Posts Tagged ‘Mormon Temple’

8
Sep

End of Summer :(

Posted by: Rayleen    in Mormon fun, Mormon underwear

I can’t believe the summer is coming to a close. :( To not let it pass us by over Labor Day weekend, some friends and I went camping near Jamestown settlement and played at Virginia Beach. I came down later so I could get some writing done since it turns out I didn’t actually start composing my thesis until I was released as Relief Society president. I read a great deal and formed some ideas, but didn’t start the writing process. Things would always come up and I had lead time to do it.  Now I’m essentially in crisis mode because the ultimate deadline is upon me. Some of the content I’m cranking out now isn’t half bad. I just wish I’d left enough time for myself to rewrite and make it good. At this point, I just want it to be done. Forget shooting for excellence. Anyway, it rained the evening of my arrival, which turned out to be fun because we played games in my huge two room tent that I commandeered from my parents’ house a while ago. The next day at the beach was gorgeous.

ModCloth had a 70% off end of summer sale and I snatched up this adorable dress up. It’s too short to wear with the garment (for a list of posts about a special underclothing Mormons wear to remember God, see this post) and it was a final sale, so now it’s my new beach dress. I love it!

ModCloth dress Mormon underwear

 

I planned to take some time on the beach for reading to prep to write another section. I copied several chapters out of various books and brought them with my beach gear. Did reading actually happen? Nope. But I’m not sorry. :)

While we were playing, a friend snapped this pic of me. My Dad would be proud. He taught me how to throw a football. :)

beach football

 

 

 

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The singer Cher stirred controversy for her anti-Romney tweet.  The Supreme Court’s healthcare decision mobilized a large number of voters to rally around the not-Obama candidate, Mitt Romney, for his promise to lead the repeal of nationalized healthcare if elected. In just the four hour period following the Supreme Court’s announcement, Mitt Romney’s campaign raised $1 million.  

Cher’s concern led her to Twitter to warn her fans.

About Obama she wrote: “I Feel if he doesn’t get all his DUCKS IN A ROW we’ll b forced 2 listen 2Uncaring Richy Rich! The whitest man in MAGIC UNDERWEAR in the WH.” 

I’m glad to see that Cher is a concerned citizen. My first reactions:

  1. Is anyone forced to listen to the US president?
  2. Isn’t Cher white? Is a white man in the White House a problem?
  3. Isn’t Cher rich? Isn’t the American dream defined as the opportunity to rise from modest means to wealth as Mitt and Ann Romney have done?
  4. “Magic underwear” got all caps? Wow, she must be really worried about this possibility.

Two points

The first is related to Romney’s wealth and his Mormonism. Latter-day Saint (Mormon) congregations are determined by geographical boundaries called wards. Wards usually cover a large enough area that congregants span the economic spectrum. These wards have a strong sense of community since the Mormon baptismal covenant includes a promise to like Christ “mourn with those that mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort”  (Mosiah 18:8-9).  This means that by virtue of their Church involvement wealthy Mormons become personally involved with the lives of the economically poor members of their faith community. Further, the LDS Church has a lay ministry. I’m currently one of the lay ministers for my congregation. In addition to my full time job and my evening grad school, I serve in the Church about 15 hrs a week. This responsibility leads me to be intimately involved in counseling with members of the congregation who need help. Challenges span from economic challenges, spiritual discouragement, past abuse, depression and much more. Mitt Romney has had similar experiences through his Church service. His responsibilities as a stake president (a leader for several wards) led him to be even more involved in these kinds of issues than I am currently. Unlike typical wealthy Americans from which many politicians spring, Mitt Romney has been personally involved with and cared for people outside of his economic bracket. It’s unfortunate that he can’t talk about his faith publicly because this aspect of his faith community provides him with experience that others vying for public office never live.

I don’t know much about Cher. But, I doubt she spends much time with others who cannot enjoy her same lifestyle.

Next, “magic underwear” is a mocking term generated by the atheist community. Or was it the secular humanists? Or the nontheists? I’m not sure. It’s one of those. I was familiar with the phrase years ago by word of mouth. Then the night I wrote about wearing “the garment” when Michael Shermer and I had an exchange about it at Sixth and I, I found a Youtube video with the “magic underwear” term. You can see it in the comments on that post.

I’ve written about wearing the garment on this blog.

Mormon Underwear: A Constant Personal Reminder to Always Remember Jesus Christ and Keep His Commandments

Magic Mormon Underwear Gets a Mention at the Believing Brain Discussion

MacGyver Groupie and Lengthy Leggings

My Easter Dress, “Mormon underwear” mentioned…again and Mormon Defense

Sleeves on the Midnight Blue Dress? Sold

I write about it so much because Cher joins a large group of people who disparage this practice.

