Dodging the Temple Bullet

It’s time for a confession. I’ve been a member of the church my whole life. I go to church regularly, and I could probably qualify for a temple recommend if I wanted one.

But I don’t. And I have never been through the temple.

For a long time, I was really defensive about this. Getting endowed is one of the things that marks you as an adult member of the church; like being single, being unendowed will place you, in the eyes of many, in the category of the spiritually less mature. If you got endowed at a young age, you may be oblivious to the social dynamics surrounding this. But if you were older, or an adult convert, you may have some idea of what I am talking about. There is a hierarchy, and there are insiders and outsiders. If you haven’t been through the temple, there is no shortage of reminders that you aren’t a full member of the church.

This caused me a lot of angst when I was in my twenties. I wanted to smack people, especially recently returned missionaries, who wore condescending smiles and explained that when I went to the temple, I would finally understand x—whether x was the meaning of Isaiah, or the doctrine of Heavenly Mother. That once I went through the temple, I too could be as spiritually enlightened as the person instructing me about it. I felt like there was a category of God’s special children, the ones who’d been through the temple—and then there were the rest of us plebians.

The sting of this issue faded, though, as I got older. Because if you are a single woman over 30 who still goes to church but didn’t serve a mission, it’s pretty much assumed that you gave up, so to speak, and just went ahead and went through the temple even without a marriage prospect. People drew that conclusion, and I rarely bothered to correct them, figuring that it wasn’t any of their business— but also, if I’m honest, not wanting to deal with the social repercussions. I’ve thought about writing this post before, but I’ve always been hesitant.

But I’m 40 years old now, and I perhaps care less what other people think. So here is my story about the role of the temple in my life.

***

I only have vague memories of what I thought about temples as a kid. I thought they were pretty; I had a temple coloring book, and in those days there were few enough temples that they could all be included in a coloring book. We sang songs about them in Primary, but they seemed rather vague and far away. As I got older, I clued into the fact that there was something secret going on, and I wasn’t entirely comfortable with that. My Merrie Miss teacher told us that you got a new name in the temple, and I thought that was really weird. But I don’t know that I thought a whole lot about it.

When I was 12, I went to do baptisms for the dead for the first time. I didn’t actually want to go, because it was unfamiliar and that made me nervous, but I got pressured into it. But it was fine. Nothing amazing, but the temple was peaceful. I didn’t have a lot of strong feelings about it either way.

It was in my ninth grade seminary class that I really became uneasy about temples. My teacher told us there were things we needed to know to get into the Celestial Kingdom, things that weren’t in the scriptures. Only by attending the temple could we get this secret information. I was, quite frankly, horrified. What I heard was: God, whom I’d always thought was no respecter of persons, actually had a secret, exclusive club. He wasn’t willing to make vital information widely available.

That aspect of the temple, the exclusivity, haunted me. It was an exclusivity that became more real as I got older and my friends and peers started going through the temple, and I started to realize what it meant to be on the outside of that. But that wasn’t the only thing that perplexed me. I simply didn’t understand why ordinances were necessary. It made no sense to me that God required that you go through some particular ritual before he would let you into heaven. It felt arbitrary, and harsh.

I knew, of course, what the church answer would be to my concerns about there being a special club: that actually God wanted everyone to join the club, extended the invitation to everyone, even the dead. But I couldn’t shake that very visceral sense of wrongness. I disliked the secrecy. I disliked that despite the universalist theology on paper, in practice, the temple was highly exclusive. When I was a teenager, I heard someone propose at Sunstone that everyone be welcome there, like they are at church, and while that sounded radical, it was also a refreshing way of thinking.

Even if the ordinances themselves had been perfectly neutral, then, I think I would have struggled with them, or at least the context in which they were given. But of course things were more complicated than that. I first encountered the model of marriage in which a wife follows her husband who follows Christ in a Jack Weyland novel. I rolled my eyes. But I then heard from other sources that this is what was taught in the temple. I’d been questioning the church on feminist grounds since I was in Primary and wanting to know why women didn’t hold the priesthood, and I was enraged by this. But I didn’t have the language to articulate what was wrong with it, and I didn’t know how to answer those who explained to me why nothing was wrong with it, since after all everyone was ultimately following Christ.

***

I was in and out of the church during my 20s. I made it through BYU, and felt like I’d overdosed on Mormonism. I was deeply frustrated with gender issues, with anti-intellectualism and authoritarianism. I went inactive as soon as I graduated. But after a year and a half of that, I decided to come back. I was going to be a faithful member this time, I promised myself. I’d just moved to the Midwest for grad school, and was enjoying very much living in a place where Mormons were a minority. I liked my branch. It seemed like it could work.

And my branch president started pushing me to go to the temple. I resisted, because I still had all the hangups about secrecy and exclusivity, and a growing unease about what might be in there about gender. But I was starting to hit the age where it was odd for me not to go. The topic seemed to be in the air everywhere I went. I knew the ceremony was available online, but I wanted to be respectful, so I didn’t read it.

And then, one evening in a computer lab on campus, I decided oh well, and looked it up. I read and read. And I felt utterly sick. I decided then and there that there was no way in hell I was ever going to go.

What was so off-putting? My sense of wrongness only got worse. My reservations about secret ritual were compounded once I realized just how bizarre the ritual was. Was this for real, I wondered. And then there was the gender stuff. Wow. So it turned out that God wasn’t all that interested in women, that all those teachings about women being children of God were iffy. The whole thing struck me as incredibly unpalatable.

***

In all the years since, I’ve never regretted my decision to read the ceremony. On the contrary; as I’ve watched so many people I care about be broken by the temple, I’ve felt like I dodged a bullet. I have some survivor’s guilt around that. Why was I lucky enough to escape such spiritual devastation? It was because I did exactly what the church said not to do. What sense do I make of that?

Not having actually gone, though, does mean that there are things I don’t get, not in an experiential way. There’s a difference, after all, between reading a liturgical text, and participating in it. And while I was horrified by what I read, it was still just on the level of reading. I didn’t internalize the negative messages in the way I think I would have if I’d actually gone. I hate what the temple has done to so many of my sisters in the church. The problems seem glaring to me; I’m always genuinely surprised when people can’t see them. But I feel less fear, I think, that the underlying theology is accurate. On an intellectual level, yes, absolutely I have those concerns. But not on an emotional level. Not in the same way.

Believing that God is good, having a positive relationship with him, has not been easy for me. I’ve worked hard to develop that. But it’s still tentative and often fragile, and I fear that the temple could shatter it, possibly beyond repair. I won’t risk that. My last bishop, who really understood my situation, told me quite emphatically that I shouldn’t go, that it would quite likely wreck me.

