Quick Take: Short and digestible. Increased my understanding of what we do in the temple.
For most of my adult life, I have attended the temple semi-regularly. I’ve had positive experiences (escape the world, feel good while I’m there, etc.). But I would rarely call my experiences there revelatory. I would like that to change. I would like to deepen my connection to and appreciation of what we do in the temple. I would like to access the “power of godliness” we have been promised through the ordinances of the gospel of Jesus Christ (D&C 84:20).
With this desire, and after really enjoying Anthony Sweat’s BYU devotional, “We Need An Endowment” I decided to read these books. They are very short (I wish there had been more) but I enjoyed them both.
‘The Holy Invitation” is designed as an introduction for those going to the temple for the first time. He gives a primer on the endowment ceremony and why it is important. I think someone preparing to go for the first time would find this book especially helpful.
“The Holy Covenants” goes into detail on the numerous covenants we make during the temple endowment. Sweat provides several insights related to the various covenants that I had not considered. I felt this second book went into more detail than the first and I enjoyed it that much more.
I would recommend these to anyone wanting to increase their appreciation and understanding of the temple. They did not blast open the doors of my understanding as I had hoped, so I guess I need to keep going to the temple. 😉
Some of My Favourite Quotes:
“Sadly, some walk away from the temple bewildered and confused, even hurt, due to the unfamiliar nature of the presentation of the endowment. They want the endowment to be straightforward and plain, like modern church or school classes, when the Lord’s approach in the temple is to use different, higher ways to lift learners to heaven and open their minds to revelation”
“How can you get the most out of this wondrous and unique temple experience? … How do you approach your endowment experience so that you leave the temple, as Joseph prayed, “armed with [God’s] power” (D&C 109:22)? … Each time you participate in the endowment ordinances, three great questions to ask yourself are: What does the Lord want me to know from this experience? What does the Lord want me to feel from this experience? and What does the Lord want me to do because of this experience?”
“The endowment instruction is different from typical Church instruction, and this is deliberate. You are not going to understand everything the first time, or the one hundredth time"
“Unwrapping and utilizing this gift presented in the endowment ceremony takes time. Some things can be learned only through experience."
"The temple is a modern school of prophets and prophetesses."
"Covenants act as guideposts when vision becomes clouded."
"The sacred temple garment ... is a tangible daily reminder that we are a part of a priestly order..."
"We have to pursue receiving the endowment of power in a similar way we pursue receiving the Holy Ghost. Just because we participated in the ordinance doesn't necessarily give us the power."
"Come to the modern-day school of the prophets and prophetesses. Learn how to tap into the powers of heaven to be endowed with the powers of godliness through the temple ordinances and covenants... Let us enter the temple, live the holy covenants, and taste eternity."