Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Temple prep - Endowed from on High "Lesson 6"

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


“And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it” (D&C 97:15). Does this mean that the glory of the Lord is not upon any temple that has unwittingly introduced an unrepentant sinner? If so, I'm willing to argue that there's not a single temple on the earth today with the glory of the Lord. Cheaters enter temples across the globe every single day. The Church cannot stop it from happening because no one in the Church has the "power of discernment".
To prepare the class members to worthily enter the temple. This looks a lot like the objective of Lesson 2. Let's move on. When are you going to have a lesson on Freemasonry's influence on Joseph Smith and the LDS temple?

Lesson Presentation

Ask class members if they have any questions. Are we hoping students will have done a little internet study before class? Perhaps you could address why we no longer make the Oath of Vengeance. Take the time required to answer questions to the best of your ability and as guided by the Lord’s Spirit. Good luck explaining why praying against the United States was God's way for nearly 90 years and why we haven't been doing it for the past 80 plus. Remember that some aspects of temple work must not be discussed outside the temple. Is the Oath of Vengeance one of those things? What exactly is on the list of temple elements we cannot discuss?

Each Person Should Prepare for the Temple

Explain that each person is individually responsible for taking the steps that will lead to the full blessings of the temple. OK, what are those steps? I'm guessing most kids end up getting pushed through them whether they want to or not.
Briefly discuss the following five ideas. Are these just ideas or are they the steps? Each one presents a way in which we should be prepared to enter the temple. You may want to list each point on the chalkboard as you discuss it.
1. Each person should be worthy. Please note that a discussion of worthiness never comes up when considering how much a father should offer a son or daughter. No parent denies a child because that child was "unworthy" of the gift or knowledge or assistance. If God is in fact our father, then we are all already worthy of whatever he has to offer us.
Ask the class members to read Doctrine and Covenants 97:15–17.
  • What does this passage teach you about the importance of being worthy when you enter the temple? It teaches us that the Lord is very very sensitive despite his perfection and unforgiving despite having already paid for everyone's sins 2000 years ago.
President Howard W. Hunter asked us to consider the “attitudes and righteous behaviors that the Lord pointed us toward in the counsel He gave to the Kirtland Saints through the Prophet Joseph Smith as they were preparing to build a temple.”
This counsel is found in Doctrine and Covenants 88:119. Ask the class members to read this passage.
Ask the class members also to consider the question posed by President Hunter: “Are these attitudes and behaviors indeed reflective of what each of us desires and seeks to be?” (“The Great Symbol of Our Membership,” Ensign, Oct. 1994, 2). It sounds a lot more like a regular church building to me than a temple. A house of prayer? Meetinghouses see all sorts of prayers all the time. A house of fasting? Meetinghouses hold fast and testimony meetings every month. A house of faith? Meetinghouses are often where faith begins. A house of learning? There are tons of classes in meetinghouses all organized carefully by age, sex, and priesthood authority held. A house of glory? Meetinghouses are dedicated and filled with the spirit. A house of God? All LDS churches have signs saying their the Church of Jesus Christ so if he wants them they're his.
2. Each person should be humble.
Each person should enter the temple in humility, with a desire to be taught from on high. I agree. Each person should also have the courage to admit when he or she's not seeing the emperor's new clothes.
  • Why is humility so important as we serve and learn in the temple? It's always a good idea when confronting something new to have an open mind and give it a chance to live up to the hype.
Have the class members read Doctrine and Covenants 136:32–33.
  • What does this passage teach about the importance of humility? Apparently God only works with the ignorant. How could you apply this counsel to attending the temple for the first time? If you think the temple sucks or feels like a cult your first time through, you're probably just being a prideful, unteachable prick and God knows it.
3. Each person should understand that receiving temple ordinances and covenants is essential to gaining eternal life. I don't think Jesus would agree. He liked baptism for some reason and definitely endorsed burning animal sacrifices (but strangely not the sale of animals in the outer temple court), but there was no possible way for him to endorse the LDS temple ceremonies that were invented in the mid-1800s.
“Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” (D&C 88:119). We already read this. Why are we back here again?
President Harold B. Lee said: “The temple ceremonies are designed by a wise Heavenly Father who has revealed them to us in these last days as a guide and a protection throughout our lives, that you and I might not fail to merit exaltation in the celestial kingdom where God and Christ dwell” (“Enter a Holy Temple,” Improvement Era, June 1967, 144). The moral of the temple is to wait for God's word as it comes down the line and keep doing it until God gives you new instructions. Not a bad plan, right? Now we just have to figure out how to establish what God really said. By the time we hear the message it's passed through enough people the message is as warped as anything you'd hear at the end of the telephone game. By the way, I thought all we had to do to "merit exaltation" was believe in Christ, get baptized in his name and live our lives the way he led his.
President Joseph Fielding Smith said: “These blessings insure to us, through our faithfulness, the pearl of great price the Lord has offered us, for these are the greatest blessings we can receive in this life. I didn't get pearls, I got paper spitballs. Everyone, check the pearls you receive in the temple! It is a wonderful thing to come into the Church, but you cannot receive an exaltation until you have made covenants in the house of the Lord and received the keys and authorities that are there bestowed and which cannot be given in any other place on the earth today” That's right, the top Church leaders think they have the monopoly on exaltation tickets. You pay their price if you're too lazy to shop around. (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:253).
4. Each person should understand the importance of wearing the temple garment.
Explain that those who have participated in the temple ceremony are privileged to wear the garment of the holy priesthood. You can't buy the cheap uncomfortable ones unless you have a temple recommend or get lucky on ebay. Otherwise you're stuck buying the more comfy expensive ones. In a statement to the Church, the First Presidency said:
“Church members who have been clothed with the garment in the temple have made a covenant to wear it throughout their lives. Because God is extremely interested in your underwear. This has been interpreted to mean that it is worn as underclothing both day and night. No more sleeping naked, kids!
“The fundamental principle ought to be to wear the garment and not to find occasions to remove it. Stop looking for opportunities to go to the pool or get a professional massage. Those days are over. … When the garment must be removed, … it should be restored as soon as possible. Right after you wash up after sex. No, this IS NOT WEIRD AND CONTROLLING! :S
“The principles of modesty and keeping the body appropriately covered are implicit in the covenant and should govern the nature of all clothing worn. God, your creator, doesn't want you guys seeing each other. It's... bad... because... ew! Right? Endowed members of the Church wear the garment as a reminder of the sacred covenants they have made with the Lord and also as a protection against temptation and evil. The rest of use have to be happy with CTR rings. How it is worn is an outward expression of an inward commitment to follow the Savior” Yes, an outward expression worn inwardly so no one on the outside can see it. Don't let your Gs hang out, brothers and sisters. (First Presidency letter, 10 Oct. 1988).
5. Each person should be prepared for personal and sacred worship. Not public and profane worship.
In the temple, before, during, and after the ceremonies, there are opportunities for a person to meditate and to draw closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. But let's be honest, if it's private meditation you want you should probably stay home or go somewhere quiet where you don't have to spend two hours playing dress up and watching an annoying movie in snippets. Everyone is faced with questions that need answers, with burdens that need lightening, with problems that need to be solved. Many have appreciated the temple as a place to get away from the world and to communicate with Heavenly Father. Many have found answers, peace, and joy in the temple. I'm sure this is true for some, it's also true that many have not found answers, nor peace, nor joy in the temple.
President Ezra Taft Benson said: “Temples are places of personal revelation. I never received any and I always went to the temple with a specific question I needed answered. Maybe my questions were no good. When I have been weighed down by a problem or a difficulty, I have gone to the House of the Lord with a prayer in my heart for answers. These answers have come in clear and unmistakable ways” Lucky for you. (“What I Hope You Will Teach Your Children about the Temple,” Ensign, Aug. 1985, 8).
Explain that in the temple, we can submit the names of those who have special needs so that those who attend the temple can unite their faith and prayers in behalf of these people. It's a lot like the Care Bear stare.

