Tales from the Temple
When I mention that I was born and raised in Utah people almost always ask me if I am Mormon. I explain that I was raised in that religion, was a missionary for 2 years but am no longer a member. The next question is usually about the "special Mormon underware". Not everyone knows about them, but they've heard weird rumors and stories about them. This exact conversation happened to me yesterday so I think it would make an interesting blog post.
Temples are not regular Mormon meetinghouses, you have to be 'worthy' to go into one. Meaning you have 2 interviews with church leaders to determine that you are living all the church teachings. This "recommend" has to be renewed yearly.
One can google the things that are done in the temple. You can read the endowment ceremony word for word if you want or read plenty of ex-mormon's experiences. You can also google Mormon garments to see what they look like and read about the symbols in them. I could tell a lot of details about the hows and whys, but this isn't the point of my blog entry.
I don't want to belittle anyone's beliefs and make fun of something that someone believes strongly in. I know how I feel when someone tells me that Pagans are evil. I laughed, but I couldn't believe that someone would try to discount my beliefs.
Anyway... when a good Mormon first goes to the temple they have the garments put on them. They go through several ceremonies where you vow to keep the laws of God (according to the Mormon belief system). Everyone is dressed in white so they have changing rooms where one changes out of their street clothes and into their white temple clothes. I have been cruised by guys when I was in the changing room. Being in a place like this didn't stop some from being themselves.
So after you go for your first time, you can go back again and again, but this time it is for (or in the name of someone) who is deceased. Mormon's believe that everyone has to have and make these covenants with God to go back to his presence. This is one reason that Mormons love genealogy. I remember a few years ago a Jewish group requested that Mormons stop baptizing and doing all these ceremonies for their dead relations.
I think it's kind of unusual, but a lot of Mormon families take the love of the temple to almost a worship status. They love their leaders, the prophet and apostles and they have pictures of their local temple in their homes. Well, the culmination of the temple ceremony is a couple being married for not only this life, but all eternity. The children born to a couple will be "born in the covenant of marriage". That's why Mormons are so big on marriage and families.
Anyway... I don't want to be too wordy, but if anyone wants more details, ask away.