Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Temple prep - Endowed from on High "Introduction"

I'm reading the Church Education System's manual for temple preparation and adding my two cents. Text found here.


This course of instruction is designed to help members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prepare to receive temple recommends and attend the temple. Members who have previously attended the temple may also take the class to learn more about the temple. That is quite a promise. I learned so little about the temple in regular classes and meetings that I can't imagine this course can possibly offer any surprises for someone who's already been through.


Participants in this course should desire to go to the temple and be worthy of a temple recommend. If they have not yet received a recommend, they should be preparing to receive one.
If participants have not yet taken a Sunday School class that discusses the Gospel Principles manual, it is recommended, but not required, that they do so before taking this course. Before taking this course, they should have a reasonable understanding of basic gospel doctrines and principles and a willingness to obey the commandments of God, such as the law of chastity, keeping the Sabbath day holy, the Word of Wisdom, and the law of tithing. I grew up "in the Covenant" so I had all this information many times over before going through. Worthiness and striving for personal righteousness are necessary for participation in temple ordinances.
Each participant should receive a personal invitation to attend the class from the bishop or branch president or another Melchizedek Priesthood leader in the ward or branch. Put some direct pressure on the kids. It gets results.

Time and Place

The classes for this course may vary in size, but they should usually be taught in small groups on the ward or branch level. Classes may be taught at the meetinghouse or in a home. The place, time, and frequency of the instruction should be convenient for the participants and the instructor.
The material is divided into seven lessons. However, instructors should spend as much time as the class members need on each lesson. This may require more than one time period for each lesson. This is very wise instruction. Take a lot of time with your temple preparation. Research it thoroughly and ask lots of questions.

Class Materials

Each class member should have access to the scriptures in class. Why? The scriptures don't discuss the modern Mormon temple in much detail at all. Each person should also have access to a copy of the booklet Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple, which is the student supplement for this course. It is frequently referred to throughout the lessons, and class members should be asked to read it during the weeks the course is presented. Drop the booklet, it's awful. Consider instead providing everyone with the script used for the endowment.


Individuals or married couples may be called to teach this course. Instructors should have strong testimonies of the gospel and be sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit. Unfortunately, without the power of discernment (which no one seems to have), you won't really know who's testimony you can trust and there's no way to measure the spirit. Look instead for someone with a reassuring voice and enough charisma to command attention. They should be endowed members who have current temple recommends and who understand the importance and sacredness of what transpires in the temple. You'll know you've got the right guy if when asked how important and sacred the temple is he responds with "Very! Yeah, even crucial!"
When possible, the instructors should accompany the participants to the temple when the participants receive their temple ordinances. So he or she can see feel deeply shamed for the embarrassment he's put the poor students through.

Suggestions for the Instructor

Before Church members enter the temple, they should be spiritually ready. Ready to check in their brains and accept whatever happens as divinely inspired. As part of this preparation, they should have sufficient understanding of the doctrines relating to the plan of salvation and temple work. That shouldn't be hard because it's so simple. It's so simple in fact that you can't think about it for too long before it falls apart. You have the privilege of helping others in this preparation, leading to one of the most sacred experiences of their lives. Or most spiritually devastating. You can never know for sure. Many of my friends, including current believers, have shared with me that they thought they had joined a cult their first time through. Be sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit so that you can present the lesson material in a way that is best for the participants. Because the way the manual presents it isn't inspired by the Spirit? Remember the Lord’s counsel: “The Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach” (D&C 42:14). No one obeys this scripture. The number of uninspired lessons I've sat through in church are proof of that, as is the fact that no one has ever stepped down from the front of the classroom because he or she didn't feel inspired that day.
Read this manual from beginning to end before the first lesson so you will understand how the material fits together. Prepare each lesson well in advance so that you will understand the ideas and be able to present them well. This is good advise when teaching any subject. Know your curriculum! As you teach the lessons, be sure that participants fully understand the ideas before moving on. How are we to establish a sure knowledge of their understanding? Do not hurry through the lessons. Be patient and allow participants to think through the messages and respond to them. Yes, because they won't be see many opportunities to ask difficult questions during the ceremonies.
Before each lesson and at any time during the lessons, provide opportunities for class members to ask questions and discuss ideas. Just hope and pray no one's thought about anything too hard or *gasp* gone to the internet for information. Help them to apply the principles they learn in their lives. By following them all home and babysitting them for a few hours. We don't want these kids stepping out of line and doing something evil like masturbating on us now, do we? Answer questions by using the scriptures, the teachings of the latter-day prophets, and the guidance of the Spirit of the Lord. The Spirit says disclose all. Hide nothing. Be explicit. No secrets.
Throughout this course, remember the sacred nature of temple ordinances. No laughing loudly should be permitted during these lessons. You promised! As explained in the following statement, some aspects of temple work are not to be discussed outside the temple:
“We do not discuss the temple ordinances outside the temples. No one discusses the temple in the temple either. Fortunately plenty of people feel free to talk about it online. It was never intended that knowledge of these temple ceremonies would be limited to a select few who would be obliged to ensure that others never learn of them. It is quite the opposite, in fact. With great effort we urge every soul to qualify and prepare for the temple experience. … Riiiiiight, Mormons are just the gatekeepers who sit and unrighteously judge others to be unworthy.
“The ordinances and ceremonies of the temple are simple. They're Masonic and designed to test one's memory. They are beautiful. Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Some see the ugliness of sexism in them. They are sacred. Not to the vast majority of people living on earth... They are kept confidential lest they be given to those who are unprepared” No, they're kept confidential because that's the tradition of the Masonic fraternity they come from. (Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple, 2).
Work to strengthen your own testimony of the temple, and testify to your class often about the truth of the principles you teach. This sounds familiar. Also provide opportunities for the class members to bear their testimonies as appropriate. How can these kids bear their testimony of the temple when they don't and won't understand it? Teach them everything about the temple. At least as much as you know. Don't pull this "sacred, not secret" bullshit on them.
Always remember the vital importance of temple work. Isn't the right word "crucial"? Packer preferred "crucial". Elder Boyd K. Packer said: “Ordinances and covenants become our credentials for admission into His presence. Right! Baptism by water and by fire, and participation in the Lord's supper. To worthily receive them is the quest of a lifetime; to keep them thereafter is the challenge of mortality” Yes, it's a challenge in that you'll never really know for sure if you on track or just part of a scam. (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 27; or Ensign, May 1987, 24).

No comments:

Post a Comment