Thursday, August 17, 2006

One Friday afternoon in June

"With this Garment I give you a New Name, which you should always remember, and which you must keep sacred, and never reveal except at a certain place which will be shown you hereafter. The name is Sarah," the nice lady smiled as she pronounced it.

"Sarah," I repeated. In my mind I was thinking of a friend of mine named Sarah who used to annoy me a lot. At least, I justified, I would always be able to remember it. Plus, it was a special, just-for-me name, and I really enjoyed Sarah in the bible. It would do. I would not protest.

As we finished our first endowment session, my husband (though not eternally at that point) stood behind the "veil" and repeated what the guy told him to say. I only can recall the part where I gave the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, or the New Name. I told Eric my new name and immediately wanted him to whisper what his was. But the temple worker kept on going with the ceremony. Then Eric, as the "Lord", guided me through the white polyester curtain. "Heaven" sure looked like a back-stage. A white one.

In my mind I kept stewing over Eric being the "Lord" in that scenario. But I tucked those thoughts down because the Celestial Room was pretty and I was concentrating on not letting my "robe" touch the floor.

It was dusk as we got in the car to leave. The sound of crickets and cicadas rang in our ears, and the horizon was a dull purple-blue. "Well that wasn't so bad," I declared.

"What'd you expect? Blood-letting?" joked my oldest brother.

I laughed, "Yeah sure. But the initiatory was weird. I didn't know she was going to touch me. Oh well, no biggie." My thoughts trailed off and we drove on with only superficial small-talk.

It wasn't until 5 years later, having removed my garments for the final time, that I remembered my first temple experience. Though it didn't stand out as traumatic, and I didn't realize anything awry at the time, I definately had an out-of-sync feeling that night. Quiet, yes it was. Peaceful, absolutely. Weird, you'd better believe it.


Rebecca said...

I was always PISSED that the woman had to tell her name to her husband, but didn't get to know his. Also, the whole thing about the husband being the intermediary between the woman and God always irked me. I had a LONG talk about it with my sister and her husband (when I was still Mormon). They explained that it's not that the husband is over the wife - it's just that he's acting on behalf of God. The wife only has to listen to him if he's following God's will, and if he's doing that then he'll never be exercising unrighteous dominion, so it's a partnership and everything's equal. Yeah, somehow it still didn't sound quite right - I mean, he's not exercising UNRIGHTEOUS dominion, but that would still mean he's exercising RIGHTEOUS dominion - he's still The Boss. Sick sick sick. Things like this are the reasons I'm bitter about being raised in that church. Argh - now I'm all clenched.

Eric said...

Ah... memories of me screwing up the "toga" thing and having to have my B-I-L and some moustached temple worker help fix it. Oh, and one cannot forget the slasher-movie butcher-esque creepy guy who touched me with oil and a grin in his soul.


Joseph's Left One said...

At least you guys didn't have the ritual suicide gestures like I did. With every sign made, you'd make a sign of throat-slitting or disembowelling or evisceration and repeat, "I covenant that I will never reveal the whatever sign of whatever priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty. Rather than do so, I would suffer [slash] my life [another slash] to be taken."

Not exactly peaceful. OK, rant over.

Saint'n said...

I forgot my name -- is this bad?

La said...'re headed straight to hell.

But you already knew that! ;)

dfb said...

La, you are so going to Hell!

Anyway, sorry about last night. I was trying to avoid an IRL conversation in a bar by pretending to be conducting a textual conversation. That's why I was sending stupid texts for no apparent reason. The topic amused me, but I really wasn't making any larger point than just "here's a random text." Did I bug you?