I had seen pictures of different Celestial rooms over the course of my life and had been through at least two temple open houses, but for some reason I thought passing through the temple veil into the Celestial room would feel more satisfying. I was hoping for a feeling a relief, acceptance, gladness, and maybe even pride. Instead it felt like I had just stepped into a hotel lobby full of weirdoes and all eyes were on me, the new guy. What I recall is hoping for a chance to reflect and maybe feel the Spirit so I might feel better about the whole endowment experience because what I was feeling was anxious. I was anxious to get out – out of the clothes, out from under everyone’s eyes, away from expectations – and get an explanation of some kind.
Somewhere in my mind I had been harboring the idea of really awesome Gospel lessons taking place in the Celestial room. Where was the 12-yr-old Jesus when he was teaching in the temple? Why had my dad referred to the temple as “the Lord’s real university”? I hadn’t learned much of anything in the endowment. The story of the Creation and the Fall were old news and the Freemasonry stuff fell far short of the Mysteries of the Universe. Where did all the teaching and learning take place? Were we all waiting around for the temple teacher to show up? Did we need to move to another room?
No? No. No lesson. No discussion. No real time to reflect and pray either. Almost everyone wanted to head home right away. Only a few family members hung around a bit.
Why did it all feel like such a letdown? Why didn’t I get it? I couldn’t help but doubt, nor could I help doubting my doubts just as I had been trained to do throughout my life.