Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Episode 9: Speaking of the Temple

Right click here to download the mp3.

Billings, Montana Temple by Kendall Davenport
Back in April, Juliane, another of our panelists, was asked to give a talk in church about temples. She has mixed feelings about the temple and many unanswered questions, so she wasn't sure what she would say. The talk that she ended up giving was written out in full before she gave it. Her talk is brave and beautiful.

This podcast presents her talk along with some context about preparing the talk and  her feelings about being married in the temple.

Juliane will be watching the comments so she can answer questions or discuss issues that are brought up in her talk.

Here is the full text of her talk, as published on her blog. 

There will be another podcast soon that discusses the aftermath of this talk and goes into Juliane's history as convert from Germany.


  1. Wow. I think you're my new hero. I can't believe you actually gave this talk in church! I wish I had been there! How did you get the guts to do it?

  2. Tansy,
    well, like I said on the podcast, I was very nervous, even scared, because I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. It's not that I necessarily have more guts than the next person, it's just that I choose to keep going when I hit that fear.

  3. Beautiful job Juliane! You are just the beginning of this new realm of LDS people who are getting braver at speaking out. Some of us are realizing that we have been taught to fear God, a god of boundaries, who kicks us out at the least sin.....we are tired, and we are ready for the next level of awareness that God has ready. As Joseph Smith said, he has not taught one millionth of what he knew, as the saints were not ready..... God said ask and ye shall receive, trust me, you will get better answers asking God your questions, then the temple president, though he may also be a voice. When I decided that the Mormon, or Religious God was not one I wanted to associate with, even though I had thought I truly had a relationship and loved him all my life, I realized a new loving ultimate power in the universe that the the power to heal EVERYTHING, and has no desire to destroy or punish in ANY way. This is a journey, it took a while for me to start to hear him, now I learn every day and my world has been "rocked"! for the better!
    Now, here is what people also do not get; everything and everyone has a history, the church has a history. The modern church goes to great lengths and even excommunications to hide some histories, but it doesnt matter. We choose what to believe and make it work for us. You can still be your own kind of mormon with your own thoughts. I have felt anger at it, but its just a process. I am still Mormon, and I still love the core values it teaches, I just do it in my own way now, my children know love and not guilt and fear. They know there are natural consequences as laws of the universe, and not from God himself. The other thing I know is that I really dont know that much, as the more you ask God questions, the more he answers with questions, taking you on a deeper journey of God and self, all for the better.....my love to you all!!

  4. Katy,
    I love how you said that God answers with more questions. I had never thought of that!! But it makes sense to me that God would simply try and stimulate us to ask more questions, explore, figure out things, stay curious, and so forth.

    In the church I was always taught that I don't get to cherry pick what I like and leave the rest, I had to commit completely, and obey even the things that didn't make sense or didn't feel true. Now I feel like I'm giving myself permission to cherry pick!! Yay for cherry picking :)

  5. amen girl, that's exactly how I feel. There is such freedom in it!

  6. Juliane- be assured everyone cherry picks, even the very strict obedient ones. After all, if we're supposed take everything the prophet says in general conference to be scripture, then a lot of the Journal of Discourses becomes canonized. Eek.

  7. TopHat,
    THAT would not be good.....:(

  8. Juliane I loved your talk! I loved that you were respectful while raising your concerns. I loved that you were willing to talk about what mattered to you, and most of all I loved that you actually went through with it. I can't wait for the next installment to hear what happened.

    Sybil I love this podcast. I anxiously check it every day to see if there are new ones. I have enjoyed every one of these and the thoughts that they have provoked. In fact, there have been several times I have settled in for a good listen and been sad that they were over so quickly. So feel free to make them a little longer. :D

  9. michelliebean,
    thanks! There are people who have told me I never should have given that talk in sacrament meeting, so it's good to know that some people think it was valuable.

  10. Juliane, I can see why someone might say that. Unfortunately in modern Mormon culture it's not okay to question out loud or in front of others (for fear of hurting their testimony??) In my opinion that was the perfect place to give such a talk. I also want you to know that it helped me immensely to hear what you had to say and the gentle way that you said it. Thank you.

  11. it was amazing to hear you read it! it had even more impact on me this time! i can't wait to hear the next one.
    i think your talk has opened the heart and minds of a lot of people, because it was strong and respectful at the same time. you did an amazing job!

