Yesterday Daniel, my youngest son, went to the Bountiful temple to receive his endowments. For my readers that are not familiar with temple endowments I will give a short overview.
The Gift of the Endowment
An endowment is a sacred ordinance. Endowments take place in a dedicated House of the Lord, or temple. Temples were centers of religious worship anciently and Mormons build temples today to administer the ancient ordinances of salvation that have been restored to the earth.
The dictionary defines an endowment as a gift given by a higher power. The temple endowment is a gift of knowledge that helps Mormons understand who they are, where they came from, and where they are going. It helps members understand what they should do to prepare to meet God, and how Jesus Christ offers salvation to each of us.
The temple endowment conveys information in a highly symbolic manner. Symbols used in the temple endowment and the meanings of those symbols are sacred to Mormons. Mormons don’t talk about the details of what goes on in the temple—it is too sacred to be discussed, except in the most holy of places.
When presenting the endowment, Church members are required to make very specific covenants with God. A covenant is a two-way promise. In religious terms, a covenant is a sacred promise made between an individual and the Lord:
The ordinances of the endowment embody certain obligations on the part of the individual, such as covenant and promise to observe the law of strict virtue and chastity, to be charitable, benevolent, tolerant and pure; to devote both talent and material means to the spread of truth and the uplifting of the race; to maintain devotion to the cause of truth; and to seek in every way to contribute to the great preparation that the earth may be made ready to receive her King, the Lord Jesus Christ. With the taking of each covenant and the assuming of each obligation a promised blessing is pronounced, contingent upon the faithful observance of the conditions. (James E. Talmage, The House of the Lord, p. 84)
A Family Gathering
All endowed extended family members met at the Bountiful temple to be with Daniel when he received his endowments. Not present were Jake who is serving a mission in Mexico and Derek who is building a school in Guatemala.
We gathered after the ceremony in the Bountiful temple grounds and took some photographs. In parenthesis is the relationship to Daniel. Left to right: Rick (father), Jill (mother), Daniel (himself), Miguel (Melissa’s fiancé), Susan (aunt), Melissa (cousin), Kent (uncle), Connie (cousin), Mark (Connie’s husband), Sarah (sister), Paul (brother), Steven (brother), and Adelaide (Steven’s wife). By now it was 8 pm and we were very hungry so we headed out to Chuck-a-Rama to eat all their food and ruin their profits for the day. For Jill and I it was a great feeling to have all five of our children endowed and active in the faith.
About the Bountiful Temple
In 1897 John Haven Barlow Sr. purchased forty acres of land from the United States government. There was little that could be done with the land until in 1947 some of the land was cleared and four hundred apricot trees were planted. Bountiful City requested the use of the soil from the site to build a dam and over two hundred thousand cubic yards of soil was removed, leaving the area an ideal spot on which the temple would later be built. The temple is the 47th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I remember well helping to direct traffic at the open house and being one of 200,000 members attending the temple dedication. Sarah and Derek were married in the Bountiful temple. Some temple details:
Announced: 28 May 1988.
Site: 11 acres.
Exterior finish: Bethel white granite.
Architect: Allen Ereckson.
Rooms: Baptistry, celestial room, four endowment rooms, eight sealing rooms.
Total floor area: 104,000 square feet.
Dimensions: 145 feet by 198 feet. 176 feet spire.
District: 30 stakes in central and south Davis county.
Groundbreaking: 2 May 1992 by President Ezra Taft Benson.
Dedication: 8-14 January 1995 by President Howard W. Hunter; 28 sessions.
Source: 2008 Church Almanac, p 518