A female temple worker told me to remove my clothing as she handed me a white garment called a shield. I stood naked in a private cubicle and slipped the shield over my head. It looked like a sheet with a hole in it for my head, open on either side. Other women wearing shields sat on benches waiting their turn in the washing and anointing room. We didn't look at or speak to each other. We stared straight ahead with blank expressions on our faces.
At this point, I vaguely remember being told I would now be prepared, "cleansed from the blood and sins of this generation." The moments that followed are blocked from my memory. But after I listened to the actual tape recordings of the temple ritual, I now know that a woman temple worker wets her hand in water and ceremonially washes every part of your body. She reaches under the shield lightly touching each body part as she recites words of the ceremony.
After the washing with water, I was led into another part of the room and seated on a throne-like chair. Another temple worker poured drops of oil from a large horn onto my head and into her own hand. Then she anointed each part of my body with oil to prepare me to become a "queen and a priestess unto the Most High God, hereafter to rule and reign in the House of Israel forever.
I didn't feel like a queen-in-waiting; I felt defiled, ashamed, and bewildered.
After the cleansing and anointing procedure, I received my special underwear.
"Sister Robertson, having authority, I place this garment upon you," the temple worker's arms reached under the shield, pulling the nylon one-piece undergarment on me. "It represents the garment given to Adam when he was found naked in the garden of Eden, and is called the garment of the holy priesthood."
The garment covered me from neckline to cap sleeves and down, reaching to just above my knees. I felt uncomfortable and claustrophobic. "Inasmuch as you do not defile it, but are true and faithful to your covenants, it will be a shield and a protection to you against the power of the destroyer until you have finished your work on earth." I was told I must wear this garment of the holy priesthood next to my skin, even under ordinary underwear constantly, day and night, throughout my life.
"With this garment, I give you a new name, which you should always remember and which you must keep sacred, and never reveal except at a certain place that will be shown you hereafter." The temple worker whispered in my ear, "Your name is Augusta."
The washing and anointing procedure was supposed to cleanse me from the blood and sins of this generation. And yet I had been baptized eighteen years earlier in a Disciples of Christ Christian church, in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins.Needless to say the book is very very interesting. It gets better too, as it delves in to the actual temple ceremony. The author's background as a cultural Christian is fascinating as she vaguely recalls what the Bible actually says throughout hearing the slight twist on the truth as the story progresses.
Also, as a person who watched a very close friend in High School leave the mormon church, I can attest to the terror involved. My friend was near suicidal for weeks following because of the terrible pressure that was asserted on her after leaving.