First Time Temple Freakout - You Weren't Prepared

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Beefster
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First Time Temple Freakout - You Weren't Prepared

Post by Beefster » 14 Nov 2017, 21:00

I got roped into doing tithing settlements today and I have confirmed that my bishop is definitely TBM. At one point, he asked me about my temple goals, to which I honestly responded that I have none. He then asked about my thoughts on the temple. I answered it honestly in as vague of terms as I could muster that it didn't really appeal to me and mentioned that I freaked out the first time I went through. He, almost instinctively, stated that I wasn't prepared. It bothered me, but I didn't really want to follow that rabbit hole, so I just said something like "maybe" and moved on to the next subject. I'm going to have to learn to dodge the questions better in the future because I can't say I like it when my commitment to the church is probed like that.

The idea that I wasn't prepared for my first endowment experience really struck a sour chord with me. I know of a handful of active, stalwart members who freaked out their first time through the temple. I don't think the same could be said of them.

How are you supposed to prepare for something that is 10x more ritualistic than any other ordinance in the church? Something with elements of sexism and what, at first, seems like complete anachronisms (which is simple to resolve if you think of it as purely symbolic). A situation where your only opportunity to back out is before you know what you'll be covenanting to and the social pressure against backing out is too strong for it to be a real choice. A ritual that is practically plagiarized from the freemason initiation- something that not even the most stalwart apologists can link to Solomon's Temple.

I hated my first time through. It blows my mind how anyone could like that experience for their first time (I don't hold it against them, of course; I just don't understand it). To this day, I still don't care much for the experience. And unless I'm doing work for my own ancestors, I really don't feel needed in the work since there is some evidence, albeit questionable, that temple names are recycled on occasion.
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nibbler
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Re: First Time Temple Freakout - You Weren't Prepared

Post by nibbler » 15 Nov 2017, 07:29

I joined the church later in life so the temple was never some goal that I had looked forward to all my life but when I joined the church I was a 100% believer.

Story time.

When I went to the temple to receive the endowment I was sitting in the lobby area inside the temple and someone that had obviously just come out of an endowment session walked by. The temple worker that was was escorting me through the temple said, "They shouldn't be out here." with no further explanation. I had to connect the dots myself and I made the assumption that the person was a temple cafeteria worker. You see, I had been to the temple a few times prior to do baptisms, I knew enough about the temple to know there was a cafeteria on the floor below... but I had never actually seen a cafeteria worker. Little did I know.

But I came out of the temple feeling super special. The ceremony didn't freak me out, even though moments prior I thought it was the standard issue cafeteria uniform for the temple. Heck, I still haven't seen someone back there - for all I know it is the cafeteria uniform. :angel:

For me the temple ceremony was as special as I made it. In my mind the endowment was something required for my salvation and it was billed as the pinnacle of spirituality on earth. I honestly don't know what it would have taken for me to be freaked out. The experience for me was one big self-fulfilled prophecy. It was special because I made it special when I decided it was special.

The only thing I was worried about was the initiatory. People "warned" me about that beforehand and I didn't look forward to being naked in front of strangers. Perhaps the euphoria of getting that phase of the endowment over with made it easier to roll with whatever else afterwards.

A lot of emphasis was placed on the endowment being a requirement to get into heaven by people that were ushering me through the process. They (and the ceremony itself) wanted to instill the gravity of the endowment. I came out feeling paranoid, that my salvation was in jeopardy until I could memorize the endowment. For a while that's what kept me coming back more than anything. Sitting through the 2 hours to get to that part where I had a few minute window to memorize the stuff I needed to know. It wasn't a healthy experience but I didn't recognize it as such at the time but that was my experience, likely heavily influenced by the advice I was receiving at the time. I'm sure other people come out with a different experience because they received different advice or the advice was received differently.

It was a special experience for me and I felt special afterwards. Maybe that's what it's all about?
Beefster wrote:
14 Nov 2017, 21:00
He, almost instinctively, stated that I wasn't prepared.
I think he's just protecting his own experiences. If he believes the temple was the most sacred thing that ever happened to him he might take your comment about being freaked out by the experience as a challenge to his faith. The defensive answer is that there must be something wrong with you, because there certainly isn't anything wrong with the temple! And it all might take place at the subconscious level.

And I don't think you can prepare for something like that. Not without a detailed explanation of everything beforehand... which isn't going to happen. They also do things differently these days. Maybe it was churchwide, maybe just my area, but back in the day when I received my endowment you didn't "qualify" unless you were going on a mission or getting married. Either of those two events "rushed" you towards the experience. Like in my case, maybe I wasn't ready (whatever that means) to receive the endowment but I was going on a mission, it's a requirement, so we've added it to your calendar.

But now the rules seem to be more relaxed. People that are over 18 or so that want to receive the endowment can work towards it. But there isn't much, if any, correlation between what you do to qualify, for lack of a better term, for the endowment and what happens when you receive it. Paying tithing, not drinking tea, doing 100% home teaching for 6 months... they really don't prepare you for the ordinance itself.
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Re: First Time Temple Freakout - You Weren't Prepared

Post by Curt Sunshine » 15 Nov 2017, 08:57

We do a lousy job with temple prep. With better prep, most issues could be eliminated or, at least, explained enough to avoid freak outs.

My kids generally are quite liberal and heterodox, but I explained the temple in detail, so they don't have major problems with it.
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Re: First Time Temple Freakout - You Weren't Prepared

Post by hawkgrrrl » 15 Nov 2017, 09:30

Nothing could prepare me for the ideas about women in the temple, meaning that the temple presents the role of women as very silent and subordinate to their husbands in ways I was wholly unprepared for. I was not aware until then that women are not viewed as full people in any meaningful sense within church theology.

