To Recommend or Not to Recommend: You’re the Bishop! (Poll #16)

by: Bishop Bill

February 11, 2012

A man in your ward has come to you for his temple recommend renewal. Usually your counselors do renewal interviews, but this brother asked you personally, and you had a few minutes. He answers all the questions correctly, but in talking afterwards, he tells you that he does not believe the Book of Mormon to be a historical record. He believes it is “inspired fiction.” He said he lumps the Book of Mormon with books like Job and Deuteronomy in the Old Testament and stories like Noah and the creation. They all tell good stories and provide guidance, but they never literally happened. You are the Bishop, what do you do?

You're the bishop. What would you do? (Poll #16)

  • Sign the recommend, as he has answered all the questions correctly, and you have been instructed not to add any other questions to those authorized in the book. (84%, 183 Votes)
  • Tell him he does not qualify for a recommend, as he clearly does not have a testimony of Joseph Smith, or the restoration. (8%, 17 Votes)
  • Do not sign the recommend - you are as concerned over his lack of belief in the Old Testament as you are his lack of belief in the Book of Mormon. (5%, 12 Votes)
  • Tell him that you need to talk to the Stake President, and you'll let the Stake President decide. (3%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 219

Loading ... Loading ...

Discuss.

Tags: , ,

95 Responses to To Recommend or Not to Recommend: You’re the Bishop! (Poll #16)

  1. whizzbang on February 11, 2012 at 7:26 AM

    Sadly, I know Bishops who would revoke the recommend

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 6

  2. Yet Another John on February 11, 2012 at 8:25 AM

    But what would YOU do Whizzbang?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  3. prometheus on February 11, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    sign the recommend without hesitation – details of theology are the lesser matters of the law, imo.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 6

  4. hawkgrrrl on February 11, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    Wow, I really hate the answer to kick it upstairs to the SP. Use your own discernment, bishop!

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 6

  5. Brian on February 11, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    Sign it. The church itself isn’t even forthright enough to categorically state which parts of the Old Testament are historical and which are fiction. Let this full-tithe paying, obedient member believe as he wants and not “trammel” him.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 7

  6. Ray on February 11, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Sign it – then ask him why he bothered to tell you that in that setting, since it’s not part of the interview questions. Tell him he doesn’t have to mention it ever again in a temple recommend interview.

    #5 – “isn’t forthright enough”? I hope we never get to the point where “The Church” tries to be “forthright” in that manner. Do you really want that?

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 13

  7. Howard on February 11, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    Inspired fiction is good phrase you might also consider revealed fiction.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  8. shenpa warrior on February 11, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    On having a “testimony” re: the recommend interview: How are bishops instructed to define that? Knowledge? Faith? Hope?

    @Ray – totally agree. I’d want to know why he brought it up as well.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  9. Bob on February 11, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    #8:shenpa warrior,
    “I’d want to know why he brought it up as well”.
    IMO__Maybe Integrity__he didn’t want to feel he was backdooring into the Temple.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  10. shenpa warrior on February 11, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Great point Bob – along with that, I would be concerned about the population of members who NEVER feel like they can go in the front door, and take up a TON of this bishop’s time in going over stuff that is not part of the bishop’s job per se. Those types of members need to know that they should not be bringing up all kinds of extra stuff. Give the man some time with his family! Besides the time issue, this kind of ineffective dependency on the bishop tends to (I think) damn the member’s ability to have faith in God and the Atonement.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  11. brian on February 11, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Parse all you want, Ray. My point is that members of the church read stories in the scriptures and don’t even know if they are history or fiction. How silly is that.

    The foundational books might be history or might be a fiction. Details, details.

    I heard Sam Harris the other day ask, “How good would a book written by a creator of the Universe be?” I propose a heck of a lot better than anything we have.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 5

  12. E on February 11, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    brian, what on earth makes you think “the church” knows exactly how historical any book in the OT is? Do you think that scholars the world over are not able to come to perfect consensus but “the church” has some top secret documentation regarding historicity of various OT Bible stories?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  13. E on February 11, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    But brian, since “the church” won’t be forthright about it, the story of Jonah and the whale is “fiction”.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  14. Paul on February 11, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    I chose #1, but not because his “admission” is out of scope of the recommend questions but because it doesn’t matter. He is clearly a believing and faithful member of the church. Whether he finds comfort in the Book of Mormon as a literal history or inspired fiction is immaterial. Members of my gospel doctrine class will argue about whether Job is historical fact or not, but none of them should be denied a recommended on that basis.

    He has already stated he has a testimony of the restoration. That’s enough.

    That said, he expressed his view for a reason. I’d be much more interested in exploring that — is he uncomfortable about what he feels? Is there something I could do as his bishop to help him find comfort?

