Zelophehad’s Daughters

Endowed Before Mission or Marriage: Discuss and Enlighten Me

Posted by Vada

On Ziff’s recent thread the subject of the church discouraging people to get their endowments before a mission or marriage was discussed (a little bit). Since I’m very interested in the subject, I thought I’d start a post where we can discuss it. I’m going to share my experiences with and impressions about this. I hope that the rest of you will share yours as well.

As far as I can tell, the church has never been really excited about people getting endowed unless they are going on a mission or getting married soon. All my experience in this area relates to women, so that’s what I’m going to focus on (though feel free to talk about how it works with men!). From what I know, the church used to be very strict about not letting women get endowed unless they were getting married or going on a mission. Or perhaps if they had reached what people considered “spinsterhood.” Then, as women began to pursue more schooling (and the church encourages this, at least somewhat), and get married later, this started to lighten some. Especially when the church made it clear that women should not be forced to go on missions just because they were 21 and unmarried. If a sister was of mission age, or at least graduating from college, and wanted to go to the temple, that was up to her (and her bishop).

I recall this changing again when I was in college. I remember a letter coming from Salt Lake specifying that women should not be getting their endowments unless either marriage or a mission was imminent. Bishops were to crack down on all this extraneous taking out of endowments. If I remember it correctly, it was after Seraphine took out her endowments, but while I was still in college, so sometime between mid-2000 and mid-2002. I know that when I was engaged in 2002 I had no problems getting a recommend from my branch president, but the stake president was another matter. He felt strongly that I should not take out my endowments more than a week before my marriage. I felt strongly that I wanted to do so before that. I convinced him, but I don’t think that I would have been able to if I hadn’t lived in one state, my fiance in another, and my parents in a third. I got my endowments when we were all together over Spring Break. Other than that, we wouldn’t all be in the same place until the night before the wedding. And there was no way I was going to try and get my endowments before my wedding. It was a horrendously long day as it was.

Now, I clearly recall this letter from Salt Lake, but in all the vague discussions of this I’ve seen around the bloggernacle, I’ve never seen anyone else refer to it. So I’m starting to wonder if I imagined it. It’s possible. Does anyone else recall it? What are your experiences with those trying to get endowed when neither mission nor marriage were on the horizon?

Also, I would love to know how it works for men, as well. I imagine that it would probably be even harder for them, at least until they pass the age where they’re eligible for a mission, since the church tends to think that any man who doesn’t serve a mission is in some way unworthy.

68 Responses to “Endowed Before Mission or Marriage: Discuss and Enlighten Me”

  1. 1.

    My general observation is that women are allowed to receive their endowments when:

    – They get married
    – Go on a mission
    – Have graduated from college and are embarked on a career

    Basically, if you’re a 22-year-old still in college and no boyfriend, you would probably be asked to wait.

    No, I don’t understand. the rationalizations and the principles behind the delays.

    But I will say this — I know many, many more women who have opted NOT to receive them by their own decision than who have been turned down.

    I see a lot of late-20-something single sisters who have NOT received their endowments (not married, have professional careers) and have no intention of receiving them until they get married. It’s one thing to be asked to wait. It’s another thing to choose not to receive them, and that aspect of our current culture concerns me.

    (My wife received hers before her mission. My sister did not receive hers until she was late 20s, and she was told to wait. That may have been a very wise move, though, by the bishop who told her to wait. I can’t peer into my sister’s head, but she might not have been ready.)

  2. 2.

    (Of course, I’m not a judge in Israel, so don’t ask me what “ready” means. All I know is I received mine before my mission because I was supposed to. I know I wasn’t ready.)

  3. 3.

    queuno brings up an interesting point — the rationale behind these policies. The rather cynical side of me thinks that the main reason is that our priesthood leaders don’t want women to hear what the temple says about them and their worth until they’re very committed to actually maintaining that temple recommend (either going on a mission or getting married in the temple almost immediately). Otherwise they would have too many women going inactive because of the sexist teachings.

    Of course, other women don’t feel the same way about some of the temple wordings as I do, so that reasoning wouldn’t hold for them. And honestly, even though that’s my cynical reading, it’s not necessarily a bad one. I wonder what I would have done if I had gone through the temple long before I planned on getting married and didn’t have my husband wanting to go back to kind of force me into trying to make peace with the temple ceremony.

  4. 4.

    I had just turned 21 (as in I did it around my b-day). I was not going on a mission or getting married. My bishop asked why I wanted to go and I said that I thought it was silly to wait until I was getting married. I pointed out that if I didn’t get married until I was 30 that was 9 years of service I wouldn’t be able to do. He completely supported me after that and I didn’t receive problems on the stake level either.

    Interestingly, I went a period of 4 years without a recommend and was in the same stake when I decided to return to the temple. My bishop at the time (and not bishop again) told me they have been told not to send young girls to the temple. I met with the same stake president that allowed me to go through the first time. He had obviously forgotten that he had allowed me to go because he told me he didn’t understand why a stake president would have allowed me to go to the temple. I told him only he knew that.

    I am still single and take comfort that the wording in the temple doesn’t apply to me. The wording is one of the main reasons I don’t plan on getting married in the temple. It is offensive to me. The fact that most people don’t actually practice that almost makes it worse-because there is something I find incredibly painful, but we just pretend it isn’t there.

  5. 5.

    Vada,
    It is probably more likely a result of the way we don’t quite know how to treat single adults, so we wind up treating them as though they are something less than adults. Think about it – two eighteen-year-olds who are getting married can get a recommend more easily than a single twenty-six year old of either sex.

    I think the church should set an age – say, 21 – and anyone over that age who is worthy and wants to receive the endowment should be able to, without being viewed with suspicion.

  6. 6.

    I can’t answer the previous point because I honestly don’t see the temple as sexist at all, and only recently realized tat some women do.

    I don’t think that the policy of encouraging people to wait until mission or marriage is directed at women, however, since most young men go on missions when they are 19, it is taken care of at an early age.

    IMO, you are asked to receive your endowment when you go on a mission as an extra protection, and as a sign of your commitment to your mission,

    This next part is from the Book of Tammy Chapter 1 verse 6 with absolutely no proof that I can conclusively point to. There are two possible reason I can see as why we are encouraged to wait for marriage if we are not serving a mission.

    1. Temptation. We make some heavy duty covenants, that come with heavy duty consequences for breaking them, in the temple and since singlehood is fraught with temptation, they don’t want us to be under extra condemnation if we mess up. I never thought this was a very good reason myself, because I always thought that the extra light I gained in the temple helped me to better withstand temptation because I understood more of the big picture.

