Friday, February 3, 2012

How I View the Temple Endowment

The easiest way for me to think of "the endowment" is as a gift that allows people to experience a radical shift in perspective - but that only can be accomplished, in my opinion, if people learn to see the presentation of the endowment figuratively and symbolically. I like to phrase it in terms of a grand morality play - with a model of casting that allows each and every participant to be the central actor in the play and incredible screenwriting that allows ME to improvise and roam around the stage each time it plays out around me.

I can't really explain that adequately, but I liken it to Nephi asking about his father's vision and getting transported mentally / spiritually into his own vision that, really, was RADICALLY different than Lehi's. He wanted to understand the things of God, but he conflated that with the things of Lehi's experience with God - so the Lord showed him something totally different that was his own experience with God.

When I sit in an endowment session, my "focus" is on what God will show me for the next couple of hours. The atmosphere / setting / imagery / etc. of the "play" puts me in the mood to open my mind and heart and "reach out" for what is floating around me at the moment. I don't really listen much to the actual words of the presentation anymore; rather, I send out feelers and see what gift I am given that day - what understanding with which I am endowed during that short time.

I'm not trying to memorize words anymore, like I did when I was younger.

I'm trying to experience God.


Gwennaƫlle said...

Yes, same for me. So when I have read on the internet people mocking the endowment and asking who can say that he/she has learnt something every time he/she has gone to the temple I could say that I have.

Anonymous said...

OK,I hear that this is your experience.

But it leaves me wondering,why am I being offered these words in this setting if they do not have specific,definable meanings? Surely I could recieve the relevant revelation church on Sunday?

If we all get to make up what it means for us,why not just say any old thing in any old space?

I'm genuinely confused as to what is 'real' and what is'figurative'. If I can put whatever meaning I construe onto the temple ceremony,what is the point of having specific events portrayed?

I'm actually happy to be able to make up my own mind about what is going on,but I guess I fear us all making up whatever we want from the experience.Surely that would be interpretation rather than specific knowledge. And I could be wrong.

For example,with my addled brain and limited knowledge of biology and astrophysics,I can see a justifcation for seeing Darwin's take on an evolving creation. But that is just me because I'm really not qualified to offer an opinion.I go to the temple in the hope that I will encounter something that presents me with greater certainty.

See how dangerous making it up on my own is?

Papa D said...

Gwen, that really is the only way I can learn something "new" after all these years - by being open to personal revelation while I'm there.

Anonymous, perhaps I didn't explain well enough, but I'm not "making stuff up" when I do this. I've been attending the temple long enough that I can recite the words of the entire ceremony along with it if I try. I don't have everything memorized to the point where I could recite it all outside the temple (and I obviously wouldn't do that), but I know the "literal" presentation and what the literal presentation means really well by now. I'm not going there now to "make stuff up". Rather, I'm going with the specific intent of opening my mind to whatever hits me in that spiritual atmosphere **about what is being presented**.

So, one time, I might get an insight into what it means to be Adam in the Garden - or what Lucifer might say to me in my own life if he suddenly showed up in front of me - or why there is a difference between "preachers" and "messengers" (especially from my Father) - etc. I'm trying to be open to revelation that will teach me deeper meaning - that will show me what lies behind the symbols being acted out.

Now, having said that, this is what works for ME. I have absolutely NO problem with others going and viewing it literally. I used to do that, and it worked for me at that point - and I might end up back in that position at some point in the future.

Finally, what's so dangerous about an evolving creation? That's more consistent with Mormon theology than most people realize, in my opinion. After all, going from an "intelligence" (whatever that means) to a "spirit" to a "mortal" to a "spirit" to a "resurrected soul" is the epitome of an evolving creation.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou Papa, hope I didn't come over as less than courteous. It's all very confusing to me, so I found your explanation really useful. I can identify moments when I have had a similar experience. I'll feel little more confident about building on that now, I've always felt uncomfortable about making my own interpretations.

Papa D said...

I didn't take it as discourteous at all. I appreciate the chance to talk about this stuff, and if nobody ever asks questions, I don't get a chance to think about how I would respond. *smile*