    I agree with Ray that one could instruct him he doesn’t need to bring this up as part of the recommend interview.

    But he did seek out the bishop (instead of a counselor) and he did bring it up, so I’d try to understand how to help him to feel comfortable in his spiritual skin.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 8

  15. jmb275 on February 11, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Sign it, duh! Where is the debate, or the question? There’s no question about the historicity of the BoM in the TR interview questions. And THANK GOD!!!!

    Amen to what Ray said.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 5

  16. Jeff Spector on February 11, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    Agree with Paul. The after-response is of no consequence to the big picture. And he answered the questions truthfully.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  17. whizzbang on February 11, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    @2-I would let him have the recommend!

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  18. Bob on February 11, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    If the TR interview is not about what you believe__then what is it about?
    If it not about screening out people__what’s about.
    YOU may think you have a right not to answer fully (some kind of 5th amendment right), but is that what the Church expects?
    Doesn’t the Bishop have a duty to reject someone for not being a believer? If not why have questions or interview at all.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  19. Jake on February 11, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    I would sign it without thinking and then either call him to be one of my councillors or as the Sunday school teacher.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 8

  20. Chris on February 11, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    I agree with Ray (and Jake). Bishops cannot ad to the temple recommend questions, nor can stake presidents, and this is not a question that is asked, thank goodness!

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  21. Bob on February 11, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    #20: chris,
    Are you saying TR questions are intented/expected/required only to be questioned Yes or no. That when you in doubt/or have your own question, you always answer “yes” and never “No”? That’s it none of the “gate keepers” business what you believe?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  22. Chris on February 11, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    Yes, that’s what I believe, Bob. The Church has undergone such an evolution of theologian teachings from Brigham’s Adam/God theory to Joseph Fielding Smith’s “seed of Cain” pronouncements that I believe I am justified in believing that Section 132 is Joseph Smith’s fabrication to justify his polyandy, that much of the D&C contradicts many of the teachings in the BM about Christ, and that prophets introduce some of their prejudices, weaknesses, and human errors into their teachings.

    I do not believe I need to explain this to my bishop any more than I need to ask him to explain to me what the history of the Church is not accurate in any of the Church manuals. I am an active, believing member and feel worthy of the temple recommend that I currently have and use.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 8

  23. Bob on February 11, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    #22: chris, Then there is no real need
    For a TR interview(?) If the indiviual disides

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  24. Bob on February 11, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    @@3′
    Sorry wrong button…

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  25. hawkgrrrl on February 11, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    I think Bob’s question goes to the heart of the matter. Who determines worthiness? The bishop? The individual? The questions? Other methods of discernment? Can the bishop rightly withhold the TR based on nothing more than a “hunch” or “the Spirit” even if probing reveals no “wrong answers”?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  26. Bob on February 11, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    #23: chris,
    so there is no need or use for a TR inerview(?)
    The individual decides if he/she should be let in or not? the individual makes decides if he/she is worthy or not? The Bishop has no role.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  27. mh on February 11, 2012 at 10:20 PM

    of course the bishop has a role. he has to sign the recommend.

    bob, you are probably old enough to remember when some bishops and stake presidents took it upon themselves to ask about caffeine use (do you drinl coke?) or whether one participated in oral sex with their spouse. such ‘worthiness’ questions were deemed inapporpriate by the ga’s, and bishops/stakr pres’s have been instructed to avoid going beyond the tr questions.

    bob, how literal must a person believe? for example, must a person believe that a snake literally spoke to eve in the garden, or is it ok to believe in a figurative snake?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  28. mh on February 11, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    bob, one other thing. the last question in the tr interview is ‘do you consider yourself worthy of a tr?’ so yes, there is a bit of the individual input into whether the individual is worthy. remember, we still need to live the WoW, chastity, etc, so there are some things that can disqualify a person too. I don’t consider it a rubber stamp to get a tr either, _Do you?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  29. Douglas on February 11, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    I’d sign the recommend since SOMETHING impels the brother to live the Gospel, AND he is candid about it. His terminology “inspired fiction” would seem a bit of an oxymoron anyway. I’m left with the impression that he’s searching out the truth, and questioning the historicity of the BoM is a relevant question. Under the circumstances, the last thing that I’d want to do is to slam the door on the guy if he’s having issues. Believe me, having my own recommend yanked on me for the “sin” of separating from my wife (and not any specific sin that might have caused said separation) left a bitter taste at the time. Some bishops see themselves like a goal tender, deflecting off any possible “unworthies” (like Arturs Irbe, they want a ‘shutout’!). Others, however, act like an impresario, trying to get their members IN.
    Besides, those of us that are not content to be just spoon-fed doctrine can get some wacky “ideers”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmPAFXB0gwM

    (believe it or not, all the voices were done by the talented Mel Blanc!)