    2. The endowment is not really complete until we are sealed. It is the sealing that “seals” not only spouses together but the blessings that are promised in the temple upon us. So, while the endowment is a good experience, it is not a necessary ordinance until we are being sealed.

  7. 7.

    It’s one thing to be asked to wait. It’s another thing to choose not to receive them, and that aspect of our current culture concerns me.

    In the singles scene I am in it the bishop says at least once a week that he thinks that every woman in our ward will get married. I watch how many singles will not move onto with their lives due to that. I think that it ties into the fact that women are told that their spiritual worth comes from being a mother. If they aren’t doing that then what is the point of moving on? The reality that they may not get married is so tough that some people cannot deal.

  8. 8.

    I was an exception made. My only reason given to bishop and stake president was “I really felt I needed to go.” I was 20. It’s a long, personal story, but it turned out that my feeling was accurate.

  9. 9.

    Thank you to everyone for sharing your experiences.

    SilverRain and Tanya Sue,
    If you don’t mind telling, what year was it that you went to the temple? And Tanya Sue, what year was it that you tried to go back and it was harder? I’m trying to figure out a timeline for these things.

    Mark IV,
    That’s a great point that the church doesn’t know how to treat single adults, and often treats them more like children. That could very well be a reason for the policy/practice.

    Tammy,
    Thank you for your thoughts on possible reasons for this. I’d never really considered your #1. I don’t know that I agree with it, but I could definitely see it being used. As far as #2, I’ve always seen the endowment as it’s own ordinance, like baptism or confirmation. I think that saying it’s only necessary for those who are sealed is demeaning it and demeaning those who aren’t sealed and who have gotten it.

  10. 10.

    I think that this has probably deeper historical and theological reasons. IIRC, the “endowment from on high” discussed in the D&C and in the Nauvoo period was originally intended for missionaries about to embark on long journeys. It was also for those about to make the journey west in Nauvoo. I am not sure when this happened, but when it became a prerequisite for the sealing, those who got married had to get it. So basically, I think that all along the endowment has been intended for those getting married or going on missions, women and men.

  11. 11.

    Maybe it’s just a matter of caution. The ecclesiastical consequences for someone who breaks the law of chastity are more severe if they’ve been endowed. Chastity is different for married people than it is for single people, in that you get to have sex.

  12. 12.

    Vada-I went for the first time in 96. When it was more difficult to get my reccomend back it was maybe 2003. And just for clarification when I tried to go back there was not/had not been a worthiness issue. No chasitity, WOW issues, etc.

    Ann-I am 32, single and have managed to not break the law of chastity, so I am not sure that is an issue. Once a man gets back from his mission he is 21 and not married. Basically, the same thing many women are when they are turned down.

  13. 13.

    I called a friend who has access to the handbook and had him reads me the relevant paragraph. Here’s what it says:

    Most single members will be interviewed for a recommend for their own endowment when they are called as missionaries or when they are to be married in a temple. Worthy single members who have not received their endowment in connection with a mission or marriage may become eligible for a recommend interview when the bishop and the stake president determine that they are sufficiently mature to understand and keep the sacred covenants made in a temple. Such eligibility should be determined individually for each person rather than using routine criteria such as reaching a certain age or leaving home for college or employment.

    I guess the biggest hurdles are convincing your bishop that you are a)worthy and b)mature.

  14. 14.

    Mark IV – Thanks.

    So, once again, it boils down to local practice, not overbearing central committee insensitivity.

    It is probably more likely a result of the way we don’t quite know how to treat single adults, so we wind up treating them as though they are something less than adults.

    In my ward clerk days, I found that we couldn’t even figure out whether or not to treat singles as their own households, or if they were part of the parents’ household. The guidelines were fairly generic and we ended up doing it on a case-by-case basis.

  15. 15.

    Just to add another data point to the pile: I recieved my endowments a week before I got married in 2003. My sister was getting sealed about 6 weeks before my wedding, and I asked my bishop if I could get my endowments at the same time as my sister. He said “they really don’t like for people to get it much more than a week before the sealing.” I didn’t press the issue (because I didn’t really care that much), so I don’t know if he would have been willing to change his mind or not.

    The best explanations I’ve heard for waiting until mission & marriage is that those are two times when you won’t be alone very much and are paired with another believing member (theoretically). The Temple is weird and confusing and it’s good to have someone else around to discuss it with, to make you go back, and keep you active during the time immediately after you first go.

  16. 16.

    I first approached my bishop about receiving my endowment in 2000. I was 18, and had no marriage prospects. He told me to wait, so I put it on a back burner. About a year and a half later, I felt strongly that it was important for me to go. I ignored that feeling for a few months because I figured the bishop would say no again. However, I went in to discuss it, and I was endowed in December 2001, a few months before I turned 20.

    Shortly after I went to the temple, I heard reference to a letter saying that the endowment should be restricted to people who were going on a mission, getting married, or were in their mid-20’s. I never saw the letter, and I wonder if it exists.

    My sister, who is 21, is getting married in a few months, and her bishop won’t let her receive her endowment until a week before the wedding. He says the rule comes from the temple president. (Although I don’t understand how the temple president would have the authority to make such a rule.)

    It seems like it kind of depends on the bishop and his attitude on the subject.

  17. 17.

    I received my endowment in 2001 at age 22 (not in connection with being married or going on a mission). I was attending BYU at the time, and my bishop was completely supportive – in fact, he was the one that initally suggested the idea, though I had been thinking about it anyway. I don’t recall any problem at the stake level, either. And in retrospect, it was absolutely the right decision for me.

    However, a couple of years later, my sister wanted to do the same thing (in a different stake, but still at BYU) and was told that her stake president had a blanket rule that single women not going on missions could not receive their endowment until age 24.

    So yeah, I think it does depend on the bishop/stake president.

  18. 18.

    Way back in 1989, I got my endowments one year before my mission – and I remember everyone that I encountered at the ward telling me how unusual that was. I had no idea why it was unusual, so I never gave it much thought – except that I thought it was too bad these people were limited by their petty cultural perspective on what was appropriate and what wasn’t.

  19. 19.

    I got my endowments a year before my mission as well – in 2001. I haven’t heard reference to a First Presidency letter, but I got my recommend through my home ward, where the bishop and SP were good family friends, and not through my BYU ward, where the bishop wouldn’t do it.

  20. 20.

    I can’t speak a whole lot towards receiving endowments prior to marraige because that is when I got mine – however, I do think it’s interesting to see how this has changed over the years.

