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  1. @Grunt & @Midwest LDS - thank you both so much! Your kind-spirited and uplifting words have encouraged me a great deal. I still have a lot to learn about the culture and about the doctrine of the church, and there is a lot of confusion on my part at times. I've found this forum to be tremendously helpful as I've been reading through posts, and I usually love the spirit in which information is shared. I had a friend suggest that I just watch the endowment ceremony on youtube, and I immediately felt like I should be extremely careful about the sources that I choose, and that I shouldn't treat such a sacred ceremony lightly. I've got to keep this brief as I have to head to work early this morning, but my heart is now at peace and I know that I can fully participate in the endowment ceremony and get sealed to my wife without any reservations at all. God bless you for being willing to share, and for your kind & caring spirits.
  2. First off, let me say a huge thank you to everyone for your insights. This is not a trivial matter to me, and I would not have been baptized into the church if I wasn't able to answer yes to the questions in @Carborendum's response. I may just be making a mountain out of a mole hill, but I take this all very seriously, and I'm finding that a large number of members in my stake seem to have a fairly blazé attitude towards spiritual matters and it troubles me. I asked leadership why members seem to eat so much meat when the word of wisdom is clear on the topic, and my bishop, as well as a member of the stake presidency (I forgot his specific title), in separate conversations, told me that it is between each member and God, and if they have a clear conscience about obedience to the word of wisdom, they can legitimately answer 'yes' to the temple recommend question. I was a vegetarian when I converted and I found it a bit odd that they would respond to my inquiry in that way - it did seem a lot like a 'cafeteria style' approach, which to me sounded a lot like "as long as you're OK with it, you're OK." I made a covenant with Jesus Christ when I was first saved, and I explicitly covenanted that all of my time here on Earth, all of the possessions He blesses me with, and all of the resources He makes available to me would be used in the pursuit of an ever-deepening relationship with Him, and that I would never put any organization above the Lord Himself. My concern is that one of my friends, who is a member, said that I would be asked to make a pledge to the church as an organization, rather than as an instrument of God's will. Again, may be making a mountain out of a mole hill, but I don't want to cause a scene during the ceremony and put my wife through that. And of course, if there's a problem there, then I'm left with what to do next, if I can't ever be sealed to my wife. To me, my words matter a great deal, and I don't take this lightly at all, but it seems like the local church culture doesn't seem concerned with this in the slightest, and just wants me to go through the motions, even if I don't understand.
  3. Good afternoon everyone, I'm so grateful for the information shared on this site. I'm a newer convert, and am getting ready to get my endowment and get sealed to my wife. However, I have had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for many years, and have already made covenants with God. My temple prep classes did not at all talk about what covenants are made in the temple, and I am concerned that one or more of the covenants made in the temple endowment ceremony may conflict with or attempt to alter terms of covenants that I already have made with God. I am perhaps over-thinking this, but I'm concerned that if I go to the temple endowment ceremony, and find out during the ceremony that there is a covenant that I cannot make, which will ultimately mean that I cannot receive my endowment, and that it will cripple my relationship with my wife (who was raised LDS and has not known any culture or community outside of the LDS church). Church leadership seems to agree that I should just "go through the endowment ceremony and find out" and not be concerned with this issue at all. Ultimately my question is this - am I absolutely required to make/agree to every single covenant that is part of the temple endowment ceremony, or does that remain between God and me? If leadership cannot answer that question, does it matter if I do or don't agree to every single covenant made during the ceremony? Thank you all in advance for your insights.