Sunday, August 16, 2015

Book Review: Understanding Your Endowment by Cory B. Jensen

I received my endowment almost exactly twenty years ago, on August 29th, 1995. I knew practically nothing about it, just that I'd be getting my garments and going through the veil. I didn't know either of those two things meant or entailed, just that it was a good thing and that I was looking forward to it, and that it was a step toward getting married, which would happen two days later, on the 31st.My husband was (and is) an avid temple goer, and he was so excited for me to go through for myself.

When I went through, I really didn't understand a lot of what was going on, but I felt the peace of the Spirit and knew that I would eventually come to understand it. Perhaps my experience was also somewhat muted by the fact that I was really sick that day. Regardless of what I did or didn't understand, when I stepped into the celestial room, my heart was full, and I knew I'd done something that made my Heavenly Father very happy.

Like I said, that was twenty years ago. I've now done endowment sessions in the Salt Lake, Provo, Timpanogos, Bountiful, and Jordan River Temples. I've attended sealings in most of those, plus Logan. I've gone to the open houses for Bountiful and Draper. I love the temple with all my heart, and while I know I don't understand even the first layer, I look forward to each time I go.

Understanding Your Endowment by Cory B. Jensen takes a closer look at the historical and doctrinal reasons why we do the things we do in the temple. He doesn't go into detail about things that are too sacred to share outside the temple walls, but instead, he breaks down the meanings of why we make covenants and why we are washed, etc. Pulling on scriptures from the different books of the standard works, he lays a foundation that helps us understand where the different parts of the endowment come from and why we still perform them today.

He doesn't focus solely on the endowment. Instead, he begins with the initiatory, which is as it should be because the initiatory is very much a part of the endowment - a preparatory step. He gives the biblical explanation for why we perform the initiatory, and then asks us to ponder the things we hear when we do that ordinance in the temple. After that, he discusses the background of the endowment, and then moves on to the sealing, which is the culminating step in the temple experience. If you as the reader have not yet attended the temple, you might not understand all the references he makes, but you will gain some understanding and perspectives as to why we follow that particular pattern.

This book, while doctrinal, is easy to read and understand. I read it in an evening and found it enjoyable and informative. It's not geared as a preparatory book for those who have never attended, but rather, is more for those of us who have attended to help us get more out of the temple experience. This isn't to say that those who haven't gone can't read it - it's just not meant as a preparatory tool per se.

The biggest thing this book did for me personally was to plant in my heart a desire to know my standing before the Lord and to seek Him out in prayer to ask what I yet lack. It also made me want to go back to the temple again with these new perspectives so I can continue to learn what the Lord would have me learn.

You can purchase Understanding Your Endowment by clicking here.

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