    Mine, for example, would be that the diversity of human races cannot be explained by the Book of Genesis, so either it’s terribly incomplete (and the Book of Moses from the PoGP doesn’t fill it in), so I don’t believe that Adam is literally the earthly father of all humankind, unless there was some event that reoriented human DNA into the diversity of racial types we have today that never made it into the Bible.
    Also, I ‘believe’ in the Ancient Astronaut theory w/o necessarily using it as an excuse to discount the existence of Heavenly Father or His angelic messengers. It’s a belief, though, the evidence is definitely NOT conclusive (just as no one has ‘proved’ that UFOs are “little green men from Mars” or funny-looking grey guys from Zeta Reticuli). We’re all entitled to weird-ass ideas. Just don’t confuse them with revealed doctrine.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  30. wonderdog on February 12, 2012 at 5:52 AM

    He came to you, the bishop, so he is seriously concerned. I give him points for being honest. It would have been easy to lie. (I’ve been a bishop. I had an adulteress lie to me when I knew differently.) He may at so level be lacking a true testimony and want one. He is standing on the edge of the cliff of leaving the church. He’s told you that the edge is crumbling. As bishop, you need to tread lightly. Ask if he’s read the Book of Mormon and tried Moroni’s promise. You would be surprized how many members have not. If possible, get him to read it and prat sincerely about it. He may not know how to recognize the spirit.

    As him if he feels he should have a recommend.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  31. Howard on February 12, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    Wonderdog,
    So your assumption is he’s wrong. How do you know he’s wrong?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  32. henry on February 12, 2012 at 9:29 AM

    Is it the wisest thing to let a non-believer into the temple?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  33. Proud Daughter of Eve on February 12, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    By his own word, this guy believes that either Joseph Smith is lying or that God is lying to Joseph and thence to the rest of us.

    We don’t have definite word on how the Old Testament came about. We do have definite word on the Book of Mormon, which continually addresses the reader and mentions how it was prepared as a witness for the last days. “Witness” means testimony and truth, not fiction. How can fiction witness of anything? It may show but it cannot attest.

    This is not a negligible detail of theology. This is a keystone.

    If I were the bishop, I’d say I could not grant the recommend and explain why. I’d invite him to talk about it with me at greater length at another time and/or revisit the issue next month.

    Why do some of you keep harping on about him being a full tithe-payer as if the only qualification for entering the presence of God was ponying up the dough? It’s great that he’s obedient and faithful in that but there’s more at issue here.

    Controversial! What do you think? Thumb up 3

  34. Brian on February 12, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    E–should we ask scholars all over the world what they think of the Book of Mormon?

    We could ask the Smithsonian. Oh, that’s right. Someone already did.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  35. Howard on February 12, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    PDoE,
    What does the BoM witness? The historical accuracy of a story for which there is little or no sceintific evidence? Or gospel truths?

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 7

  36. Bob on February 12, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    #35: Howard,
    “What does the BoM witness?
    For the Church that God sent an angel to Joseph Smith.
    For most of it’s history, this has been the reason given__as a witness he was a Prophet and the Church was true.
    I don’t think JS used it many times to convey Gospel truths.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  37. Howard on February 12, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Bob,
    How does the BoM being historial fiction change that?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  38. L-dG on February 12, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    By his own word, this guy believes that either Joseph Smith is lying or that God is lying to Joseph and thence to the rest of us.

    False dichotomy, PDoE.

    More generally, given that belief is not altogether volitional, the only just criteria by which one can judge are behavioral. If he’s keeping the commandments and doing his best, sign it. Priesthood leaders are not the thought police.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 11

  39. Bob on February 12, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    #37: Howard,
    If the BoM is historical fiction, then there was no need for gold plates.
    IMO, the only usefulness of gold plates, is to give some “physical evidence” of a non-fictitious nature of the BoM.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  40. Bob on February 12, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    #38:L-dG,
    ” Priesthood leaders are not the thought police”.
    Half the questions in the TR are about what you think.
    Answer the questions wrong = no TR for you =
    “thought police”.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  41. Taryn Fox on February 12, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    @10: People go to the bishop with concerns like this because they fear for their exaltation and eternal families. They’ve been told over and over again that certain things will (essentially) damn them to hell, and they want to repent of them or make sure they’re not doing them.

    You’re blaming the victim by suggesting that this is a problem with them. This was the subject of at least one recent post on W&T.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  42. Taryn Fox on February 12, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    @33 I gave you a thumbs-up because you’re right. This is the faithful and orthodox way of dealing with this situation within the context of Mormon culture / theology.