You can go to these posts linked above to find out about the doctrine of why Mormons wear an underclothing as a reminder of their covenants to “always remember Jesus Christ and keep His commandments.”

To what I’ve written before, I’ll add this.

This last week I accompanied a friend in my ward to receive her endowment in the Temple. This means that she promised to wear the garment as a reminder of the promises she was making with God. As I sat next to her in a beautiful room with mirrors and chandeliers in the Washington, DC Temple, the assistant to the Temple matron (kind of like the first lady of the Temple) told her that in addition to other purposes the garment  symbolizes the sacrifice of Christ.  Like the garment covers the body, Christ’s Atonement covers our sins, she told my friend. It added another layer to why I appreciate this reminder God has provided for me. With the many demands on my time, it’s sometimes easy to forget God. The garment keeps the reminder close. Wearing it requires some creativity in my wardrobe, but I don’t mind.

For example:

This week when Derechosaurus Wrecks  knocked out my power in 100 degree heat, I went to Marshalls  to cool off. I didn’t intend to buy anything, but I found this dress for $20 on clearance.

It was a little wrinkled on the hanger and I didn’t have electricity to iron it, but I wore it to Church the next day just the same because I liked it so much.

I rarely wear the Downeast Basics undershirt I paired with it to cover my garment because the neckline is so high, but it was meant to be with this dress. I’m glad I could help them find each other.:)

Wearing the garment has deep spiritual meaning. If someone understands it carries this depth and then mocks it, I accept that. My issue comes when people don’t know anything about the meaning of the practice and the only thing they know about it is Cher’s label.

It’s extra annoying because Cher doesn’t really get the over all underwear concept anyway, but whatev.

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11
Jun

Sleeves on the Midnight Blue Dress? Sold

Posted by: benjamin    in Mormon underwear

During my recent visit with my sis in South Carolina, we went shopping.  (She’s holding true to our southern roots, while my current location brings my loyalty into question. However, I do technically live south of Robert E. Lee’s homestead so I’m in the clear.)

My role was to entertain the little munchkin while my sister shopped. We make a good team. I like it that way. I enjoy the liberty of shopping whenever I feel like it, so I’m happy to provide my sister the same freedom when I can. I like that we’re close. I’ve almost forgotten her betrayal in the form of getting married when I was a missionary and replacing me behind my back, but that’s a story for another time.

Having a little one makes it difficult to shop with a purpose as we typically do. You see, bargain shopping is like a treasure hunt that requires stamina and patience.

Most of my attention on this shopping excursion was for the little girl with the quirky walk. Last I saw her, she was just barely walking. She skipped crawling. She didn’t like being on her stomach. She pushed a detergent bottle around the house for balance as she was teaching herself mobility. I was impressed with her ingenuity, but it doesn’t take much for her to impress me. Now that she darts around, she tucks one arm in while the other pumps for her little power walk. It’s incredibly funny;  she makes us laugh constantly.

Anyway, let’s get to that dress. So, I was mostly watching the little lady while my sister hunted and I came across this dress.

I love the midnight blue color and it has sleeves! It’s refreshing to find a dress that I don’t have to exercise a great deal of creativity to make suitable. It’s fun being creative, but it’s nice to dodge all the extra work once in a while, too.

Why do I care about sleeves? Remember how I wear a reminder of my covenant with God to always remember Jesus Christ and keep His commandments? Mormons call it the Garment, but public sources have nicknamed it Mormon underwear. I chafe at the term, but then roll with it. It’s way better than what it could be. You can read about the practice on this blog in the following posts:

Mormon Underwear: A Constant Personal Reminder to Always Remember Jesus Christ and Keep His Commandments

Magic Mormon Underwear Gets a Mention at the Believing Brain Discussion

MacGyver Groupie and Lengthy Leggings

My Easter Dress, “Mormon underwear” mentioned…again and Mormon Defense

The midnight blue dress with sleeves was $15.00 at Ross.

Sold

I already had the belt, which I got second hand.

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Life’s purpose is to increase in spiritual power by the cultivation of faith in God.

I make sense of the purpose of life through the framework of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  One of its tenets includes the pre-mortal existence of mankind in the presence of God, “For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth…for in heaven created I them[1]. In this state, we had a consciousness of the goodness of God and accepted the transition to a mortal existence. Since early Sunday School, children learn that the purpose of life is to come to earth to get a natural body and gain experience by
learning and growth. I have heard this narrative so many times it is now trite and serves me little in trying to make sense of life’s purpose. Therefore, I emphasize different aspects of revealed teachings to create my own guide. I center it in the development of faith in Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith, who I accept as a prophet equivalent to Abraham, Noah, Moses or Peter, taught that faith is a principle of power, “But faith is not only the principle of action, but of power also, in all intelligent beings, whether in heaven or on earth”.[2] I believe for those God first created spiritually to increase in power, He designed an environment for them to exercise faith.