    Around the time I got married (Dec 1988), they had just started letting people take out their endowments prior to their marraige ceremony – in other words, they quit making people get their endowments on the same day of their marraige. That had always been the practice, but you can imagine that was a difficult and long day. After that they encouraged the taking out of endowments ont he day before marraige. By the time I got married they had started approving people taking out endowments up to a week or so before…which gradually morphed into even longer periods of time in cases where it made sense (travel & family scheduling circumstances, etc.).

    But at that time – women did not receive their endowments until they got married. And I mean, no one that I know of – if it happened, I think it was extraordinarily rare. Even very active women in their 30s or 40s probably would not have gone through the temple. Now maybe they did after that – when they were past their childbearing years and completely out of the time frame anyone thought they would have a marraige proposal, I’m not sure. The policy of letting women recieve their endowments without plans of going on a mission or getting married seemed to emerge in the 90s. My dad was a Bishop between 1987-1992 and I think it happened sometime late in that time frame.

    I do think that it depends a lot on your Bishop or Stake President how these things get decided now.

    A new thing in our Stake is young men going through the temple months before going on their missions. I’m not entirely sure how wise I think this is…maybe I know these boys a little too well. I am getting the impression this is just our Stake President and not a new church thing.

    My sister is unmarried and not her endowments in her early 30s. She had a lot of trouble with some of the wording. In my early 20s, it never even occured to me that it was troublesome. In my 40s I understand that position a lot better.

  21. 21.

    Hmm… I haven’t read the comments, but here is my experience. My Wife Got her endowments when she felt she was read, half way through college (She was 19 or 20) and went and talked to her Bishop and Stake President about it. My 1 sister in Law got her in endowments when she felt she was ready and went through the interview process. (She was 27) My other Sister in Law got her endowments about 6 months or so before her mission call.(She was 23) I am a Ward Clerk and in the Past have been an executive Secretary (For about a year). In both those cases, I have never heard it mentioned that someone was denied the oportunity to get their endowments by the Bishop. I have been a member for only 9 years, so It may be that this is not something that occurs as often in the recent lifetime of the church. Also, I have never lived in Utah. (My wife did live in Utah when she got her recommend. She got it from Truman G. Madsen, her Stake President.)

  22. 22.

    Oh, and as a convert, I got my endowments almost exactly 1 year and 1 month after I was baptised and confirmed. only the year waiting period was required, and one bishop even suggested that that be waved. I did go on a mission, but not for another 7 months, but I was never given the impression that was a factor in receiving my endowments.

  23. 23.

    My stake president encouraged me to receive my endowment several months before going in to the MTC. I received my call at the beginning of May, attended the temple at the beginning of June, and went to the MTC at the end of August. He wanted me to be able to attend as many times as possible before my mission. I think that was nice, although there was a temple in my mission and I did go frequently.

    My sister received her endowment in 2001 at the age of 22. She wasn’t getting married or going on a mission, but we were getting sealed to my parents. She went to her bishop a few weeks before the sealing thinking she was going to receive a limited use recommend. She was surprised to find out that she couldn’t be sealed without being endowed because she was over 21. So she received her endowment a week before the sealing. I don’t think she’s regretted it at all and she was feeling prepared and ready. We both found it a little weird that she had to suddenly get her endowment or else not get sealed, but I imagine the sealing of adult children to parents is a somewhat rare circumstance so the policy isn’t widely known.

    I think the policy on women receiving the endowment without their husbands having it was done some time around the mid-1980s, because my mom received hers in 1987 and she told me she did it as soon as she could (acutally, it might have been 1988, but I’m pretty sure it was 1987)

  24. 24.

    I think emphasizing the mission or marriage endowment boxes out others who don’t fit into either camp. A woman I visit teach has been a faithful member of the LDS Church her whole life. She’s married to a Catholic man, and they have three kids together. She didn’t serve a mission, and didn’t get married in the temple, so she’s not endowed. What a blessing her endowment could be for her family, and her actively-involved LDS kids would get to see her go to the temple and make that a priority in her life.

  25. 25.

    Another thought: social psychologists have noted that the LDS mission experience contains some important aspects of mind training that allow people to make new commitments and function in a new environment in a way that will change their lives forever: they are taken out of their normal associations, given new companions, and given a new name (Elder or Sister is not typically what most of us go by). This creates a feeling of a new start (although a few critics will call it brainwashing).

    I see a lot of similarities with this mind training and the temple. Perhaps that’s why they would like the temple endowment to coincide with another life-changing event that really shakes up one’s routine and associations.

  26. 26.

    I had a roommate who was engaged who got her endowments about a month and a half before her wedding– so a similar situation to yours, Vada. But I can understand why they would discourage women to wait until a week before, because, for my roommate, she went through early because her family told her to. She has a really pushy family and a really pushy fiance. She didn’t have a hard time getting her recommend to go through, so I’m not sure if our bishop just isn’t too much of a stickler about it or what. I think they might discourage women from going through earlier because they want to avoid situations when it’s just a matter of convenience and what your family wants you to do.
    I had another roommate who wanted to go through the temple. She was 20 and not getting married and not going on a mission. But she had already graduated. She talked to our stake president and he encouraged her to wait. He said that the BYU stake presidents were basically not allowed to recommend someone so young. He was an awesome stake president, so I really trust that judgment. But one year later, after she had completed a master’s degree and was going off to cambridge to get another, a different stake president met with her a lot and said she could go through. So she was 21 when she went through. I wonder if there is more pressure in Provo– I tend to think there are a lot of gung-ho people in Provo who just want to move ahead even if they aren’t ready or really mature enough. (Not that 19 year old boys are mature– but that’s a different situation, I suppose.) So there are my random 2 cents.

  27. 27.

    Bandanamom: We were married in 1982, by which time at least where we lived (DC area), it was rare for someone to be endowed and married the same day. I only recall it happening when the logistics of two trips to the temple were difficult.

    By that time, quite a few of our single women friends who hadn’t served missions had recommends – many of them in their late 20’s. I know quite a few in that category today, too. The real problem seems to be when someone (typically, but not exclusively, female) wants to go to the temple in their early 20’s. I’d simply add to the speculation regarding reasons for discouraging that the problems that someone who is endowed may have if they marry someone who is not. Those same issues are, I assume, the reason for the policy that a non-member spouse has to give written permission for a member spouse to be endowed. Frankly, Alis (re comment 24), I think your friend may have been blessed not to have been endowed before marriage. And she’s certainly welcome, with her husband’s consent, to go now.

    I think a lot of new missionaries are unprepared (maturity or otherwise) for the temple. But I suspect it would be hard to teach investigators about the temple with no temple experience. And mission life does give a 2-year or 18-month environment this is supportive of the newly-endowed member, while as other have abserved college or other single adult life is often precisely the opposite..