    The priesthood is the thought police, and these uncorrelated thoughts of this person’s are going to lead him or his family and fellow ward members astray. He needs to be brought back into line by bringing authority to bear on him, making him question his judgment or simply fear to speak out again.

    As a righteous Latter-Day Saint, you must put the very suggestion that the Book of Mormon is not what the church claims it to be out of your head, and shun anyone who says otherwise. Whether they’re family, friends, or fellow ward members.

    It’s their fault that they get led astray. They’re too prideful. Unlike you.

    Controversial! What do you think? Thumb up 6

  43. Howard on February 12, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Shun? Is that practice still going on? Maybe you should cover your eyes and ears and hum to.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  44. whizzbang on February 12, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    no offense but the idea that the priesthood is the thought police is nuts on the face of it. The priesthood isn’t a person. My bishopric is what i would say eclectic. The Bishop has been a member for about 35ish years and didn’t know that the prophet had been a member of the 12 prior to his currrent calling, I assume he thought you just applied to be the prophet. The counselors-one believes that drinking coke is the first step that leads to apostasy and the other falls asleep all the time on the stand, nice enough guy just doesn’t have a whole lot of personality but he got his calling because he is upwardly mobile more so then others in the ward

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  45. Bob on February 12, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    #44:whizzbang
    “The priesthood isn’t a person”. Neither is thought police then__so what is your point?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  46. L-dG on February 12, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    Half the questions in the TR are about what you think. Answer the questions wrong = no TR for you = “thought police”.

    I should clarify: in the hypothetical situation of the OP, the man has already answered all the recommend questions appropriately, including those questions relating to matters of testimony. To withhold a recommend based on some other criterion, the Bishop would be overstepping his authority.

    If the Bishop can enforce a particular view of the the Book of Mormon, can he insist that all members in good standing must adopt his opinion of the priesthood ban? If the bishop feels the Word of Wisdom prohibits all caffeine, can he require all members to share his “correct understanding” of it, and abstain from Coke and Pepsi? Regarding tithing, can he probe into the precise way a member understands the word “increase”? Can he demand that recommend holders embrace a particular position vis-à-vis the inspiration of polygamy? After all, if Joseph really was a prophet… etc.

    The answer to all of the above is NO. It is not the bishop’s prerogative to act as an enforcer of theological or ideological purity. His authority in that arena ends where the temple recommend questions do. He cannot legitimately take it upon himself to plant some sort of hedge about the law. That is not his stewardship, and to do so is the very definition of “unrighteous dominion.”

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 14

  47. Bob on February 12, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    #40: L-dG,
    No, he did not think he had answered appropriately, that’s why he changed his answer to a question.
    No, I you are giving a talk a Bishop disagrees with, he can correct you, or tell you to sit down.
    If a Bishop disagees how you are teaching a class, he can release you.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  48. L-dG on February 12, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    No, he did not think he had answered appropriately, that’s why he changed his answer to a question.

    Have you read the OP, Bob? You can find it located conveniently at the top of the page.

    Specifically: “He answers all the questions correctly, but in talking afterwards, he tells you that he does not believe the Book of Mormon to be a historical record. He believes it is ‘inspired fiction'” (emphasis mine).

    A careful reading of the temple recommend interview will reveal no questions even mentioning the Book of Mormon, let alone the nature of its historicity. The hypothetical member’s comments addressing that subject were, according to the post, volunteered after the fact (“in talking afterwards“). Saying “[h]e answers all the questions correctly” implies that he already answered the question relating to the restoration of the gospel in the affirmative.

    Realistically, can the bishop make holding a particular view on the nature of the Book of Mormon a sine qua non of temple attendance? I suppose he can. He can also go home and shoot his wife in the head––and maybe even get away with it. But he shouldn’t do either. Regardless, if he attempts to do the former, he is overstepping the bounds of his authority; it is neither his job nor his right to add new obstacles to the temple recommend steeplechase.

    No, I [sic] you are giving a talk a Bishop disagrees with, he can correct you, or tell you to sit down. If a Bishop disagees [sic] how you are teaching a class, he can release you.

