Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The temple - the invitations to leave

At a couple of points in the endowment ceremony attendees are invited to leave if they do not feel comfortable or ready to make the covenants about to be presented. These invites really bothered me for a few reasons.

1. My first time through I deeply doubted whether I should go through with the covenants. Maybe I really wasn't worthy and they were calling me out. Maybe they were going to be really weird covenants that I would honestly not want to take on.

2. Later I realized that they were asking me to make a decision about something I knew nothing about. How is that fair? How could I have possibly known what was best for me when they hadn't yet explained what the stakes were?

3. The vast majority everyone going through the temple in any given session has already been through before and are going through vicariously for someone who has died. Why would a repeat attender ever back out? Frankly I can't see why they would. Is the spirit of the deceased ever going to prompt someone to back out of the endowment on its behalf? Probably not if it's there in the temple waiting to receive the ordinances. So who exactly would ever back out of the temple covenants besides kids in their late teens and early twenties going through for the first time?

4. Has anyone ever backed out? How could someone back out when you're surrounded by so many people who are choosing to stay, many of whom might be immediate and extended family, friends, and members of his or her congregation? The pressure to go through with the temple ordinances is tremendous. It's peer pressure with your eternal salvation on the line.

It struck me as a nefarious set up. While at the time I still rejected the term, I think the best way to describe the scenario is "cultish". 

No, no! It had to be holy. Shoot, it even says "Holiness to the LORD" out over the entrance to the temple! Doubt your doubts! The temple endowment's the best!

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