh, you weren’t worthy enough.” or, “It’s not supposed to be a faith changing experience.” This is my opinion if you don’t like it, don’t read.
The temple is a good place to think, and a good place for your inner dialogue (“the spirit” or “holy ghost” as some religious people refer to it) to come up with ideas, and answers to questions you may have been thinking about (but so are art galleries and aircraft hangers). When I was younger I could never tell the difference between the thoughts in my head and “the spirit”, once I realized they were only my thoughts, things got so much clearer. Temples are designed to create the type of environment that helps you think and gives you feelings of comfort and peace.
In middle school I sang in chorus, we went on a field trip to an amazing art gallery. We all walked around for a while, enjoyed the building and the art. The building had amazing acoustics and we, were allowed to sing inside. We all stood with our backs to the walls and sang. It was amazing, it sounded, and felt incredible. I have never felt the same as I did on that day. I thought it was “the spirit” but we weren’t in a religious place or, singing a religious song. Why did I feel something what I thought felt exactly like “the spirit” in a situation that wasn’t religious at all? It was the strongest I had ever felt those feelings.
When I did get to go through the temple and felt similar feelings but not as intense, I was very confused. Was I missing something? I had a really hard time understanding why I “felt the spirit” strongest in a situation that was not church related at all. I wanted to feel that again, I thought I was doing something wrong. Why could I not feel those amazing feelings in the temple, that I had felt somewhere else? It took me a very very long time to realize those feelings were not “the spirit”. Those feelings are psychologically proven to happen in certain situations, and places. It’s not because I was “filled with the spirit”.
A big part of why I couldn’t feel the same awe and wonder in the temple compared to the art gallery is because of what goes on inside. The weird clothes, handshakes, rituals, and strange teachings make it a very different experience, and not in a good way.
Watch out for my next blog post about what happened to me in the mormon temple and my experiences there. Thanks for reading!