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.