  12. WOW! That was an amazing talk. You are far braver than I. I love how you brought up those though issues. Unfortunately that was more than likely the first time most in the congregation had heard those thing. Unfortunately, for me anyway, I don't believe there are answers to those questions that are adequate.There are only more questions the more you study church history and it just gets messier and messier. For my the temple ceremony is inseparability linked to The Book of Abraham. That's where we get the story of Adam and Eve that is told in the temple. If anyone has done any study on The Book of Abraham there was no way Joseph Smith translated those Egyptian characters. The originals have since been found and translated by real Egyptologists. It's nothing more than a common Book of the Dead scroll. It's also dated way later so it couldn't have been written by Abraham's own hand as Joseph Smith claims. my point being we know Joseph Smith lied about translating, or at least it seems pretty clear to me that he couldn't translate worth a darn. (Seriously look into it) So, if The Book of Abraham falls apart so does the temple for me any way. Through in the Masonic rip off and the changes I think we can wrap this one up. And don't get me started on how Joseph claimed that the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County MO. That is just absurd. Sorry, but for me I can't reconcile these issues and I think your absolutely right feel warm fuzzies in no way equates its all true. That's a leap in logic. Good Luck to you.

  13. Michelliebean,
    thank you! I do try to be gentle, because it doesn't come easy to me (you know, I can be pretty loud and obnoxious ;)

    thank you :) the next one should be up within a couple days I think!

    Polly Anna,
    Thank you for the kind words. I haven't done any research into The Book of Abraham. It sounds interesting. More and more I am starting to simply dismiss practices and beliefs because they don't line up with my own core values and beliefs, without trying to "prove" that their actually wrong. I know so many lovely people who find great comfort and strength and communion with God in the temple, and I think the temple has its validity not from whether or not it's true, but whether or not it works for people and helps them to come closer to God. I know this is not an acceptable view of the temple in orthodox Mormonism, but it works for me. I'm slowly getting to the point that I don't feel the need to prove any more whether or not I'm right, which makes someone else wrong. I don't know if that makes sense. For me there is room for more than one truth.

  14. Michelliebean, thank you for your feedback. You'll be happy to know that we recorded a panel discussion last night that is nice and long. :-)

  15. I agree the temple can be a very positive experience. It a god way to think of things in terms of functionality. Does it work for you? That's what's important.

  16. Polly Anna,
    yeah, I think so, too, but I do run into problems with orthodox Mormons, when i say something along those lines ("I'm glad it works for you, but it doesn't work for me.")It's not enough for some that it works for them. They feel that because it works for them, it should work for everyone. That's what I have issues with, but hey, I'm preaching to the choir here :)

  17. This podcast was amazing. I was working out and ended up sitting in amazement as I listened and completely forgot that I was working out. I must have looked like an idiot sitting on the bike with my eyes bulging out.

    Juliane, I can't wait for the next episode. I have so many questions, but I imagine most will be answered in the next podcast, but just in case...

    Did you ever get approached by any leaders with some kind of warning, or threat? I know for a fact that if that talk was given in my ward, my bishop would have responded publicly.

    In any case, Juliane, your integrity and courage is off the charts. You have officially inspired me. You are amazing.

    And Sybil, keep up the great work!

    Love this podcast!!!

  18. Tom,
    sorry I threw off your groove ;)
    I'm thinking most of your questions will be answered in the follow up. I did get approached by my bishop in a slightly disturbing way, which is one of the things Sybil and I discuss in the next podcast.
    Thank you for the kind words!

  19. Thanks, Tom! I'm hoping to get the second part up either tonight or tomorrow morning!

  20. Gail KnickerbockerMay 25, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    Thanks for sharing this in your own voice. I had read it earlier but so nice to get a feel for emphasis and intonation from the writer of the talk.

    Some of the most profound and ever present issues I have with the church relate to the Temple. The one you addressed here of members not being married OUTSIDE the temple for time and sealed INSIDE the temple. I too left my family to be married in the TEMPLE. NONE of my family was even there AT the temple. Hard feelings have NEVER left regarding this even though I have apologized. It is likely that most of my children will get married in the Temple and I won't be allowed in because I cannot say yes to the faith and testimony questions in the TR interview.

    I have had my day with the Temple President and STILL never got my questions answered. "I don't know" is the best answer I got out of them.

    I am excited to hear your next podcast with the aftermath of it all.

  21. Oh Juliane!! I am soooo grateful for the opportunity to hear your voice. It so resonates so deeply with me as do so many of the comments. Love to you!!!

  22. Gail,
    I have a feeling that I won't get any real answers from the temple president either. I try to be open, but I'm a little wary to church leaders telling me to just pray about it until it makes sense...sigh.

    oh yeah, that IS the first time you heard my voice, huh? Makes it much more personal, doesn't it? Hugs to you my faraway friend!

  23. This is such an amazing talk. I am in awe that you had the courage to give this in church. It makes me feel good that there are other women out there who share the same views as I do. I am proud of what you did. Thank you.

  24. Thank you, Audrey! Every time I speak out about something it is a little scary, but usually someone comes forth who has felt the same way and thought similar things. It's good to know that I'm not alone.

  25. Juliane, what a wonderful talk. Thanks for leading the way and showing us that we all can be brave and authentic. I can't wait for the second part.

