Remember that post I wrote talking about the vicious Mormon cycle? Everybody really isn't that happy, but they all pretend to be? The temple is kind of like that.
I am sure that 99% of people who go through the temple for the first time come out going, "What the hell?" Of course, they have always been taught that the temple is a spiritual place and great things about god are taught there. So they always return to testimony meeting and report about how wonderful and spiritual it was, when in fact, it was wierd, confusing, and downright creepy.
Before the ceremony, you put on all white clothes. The temple "outfit" is with you in a small pillow case type thing. Everyone meets in a chapel and waits for the next session to begin. As you leave the dressing room, you pass through a small cubical where you meet a man inside. This man assigns you a new "name". This name is one of the passwords as you will learn later. Your salvation is at serious risk if you ever divulge this name to ANYONE. (Now come on! God will damn me to hell forever just for telling someone my name?!?! Get serious!) You will use this name at the end of the ceremony. As you go through the ceremony, you are repeating this name to yourself again and again so you won't forget it (therefore you can't really concentrate on what is going on around you).
Everyone is dressed exactly the same. As the ceremony progresses, your wardrobe gets changed around. There is a lot of standing and sitting, raising your right arm to the square, and bowing your head and saying, "Yes".
There is one part where Satan (Yes, Satan is in the temple. Ironic, huh?) turns directly to the audience and states, "If they do not live up to every covenant they make in this temple this day, they will be in MY power!" That is the ultimate fear tactic. If it wasn't for that statement, I probably would have left the church much sooner.
Then, of course, is the passwords, handshakes, and tokens. The ceremony presents several of each as it progresses. Each token (hand gesture) has a secret name (password) and it is associated with a handshake. I never really did get all that stuff straight. Why do you need a handshake, gesture, and password? It never made any sense to me. Each person swears that they will never reveal any of the secrets.
Now don't you find it just ironic as hell that the Book of Mormon condemns secret oaths and covenants, calling them wicked and abominations? The new temple ceremony referrs to them as "sacred" but the pre-1990 ceremony actually called them secret.
Hel 6: 25-26
25 Now behold, it is these secret oaths and covenants which Alma commanded his son should not go forth unto the world, lest they should be a means of bringing down the people unto destruction.
26 Now behold, those secret oaths and covenants did not come forth unto Gadianton from the records which were delivered unto Helaman; but behold, they were put into the heart of Gadianton by that same being who did entice our first parents to partake of the forbidden fruit— (Did satan inspire the temple ceremony? The BoM says so.)
Alma 37: 27, 29
27 And now, my son, I command you that ye retain all their oaths, and their covenants, and their agreements in their secret abominations; yea, and all their signs and their wonders ye shall keep from this people, that they know them not, lest peradventure they should fall into darkness also and be destroyed.
29 Therefore ye shall keep these secret plans of their oaths and their covenants from this people, and only their wickedness and their murders and their abominations shall ye make known unto them; and ye shall teach them to abhor such wickedness and abominations and murders; and ye shall also teach them that these people were destroyed on account of their wickedness and abominations and their murders. (Bold added for emphasis)
There you have it. The Book of Mormon strongly condemns secret oaths, covenants, and signs and yet all of these things are done in the temple. Notice how the last verse above even referrs to murders? It wasn't that long ago that death penalties were included in the temple ceremony, where people covenanted with their lives that they would not tell any of the temple secrets. Each token, sign, and password also had a penalty associated with it, and it was graphic and violent.
So anyway, here you are sitting in a group of people dressed all exactly alike. Men sit together and women sit together (why do they separate men from women?) You are engaged in standing, sitting, switching your stylish temple clothes around, learning signs, tokens, and passwords, raising your right arm to the square, bowing your head and saying "yes" when prompted.
It is all extremely cultish and even as a believer, I used to get a creepy feeling in the temple, especially the veil room. The veil room has many curtains hanging around and they all have the square and compass markings in them (like in the garments). They are large and open, big enough to pass your hands through (which you do). One by one, people go up to the veil and "converse with the lord" exchanging passwords and handshakes. Upon completion, you are admitted through the veil and into the celestial room where you wait for your companions (if any) to get through and join you.
In this room, people are free to quietly sit, talk, pray, or whatever. Whenever you're done, you make your way back to the dressing room and change. You return your temple clothes (if you rented them. I wonder what Jesus would have to say about money being exchanged in the temple, which it most surely is).
I would go into more detail about the signs, tokens and such, but they are available in other places. The purpose of this post is not to expose the secrets of the temple, but rather to show how 1) it is extremely cultish in nature, 2) the very things that go on in the temple are strongly condemned in the Mormons own scriptures, and 3) how everyone who goes through comes out claiming it was beautiful and wonderful, when in fact it was creepy, wierd, and frightening.
Again, as a former believer, attending the temple is one less thing to take up all my spare time. I could seriously think of a million and one things I would rather do than go to the temple. Add temple attendance to the list of Mormon demands. You can't be saved if you don't go through the temple. You can't go to the temple if you don't pay your tithing. The list of Mormon demands is virtually endless. Thank the good Mormon god I am OUT!