***

A couple of months ago, I was sitting through a Relief Society lesson on the temple. Sister after sister raved about what an amazing place it was, how it had brought them peace and comfort and guidance, how there was nowhere else like it. And I found myself crying. I finally raised my hand and said that it might be wonderful for many, but the temple wasn’t actually available to everyone. It’s not a refuge for everyone. To give my ward credit, they didn’t shy away from me afterward, but expressed appreciation for my sharing my perspective.

I don’t feel particularly defensive about my situation anymore; at least, not in the way I used to. But I do feel sad. While I think my decision not to go is the right one, I can’t deny that there are times when I feel like I’m missing out on something that could be spiritually powerful. I wonder what it would be like to be in a religious tradition where I could wholeheartedly participate in its highest rituals without fear that I would have to compromise my integrity. The secret ritual bit actually bothers me less than when I was younger; I think I could make my peace with that. I’m still not sold on the necessity of ordinances, but I could work with that.

But it’s too important for me to believe that I matter to God, as much as any of his sons. So I choose not to go. I have too much to lose.

75 comments

  1. Thank you for this powerful and vulnerable post. I feel your concern and pain because I share them. I did go through the temple when I was young and I was bothered by some aspects of the ritual and language, but most of my pain came later when I really looked harder at inequality in the church. An FMH line by line analysis of the temple ceremony from a few years ago finally put me over the edge with the temple. It was the first analysis which clearly explained how women can be seen as not fully God’s children without access to heaven in the same way men have access. I remember reading it to my husband and having him really pay attention and want to advocate for change.

    As a somewhat related topic, I recently read an allegation that in the temple, names of deceased people are “recycled” for 3 days in a row, so each person has had their ordinances performed several times. This was new to me, not because dead people have had ordinances performed many times, but becuase it was intentional. Considering how much actual work we can do to help humanity (feeding the poor, clothing the naked, etc), intentionally repeating temple work seems like a sin against our fellow humans.




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  2. “wholeheartedly participate in its highest rituals without fear that I would have to compromise my integrity”

    This was exactly – to the word – my stated reason for leaving the church when I did. (My issues, however, were purely concerned with intellectualism, not so much social issues per se.) Eventually I came to learn how utterly historical and constructed that secular sense of integrity that I had leveraged against the church actually was. It made me realized how so many of my issues and problems with the church had stemmed from both decisions that I had made myself and decisions that I had allowed the wrong people to make for me (speaking with a somewhat repentant hindsight).

    That said, I am in no position to say that this is what you actually need, or that such a perspective would help you in anything like the way it helped me. All the same, having more perspectives and options probably won’t hurt either.




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  3. I remember talking with my best friend’s family about evolution when I was in high school, and though I didn’t understand much about it yet, I was pretty sure evolution was for real. My friend’s mom assured me that once I went to the temple I’d understand that it is false. I was amused to find that the endowment cleared up precisely nothing about evolution.

    I was endowed at 21, 2 weeks before my wedding. I went in with no knowledge or expectations, and I felt like I’d been slapped when I heard the hearken covenant. My husband and I were temple workers for about a year (I think I was 23 at the time), and increased frequency of attendance only added to my despair. The *only* time I felt a holy presence in the temple was once, as I waited for a session to begin, I suddenly felt that Jesus understood why I didn’t like it, and it was OK (not to like it).

    I say good for you for listening to your internal compass that was pointing you away from the temple. I know I “chose” to go, but I also feel a bit tricked into making covenants for which I had no prior disclosure. I completely agree that the exclusivity feels wrong. And the sexism, obviously. I still puzzle over why ordinances matter at all for salvation. And I am agnostic on whether there is any truth in the temple ceremonies. My current (non)practices reflect my agnosticism.




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  4. This was beautiful. Thank you for sharing such a personal, honest experience. I went through the temple prior to getting married, attended regularly with my husband for a time, and was then called to be a temple worker. The hurt and anxiety I felt every time I attended the temple were palpable.

    I haven’t been to the temple in years and have often wondered whether I would make the same choices with respect to the temple as I did years ago, even if it would mean not getting married in the temple. I don’t believe I would.

    It’s not easy finding a safe space to discuss the temple as anything but a place of refuge and your post provides such a space. Thank you.




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  5. In my view, until the Church develops some real temple prep, actually reading the ceremony is a perfectly rational approach. (I posted at BCC once about how abysmal our “temple prep” is, and Ronan posted that he read the ceremony, asked someone if it were accurate, and that was his temple prep. Which was actually far better a preparation than most people receive.)

    I thought it was all kind of bizarre, but then I discovered the Masonic roots of the ceremony, and that actually led to a much greater appreciation of the temple for me. For some reason the Church is embarrassed about this and tries to pretend it doesn’t exist, but I don’t understand why. Once you understand the Masonic elements of the ceremony, the secrecy and the weird stuff all of a sudden make a lot more sense as actually being historically grounded. If there *weren’t* a Masonic frame to the ceremony it would seem pretty cultish to me; the historical antecedents to it actually soften that aspect of it for me quite a bit.

    I think your decision not to go is perfectly fine. I wish we wouldn’t talk about it as if it were the greatest thing since sliced bread; doing so we set up a lot of people (who go through (with no preparation whatsoever) for a pretty significant disappointment. I would rather we undersell and overdeliver.




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  6. I love this. Thank you so much for sharing. I had a terrible experience with the temple, but I felt forced to go back again and again because I’d already received a mission call. It made me feel worse every single time I went. My husband talked me into attending “one last time” so that we could be married. It’s so refreshing to hear straight talk about it, and I’m so happy for you that you listened to your inner wisdom and opted out.




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  7. Thank you so much for such a vulnerable, honest post, Lynnette.

    I’ve never publicly shared this before – I’ve only shared it in person to a handful of trusted friends, and even now I’m hiding behind anonymity – but, after going to the temple for years and serving a mission, I came to the conclusion that I did not ever want to be married in the temple. I knew many people who managed to make the language of the hearken covenant and the sealing ordinance work for them; many women who weren’t comfortable with the ceremony told me that they made sure to clarify with their future spouse ahead of time that they were choosing a much more egalitarian interpretation than that conveyed on the surface by the language and rites. But as much as I tried, I knew I wouldn’t be able to be a part of a Mormon sealing ordinance without dying a little bit inside. It was such a strange feeling to attend sealings and see genuinely happily married friends rhapsodizing about their weddings when I knew I wouldn’t feel the same way; I knew I could never in good conscience make the promises asked of me, given what it would symbolize in terms of a hierarchy in both my relationship to God and my relationship to my husband, and when I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable marrying someone who didn’t understand why it bothered me so much.