My own efforts to develop faith independent of my parents began as a teenager.  After months and months of spiritual searching in prayer and scripture study, I received a powerful spiritual experience through the Holy Ghost that confirmed to me the existence of God and His awareness and concern for me. It increased my confidence to continue to outreach to Him and I not infrequently received further assurances.  As a full time missionary for almost two years, my faith expanded as I received immediate answers to my prayers. As my faith in Jesus Christ swelled, I felt the spiritual power of which Joseph Smith spoke and had a strong sense of the purpose of life. Then, at some undetected point, I entered a new phase of a development of faith.

God turned Deist on me, or at least He seemed to deal with me more like a clockmaker who set His world in motion and declines to intervene in its happenings. Without deviating from my usual efforts of prayer, scripture study and meaningful worship, I sometimes feel like God leaves me alone.  I am sure of His existence and do not believe His concern for me has changed, but He has provided fewer and less immediate assurances to me of His involvement. At this same time, I have become more mindful of life’s inequalities and tragedies. Often the self absorbed enjoy the comforts of marriage and family when the best swallow the pains of loneliness and neglect. Sometimes the promiscuous produce unwanted children when committed married couples taste the emptiness of infertility. Some inattentive parents overlook their children when involved parents bury theirs. The Mississippi overcomes homes, tornados demolish an Alabama town when tsunamis engulf and kill thousands in Japan. And some of the most admirable people in my life suffer with cancer when others live superficially, seeking to be incessantly entertained. Where is God? Is He still far removed?

This is the wrestling phase of my faith’s development and I see it as key in the purpose of my life; the cultivation of faith and the increase of spiritual power. This is where I have come to better know God.[3] My faith is not irrational. Every day it is a decision. I analyze the evidence available to me and  form a conclusion. Though I may feel little or no reciprocation from Him, I choose to piece together many past assurances from Him and choose to continue in trust.  Life’s purpose is to increase in spiritual power by the cultivation of faith in God. This comes not in the instant gratification to prayer requests or in knowing that every life question has a direct answer.  It is also not in the perfectly equivalent servings of blessings based on faithfulness.  Faith and therefore spiritual power comes by wrestling before God. It is in having just as many reasons to withdraw my reach to Him and walk away, but in choosing to increase confidence in Him, even when I feel He leaves me alone. The purpose of life is to have the opportunity and the right to walk away and the deliberate choice to stay. In that, there is spiritual power.

Life’s purpose is to change from selfishness to godliness.

By faith, I participate in the process of exterminating the rats within me.  C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity, “If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly.  But the suddenness does not create the rats:  it only prevents them from hiding.” In the times of my life when God has been very quick to answer me, I was less aware of the existence of any rats. They were easily hid when I decided to open the cellar. When I have felt God leave me alone is when the cellar door has been thrown open. It has been then I can see my impatience, sense of entitlement or my self-pity.  The purpose of life is to access the power of God by faith to change these rats to their inverse form, patience, gratitude and humility.  The purpose of life is to provide me with the opportunity to use the power of God to diminish my ego and to have repeated opportunity to avoid re-inflating it. The purpose of life is to draw on God’s power by faith to have the secret imaginations of my heart be infused with virtue and integrity, rather than self-aggrandizement or pride.  As I increase in faith in God, I feel empowered to be open, authentic, discerning and giving and I welcome God’s all-searching eye to pierce my heart.

This process is both deeply inward looking and interdependent on the people around me. If I were to withdraw from the world into a lonely cave, I may be able to dig out the rats of the dark secrets of my own heart, but how will I have opportunity to develop compassion, patience and kindness?  How will I share in the grief of a close friend who lost their brother or help relieve the burden of someone devastated by a natural disaster?  The purpose of life is to draw on the power of God by faith to turn from selfishness to godliness.  I cannot accomplish such a tremendous change. It only comes as I consistently outreach to God to endow me with such power. The power to change comes by faith.

Life’s purpose is to build eternal relationships.