  28. 28.

    I received my endowments when I was 23, in 1998. I wasn’t going on a mission, and I had no marriage prospects.

    I felt that the only thing I could control in regards to my own personal progression was to go to the temple. It was the next step in the gospel and I didn’t want to what for some other need (marriage or mission) to make me go.

    My Bishop was a little hesitant. But I pushed for it. I told him that I couldn’t count on marriage coming my way, and I thought it was unfair that I had to wait for that event before I could deepen my relationship with God.

    And I’m glad I did, because I’m still single. And I’ve been going to the temple for almost 10 years now. I’ve had some concerns, at times, with some of the wording etc., but through continual attendence, reflection, scripture study, and prayer, I’ve come to a place where I find the temple a welcome refuge.

  29. 29.

    Jrl,

    That may be – and I am unaware of when this policy changed officially, but it had to be somewhere between the late 70s and the mid 80s because I know it was defintely verboten prior to that time. I also think in Idaho, where I was from, they were loathe to follow the recommended change and it may have taken longer for them to give in to it than leadership elsewhere.

    I do know though that whenever it became acceptable for a woman who is married to a non-member or unendowed member to receive her own endowments, is about the same time that they began allowing women in much greater numbers to receive their own endowments at younger ages and unmarried women. It all seemed to coincide to some extent. Someone else suggested this happened in the late 80s and I think that’s accurate.

    When I got married they were still performing all white weddings even though there was no endowment session just prior to the ceremony – it was a required thing for quite some time, a hold-over from the practice of having the endowment right before. By the time my cousin got married in 1990 this had changed to you CAN’T have an all white ceremony UNLESS there is an endowment session right before. I don’t know if anyone even does that now.

    Do they ask the women’s husbands to give permission for this anymore? I don’t know the answer to that and my husband was a Bishop just a few years ago – I am just curious if that is still the policy, I know at first, when my Dad was Bishop in the 80s, it defintely was part of the decree from Salt Lake, that permission had to be granted by the husband, member or not.

  30. 30.

    I think the church should set an age – say, 21 – and anyone over that age who is worthy and wants to receive the endowment should be able to, without being viewed with suspicion.

    I really like this idea, Mark. It’s interesting that some Church milestones occur at set ages–baptism is the obvious example, but also priesthood ordinations–while others, like getting endowed, don’t. I guess patriarchal blessings are like that too. As is marriage, but that seems like a whole different issue since unless you arrange them you have to get someone else to agree to be married with you and of course that’s not going to adhere to any timeline.

    It’s really interesting to hear everyone’s experiences. I wonder, does anyone have any experience with what age men can get endowed if they don’t serve a mission for reasons not related to worthiness (e.g., medical?) and aren’t getting married? I know the question comes up far more often for women since such a large proportion of active men in the Church have served missions, but I was just wondering how it works for those who haven’t.

  31. 31.

    RE: #24
    I know a number of people in my ward who are married to non-members and are endowed. Our Bishops have had to call in their spouses for an interview because they are involved, if indirectly (garments) but there is no reason that Sister should wait.

  32. 32.

    So, once again, it boils down to local practice, not overbearing central committee insensitivity.

    Yeah, out here on the edge of the church everyone is encouraged and invited to see the bishop to get a recommend, single or married to a nonmember, young and old. I know the bishop has counseled one or two people to wait, but that has been individual counsel rather than the application of a policy.

    Our Bishops have had to call in their spouses for an interview because they are involved

    What? That’s not policy. A letter will do.

    it defintely was part of the decree from Salt Lake, that permission had to be granted by the husband, member or not.

    This is still policy, for husband or wife. (And do I know of examples of men needing that permission? I can count five in our ward easily.)

  33. 33.

    Vada-
    I have to admit I have the same sort of “cynical” thoughts about why the church encourages the endowment to be tied to marriage or a mission. Just like you, I was so upset about the wording of the endowment, but my sealing was a month away, and so that really forced me to make peace with it. I always say that if I had gotten my endowment separately, or even before a mission I would have gone inactive. Only love (particularly the love of a clearly non-sexist man) could motivate me to try to reconcile myself with the wording.

    Also, my husband was thoroughly weirded out by the temple himself, and had thoughts of leaving, but with the mission departure date looming, he had to make peace with it.

    I think it’s possible top view it less cynically by saying that having the endowment in conjunction with a mission or marriage, helps the person put the experience in a larger and hopefully more favorable and motivating context.

    Also while you told Tammy that saying that the endowment is only necessary for those who are sealed is demeaning, it does seem the endowment is only the preliminary step to the sealing, which is the end goal. Or at least it seems this way because of the “mini-endowment” the couple must do before the sealing. Which is also why I think single women are somewhat discouraged from taking out their endowment. I always thought it would be weird and kind of demeaning for a single women to make promises about her non-existent husband.

  34. 34.

    I took out my endowment in December of 1999, and I had no issues with the branch president or the stake president (in fact, I went because of the strong encouragement of the branch president). Vada, do you know if our stake president changed during those couple of years between when I took out my endowment and you did?

  35. 35.

    Vada – Thinking back, I realized it was actually in 1999, so I was 19, not 20. It was during my interviews that the mandate was re-strengthened not to send those to the temple who were not preparing for mission or marriage.

  36. 36.

    When I was almost 24, halfway through a MA program, I talked to my bishop about receiving my endowment. No mission, no marriage, I just felt that I was ready. My bishop told me that they don’t like women to go until they’re 24 or 25 so that they don’t fall into temptation and commit a really serious sin. This was also the reason that he gave me for not letting women receive their endowment any sooner than right before their wedding. When I did become engaged, I had to receive special permission to go through the temple two months before my wedding date (for some family reasons).

    On the other hand, several years previous, my roommate’s bishop had no problem with her receiving her endowment at 19. I’ve often wondered if the difference in our stories has anything to do with the fact that I was in Utah, and she was in upstate New York.

    I do not find the temple ceremony demeaning or sexist, though I definitely see that potential in it. I did and do, however, find the idea of a blanket “wait until later” policy for women that in some way is designed to protect me from my innate sinfulness and/or immaturity demeaning. I can absolutely see why the church would prefer that certain people wait to receive their endowment (I think of my cousin’s fiancee, who, in our temple prep class, stated that the endowment is the same as the sealing, and was supported in her assertion by both her mother and my cousin, betraying a rather frightening inability to see/care that they are two separate thigns–and one is just for you. Such basic misunderstanding is a much better reason to wait, rather than the fact that you might “slip up” w/ your boyfriend and your soul must be saved). But I feel that those decisions should be made on a case by case basis, rather than through overarching guidelines that seem to imply that a woman should not want or need the blessings of the temple and temple service unless she is about to go off on a mission or get herself hitched.

