A week ago today, my youngest, Benjamin, went to the temple for the first time. My oldest, Sariah, came down from Washington. His endowed siblings came, too. Although attending the temple is a very personal thing, there is something special about attending with loved ones. It is especially joyous to quietly greet each other in the Celestial Room at the end of the endowment session.
Sariah has been doing a lot of family history work and brought several family names to have their proxy work done. We believe that certain sacred ordinances are necessary for exaltation. Very few people have had the opportunity to receive these ordinances in this life. When we visit the temple, we do the work for those who have died without the work being done. They are free to accept or reject these ordinances. We do not believe they are bound by our actions. Some people are upset that we do this work as if we were forcing Mormonism on poor innocent dead people. 1) If the gospel as taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not true and we do not have authority from God, it really doesn't matter what we do or think we are doing because we don't have the power. 2) If it is true and we are doing God's work, we are doing people a great service. and 3) Each individual has the right to choose for themselves whether to accept of reject this work.
Doing temple work not only serves those who have gone before, but allows us to review and reflect on the covenants we have made. I think our dead are doing us a big favor!
After going through the 10 am session - Benjamin for himself, and the rest of us as proxy for dead relatives, we had a quick bite in the parking lot and many of us went back in.
There are actually several ordinances that are performed in the temple for those who have gone before - baptism, confirmation, anointing, the endowment, and sealing to family members. Several of us did baptisms. Four of us each held on to one relative's name and took it all the way through from baptism to family sealings. Some ordinances, like baptism, we can do several one after another in a short time. The endowment, however takes over an hour to do for one person. So while we did several ordinances for several deceased relatives, we each held on to one person that we did everything for. This was the first time that I have gone all the way through "with" one person and it was a very special feeling. Also, there were times during various ordinances when I had the distinct impression that someone was very glad that their work was being done.
It was a glorious day.
Benjamin really has the spirit of the temple and has been back to the temple every day this week (except Sunday and Monday when it is closed) He has gone with our Bishop, me, his brother David and sister-in-law Teresa, alone, and with a friend. He is determined to enjoy the blessings of the temple and learn as much as he can before he goes. When he is in Korea, he will not have many opportunities to attend the temple. The closest temple is in Seoul, which is not part of his Mission.