I was beginning to ponder the meaning of life when I was assigned “sealings” on my bimonthly shift at the Washington, D.C. Temple.  Because of the belief that each person on the earth must receive gospel ordinances administered by God’s priesthood authority, Latter-day Saints perform proxy ordinances in the Temple for the deceased, which will take effect only if accepted on the other side by the person passed away. Unique to Latter-day Saint belief is that God intended marriage to endure beyond the grave and this authority to “bind on earth and binds in heaven” has been restored in our time.[4] I was not paying close attention to those in the sealing room as we administered the sealing ordinance for deceased people, but one fellow Temple worker joked about the meaning of life.  My attention turned quickly to him, thinking it was curious this topic would come up when I was deeply considering it. He had asked the question in jest and another Temple worker responded with a playful point. Then the responder became serious saying, “I think the meaning of life is embedded in this ordinance.” It took me back because it opened my mind to a thought I had yet to consider. The best way to increase in the power of faith is to live in a covenant relationship with God, which happens when two people agree to live in marriage.  In marriage, there could be  many reasons to withdraw and walk away, but when they choose to increase in confidence and trust in each other and in God, even when they feel left alone, they deepen in their commitment and are positioned to see an increase in faith and power. In building a marriage that will last beyond the grave, each person has to draw on the power of God by faith to change selfishness to godliness because their weaknesses are heightened as they deeply affect another person. Sacrifice in marriage inherently invites the increase of power by faith to become more like God.  In this way, we can better know Him. We are brought closer to Him as we become more like Him in the sharing of His power by faith.  The purpose of life is to build eternal relationships.

The purpose of life is to wrestle with God, become more like Him and create and nourish relationships that extend through the plains of eternity.  I want to live my life aligned with these purposes so that I can live with peace.  It first starts with my mind and my heart.

What do you think?  Does life have a purpose? If so, how do you view and explain it?

 


[1] Moses 3:5 in the Pearl of Great Price, found in canonized scripture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[2] Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith (American Fork: Covenant Communications, 2000), 2.

[3] “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent” (John 17:3).

[4] “It may seem to some to be a very bold doctrine that we talk of—a power which records or binds on earth and binds in heaven. Nevertheless, in all ages of the world, whenever the Lord has given a dispensation of the priesthood to any man by actual revelation, or any set of men, this power has always been given. Hence, whatsoever those men did in authority, in the name of the Lord, and did it truly and faithfully, and kept a proper and faithful record of the same, it became a law on earth and in heaven, and could not be annulled, according to the decrees of the great Jehovah. This is a faithful saying. Who can hear it?” (Doctrine & Covenants 128:9)

 

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“Who Shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord?” Open Access with Preparation

Just this last week a friend of mine told me about her friend’s friend’s description of their exclusion from a Latter-day Saint Temple wedding ceremony. (How’s that for degrees of separation?) This friend of a friend of a friend said he had to wait outside the Temple because he was “unclean.” It was a joke at which both my friend and I laughed because that’s not  how Latter-day Saints view it. If I had to choose one word describing those waiting outside the Temple during a wedding ceremony, it wouldn’t be “unclean,” it would be “uncovenanted.”

Latter-day Saints believe that in every “dispensation” in which God has dispensed the gospel of Jesus Christ, He has made a covenant with His people designed to instruct them of His nature.  In the Old Testament, Jeremiah records the Lord’s description of the ancient covenant,

“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33 ).

This covenant relationship is no longer limited to only the Jews as it was in ancient times.  Now anyone can be adopted into the “House of Israel.” The covenant relationship begins at the first ordinance, which is “baptism by immersion for the remission of sins by one with authority.”  Though baptisms are open to the public, later ordinances of the covenant akin to baptism are administered in sacred “Temples.”  Temples are open to anyone willing to (1) be baptized by restored authority into Jesus Christ’s modern Church (2) live God’s commandments like keeping the Sabbath day holy and observing the Law of Chastity and (3) strengthen their commitment to God by making further covenants. So God’s covenant is no longer limited to the Jews only, but in order to enter the “House of the Lord” also known as a  Temple, you have to willingly enter into a modern covenant relationship with Him. This often means many friends and family members do not observe Temple wedding ceremonies.:(

In a sense, every time a missionary knocks on someone’s door, it is an invitation to the Temple. However, no one is entitled to enter the “House of the Lord” without first spiritually preparing. We are guest in His home and He sets the guidelines.

(Photo of the Washington, D.C. Temple  from Chance Hammock Photography)

Chapels are Different than Temples

Latter-day Saints hold weekly Sunday services and social events in chapels. These are open to the public. Here’s a video describing the logistics of a Latter-day Saint worship service. Temples are special, sacred spaces where Latter-day Saints make covenants with God and seek personal revelation. In a similar way to how the ancient covenant people did not speak the name of God to show Him respect, Latter-day Saints reverence the ordinances of the Temple by not speaking of them casually. Material posted online and else where depicting specifics of Temple ordinances is highly offensive to a Latter-day Saint.

