When the temple helps, part 3: 20 years of temple work

This is the third post in an on-going series about how the temple helps and blesses the lives of Latter-day Saints. Millennial Star contributor, Daniel O’s first two installments are here:

When the temple helps
When the temple helps, part 2

We invite readers of The Millennial Star to submit their experiences of how the temple has helped and blessed their lives. Please see the “Submit A Guest Post” tab on the top for more information.

This installment is by Millennial Star regular, Joyce Anderson.

Mesa temple front side viewThis week I celebrated 20 years as an endowed member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1995, I entered the temple to receive my endowment as preparation for a full time mission to Bulgaria. I had no idea really of what to expect, other that I would be making sacred and important covenants with my Father in Heaven, and that I was making a very important, and big step in my progress as a Latter-day Saint. I had looked forward to going to the temple for myself for many years, but I had really desired it from the time I was about 19 years old.

Late on a February afternoon, I entered the Mesa Temple with my mom to receive my own endowment. I remember wearing a pink floral dress and that I had chapped lips from being so nervous. The Matron of the temple came out to the recorder’s office and took me back to the women’s area to begin my temple instruction. The Matron introduced me to Sister Crandell, who was going to be with me that day. Years later, Sister Crandell was speaking at a Stake Conference for young single adults. After the meeting I went up to her to introduce myself. She, of course, did not remember me, but I remembered her. I thanked her for taking me that day and helping me as I went thru the temple for the first time. As we spoke there was pure joy in her face. She told me she was to glad I had come up and talked to her, because her time as a temple worker had been her favorite calling in the Church. It was a special moment, provided to both of us because of the temple. Continue reading

The Sisters Nailed It

One of the good things about being on the high council is I get to occasionally sit in on General Women’s Conference.  This is the second for all sisters, and I think sets a very high standard for all General Conferences. First, the meeting had a clear theme: Temples and Covenants.

Next, the videos were well done. Six months ago, they had a video that seemed a little kitschy, kind of like having too many knickknacks on display.  However, beginning with a Korean Primary, dressed in traditional robes, singing “I love to see the temple” in their native language, while standing in front of the temple doors was tremendous. It quickly reminded me of my military time there in 1985, when the temple was built and dedicated (I was in the English choir).

Later, another video displayed sisters bearing their testimonies in their native languages of the temple. The stories of a young girl converting and taking her deceased mother’s name to be baptized, or the Haitian mother who lost her 6 children in the earthquake, finding joy of eternal families in the temple, were definite high marks of the meeting.

The talks were excellent, giving great examples of covenants and the spiritual and revelatory power of the temple. I applaud the sisters who spoke on a level that could touch all the sisters in attendance, from 8 to 108. (We often will have General Priesthood meetings, where someone will speak only to the deacons, or a specific group, and seems to leave others out, so this is a great example to next week’s speakers).

Finally, President Uchtdorf said something that I was excited to hear.  He called the Women’s Meeting the “opening session” of General Conference, as training will be conducted this following week for General Authorities and Auxiliary leaders, culminating in the final sessions next weekend for all members.  To officially recognize General Women’s Meeting as the opening meeting of General Conference, gives the meeting its appropriate recognition and importance to Conference.

I hope all sisters listen to this session. Then, I hope they have their husbands and sons also listen. There is some great counsel we can all gain from these talks. I hope that next weekend’s talks can be of the same high caliber!


I Don’t Wear White Dress Shirts

whiteshirt… that often. They just don’t appeal to or look good on me. How far back this aesthetic concern goes in my life I am not sure. Perhaps its only as recently in my life timeline as returning from my mission. Every day from dusk until dawn a missionary wears white shirts and ties, if not suits, as a servant of the Lord. Like any uniform, after the official reason for its use ends it feels good to change into something else. No reason to wear a drab color when there are so many other choices. The reason I don’t like to wear white shirts might sound shallow, and there is truth to that consideration, but tastes are not always complicated.

