Monday, July 13, 2015

Temple prep - "First and Every Time"

The following text is taken from the pamphlet "Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple" (2002) and annotated by me.

If you are going to the temple for the first time it is quite normal for you to be a little unsettled. Because you don't have any actual idea of what will be required of you. We are naturally anxious about the unknown. And especially anxious about secret rituals and secretive behaviors. We often become nervous over new experiences. Which in the case of the temple is totally unnecessary.

Be at peace. You are going to the temple. How is this supposed to calm someone's anxiety about not knowing anything about the temple? You will have someone to assist you at every turn. You will be carefully guided—be at peace. Guided blind. It's not so comforting. My dad was my guide and he (like the vast majority of guides) only told me and showed me what I had to do moments before it happened. However, when I was told to get naked for my washing and anointing, he wasn't there. I was only told where to undress and that I needed to dawn the "shield" before taking my clothes off after the ordinance works and myself had to work through a rather awkward misunderstanding that led to some almost panicked directions. It was not peaceful at all. And neither was the endowment. I was rushing as fast as I could to keep up with all the sash tying and frantically looking around all the time to make sure I was doing everything the same way the other attendees were. Looking around and seeing all the smiling patient glances (mixed with several bored ones) as I finally finished so we could all go on did not make me feel at peace either.

When we enter the temple we should be reverent. So it's not like a stake center cultural hall? Strange. :S Any conversations that are necessary ought to be conducted in very subdued tones. Otherwise shut. the. fuck. up. During the periods of instruction, of course, we are completely reverent and quiet. Of course.

There are few places now that offer an opportunity to meditate in quiet reverence. Right. Just temples. And libraries, and chapels, and bedrooms, and basements, and patios, and parks, and essentially anywhere out in nature, but that's hardly anywhere. And no, you do not sound like a grumpy old man complaining about noise. :S Before entering some temples to begin the ordinance work, the companies frequently will assemble in the chapel of the building. Here the members wait until the full company is assembled. Generally in life we would become impatient with waiting. To be first in a room and then be compelled to wait for the last to enter before proceeding would in other circumstances cause irritation. You sound like you have some serious impulse control and anger management issues. In the temple it is just the opposite. That waiting is regarded as a choice opportunity. What a privilege it is to sit quietly without conversation and direct the mind to reverent and spiritual thoughts! It is a refreshment to the soul. A word to the uninitiated: this is as good as the temple gets. Seriously. Once the "instruction" begins, all your expectations of actually learning something will be shattered. At least during the wait you feel a happy anticipation for the "good stuff" about to come.

When you come to the temple, remember that you are a guest in the house of the Lord. I'm still curious how you know the Lord lives there? Did you see a light on in the upper room late one night? I once found some gloriously divine white pubes in the urinal. Very Celestial. It is a time of joy, but a time of quiet joy. So shut. up. please! Sometimes at a temple marriage it is necessary to remind the relatives and friends that their expressions of love and congratulations, and their greetings to family members whom they have not seen for a long period of time, should be given in a very quiet and subdued tone. Hey, families! Shut up! The Lord can't be bothered with your enthusiasm! Loud talking and loud laughter are not fitting in the house of the Lord. Actually "loud laughter" is never permitted. I you make a solemn covenant to abstain from it.

Accept the direction of the workers in the temple. Someone will guide you as you proceed. You already said this at the beginning of the section.

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