I finally made it out to the temple–its been one hullabaloo after another. What I consider about it after the fold.

Be warned. It is not the usually supportive tone that we normally take on this blog.

I have given considerable thought (and prayer) and believe that what I am going to say does not cross lines. I am open to disagreement in the comments.

I have heard that there was a request at one time to not discuss the changes at all. That request has apparently been lifted. It wasn’t there when I went.

The new temple ceremony is not beautiful. It is far from beautiful. it has a 70s filmstrip aesthetic mixed with the sort of ‘scenes of natural wonder slideshow’ video you find on youtube set to soothing background music. The prior two temple films did not fully succeed at being beautiful, but they were trying to be. This one was not. I don’t have sensibility to the point of being an exquisite, but I have enough that it was very difficult to feel the Spirit. I can and will still attend to serve the dead and to keep my mind fresh on certain specific things that I need to know post-mortality; after all, I still attend my children’s band concerts.

The Church is privatizing a lot of things including, for me, that peak ceremonial/spiritual/aesthetic experience that the temple used to be. It is hard. I don’t know how to do these things on my own–go up in the mountains to pray, I suppose. The reality is that it is hard to have this kind of experience in something you came up with yourself; you just can’t command the Spirit.

I had heard the feminist crowd crowing and, sotto voce, faithful members expressing unease, about some of the changes and, yes, I noticed what they were talking about. But what really caught me was how awkward, clumsy, and bolted on the stuff they were talking about was. The endowment is still explicitly and implicitly patriarchal, so the parts that looked like clumsy pandering mostly just added to the poor aesthetic effect.

If we were going to strip down to a purely functional ceremony to do the work of exaltation for more people faster, I would rather have cut even more. The current version is either too much or not enough. The cuts have made much of the remainder vestigial.

A lot of actual information has been cut. Even the repetitions conveyed information in their way. People who see the new endowment alone will simply not know some things the rest of us know. Further, some of what’s left doesn’t really make sense without having seen the full endowment for context. I wish people doing their endowment for themselves could see the complete endowment for their first time.

On the plus side, the two new testimonies added were well thought out and effective.

The mortal church isn’t perfect, and we don’t always get things right. It becomes especially hard as the world, and sometimes our own people too, become worse. On the whole, the changes to the new temple ceremony are hit and miss, more miss than hit.

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