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Sunday, January 06, 2019

Talking and Not Talking about Temples and Not Temples

Typically when there's any news about temples, in general, it's an announcement of the construction of one or more new temples (and, on occasion, an announcement about a remodel or rededication of an existing temple). Temples made the news last week, though, and it wasn't because any new temples were announced....

One of the things I love most about the religion to which I subscribe is the principle of continuing revelation. To me, a portion of this principle is (or can be) interactive, and that makes sense; I believe in prayer, in communion with God.

There are things I've learned (or, knowledge I've acquired) as an adult, and upon learning such things, I've felt frustrated, inadequate, and even embarrassed because I feel strongly I would have benefited from having known those things earlier in my life, and I sometimes can't help but wonder what might have been. Still, I don't always know why things have come into my life when they have, and I typically hope to trust to see reason to it as I go along.

In my lifetime I've witnessed continuing revelation in action, in ways which affect daily aspects of living for many who not only share my religious beliefs, but also their loved ones. One major change in recent years is the change in age eligibility for those who decide to serve as full-time missionaries. When I was younger, young men could go on missions beginning at age 19, typically after a year of college experience, and women had to wait until they were 21 years old. In October, 2012, a changed was announced: men could serve beginning at age 18, and women could serve at age 19. This affected many people (myself included, as my own kid is on a mission now).

When that change happened, I wrote about it, and I'm glad I did. It's nice to remember these things, and how the dynamic for a group at large affects us on a personal level.

Another thing I love about worship is attending the temple, which is not the same as the local meetinghouse I attend each Sunday. It's kind of well known that not much of what happens within the temple is discussed outside the temple, but exactly how much can be unclear. Years ago, hardly anything about the temple was discussed publicly; now, however, you can see short videos to learn about going inside temples, temple weddings, endowment ceremonies, baptisms by proxy, and even temple garments. All these videos are official church publications, and I love the increase of transparency and inclusion in sharing information this way.

Last Wednesday a statement was issued by the First Presidency regarding temples. A statement isn't necessarily an announcement, but if there's no announcement, the timing of a statement could be curious. I had also seen online chatter about changes in the temple, and then bold and emotional tweets Wednesday morning from people strongly encouraging others to get to the temple as soon as possible.

Taking into account not only the promises we make to not discuss certain things in the temple, but also the cultural pressures (of the past?) to not discuss ANYTHING that happens in the temple, and adding a couple detailed news articles into the mix, it might be difficult to know what, if anything, to say. Personally, I feel strongly about making a record (as I did with my 2012 post about the missionary age change announcement), as well as owning our own narratives rather than passively sit by while the tale of what's happening might be carried by someone who would misrepresent the truth.

So, here's what I've said, and what I'll say:

I am, indeed, glad for continuing revelation, on a personal level and on a wider scale. Some things may not make sense, and may take actual years to feel completely correct, to feel completely right. Some things we pray for, for years and years, never knowing how long change takes, or when it will happen, or if it will happen at all. I do think most of us are doing our very best with what we've got. I look forward now more than ever to being in the temple. Words matter. Sometimes a true thing can become more true. It's one of the things I love most.

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