What Would It Take?

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What Would It Take?

Post by AmyJ » 09 Apr 2019, 07:54

This post was triggered by Silent Dawning's response on one of the General Conference threads - I felt it was worthy of a separate thread.
For me, it is an evaluation of what it would take to pull me into temple worship.
Silent Dawning:
"Now tainted in mind and spirit by the trials of my full LDS experience, I'm not sure what it would take. They have made a lot of changes but I am still unwilling to budge. I do go to church more readily given the changes. I feel more positive toward local leaders now that they have removed the ridiculous HT reporting requirements, and I have greater respect for the people at the top given their near apologies for the priesthood ban, MMM, and the POX.... I think the biggest stumbling block for me is tithing.... MIxed with repeated, destructive, bad intentioned behavior from local TR holders at different times, makes you wonder if the gospel is worth 10% of your net or gross?"
While I hold a temple recommend on paper, I don't use it and it expires in 2020. I was planning to let it expire and worry about it later. The temple and its ordinances is currently collateral damage fodder to my faith in God current situation.

BUT, My daughter has the opportunity starting in February of 2021 to attend the temple to do baptisms for the dead. Which means there is an approaching cultural expectation that I would be there with her because I am her mom. Also, because I am her mom - I am the natural support person for activities (and sometimes especially new activities she needs a support person in), so there is an increased social expectation/pressure that is not given to my husband. Yes, I am aware that my husband could go in my place (and they might actually need his authorized priesthood authority there for the ordinances as well as daughter support). And we could take the potential cultural hit and daughter unsupported risk of neither of us being there - and it might work out just fine.

It's just that I don't currently want to go back to the temple, I don't want to do family history work (in getting names ready for the temple), and I am not sure that the time spent there would be worth it to me. And if I admit these facts any place else, I will be indirectly shoved further out of the gospel tent because "all good members want to be at the temple". It's not like I had bad experiences at the temple - my husband was smart enough to listen to me when I told him that I wouldn't take a marriage proposal seriously unless it was at the temple - at the time it was the most binding place I knew of. He proposed 2 weeks later I think.

I ask myself, "What would it take for me to go back?/Do I want to go back?/Do I have enough time to sort everything out to be in a heads pace where my desires had changed?/Does it even matter in the long run? " and the knee-jerk reaction was rephrasing of gender-delineated statements in the ordinances would have to happen before I even seriously thought about it... BAM that happened... [NOTE: this is said for humor - I actually have nothing to do with the chain of events that inspired it].

We have good people in our branch. I am making friends in our branch. I can contribute by assisting with Achievement Days and teaching Relief Society (I purposely find common ground - usually around charity, and sometimes I have my mom read my lesson {she hijacks them for her ward] just to make sure I am uplifting the sisters in their space and giving them what they need even though I am not in the same space), and staying in touch with the sisters I minister to. And I stay in part because I have a friend and what I feel is a personal calling in those areas.

I guess this post is in part mourning because I don't know if I will ever want to go back to the temple, and part an examination of what it would take to get there. Thank you for the space to think.
Last edited by AmyJ on 09 Apr 2019, 09:57, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What Would It Take?

Post by SilentDawning » 09 Apr 2019, 09:20

If you didn't have a daughter to consider, I would say do what you feel will make you happiest in the short and long run.

However, when family members are involved, it's trickier. My daughter, when she got married, was mature enough to have the temple discussion with me. She told me that she did not want me to just pay tithing for a year so I could be in the temple with her, and then not comply with the TR requirements afterwards. So I didn't. I sat in the foyer with some family members who arrived too late. I don't really regret it because it was part of my growth and development of my identity as someone who forges their own way in the quest for happiness. Plus, I was complying with my daughter's wishes. So, I passed go and collected 200 dollars.

I knew what would happen in there -- the covenants made -- there is nothing personalized in it --it's a standard process and ritual, and I'd been through it. I could, if I wanted, look up the eternal marriage covenant to see what they had agreed to. It was uncomfortable for a few minutes here and there, but after they got out of the temple, and in the photo opps everything was fine again.

No one has ever mentioned it or held it against me.

Now, your daughter is younger, and apparently wants to be there. A StayLDS principle is not to hurt the faith of others just because you are in a different process of development. So, if I had a daughter or son who wanted to be part of the temple experience, I would reluctantly embrace the temple and TR holding process as much as I could to be there for them. Note, you'd have to just do the baptisms and not the endowment which for me was always a painful experience.

After the temple is no longer an issue due to either a) the child's self-directed marginalization of the gospel/temple/rituals, or b) after they get sealed in the temple, I'd then settle into doing I would weight my own well being/happiness more heavily than my offsprings'.

By the time they reach this adult state, my son or daughter will be old enough to have a mature conversation about it. Also, at that time I will know how well they have landed into adulthood. If they are solid morally, spiritually, economically, mentally etcetera, then I would be less concerned about being alongside them in temple journeys if they are still doing it.

I do think that reaching for happiness the best way you know how is the best guiding principle I've ever adopted. This doesn't mean its nakedly self-interested happiness. Sometimes its a tradeoff. In this case, the tradeoff is the unhappiness you might feel having to do the TR requirements and be in the temple, versus the happiness that comes from supporting your impressionable tween/teen. Supporting them on a path that will encourage a clean life, friends with good values, and maybe more personal happiness than a life without the full gospel might provide. The teenage years are full of alligators and I think the LDS youth experience helps avoid those for many youth.

