I don’t know why I feel compelled to post my thoughts on the temple. I certainly don’t want my opinions to seem like desecration to what many value so dear and sacred. But I don’t have that sacred spiritualness. For the most part entering the temple (to me) seems discriminatory and overall (more than any other emotion) I have felt lonely being there. And I know I’m not alone with how I feel towards attending the temple. I have at least two other family members who have also gone out of obligation but have walked away with less than satisfactory desire to return.
Recently I filled out this survey for LDS woman to get opinions mostly on plural marriage – which I actually don’t have a problem with in the hereafter. The survey also asked for feedback with the sealing process made in the temple. I would have answered the survey questions a lot differently just two years ago than I did this week when I took this survey. I do have a hang-up with so much that takes place in the temple – sealings being high on the list.
Roland and I were not allowed to marry in the temple at the time we were married civilly. Though he and wife #2 had been divorced, they were still sealed to one another in “the eyes of the Lord”. In order for Roland and I to get sealed in the temple, we needed a clearance from wife #2 – which she saw as leverage to control us – well, Roland in particular. I don’t know why she continues with membership in the Church – or why she hasn’t been called to a disciplinary counsel. She may not admit desire for following in Satan’s footsteps – and yet she does. Almost as though she idolizes him. And so it was as if our fate to be sealed in the temple was dependant on Satan herself. That doesn’t seem fair.
Our civil marriage was thrown together after months of postponing and changing the date and hoping to be sealed. It was what I’d been taught all of my life. It’s what I was told to strive for. And I was content with my civil marriage but somehow wouldn’t allow myself to feel complete.
Roland and I were able to do sealings for the dead. I would cry each time we did them. It didn’t seem fair that I could be sealed for others but not for myself.
In this earlier post I gave three reasons why I had given Jenna my maiden name, but I left one out. When I was pregnant with her and Roland and I were still not sealed to one another, he was told by the bishop that Jenna was automatically sealed to him – and his first wife. Oh, I get to carry the child for nine months but she can’t be sealed to me? And yet Deborah (Roland’s first wife) was taken from earth while the boys were all young. 6, 4 and 3. Plus the unborn twin boys that were taken when she was.
One of the reasons I agreed to marry Roland is because he was already sealed to Deborah and so he could obtain Celestial glory with her while I may be destined to obtain “angelhood” in another kingdom.
Roland and Deborah were sealed in the temple a week before she passed. I raised boys – well from the time they were 11, 12 and 14 – so it seemed okay that she would get to raise my girl in the hereafter. But she would still have my family name - at least while on earth.
How does that work anyway? The entire sealing thing? I mean, won’t the majority of us be adults in the hereafter? It’s not as if we will be “raised” in the same way which we are on earth, does it?
Our knowledge of the hereafter is actually quite limited. We don’t know how we’re going to feel or how it’s all going to “work out” or what we will be. Based on my earth knowledge, the Celestial kingdom just doesn’t seem inviting to me personally. Oh, I strive for a Celestial life because it’s been conditioned into me that that is what I want – but it really isn’t. The very idea of creating worlds and living in spiritual and perfect glory honestly doesn’t appeal to me. Too out of my comfort zone to maintain living in white clothing while playing harps (so to speak). Although that’s just how heaven in perceived by some, doesn’t mean that is how we will spend all eternity. At least I hope not. But I certainly don’t want to be cast into hell either.
Growing up I had always heard: “Any kingdom below Celestial Glory might as well be hell, because you’ll be all alone and you will always regret your decisions thinking ‘I could have made it’” Okay, I’m paraphrasing – and I had never actually heard that from leaders but rather cocky youth who’s minds worked like mine did because that's how we were conditioned to believe.
I don’t mean for it to sound like I resent the Church or Temple attendance. I still have love and respect – but I also have hang-ups. And though I had agreed with the un-Celestial/hell thing, I don’t anymore.
Jeanie and Biff have decided that they will be married civilly before they are sealed. They were planning on being sealed. They had set up a time and place from what I understand. But guess what? Jeanie’s first husband has a say. They are still sealed. The clearance presents all this red tape that is every bit as frustrating (perhaps even more so than) as it is with the government.
I think that’s what bothers me the most – all of the politics that have crept into the Church – leading me to believe that the church and the temple are both run by the leadership of imperfect men and not always by inspiration.
My attitude now is a lot different than just a couple of years ago. If Jeanie and Biff never get married in the temple, so be it. It’s not as though they hadn’t tried. And I expect their civil marriage will be far more beautiful than anything I’ve ever seen in the temple. They are currently at the temple right now – just not as husband and wife.
I know that by the time Roland and I were finally sealed, it just seemed somewhat rushed and very impersonal. And I was not alone in feeling that way – though there were several in attendance who thought it was the greatest thing ever. Truthfully, I have only attended one sealing in which the officiator really seemed to know the couple – and provided a sense of comfort that I had not seen at any other. The ceremony was very well attended. For some it was standing room only. Thus in that aspect it really wasn’t comfortable physically.
There are some sealings I haven’t attended because of the high population of family being smooshed into even the largest of sealing rooms. And there are many I was unable to attend before I was of age to have my own recommend.
There is a waiting room for those who cannot go through the session with their loved ones. Big whoop. “Here’s a place to sit and wait for your loved one who is getting married which you can’t participate in witnessing because you are not worthy”
I don’t actually know if that’s how the lot of them feel, but that is sometimes how I felt.
I do understand the sacredness of not allowing those that would be spectators with limited understanding who may desecrate the sacredness whether intentional or not. But still – excluding family seems a huge sacrifice that one may later regret in the future. And yet there are several couples whose sacrifice have made their marriage more complete and have provided a sense of peace and closeness.
And for every story of resentment there are just as many (if not more) experiences of the positive nature. One example comes from my friends who had made arrangements to be sealed on a specific day. He had cancer and was strongly advised by the doctor to schedule his surgery as soon as possible. First available date happened to be the same date of the sealing.
The surgery was put on the back burner against the doctor’s advice. My friends said they return to the doctor’s the day after they were sealed. When the returned, the doctor could not find any signs of cancer. And so I know there is a greater power behind the temple experience. I also know that there has been heartache involved in others. Apparently I’m one of those “others”.
There is the joke about St. Peter showing a Protestant couple around the kingdom of heaven. As they pass a large door St. Peter motions for them to keep quiet. After they pass the door (while wearing puzzled expressions) one of them asks what is behind the door.
Peter replies that the room houses all the Mormon folk who believe they’re the only ones there.
How sad it is that so many have been conditioned to believe that very thing, for there are many outside of the LDS faith who live wholesome and Christian lives better than many who are in the Church - as though the Mormons own the title "Church" to be spelled with a capital "C"
I once had a religion instructor explain kingdoms and the individuals’ capacity. He compared these to vessels of water. A Dixie cup can never hold the same amount of water as the Pacific ocean, and yet a Dixie cup is capable of being full. I can be full to my own capacity and live happily in the kingdom in which many will share the same thoughts as I.
I will not be happy living in man’s idea of the Celestial “mold” As I mentioned in this post, there were more of us who ended up in the Terrestrial kingdom than the other two combined. Overall, those are the people I would like to hang out with for all eternity.
And as Corey and I may not be able to visit my dad (according to Mormon Doctrine – as we believe he will be obtaining the greatest of Heavenly rewards) we are hoping that dad will make the time to come and visit us according to where we are (or might be) I would like to obtain meekness to be more like my dad. I just don’t seem to have it in me right now – though I would like to obtain that quality. Perhaps by becoming "meek" I would have a different perspective than what I have for myself right now.