Excellent preparation is available with President Nelsons talk "Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings" published in the May 2001 Ensign.
Also the "Most Important Step" by David Stanley in the JUne 2000 New Era, and "The Temple Garment" by Carlos Asay Ensign Aug. 1997
Cory's attempt to improve the preparedness of first time temple goers is admirable.
Familiarization with the following scriptures helps, Ex 40:12-13. Gen 1-3, Moses 2-5, Abraham 4-5, Rev 2:17; 3:12, Isa 62:2, D&C 130:11, Gen 17:5, Gen 32:28, John 1:42, 1 Cor 15:40-41, D&C 76:81, 91, 96-98, D&C 88:21-24, Gen 65:24, TG veil, Ex 28:27-28, 29:5, 35:9, Lev 8:7, BD Ephod
Realizing that the endowment is of ancient origin, an we in the modern WORLD do not seem to like ancient symbolism.
Temple workers are instructed by priesthood authority not to interpret the temple ceremony for those who attend, as such interpretations are that of man, and not that of God, which is the purpose of going to the temple. But not all people learn symbolically, and sometimes other interpretations may help overcome the "symbolism challenged" (if i were to used political correct speak (pun intended, offense not intended).
Cory Jensen's interpretation of the Tree of Life as the veil is one interpretation, one inspiration that he has received (I assume). I will have to consider it on my next visit.
Another symbolism is that each of us exhibit attributes of both Adam and Eve: Adam is spirit (willing to keep all of God's commands) and Eve is flesh (weak) needing to experience by mortal experiences to learn and grow.
A third is that all men and women are symbolized by Eve (as we all are the 10 virgins is said parable, as in other scriptures) and that Adam is a type of perfect priesthood representing Christ, willing to sacrifice his own comforts so that all of us Women-Eve could gain experience of good in and evil through mortality. Pointing towards Christs love for each of us, and his atoning sacrifice - the tree of life.
The endowment represents symbolic passage through the three degrees of glory, telestial, the world in which we now live terrestrial, and celestial, but is brief - condensed now a days into a two hour presentation that contains only the most necessary ordinance information, so as to accomplish the work of redeeming the dead.
The symbolism of the veil worn by women - at one point of the temple - to protect those in the terrestrial realm from the power of the Lord - to do what he needs to do -both in great glory for blessings, but also for the destruction of the wicked when they go astray (whose children they may be). It is an expression of love from an all powerful God to his righteous daughters how might have wicked children. Realizing that no veil is worn three steps away in the Celestial realms.
Each participant in the veil will come to his or her own understanding of what the journey, the symbols, the events mean as God is infinite and willing to share.
Some advice (taken with a holy ghost or grain of salt): Don't take things so literal and open your mind up to the endless possibilities.
For me, the real teaching of the tree of Life does not happen in the endowment, but as i sit quietly contemplating, praying and asking, communicating with my Father and my Savior in the celestial room afterwards.
I fear that too many of us get through the endowment ceremony to get into the celestial room, only to be done with it much quicker to get back into the 'real world' and on with "life" that we should, and do not spend time in communion with the ruler of the Universe.
a disciple of Christ (sometimes willing, sometimes weak)
Elizabeth, I'm Cory Jensen, the author of this article. Following the publication of my first book on the temple, Understanding Your Endowment, I was surprised at the number of people who feel the way that you do. It's not a high percentage of members, but you are definitely not alone. Many who feel this way are women. Sometimes, their discomfort with the temple comes from a lack of understanding or possibly misunderstanding something. After reading my book, many have written to tell me that they are able to attend the temple with new eyes and it is a better experience. If you feel that might be helpful to you, message me on Facebook and we can discuss privately some of your concerns. May God bless you in your journey.
I always receive something new when I attend the Temple! It is a wonderful blessing and I wish I lived a little closer to one so I could attend more often.
Elizabeth, Yes it is someone else's fault causing the temple related trauma in your life. Not the spirit. You have the gift of discernment but only if it agrees with the orthodoxy. So go see a therapist and dig deep into what trauma MUST have happened as a child, there could be no other explanation for not liking the temple. Try going before 1990 like I did.
Very good article. Two things I would add : First, preparation for gratitude for the temple garment and what it represents. In a very tangible way it represents to me turning my back on the world and connecting me with God's influence.
Also, my own experience receiving my endowment in 1968 was that I went to the temple with a determination that everything God had for me there was "His way" and that I truly wanted to tap into what He wanted to teach me. He blessed me beyond my ability to understand with a great love for the temple ordinance--- from the very first words that were spoken to me I felt His love for me personally. I never wanted to leave that beautiful place, so I have returned often. I think a humble love for God is essential. My "preparation" was awful in the sense that I had no formal preparation ( such as a class) and things people said to me beforehand were just plain weird. But I am so grateful that I was prepared by my own sincere longing to draw close to God.
Excellent article! Thank you so much for sharing it! I think that the temple is simple, yet complicated. Repeated attendance and taking the time to think about everything symbolically is key to finding light and joy in the experience. I agree that this article is a great help for parents in helping to prepare our children for the temple!
I felt strange and uncomfortable about the idea of polygamy until everyone else kept telling me that it was God's plan. Eventually I felt ok about it so if you just keep going to the temple, you will eventually talk yourself into feeling good about it. It just takes time and pushing those feelings aside before the real spirit takes over and confirms to you what you should know.
Elizabeth, I am so sorry you have had these feelings. I sincerely hope you are still an active member of the church. I think of the hymn "Keep the Commandments, in this there is safety, in this there is peace."
To Elizabeth, who has stopped going to the Temple because it was not a good experience for her: Often times this is an indication of early childhood trauma that can be worked through with help from someone who is experienced in helping with trauma of this sort. Practitioner's of the Healer's Blueprint are the best ones that I know of to help with this. Please don't give up on the Temple - there is hope and healing ahead for you!
Thank you for this article, it was very helpful, in my quest to increase my knowledge of the temple experience. The temple experience is overwhelming. I struggled with my attitude towards it. I decided to put some effort in and started studying about it. Little by little I have come to love the temple, but it takes effort just like anything worthwhile. the more I learn the more I love it. Another great book found on Amazon, "Dear Jeff": Candid Advice From an Older Brother On Preparing to Enter the temple." Loved this book it was very helpful and easy reading.
It may be difficult for many temple loving members to understand but not everyone has had good experiences in the temple. For me the temple has not been a happy experience. I have hated the endowment since the first time I attended. I finally decided for my own sanity to just stop going.
How I wish this information and preparation had been available to me in 1964. I was so poorly prepared to receive my endowment, and many of my generation feel the same. Having served as a temple ordinance worker for many years, I see how much better prepared are the young people of today. What a blessing for them to have the clearer understanding of temple ordinances in this time when the world's moral compass is so clouded.
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