My exmo sis had told me few things about the temple already, like that there were secret handshakes and chanting and things such as that. I was freaked out to begin with, and knowing it was going to be strange made it worse and made me more anxious.
I was engaged and I knew I'd have to go through the temple soon. I was doubting and had been doubting for a long time but I loved my fiance and he was quite TBM at the time, as were our families for the most part, so I knew I would have to get married in the temple. I set a day to go through the Mesa temple while we were visiting my parents in AZ. While there, however, I asked that we put it off because I was "not ready yet." My parents didn't understand but respected my wished.
The day before my wedding, I went through the Bountiful temple. I was not ready that day, either, but it was pretty much the longest I could have put it off, right? :) I remember how worried I was, and how I just wished I was allowed to know what was going to happen. Why did it have to be so damn secret? That only made it scarier. Still, what choice did I have? I wanted to get married. I took my clothes off in the dressing room and put on a shield/poncho getup and went to get washed and anointed.
The old ladies in the curtains were kind to me, and told me all these great things I could become, and it made me feel better. It was odd, though, to have WOMEN giving me blessings and acting as though they had priesthood authority. That was weird. But I can honestly say that the initiatory was the best part of the temple experience for me. I didn't entirely understand it, but it made me feel somewhat empowered (by the way, this was POST-naked touching). I figured the rest of it couldn't be that bad.
As I sat in the endowment, I felt confusion and fear. I hated knowing that there would be a "test" at the end, and I freaked out to try to remember everything I was supposed to say and do at the veil. I thought the movie was boring and silly. I felt that the handshakes, gestures and chanting were cult-like and made me endlessly uncomfortable. I was in a mad rush to do all the robe-changing things because I didn't want to be the last person in the room standing up to change them, therefore causing embarrassment. I hated not understand what the hell was going on. It felt jumbled and foreign, and worst of all I didn't see why knowing a bunch of handshakes would prove me worthy of entering heaven. I did not believe it.
At the end, my husband was able to take me through the veil. It was a neat idea, but I was still scared and confused--even with the veil worker helping me. After feeling humiliated at the veil, I passed through into the Celestial Room. It was nice and peaceful there, but I could not fathom what I had just endured. it was as though the religion I had known since childhood had a dare side that I had never, ever known existed. It felt very wrong to me. I remember that while I sat in the Celestial Room with my fiance, I thought to myself, "I wouldn't mind if I never had to go through the temple again!"
I hated going ever since then. I'd make all sorts of excuses not to do the endowment. I would do other things, like baptisms, initiatories, and sealings, long before I'd do an endowment. I hated sitting through the stupid movie and doing the cult-like gestures.
I never felt the same about my religion after that.