Prerequisite Covenant to the Marriage Covenant. What Does the Covenant Include?

A covenant ceremony, called the endowment, precedes the covenant of marriage. The following is a modern prophet’s description of what the covenant includes in the endowment:

“In the Temples of our Lord we learn obedience.  We learn sacrifice. We make the vows of chastity and have our lives consecreated to holy purposes” (President James E. Faust “Who Shall Ascend into the Hill of the Lord.” August 2001 Ensign).

This covenant requires us to access the Atonement of Jesus Christ to change the desire of our hearts.  A modern Apostle describes this process as:

To have our hearts changed by the Holy Spirit such that “we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2), as did King Benjamin’s people, is the covenant responsibility we have accepted. This mighty change is not simply the result of working harder or developing greater individual discipline. Rather, it is the consequence of a fundamental change in our desires, our motives, and our natures made possible through the Atonement of Christ the Lord. Our spiritual purpose is to overcome both sin and the desire to sin, both the taint and the tyranny of sin

(Elder David A. Bednar “Clean Hands and Pure Heart, Nov 2007).

Mormon Temples Made Simple YouTube video describes well Temple practices in a respectful way.

Marriage is the Crowning Covenant in the Temple

The crowning covenant with God in the Temple is the marriage promise to care for another in a selfless, Christlike way. Latter-day Saints believe that God intended marriage to extend beyond the grave. Adam and Eve were married in their immortal state prior to the Fall and their ability to die (Genesis 2:23-24). The book of Matthew records the “power to bind on earth and in heaven” was given to Peter (16:18-19). Since God’s authority to administer ordinances was lost from the earth with the death of the Apostles, He restored this power in our time (Doc & Cov 128:9-10). If the couple is true to each other and to God, they will remain married after death.

Because of the sanctity of the Temple, photography isn’t permitted.  Wedding pictures are usually taken outside. Here are a few of my friend, Brittany’s, wedding. (She met her husband, Paul, on an internship in Denmark from her D.C. area school.)

Centered in Christ at the Altar of Sacrifice

I’ve attended several wedding ceremonies in the Temple.  They are incredibly beautiful.  The rooms are typically small and attendance is limited to preserve its sanctity and avoid making it too much of a social event. The couple kneels at an altar, facing each other and holding hands as the “sealer” performs the ceremony. The altar represents personal sacrifice to God and the ultimate sacrifice of Christ. When Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden and were gradually learning the steps back to God’s presence, they were commanded to offer a lamb in sacrifice to look forward to Christ’s Atonement (Moses 5:5-8). Ancient Israel also offered animal sacrifice, but as they fell away from the truth they became too focused on the form, rather than pointing their minds to the Savior. Because the people in the Book of Mormon left Jerusalem about 600 B.C., they also had the Law of Moses. It is clear from this record that the animal sacrifices were drawn to point their minds to the coming of Jesus Christ (Mosiah 13:28-35).

After Christ fulfilled His Atonement, He commanded the discontinuance of animal sacrifices and instead required a “broken heart and contrite spirit” (3 Nephi 9:19-20). As a couple kneels across the altar, face to face, holding hands, they are to offer this to God as they enter into a covenant with Him and each other.

A Latter-day Saint marriage ceremony is centered in Christ.

Maybe a Ring Ceremony, Usually a Paartaaay

Latter-day Saint couples often hold a reception to celebrate their union. These are not held in the Temple. Because only covenanted people observe the Temple marriage ceremony, many Latter-day Saint couples hold a ring ceremony at their reception hall (exchanging rings is not a part of the Temple ceremony). At a ring ceremony, a couple may design a program that involves all of their well wishers.

Here are a few pics of Brittany and Paul’s reception.

Unity in Marriage

I have many friends who move in together prior to marriage.  Even my new favorite royals, “Wills & Kate” lived together for years before finally marrying. If my friends aren’t religious, it’s normal in my mind for them to move in with their significant other once they feel a sense of longevity. However, as mentioned previously, Latter-day Saints covenant to live God’s Law of Chastity which is only to have sexual relations with your spouse. We do this simply because God commands it, but there are obvious benefits. In doing this, we prepare ourselves to create a unifying bond with someone special that will deepen loyalty and devotion. It is beyond my ability to imagine sharing something so special with someone who had yet to decide they wanted to keep me forever. Breaking up is hard enough without creating such strong emotional bonds without the foundation to support them. (I’ve written about this topic on this blog several times, including Mormons and Sex: Living the Law of Chastity and others.) God has commanded union in marriage and sexuality is part of the process, but the union is more than physical. Emotional, spiritual, mental and physical unity is built through a lifetime of kindness, love, sacrifice, admiration, appreciation, hard work, synergy, cooperation, obedience, faith, grace, sanctification and more. A modern prophet describes the command to be united in marriage as:

“The Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, said of those who would be part of His Church: ‘Be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine’ (Doc & Cov 38:27). And at the creation of man and woman, unity for them in marriage was not given as hope; it was a command! ‘Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24). Our Heavenly Father wants our hearts to be knit together. That union in love is not simply an ideal. It is a necessity. . . . The Savior of the world spoke of that unity and how we will have our natures changed to make it possible. He taught it clearly in the prayer He gave in His last meeting with His Apostles before His death. That supernally beautiful prayer is recorded in the book of John. He was about to face the terrible sacrifice for all of us that would make eternal life possible. He was about to leave the Apostles whom He had ordained, whom He loved, and with whome He would leave the keys to lead His Church. And so He prayed to His Father, the perfect Son to the perfect Parent. We see in His words the way families will be made one, as will all the children of our Heavenly Father who follow the Savior and His servants: “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me’ (John 17:18-21). In those few words He made clear how the gospel of Jesus Christ can allow hearts to be made one. Those who would believe the truth He taught could accept the ordinances and the covenants offered by His authorized servants. Then, through obedience to those ordinances and covenants, their natures would be changed. The Savior’s Atonement in that way makes it possible for us to be sanctified. We can live in unity, as we must to have peace in this life and to dwell with the Father and His Son in eternity” (Elder Henry B. Eyring Ensign, May 1998, 66).

 

Is it too much to say that Mormons are incredibly romantic?

God designed love stories with eternal possibilities. Your love story can be eternal through the power of Jesus Christ and living His restored gospel. Latter-day Saints live in a way to write their own eternal love stories in partnership with God.

 

 

 

“Why We Build Temples”

Frequently Asked Questions about Temple Marriage Ceremonies written for Latter-day Saints

Frequently Asked Questions about Temple Marriage Ceremonies written for people unfamiliar with Latter-day Saint belief

“The Blessings of the Temple” YouTube video

Check out Brittany’s amazing blog: The House That Lars Built 

The picture of the Washington, DC Temple was taken by Chance Hammock. Check out his work.

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My white slippers whispered across the floors of the Washington, D.C. Temple this week as I gathered up the names.  As is customary, I wore Sunday dress clothes into the Temple and changed into my simple white dress with sleeves that fell to my wrists and a hem that just barely brushes the floor.  I’m not usually attentive to  my hair because of its consistent refusal to submit to my will, but before entering the Temple I carefully style it and fasten it with a bobbypin.  I also make sure to re-do my make-up since I serve in the Temple at the end of the day (once a week every other week) and by that time of day it’s almost completely faded. These gestures are small, but express my respect for the “House of the Lord.”

This was my first time gathering up the names for the prayer roll and I was deeply moved by the simple mailing envelope I held in my hand. It was an envelope full of the power of faith.

Members of the public either phoned in specific names for the prayer roll (301-588-0650) or faithful members worshipping in the Temple wrote them on small slips of paper and placed them in boxes with a slit in the lid.  I had already listened to the phone messages and recorded the names and I was now taking my time moving to each floor to gather up the names from the boxes. My pace was slow because I was deep in thought, which is the best place to be while in the Temple because it facilitates inspiration and revelation.

I’ve learned by experience that spiritual power comes by the exercise of faith in Christ and for me, prayer has been the best way to exercise faith.

I used to think prayer was a last ditch effort when all else failed. Now, I see it as a first move in navigating a challenge. Why do we pray when God already knows our needs? Why does He wait for us to ask? In the LDS Bible dictionary, it describes the purpose of prayer, “The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them.”

When we with hold our faith, God with holds mighty works because our faith is the medium in which He sculpts miracles.(Matthew 13:58) (Ether 12:12) I wonder how many miracles in my life God has been willing to bring about, but I simply didn’t ask for them.

Each of the hundreds of names was an individual expression of faith and a request for a miracle, a modern miracle. I couldn’t stop celebrating these expressions of faith in my hand, reverently of course. I was in the Temple after all. :)

Names are a Big Deal to God

Ways that God shows names are a big deal:

  • He wanted a name for Adam’s wife (Genesis 3:20)
  • After Jacob saw Him face to face, Jacob received the new name of Israel (Gen 32:24-30)
  • After He covenanted with Abram, he received the new name Abraham (Gen 17:1-8)
  • He doesn’t want His name disrespected and taken in vain (Exodus 20:7)
  • God sent Gabriel to Mary to inform her the child she carried would be named JESUS (Luke 1:31)
  • When God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820 to open the final dispensation, they called him by name (JSH 1:49)

For some reason, names are important to God. I’m glad He knows me by name, rather than as “creature-100-trillion-something.” My name reflects my significance. When I try to remember and use the names of others properly, I’m showing them respect.

