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Have you ever found yourself distracted or bored in a temple session? Or maybe sensed that there is something more to it, but you aren’t quite getting it? If so, please know that you are not alone and that it doesn’t need to remain that way.
Coming to understand our endowment is a very personal and sacred journey that we each must make individually. Here are three things that may help you along your way.
1. Covenants are not simply two-way promises.
First, we need to better understand covenants. Ancient Israel never claimed to be the Lord’s “two-way promise” people. They were the Lord’s covenant people and understood covenants as a sacred, binding relationship. Our modern definition misses the point.
These covenant relationships could be made between two individuals or between an individual (or group) and the Lord. They were entered into through a formal ceremony that generally involved several specific steps, which are reflected in the modern temple endowment ceremony. Each of these steps was highly symbolic and held great meaning for the participants, but the central idea behind them was always that of combining or merging identities, or of two becoming one.
Our gospel ordinances are important because they permit us to enter into a covenant relationship with the Lord. The first ordinances of the gospel are intended to bring about our spiritual rebirth. We covenant with God at baptism. Later, the temple ordinances are given to further our spiritual growth and maturity and to deepen our covenant relationship with the Lord. Recognize that when you left the temple on the day you were endowed, you left with promises from the Lord directly to you. Not promises made to some ancient prophet or people, but promises made to you. We need to understand them and their significance in our lives.