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  8. Thank you for sharing. I was very young when I went to the temple – 20 – and I had no idea what I was getting into. I assumed it would be as wonderful as everyone said. I do not go anymore and don’t view my covenants as binding, because they were made under duress and without full knowledge beforehand. I wish I’d never gone. It is such a dark place.




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  9. Lynnette,

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I remember going through the temple with my parents and grandparents when I was not yet 19. I found it profoundly strange, especially watching my grandfather at the veil dressed in the robes of the holy priesthood. I was OK with it all because I trusted my family and their experiences, but it was not what I expected and I was not at all prepared for it. Also, I was vaguely disappointed because, as Kevin commented, it is oversold as the greatest thing ever. Over the years I had some very good experiences there, and I do appreciate the ritual–it helps me get into a sacred space in my mind and heart.

    I am now in a situation where I’ve let my temple recommend expire this summer. I haven’t gone in to renew because I haven’t been to the temple in nearly a year, for the very reasons that led you to avoid the temple. I find my experience there too troubling and distressing; I’m trying to stay Mormon and for the most part going to the temple makes that harder.

    This week the executive secretary e-mailed asked me to come in to renew my recommend. I can answer all the questions the bishop will ask in the interview in the way I am expected to, but I am not sure if I want to. What is the point of maintaining a temple recommend if I don’t really intend to go?




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  10. Thank you for this wonderful, honest post.

    I’ve gone through cycles in my feelings about the endowment ceremony. I was completely unprepared I was to go through the temple, even after two rounds of temple prep and a supportive family. It was weird and off-putting the first time through, I expected to have a tremendous emotional experience and it just wasn’t. I continued to have reservations about it (I remember being in the MTC, discussing conflicted feelings with a fellow sister missionary, trying to come to terms with it) but I found a kind of beauty in serving those who had gone before.

    Now I’ve cycled back around. I’m just not comfortable with it anymore and I’ve let my recommend lapse. But I do miss the Celestial Room and the spiritual feeling of being in the temple. I’ve never been in a place where communication between myself and the Divine is so clear. I just wish I could rest in that place without all of the dross that comes with it.




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  11. Despite my occasional concerns about the endowment issues noted above, I have to say that doing work for my ancestors in the temple is a powerful experience. I can’t deny feelings and insights I’ve had there in that connection. Most often connected with the initiatory, new name, and sealing, to be honest, but you can’t have sealing without endowment. Those of you who choose not to attend for yourselves, do you want your descendants to experience that for you? Just food for thought.




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  12. Wow… I don’t even know what to say. You go on and on about how terrible the temple is when you have never even been there. Of course you didn’t feel the spirit when you read it on the internet!! That is the complete wrong and unintended way to receive it for the first time. You really can say nothing about what you missed out on because you DO NOT KNOW. That’s like me saying how terrible a vacation to Europe is because I read about it on the internet. All you’re doing is turning off people who could have really felt the spirit and had a wonderful temple experience. This is the internet and you have the right to put whatever you want up, but please don’t pretend to know everything about a subject you’ve never even experienced.




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  13. Rachel, I wondered how long it would take for someone to make that comment. Congratulations on being the first to the punch.

    It’s a fair point; I’m criticizing something I haven’t actually done. But I’m not claiming to know everything about the temple—if you’d read my post more closely, you might have noticed me acknowledging that there are things I don’t get because of that. I’m reporting my reaction to what I do know.

    To extend your analogy, it’s not just that I read about a vacation to Europe. It’s also that I saw a lot of people come back from Europe deathly ill from their experience. Some survived; some didn’t. Those who survived still carry the scars. Of course, there were also lots of people who came back and reported how wonderful it was. But those who were harmed, I can’t help noticing, tend to have a lot in common with me in other ways. So do I risk my life and go? That might sound dramatic, but I do feel like my spiritual life is at stake here, and I take that very seriously.

    And if I read—and those who actually went concurred—that part of my trip to Europe would require me to do things that I believe are wrong, that would make it even more complicated.

    I don’t know, for sure, how it would be for me. I can’t. I do wonder about it. But I have to make the best decision I can based on what I do know.

    (By the way, if you want people to be convinced that the temple is wonderful, coming by and yelling kind of undercuts your credibility.)




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  14. If you’re going to be so concerned about our vast audience of potential temple-goers, Rachel, you should also consider the other possibility, which is that they would go to the temple and be miserable there. If you’re willing to consider that possibility, try reading this series over at fMh: When the Temple Hurts. You might also consider re-reading the part where Lynnette concluded that *not* going to the temple is something that allows her to stay in the Church.

    I love this post, Lynnette. I love that you’ve been open and described your experience and your reasoning. On reading this, and on reading the experiences of so many people who have gone and have not found the temple uplifting, I wonder if the Church is intentionally vague in temple “prep” because they worry that if more people know what to expect going in, they will make the same decision you did and not go. If we were more open about what happens there, perhaps this would put more pressure on the GAs to change it to make it, for example, less sexist.




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  15. I don’t recall yelling… But simply informing you of the disparities in your argument. I in no way mean to diminish your opinion. I just fear for others who read this and form incorrect conclusions about the temple with out experiencing it for themselves. You clearly have beliefs that differ from the church doctrine and that’s okay. I applaud you for continuing to stay active and not let that ruin your opinion of the church. I just hope that one day your heart might softened to the temple and you might be able to go there and experience it in the way God intended for you to receive it with an open mind. I know you’re gonna say that’s not going to happen, but you never know!




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  16. Everyone else, thanks for your comments. This wasn’t an easy post for me; it’s a subject about which I feel very vulnerable. So I really appreciate your thoughtful sharing of your own experiences.

    I’ve wondered sometimes about having people go at such a relatively young age. I could be wrong, but my guess is that that contributes to the other factors that pressure you to go along with things that you may not feel entirely comfortable with. I find, at least, that I have an easier time saying no at the age of 40 than I did at the age of 20. And I’m struck by how many women have found themselves less okay with things as they’ve gotten older. Though I can also see valid reasons for doing it young, so I don’t know.

    Regardless, I do think it’s wrong for people not to know exactly what they’re getting into before they go. (On that note, people might be interested in BCC’s current roundtable temple prep discussion: http://bycommonconsent.com/2015/10/29/roundtable-temple-prep-part-i/)

    acw, I’ve actually had that conversation. For a long time, I was like, when I die make sure to pass on the message that I don’t want my temple work done. But for some reason I’ve mellowed about that. I don’t think it’s realistic to try to control the choices of family members of later generations, and if they choose to do it, I believe it will be out of caring, and I’m okay with that. And given our teaching that you can accept or reject it in the next life, I could still decide whether to go along with it.




