Showing posts with label Sunday School. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sunday School. Show all posts

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.