Guest Post: Where Was My Crown?
“Beautiful golden crowns. That is the image burned into my heart when I think about temples. My young women’s leader, a woman I respected and looked up to in every way, would use crowns as her most common temple motif. Over and over again through my time in the youth program she used crowns to demonstrate to us that when we went through the temple we could expect to become Queens unto the most high God.
The temple was to be the pinnacle of my spiritual experience as a latter day saint in the church of Jesus Christ. I needed to safeguard my virtue to prove myself worthy to enter. I hated myself for any unclean thought that would come to my mind in my youth for fear that it would bar me from my crowning temple experience. A lifetime of church attendance preceded my temple endowment. As a youth I spent four years in early morning seminary and weekly meetings in the young women program. This was followed by four years of religious studies at a church university where I would carry a variety of church callings. I thought I was ready. I was ready to feel the awe and magnificence that would accompany my first temple experience. I was expecting my crowning moment of glory as I entered the temple with friends and family to receive my very own endowments.
But something was wrong.
I didn’t feel magnificent. I couldn’t even feel the spirit at times. What was wrong with me? “You need to go back more often” I was told. “The Lord’s way is not man’s way”. “Don’t get distracted by the physical, look deeper with your spiritual eyes”. So I dug deeper, searching for my crown. I must have missed it! I was expecting to be crowned unto God, a priestess in my own right as I was taught my whole life, but that moment never came. Where was my queenly crown? I had put my trust in my leaders and my family members. They had gone before me and made the same covenants. Why could I not be told what I was covenanting to, what I was promising, what I was resting my entire salvation on before I made those commitments? I was made to believe that if I gave my everything to God and to the church I would in return be made a Queen unto God. I was told it was through the redemptive power of Christ alone that my sins, not the sins of anyone else, be made clean.
But that wasn’t the covenant I made when I went through the temple and took out my own endowments. I promised my all with full faith, but the promises I made were not what I expected. I learned that my husband would become an integral part of my salvation and my connection to God. I also learned that the covenants my husband would make to God did not mirror my own. These differences weighed heavily on my mind as I would reflect back on my crowning temple experience I previously hoped for. Upon hearing the news of changes being made in the temple my heart rejoices for the young women who will not have to go through the bait and switch that I went through. They will not have a golden crown dangled before them only to have it snatched away and replaced with a veil. I am happy that now in the temple, the highest form of worship within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints, steps are being taken to better reflect the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet there is still work to be done. I am still heartbroken that such a profound doctrinal change can be made in secret. I wish so deeply that these changes were made sooner and that I can one day make peace with the temple.”