Come to the Dentist–er, Temple
I love visiting the dentist. I feel so happy and peaceful when I sit in the dental chair. I learn something new every time I talk with my dentist. When I leave the dental office, I feel invigorated, motivated, and renewed. If you don’t want to visit the dentist and don’t enjoy your dental appointments, maybe you should reevaluate your lifestyle.
Now that you’ve heard my glowing opinion of the dental care experience, don’t you feel motivated to visit the dentist twice a year like you should? No? Oh dear. That is a shame, because dental care is very important to your health and hygiene.
A well-intentioned gentleman recently shared a testimonial similar to this one at church. The only difference was that he was talking about visiting the temple instead of visiting the dentist. From my perspective, he may as well have been talking about the dentist.
For me, temple attendance shares a lot of commonalities with dental care. It can be tedious, uncomfortable, or even painful. I don’t love attending the temple. Sometimes I feel happy and peaceful at the temple. More often, I feel bored. Occasionally, I feel confused or angry.
Moreover, I rarely learn anything new at the temple and I refuse to fret about that fact. After all, there are many valid reasons why a person might not learn anything new at the temple that have nothing to do with personal worthiness. The most obvious is that the temple ceremonies are always the same (with the exception of rare, permanent revisions to the script).
Another is the formal teaching style of the temple. Some people, like myself, are drawn to the Mormon faith because they enjoy the informal and interactive nature of weekly church meetings. I love discussing scripture and life experiences with other members. However, these interactive elements are not part of the temple ceremonies.
Symbolism is incorporated into our Sunday meetings, formally through the sacrament ordinance and informally through the object lessons many members choose to incorporate into their lessons and talks. However, these symbolic elements make up a small proportion of the Sunday meeting. In contrast, the temple ceremonies rely on symbolism almost exclusively as a teaching tool. I’m not a huge fan of symbolism. That says more about my learning style than my personal worthiness.
Do you want to motivate me to attend the temple? Maybe you should mention some better reasons for me to go than how enjoyable it is.
I’m not saying that you can’t talk about how much you love attending the temple. I won’t stop you from speaking your truth. Just try to keep in mind that your opinion won’t speak to me more powerfully than my own personal experience.
And please don’t imply that because I don’t enjoy the temple the way you do, I must be spiritually unfit in some way. I already evaluated my lifestyle and I’m doing fine.