  37. 37.

    I agree with Zillah. I was 26 (almost 27) when I received my endowment. (I’m single and female.) I consciously prepared for the temple quite literally for years, by reading my scriptures an hour a day, fasting weekly, faithfully doing my visiting teaching, refusing even to read non-religious material on the sabbath, etc. etc. In spite of all this, I did not feel remotely worthy, partly no doubt due to personality and partly due to continual reiterations that single sisters should not attend the temple unless they were certain they were worthy, prepared, and felt it was “time.” I would draw up lists of things I would have to improve upon before I could attend the temple; I told myself that if I ever became angry or had a judgmental thought I was not yet ready for those blessings and should wait until I’d matured more.

    I remember attending a fireside in which we were “comforted” that as long as we held temple recommends and were in good standing with the Church, we were worthy of the celestial kingdom. I felt desperation at the thought that that level of worthiness was utterly beyond my reach. Similarly, we were told in Relief Society that God responds more attentively to the prayers of those who are endowed and that temple-worthy individuals will be protected from temptation. It seemed that I was locked outisde the circle: since I was unendowed, God would not take any special pains to answer my prayers or protect me from temptation; thus I would never be able to become worthy to enter that circle.

    Sometime during this period I read a memoir written by a woman trying to make sense of her brother’s suicide. She concluded that her brother had experienced a series of profound rejections; among other disappointments, he had enrolled in a seminary with the intent of becoming a full-time minister. But after a few years he had dropped out, feeling that although he had attempted to the best of his ability to give his life to God, God had simply never called him. God turned him down. I wept uncontrollably.

    I have no doubt this policy is not designed to exclude anyone. But effectively the bar is set higher for those who do not serve missions or marry as members, since such individuals are scrutinized more carefully for their level of maturity and preparedness. In my experience, active Church members who ask permission to receive their endowments prior to missions or marriage are rarely if ever told that they should wait, perhaps marry civilly and put off the sealing not because of any particular sin but simply to give them an opportunity to grow in the gospel. The Church’s stance effectively asserts that very few women are prepared for the temple at 19 (those who marry young) but that all men can and should be.

    I always thought it would be weird and kind of demeaning for a single women to make promises about her non-existent husband.

    My bishop at the time told me that several authorities higher than him believed single women should not be attending the temple for exactly this reason: men’s connection to God is direct, whereas women’s connection is through their husbands. If they have no husbands they have no place in the system.

  38. 38.

    As a complete threadjack, anyone know where the phrase: “…take out my endowments…” comes from? I always thought we “received” them and don’t understand where why this phraseology exists.

    Now, back to your regular programming…

  39. 39.

    It seems a lot of us were going to the temple for the first time in 1999!

    Count me in the group of no marriage prospects, no mission call, BYU stake (President Van Gessel), Aug 1999. It was actually my bishop who suggested I consider going, and it took me a couple of months to decide that the timing was right for me. I was 22, and my (very conservative) father and mother completely supported me.

  40. 40.

    Alison –

    I don’t really know about that phraseology but it is used frequently. A quick search of the church website brings it up in talks, especially in the 60s and 70s. There is also reference to Talmage using the term “taking covenants”, which seems to be an old fashioned usage and in “with the taking of each covenant”. So perhaps these two concepts were merged in the language? We do receive the endowment, and as an endowment is a gift, it does sound odd to say “taking the gift” – although it does make sense to think of taking the gift home with you afterwards? Just guesses.

  41. 41.

    This is one topic I do have a hard time with. If women are supposed to be the more “spiritually” intuned of of the two sexes, then why can single women not get endowed when they feel ready.
    I had to wait until I was married even though I wanted to go through sooner. I love going to the temple.
    I do think there is wisdom in waiting until someone is spiritually ready, but there should not be a set age on that.
    Marriage or Mission does not guarantee spiritual preparedness for this step.
    I found it very unfair and I still do that a returned missionary can go to the temple to seek guidance in the Celestial room while his fiancé has to pray at home or some place else and not have that extra power in her hands.
    One of my own complaints that I have to yet get a good answer for. Maybe someday I will understand it better.

  42. 42.

    I felt ready to recieve my endowments in February. I was at the time a 22yo college grad with no marriage or mission on the horizon (though I did get home after the appointment with my bishop to find my grad school acceptance letter). My Bishop gave me the age limit of 24 thing, told me of a girl in our ward that he’d recommended in a similar situation that had been turned down by the Stake President and how he didn’t want me to go through it. He said, “You’re worthy, but I can’t recommend you.” It was the most painful church experience I have ever had– perhaps it proved I wasn’t ready, I don’t know– it was just awful to hit a glass ceiling. It’s hard enough to feel valued in the church as a single person, but to feel like the temple doors are shut because of it is insult to injury, particularly when baptism trips are seldom & inconveniently scheduled (our temple was notorious for bumping us for youth trips).

    At this point, I am not sure if I particularly want to go to the temple; realizing how shut out I felt gave me new perspective on how my non-member family must feel regarding sealings.

  43. 43.

    I received my endowment a month before serving my mission and was married 6 yrs after receiving my own endowment. I struggled a lot with the temple over the years, but I am glad that I was able to struggle with these feelings as a single person. Ultimately I felt like this was about my personal relationship with God, not necessarily my relationship with my spouse. I have been able to reach a peace about the temple (although I do still get frustrated with things at times) for a number of reasons. First of all, I found out that there are many people who feel similar to the way that I do. I wondered a lot about whether I was spiritually inferior because I wasn’t having the wonderful experiences that other people seemed to be having. Second, I realized that human language is always limited. Not only are the scriptures translations, but the language of the temple was changed from earlier versions. For this reason I don’t focus so much on the exact wording. Third, I am now a temple worker. I thought that I would hate it, but it has actually helped me have better experiences in the temple.

  44. 44.

    When I was married in 1959 it was about half and half for women getting their endowments before the wedding day. That is the way I did it. My MIL strongly objected, but this was one thing I held firm on and was glad I did. Even at that time I knew that endowment and sealings were 2 different things. However I hadn’t realized that initiatory and endowment were separate ordinances until they were physically separated by the temple.

