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Confessions of the Lord’s Anointed

[The following is not intended to be an exposé of the Mormon temple ceremonies. The curious can find the temple ceremonies without the portions which initiates covenant to keep secret.]

When I arrived at the temple on that hot August day, I was in high hopes. This would be my first time through the temple, aside from youth trips to perform vicarious baptisms for the dead. I was told by my youth leaders before those trips that some particularly spiritual people see the spirits of the deceased who are being baptized in the temple. I had always hoped to be righteous enough to be like those people and see dead people in the temple. It never happened, but I blamed myself. I could think of lots of reasons God wouldn’t think I was righteous enough. Maybe someday I would be ready.…


I had heard such wonderful things about the temple. Everyone told me how special and uplifting it was. They told me that the Holy Spirit was stronger there than anywhere else in the world. I hoped that my experience in the temple would make my belief in the divinity of the Mormon church more sure. I believed that the gospel was true, but there were always doubts somewhere in the back of my mind. I longed to pass through the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost and take my place as a faithful member of God’s church with an abiding conviction. I wanted to be truly converted.

I would be leaving on a mission soon, and receiving these ceremonies was an important step in preparing to serve. I had taken a temple preparation class and the Stake President had hinted at what would go on within the walls of the temple. He wasn’t very specific because what went on in the temple was considered too sacred to be discussed outside of its walls, even within the precincts of the Mormon chapel that I had grown up attending.

I had already had ample opportunity to discover the secret ceremonies before I personally entered the temple if that is what I had wanted. I worked as a page in a local library, shelving books. My boss assigned me to a section of the library which included the religious books. The book Secret Ceremonies was published during my time at the library. I skimmed sections of the book reading about the sordid details of the author’s life in Mormonism, but I fastidiously avoided the sections regarding the details of the ceremonies. I didn’t want to violate the sanctity of the temple ceremony with my uninitiated eyes.

So when I arrived at the temple with my parents on that hot summer’s day, I was in the dark about most of what was going to happen. I entered the temple and showed the Brother at the front counter my living ordinance recommend which showed that I had been recommended by my bishop and stake president as a faithful Mormon who was worthy to enter the sacred temple.

I was led past the counter to the locker room where I would exchange my “street” clothing (dress slacks, shirt, and tie) for all-white clothing symbolizing light, purity, and equality. When I entered the locker room, I was met by a shocking sight. Two men wearing strange hats, white flowing robes, and green aprons entered the locker room. They had just finished an endowment ceremony and were returning to the locker room to change their clothing before leaving the temple. I had already seen the ceremonial temple clothing—which is worn on top of the white clothing I was wearing—when my mother and I had purchased my own ceremonial clothing in preparation for this eventful day, but to see it being worn for the first time was a striking experience.

What exactly had I gotten myself into? I wondered to myself. I swallowed my apprehension and dove in.

I was calm throughout the proceedings even during portions of the ceremonies which would have made me uncomfortable in other circumstances. Being clothed in nothing more than a white poncho for the washings and anointings didn’t bother me as much as I had expected (although I did check to make sure that they really did mean for me to take off all of my clothing). Fumbling like a toddler to put on the ceremonial robes during the endowment ceremony didn’t embarrass me like it might have.

You’re given several opportunities to back out before entering into temple covenants. I wasn’t told what those covenants were prior to being given the chance to back out, so it was a leap of faith on my part to plunge forward. I wondered if anyone ever had backed out in the middle of the ceremony.


I was hot and confused when the day was over as I drove home from the temple with my parents. The late afternoon was extremely hot and I was now wearing an extra layer of clothing: the Garment of the Holy Priesthood. The temple ceremonies were too much to take in all at once. It seemed like I had just entered into an entirely different church, one that I had no idea existed before today. I was bewildered by the strangeness of my experience, but it felt good to be a new member of this exclusive club. I felt more grown up. I reviewed in my mind my new, secret name; the secret grips and signs; and the words of the ceremonies. I believed that I would need to remember them to get into heaven, so committing them to memory was very important.

I hadn’t experienced profound communion with the Holy Spirit in the temple as I had hoped, but perhaps if I kept my new covenants, perhaps I would someday soon.…

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  1. Green Oasis » Secret Ceremonies said,

    May 13, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

    [...] reading the reviews on Amazon for Secret Ceremonies which I mentioned in my last post, I discovered that Deborah Laake, the author, had committed suicide in 2000, seven years after the [...]

  2. Kullervo said,

    May 14, 2007 @ 5:43 am

    I remember thinking the hat was a little much…

  3. Jonathan Blake said,

    May 14, 2007 @ 8:39 am

    :D Now that you mention it, I think losing the hat would have made it all much less comical.

  4. Kullervo said,

    May 21, 2007 @ 3:53 am

    I’m just sayin’.

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