My wife and I went to the temple yesterday and did initiatories. She loves doing initiatories. We try to mix things up a bit on our monthly trips: endowments, sealings, initiatories and the occasional baptism. My favorite place remains the sealing room. But my wife says she loves the quiet and Spirit behind those curtains doing initiatories.
And she points out that it is one of the few places in the Church where you can see women performing priesthood ordinances.
My wife went through an interesting and I would say pretty typical process in her early twenties. She went to Ricks College and then a liberal art school. She really struggled with the patriarchal nature of the Church. As she describes it, she was a strong, career-oriented young woman in a Church that was constantly pushing her to be a wife and mother. Didn’t she have any value beyond that?
She kept on getting promptings that she should go on a mission, but she resisted the promptings for a year or so. And then finally she gave in, and she put in her papers and now says the mission was one of the greatest experiences of her life.
Before going on her mission, she needed to get her endowments and do her initiatory. She describes with amazement the fact that during her initiatory women came in and laid hands on her head to seal the blessings. This is the first time she had ever see a woman lay on hands, and it was a pivotal experience for her. Her main thought was that there are many things about womens’ responsibilities in the priesthood that we don’t understand right now. “Those are priestesses who are laying on hands, people who have a form of the priesthood,” she said. And it made her realize that she had completely misunderstood and underestimated the role of women in the Lord’s church.
My wife sees men and women having different but completely complementary roles within the Church. We have often talked about the Eastern symbol of yin and yang — that’s how she sees it. Women have the responsibility of bringing new souls into the world and nurturing those souls — that is an incredibly important priesthood responsibility. Men have the more obvious role of presiding and guiding the Church. But neither of the roles is less important or more important — they are complementary.
She says she is reminded of that every time she does initiatories. So, it seems to me the temple is more important than I ever imagined it would be.