The last week was as bustling and as busy as usual. But a couple of really cool things happened.
On Thursday, my mom came down to visit. She and I went to the passport office to sort things out for my upcoming trips, and then we went shopping. We talked a little bit about her making a very important white dress for me (more on that later). It felt really nice to see her, and to be out and about in my beautiful city before my workload crushes me and I can’t do anything. I got a super cool planner for this upcoming school year, and I’m so pumped to use it. It has a little section each week for “small victories”!!
Late Friday, I got a last minute invitation from my friends to go to the temple the next day. It’s me, so I said absolutely yes. So I headed out with some of my dear friends to go to my favorite place.
I love attending the temple, and it was such a good way to celebrate my one year mark of being a member of the church! (Side note, every time I go to the temple, I get baptized for someone named Clementine. Like, every single time. So I think I have to name one of my future children Clementine.)
But yeah. One whole year! It’s really flown by. It feels like it was last month that I was getting ready for the plunge. Now that I’ve been a member for a year, a bunch of other opportunities are coming my way. The most important one? Taking the next step in the temple.
Currently, when I go to the temple, I do proxy baptisms and confirmations, so that people who didn’t have the opportunity to be baptized in life have an opportunity to accept that blessing if they want to. It’s the first thing you can do, so a lot of young members of the church (12 years old and up) and a lot of recent converts, (like me), can be found in the baptistry.
The next step in the temple is the endowment, where members make sacred covenants above and beyond the baptismal covenants. Members are first endowed for themselves, and then can go back to complete the endowment for their ancestors. Because the endowment is a pretty big deal, there are a lot more steps to get it. Most people receive their endowment in conjunction with some other major life change. It’s seen as a sort of stepping stone to either marriage or a full time church mission. You generally have to be over 18, and recent converts have to be members for at least a year.
When you are baptized for yourself (as a convert at least), you have to meet with missionaries for a while, and then complete an interview to make sure that you’re ready. Endowment is similar. You take a temple prep class that will go over things to prepare you to make and keep sacred covenants. Then, you interview with your Bishop, and another local leader, called a stake president. If both leaders give you the thumbs up, you then receive a recommend for your endowment. But that’s not the end of things. You then pick someone of the same gender to act as your escort. Your escort will show you around the temple, help you get ready, and explain things as you go so that your experience goes smoothly. You have to buy a dress, and slippers, ceremonial clothes, and garments (this is what people are usually referring to when they talk about mormon underwear. If you’re curious about them, there’s a short video here).
I should probably say now, I’m not getting married. At least, not any time soon. I’m also not going on a mission, although I would love to if my circumstances were different.
But, I am probably going to be getting my endowment fairly soon. I know that I need the extra power that God has placed in my path through the temple. I’ve been praying and studying about it for the last six months. It’s something that’s been on my mind for a very long time. Before I was even baptized, I jokingly promised the temple president I’d be back in August 2017 for my endowment.
Turns out it might not have been that much of a joke. Last night, I found out that the missionary who taught me is going to be visiting Minnesota in August. So, I texted my bishop asking if August 19th would be attainable for my endowment date. I kind of expected him to say no. We’d talked about me starting temple prep classes, but I was asking for a pretty expedited process. But no, my bishop just asked what my schedule was, and that he would talk to the lady in charge of temple prep to see if I could get in the classes in that time frame.
It’s not guaranteed, but it’s currently the date we’ve set aside. Right now, when I go to the temple, I wear a white jumpsuit, just like the one I wore for my own baptism. I don’t own my own, because the temple has plenty available. For endowment, you can rent clothes in the bigger temples, but my little temple doesn’t have the means for such things. So you have to bring your own. Temple dresses can get expensive, costing anywhere from $50 to $300. And that’s in addition to slippers, ceremonial clothes and garments. So in both the effort to keep the cost down, and to have a way for me to feel close to my mom as I go to the temple, the current plan is to have her make my dress.
Now, my mom isn’t the biggest fan of my religion. She goes in waves of being openly disdainful of it, to being pretty apathetic. But as the last year has gone by, she’s softened just a little bit. I don’t think she sees it as a phase anymore. So to have her even consider helping me with this is amazing.
I’m so excited at the opportunities that are becoming available, and I look forward to progressing in my faith.
Until Next Time,