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  17. No no no… You don’t understand. The church isn’t vague because they think you will reject it. They are vague because what goes on inside is SO fundamentally sacred and holy that to speak of it outside them temple is to break sacred covenants. You would all understand that if any of you had been… But it seems I’m speaking in deaf ears.




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  18. Rachel, I really don’t want this thread to get sidetracked into arguments that most of us have had many, many times. Believe me, we’re more than familiar with the argument that it’s not secret but sacred. Also, I think everyone in this thread besides me has in fact been. So I’m going to ask you to drop it.




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  19. I have thought that if any of my kids go to the temple that I will explain all of the things that we are not expressly forbidden to say (if they want me to). I think that such information would have really helped the 18 year-old me. I would have liked to have heard my parents’ nuanced take ahead of time, rather than being very surprised by the very different nature of the temple. Frankly, I would have been deeply comforted if they had said, “You might find some of the experience strange, and that is normal. People have varying kinds of experiences in the temple.” I think that would have given me permission to accept my own reaction without feeling that it was invalid.




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  20. I missed the sexist side of the ceremony. I was too busy trying to figure out the meaning behind the ritual that would explain why ordinance is needed for salvation. Later when I realized how sexist it was I had already given up on ordinances as being a thing, and on religion too. I believe in Christ and see his teachings as being against religion. I see religion as a helpful social construct, not as a stairway to heaven. The temple is simply a vestige of the social construct that is religion.




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  21. Rachel, I think your ears are the deaf ones. There are many, many people for whom the temple has not been a positive experience. I would never recommend someone else go to the temple, because it was so horrible for me, and I am happy if there are those who have the knowledge I didn’t and know to avoid it.




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  22. Thank you for this honest, difficult to write post. I’m active, sealed, serve in lots of callings and am a TBM. I hated the temple on my first time. I hated everything about it. I felt tricked, duped and wondered why the idiots around me couldn’t see it for the weird stuff that it was. Not being able to go for two years while I was on my mission was helpful. I needed space away from the temple. I returned and have returned often. I don’t hate it anymore, and there are things about it I love, including the fact that women administer priesthood rites. I love to see the temple, but I don’t always love the things inside of it. My understanding of the rituals has deepened and I have found strength and peace there. I am not at peace, however, with the male-female hearken dichotomy or with reducing Eve’s being silenced or needing a husband intermediary. I actually have faith that this will one day change. What bothers me appeared appropriate for its time at the time of introduction. But it doesn’t any longer. The temple is a bridge between the timeless and the timely. In addition to timeless power and blessings, it also is a reminder of a timeless truth–people are hopelessly bound to misunderstand God and the nature of God. I see the temple as an inspired, flawed interpretation of something sacred. The fact that the interpretation is flawed, does not mean that the origin of the inspiration isn’t worth seeking or trying to refine my understanding of it.




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  23. In a certain way, I think Rachel’s point kind of amounts to a (probably unintended) compliment to Lynn. I think Rachel is exactly right in that the temple experience was not meant for everybody. Not by a long shot. However, this point becomes a criticism of Mormon culture where we feel immense pressure to go through the temple regardless of what our feelings are on the subject. In this sense, it takes a significant amount of courage on Lynn’s part to withstand these pressures and stand strong in her belief that the temple is simply not right for somebody at her point in life.

    After all, how many of us casually answer the temple recommend questions the way we do, simply because they are the right answers and a wrong answer would bring social stigma upon us? I can honestly say that because of my own lackadaisical approach to that interview, I was not at all ready to take upon me the serious and extremely demanding covenants that the temple offers you. The horror that somebody feels at those covenants seems as good a measure as any for how prepared they actually are for the temple ceremony. Thus, I think the real villains are not Lynn but all those endowed members who trifelingly go through for all the wrong reasons – myself included.




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  24. Jeff G, are you seriously saying that all those who have a problem with the temple covenants weren’t taking it seriously enough?




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  25. Actually, I said almost the exact opposite of that. I said that those who go through without taking them seriously are probably worse off that those who do not go through because they have a problem with them. Both groups aren’t ready to go through the temple, but for different reasons.




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  26. Fully active BIC member, married with kids and marquis callings in ward. Not endowed. A few years ago a dear friend was getting married and I was determined to be in the temple for that marriage. Researched extensively, made myself aware of the details of the ceremony, talked to many endowed friends frankly about their experiences, and decided that I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t commit to a mediated relationship with parents I know and love. Couldn’t affirm an in-group, tier-system Christianity. I have tried to internalize the various covenants that get made in the temple. I have written them down on a piece of paper that I keep in the front of my scriptures and I review them often to reflect on how I can live the principles they teach. I have a strong sense that my God understands and loves me where I am. And like Lynnette, I feel quite certain that my *not* attending the temple has allowed me to remain active and engaged in the church.




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  27. “The horror that somebody feels at those covenants seems as good a measure as any for how prepared they actually are for the temple ceremony.”

    If that isn’t saying that those who have a problem with the covenants were not taking it seriously enough, I’m afraid I’m very confused. Could you clarify?




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  28. Nrc42,

    That’s just a poorly written sentence on my part. The first part (the horror of the covenants) serves as a measure of the latter (one’s readiness to accept the covenants) due to an inverse relationship between the two. The more morally outraged you are by the temple covenants, the less ready you are for the temple. Of course, if you’re morally outraged by them, at least you’re not trifling with them – which is where the praise for Lynnette comes in.

    If one is morally outraged by the temple covenants, however, then the temple recommend questions should be pretty disturbing as well. After all, if we REALLY believe and sustain TSM to be the word of the Lord on earth, then the laws of obedience and consecration follow pretty naturally. While the women’s version doesn’t follow quite so naturally from the temple recommend interview, a moral insistence upon hierarchy is very clearly built into Mormonism.

    To me, the temple takes all the promises that we have already made with regards to our relationship with God and then asks us to make very similar promises with regards to our relationship with other mortals (church leaders, husbands, etc.). That some people would find this blatant moral praise for a hierarchical relationship among mortals disturbing should come as little surprise. Such people are simply not ready (or willing) to enter into such a relationship.




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  29. I’m curious what reason you have for staying in the church. The endowment is learn how to enter the celestial kingdom (technically, you may have have “learned” how to enter already, but entering through improper channels has some dire consequences – Matt 22:11-13). If you really don’t want that, why bother with the church any longer? There’s no brownie points just for being a member. It’s terrestial glory either way, might as well merely live a terrestial law. I mean if the temple is genuinely unattractive to you, then most likely the celestial kingdom is too.

