I have been recently preparing to receive my endowment as I leave on my mission soon. As I’ve been preparing, many of my friends who already have their’s say it was a little ‘weird’. Without crossing the line into the sacred aspect, but at the same time still tossing all the taboo aside, what can I really learn about the endowment before I go so I can be as prepared as possible for the ceremony?
I’ll start off by saying that I don’t really know what your friends are talking about. Admittedly, I’m an old man and probably have a different mindset about symbolism than you do. But if we can get past this, I’ll do what I can to prepare you for it — which is something that would normally be done by a temple prep class.
When receiving your endowments, you’ll go through three phases.
1) Initiatories. This is really not all that different than anointing and blessing for the healing of the sick. There are differences. But there really is nothing earth shattering about this ordinance. I would suggest you return to the temple later to do this ordinance for the dead because most of the blessings are outlined here. And you may miss them. Some are similar to other blessings we’re promised throughout our lives. But there are also new ones that are only had in the Temple of the Lord.
2) Clothing in the garment: You should have purchased a set of garments prior to your arrival. Bring them with you. Technically you place them on while in the locker room, you’re not considered “clothed in the garment” ceremonially until after the initiatories.
3) Endowment: This is the LONG ceremony. While I can’t give you the actual description of the ceremony, I can give you an analogy. If you take every ceremony you’ve ever seen or heard of and set them up in line one with another as if you’re part of a wedding line, you’d get something of the flavor of this ceremony.
If you’re thinking this will be strange, keep in mind that ANYthing new is strange. Children find a new food strange. But years later, it becomes their favorite food. Here is a video that may help you prepare for what is in store for you.
The most important thing to remember about the entire experience is that about 90% of what you will see is figurative and symbolic. Don’t try too hard to put a literal meaning to it until you get some of the symbolism. The fact that people today don’t have experience with symbolism may be part of why some of your friends found it strange. But keep in mind that much of what you’re seeing is symbolism and it may be more interesting than weird.
May the Lord bless you for making the decision to serve a mission. And good luck.