Thursday, January 08, 2009

Year of Tens: Temple Edition

I completely forgot to write about this!
It happened on December 29th, 1998, so just pretend this was written over a week ago, okay? Okay.

Year of Tens: Temple Edition
It was Christmas Vacation between semesters; Brandon and I were apart. He was able to get two fabulous part-time temp. jobs in California, so he headed home to work (and be with his family) while I went to Idaho to finish prepping for the wedding. Our marriage would be on January 16th, 1999, and we had a lot to do in order to make the deadlines. My mother had been doing a lot of prep work for me while I was at school, and I think she was relieved to finally have me around to make final decisions.
It was during this break that I decided to go through the Temple. (For those who don't know about Temples and would like to learn more --so you can understand what I'm talking about --please go here.) If you did the calculations correctly, you would see that I went through the Temple nearly 3 weeks before I got married. This is rare; most young brides receive their endowment the day before they get married (some on the same day). Also, Brandon was not there. This always shocks people --including Temple workers. It's hilarious! But I'll get to that later. I chose to go through the Temple so much earlier because I decided I wanted the chance to go again before getting married. I also had been taught that although the culmination of the Temple experience is being sealed to my spouse, the washings, anointings, and covenants I make are mine --and mine alone. Brandon can't make them for me, nor can he keep them for me. With this knowledge, I decided I needed to do this for me. You know --me. Brandon--the awesome support he always has been --completely agreed with me, too.
[With that said, dear reader, I hope you understand that I am in no way judging when/where/how a young bride decides to go through the Temple; it's a personal thing!]
So, with my parents, a few friends, my grandmother (who had flown in from Canada to make cakes for the wedding --35 angel food cakes! --and attend my endowment session), and my mom's cousin (who is like another grandmother to me), we headed to the Temple.
Couple of memories:
*It was in the Idaho Falls Temple
*My grandmother was appalled I would enter the House of the Lord wearing a modest denim jumper. Denim is for work clothes, you know. I got an earful on that one!
*My mother told me to carefully listen to every word of the initiatory (washings and anointings) portion, and so I did. Because of this, it was my favorite part.
*My mother was my escort; our friends that were there (my parent's age) ended up being the witness couple.
*I realized my hands looked like my mother's; I felt a deeper connection to her I had never felt before.
*My grandmother and mother's cousin decided I needed help with everything and they gloriously chatted away like hens (whispering, of course) and fawned over me. It was annoying (umm, you're supposed to be quiet in the Temple!) and sweetly endearing (I love those women somethin' fierce!) at the same time.
*My father did the prayer circle with me (because Brandon was not there).
*The Temple workers asked for Brandon and looked at me like I was psychotic when I told them he wasn't there.
*The other brides with their new manicures and nervous looks also gave me psychotic stares when they learned my fiance wasn't there.
*When I went into the Celestial room, I felt so happy. That's the only way to describe it. I wasn't weirded out by the Endowment Session (many people warned me they thought it was weird, and I do have to admit it was nothing at all like I expected; in fact, I'm wondering if this is just what they meant), and I wasn't sad about Brandon being in California. I had a feeling of peace and it was awesome.

So, there you go! Ten years ago (Dec. 29th), I went through the Temple for the first time. Brandon and I went back a week later (this time in Provo) with my cousin and her husband, and that was scarier --I didn't have an escort! But it turned out just fine. We also did a session the day before our wedding. Besides returned missionaries, I don't know very many young brides who got the chance to attend the Temple three times before their wedding*. It was wonderful!

If you have been through the Temple, what was your experience like? Did you go before a mission? Marriage? For the heck of it? What was your favorite part of the whole process? (Try not to be too explicit, please --keep the sacred stuff sacred, okay? Thanks.)

*FYI- usually, church leaders discourage men and women from entering the Temple too early (i.e. months before a wedding, or years before a mission, etc.) because the covenants we make in the Temple are very important and yield extreme consequences when broken. It's the "higher law", and should never be taken lightly. This is why women have been encouraged to wait until right before the wedding, thus ensuring that they are actually going to get married. Some find this ridiculous; I think it's actually pretty wise. Young men aren't allowed into the Temple until after a mission call has been issued, either. Of course, there are some exceptions, and I know many men and women who neither served a mission or married that have received their endowments, some of which were young when they received them.
And hey, you may disagree with the church's policy on this, but please don't discuss your frustration here. This is not a debate about the Temple. If you have a problem with it, email me. Thanks!


Cheryl said...

I totally forgot to mention that my best friend was there and she had made my Temple dress for me. Sorry, Em! I didn't mean to leave you out. :)

Annette Lyon said...

I went a little early before my wedding day, too--for those very reasons: I didn't want the temple experience and the covenant and all the beauty there to be overshadowed by the wedding. They were BOTH special and important. I went a second time before the wedding with my mother.

One funny moment on my first time cam in the celestial room, when a worker came up to me and asked if I'd been coached before coming on the last part--apparently I knew it too well for my first time.

I suppose she hadn't run into many people who concentrated on actually LEARNING the stuff during the session as it was presednted (I was a university student at the time--learning is what I DID) and who'd read the scriptures enough to be familiar with certain phrases and such.

