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Hi there! Welcome to my corner of the internets. I'm a 26 year old therapist, photographer, and shop owner currently living in Seattle, Washington. My online spaces are educational and lifestyle accounts dedicated to educating, engaging, and empowering women through digital art, home design, and travel.... with a touch of humor and personality sprinkled throughout. Stay a while!

Ask A Mormonish Girl - Part 3

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

    (Hi! Before we get into today's post: If you enjoy these posts, please sign up for email notifications! It basically just means you don't have to wait until I post a link to these posts on Instagram. You'll get an email with a link to it! Just look for the gadget on my sidebar or at the bottom of my site 😚 Thank you, as always, for all the love and support!)


    Hello and happy Tuesday! (I am 2 days late with this post haha.) We are back for another round of "Ask A Mormonish Girl", where I answer the questions you all submitted via my question box on Instagram over the past week! So far, I've really enjoyed this series and hearing that so many of you feel seen and heard. 


    My goal for these posts is always to share my thoughts (note they are my thoughts, and not necessarily the church's doctrine/beliefs) in a respectful way and create a middle path where people feel they can participate in the religion while still having concerns and reservations. I'm constantly promoting imperfect relationships, and I think we need more room for imperfect relationships with the church. I'm tired of this weird cultural where any sort of questioning or calls for betterment are labelled "anti-Mormon", shut down and shamed. The church needs a variety of voices and it is a direct result of these diverse voices, questioning, and calls for betterment that we have seen so many changes in the past. (Kids of LGBTQ+ parents now allowed to be baptized, more feminist changes in the temple, birth control being allowed lol, etc.)


    So, here's to unorthodoxy and irreverence, to respectfully voicing concerns, and to expecting more from that which expects more from us. 😎 Enjoy the post!


I'm scared about the temple endowment and initiatory and what I understand to be a 1/2 lack of informed consent. What can I know about it/where can I find information to be ready beforehand?


    Hmmmm. This is an interesting question. I'll just be honest and say I haven't heard much about a lack of informed consent in the temple specifically. (I do remember A Thoughtful Faith had an episode about trauma informed care, where I think they did mention a lack of transparency. To this I would agree.) I'll talk more about this in the last paragraph. For now, let's start at the beginning. 


    For me, there were two things that helped when I first went through the temple. The first was having someone sit me down beforehand and walk me through what you do. I'm not sure if this is allowed actually lol. But, someone I am very close to (and who is active and attends often) was like, "I don't want you to be weirded out or confused, so let me tell you a little more about what to expect." I'll try to be vague in the name of respecting it all, but they showed me some stuff you only see in the temple and told me what to expect. At this point I had also studied other religions and I mean, they all have their unique ceremonies that could appear "strange" to an outsider. So, I was kind of expecting a lot of symbolism and stuff like that anyway.


    The second thing that helped me was curiosity. In our church, what happens inside the temple is not talked about a lot. I do wonder how much of this is cultural and people not wanting to be shamed by others vs actual orders written somewhere lol. But, ultimately I was just curious about this thing people always talked about lol. I've always been a "try to make it work" type person, so ultimately going through the temple for the first time I was just like, observing and cataloging to process later. 


     I honestly can't remember anything too shocking or that bothered me immensenly. (Actually, someone's phone did go off, which I hear is actually unheard of haha. I took it as a sign of like, "Ok, no matter how much I don't know or don't do "right", at least I didn't bring my phone in here when they specifically asked me not to haha.) Once again, I believe religion is always influenced by the culture at the time and the temple I think is no different. I wasn't expecting myself to agree with everything, understand everything, or love everything. My only expectation was to be open and respectful to new information and take my time chewing over how I felt about it all. 


    Ok, now for the lack of informed consent. Informed consent is an interesting term to use. In my therapy practice, I have to have specific "informed consent" paperwork, so that's where my lens is coming from. To me, informed consent means giving someone enough information that they know everything in order to make a decision they are comfortable with. In essence, all the cards are laid on the table and there are no surprises. I would say you don't know a lot about the temple before you experience it for yourself. The idea behind this is to keep things sacred, and honestly, seeing as how other religions have been criticized and attacked, I can understand that. However, I can also see how it could be daunting to go through something when you have no idea what's about to happen. Thus, the person in my life who told me what to expect was very helpful, and honestly, if someone came to me about to go through the temple, I would probably do the same. If the intention is to comfort and inform, I believe in a God who would be happy with that and encouraging of us bringing people to his "holiest house", as we believe temples are. 


    Back to the "informed consent" question though: I don't feel like you consent to anything without being informed of it beforehand. Granted it's been a while since I've been to a temple, but from what I remember, everything is explained to you before you make any commitments/consent. So, I wouldn't necessarily say it's not informed consent. I couldn't remember what they say about leaving, so I consulted with an active, returned missionary who informed me that at the beginning of the session they announce that if you are uncomfortable at any time you are welcome to leave.) I can definitely see the sweet, older workers (it's not always elderly people who work there, but it often is) trying to comfort someone and encourage them to stay. But, if you were really dead set on leaving, you could. 


    So, that's my two cents on first temple experiences! Don't be scared. All religions have "strange" ceremonies. There is no animal sacrifice or nudity or... anything extreme like that. It's just a bunch of symbolism as is the case in most religions. Also, you typically have to do an interview with a bishop and stake president before going through, so you could ask them as well what your options are for leaving if you start to feel uncomfortable/sick/panicky. Anyway! I hope that helps! I'm going to have an RM and active member proofread this before I publish, because I don't want any trolls telling me I "revealed" secrets of the temple haha. 

    A few things you might find helpful. (These are all church links so don't be scared to click!) This post tells you a little about what happens in the temple. You can see pictures of the types of rooms (and their meaning/purpose) here. And I actually feel like this video does a pretty good job telling you what happens during a temple endowment ceremony. This letter talks about the changes to the temple ceremonial clothing. 

I'm going to do a few quicker questions next, because whew! Turns out I can really rattle on when I get going haha. 

Why do Mormons think that wearing bikinis or crop tops is a sin? 


    I actually don't think Mormons think wearing bikinis or crop tops is a "sin", per say. We are advised to be "modest in dress" and there's a culture where you're encouraged not to wear a bikini. But if you do, it's not like you have to confess it to the bishop or anything haha. 

Thoughts on new age practices? (Yoga, meditation, crystals, psychics and that spiritual energy that can be found in physical objects.) I totally believe in it, but some members say that's against Mormonism.


    I don't think any new age practices are against Mormonism. I mean, what are they specifically saying about them goes against the religion?? I'd be interested to hear the arguments. But, I mean, especially yoga, that's exercise for a lot of people! Meditation as well is a really well researched positive thing to do for mental health. Psychics... that one I could see more of an argument with as it gets into the whole "do we have free will/agency or is life pre-determined", but I mean eh. I don't see a strong argument against it there even. I might write about this more in the future as I get more comments/DMs about what the arguments are that new age practices are against the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You've got me intrigued now haha.

Do you believe the church is true?


    I believe a lot of churches have a lot of truths. If I was a God and my main goal was to get people to have me in their life, I would definitely create a lot of avenues/religions to get people there, as I would assume there was going to be a lot of cultural/personality differences. 


Whew! That's all for today, folks! Make sure you check out my past posts for answers to the following questions:

For all questions garment related, click here

What things do you struggle with? What keeps you in the church? Do you feel like you are welcome in the Mormon community?: Click here

Until next week!


Your Mormon-ish Internet Friend,

Emmy Coletti


Talk to me!