Reform institutionalized temple worship. The current system of pressuring youth into temple initiation, and covenant making, without even knowing beforehand the full idea of what covenants they will be making, can be highly detrimental.
There are a lot of aspects of temple worship which need to change
Simply put, the LDS temple rites have been turned into an assembly line ritual. Take a number, and “next“….
From what I’ve studied of masonry and other systems of ancient spiritual initiation, the temple is meant to be highly esoteric. Spiritual initiation literally leads a person through the veils, so they can commune with the spirit world. The key in this process is desire. The candidate must desire initiation or no change in consciousness can occur. The current system places social pressure for people to go through the temple to be “initiated” when, in many cases, they couldn’t care less about the outcome. The current system is no better than a club, and no different than the base aspect of our religion itself.
Initiation should not be done assembly-line style at 14 or 19 before a mission, but instead it should be a completely a personal matter. Like a Buddhist system of apprentice/pupil and master/guide, an applicant should desire these spiritual rituals and seek them out without social pressure. They should be assigned a permanent escort who has proven they “see” the truth behind the symbolism. The apprentice should interview with parents (according to the patriarchal order) as well as with Bishops & Stake Presidents. Each applicant or apprentice should have specific “masters” and these adepts should be the temple escorts who guide them through the initiation process. There should not be set “interview” questions but an open discussion where each applicant’s understanding & readiness (not so much “worthiness”—as we are all unworthy) is assessed. If they grasp through word & deed the spiritual meaning behind each ordinance, they are ready to receive the spiritual ordinance. Once an adult is a high priest there should be no “readiness” discussion at all. If members are “unworthy” let them be accused according to the system given in D&C 102.
Once initiation has taken place, candidates can enter a school of the prophets. Here they learn to hone spiritual gifts such as the gift of prophecy, gift of revelation, gift of healing, power of group consciousness/true order of prayer, mediumship, this includes communion with the righteous dead through the veil.
Used properly, the temple ceremony is meant to teach mature members the true order of the priesthood (patriarchal order), the true order of prayer (group consciousness), and the true order of organized religion (as a lower man-made law pointing to the higher natural law). Practiced effectively, it will keep mature spiritualists from apostatizing, withdrawing or going inactive from church participation. It is meant to be a personal experience where those who “see”, lead those who are blind. The current system is broken. It is the blind leading the blind. It needs work.