The Removal of Sexist Elements from the Temple Endowment

I'm feeling fragile and I'm not afraid to say it. I prayed for this. On my knees, I begged God for these changes to the temple experience, for the elimination of sexist elements and the ennobling of Eve and her daughters. And I don't know what to do now that they've happened.

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

Being a temple worker completely changed my relationship with the temple. It was a stripping away of all my pretenses, where God called every bluff I'd ever made to myself about being a woman in this Church. Every frustration, every grief, every stifled feeling of being ignored, stepped on, talked over, and pushed aside came to the surface. Front and center where I couldn't ignore them anymore. God wanted to hear the words I was too afraid to think, let alone speak.

It took a long time, but eventually I did it. Over and over again. Everything I hated about being a woman in this Church. I put it on the altar. I didn't mince words or pull punches. Because if God doesn't care about my feelings, why on earth would I care about his?

Every time I thought I was finished, more would surface. And not once did God ever get mad at me. Not once did he ever tell me to stop. He never said anything at all, which isn't typical for my relationship with him. He just... listened. Like no one ever had listened to me before.

The temple made up a huge part of why I was so angry. The space that was supposed to represent my eternal identity and future, as well as that of every woman I loved and cared about, and it wasn't enough. I needed more. I deserved more. We all deserved so much more.  

That was the moment when I realized I'd finally arrived at where all of this had been heading. I knew what to ask for. And I prayed for the temple to be a better place for women, to be the source of power, dignity, and respect we all deserve. I prayed about that until my eyes were red and my throat was sore. And when I reached that point where I felt like I'd completely worn myself out from a fearless honesty I've never experienced before, I actually got an answer.

I'm not the sort of person that hears audible answers to my prayers. I just receive pure understanding of truth in my mind. And I knew in that moment that God had heard me, he had accepted my offering, and what I asked for would come to pass. When I heard that, I had no hope that I would live to see change actually happen. I thought at best, I might see some of the changes I asked for as an old woman. I was geared up to wait a lifetime because that's the kind of patience you need as a woman in this Church.

I've prayed throughout my life for patience like Rachel, who waited fourteen years for Jacob. I started thinking about women who waited even longer. Anna in the temple, waiting for the birth of Christ. If that's how long I had to wait, could I be that strong? 

I have literally been having conversations with myself about how to put up with the temple the way it is for the next fifty years... and my brain literally cannot compute that I don't have to do that. It's done. I can go tomorrow if I want to. Because it's done.

I want to enjoy this experience when I decide to have it. For that, I need to let all of these emotions play out first. And when I do go, I think I need to be alone the first time. That first time belongs to me. I need to be free to feel without giving anyone an explanation. After that, I know my husband will want to have the experience of returning to the temple with me. I am really excited for the months of conversations that are going to follow. This will make so many things easier for us to talk about.

But the thing I'm looking forward to the most is sharing this experience with other women. I know several who need this, and I want to plant my feet on the other side with them. I want the collective experience of leaving old things behind with them.  

I am in a state of rebuilding, repairing, and renegotiating a lot of things in my church experience right now. But the feeling I have in my heart at this moment is a profound gratitude that God hears and answers prayers. 

 I'm willing to let that be enough for right now.  

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