    Incidently, although I was still only 18 when I received my endowments I felt ready and really think I was (at least as much as you can be.) I had had a series of unusual temple focused experiences in the two years before I went. I had even memorized the quote from BY, “Your endowment is to receive. . .. . ” I had also paid special attention to the hymn, “The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning” and “If You Could Hie to Kolob.” Admittedly, I was not the ususal teenager, especially for the time. I have always loved the temple and also feeling “wrapped” in my garments.

  45. 45.

    Vada — I was a Bishop at the time the letter was sent. It was about 2002. I kept the letter in my handbook, but passed it on when I was released. The letter applied to all members contemplating receiving their endowments — not just sisters. The letter reiterated the position of the church as stated in the handbook (see Mark IV above in #13). It specifically chastised leaders for allowing younger siblings to receive their endowments so they could attend the weddings of older siblings and categorically stated that this was not a sufficient reason for someone to receive their endowments. It also provided some guidance as to what “sufficiently mature” means with some wording (I don’t remember the exact wording) something like “well into their 20’s” or something like that. It seemed to me that the main reason for the letter was that the Brethren were trying to stop a practice of which they did NOT approve.

    The letter then explained the reason why (1) missions and (2) marriages are exceptions to this guideline. (1) I remember the letter quoted D&C 109:22-24 (I think) and explained that all missionaries should be endowed prior to serving in a calling to preach the gospel to the nations of the earth. (2) The letter reminded leaders that members need to be endowed prior to being sealed in the temple.

  46. 46.

    After an early (civil) marriage to a convert, discovering his drug abuse and a subsequent divorce, I spent many years as a single contemplating taking out my endowments.

    I had always thought I never wanted to go to the temple as an ‘unmarried’. But no prospects were in sight and I realized I might always be single. Finally, in my very early-thirties, and after 2 years of serious study and contemplation, I took the leap of faith. Perhaps I should have stuck with my first thought.

    While I thought I was prepared, at one point, I was struck to the heart (and still am), that I was suddenly (always have been? and will be?) not quite a direct daughter of God, but something more like a daughter-in-law.

    That was just two years ago. My testimony remains strong. But my heart a bit wounded and lacking in understanding. I do not attend the temple. As a side note, marriage seems now an even more remote possibility. What man could ever understand these questions in my heart? What man could ever discuss this with me in a way that would both satisfy and comfort? And how could I go back with a husband? I have yet to answer these questions in my mind and heart. If it matters, I am would probably not be labeled a ‘feminist’ by any stretch of the imagination.

  47. 47.

    Marj, you are talking about a young bride going to the temple shortly before marriage, aren’t you? Because I’m pretty sure single women, divorced women and even married women who were married to non-members coiuld NOT go to the temple to receive their own endowments as easily as women do today, if at all, in some cases.

  48. 48.

    I decided that I wanted to go receive my endowment during the summer between graduating from college and starting a graduate program in another country. I was 21, single, and did not feel that going on a mission was the right thing for me at that point in my life. When I approached my bishop in California about the possibility of getting a recommend, he was hesitant until he read the handbook (this was in 1999) and found nothing that precluded a young woman such as myself from attending the temple. He was very supportive from that point. I had a harder time with my stake president. He was certain that I would break the law of chastity and then be responsible for temple covenants. Despite his misgivings (he really didn’t know me to have this particular concern) he gave me a recommend. When I made an appointment at the Provo Temple so that my extended family could join me for the session I did get extra questions and funny looks.

    I am not sure that I was necessarily ready to understand the ceremony then, but I did need the protection of the garment while alone in a big city living in a sketchy co-ed coop. The sense of being protected was almost tangible that year.

    Attending the temple regularly since then has anchored me to the Church during the difficult years of graduate school and single-adulthood. Even though the gendered language of the ceremony hurts me more now than it did when I was younger, I go to the temple as a physical act of worship, as a means to demonstrate fidelity and loyalty, and as a place to seek prayerful serenity. I cannot imagine coping with my life without access to the temple. I had a calling for the last four years for which I would never have been called if I did not have a recommend. I learned a tremendous amount serving in that calling, and I am very grateful that I was able to have that experience, an experience that I would have missed if I had waited to go to the temple.

    I was deeply upset when I heard about the letter sent to bishoprics and read President Faust’s article in the Ensign about discouraging young women from attending the temple. I think more young women should be encouraged to go to the temple. I wish bishops and stake presidents could be open to the idea of helping a young woman discern the right time to receive her endowment regardless of her plans for marriage or a mission. Such a decision should be made individually.

  49. 49.

    When I was 24 I went into the bishop to ask for a temple recommend and after questioning me extensively about the temple he told me, “You are ready, you are worthy, but I’m going to say no.” Then he told me to wait until I got to an age when it would seem less likely that I would get married (he said 25). I prayed to feel at peace with his decision, but the more I prayed, the more I felt like he was wrong. I had never commited any serious sins, I was a mature college graduate, and I had taken temple prep and read as much as I could find on the topic.

    I can relate to the writer above who said that it made her feel shut out from the church, because I briefly considered going inactive because of the experience. In my opinion, if you are an adult member in good standing, you should have the same rights as a single person that you would have as a married person.

    It would make me really upset when I would see 18 year old girls automatically approved for temple recommends just because they were getting married, when I had to wait outside with the teenagers. I couldn’t even listen to conference talks about the temple because it was too painful. They emphasize how great your life will be as a result of temple service, and I couldn’t handle it. There are enough challenges involved with being a single person in the church without being excluded from something that is supposed to give you greater peace and enlightenment. I felt like they were more than willing to take my money, my time, my loyalty, etc., while telling me at the same time that I was a second class member of the church. I did eventually receive my endowment, after which I thought it was even more ridiculous that I had been denied a recommend earlier.

    I know many ready and worthy girls in their mid twenties that have had similar experiences and I just don’t think that whatever they are gaining by denying them recommends outweighs the disadvantage of alienating women who would otherwise be very faithful, loyal members of the church. I had never even thought about sexism in the church until this happened, but now I struggle with it.

  50. 50.

    #47–Martine–Yes, for my own experience it was as a (very) young bride. The point I was making however was that brides were going up to a week before their wedding day for their endowments well before the 1970s or 80s which seemed to be the perception here.

    However to expand on the idea here. My mother , who grew up in a virtually inactive family, received her endowments at age 24 in 1930. She was not married for another ten years. She has been a faithful temple attender across all these years. Just last week a DIL and I took her to the temple (she is almost 102). She REALLY wanted to go and especially to experience the new initatory. So we did it all. It was a great if daunting day, physically.

  51. 51.

    Thanks for the reply, Marj. This helps. I think that being endowed a few days before one’s wedding is a very different concept than being endowed a few years before.