I assured her that no, no one had coached me, and took it as a compliment. I still giggle when I think of it.

stewbert said...

I went through the first time a couple years after my divorce. I was nowhere near engaged, didn't even know my husband, and still got those same looks from all the workers and well-manicured brides. hehe

i wasn't weirded out, but had the same peaceful feelings. i was trying to learn it all too -- i think if you go too close to your wedding, you don't have a chance to think of anything but the wedding, so ... yeah, that's my explanation.

Cardalls said...

I went before my mission and went through two months before so I could go weekly before I left on my mission. I had an amazing bishop who met with me weekly for a month before I went through and went through each portion of the temple ordinances and explained (what he could) and had me study the scriptures and read books. I was so well prepared (thanks to my parents who had prepared me all throughout my life as well). I loved the temple, I walked into the Celestial room with all of my siblings and spouses and parents waiting (I am the youngest) and just started sobbing out of pure joy. That is what heaven will feel like...except my sweet husband and children will be with me too!

Amber said...

I went though the week before we were married. My favorite part was that Kevin was there. I loved the involvment that he got to have that was for that one time only, my endowment. Sharing it all with him was my favorite part.

Obiously not to knock on what you did- just sharing my favorite part of my endowment.

I didn't find the session strange I just remember trying to take it all in. It was such a good night. :)

Alison Wonderland said...

I went a few days before my sealing. I thought it was a little strange but not too freaky (I had been warned as well) but my most vivid memory was an absolute certainty that I had seen my father dressed that way before which of course I couldn't have, and it's not like you can confuse that outfit with anything else.

Jolene said...

I'm so glad you posted this - it brought back some great memories!

I went on a mission so I was in the temple for the first time with my parents, siblings and friends. It was such an amazing experience. Like Cardalls said, I felt like I knew what heaven would be like.

I'm so glad that I was familiar with the temple before my wedding/sealing. I feel like I remember so much of what the sealer said because I wasn't already processing a million new "temple things" - the clothing was familiar, my surroundings were familiar and I just think I was able to enjoy it.

Of course I know that my daughters my not serve missions (even though I am constantly telling them how great it is) but if they don't - I will encourage them to take out their endowments slightly early - like you - so that they can really cherish their sealings.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

My brother and I went into the MTC on the same day, so we also went through the temple together. It was very cool. The only thing that was a little unsettling for me was that I did not realize that the ceremony would be the same, word-for-word, every time I came back. I thought everybody just had to learn it all right then and then it would be different everytime. Imagine my relief when nothing changed the 2nd time around.

I also wanted to say that one of my favorite things about by wedding was that we had our reception the night BEFORE so that our wedding day was all about the temple and nothing else. I loved it that way. We could walk out of the temple calmly and just begin our lives. I highly recommend it.

Amy said...

I went to the temple about a month before we were sealed. It was great to go to a few sessions and also attend friend's sealing before hand. It was easy to listen and pay attention when I wasn't the one with all the nerves.

Another thing we did, that I would recommend to any engaged couple is to do the sealing and reception separately. I noticed someone commented on that above, but we had our sealing on a Friday evening, then had the reception the following night. The temple is about 3 hours away and most people try to do everything on the same day...ALL DAY Saturday. It would be exhausting and probably feel like a blur.

It was nice for each event- endowment, sealing and reception - to have it's own time and space.

Anonymous said...

I kind of skimmed this one. But I got a good chuckle out of the "modest denim jumper", trying to picture you going to the temple in an "immodest denim jumper". Not trying too hard, mind you.

blogging and bliss~ said...

Well that was neat it brought back many impressions I had. I got mine the day before then we went and got pictures around the temple(same one as yours..) It turned out nice because it rained the next day. I could have used a few more days...weeks... to comprehend the whole endowment thing. Honestly it was different for me out to. I felt like I had joined a new religion. Maybe I should have taken one of those temple prep classes????

Mother of the Wild Boys said...

Because both of our families lived in different states than us, it just made sense for me to do my endowments the same day as the wedding. I had my mom and my grandma as co-escorts, and it was really cool to be there with so many family members.

I guess I'm just able to compartmentalize things, but when I was doing the the stuff for me, I wasn't thinking about DH or my wedding at all...I just listened intently for myself. Also, like Alison Wonderland, I experienced this feeling of recognition when it came to the temple clothing. I wasn't weirded out at all.

Summerh said...

Well that's interesting. I hven't heard of anybody doing it that way but obviously you loved it and that's what matters.

I got my endowment 3 days before our wedding and Tom was there. It was great!

FoxyJ said...

I served a mission, and ended up with nearly 4 months between my call and entering the MTC (it's been 10 years this summer!). I was living at home that summer and didn't have any extended family nearby, so it was just my mom and I when I went for the first time. It was still special. I enjoyed being able to attend frequently before my mission, and being able to attend often with my husband when we were engaged. Now he doesn't go anymore, but I'm glad that I had a number of times in the past when I really knew that going was for me and that I was making my own covenants. I know some women feel weird going by themselves. The only thing I didn't like was that our wedding day was very busy (I kind of regret picking Salt Lake at a busy time of day) and the temple workers had some trouble with certain things you have to do if you haven't been before with your spouse. It was supposed to be a special moment and it ended up being kind of stressful due to misunderstandings.