    You know you could just give up church all together, take back your Sundays, not stress about living the standards of the church, keep your tithing if you pay it. Just follow your conscience; avoid particular sins that’ll qualify you for hell and bump you down to a telestial glory (1 cor 6:9, Gal 5:19, Rev 22:15).




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  30. To this day there is nothing in my life that has caused me as much pain as the temple, and that people I thought loved me arranged that for me. My husband tried to get me to love the temple like he does (even though when he talks about it, he cannot relate to any of the words because he has made up completely different meanings in his head) and took me through repeatedly until I blacked out and most of my hair fell out, from the stress. It was one thing to read in the scriptures that God doesn’t care about the well being of the daughters, but another thing to be the person being thrown under the bus, forever unworthy and without inheritance or self-ownership. I barely avoided suicide and still have to stay far away from it to this day.




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  31. NRC42

    He’s saying that if you went to the temple and were horrified by the covenants it was probably because you WERE taking the temple very seriously and WERE prepared. If they didn’t horrify you or bother you its probably because you were approaching them casually.

    I wasn’t as focused on the covenants when I went through, not because I wasn’t prepared and completely earnest in seeking to make covenants with God, but rather because the only thought that kept running through my head was “Wow, we really are a cult.”

    I must say that I am very impressed with the author’s integrity and bravery, and at a young age. I wish that I would have had the courage to trust my gut and walk out when the option was given to me but all my family was there. So I had to smile through tears that everyone interpreted as the spirit but which were really a deep sense of wrongness and shattering disappointment.




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  32. Eso, you’re right that the celestial kingdom isn’t very appealing to me. But church for me isn’t about getting brownie points for the next life; I actually find that an impoverished reason for commitment to a religion. I stay in the church because I think that on the whole it’s a force for good in my life. I stay in the church because in significant ways I’m a believer, even if that belief isn’t always the most orthodox. I stay in the church because I believe that’s where God wants me. And I’ve found that it’s better for my mental and spiritual heath to not overly worry about the next life, but focus on making the best of this one.




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  33. For me, I ask myself why I stay. I need something to be true. I have not found anything else to offer such a complete picture of why we are here. This is one of the great conflicts in my life. I find it hard to swallow but I can’t sever my link until I find something new to forge in its place.

    That and my family…




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  34. I’ve been to the temple many times, and never have I experienced any particular light or knowledge from it (except for my wedding, but I think my wife deserves the credit for that). My advice to anyone would be, Go to the temple! Or don’t! Whatever. It doesn’t seem to have any correlation with being a kind, loving, or wise person, and I doubt God cares about esoteric rituals nearly as much as that.




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  35. Thanks for this post. I went through the temple for the first time two years ago. I was definitely taken aback by the sexism – and I do wish I had been more prepared for it. My disappointment was tempered by a spirit and calm I was grateful to feel, but to this day my feelings about the temple are strongly mixed. My dad gave me the best temple prep advice – he said that the information in the temple ceremony could have been presented in any way, and the way it is presented was chosen for us and is a reflection of the culture, attitudes, and traditions of its time.

    On a somewhat related note, a few months ago I was looking at the stand in Sacrament meeting and saw nothing but men looking back at me. I realized that’s not what heaven looks like and I can absolutely reject anything about this church that does not reflect the truth of love and respect I feel is inherent in our Heavenly Parents’ relationship to each other and to us.




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  36. I have mixed feelings about the temple as well, but I am not prone to be anxious about it. I make a distinction between the covenants made and the rest of the ceremony, which I view as the delivery system for the covenants in the current dispensation. The flaws in the ceremony needn’t have a negative effect on the covenants, which I deem of value enough to endure the flaws. I realize that this could call my integrity into question, and I certainly admire you for your commitment to yours. One of my favorite lines from the ceremony is Satan slyly saying (paraphrased) “You want religion, do you?” I interpret this to mean that all religion is inherently tainted by worldly designs, including ours, which also includes the temple ceremony. And I’m glad that we have among us people who are sensitive enough that they are bothered by the problems in the ceremony, and committed enough to their own purity of worship that they don’t ignore it. I wish the powers that be cared more about such people.

    I’m more bothered by the elitism that the temple introduces into our culture, based more on rather superficial criteria than the quality of discipleship found in a person’s heart. I don’t know how such a thing as a true measure of quality in discipleship could be taken anyway, but I expect it won’t be too hard of a task for God. And I hope that if we must have a social hierarchy in the next life, that it’s based on something more real that meeting the criteria to successfully obtain a temple recommend.




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  37. Receiving my endowments was, for me, a homecoming. But one of my best friends whom I met on my mission had a visceral, triggering experience. We talked about it at length, and I gained a better understanding of such experiences. Now, since my marriage… I, too, struggle.

    Without discussing it in person, there isn’t much I want to say except thank you for sharing your experience in such an open, vulnerable, and yet non-judgmental way. I agree that the temple is not something that can or should be forced on those who aren’t ready or willing. It is a very specific type of devotion.

    There is little about the temple that can’t be discussed outside of it. Nearly everything is openly discussed in scripture. The temple is a ritualization and a formalization, a story told as a framework drawn from scripture in which to make certain covenants. Everything in the temple has symbolic meaning, and is a type of our eternal relationship with God….and foreshadows the potential we have in eternity.

    That is why it means different things to different people. Trust God that, if your heart yearns to know Him, He will find a way to teach you. There is plenty of time for Him to lead you where He wants you to go, plenty of room to not fit into the ideal. Have faith and be believing.

    Sigh. Now I just need to listen to my own advice. Thank you, Lynnette.




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  38. Lynette, I think your decision not to go was wise. I wish I could tell my 20-year-old self not to go, but back then I really believed that the temple was necessary for salvation and that it would be the pinnacle of religious experience. My first time through was largely positive, and I enjoyed going for several years (even though I was aware of and bothered by the sexism from day one). I have slowly grown to dislike the temple over the years and to drop the belief in its literal necessity for exaltation and for being together with my family. But back when I was 20, the social cost of choosing not to marry in the temple was unthinkable. Plus I really wanted to know what everyone was always talking and raving and hinting about. I couldn’t stand not knowing!




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  39. Lynette, thank you for putting into words what I have struggled to convey to parents, bishops, stake presidents and leaders for many years. I was raised in the church, with all that entails, but married a non-member. He later converted and since then we have been fully active, and have two children. Neither of us are endowed.

    I have not had understanding leaders. Every explanation of my feelings I attempt to give is met with ‘but don’t you want to be with your beautiful girls forever?’. And yes, I do. But that’s not the answer to my struggles. The feeling of missing out and being a second tier mormon is palpable sometimes.