    I’m curious about your mother’s hacving been enowed so young so long ago, without being married. Was she going on a mission? Would you care to offer any personal or historic context to what appears to be a highly unusual situation?

    And WRT comment 49, I have felt very similarly before. It’s strange that the Church and temple would welcome 18 year old children into the temple and discourage mature(r) 25 year olds from going just because some guy didn’t propose to them.

  52. 52.

    It has been fascinating for me to follow the comments on this thread. I have nothing to add, really, but I just wanted to register my appreciation to all who have contributed. Sometimes a post stands out because it gives us fresh perspectives on something we had never considered before. In a church where a recommend is the ultimate signifier of worthiness and belonging, it must be incredibly painful to be denied one. I truly do appreciate all of you who have shared your experiences. And thanks, Vada, for this post.

  53. 53.

    Sorry–I should have been clearer, but my husband came in and was standing over me saying (nicely) “we need to leave or we will be late” (for Church. We are NEVER late.) That aside, my mother did not go on a mission but she did become involved with genealogy in her early 20s and was also in leadership and a “workhorse” in her ward. She was also employed but was still living in the area where she grew up, so her bishop and stake president (Harold B. Lee) knew her well and I’m guessing that without a lot of bueaucratic hoops to jump through they just let her go when she asked. Anyway I haven’t heard anything else across the years, or that it was especially difficult for her to get permission. She went to the temple weekly in those days, after work, and says she was often the youngest and even only young person on the session. (In those days young people went to the temple to get married and often didn’t return for years.) She is and always has been a remarkable woman. However she says she is tired of being “remarkable”, which she hears all the time these days. In fact several weeks ago she said, “I’m going to start telling people I’m 97 so I won’t be so remarkable!” (grin)

  54. 54.

    I want to thank everyone again for their wonderful comments on this thread. I’ve especially appreciated the personal experiences that show us how church policies play out in practice.

    Seraphine,

    I’m pretty sure the Stake President who issued our recommends was the same. However, between the two that letter came from Salt Lake (thanks, Dad (hoish), for saying once and for all that it wasn’t a figment of my imagination).

  55. 55.

    I see this as another instance where most issues would take care of themselves if the local leadership understood, followed and didn’t add their own personal convictions to the handbook. I cringe when I read some of the experiences here, but I also can’t help but see the disconnect between those decisions and words of the leaders and the actual guidelines Mark provided. Even the letter trying to curtail excessive attendance seems to have been generated because local leaders weren’t following the simple guidelines – by bowing to pressures that had nothing to do with maturity or worthiness.

    Whenever I have been asked about temple attendance by someone who is not preparing for a mission or marriage, my only questions have been about understanding and spiritual maturity – since those are the only criteria the handbook says I should consider.

  56. 56.

    Ziff,
    I regards to your question about young men who are not going on missions or entering a marriage: a young, single, male friend of mine (age 22) recently received his endowment. He did not go on a mission at 19 due to a disability, nor, at that time, did he feel a need to receive his endowment soon. He waited until he felt ready (the time for him coincided with his impending college graduation and independant adult living) and then contacted his bishop and our stake president about a temple recommend, both of whom were supportive.

    In his case it seems that the primary factor was the young man’s personal conclusion that he was ready to make covenants as an independent adult along with the concurring impressions of his bishop and stake president.

    That sounds similar to the determining factors for another young, single, female friend of mine in our stake who received her endowment at age 22 a few years ago.

    In speaking to our stake president it seems that, in our stake at least, non-mission/marriage young men and women receive equal consideration when it comes to recommends for own endowments.

  57. 57.

    President Faust’s article in the Ensign about discouraging young women from attending the temple.

    where was that?

  58. 58.

    My mistake, it was an article by Elder Nelson. President Faust did have an article in that issue though.

    Russell M. Nelson, Ensign, February 2006
    “Young Adults and the Temple”
    first given as a CES broadcast in 2003

    “To each young adult I emphasize that the temple can bless you—even before you enter it. By maintaining a standard of moral conduct high enough to qualify for a temple recommend, you will find inner peace and spiritual strength. Now is the time to cleanse your lives of anything that is displeasing to the Lord. Now is the time to eliminate feelings of envy or enmity and seek forgiveness for any offense.

    Several years ago the First Presidency issued a letter to priesthood leaders regarding the optimum time for members to receive a temple recommend. From it I quote:

    “Single members in their late teens or early twenties who have not received a mission call or who are not engaged to be married in the temple should not be recommended to the temple for their own endowment. They can, however, receive a Limited-Use Recommend to perform baptisms for the dead. The desire to witness temple marriages of siblings or friends is not sufficient reason for a young adult to be endowed” (Nov. 12, 2002; see also First Presidency letter, June 21, 2005).

    Please note that this instruction applies to singles in their “late teens or early twenties.” We hope that a few years later, these individuals will be married or established in a stable manner and their temple worship will be a high priority throughout their lives.”

  59. 59.

    Does anyone know what the ecclesiastical stance is on two endowed members being civily married? No worthiness issues, just doubts about the sexism of the covenant.

  60. 60.

    […] Endowed Before Mission or Marriage: Discuss and Enlighten Me […]

  61. 61.

    “Please note that this instruction applies to singles in their “late teens or early twenties.” We hope that a few years later, these individuals will be married or established in a stable manner and their temple worship will be a high priority throughout their lives.”

    That quote bothers me a bit. I am single and in my late 20s. Marriage more than likely is not a realistic possibility for me considering I’ve never even had a man be interested in dating me. My branch president is willing to give me a limited use recommend but I have been told no having a full recommend because I’m not getting married. My own father asked if I was going to get endowed and I had to explain to him that I had been told no. He was shocked and didn’t quite believe me. I was disappointed at feeling like I was less worthy due to my lack of man or prospect of one because being single can make you feel like you’re denied so many things and here was another one.

  62. 62.

    I received my endowments (as a man) four days before I entered the MTC. This was the “old” endowment (pre-1990) and had I not been desirous to serve a mission at that time, I probably would not have gone to the temple, or, had I gone to the temple at that time, I probably would have walked out at the appropriate moment to retire. But because the mission was eminent (in four days) I felt obligated to continue on with the ceramony in order to fulfill my mission call.

    Chief in my mind was the mission. The temple never really occupied my thoughts. It was only when I finally entered the temple, that I realized that I should have given it a lot more study and thought than I did, but it was too late, as I was already committed to serving a mission, no matter what. In fact, in the temple, I realized my mistake in not preparing like I should have and when the opportunity to walk out came up, I considered it and thought it would have been wise to walk out and prepare myself better, but the eminent mission forced my hand and I went through it against my gut feelings. In the church, we place far more emphasis, it seems, on the mission (for young men, at least) than on the temple, and I wonder if my experience was typical for other missionaries.