Part of my personality is less than white shirt and tie compatible. From an early age I have been an artistic minded person. My most distinct youthful memories include drawing or coloring on whatever piece of paper crossed my path. As an example, on Saturdays after cartoons there was a classic monster show that came on one of the channels. Giant monsters were my favorite. One of those was a giant tarantula that terrorized the American foothills of some unnamed geography. Having at the time fallen in love with the show the first viewing, I put that fandom down in art. Not just any old picture would do for my enthusiasm. No, I drew and colored (for a black and white film) the basic storyboard of the movie’s events. In the mind of that young boy sitting half the Saturday doing his creation, he was writer and director of a remake. White means fill the space up with shapes and colors. Continue reading

Doctrines of the Temple

This is a third in a series about learning how to get the most out of the Temple.


When entering the Temple for the first time or returning, it might help to be aware of some important doctrines for better understanding. There is no “different Gospel” to be found inside that hasn’t been discussed and taught in church on Sunday. Those that say the Temple teaches new doctrine kept “secret” until entering either are ignorant on the topics or more likely exaggerating for the sake of emotional manipulation. Similar to any good literature, the content is deep with allusions, metaphors, and patching together of sometimes desperate truths for greater insight.

Because the format of doctrinal presentation is far more ritualized than typical public church activity, it might at first be hard to recognize the familiar. Even the most knowledgeable Mormon might be a little overwhelmed. Those who haven’t spent much time in personal religious study could likely feel like they are drowning. The reason is the “Plan of Salvation” taught over so many years time gets condensed into a tight presentation. The small drip becomes a flood. Try to drink in too much at one time and the mind and spirit could go into system overload. As was said before, don’t expect to understand the whole or that such will ever fully happen in this life.

Regardless of the difficulties in soaking up all that is offered, there are key doctrines that can help pave the way for inspiration and enlightenment. By no means is the following a comprehensive guide for study. In fact, there really isn’t any way to compile such a list as many things learned in the Temple are personal interpretations; like any Scripture study.

Instead of writing out long commentaries as if an expert in each area, the sections will have quotes from LDS Church leaders and Scripture. There are no better words than from the servants of the Lord. This is a quoted selection of essential readings. It is a starting point for those preparing to attend and more reflection for those having already gone. Continue reading


Conference Schedule

The Academy for Temple Studies and the Utah State University Religious Studies program announce further details of the conference to be held on October 23, 2013, on the campus of Utah State University.  It will start at 9:15 a.m. in the Eccles Conference Center and adjourn at 4:30 p.m.  Since seating is limited, we recommend that you register now if you want to attend.


This conference will approach this topic from a temple perspective with biblical, archeological, liturgical and LDS components.  Looking at the abstracts below it is clear that this conference should promote a lively discussion and time is being allotted for panel discussion and response to questions.

8:45 Benchmark Bookstore open in the lobby.

9:15 Welcome and Introduction of the conference.

9:30 Margaret Barker, well-known for her numerous books and articles on temple theology, whose book called The Mother of the Lord:  The Lady in the Temple was published last year.  Her presentation is entitled, “The Woman Clothed With the Sun in Revelation 12.”  A female figure, apparently not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible, appears in the centre spot of the Book of Revelation.  She is a royal figure, crowned with stars, and she gives birth to the king who rules from a throne in heaven.  She is attacked by a red dragon, escapes to the wilderness, and there waits for the allotted time to pass. Her other children were the Christians, but who was she, and where had she been hiding?  The implications are that the Lady is the Mother of Yahweh.

10:20 Q&A

10:40 break

11:00 William Dever, distinguished professor of Near Eastern Studies; has written 26 books and 350+ articles on Near Eastern archeology.  The writers of the Old Testament clearly present monotheism—the exclusive worship of the male deity Yahweh—as the ideal.  Yet the frequent condemnation of “idolatry” by prophets and reformers indicates that in folk religion other deities were often worshipped.  In particular, the Mother Goddess “Asherah” appears as a shadowy figure, almost forgotten in later times.  But several recent archaeological discoveries of both artifacts and texts have revealed that the cult of Asherah was widespread throughout the monarchy.  And in many circles she was regarded not simply as a patroness of mothers, but as the consort of Yahweh. Even in later Judaism, she appears as the “Shekinah”—the earthly Mother who represents the presence of a remote God.  Prof. Dever will give an illustrated lecture on Asherah, based on his recent book Did God have a Wife?  Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel.

Continue reading