    Thank you for this.




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  40. I’m with Mike C on this. I haven’t been to the temple in almost 7 years. I have kept my temple recommend active during that time, mostly to avoid having to get into a discussion with my Bishop that I just don’t see ending well. I have about 4 months before it expires again and while I could probably answer all the questions honestly and still get a temple recommend, I feel weird walking away with something I don’t really want. I think it’s odd that they don’t have a question about whether or not you even want to go to the temple.

    Lynette,
    You’re much braver than me to be able to continually have this conversation with members and leaders without giving in to something you don’t believe in.




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  41. Thanks for writing this, Lynette.

    I was devastated when I learned about the sexism in the temple, and after a few years of struggling, I made a similar decision that I would just not go there. I couldn’t bear the thought of voluntarily placing myself within that framework. I felt that if I went to the temple I would essentially be saying to God that I agreed with that view of my own soul’s worth.

    I then ended up going through the temple in order to marry my husband. I tried so hard to stay open to having a positive spiritual experience there, but almost every minute I felt on the edge of panic. For me, at least, it didn’t feel any different in person–which is to say, the things that completely turned my relationship to God inside out and upside down weren’t suddenly okay.

    I don’t know what I believe about God anymore. I now exist in this weird limbo space where I really hope that I can take Jesus at his word about so many things, while fearing deeply and darkly that as a woman, I am destined only for subservience and eternal smallness. I respect so much your decision to choose to protect your belief that God is good. I wish I knew how to get that back.




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  42. I have had a 20 year issue with the endowment. I just could never figure out what the ritual was about, how it connected to the atonement and Christ, and why the sexist stuff was in there. I felt hoodwinked. Being a week away from marriage, I didn’t see that coming and had no idea what to do about it.

    But I kept going, trying to connect these pieces that seemed so irreconcilable and foreign to me, so disconnected to the Christ I knew in my heart. After about 18 years, I started reading. My conclusion? Early church leaders took the worst biblical “doctrines” on female submission, original sin, and the curse of Eve and gave it a starring role in a ritual heavily influenced by masonry. Then they added the ideas of polygamy (lots of submissive wives!!) and theosis (men can become gods but women are just helpers). Retrofit these ideas to the creation narrative and we end up with the Adam-God theory and Eve being just one of Heavenly Father’s wives.

    Of course, the church now disavows original sin, nobody talks about the curse of Eve (she’s the hero, dangit!), the Adam-God theory has been ditched, and polygamy is a big no-no. What are we left with? A softening of the word “obey” to “hearken,” the confusing idealogical leftovers from the 1800s, and the church’s unwillingness to straighten the whole thing out.

    And I am left thinking that all I want is Christ, not this confusing doctrinal hodge-podge of a ritual. Should I doubt my doubts or doubt my discernment?




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  43. Love this and your honesty! What do you mean by exclusive? I used to think it was as well, meaning the righteous commandment keepers could go and the opposite couldn’t. But I don’t believe that anymore. My 30-yr porn addict husband has always gone, in fact, as long as he abstained from porn for a good 3 weeks he was encouraged to go by my bishop so that he could feel strengthened and renewed. I have a friend who ran into his childhood sexual abuser in the temple. So see? It’s not exclusive at all….all are welcome! Lecherous men, liars, you name it.

    I go to the temple monthly and say to myself at the sexist parts “this wasn’t always part of the ceremony and it will not always be”. It was not originally given in English so I have hope that God’s language is pure and not sexist and that someday it won’t bug me so. I should probably make a bigger deal about it but it is pretty low on my list of life’s things I gotta understand.




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  44. I’ve been going to the temple for over forty years, and there has never been a time when I didn’t find the endowment bizarre. Kevin, thanks for your perspective on the Masonic roots of much of the endowment. What I find disconcerting about this element of the temple experience, however, is the reason for these Masonic roots. Joseph was doing things he didn’t want most of his followers to know about (polygamy primarily), and he needed a way to keep these things secret. Masons knew how to keep secrets, so he incorporated some of their methodology and symbols and binding covenants into the endowment. The Masonic aspects of even the Nauvoo Relief Society are well documented. There again Joseph was concerned about creating an organization for women that would keep mum about things like plural marriage. My question is this: since there is no longer a need to keep anything (such as polygamy) secret, why do we still need the rituals of secrecy? Oh, we still have secrets—things like Church finances and actual activity rates—but on such matters, the bulk of Church members are like those early Saints who were on the outside looking in, not like those few who were inducted into Joseph’s inner circle. Isn’t it time we finally lived up to all our claims that we are not a secretive Church?




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  45. I’m not sure if concern about compromising your integrity is as good a reason as it sounds. Wasn’t Javert (from Les Miserables) a man of uncompromising integrity? I have found in my life that, all-too-often, I have stiffly held to my moral principles with strict integrity while completely unaware that my moral principles were shallow, or at least far too narrow-minded. I also can’t begin to count how many times I have told God, in effect, “I cannot completely trust you until you promise that you will conform to my idea of how a god should act.”

    I really don’t know how applicable these concepts are to your current situation. All I know is that when God asks us to loose our lives in submission to Him, I’m pretty sure this includes the potential loss of our spiritual lives. Paradoxically, when we feel as if we are in the midst of losing everything, that is the beginning of everything. No words I type can possibly do justice to this heart-wrenching, fear-drenching, misery-inducing, soul-changing concept.




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  46. Gorman, I think that clarity on that issue is found by asking ourselves if Jesus would participate in abusing oppression or inequality of another person. I know that Jesus would never do to anyone what happens in the temple. I preserve myself, my daughter, my children from harm that I know my God, Jesus, doesn’t want. I can’t afford to worry what Heavenly Father is up to. It is not his church and he is not my God. I wouldn’t worship someone like him, anyway. He throws children away and in fact throws all the daughters under the sons.




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  47. Gorman,
    I think losing your integrity is worse than anything I can think of. Maintaining integrity is not the same thing as stubbornly refusing to listen to God. I honestly believe that some of the covenants in the temple are not from God. So making those covenants is not losing my life in submission to God, it is losing my spirit in submission to man. In the years I did go to the temple and lose my life in submission, it wasn’t the beginning of anything good.




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  48. @M, I don’t think any of us are truly capable of stating with any surety what Jesus would or would not do. There have been multiple times in my own life where God acted in a way I could easily see as abusive, oppressive, or unequal, but in the long run was absolutely necessary for my growth. I think of the talk by Hugh B Brown regarding the currant bush. How many times must a gardener do something that looks outright abusive to the puny perspective of a currant bush. I recall a time Jesus physically whipped a bunch of people and threw them out on their backsides. How often do we think we are in the crowd cheering him on when we are actually deserving of a whipping ourselves? I’m not saying what is right or wrong. I’m just saying that my own self surety usually forces God to pull out the box labeled “painful lessons”. If our only objective is to never harm or be harmed, then some growth will simply never happen. Just like a surgeon, God must harm us in order to heal us.

