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Locking Up My Stuff Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Trust You…And Please Stop Putting Almond Joys In Your Candy Bowl

June 7, 2016

Why are there locks on the lockers in Mormon temples? 

Mormon temples are typically closed to the public. Not even all members of the LDS faith are permitted to enter temples. You have to be living your life in accordance with the church guidelines. Everyone is welcome at Sunday services in LDS chapels, but to enter the temples (which are closed on Sundays, BTW) you have to be following a set of requirements one of which includes obeying the seventh commandment, “Thou shalt not steal.” 

If you have ever toured a Mormon temple. During an open house before they are closed to the public, you may have noticed there are locker rooms where patrons can change into clothing specific to the temple. It’s a fairly typical locker room, although it doesn’t have showers. It has changing stalls for privacy and lockers to store your clothes in while you are in the temple. Like many lockers, the locker key has a tag with the locker number. and that’s the part that has always caused me pause. If everyone who is in the temple had to interview with their Church leaders and commit that they were following the commandments, why the locks? Was it because the church didn’t trust it’s members? Did the church think the members were lying when they said they were honest in their dealings?

About eighteen months ago, I went on a diet. I didn’t so much go on a diet as I changed my eating habits. I was 210 lbs and the heaviest I’d ever been. Some of the changes I made were lifestyle changes. I started taking the stairs at work. I went back to playing basketball a couple days per week. I parked further away from the door and walked more. 

But, I also made some eating changes. I cut out soda completely. I used to drink a lot of it, maybe 100 oz per day. (That’s about 8 cans worth.) I replaced it with water. I cut out most sugar. I’ll have an occasional piece of birthday cake if it’s a special occasion, but I skipped the candy aisle in favor of nuts and berries. Fresh fruit and jerky are also good low-sugar snacks. It’s expensive to eat healthy. But, my changes paid off. The pounds started melting away. I eventually settled at about 175 lbs. 

It was my first time trying to lose weight and I had heard that “diets” fail, but changing your habits and sticking with it has the best chance of success. So, I committed to “this is the new normal.” And once I finished the sugar detox, I felt better. Sure, I’d get tempted occasionally, but a bottle of water and an apple would often hit the spot that a candy bar used to fill. 

I also changed my shopping habits. I avoided even walking through the candy aisle. I was good with my decision to give up sugar, and figured I didn’t need the temptation. 

I work in a “cube farm.” And my cubicle is at the back of the farm. I have to walk past nearly every other “pod” of desks on the floor. The security team has a small table in the middle of their set of cubicles. They have a big bowl constantly full of candy. They rotate through various “snack” size candies. Most of the time I have no problem walking past the bowl without even a glance. This week wasn’t so problem free. There, sticking out from under the dum-dums and salt water taffy was a distinctive blue wrapper. 

Almond Joy.

Even the name sounds wonderful. Almonds are a nut (on the healthy list) and it’s loaded with coconut (more healthy nuts!) and it even had the word “Joy” in the name! Before I knew it, I’d snatched up he delectable morsel, shucked the wrapper and was immersed in the “Joy.” 

It’s just one, right? I mean, one snack sized (mostly nut-filled) candy isn’t going to balloon me back to 210 lbs. Besides, now that I’ve eaten, I don’t have to be tempted any more since that was the last one! Did I mention that the security team regularly refills their candy bowl? Sometimes multiple times per day. They restocked.

Is it their fault? Not at all. I’m a grown man, I can decide for myself if I want to eat one tiny, sweet, chocolaty, taste of paradise. But, what’s the difference? I would not go to the store and buy an Almond Joy, no matter how much I enjoy them. Does the fact I ate this one mean that I’m not committed to keeping the weight off and staying in better shape? Again, not at all. 

It’s the temptation, of course. If I have to go to any work to get the candy, I won’t do it. I won’t go to the trouble of buying a candy bar. I won’t go out of my way to get the candy, but if it’s right in front of me, and it’s free for the taking. (Seriously, the security team encourages the rest of us to enjoy the candy.) The issue is with me and the solution is also with me. Would it be easier if they didn’t stock the candy? Yep. but, I can’t control what they do. I can only control what I do. I need to walk the long way around and avoid their table of temptation. Or, I need to recognize that the temptation is there and prepare myself to avoid the impulse to eat all the Almond Joys. 

Of course, if they don’t stock the bowl with Almond Joys, I don’t have to worry as much. I’m not really tempted by the other types of candy. 

And that brings me back to the lockers in the temple. Are the locks there because the church doesn’t trust it’s members? I don’t think so. They are also not there because the church assumes people lied about being honest. but, everyone’s temptations are different. I would go a mile out of my way to return an extra dime that the store gave me in change. Stealing is not even a temptation to me. But, not everyone is like me. I have my own temptations, some more serious than an occasional Almond Joy. But, there are people who are tempted by an unlocked purse, or a unattended wallet. There have even been cases in professional sports locker rooms, where the players make millions of dollars, of someone being tempted to steal a few dollars that were unguarded. 

So, I think it’s about us helping each other to avoid temptation. If I know you are tempted by Turkish Delight, but you are watching your weight, I’m not going to bring my Turkish Delight to work. If you know I’m tempted by Almond Joys, maybe you stock the bowl with tootsie rolls instead. I think the locks are a way of saying, “We understand this is a temptation for some of you. We’re going to help you keep your commitments.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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