Babies in the Temple

When my wife was still about 8 months pregnant, she stopped by the ______ Temple (location deleted to protect the innocent) to inquire about any guidelines they had regarding attendance while pregnant. (Like how the airlines won’t let you fly, etc.)

The matron looked at her with great concern and said, “You’re not planning on having the baby here, are you? Because we’d strongly discourage that.”

We were rather stunned, both at the idea and that someone felt the situation warranted mentioning it at all.

I can understand wanting to increase your understanding of your own role in the Plan of Salvation, or seek particular inspiration as you await the arrival of a new child into your family, though. These are,in fact, some of our motivations for going the last few months. That, and we wouldn’t have to get a babysitter.

7 comments for “Babies in the Temple

  1. Karen
    March 8, 2004 at 8:59 pm

    Greg, I think I can safely pass this on without contributing to the Mormon rumor mill. When my parents were in the MTC, preparing to serve as temple workers in Europe, they had some training as to what to do with women who waited in the celestial room until their water broke, or they went into labor. Apparently it happened enough, and caused enough of a mess, that it was (at least at that time) mentioned in the missionary training.

    I think this brings up the fairly interesting topic of confusing the principles of the gospel with old-fashioned superstition. Do the concepts of faith and gaining a testimony of that which is not readily ascertained by our 5 senses lead to what I should perhaps not call gullibility, but can’t think of a better word right now?

  2. greg
    March 8, 2004 at 10:16 pm

    I wonder if they also discourage the moribund from hanging around.

  3. March 8, 2004 at 11:23 pm

    As we were trying to figure out if this was just the too-thorough advice of a single temple worker, we tried to figure out the spiritual logic or even the mindset that’d lead someone to want this.

    The best we came up with was a too-literalist interpretation of the symbolic role of the temple as the place closest to/most like where you figure that baby’s coming from.

    Still, you’d have to skip several reality checks as you convinced yourself it was the rightest thing to do.

    We did decide that if you were trying this at Provo or Jordan River on a Saturday, the chances of finding a doctor or two nearby were pretty good.

  4. Gary Cooper
    March 9, 2004 at 12:11 pm

    For what it’s worth, I wonder if this sort of problem occurs in direct proportion to one’s proximity to high-density LDS population centers. My wife was 8 months pregnant when we were sealed together in the Dallas, Texas temple. Since it was also the first time my wife had ever been to the temple, and she would be receiving her own endowment, AND was a native Spanish speaker, I had many concerns about making sure everything would go okay, so she could have an enjoyable and spiritual experience. I needn’t have worried, because our Relief Society president, who had befriended my wife, and our Stake President, who spoke Spanish, on their own got with the temple before hand and everything went smoothly. During the endowment they actually stopped the ceremonies a couple of times to allow my wife and the RS president (who was also 8 months pregnant!) to get a drink of water or go to the ladies’s room, and no one seemed in any way inconvenienced or unhappy about doing so. This occasion, of all the experiences I have had during nearly 22 years of membership in the Church, was the one that most demonstrated to me what it may be like for all of us when we get to the Celestial Kingdom: everyone working in harmony together, with nobody “left out”, and everyone concerned for everyone elses’ welfare and happiness.

    This may be changing the nature of this discussion, but whenever I hear the kind of “horror stories” that Greg relates in his post, and I compare with my experience here in the “mission field” (Oklahoma)where I just don’t see these problems, I ask myself: What is it about high-density LDS population areas that makes for these kinds of problems? I actually know members here where I live who would never dream of living in Utah or southeast Idaho, or Mesa, AZ, etc. because of their fear of how the members there act. (I might share those sentiments.)

  5. cooper
    March 9, 2004 at 12:33 pm

    Well, I can second Gary’s comment. It must be high concentrated areas (Utah/Idaho?). I have never heard of anyone waiting in the temple for the onset of labor??!? My first reaction was “Huh?” Guess us SoCal people just have too much traffic to sit in to worry about doing the waiting in the temple. That would definately be a recipe for disaster.

  6. AE
    March 10, 2004 at 3:22 pm

    As an LDS father of four, I can attest that my spouse never swears so much as when she’s in labor. (She also kicks and gives evil looks, but that’s another matter.) I understand that this penchant for colorful language during the birthing process in not unique to my beloved.

    I’d fear that they’d have to re-dedicate the temple after your average woman-in-labor gets through with the place.

  7. March 11, 2004 at 1:44 am

    Good points and very encouraging story, Gary. Except for this one comment, which was more eyebrow-raising than a “horror story,” my wife’s an my experience at the temple when she was so pregnant was also quite comfortable and reassuring.

    It’s worth pointing out, though, that this didn’t happen in UT/ID/AZ, but in “the mission field.” When my wife told me, though, I automatically figured it must be a Utah thing. ;)

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