    Totally irrelevant. There is a significant difference between a concept taught as doctrine over a pulpit or in one’s official capacity as instructor and a personal belief privately confided in an interview.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 6

  49. Bob on February 13, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    #48″ L-dG,
    “A careful reading of the temple recommend interview will reveal no questions even mentioning the Book of Mormon, let alone the nature of its historicity”. My careful reading does: #15:”15 Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord’s house and participate in temple ordinances? As is “Do you believe in the Restoration”? Both. IMO, are question about the BoM.
    Do you really see the TR interview as a simple whitewash-Correlation game that can be won by answering Yes to a few questions?
    my first TR interview was with Apostle S.W. Kimball. Nothing like the “temple recommend steeplechase” you talk of.
    AS to the powers of a Bishop youstate: “It is not the bishop’s prerogative to act as an enforcer of theological or ideological purity”. I diagreed.
    Let’s move on.
    As to the powers of a Bishop, you state:

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  50. Bob on February 13, 2012 at 2:10 AM

    #49
    Sorry, My efforts to type and correct always fail at 1AM.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  51. L-dG on February 13, 2012 at 4:16 AM

    Sigh. Another beautiful theory… about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts.

    My careful reading does [mention BOM historicity]: [“]Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord’s house and participate in temple ordinances?[“] As is “Do you believe in have a testimony of the Restoration of the gospel in these the latter days?” Both[,] IMO, are question[s] about the BoM.

    From whence do you derive this secret knowledge, Bob? By that same token, is the question “Do you live the law of chastity,” also asking if you keep a journal? Perhaps it refers to food storage? What about playing with face-cards?

    Of course it doesn’t. That’s ridiculous. Words mean what they mean––not what you want them to mean, or think they ought to mean. Similarly, the recommend questions ask what they ask; the wording is quite plain.

    Do you really see the TR interview as a simple whitewash-Correlation game that can be won by answering Yes to a few questions?

    I haven’t suggested anything to that effect. Do you really think the interview questions are just a tissue of innuendo and veiled meanings? If Church leadership wants to ask questions of temple patrons concerning their views of the historical claims of scripture, they are free to do so––they can change the questions tomorrow. Your Bishop or Branch President, however, do not have that right.

    [M]y first TR interview was with Apostle S.W. Kimball. Nothing like the “temple recommend steeplechase” you talk of.

    Holy non sequitur, Batman!

    AS to the powers of a Bishop you state: “It is not the bishop’s prerogative to act as an enforcer of theological or ideological purity”. I di[s]agreed.

    I ought to have said that more clearly. The Bishop does have a responsibility with regard to what is taught publicly in Church meetings. But, just as he is not at liberty to enforce his own opinions as normative, neither can he alter the requirements related to temple privileges; it makes no difference whether he attempts to do so by imposing new requirements or by applying idiosyncratic interpretations of existing requirements that do violence to the plain meaning of the words––he’s still out of bounds.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 4

  52. Bob on February 13, 2012 at 5:29 AM

    #51″ L-dG,
    I am sure you will be saying the same thing when the TR interview contains only question #15.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  53. John Mansfield on February 13, 2012 at 6:21 AM

    How far does this go? How much of a concern does it take to hollow out a nominal affirmation of being worthy to enter the temple? For a simple example, if the person affirms that he keeps the Word of Wisdom, and then brings up his pack a month cigarette habit, is it the obligation of the bishop to accept the person’s judgement that he keeps the Word of Wisdom and to not go imposing his own interpretation of such things?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  54. L-dG on February 13, 2012 at 6:24 AM

    I am sure you will be saying the same thing when the TR interview contains only question #15.

    If by “saying the same thing” you mean to suggest that I will still maintain that the requirements as written are in fact the actual requirements of temple worthiness, then YES OF COURSE I’LL SAY THE SAME THING!!! (Though I can’t imagine why you anticipate the interview questions/requirements will ever be reduced to just #15.) Is that somehow controversial or esoteric? What’s the alternative? Do you think there’s some secret list of real requirements lurking below the surface of the words your Bishop and SP read? When they ask, “Do you keep the Word of Wisdom?” do they really mean “Do you keep the Word of Wisdom (wink-wink, nudge-nudge)?” To unlock their deeper significance must you read the questions aloud in sync with The Wizard of Oz and/or a Pink Floyd album?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  55. L-dG on February 13, 2012 at 6:43 AM

    RE 53: False analogy. It is possible (albeit uncommon) to accept Joseph Smith as inspired and doing God’s work while still maintaining a belief that the Book of Mormon is largely or entirely non-historical. It is not, however, possible to keep the Word of Wisdom while smoking (that is, you can’t keep it by not keeping it). Belief in the Restoration is a much broader category than observance of the Word of Wisdom.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 6

  56. whizzbang on February 13, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    @45-oh, I just meant that the priesthood isn’t the brethren, the brethren may or may not hold it as per sec. 121. We bear the priesthood not posses it like we would a belt or something. I don’t know what “thought police” even is as given by our current bishopric…!

