Temple Attendance as a Personal Choice

Image Courtesy of: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Mormons. Can we talk about the temple? And how it's none of y'all's business how often someone else is or isn't going there?

I went back to the temple today for the first time since January when I was released as a temple worker. Yeah, I know it has been a while. I also know it's literally no one else's business but mine.

If you need a break from the temple, that's okay.

If the thought of adding one more thing to your day, week, month, or year is causing you actual emotional distress, and scaling back on temple worship is something you need to do for yourself, that's okay. 

You are enough. 

The temple can be a great place to find quiet time away from problems, to regain perspective, and to commune with God. 

 It can also be a place where pain and frustration with certain parts of church culture and social pressure are more keenly felt. 

For some people, it is both.

Some people don't have the energy or emotional space to parse out the good from the bad in their temple experience, especially when they're already struggling. Don't see their absence from the temple as a failure. Don't make their problems about you and your perceptions.

Knowing that my absence was felt, that I brought something tangible to people's lives by my presence there that they miss, was a beautiful gift. Hearing that my absence was unacceptable in no way adds to that gift. In fact, I daresay it tarnished it somewhat.

When I was a temple worker, it was appropriate for other people and their needs to be my primary focus while serving in the temple. It was appropriate for me to be attuned to their needs and desires above my own. That is no longer appropriate now that I've been released.
How often I attend the temple, where and when I draw from that well of living water, is between me and the Lord now. 
Because my focus is now right where it should be: on me and my personal relationship with God. 
What that should look like is for us to decide together, without input or interference from anyone else.
God knows and respects my limits. He sees and knows the burdens I have carried in my personal life throughout this hiatus. He has carried me through them with tenderness, without ever resorting to guilt or manipulation to get me to do more than I could manage. If what I have done with my time over these past months is acceptable to God, no one else's opinions should matter at all. If it wasn't enough for him, wouldn't it stand to reason that I would be the first he would tell, not someone else?
And, as always, be careful of the criticism you offer. It may just be the criticism you take from someone else someday.

More Posts from Me

The Unimpressive Origins of Anti-Queerness in the LDS Church

"Sister Collins, why don't you believe being queer is a sin like the rest of the righteous, obedient Mormons?" Because despite...