I attended the Temple here in Oklahoma City today. It was a good experience. It was one of the few times while living in this state that I got some relief from the pit or knot in my stomach that seems to have taken up residence there.
The training I'm in is intense, and quite difficult. It wouldn't have to be, but they have decided to make it this way. Most of the students in the class agree this is the hardest thing any of them have ever done. I would have to agree in many ways. The years of school, the months of specific training, the money invested are all dependent on successful completion of this course. If you fail, you get escorted out, sent home without a job and loose it all. If you pass, you continue on with your training at your respective facility. They impose some time frames upon the students in which they need to gain a degree of proficiency. They sometimes loose good people in this process, but for them I suppose it's worth it in order to also weed out those not able to be what they need in the time allotted. It also helps those who probably would not excel at the job get a push away from it. In any event, to sum up, it's like P90X or boot camp for the brain. Aside from the imposed time frame, I really enjoy the work.
Some classmates and I decided to attend the temple today and help clear our minds and gain some perspective. Least that is one of the reasons I had with me as I attended. The session was jam packed. This is a smaller temple and they had to bring in at least 30 folding chairs. There was not room for any more chairs without closing off the already severely narrowed walkway. I joked with my classmate that we had exceeded the maximum occupancy established by fire code for that room. We both enjoyed that there were many patrons today at the temple. By the way, the chandelier in the Celestial room of this temple takes the cake for my favorite.
Prayer Roll Box Limitations
Since this is a very small temple there is no waiting room or chapel to wait in. So before we began, about 20 of the guys were stuck waiting in lines up and down the isles of the dressing room. I happened to be waiting in a spot directly across from the prayer roll box. While waiting, I noticed something that struck me as odd. It was what was written on the prayer roll box plaque. There is a little placard that reads like this: "The practice of submitting long lists of names of for the prayer roll is inappropriate". Those were the words used. Apparently at some point temple attendee's were simply praying for too many people and such immature, unchristian, total mischief like had to be stopped. Or something like that..... It's absurd if you ask me.
As I read the little placard some questions immediately had to be answered. What about that practice is inappropriate? And who is the person who presumes to evaluate the act as not appropriate? Would the slips of paper become too much to fit into the box? Is that it? Would the need for a bigger prayer roll box not speak well of the temple patrons?? Is it inappropriate to pray or intercede on behalf of multiple people if you felt so inclined? In this world of pain and suffering and affliction should we limit the prayer roll to only a few select? Is our Charity too overwhelming? Can God only handle a couple at a time? Why not put a scripture as the placard and say something useful? Maybe a scripture that invites the Spirit of prayer.
When Jesus came to the Nephites, to the temple (3 Nephi 11:1). Verse 23 says And now Father, I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words. WHOA stop right there Jesus.... you came to the temple and are submitting prayers to God for TOO many people. That's inappropriate you know. It's so inappropriate we have had the message engraved onto placards in our modern temples. Forgive my sarcasm but that was the discussion in my mind while waiting for the temple workers to get the session organized for such a large group. During the prayer at the temple where the persons on the prayer roll are actually prayed for, the prayer will usually include a request to also bless "the missionaries" "those in the military" "the youth". These are groups comprising lots of people. Yet were we to submit a list of names from among those very groups the author-less placard on the box informs us such a thing is inappropriate. Little disconnect there? To me it merits some consideration even if you disagree with what I'm saying here. It makes me think of the scribes and Pharisees and how much of what Christ did that they viewed as inappropriate.
So I'm just not sure what would be so very inappropriate about submitting a long list of names that it merits a little gold placard. Would it not speak to the charity of the person who's heart is inclined towards their fellow man? Or who was aware of a group of people who are in need? I guess we could sit and impose all sorts of motives upon the person participating in such a practice; but at the end of the day none of us will know their heart and whether it was inappropriate or pure. What a shame to call inappropriate what in reality may have been pure.
Do not prophets and authors of scripture often pray and intercede on behalf of entire cities? Do the heavens not morn over all Gods children? I would never complain if my name was one in a long list submitted for prayer. And even IF members got carried away with it all.... is that not the least of our problems as Latter Day Saints trying to live in 2012? I think most people would be grateful someone thought to petition God on their behalf. Even if they were just one of a list of long names. I took a moment just now to consider all those people who are not prayed for due to that placard.....
I mean I guess it may possibly look funny if the pray roll box became a huge prayer bin, with folks putting lists with everyone they know on them. But who does that hurt? What could possibly have triggered a gold placard?
Speaking of inappropriate. Being obligated to make a covenant with God seated, unable to to observe the physical gestures without invading the space of the patron beside me seems inappropriate. There used to be a disclaimer that if patrons had trouble sitting and standing frequently during the session they were allowed to remain seated, while those able to would stand. However it was changed. The disclaimer apparently wasn't enough, so now I'm forced to remain seated which I find an inappropriate way to approach God to make a covenant. I suppose what I find inappropriate and what others have deemed inappropriate are simply different. What's more important, that we limit how long a list a person makes for the temple prayer roll? Or that we alter the ordinances and require people to be in the most casual, sleepy of positions while they make covenants with God?
While making a covenant with God my view is you should be standing, or kneeling. But then again, I sometimes submit long lists of people for the prayer role, I guess I'm a rebel.