The names on the prayer roll, my personal respect for names and God’s interest in names each are centered in the greatest name, Jesus Christ.

His name truly is “Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9: 6).

His is the best name to touch my lips, my mind and my heart.

 

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Faithful Latter-day Saints (Mormons) frequently think differently than the current public. The public often views living God’s guidelines, which are called commandments, as someone telling them they can’t do something or they have to do it. Faithful Latter-day Saints live these guidelines because by faith they see the opportunity to be schooled by God in how to draw closer to Him. As a result, when faithful Latter-day Saints properly wear the sacred underclothing associated with the endowment ceremony in the Temple, it draws them closer to God.

The public also often views “Mormon Temples” as secret and exclusive places because a person must be a baptized member of the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints and currently be living the commandments to enter. Plus, members do not talk about the specifics of Temple ordinances outside of the Temple. However, Temples are not secret, but sacred and God wants all of His children to prepare themselves by baptism and commandment keeping to be able to worship there. It is literally the House of the Lord.

“So, what is done in a Mormon Temple ceremony? What is this Mormon underwear all about?”

In an endowment ceremony Church members strengthen their commitment made at baptism to keep the commandments. At baptism, Mormons promise to “mourn with those that mourn” and to “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places” (Mosiah 18:8-10).

The practice of baptism as an ordinance was given to Adam and Eve as part of the process to overcome their fallen state. They first were instructed to repent and believe in Jesus Christ, be baptized and they would receive the Holy Ghost” (Moses 6:57-61).  God is consistent with His formula of overcoming the Fall, therefore in our time we too exercise faith in Jesus Christ, repent, are baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost as the first steps to overcoming our fallen state.

As the Lord prepared Adam and Eve to exit the comfort of the Garden of Eden and enter the challenges of the world, He made “coats of skins” as a covering for them (Genesis 3:21). Where did the coats come from? They likely came from a lamb that was offered as a sacrifice that Adam would later learn symbolized the Savior (Moses 5:4-8).  Any time that God has had His gospel in its fullness on the earth, He has introduced wearing the garment among His people.

In the endowment ceremony held only in the Temple, members strengthen their promises made at baptism and are symbolically clothed in the garment as a constant reminder to them to keep their promises or covenants.

Then, during the weekly Church Sunday services held in chapels, members renew their promises made with God by taking the Sacrament or “Lord’s Supper.” By doing so members “witness” unto God “that they are willing to take upon them the name of [Christ], and always remember him and keep his commandments” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:7).

What!?! Always remember Him? How is that done in the daily grind? God is a Master teacher. He designed the garment as a very personal reminder to help His children remember, remember, remember the two way covenants they have made with Him. God is perfect and faithful in keeping His end of a covenant (Alma 37:17).  His children need help keeping their end. He designed the garment to be a help.

Specs and Guidelines for Faithful Members in Wearing the Garment

Guidelines for wearing the garment are best explained in “The Temple Garment: An Outward Expression of An Inward commitment”

  • The garment is a sacred reminder of Jesus Christ and the covenant to live His commandments. Treat them as such.
    • Pictures of the garment on the Internet (or other mistreatment) are extremely offensive to members who understand and honor  its sacred purpose.
  • Avoid placing it in a position where it can be mocked. It is sacred.
  • Keep it covered.
  • Wearing it properly fosters modesty.
  • The tops have short sleeves and the bottoms fall a little above the knee.
  • It should not be cut or altered to follow the fashions of the world.
  • When worn faithfully and properly, it will be a shield and a protection.
  • It should be worn night and day.  In activities where the garment cannot be worn, like in swimming or athletics, it should be restored quickly instead of lounging around without wearing them. We should look for occasions to wear it, not to take it off.
  • It is associated with the endowment ceremony (“Mormon Temple Ceremony”), which members receive when going on missions, getting married or when they consider themselves spiritually prepared to strengthen their commitment to the Lord they made at baptism.

My personal practice

Preparing since my youth. The standards of modesty in dress for the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints stem from the coverage established by the garment. As a teenager, my shirts always had sleeves and the hem of my shorts fell closer to my knees than my hip sockets. I even designed my own prom dresses and had them made because it was practically impossible at the time to find modest prom dresses that were not the epitome of frumpiness. As a teenager, my early commitment to modesty taught me to put the Lord first before the changing trends of the world. It probably benefited my heart more than it benefited anyone’s eyes. I didn’t have to change how I dressed when I received my endowment (which was at 21 years old) and started wearing the garment. I was looking forward to making the covenant and having to change my modesty standard would have distracted me from the significance of the promise I was making. I’m glad I took the time to prepare.

