Saturday, June 16, 2012

Garments And Temple Ceremonies

          When I was thirteen, I spent a month living with my non-member aunt in Ottawa.   I showed up at the local Mormon meetinghouse alone on a Sunday morning, dressed in my finery, ready for church.
          Young Womens’ that day was taught by a newly-wed with curly-blonde hair and an earnest manner.  The lesson for the day was about temple ceremonies.  She kept talking about an “endowment ceremony” and “garments”.  I was confused, so I raised my hand.  
          “What do you mean by endowment ceremonies and garments?”  I asked.  
          “The endowment ceremony is when you make covenants with God in the temple.” she said.  “When you make these covenants, you agree to wear garments as a sign of your promises to God.”  
          I sat there, absorbing the information.  Then a lightbulb went off in my head.  I raised my hand again.  “I know what garments are!” I said, excited by this new knowledge.  “I see them hanging on the clothesline at home all the time!”  The teacher smiled at me.  The class had been rowdy, with a lot of restless girls; I think she was happy to see that her lesson had hit home with someone.  
          After church, the teacher offered me a ride home.  We walked out to her rusted station wagon, where she introduced me to her husband, a thin man with brown hair.  He asked me how the lesson was.  
          “I learned about the endowment ceremony today.”  I was embarrassed by the fact that I had never heard of endowments and garments, in spite of a lifetime of membership.  “I had never heard about them before; I guess I have a lot of learning to do.”  I felt very insecure about my status as a Mormon; how could I have not heard of garments and endowment ceremonies before?  
          “Oh, I am still learning about the endowment ceremonies.” he said, with a wry smile.  His smile held an unusual note, a touch of dissonance that was uncommon to the usual Mormon dialogue.
          Years later, when I discovered what happens during the endowment ceremonies, I would remember that smile and wonder.    


  1. Can you elaborate? Why do you think he said that with a wry smile?

    1. There will be a follow-up soon. :-) But in a nutshell, the temple ceremonies are very hard to wrap your mind around and very shocking even to Mormons that go through the first time.

  2. I'm really enjoying these memories that you're sharing. Keep them coming!

  3. Replies
    1. That is a very surreal website; do you think they sell a lot of garments?


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