    I have a friend who did not serve a mission and he went to the temple after giving it a lot of thought, study and preparation. His experience was vastly different than mine. He had a more mature 20-something mind, whereas I had an immature 18-year old mind. Of course, he went after April ’90, so it would have been pleasanter than mine in any case.

    If I could do it all over again, I would rather have done it his way, after much study, prayer, thought and receiving guidance from the Spirit that “now was the time” to get my endowments. Instead, all the study, prayer, thought and guidance I received concerned going on a mission. Period. I was not willing to go on a mission unless I received direct revelation to do so, which I ended up receiving. Upon entering the temple, I realized that I should have applied the same protocol to taking out my endowments.

    Looking back and, hopefully, being a bit more wiser now than I was, my advice is to go to the temple to take out your endowments when you, yourself, feel you are ready to do so, without pressure from anyone. Let only the Holy Ghost do the “pressuring.” If, after approaching your bishop with the desire and inspiration you have received to go to the temple, and he refuses you, let it drop. It is now on his head, not yours.

    The temple, in my opinion, should be considered separately from marriage and mission. We shouldn’t rush through the temple in order to go on a mission or in order to get married.

    Finally, as an anarchist, I go so far as to suggest that people first prepare themselves for marriage, move to Colorado, have a common law marriage, and then, after the appropriate time, move back to whatever state they came from and take out their endowments as husband and wife. This leaves the state out of the marriage and allows a couple time to prepare first for marriage and then time to prepare for the temple commitments.

  63. 63.

    While I thought I was prepared, at one point, I was struck to the heart (and still am), that I was suddenly (always have been? and will be?) not quite a direct daughter of God, but something more like a daughter-in-law.

    I love this comment, Ellinor! This is exactly what I’ve concluded independently; I think of God as my Heavenly Father-in-Law. That makes more sense, both logically and emotionally, to me, than a “Heavenly Father.”

  64. 64.

    What I don’t understand is that in Boyd K. Packer’s The Holy Temple, it says that curiosity or deep interest itself is not preparation for the temple. But is being engaged? What changes in one’s spiritual preparation between the time they’re not engaged and the time they are?

  65. 65.

    Perhaps associating the endowment with a mission or a marriage is designed to emphasize the mission or the marriage – see #62. I’ll posit that the prospective bride (or groom) is likely more focused on all of the rights and privileges of her impending marriage than she is on any particular aspects of the wedding rite (whether initiatory, endowment, or sealing). Similarly – but not to the same extent – a prospective missionary will be more focused on the mission than on the endowment hurdle, one among many, that must be jumped before the mission.

    Receiving the endowment for its own sake, not associated with some other impending event or journey, allows a focus on the endowment itself: the story line, the covenants, the symbolism, the mystery and incomprehensibility. And, for some, a too-close examination of the elements of the endowment may be a discouragement.

  66. 66.

    […] I ran on to this ZD post from last year […]

  67. 67.

    I hope everyone will humor the thread resurrection; this is a topic of some interest to me as a non-member, one which I may mention on my own blog soon enough.

    I did not understand very much about LDS endowments when I arrived at BYU, and still don’t, but I was a little bit surprised when I began living with five LDS women on campus and none of them had received their endowment. “I thought you guys could do that when you’re 18,” I asked. “Don’t most men do them when they’re 18?” I’m eternally egalitarian-minded. They explained to me that most women wait until they’re married or going on a mission.

    That answer made zero sense to my non-member head, and still doesn’t. One of my best friends at BYU (and later my matron-of-honor at my own wedding) was a young woman just slightly older than me who had gotten her recommend at age 18 with no marriage prospects in sight. I would have to check with her to confirm, but I was under the impression she had to put up quite an argument with her local leaders to get it.

    I have three LDS sisters-in-law, two of whom are the wives of my husband’s brothers, and both of them got married in the temple when they were 18. I only know one of them really well. I’ve always known her to be a remarkably spiritually mature woman, one of my closest friends among my LDS in-laws, and she did her endowment the day before her wedding. I’m sure she was ready for whatever is in the temple because I know her, but still, the logic that a woman is ready for the temple at age 18 just because she’s getting married absolutely boggles my mind. Am I the only person who has ever known of a young LDS woman who got married in the temple too hastily? Why are 18-year-old engaged women given recommends easily enough, but smart, spiritual, strong-minded 18-year-old single women have to fight for them?

    And while we’re on that subject, does preparing to go on a mission at age 18 really guarantee that men are ready for the temple? I know someone who was sent home from his mission early for what were officially medical reasons, but trust me, he had what you folks would call worthiness issues, and I have the letters he wrote me on his mission to prove it. At another point I befriended the younger brother of a close friend, who opened up to me on his doubts about the church—some combination of my insider-outsider status in Mormonism and my experience as a Protestant youth leader made me the right person to talk to about it. I was truly surprised to hear a few years later that he was going on a mission. I was not the least bit surprised when he reacted vehemently to the endowment and wound up abandoning the MTC and his mission.

    I guess that the point of all this is that, so long as 18-year-old men are being offered recommends as preparation to serving missions and 18-year-old women are being offered recommends for marriage, it is highly illogical to me that 18-year-old single women are discouraged from having them. Blame it on my lack of understanding the temple if you want; that’s an area where I can’t go much further than I have.

    Side-questions:

    1) Is there an official age that single women who don’t go on missions have to wait to get a temple recommend? In theory, is there anything to stop a woman from getting a recommend at age 18 other than bad tradition and the discretion of local leaders?

    2) What about women who get married younger than 18, for whatever reason? My aforementioned sister-in-law was 17 when she began dating my brother-in-law and just barely 18 when they got married.

  68. 68.

    this is indeed a very interesting thread. I am a 22 year old male, senior in college . I didnt serve a mission partly because i was less active from the time i was 17 until about 19 and partly because i was engaged to another less active member. when my fiance and i became active again we were planning on getting married in the temple and were about 6 months from our planned wedding date before she once again became inactive and started to have worthiness. in any case we are no longer engaged.
    however i still have a desire to go through the temple. in my case i cannot go on a mission for several non worthiness issues (i.e. student loan in conjunction with a military service obligation) I am currently taking the temple prep class and the teacher who is also a former bishop doesn’t seem to think there should be any reason why i can’t receive a recommend. my bishop seem to be more standoffish about the subject. i haven’t asked for an interview or been asked to have an interview so when i do that i will post again and let everyone know what i was told.

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