Rockin’ the modest fashions Modesty excludes lots of fashion trends, but Latter-day Saints don’t dress like the Amish, thank heavens. A lot can be accomplished by layering. Whoever came up with the business model for Downeast and Shade are now making bank. These companies began with shirts that can be worn under spaghetti strap shirts and the like. I especially like wearing these kinds of shirts even if you can not see them because I like to smooth over the line between my low-rise jeans and the waistline of the garment bottoms, which falls a little above. I also like to rock the midcalf bottoms when I wear leggings or certain kinds of jeans so I don’t have a line at my thigh.

A faithful Latter-day Saint would choose wearing the garment properly even one day over not wearing it (though not wearing it during swimming or athletics is appropriate). For example, a friend of my sister’s asked her to be a bride’s maid, but the chosen dresses were strapless. If the bride was set on having all her bride’s maids wear exactly the same strapless thing my sister would have declined the invitation. Gratefully, my sister and the bride were friends and the bride knew how important it was to my sister, so she had a little jacket to go with the strapless dress and if you ask me, she was the most beautiful of all the bride’s maids, but I’m incredibly bias in this department.

Shield and Protection I’ve heard stories about how the garment has been a shield and protection to faithful members when they needed it. I usually accept them as folklore, such as burn victims who received no damage where the garment covered them. Though I do not count these as impossible, I don’t wear the garment properly because of these rumors. However, I have heard from a more credible source, my Dad, that before he was a member and knew anything about the garment, he was logging with a man who faithfully wore it. This man got his chainsaw stuck in a tree and when he pulled it out, it kicked back and sawed through his chaps, but the fabric from his garment got caught in the chain and it cut the chainsaw’s engine. My Dad, characteristically aware of his safety tells the story as he thought, “I have to get me some of those.” J Now my Dad understands the much deeper significance of wearing the garment than viewing it as chainsaw protection.

While at Brigham Young University for college, I frequently went canyoneering in Zion National Park, which I consider the closest place to God on the earth apart from the Temple. My roommate, who at the time was not endowed, asked me if I was going to wear the garment on the trip. Pine Creek at that time of year was expected to have several swims and some people were wearing bathing suits under their hiking attire. Since, I was looking for an occasion to wear it, rather than not to, I told her jokingly (but it was one of those jokes that she knew I actually meant) that if I got into trouble in a canyon, I hoped I could cash in on some of my blessings I was storing up from wearing it properly.:) Later trips progressed us to bigger and better canyons including wetsuits where I continued my same attitude and practice.

More than a physical shield and protection,  it is a spiritual one. As I previously discussed the Lord views breaking the Law of Chastity as next to murder on His list of serious sins.  I think of how one would first have to discard the garment, which is a sacred reminder of their promise to keep God’s commandments, including the Law of Chastity, in order to break it.

The locker room

My first two years of college I played on a women’s volleyball team for my school in Florida. I’ve often wondered what I would have done in the locker room if I had been endowed then (I had yet to serve a mission, so I had not yet received my endowment). As a team, we practically spent all of our time together either in the classroom, the weight room or on the court, so we all became friends. In hindsight, if I had been endowed then, I would have talked to each teammate individually about the significance of the garment and if there was a complete consensus of respect from everyone and I didn’t feel like I would be putting it in a position to be mocked, I would have been fine with changing with the group. However, the locker room at the gym I attend now is a different story. I only see those people in the locker room. Sometimes they are the same people, but since I’m quite modest, I try to give others as much privacy as possible and try not to even look in their direction. It doesn’t exactly foster friendship. Since we’re not close and since I have no inclination to break the ice with a first hand lesson in religious diversity, I just change in the stall.

“So like that’s kind of weird.”

American cultural ideas of what underwear should look like (and how we should look in it) mostly comes from Victoria Secret marketing and similar sources. Covenanted and faithful Mormons wear underwear day and night that acts as a special reminder to always remember Jesus Christ and to keep His commandments and well, that’s not ordinary. It’s quite extraordinary, actually. God began instituting the wearing of the garment with Adam and Eve and He has reintroduced it in every time period the gospel has been on the earth in full, including the present. I sincerely love what wearing the garment does for me. It changes my heart every time, which is all the time, I remember its significance and it draws me closer to the Lord. I consider it a privilege.

Why Mormons Build Temples

 

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