Saturday, April 19, 2014

Celestial Rooms, Categories of LDS Membership, and Other Oddities

reprint from an earlier posting

 This picture is of the Celestial Room of the Vancouver Temple, not of the lobby of the Pink Cloud Motel. I thought it essential to make the clarification, as confusing the two is a  mistake that could easily be made. Families pray together in these rooms when they're inside their homes. As far as what else might happen in these rooms, I'd rather not even think about it. Celestial Rooms In Homes make is clear to others that the family who lives here is just half-a-stride and a slightly quicker pace or so closer to the Grand Celestial Kingdom than are the rest of the Mormons -- even the uber-Nazis.

My mom was on the phone with a relative from my dad's side of the family for almost an hour this afternoon.  This particular relative can only speak for about fifteen seconds without something about her church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, creeping into the conversation. Such is the case with several of my paternal relatives.

Many people have been born into or have struck up affiliations with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints but do not practice the faith to any serious degree. Some no longer believe. Some profess to believe but claim they just can't follow the rules. Mormons are not unique in this regard. The same sort of church/self relationships  exist in many faiths, particularly in those religious denominations with comparatively demanding rules for members to follow.  The following comments do not pertain to non-practicing, lukewarm, or on again/off again Mormons.

I've decided that practicing Mormons fall into three categories: Mormons, uber-nazi Mormons, and Mormons With Celestial Rooms In Their Homes.  (My LDS relatives would  probably name the categories celestial, terrestrial, and telestial, but that is a subject for another day's blog.) I have one nuclear family of relatives who fall under category one. The remainder are solid twos and threes.

Regular Mormons attend church on a consistent basis, although they don't seem to feel the need to drag a sick child to church because both parents have classes to teach on a given Sunday.  They probably pay a full ten per cent tithing (probably even on their gross income), as they do attend temple session on occasion, and paying one's tithing is supposedly a requirement for a temple recommend. They don't consume alcohol, coffee, or tea, and probably don't drink many caffeinated soft drinks, but they don't make a habit of pointing out distinctions between what they drink and what others drink. They typically do family things on Sundays. On an occasional Sunday, this may be expanded to  include extended family, and sometimes the Sunday activities may even include water, as in swimming in a pool or going to a beach.  In other words, they're sane.

Uber-Nazi Mormons would never swim or go to a beach on a Sunday. Satan owns the water. This is also a reason given for why young men and women on full-time missions may not swim. (I never understood why, if Satan owns the water, it would be safe for non-missionaries to swim any other day of the week, either. If anything, wouldn't God be all the more vigilant in protecting His Chosen People on His Holy Sabbath Day?)  Uber-Nazi Mormons' sons serve missions whether or not the young men personally feel the call. It's an obligation and an expectation. Sometimes high-priced carrots, as in new cars or paid college educations, are held over the prospective missionaries'  heads. At other times, the pressure is more psychological: 100%  of Grandma's sons, sons-in-law, and grandsons have served honorable missions. Do you really want to be the one to change that?  Uber-Nazi Mormons pay tithing rather than the mortgage if there isn't enough money for both.

If one were to  consider that Mormons of this category usually have two or three boxcars  full of children,  it would, in most of these cases, seem more prudent to devote the extra square home footage to additional sleeping quarters so that the offspring aren't sleeping in such close proximity that the lice can crawl from one head to the next one without taking a single step on non-human-head  territory, and the virus germs can travel from one host to another without going airborne.  That's just Alexis being OCD again, my Mormon relatives With Celestial Rooms In Their Homes  would say.

Some Mormons With Celestial Rooms In their Homes have sufficient funds that the space availability for sleeping quarters is a non-issue.  For them, it's both a function and a statement. Function: We have a special room to pray because we apparently believe God won't hear our prayers unless we're in our Celestial Room. Statement: We can afford a Celestial Room.  Unfortunately, none of my relatives With Celestial Rooms fall into this sub-category.

*** Not all Celestial Rooms are maintained to perfection. I've been in one (in a home rather than in a temple; I'm usually not allowed inside either kind of celestial room, and this is one I wish I had not been allowed inside) that would make a hoarder cringe either in self-recognition or because the standards of cleanliness and order were beneath even those of the hoarder.


  1. You are so on the money with these categories of Mormons! And in my experience, many of these home Celestial Rooms are treated as sacred spaces that family is only rarely allowed to occupy under the precisely right circumstances. Meaning for the majority of the time they're crammed into the rest of the house to actually live.

    1. In the homes of people in my family who have them, Celestial Rooms are completely wasted space. A decent living room or family room would have been a much better use of the space.

      One of my aunts has a freaking Bosendorfer piano that cost at least $40,000 in her celestial room. the only thing she allows the piano to be used for is to play a hymn before the family prays twice a day. She could've bought a freaking Casio keyboard for under a hundred bucks that would have been more than adequate for LDS hymns. And she can't even finance her kids' college educations.

      Just once when I was fourteen she was forcedto leave me alone in her house to stay with her sleeping baby while she picked another child up who had gotten injured at day camp. I snuck into the Celestial Room and played Bach, Chopin, and Billy Joel on the piano more for the piano's sake than for my own.