Special Preparations for the First Temple Visit

The following information will help each person make all necessary preparations for the first temple visit and ensure that this visit is uplifting. Discuss with class members the information that applies to their circumstances. Alright! Some practical information!
  1. Temple Recommend. Obtain a temple recommend. Be sure to carry your recommend with you to the temple, since only those with valid recommends may enter. Unfortunately, the Church doesn't trust you to diagnose yourself as worthy or not, so they make you confess your faith to the bishop and stake president. As you live worthily, the recommend will allow you to enter any temple of the Church as often as you wish during the next two years. To renew your temple recommend, you must be interviewed by a member of your bishopric or your branch president and a member of your stake presidency or the mission president.
  2. Planning and Scheduling the Visit. Before you go to the temple to receive the endowment or the sealing ordinance, call the temple to make an appointment. It's a bit like the doctor's office in a way. Find out when you need to arrive at the temple, how long you should plan to stay, and what you should take with you. OK, maybe it's more like going off to spend a day with your aunt. Ask for translation assistance if necessary. Your aunt who maybe speaks another language.
  3.   Travel Plans. If you live a long distance from the temple, you should consider the following:
    • Make transportation, lodging, and eating arrangements in advance. It may be to your advantage to travel with a group if possible. Group tours tend to be cheaper.
    • If necessary, make arrangements to exchange your money into the currency of the country where the temple is located. If you need to be told this, you're definitely at a good intellectual level to feel like you've learned something at the temple.
    • Take sufficient funds to cover all expenses. You may need to purchase additional garments, rent temple clothing, and pay for lodging and travel. (Note that rental clothing is not available in many temples. The First Presidency encourages all members to purchase their own temple clothing.) Apart from the bit about temple clothing rental, you shouldn't have to be told any of this.
  4. Dress. Plan to dress as you would when attending Sunday meetings. Women should not wear pants to the temple. The Lord has a no pant's policy for women. He HATES pants on women. So gross!
  5. Escorts. All who are going to the temple for the first time may have an escort to accompany them. No, not THAT kind of escort!! This can be a relative or friend of the same gender who has previously been to the temple, or one of the temple workers may assist. Workers in the temple will offer friendly guidance at all times. Your temple escort is the one who makes sure you don't fuck up too badly your first time through. Of course fuck ups could be avoided if the Church let new initiates practice the temple stuff a bit before they go, but that's just not the way God wants it.
  6. Sealing Work. If you plan to do sealing work for your deceased ancestors, you should take completed family group records with you to the temple. Good to know. If you and your spouse are to be sealed or if you are going to have children sealed to you, you must have your own family group record. OK. If you are going to be married, you will need to comply with all local civil laws and bring a valid marriage license with you. Ah. Read carefully the Member’s Guide to Temple and Family History Work for more detailed information about how to provide temple ordinances for both the living and the dead. You may also contact the temple recorder at the temple you are planning to visit. OK then.
  7. Care of Children. If children are coming to the temple to participate in a sealing ceremony, they will be cared for in the temple youth center until it is time for them to join you in the sealing room. What and who is in that room with my children? White clothing for the ceremony will be provided for the children. Who dresses them? After the sealing ceremony is completed, they will return to the center to wait for you. What do they do there while they're waiting? No care is provided at the temple for children not involved in a sealing. The temple's not a daycare, people!
  8. Temple Garments. You will need to buy one or two pairs of temple garments before you enter the temple. Do not put them on before you go to the temple. Or they'll turn black and Satan will hide in your genitals for a few months. After receiving your endowment and when you are satisfied that you have identified the desirable size and fabric, you can purchase additional pairs of garments. So if your first pairs don't fit, too bad for you! Some people like to wash their initial pair of garments to make sure they fit comfortably before purchasing others. Good idea. And good luck finding comfortable ones. Temple garments are manufactured by the Church and may be purchased through Church Distribution Services. Or over at Mormon Secret.
    “The temple ceremonies are designed by a wise Heavenly Father … that you and I might not fail to merit exaltation in the celestial kingdom” That design has changed a lot over the years by wiser human beings, though. Believe me, if you had to do the shit they did a hundred years ago you would not be well pleased. (President Harold B. Lee).
  9. Temple Clothing. The First Presidency has encouraged members to purchase and use their own temple clothing. In some temples it is possible to rent temple clothing for a small fee, but it is preferable for members to own and maintain their own temple clothing. It's less hassle for the Church that way. The bishop or branch president can provide information about where this clothing may be purchased. Good to know.
    Sisters may wear their wedding dresses for their temple wedding, but the dress must be white, have long sleeves, be modest in design and fabric, have no train, and be free from elaborate ornamentation. The Lord hates all the worldly fashiony bullshit in his house. It deeply offends him. We don't know why he's so sensitive. Sorry. 

Heavenly Father's going to be so mad when he sees you in here dressed like a slut!


Share your testimony of the sacredness of temple work. Say whatever comes to mind. Nothing comes to mind? Fine, just say "I want to share my testimony with each and everyone of you that the "work" we do in the temple is extremely sacred. There's nothing more sacred on earth. Nothing. Not clean air and water. Not the pure love of a child. Nothing. Wearing funny clothes, learning handshakes, and repeating bizarre passwords is as good as we get in this life. It's true, I promise. In the name of Joshua the Oiled One, amen! Express your happiness in seeing the class members prepare to enter the temple. Just say "I'm so happy and excited for you! This is so great! I'm so happy! This is really wonderful!"

Following this lesson, class participants and instructors should attend the temple together where possible. Oh boy! I just wish we would have covered more...

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