Apostate Behavior: Chapter 5 The Missionary

Copyright © Bruce A. Holt. All Rights Reserved. (Comments are welcome!)

I don’t remember packing. I don’t remember the drive to Salt Lake City. I don’t remember parking.

I do remember there was a “Welcome Missionaries” banner inside the entryway to the Salt Lake Mission Home, where I was to spend the next three days. My memories of those three days are too dim 45 years later! Only one thing I do recall vividly was we got to spend the afternoon with family after registration. Then it was goodbye.

So, what did my family and I do that free afternoon? Did we go grab a bite to eat and chat about what lies ahead, what’s gone on before, joke and kid around? Nope. None of that.

We meet my maternal grandparents at the genealogical library. We spent the afternoon doing genealogy.


Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy genealogy. But then, on that afternoon, a good burger would have been much better, I think!

The three days passed and I am sure I was fully indoctrinated with rules and instructions. I was excited, yes, but was never one to be full of fire and missionary zeal. Introvert, remember?

Oh, a memory from those three days just surfaced! Okay, one from those days and another prior. I will start with the latter.

I had received my endowments February 1, 1974. It was a unique experience, for sure. I concerned myself, though, with trying to remember the process, making sure I could do it again without prompting or assistance.

I was certainly aware of how “different” it was. Making covenants without having known what they would be beforehand. Special handshakes. Pantomiming ways I could die if I ever revealed the “signs and tokens” that went with the covenants. Oh, and a secret new name.

Definitely unexpected, for sure. But I was told there was a lot of meaning to be found in the ceremony. I was told it might take a lifetime to tease out even a small part of all the knowledge found in the endowment.

I now figure that’s just a ploy to encourage attendance! There’s just not all that much to it!

Unless you’re a Freemason.

Even then, there isn’t much.

The other memory was a special session in the Salt Lake Temple in the Solemn Assembly room, upstairs. We went behind the sealing rooms, passing by the locked door to the Holy of Holies. Then upstairs. I was in awe.

I do not recall the General Authorities present. There were some. One or more allowed us to ask any question we wanted. Because I don’t recall anything earthshaking, we must not have asked anything noteworthy.

The three days passed and it was time to head to Provo, to the LTM. It was raining. I was a Missionary.

16 thoughts on “Apostate Behavior: Chapter 5 The Missionary

  1. The endowment is an odd thing. My wife really struggled through it but resisted the temptation to walk out. Peers, family, all so happy to see you take the plunge into what they themselves failed to understand. It’s meaningless, but we’re constantly prodded to find meaning. I don’t miss it. I was a veil and initiatory worker for several years. Still know it all by heart.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. When I was a Christian I saw myself as a ‘normal’ Christian. My beliefs were the ‘right’ ones. LDS seemed so incredibly odd and cult-like to me. But, when you look at the big picture, the only reason ‘normal’ or ‘regular’ Christianity is more accepted worldwide than LDS is that it’s just been around way longer. If you examine it closely (or even not so closely!) it’s wacko! They’re ALL cults, in my opinion!
    I’m SO glad I’m out of it and happy for you, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Paul, this is fascinating. I hadn’t thought about signs and handshakes. The story about the Masons and Joseph Smith: I have always wondered when JS had time to become a Mason. He probably bought it with tithing money. I’m from Mormon country, with a very long line of gullible ancestors beginning in 1831, but luckily I missed the message. Your missionary training is something that I am interested in, if you don’t mind? GROG

    Liked by 1 person

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