My experience with the new temple changes

When I heard about the temple changes on January 2nd, at first I thought, “This sounds too good to be true. Maybe they’re just rumors.” I worried that if I went to the temple to see the changes, and found out it wasn’t true, I would be sorely disappointed.

After more people confirmed that some great improvements had been made to the temple ceremonies, I was overjoyed. It felt like a huge burden had been lifted from me. A huge, heavy burden that I’d carried on my shoulders for several years. On January 2nd, I felt like I was dreaming. I still couldn’t believe that the sexism had been taken out of the temple! I decided I had to go see it for myself.

I’ve been endowed for 10 years and, about a year ago, I had stopped attending the temple because it brought me too much pain. Whenever people talked about how great the temple was, I didn’t share in their joy. To me, the endowment ceremony belittled women and was more of a roadblock than a spiritual haven.

But, I felt that to be a faithful member I had to do the temple work for my ancestors. So at first I forced myself to attend the temple, even though it filled me with anxiety. I seemed fine when I was at the temple, holding everything in. But when I came home, the pain would pour out. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I stopped going.

And now, for the first time in years, I felt like I wanted to go and see the improvements for myself. For the first time, I didn’t dread the thought of going to the temple. My husband confessed to me that he hadn’t cared much about going to the temple anymore, because he had seen how negatively it had affected me. Now that changes had been made, he was willing to attend the temple again.

Since I live an hour away from the nearest temple, I had to wait a week before our schedule allowed us to go. My husband and I got up early and drove all the way to the nearest temple. We arrived early, so we had to wait about an hour there as well. But it was well worth it.

I went in the endowment room feeling very happy and hopeful. The room was packed! There were so many women that they had to pull up extra chairs and have several women sit on the other side of the room as well. The movie started, and I eagerly took in the new version.

When they came to the part about Eve and Adam being sent out of Eden, I was so happy to see that Eve wasn’t being punished anymore. Everything sexist that had bothered me for all these years had been taken out. It was like a difference of night and day!

During the prayer circle, since I didn’t have to cover my face anymore, I felt more included. I could see everyone’s faces. As I glanced around, I realized I had never noticed before that people close their eyes during this part of the ceremony. Before the changes, I hadn’t felt the need to close my eyes because I couldn’t see much anyway with the veil over my face.

I was so glad to hear Eve’s voice at the end of the film. I recognized Eve’s quote from The Pearl of Great Price. It’s one of my favorite quotes because Eve explains that the Fall was a positive thing. I hope that in the future they will increase Eve’s dialogue in the film even more.

While the endowment still isn’t perfect, it has definitely been greatly improved. It is now a much better experience for women. I think that many people will benefit from the changes and go to the temple without feeling ill or uncomfortable.

The other great news is that since they made this change (which is a huge and historic change), they can make many others. I’m confident we will continue to see positive changes such as these in the church. I feel like this great change is paving the way for more improvements to come.

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8 Responses

  1. Autumn says:

    I am so glad that it was a positive experience for you, and I like your hopeful, optimistic take on the changes. I am looking forward to going soon to see for myself exactly how things have changed.

    • Dani Addante says:

      Yes, it was such a difference of night and day. There were two major things in the previous version that I was hoping they’d change, and the church went above and beyond my expectations with their new changes.

  2. Heather Brown says:

    I’m glad that it is a more positive change for the women who remain in the church as well as the YW who will never have to feel the pain that so many of us have felt. Sadly, for me, I had to sit next to my daughter as she went through for the first time a few years ago. The look of pain and betrayal on her face was a heavy price to pay. I could not tell her that everything would be ok, as my mother did for me, because I knew it wasn’t ok. My daughter has since left the church. She hated her one and only temple experience. I can’t say I blame her. I wish the prophet and apostles had listened to the women 40 years ago when these issues were first brought up instead of digging their heels in patriartichal abuse. If they had listened to the women, maybe my first time through wouldn’t have been so painful. If they had listened to the women, maybe my daughter would not have felt so betrayed by her god, her church, and her parents. Maybe she would have remained in the church. Maybe I would have remained as well. The brethren are slow to listen, especially to women. Its really too bad. There has been so much needless pain. Their listening now has come too little too late, at least for me and my house.

    • Dani Addante says:

      I agree. I too am glad that the women who aren’t endowed yet will never get to experience the previous version. The church should have made this change a long time ago, since it would have prevented so much pain, and also the previous version didn’t make much sense anyway. Thank you for sharing your experiences. When you mentioned that your daughter felt betrayed, I think betrayed is the perfect word to describe it.

    • Anna says:

      It is too little too late for me also. I hung on for 35 years, hoping I was misunderstanding something or that the church would change. Finally, I decided that the church was just plain wrong on so many things. And from what I have heard, they have not changed the temple enough for me to want to go back. Women still covenant to live exactly what they called polygamy back in the day, and with that covenant of eternal marriage women are still second class if our husbands are free to marry extra wives. And the men still covenant to preside. Too little has changed for it to be completely equal, and I am just not sure what some of it really means. And given the history, it just might still mean polygamy. The church has not come out and said there will be no plural wives, so not enough has changed.

      But rather than feeling sad that I am out, I am rather glad to be out. If the church was wrong about people of African ancestry, if they were wrong about women’s status in the temple ceremony, what else are they wrong about? I trust my own sense of right and wrong because my track record is good and their track record has been wrong. I cannot trust them to tell me right from wrong, so why should I honor them as prophets above myself? There is freedom in being out and trusting myself and God, rather than forcing myself against my better judgement to trust a bunch of old rich white men.

      I am glad my granddaughters will not feel the sense of betrayal by God that I felt, but I wish they were out. I wish my grandchildren were not being taught that their auntie who is married to their other auntie was evil, because if the church was wrong about the wording of the temple, then it is most likely wrong about that too.

      • Dani Addante says:

        Thank you for sharing your experiences. Yes, the temple needs more improvements and I hope they make them soon. The eternal polygamy thing definitely needs to go. Well said!

  3. Dot says:

    Anna—exactly what I wanted to say.

  4. Violadiva says:

    Thank you for sharing this nice story with us! I’m so glad you had a positive experience, and I can feel the hope and transformation you expressed!

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