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  57. Steven on February 13, 2012 at 8:06 AM

    Sorry, but it’s disengenuous to say you believe JS was a prophet, and that you sustaind the First Presidency and Quorum of 12 as prophets, seers and revelators who consistently say the BOM is the keystone of our religion. Posters can rationalize and excuse and intellectualize until the cows come home, but I would be surprised if any of you are actually PH leaders who’ve ever conducted an actual temple recommend interview. It’s like someone responding “yes” to the Law of Chastity question because he doesn’t technically have sex with someone other than his spouse, but is carrying on a full blown emotional affair with an office worker, or is happily viewing porn every day. Common sense has to prevail at some point.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  58. Howard on February 13, 2012 at 8:40 AM

    Sorry but saying the BOM is the “keystone of our religion” says nothing about it’s historical acuracy.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 4

  59. John Mansfield on February 13, 2012 at 8:45 AM

    Steven,

    One of the commenters above once was my priesthood leader, and with him I did discuss during a recommend interview a concern a bit like the one here regarding the Book of Mormon.

    L-dG,

    You missed my question. How far does it go? It doesn’t matter much that Book of Mormon historicity is on one side and abstinence from smoking is on the other if both of those seem like clear-cut cases. At what point does judgement come into play? So many take these thought questions rather narrowly and sidestep any point pondering them.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  60. Paul on February 13, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    Steven,

    I served as a bishop for 5-1/2 years and have served as a bishop’s counselor for another five. I’ve conducted many recommend interviews. And I’ve commented here.

    Perhaps we’re reading the OP differently.

    What I read is that the OP describes a good and faithful member of the church — one who attends, pays tithing, lives the commandments, perhaps even served a mission. He attends the temple with his wife, loves his children and tries to live the gospel in his daily life. (Hence all those “right” answers in the recommend interview.)

    The subject is not unknown to me. I’ve probably been his bishop for some time. He may even serve in a responsible calling in the ward, perhaps as a teacher to one of my children or in a quorum or auxiliary presidency. I know him from my day-to-day interactions to be a good man.

    And, at the end of a routine recommend interview, he expresses a concern about how he views the Book of Mormon. He has a testimony of the restoration (or so he claimed), but he has questions. As he discusses his concern, MY concern is not for his worthiness to go to the temple, but for the peace he does or does not feel in his heart.

    My job as his bishop is to shepherd him and to help him find peace. So I listen to his concern about the Book of Mormon. Maybe I ask him about some of his other views. Maybe I inquire about his habits around scripture study and prayer. Maybe I inquire about how he views the Bible.

    As we talk, I will try to help him understand the value of his behavior toward his family and toward the covenants he has made, and I will help him to take heart in his actions.

    I will also encourage him to continue to study and pray so that he can find comfort with his testimony of the Book of Mormon. (As I said in an earlier comment, I assume he’s brought this up because he is uncomfortable.)

    I will have faith that the Lord will hear his prayer and answer him in the best way for this brother. In the meantime, I will count myself fortunate to have him as a friend and fellow church member, and I will encourage him to visit the temple often.

    Of course, that’s just me. What do I know?

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 15

  61. Howard on February 13, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    Paul #60 great perspective!

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  62. Jeff Spector on February 13, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    many people struggle with the questions about whether they are worthy “in every way to enter the Temple.”

    Most good members take this question very seriously. What it doesn’t say is “perfect in every way.”

    I suspect “worthy” and perfect” are not synonymous in this context. Much of our testimony is evolving and in some cases, we are more convinced about some things than others. That doesn’t make someone unworthy to enter the Temple. Especially, if they are worthy in every other way.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  63. Bob on February 13, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    #62: Jeff,
    So if a man is “worthy” or “perfect” in everyway but one__ He has a cup of coffee with his breakfast__do you let him into the Temple?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  64. Steven on February 13, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    I’ve served in 3 bishoprics for a total of 10 years, and am currently serving as bishop comming up on 4 years. Certainly I would counsel with the brother. Certainly I would try to encourage him. But I would not sign off on his temple recommend. There are many good people in the ward who do not otherwise qualify for a recommend. This has nothing to do with innate “goodness.” But the temple recommend questions mean something. Does a new member sitting for a limited use recommend fully comprehend all aspects of the gospel and the questions? Probably not. But presuming this brother has been through the temple, perhaps served a mission, been sealed, sat through countless talks in the ward as well as conference, his viewpoint on the BOM as historical fiction is unsupported. “The Work and The Glory” series is historical fiction, right? Do you really think someone who equates the BOM to the Work and the Glory series has a testimony? While I would commend his efforts to openly discuss his concerns, I consider his position significant enough to not qualify for a recommend. That’s a position taken on the simple fact pattern presented. Could I be convinced otherwise? Sure. Maybe he’s expressed his position inartfully. Perhaps he wants to believe but is struggling with his testimony after reading the blogosphere where people continually question anything and everything. I’ve signed off on recommends occasionaly where I was a little hesitant, usually on issues other than this one. I think part of the reason we have a two step procedure for interviews (Bishopric/Stake Presidency) is that two witness concept, and that those who purposefully deceive the interviewer will have two witnesses of what is said. But on the face of the hypothet itself, I don’t believe the brother has a testimony of JS and of his role as someone who restored the church.

