My Embarassing Temple Trip

Last night our ward drove up to the Idaho Falls temple to do baptisms for the dead with the Youth.

I drove up to the church, making sure I had extra underwear and makeup for afterward packed away in my little brown bag in my purse. I was right on time, at 5pm. However according to Mormon time I was 15 minutes early. So I waited around for some others to show up. I was wearing a tea length skirt and flip flops as the other youth leaders arrived in long skirts, heels, and pantyhose. I huddled with the people I knew the most, and watched four suburbans pull into the parking lot. The prayer was given once everyone arrived, and the bishop handed me my temporary temple recommend. (Mine had expired, and I've been too lazy to get a new one.) We piled into one of the suburbans, and of course I sat in the very back next to the luggage. The women had these ugly floral laptop-case-looking bags, which I assumed carried the stuff that I brought in a paper sack. All in all, there were four girls and two guys in the car, all my age.

I looked around and realized that there is a distinct possibility that I was completely misplaced. This may be purely coincidental, but the three women in front of me all had the exact same cropped bob for a haircut, with blonde highlights on top, and a burgundy red underneath. They all wore the loose fitting empire waist shirts with short sleeves that gather at the shoulder. Pantyhose, long skirts, and black tacky shoes. They all started talking about their babies and toddlers. Drool this, poop that. I looked out the window and tried to remember where I was going, and what I was doing. Despite the fact that the Young Adults of the Corn were taking me there.

Once we got to the temple, we sat in pews to have prayer. The temple workers informed us that any endowed members won't be able to get baptized, and would have to help. Therefore all the adults went to get their temple clothes on. I am not endowed yet. So there I sat. The only woman over the age of 17. I talked to the girls, trying to pretend that I ELECTED to get baptized with them "to be cool."

I have only done baptisms for the dead once, so I was rusty. Rusty as in, I looked a little lost the entire time. Thankfully, the endowed sisters realized that I was terrified and guided me along in the least condescending way possible. When it was my turn, I stepped into the nice warm, chlorine filled water. The guy baptizing looked a little scrawny, so I decided beforehand that I would help him out a little and be sure to really "push" off the bottom when he brought me back out of the water. (Let's face it, his arms would get tired.) However, I was entirely too eager and had to be "re-dipped" twice. Frick, even the teenagers could do this part.

After all was said and done, I was basically over my sheer mortification. (What could be worse than being dressed in a white jumpsuit that gets completely soaking wet?) So I gave up on the whole "trying to look cool and knowledgeable" thing, and dripped my way into the locker room. I got dressed, and prepared to do my makeup. However, the slick counters, partnered with my clumsiness, made a fascinating scene as my foundation shattered on the floor. Thankfully, it was that “solid” mousse stuff, so it didn’t get everywhere. But if you ever visit the Idaho Falls temple, and get your foot sliced open by broken glass – that was my fault.

I barely made it to the “movie” room (which is new to me…) and tried to isolate myself in a corner to not cause any further humiliation. All the girls came in and sat next to me. They talked about how many times they had seen “Johnny Lingo,” and I ended up confessing that I had never seen it. They gasped in horror. Or maybe jealousy. Like, “Your mom let’s you watch non-LDS movies?” Yes. My mom.

The scrawny guy that baptized me came in and apologized for not knowing who I was, and having to ask my name at the font. He remembered that I was new to the ward. He said he assumed I was a new “Youth.” That was the best news I heard all day.

Now for the best part. The food. We trekked downstairs to the cafeteria. I was ravenous, but tried to minimize the piling on of food since the ward was footing the bill. I got a normal sized plate of food, with a piece of pumpkin pie. (And I even omitted the scone for diet purposes.) I sat in front of my visiting teacher and her husband only to witness that them, along with everyone else, had done the opposite of me. Three scones, pie, salad, chicken, veggies, Jello, potatoes, milk, soup, fruit, juice, butter, all on one tray. However, ultimately I am glad my eyes weren’t bigger than my stomach as it was more that satisfying. Apparently, people actually fast all day to prepare for this temple food, and I can see why. Yum!

It was a great experience. Embarrassing at times, but really great. And even though the women who drove with me are all a little “Carrie Conformist,” I think I am going to make a concerted effort to make them my friends.


Cliff said...

Hmm, I work in the media and usually find myself gravitating towards the more non-traditional Mormons at church, but I have several close friends that are as "vanilla Mormon" as you can get. We often joke about how we have no idea why we hang out since we have so little in common.

That being said, I think the reason I like hanging out with the "conformists" is for the safety in it. Around them, I know I'm unlikely to come in contact with anything that may make me uncomfortable. Sometimes I like to be challenged in my thinking in order to learn and grow, while other times I like to just sit back and play hearts until a reasonable hour. :-)

Mormon Heretic said...


You are a wonderful writer. You remind me of a mormon version of Erma Bombeck. I really enjoy your writing.

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