    @EBK, I don’t know if we are talking about the same thing. The author seems to speak of integrity as “standing for her principles.” This is only a virtue if we are certain our principles are good; otherwise, it is a vice. I was merely pointing out that I have been absolutely certain my principles were good . . . until God painfully pointed out that they weren’t. We, as humans, tend to have a hard time recognizing these sorts of things. I can’t say your decisions are right or wrong. Only you know your situation. Just recognize that we, as humans, also have a hard time recognizing beginnings from endings, or what is or is not from God.




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  49. Gorman, show me one instance of Jesus putting a woman down or treating her like she is an object who should be owned and controlled by men.




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  50. Gorman,
    Integrity is one of the virtues taught to Young Women around the world as being extremely important. I have a hard time believing that what they really mean is that it’s only important if you are 100% right. I think it is a virtue to stand for your principles. I also think it is important that if you discover you have been wrong about a certain principle, to be able to change and stand for new principles based on your new knowledge. You seem to be arguing that integrity and humility are in direct conflict. I disagree and I believe the author of the OP would as well. She acknowledges that she doesn’t have all the knowledge and experience that others have, but that she has boldly made a decision based on what she thinks is right. You seem to be arguing that we should ignore what we think is right and follow. . . what exactly I’m not sure.
    My ultimate point is that having integrity does not mean putting yourself above God and being prideful as you seem to think it does.




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  51. @M, If by “putting down” you mean calling to repentance, then that would include every woman he has ever encountered (and man). If by “putting down” you mean making them worthless, then that would exclude anyone he has ever encountered (man or woman). My point is that we humans have a hard time telling the difference. We often assume a call to repentance is the same thing as calling us worthless. I know it can sure feel that way.

    @EBK, Yes, integrity is extremely important, because we could not be moral without it. Integrity is like drinking water. We would die if we didn’t drink, but depending on what we drink, it could also kill us. We cannot say, “Regardless of what I’m drinking, at least I’m drinking something, so everything is A-OK.” Integrity is the same. Integrity is a means to an end, not an end in itself. From your comments, it looks as if you understand this. I fully expect the author of the OP also understands this. It doesn’t change the fact that trusting in our integrity alone to save us is like trusting in our bold stance just because it’s a bold stance. We all fall for that trap.




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  52. Gorman,
    I think you and I are defining integrity differently. I define integrity as doing what you believe is the right thing to do or doing your best to make sure your actions match your beliefs. In this case, I can’t understand why anyone would advocate against integrity. You keep saying that the OP should not focus so much on integrity, but in practical terms what does that mean? Does that mean doing something you honestly think is wrong? Because someone else thinks it’s right? I just don’t what actual real advice you are trying to give.




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  53. Gorman, I said nothing about calling to repentance, Jesus does that to all. That is the atonement.

    It doesn’t happen in the temple, though. Merely, a savior is provided ONCE women are put under men as servants. And if the women don’t agree to become servants, then no savior is provided to anyone (guilting and ecclesiastic abuse). Temple Father is a terrible person, but I don’t believe that Temple Father or Temple Jesus (the Jesus who apparently becomes a horrible person, just because he is next to his father?) has anything to do with real Jesus, because I see no place in scriptures where real Jesus puts women down, making them servants to men like that.

    But you do bring out another point that helps me recover from Temple Jesus. When real Jesus talks, the atonement is for all. In the temple, women are *never* redeemed from the fall or from non-development because only our husbands develop and grow if we are not able to make decisions for ourselves (which is what a servant cannot do). So, real Jesus’ offer of the atonement applies to all (even though AoF 2 and the Temple specifically posit that women are never redeemed and that we are fallen under men forever) which means that true repentance is for all, which means that true agency is for all, which means that no one is meant to stagnate/not-develop even though the temple implies that women are of not interest to God or Jesus, but only the jurisdiction of a husband who decides if she lives/dies/is exalted/is and which same husband is the only one making any decisions so only the husband is both succeeding and failing to learn in mortality….

    Also, another thing that real Jesus says is that he employs no servant at the gate. This means that there will be no husbands as gate-keepers who may or may not “call” their wives by their special name that only the men know and the women can’t call out to anyone even their own husbands.

    Mormon women can begin to recover from Temple Jesus and Mormon Temple Abuse by remembering that real Jesus is not part of Temple Jesus.

    Thanks for the freebie.




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  54. M, that was beautifully articulated. I often get so caught up in how awful the temple is that I forget that, through Jesus (real Jesus), there is hope. Thank you.




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  55. nrc42, as far as I can see, only real Jesus has ever cared about the well-being of women, at all. And He cares about everyone. That is the kind of person I want to serve and, if there is grace, become.




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  56. EBK, I agree with your definition. Integrity is doing what you believe is the right thing to do. I am just pointing out that what I often believe is the right thing to do, in retrospect, actually turns out to be wrong thing to do.

    Practically speaking, I guess I am advocating for a little less self-confidence, especially when dealing with matters of religion and theology. When I feel like slamming the door and shouting, “I cannot compromise on this!” I have sometimes found myself slamming the door in God’s face.




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  57. M, Doesn’t Christ ask us all to become servants of everyone? Isn’t submissiveness something Christ taught as vital to our salvation? In order to enter the presence of God, aren’t we all (man and woman) going to be completely and subserviently attached to a man (Christ)? Because we are in a subservient position to Christ, does that make us any less loved by God?

    Ultimately this is salvation we are talking about. If I truly believe the temple ordinances are saving ordinances, then I’m in. If I am drowning in an ocean and someone throws a lifeline to the guy next to me, who then extends his hand to mine, I’m going to grab on. Especially if that person is someone I trust completely.




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  58. Gorman, does Christ tell women that we are supposed to become servants to men, in order to get into heaven?

    And, does Christ go around telling people to become servants to each other (people pleasers) or servants to HIM, and his goals, and his vision? What are we supposed to serve, God or man?




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  59. And, I truly believe that the temple ordinances are abusive ordinances, so because of that, I won’t ever do them to another person. So, I’m out, if only because I’m not about to abuse anyone. 🙂 I tell our children the same thing, and my husband, because he should know that it isn’t OK to abuse anyone for any reason, even if someone says that “this is the only way to get to heaven”. If it doesn’t match what Jesus taught, and if it puts people down or abuses anyone, it needs to go, asap.