    Controversial! What do you think? Thumb up 2

  65. Paul on February 13, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Bob, I don’t get your question. Of course we wouldn’t grant a recommend to a coffee drinker. The recommend questions, together with the accepted practice (as published in the handbooks) indicate we shouldn’t.

    Steven, I think you’re right that if further conversation reveals a fundamental issue of testimony then there’s room for discussion. But President Faust clearly taught that personal questions are not disqualifiers for worthiness or service.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 5

  66. Howard on February 13, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    …his viewpoint on the BOM as historical fiction is unsupported. On the contrary a viewpoint that the BoM is historical non-fiction is unsupportable. Either viewpoint should be accepted.

    So we have Bishops who would sign and Bishops who wouldn’t sign. Based on what, the Spirit? No, based on their own frame of reference and their own clarity or lack of clairty of thought.

    Do you really think someone who equates the BOM to the Work and the Glory series has a testimony? Steve you tend to conflate. One’s opinion of the historical accuracy of the BoM generally cannot be equated to their testimony. It’s very disappointing to me given your lack of clarity that you and church leaders like you pretend to broker member’s eternal lives. Shouldn’t you get on your knees in these situations and seek decernment?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  67. Paul on February 13, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Steven, sorry. I don’t mean to carp, but this sentence sticks out to me:

    “But on the face of the hypothet itself, I don’t believe the brother has a testimony of JS and of his role as someone who restored the church.”

    The OP does not suggest anything that the brother said indicates non-divine origin of the Book of Mormon. It does not say that he does not believe that Joseph was inspired to translate the Book of Mormon.

    Those conclusions can only be drawn out of further conversation, and in that conversation, one would hope for the influence of the spirit to know how to proceed.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  68. LovelyLauren on February 13, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    And Steven, whether YOU believe he has a testimony or not is beside the point. Whether HE believes he has a testimony is why he should get a recommend. I had to listen to a woman talk (from the pulpit) last week on how in the temple she learned that the chicken came before the egg and that will be useful when she and her husband are creating worlds. I think that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, but just because I disagree with what she is getting from the temple does not mean that I somehow understand the validity of her testimony.

    Furthermore, how is believing that the Book of Mormon is inspired fiction any different than believing that Noah’s flood is an allegory or Job didn’t actually happen or not believing in the more sexist teachings of Paul?

    For something to be true, it doesn’t have to have happened. I feel capital-T truth when I read To Kill a Mockingbird in a way that, to me, can be spiritual. The fact that it didn’t actually happen does not really matter to me or take away the value of that experience and the truth I get from reading it.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 5

  69. Paul on February 13, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Howard, it’s true that Steven and I posted different responses, but you have to read everything we each wrote.

    Steven made a determination based on his analysis of the facts at hand in a hypothetical situation. I did the same. We both said we would counsel with the brother, and both of us said that the course of that conversation might change our view of this brother’s circumstance.

    In the end, for bishops everywhere, the promptings of the spirit are critical to this sort of determination. And that’s difficult to simulate in these nifty online polls, as entertaining as they are.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  70. Jeff Spector on February 13, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    Bob,

    “He has a cup of coffee with his breakfast__do you let him into the Temple?”

    not worthy of a response.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  71. Howard on February 13, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Paul,

    Sure, but it’s concerning that decernment wasn’t even mentioned. It’s not difficult to comment that your process as Bishop is to pray about it and defer to the promptings of the Spirit. That is quite different than equating a member’s opinion on the historical accuracy of the BoM with their testimony, the two are unrelated.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  72. Paul on February 13, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Yep, you’re right.

    when I’ve responded to these quizzes in the past, I’ve often noted the need for prayer, spiritual confirmation, discernment, etc. But in the end, this is an ongoing online quiz for which the answer is always to listen to the spirit.

    Are there some bishops who would be more reactionary than others? Sure. But, as Steven allowed, this is one reason we have stake presidents — so a member who has a concern unresolved by the bishop can get more help.

    Of course, I can only speak for myself. But I can also assume the best about Steven, too.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  73. Chris on February 13, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    Perhaps a fundamental question here is not only can a bishop add to the temple recommend questions to disqualify a member (which we know he should not and cannot, if he is following Church directives), but if a bishop can give a recommend to a a person who has a testimony of the Savior, Joseph Smith, and the restored gospel but who has some serious concerns about doctrinal issues.

