Friday, April 30, 2010

Since posting on here has become somewhat abnormal for me lately, I figured I'd deviate from the norm even more, and write something serious.

Today is my ordinance anniversary, and this particular anniversary is pretty symmetrical. I was baptized 22 years ago today, and I received my endowment 11 years ago today. As usual, I marked the occasion with a temple visit, this time performing washings and anointings for the dead at the Jordan River Temple.

I don't remember much about my baptism day, but I do remember coming up from the water and asking if I could do it again. Since I can't swim and don't really like water, I'm guessing I wanted to go back under because of the good feeling it produced.

When I received my initiatory ordinances and endowment, I also felt good after, but it was so much to take in that again I don't remember a lot of specifics. I've repeated each covenant that I've made, each ordinance that I've participated in, numerous times for those who died before they could do them for themselves. It's always a pleasant, peaceful experience at worst, and at best a significantly spiritual experience.

But what has been most meaningful to me has been the opportunities I've had to facilitate these experiences for others, whether they're receiving their own ordinances or performing them for the dead. I've been asked by my youngest sister and by a few people I taught on my mission to baptize them, a tremendous honor for me each time. More recently, I also had the privilege of serving as a set apart ordinance worker, for six months in the Manhattan Temple and six months at Jordan River.

Over that year I learned so much more about the temple ordinances and the gospel than I did in ten years as a patron. Each week, my shift had a highly calming, restorative effect on me. It also provided opportunities for meditation, something I almost never make time for in any other situation. Due to my long stretch of unemployment, there were also many weeks when my temple shift seemed like the only worthwhile thing I did. I hope I get a chance to serve as an ordinance worker again at some point.

The temple means a lot to me. It's one of the few things I actually treat with reverence. As the children's song says, I love to see the temple.

(On the off chance that anyone who reads my blog is not a Mormon, to find out more about the terminology and doctrines relating to temples, go here or here, or leave a comment and I'll contact you.)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Tale of two cities

My 2nd round matchup in the MormonTimes Blogger Brawl is finally up. Check it out and vote for me! The poll closes Sunday at midnight.

I moved out of my parents' house two weeks ago and am finally living independently again. I loved having free room and board and spending a lot of time with my family, but for the last eight months my life kind of felt like it was on pause. So I'm enjoying my transition back to "normal" adult life.

I think most people who read my blog know that I loved living in New York, and were it not for my financial duress I would still be there now. But Utah is also a good place to live, and even beats NYC in a few areas. Just a few that I've noticed in these past two weeks:

--I bought a gallon of milk for $1.66 at WalMart. $1.66! And the expiration date was more than three days past the purchase date.

--My rent payment is less than half of what I paid in New York. And I have my own room, with a bigger closet than the one I shared in Harlem.

--Free laundry, with machines in my own apartment! (I know I technically have to pay for the water and such, but no direct costs.) Doing laundry was probably my least favorite part of living in New York.

--We've finally had a few warm days, and I was reminded how unhumid Utah is.

--There are WAY more people here, in Utah generally and in the singles scene particularly, that are into sports, especially basketball. I might even be able to play my as-yet unused ESPN Scene It game with my new roommates.

Again, let the record show, if an opportunity arose, I would happily return to the East Coast. But Utah is also a very good place to live. And let the record also show that I now have good Internet access, so now the only thing keeping me from blogging more is inertia. So expect more posts soon.

And don't forget to vote!