The Holy Invitation
I am reading Anthony Sweat's small book, "The Holy Invitation Understanding Your Sacred Temple Endowment". I picked it up at the BYU bookstore while I was at Education Week. It's a quick read, just 60 small-size pages, and I this it mostly sets out to do what it intended.
The bulk of the book is an extended analogy of a commoner going to visit the King. The commoner must prepare by cleaning up, getting properly dressed and learning how to act in front of the King. If you are looking for conceptual help about what happens in the Temple, this seems to fit. (Though, as an aside, this is a hilarious sentence to me - what in the world do I know yet? Pretty much nothing. But I'm trusting that the author knows what he is talking about here.)
For me, the real pay-off for this book is Sweat's treatment of D&C 109:13
"When Joseph Smith dedicated the Kirtland Temple, he prayed, 'that all people who shall enter upon the threshold of the Lord's house may feel thy power, and feel constrained to acknowledge that thou has sanctified it, and that it is thy house, a place of they holiness'. Notice how Joseph used the word feel twice in that revelatory prayer. Because the temple is a house of glory, order and prayer, it is also a house of feeling."
The Evangelical culture I grew up in eschewed emotion in some ways, and also over-used it in others. The rhetoric was all about avoiding emotionalism when talking about issues of faith, but also used emotion to manipulate decisions about faith. For example, as teenagers we would be taken to a week-long camp where we were taught to make clear-headed and sober decisions about our faith - not bending to the whims of culture, the opinion of others, or to our own desires. But, they used highly emotional tactics to present this information - media and theater presentations that played on the emotions; sleep deprivation; emotional music and the like.
It is so refreshing to me - and one of the things that drew me to this faith in the first place - that emotions are explicitly allowed to be included. The experience I grew up in taught me that double-speak was okay - we SAY we don't believe in emotion, but we will use it against you when we need to.
Terryl Givens hits on the same topic - the idea that God not only allows emotion, but has them himself - in this recent talk called "Awful Woundedness" It's 40 min and 100% worth your time.
Overall, the book is worth the read. I have about 10 other Endowment books to read and may post about some of them here.