  26. Thanks Lotus! The second part is up, but beware...it's really long, because once I start it's hard to shut me up ;)

  27. I finally listened to this last night. It was even more powerful listening to you give this talk than just reading it. Thank you for your courage, Juliane.

  28. Thanks, Amber! Hearing someone's voice always makes a huge difference to me as well :)

  29. Juliane,
    One of the reasons I see you as a hero is just over three years ago my elder quorum president asked me to give the first Sunday lesson in elders quorum on the Proclamation. I had very similar feelings about this as you did about talking on the temple. I wimped out and asked to teach on something else.
    I also wanted to comment here about a specific line of your talk. That women used their priesthood in the temple. I have long since believed that we typically use the word priesthood wrong in the church and sometimes blasphemously. I think you have good understand of what it means when you talk about women exercising the priesthood in the temple. When I was 11 and went to priesthood preview I was taught that priesthood is the power to act in Gods name. I believe this is what it is and only what it is. So when ever anyone acts in Gods name they are exercising the priesthood. Therefore when a woman does things or teaches things to their children or to their spouse or friends or anyone they are exercising the priesthood or acting in Gods name. To call the ecclesiastical callings men hold in the church the priesthood I think is incorrect. These are callings that are only really exist to run the earthly church they were never intended to give this small group of humanity an exclusive right to Gods power, or at least I do not believe that it was ever Gods intended. The other way people use the word priesthood in the church is referring to men in the church. This I believe is blasphemy. To call ones self or any person or people Gods power incarnate is I believe the worst blasphemy of all.

  30. Gail,
    I agree with much of what you say. Yes, men=priesthood is used so widely in the church, and totally incorrect in my opinion as well. I agree as well that priest(ess)hood is the power to act in God's name (similar to how a prophet(ess) is someone who testifies of God). I think we often in the church mistake authority for power. The men have been given the authority (by other men of course) to lead the church, but it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with having the power to act in God's name, in my opinion. Power and authority are two terms that are used synonymously in the church so frequently, yet they really aren't.

  31. Holy Schnikies! I wish I could have been in the audience for that one. Talk about brave. Bravo.

  32. Thanks, Heather! It was quite an unnerving experience, but worth it in the end :)

  33. Dang girl, you've got some balls! Well, let me rephrase that since this is DAUGHTERS of Mormonism.... Dang girl, you've got some ovaries!
    I would have been torn between getting up and applauding you for your talk, or I would have just been in too much shock to move. lol

    I had a similar experience with the temple. My Dad's side is very mormon, but no one on my mother's side is a member. Let me say that my Dad's side was VERY against me marrying my husband.. he was not a RM and had sexual experience before marriage! *Gasp!
    They did every thing to stop me from being married, they made me go to their bishop, so they can ask him later on what we talked about. They repeatably told me I was not "temple worthy." .... but THEY were able to attend my wedding, but my mom's side who was very supportive and loving of my fiance we not allowed? I was told I couldn't even have a ring ceremony, because it diminished from the temple ceremony.. BUT most of the LDS wedding receptions I have attended are pretty lavish and they don't detract from the temple sealing? This is when I realized that for all their talk of being Pro Family, they are only pro "temple worthy" LDS families. Otherwise, they are some thing that can be sacrificed.
    There is no reason why the one year penalty is in place, other than punishing the couple for "choosing family over God." I find this really disturbing and you have every right to question it.

    Maybe my family was right, I was not "ready" to be in the temple, because I have a questioning personality. Going through the ceremony I realized that the church is not what I was told it was growing up... but of course I had to go through with it out or I couldn't marry my husband! They NEED to be more honest and open about the temple, I thank you for speaking up! We need 100 more of you.

    1. I think I might have stood up to applause as well. Maybe we could have started a standing ovation... or all got kicked out of sacrament meeting for being so irreverent. Your comment about balls reminded my of a quote I heard once (by Betty White) I think about "growing balls"
      paraphrasing it goes something like "I don't know why people say grow some balls. Those things are so soft and sensitive. We really should be saying grow a vagina, those things take a pounding."
      Made me laugh. Hope that isn't too provocative for this site. First time visiting.

  34. Trinity,
    thank you so much for linking to the temple petition!! Love it! Will sign and share on facebook and my blog. That's exactly what I was looking for. I'm glad someone else already did all the work, and I just have to sign :)
    I actually grew up in Germany, and our plan was to get married civilly there first, and then in the temple here in the States. We didn't, and just had a big party in Germany, before getting married in the temple in the US. However, I remember how lonely I felt when no one was in the sealing room with me. My brother came to the temple, but had to sit in the waiting room of course.
    I think it is absolutely ridiculous and hurtful for the Church to refuse changing a policy that has no doctrinal background, and causes so much pain.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.