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.