I preface this article with this. I have been a temple worker and in the past 3 years since returning from my mission I have visited 65 different Temples and I have gone over 200 times, I love the Temple! What I am saying is 100% ok to talk about outside of the temple. Here are 4 things I wish I was told about the Temple before I was Endowed!
1st Go to the Temple again as soon you can.
When you receive your endowment often it is a big ordeal with friends and family coming together to go with you. In the hustle and bustle of the day often you miss the subtle things that happen, by going to the Temple again as soon as you can, it will give you the chance to better understand the ordinances you have just performed and the covenants you have entered into.
Don’t forget to do initiatories! Often members go back for an endowment session and completely forget about initiatories, my brother-in-law did not do any for over 5 years after he received his endowment. They only take about 30 minutes to do 5 vicarious initiatories, but they are jammed packed full of blessings!
“The supreme benefits of membership in the Church can only be realized only through the exalting ordinances of the temple. These blessings qualify us for “thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers” in the celestial kingdom.”
President Russell M. Nelson.
2nd The Temple is NOT Secret, even if most Members treat it that way.
This is by far the biggest misconception by the older members of the church, they will tell you “The Temple is sacred not secret” but then they treat it like it is a secret. There is absolutely no doctrinal foundation for treating the Temple like a secret. The Temple is very sacred but other than a few very select things we covenant not to disclose, everything else can be talked about outside of the Temple within the proper setting.
The Temple is Sacred, but we need to start approaching it like we do the Sacred Grove. The Sacred Grove is sacred but we don’t treat it secretly. We actually seek to explain the basics of why the Sacred Grove matters to Mormonism, and more importantly why it matters to us. We can, and should explain the temple to our friends the same way. Here is an example of how Brigham Young explained the endowment as quoted by President Boyd K. Packer in the Oct 2007 Ensign, Come to the Temple.
“Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell.”
Above and beyond that quote the church also has recently released a YouTube video explaining the Temple Garment and touching on Temple robes. It is an unprecedented step and effort to show, the Temple is sacred, not a secret.
Not only can we talk about the Temple outside of the Temple, if we don’t teach the truth about the Temple the world will teach the youth Satan’s lies. In October 2016 General Conference this very topic was addressed.
“we need to use sensitivity, but let us also use our common sense and our understanding of the plan of salvation to be bold and straightforward when it comes to teaching our children and youth the essential gospel principles they must understand to navigate the world in which they live. If we don’t teach our children and youth true doctrine—and teach it clearly—the world will teach them Satan’s lies.”
Bonnie L. Oscarson
3rd What all in entailed in “receiving your endowment”
With the above knowledge that the Temple is “sacred, not secret” we can do a butter job a preparing people to be endowed. Often I am asked, “what all is entailed in”receiving my endowment?” The endowment has 3 parts. Just like all other saving ordinances, temple ordinances require our active participation. We physically eat the sacrament, we change from our street clothes into white and are emersed in water at baptism. The Temple is no different we are active in every ordinance.
- Washing and Anointing.
This is referred to as the “initiatory” because it is the first thing done when someone goes to receive their endowment. This practice in biblical see D&C 124:37–42 Ex. 40:12-13, just like baptism we start by changing from our street clothes into white clothes. President Boyd K. Packer then explains what happens.
“Associated with the endowment are washings and anointings—mostly symbolic in nature, but promising definite, immediate blessings as well as future blessings…In connection with these ordinances, in the temple you will be officially clothed in the garment [and receive a new name].” Ensign October 2007.
- Creation of the World.
During the first half of the Temple endowment, you watch a video depicting the Creation of the world and the fall of Adam and Eve (with exceptions of Manti and Salt Lake where there are live actors instead of a film). This film is often what is referred to as the “temple video” and it teaches the history of the world leading up to Adam and Eve making their first covenant to follow God. Many parts of the film are taught already in the Pearl of Great Price, see Moses 2-5 and Abraham 3-4.
- Making Covenants and passing through the Veil.
During the second half of the endowment, you are to quote President N. Eldon Tanner “Dressed in the robes of the holy priesthood” (Oct 1979) and you make a series of covenants to keep various commandments and to follow God. At the end of the Endowment there is a prayer and the you “pass through the veil” into the room in the Temple called the Celestial Room which it is symbolic of death and entering Heaven.
One of the most comforting things about the veil of the temple is how symbolic it is. To pass through the veil into the celestial room you are required to give a temple worker who is acting on behalf of Heavenly Father the “key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the holy Priesthood” to quote Brigham Young. The comforting part is there is a temple worker who is assigned to help everyone pass through the veil. If you forget or make a mistake someone is there to help you correct your mistakes so that you can pass through the veil into the Celestial room, their job is to make sure we make it. Just like Jesus Christ, He has done and will do everything He can to ensure that we make it to the Celestial Kingdom.
The Celestial Room in the San Antonio Temple.
4th You DON’T need to be sealed to do sealings.
One of my favorite parts of the Temple is doing sealings. For two reasons, I love the idea of helping people’s families be together forever, and also I’ve been taught so much by Sealers. But I have sadly learned something, most unmarried people have not done sealings before.
It is a little ironic considering that it is the next ordinance we are preparing to receive, but most people think you need to be sealed before you can do sealings, but you don’t. In a matter of fact, I highly recommend doing proxy sealings to prepare for marriage! The average sealing session is only about 60 minutes long, but you don’t have to stay for the whole session if you only have 30 minutes you can tell them that! If you are single and feel uncomfortable doing proxy sealings go with your parents and let the sealer know so that you can at least witness and listen to this amazing ordinance.
By performing vicarious sealings you will not only prepare being sealed, you will also feel a greater measure of the Spirit into your life, consider this quote from President Nelson.
“Honors bestowed upon me by men could not approach the inner peace provided by sealings performed in the house of the Lord.”
Russell M. Nelson