I recognize that most women don't notice what the temple actually says to and about women because we are very accomplished in applying male pronouns to both sexes, but it is specifically a different promise and covenants given to the two sexes in the temple. I can't imagine any actual prep that would prevent that.

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SamBee
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Re: First Time Temple Freakout - You Weren't Prepared

Post by SamBee » 15 Nov 2017, 10:00

A ritual that is practically plagiarized from the freemason initiation- something that not even the most stalwart apologists can link to Solomon's Temple.
They already have!
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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SamBee
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Re: First Time Temple Freakout - You Weren't Prepared

Post by SamBee » 15 Nov 2017, 10:04

hawkgrrrl wrote:
15 Nov 2017, 09:30
Nothing could prepare me for the ideas about women in the temple, meaning that the temple presents the role of women as very silent and subordinate to their husbands in ways I was wholly unprepared for. I was not aware until then that women are not viewed as full people in any meaningful sense within church theology.

I recognize that most women don't notice what the temple actually says to and about women because we are very accomplished in applying male pronouns to both sexes, but it is specifically a different promise and covenants given to the two sexes in the temple. I can't imagine any actual prep that would prevent that.
While the temple is very male dominated, it does cut both ways:

* Women take part in every form of ordinance in the temple - baptism, confirmation, endowment, sealing, second anointing.
* The endowment is given to women too, and in my view, it is one of the occasions in the church, which I think could be interpreted as women being given the priesthood. (I think confirmation would be another)
* The endowment ceremony (leaving aside the film for now) would require fairly minor adjustments to become more pro-woman. Less than the 1990 changes.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Re: First Time Temple Freakout - You Weren't Prepared

Post by Roy » 15 Nov 2017, 12:32

I do agree that our temple prep class does not do a good job of preparation (neither does our marriage prep class - at least the on I attended in about 2000).

We (in our ward) had a fairly new convert go to the temple and she almost did not come back to church. It was a wholly different experience and felt very cultish to her. To make matters worse there seemed to be nobody to whom she could talk to about her misgivings. Ward members showered her with "Congratulations" and "Wasn't it wonderful?". When she expressed concern it was downplayed with some variation of "Perhaps you were not adequately prepared spiritually" or "You'll get used to it."
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Re: First Time Temple Freakout - You Weren't Prepared

Post by FaithfulSkeptic » 15 Nov 2017, 16:55

I'm one of those who was freaked out by my first temple endowment experience (in the mid-80's). I've never liked it, but I eventually learned to get used to it and not get so bothered by it. I really tried to prepare for it (temple prep class, talk with dad, reading The Holy Temple), but I was woefully unprepared for what took place on that day. It was nothing like what I expected. At all. It was the cause of my 1st faith crisis.

I attended the temple regularly for 30 years, although I didn't like it. Since my most recent faith crisis, I have no desire to attend the temple at all, although I do have a recommend. Don't feel guilty if you don't enjoy the temple. If you find it helps you spiritually, go and enjoy it, but if you don't, then don't go and don't feel guilty about it.

Some people (like your bishop) just don't get it and they probably never will. His answer (that you weren't prepared) might apply to some, but there are a lot of other legitimate reasons that not everyone loves the temple experience.
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Re: First Time Temple Freakout - You Weren't Prepared

Post by LookingHard » 15 Nov 2017, 19:29

I am close to what Faithful Skeptic says.

I can say I was "freaked out", but more of a calm, "WTF was that about????" Since I was in the MTC at the time, "F" = "flip" of course.

I thought it would get less weird as time went on, but it didn't. When I was finally close to a temple I went very regularly for about 6 months, but I still had never felt anything of what I could call the spirit touching me. That was a huge weight put on my shelf. It didn't break the shelf and I still had a bit of, "what am *I* doing wrong to not feel the spirit?" That was about 6 years ago and I have maybe done 2 sessions since then (one as an escort), but I have gone to about 5 weddings.

I do want to respect those that love the temple and feel the spirit there, but to me the temple now feels like an ornate idol that is used to extract tithing and obedience to church culture. I see nothing but ill in not allowing a civil marriage followed in a few days with a temple marriage. That is so anti-family.

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Re: First Time Temple Freakout - You Weren't Prepared

Post by dande48 » 15 Nov 2017, 22:11

My first temple experience, I had fasted 48 hours for. As soon as the session was over, I grabbed a V8 and a cookie. The cafeteria was closing down, and I didn't have many options. I wasn't able to keep it down for very long...

I can't say anything really suprised me. I thought I would gain an almost magical insight into the purpose of life and my place in the universe. I did enjoy parts of the theatrical reenactment of the creation and fall of Adam and Eve. I think there are plenty of wonderful lessons to take from the myth. I do like the celestial room; it's a wonderful place to pray and meditate. I used to spend hours in there, after a session, back when I was at BYU. It was a wonderfully peaceful place for me to be.

But there are a few things I disagree with. I disagree with the introductory promise to make holy covenants and promises without knowing in the first place what they are. I hate the cult-like social psycholog which almost forces the individual to make those covenants in coordination with the rest of the group. I hate the "devil" straight up telling you, before you fully recognize the covenants you've made, that if you don't live up to every point, he'll have you. And not meaning to offend anyone who disagrees... but those outfits look ridiculous. I do not want to be buried in them, under any circumstance; yet I have extended family members who left the Church, passed on, and had the rest of the family still insist on dressing them up in those ridiculous outfits.

I think the value you get out of it is fully, 100% based on your perspective. If you believe in it, and come to be taught, your commitment to God is reinforced. Your mind is lifted to an eternal perspective, and are filled with the Spirit of Peace. The more doubts and reservations you have, the more debased it becomes.
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