Sunday, November 9, 2014

Families forever?

Yesterday, I shared this on Facebook.  One of my friends had posted it and I was in a provocative mood...

Obviously, someone was being cheeky and made a parody of the LDS church...

Most of my friends are not connected to the LDS church in any way, but since Bill and I started hanging out on RfM back in 2003, we have picked up some exmo friends.  Anyway, I ended up having to explain the picture to my friends who aren't LDS and/or know nothing about Mormonism.

A few were shocked when I explained that people who are "unworthy" to enter a Mormon temple won't see a loved one get married.  Those who aren't faithful and obedient to Mormon beliefs and don't pay a proper tithe won't be together in the afterlife according to the "Families are forever" church.  That's why there's so much grief and panic when someone in a Mormon family decides to leave the church.  To the Mormons, when someone leaves the faith, it means they may be leaving their eternal families.

First off, you have to be LDS to go inside a temple unless you happen to visit when they are dedicating a new one and they invite the public in.  Secondly, you have to be "temple worthy".  Not all Mormons are allowed to go into the temple.

Becoming temple worthy means having an interview with the bishop, who asks certain questions about one's lifestyle.  Some of the questions aren't too out of line.  Like, for instance, Mormons don't drink coffee, tea, or alcohol, and they don't use tobacco.  So the bishop will ask if the person seeking a "temple recommend" (a card that allows one to enter a Mormon temple) if they are following the "Word of Wisdom" and avoiding substances that Mormons don't use.  

The bishop asks if the person has been paying a full tithe, which is 10% of one's gross income.  It can amount to a lot of money, especially for those who have large families.  In fairness, though, the tithe is supposedly up to you and God... on the other hand, those who work for the church have to tithe and given that the church is doing the paying, they know what the tithe is supposed to be.  When Bill was LDS, it was a struggle for him to tithe.  He and his ex wife went through bankruptcy and foreclosure. Tithing didn't make things easier.  If you want to go to the temple, you have to be paid up... and I've heard some people pay up before weddings so they can attend.  It can add to up a hefty price tag.

I have heard that some bishops ask about sexual practices to include whether or not a person masturbates.  Quite a few ex-Mormons I know have said the question comes up in interviews, even with young people.  Never having been interviewed by a bishop myself, I can't say whether or not it's true.  But I have heard from many sources that it is.  Masturbation is a no no. 

And, of course, they want to know if you're wearing your garments, which are underclothes endowed Mormons wear at all times.  Not all Mormons are "endowed", which basically means they've undergone a religious ordinance where they make covenants with the church.  It's also when they start wearing the garments.  Children and teenagers don't wear them and neither do Mormons who have never gone to the temple (and some apparently never do).  Anyone who has been on a mission or been married in the temple is endowed and is supposed to wear the long underwear-like garments when it's possible to do so (they'd take them off to go swimming, for instance).  I would think that would not be pleasant in hot climates.

Supposedly, the bishop will also ask if you're honest with your fellow man.  That kind of question probably provokes lies.  I mean, who is going to tell their bishop in a temple recommend interview that they're liars?  Why would you tell the truth about being a liar or a cheat?  If you are a liar or a cheat, you aren't, by definition, "honest".  It would be strange to start telling the truth while you're being interviewed by the bishop for your temple recommend.  Especially when it would be so easy to lie and get the card.

Anyway, the above photo shows that not everyone is able to be LDS.  They seem to think that makes them special somehow.  I think it's actually kind of sad.  Their standards regarding temple worthiness make it difficult for them to deliver on their promise that families can be together forever.  

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