Which is more important to you in achieving happiness? For me, I only have my kids for a while and then it's phone calls and visits once or twice a year (if they move away), so I tend to weight the time when they are at home with me as highly important and productive time. I would be willing to weight my personal druthers more lightly than what is good for my son or daughter.

That's my perspective.
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Re: What Would It Take?

Post by Rumin8 » 09 Apr 2019, 09:46

I can only share what I had to do in a similar situation last summer. My temple recommend was expiring last August. My son was preparing to go on a mission last July. I realized that I would have to put aside my strong dislike of the temple for a few hours so that I could go through with him as his escort. I didn't do that for me. I did it for him, and for my wife. I also did it because I had a TR, on paper. It was as horrible as I expected it to be, but it was also survivable because of my love for him and for my wife.

Now that my recommend is expired (with no plans to renew at present), I don't know what I would do if all those things were occurring this summer. I would have to weigh what was important to me (authenticity in my worship) or what was important to others. I honestly don't know what side of the line I would come down on. "What would it take?" This is a good question. Pre-GC I felt I was in an excellent place. Post GC I'm a train wreck.

My poor advice to you would be to navigate as best you can what makes you happy compared to what makes others you value happy. Hopefully those areas will intersect more than they will conflict.

My heart goes out to you. This is hard.
"Moderation in all things, especially moderation." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Re: What Would It Take?

Post by nibbler » 09 Apr 2019, 10:38

I have a current temple recommend and will continue to renew it for the foreseeable future. I keep all the standards, so why not? I can hold a temple recommend but that doesn't mean I have to attend the temple. The added benefit of holding a recommend even if I don't use it is that my name doesn't appear on someone's to do list and if something comes up I can participate.

I also don't mind helping with baptisms. Especially if there's a need to staff one of the responsibilities.

This is more about smaller temples. The smaller temples are really good at meeting a very specific need but really bad at creating a space for other forms of worship. Larger temples can be like this too. You show up to do a very specific thing. If you don't want to do that specific thing there's really no reason to show up.

Communication with the divine isn't a science, I may need to take a different approach to my spirituality depending on my mood. Perhaps temples were never intended to provide space for more spontaneous or variable worship, perhaps the only intent was to be an ordinance house.

Right now that's my largest barrier to attend. I have no interest in getting on an ordinance assembly line. I want a quiet corner to do whatever. I'm not saying temples should cater to my needs, I'm just saying why I'm not inclined to attend. The temple has become a symbol of what I feel to be a larger "one size fits all" problem in the culture.

I've got more I could say but I'm working on being less verbose. What would it take? More reasons to go to the temple other than to do ordinances.
He who sits alone, sleeps alone, and walks alone, who is strenuous and subdues himself alone, will find delight in the solitude of the forest.
— Buddha

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Re: What Would It Take?

Post by Holy Cow » 09 Apr 2019, 11:10

I haven't had a recommend in many years, and don't see that changing anytime in the foreseeable future. I have a niece getting married in the temple soon, and I'm more than happy to sit in the foyer and wait. My wife asked if I'd rather stay home and then show up to the reception later. But, I want to be there to support her, even though I can't go inside, and it doesn't bother me at all to not be in the room during the actual ceremony. I also don't feel like I need to hide that I can't go inside.
For me, I don't see things changing for two reasons: 1.) The ordinances make me feel uncomfortable, and I don't agree with the LDS temple doctrines, 2.) I wouldn't be able to answer the recommend questions honestly enough to even get a recommend.
My issues with the ordinances and temple doctrines would fit better in a separate post. But, the specific recommend questions that keep me away would be: I don't have a testimony of the restoration, because I don't believe a restoration was needed in the first place; I sustain the President and 12 as leaders of the church, but not as prophets, seers, etc.; I pay tithing, but in my own way (I divide my 10% between fast offerings and two other non-LDS charities); I do not wear garments and have no plans to put them back on.
I don't foresee my son wanting to be married in the temple, but I'm not sure about my daughter. But, if the day comes that she wants to be married in the temple, that is the only thing I could imagine that would really make me consider going to great lengths to go back.
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Re: What Would It Take?

Post by DarkJedi » 09 Apr 2019, 11:33

Like Nibbler, I hold a TR more because I can than because I really want one. BTW, I'm not sure if it is supposed to be a requirement for my calling but no one has actually said anything about it and the first few months in my calling I did not hold one. The last time I was at the temple was when my son married in late 2017, and that time I only went to the sealing (I was a witness along with son's now FIL). Just prior to that I had gone when my current missionary son was endowed. Like Rumin8, I went for them, not me. I don't believe in the work by proxy stuff, but I don't believe baptism is anything more than a symbolic gesture that one is willing to follow Christ either. If it's all just symbolic (and I believe it is all symbolic) then I don't see the difference if I'm baptizing my son or going through an endowment with him. Were I to have real issues with any of the questions I might feel differently.

(FWIW HC, I also don't believe there needed to be a restoration - at least in the same way most members seem to believe - and while I think it is possible the Q15 could be prophets, seers, and revelators I don't see them doing any of that in reality. I have gained a great deal of respect for RMN that I did not have before, though.)
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