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  60. M, Yes, Christ tells women they should be servants to men. He also tells men they should be servants to women (and men to men and women to women). All of this is a requirement for our salvation. And yes, becoming servants to each other is how we serve Him (“When saw we thee a stranger and took thee in?”).

    In regards to your second post, I would remind you of my earlier post. What might feel like abuse from God may actually be necessary for our growth. I know my kids certainly feel like I’m abusing them whenever I try to get them to do their homework.




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  61. Gorman, there’s a difference between telling your kids to do their homework and – to extend the analogy – telling your sons to do their homework and telling your daughters to do what your sons tell them to, never speaking a word to your daughters directly.




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  62. Gorman, I have no problem with Jesus as my god. I refuse to have any other gods before him, specifically, my husband.




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  63. Gorman,
    I agree with you that humility is necessary. Maybe I am defensive because if you read a number of Lynnette’s posts, I think you will discover that over confidence in her own opinions is not really her style.
    Also, you are welcome to feign ignorance and pretend like men and women are told the same thing in the temple, but that is categorically untrue.




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  64. Gorman, I’m well aware that integrity can be problematic and even pathological. I’ve been there. And I’ve thought long and hard about the principles I’m committed to. One of them is that women are full human beings, equal to men. If God sees women as second-class citizens, that’s not a God I’m interested in worshiping.

    Yes, Christ tells women they should be servants to men. He also tells men they should be servants to women (and men to men and women to women).

    This is simply disingenuous. The temple ceremony has women submitting to men in a way that men aren’t submitting to women. It’s not reciprocal. You can’t escape that reality by talking about how we all have to submit to God. For one thing, women don’t actually directly submit to God.

    What might feel like abuse from God may actually be necessary for our growth.

    No. What feels challenging from God might be necessary for our growth. But I agree with M that an abusive God is not okay. It’s that point of view, I would argue, that often leads people to spiritual disaster, that they accept things supposedly from God that are harmful to themselves and others. I believe that especially in the context of LDS theology, we have the ability to make judgments about right and wrong, and if God is being abusive, we should be questioning that.

    (You’re also running the risk of justifying human abuse; after all, we’re in the image of God and should be emulating him.)

    And the homework analogy trivializes what women are being asked to do, which is accept a subordinate status, accept that God isn’t interested in having a direct relationship with them the way he does with men. That’s no small thing.




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  65. there’s a difference between telling your kids to do their homework and – to extend the analogy – telling your sons to do their homework and telling your daughters to do what your sons tell them to, never speaking a word to your daughters directly.

    Nicely stated.

    EBK, thanks. 🙂




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  66. “What might feel like abuse from God may actually be necessary for our growth.”

    When someone tells you that you just don’t matter at all, except maybe slightly in reference to someone else, accepting that position is not an opportunity for growth. Quite the opposite: it’s an opportunity for shrinkage.




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  67. Lynnette, When I said Christ asks us to be servants of all, I was thinking of the bible, not the temple. Yes, the temple is asymmetric in its treatment of men and women. I assumed that was a given. I guess I was just pointing out that in other places (scripture), Christ teaches men to be submissive to women and vice versa. If everyone follows every word Christ says, we won’t have a problem, or at least it will be manageable.

    And yes, an abusive God is not OK. Neither is abuse in the name of God, which is far too prevalent. My point is that even though God is not abusive, we humans are bad at recognizing this. We often mistake a lesson from God as abuse from God. This is understandable. How many families lose one or two parents to sickness and death? How many children are born with debilitating defects? How many people are cut down in their prime by disease? I can see how this, and many other things, could feel like abuse directly from God. But we know it isn’t, right? Somehow all this is supposed to be for our good. We may never understand how, but we have faith that it is.

    So when I run over to my daughter, grab her by the shirt and throw her down to the ground, yes, she might think that is abuse . . . until she sees the speeding car that passed inches from her head. We are all in a life or death situation, even if it is spiritual life or death, and in our limited perspective, we are often oblivious to the big picture.




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  68. Lest you misunderstand, Gorman,

    It is abuse to tell a woman that she should be put under a man, as a possession and as a servant.

    It is abuse to tell this to a woman without giving her the option of entirely separating from the man, because any man who would accept those terms is not a person anyone should be living with.

    It is abuse to tell women that we are not redeemed from the fall, but men are.

    It is abuse to tell women that we can only get back to heaven by becoming the possession of men.

    It is abuse to show that woman living with the man who decided that it is OK to agree to the terms that place the woman into an inferior position in relation to God. A woman should only be shown in equal position in relation to God. Any instance where a woman is a man’s sidekick is a view into both misogyny and patriarchal abuse, as well as ecclesiastic abuse, if the woman is threatened that if she does not agree to such terms, she will be cast off.

    It is abuse to hide all these things from women contemplating going to the temple, and then coerce the woman to agree to them on pain of losing her trust and association with her family, only to reveal that the woman had literally nothing to lose: the entire rites would take everything the woman considered valuable to her, especially her ownership of herself.

    It is abuse to say that women are given to men. Men cannot and should never “own” or control or answer for a woman. She should always answer for herself and is in perfect ownership of herself and has equal power and authority with her husband.

    All those things are abuse and it is abuse specifically found and practiced at the temple.




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  69. Hi Lynette. Here are my responses to your concerns (not in any particular order): Ordinances are because God chooses to give us full free agency as individuals. If we choose freely and with understanding to obey an ordinances that God has given, then God will bless us with the spiritual blessings associated with that ordinance. If God gave out such blessings before we clearly verified to God in some way we want those spiritual blessings from God and the associated commitments on our parts, then that would contradict our free agency. Free agency is also the reason that God sets up an exclusive club, as you call it. Why should people be given blessings they really don’t want? Remember that in Mormon doctrine God does not create us “out of nothing”. We each have in our being an uncreated “intelligence” that is the source of our self-consciousness and self-will and unique personal nature. God does not use any coercion of any sort, or God would be responsible for those that choose to be evil. God does not use the term Patriarchy, but the Bible, including the New Testament and also latter-day Mormon scriptures, define “marriage” by examples– and Bible “marriage” is clearly a version of patriarchy. It is not Muslim or any other form of patriarchy, but it is patriarchy. It is based on the eternal nature of men and women. I am an “all is not well is Zion” Mormon myself. I believe the Lord’s Gentile (LDS) church and temples have been polluted, so I would not recommend you go to the temple just for that reason. But I also believe that a “year of cleansing” is coming in which the church and temples will be cleansed and set in order by the Lord. When that time comes, hopefully, you will be able to reconcile all your concerns with the Lord and His laws and will.




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