    Fundamental theological doctrines about the atonement, women’s role in Church, grace, race, and the Godhead–to name a few–have changed a lot since the inception of the Church. Even the temple ceremony is dramatically different than it was when I was first endowed.

    When a member can answer the temple recommend questions affirmatively, even if they have some sincere concerns about some of the Church’s history and doctrine, they should receive their recommend. This is not a perfect Church lead by perfect people. The Church as an institution makes mistakes and sometimes its leaders do as well. A member can have great faith in the Savior and accept Joseph Smith as a prophet without believing that everything Joseph–or any prophet did–was inspired.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 9

  74. Steven on February 13, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    One final thought and then I’ll let this go. Just because someone answers the recommend questions “correctly” doesn’t mean you automically sign off on his recommend. As Bishop, I do have to be sensitive to the spirit. But if someone takes a swig from a whiskey bottle and then says “yes” — he keeps the word of wisdom — I don’t think he understands the question or the meaning of keeping he word of wisdom. My point on the historical fiction of BOM would be a follow up to ask if he believed in the First Vision, in the account of the gold plates, etc. Does he really believe Joseph was the prophet of the restoration? What makes him say that? Are we limiting that position to just the man who incorporated the church in New York on April 6, 1830? Can we toss out all the other things that are associated with Joseph Smith? The recommend questions are what they are. I’ve sat in on enough training meetings in my life time in the church (32 years as an adult) to know that sometimes a follow up question is appropriate to clarify something, to flesh something out. If I know a member is not paying a full tithe but says “yes,” do I sign the recommend and let that be to his condemnation? Do I ask a few follow up questions to see if he truly understands what tithing is? If there was no wriggle room for interaction we would all self diagnose and enter into the temples upon our own conscience. Whether you like it or not, a bishop is a judge in Israel. Just because someone says they have a testimony doesn’t necessarily qualify them to enter the temple. The point of a temple recommend is to ascertain worthiness, and though we shouldn’t add requirements to those that are outlined in the book, sometimes the questions themselves encompass broader things. In other words, saying one has a tesimony is not the equivalent of being worthy of a temple recommend. Based on some posters’ reasoning, a person could answer appropriately and later divulge that he also believes Budha is God, that the Pope is God’s mouthpiece but just doesn’t possess all the priesthood keys,tithing is only 5%, that it’s okay to ‘cheat’ on taxes because technically that’s being dishonest with the government, not his “fellow man,” and so on. I don’t think I’d be doing the brother any favors by signing off on the recommend. All I can do is stay openn and receptive to promptings of the spirit, and if I’m having an off day, he can always visit with the stake president.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  75. Jeff Spector on February 13, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Steven,

    I think you are treading on very shaking ground. In your scenario, you are permitted to expand beyond the interview questions even though the handbook explicitly states you are not supposed to. And while you are also supposed to safeguard the Temple, you should not trample on someone’s agency to answer the question as they see fit. Now, if they have whiskey or cigarettes on their breath, that is another story. but if someone answers yes to the questions on their testimony, it seems you should accept that answer.

    after all, you are supposed to help members qualify for Temple Blessings, not restrict them unless there is proof to the contrary.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  76. Paul on February 13, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    #74 Stephen: Perhaps you’ve signed off, and so I may not get an answer. But as an example, you said, “If I know a member is not paying a full tithe but says “yes,” do I sign the recommend and let that be to his condemnation?”

    How would you know? Only by his own admission, perhaps in a tithing settlement or in that very temple recommend interview. One certainly can’t make that determination (alone) by examining donation receipts, since members can also pay their tithing directly to Salt Lake City. Certainly if one had a concern, he could ask (or better yet, teach).

    I agree with you that in a TR interview, the interviewer has the opportunity to teach, to clarify, and even to ask clarifying questions.

    But let’s be clear. The TR questions regarding testimony are straightforward and (as it relates to the particular comment in question) rather limited. (I may not get these word-perfect, since I haven’t given a TR interview in 2-1/2 years):

    1. Do you have faith in and a testimony of God the Eternal Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost?

    2. Do you have a testimony of the atonement of Jesus Christ and His role as Savior and Redeemer?

    3. Do you have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these, the latter days?

    The next question gets to sustaining the present leadership of the church, and the rest are “action” questions.

    I had a firm testimony of the restoration of the gospel long before I’d clarified all my issues with the Prophet Joseph.

    It’s not my purpose to argue with you. I believe, based on everything that you’ve written, that you would strive to listen to the spirit as you interviewed the hypothetical brother in question. And I can’t predict how the spirit might direct you or how that conversation would go.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 4

  77. Alex on February 13, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we could automate the temple recommend interview process? We could log into a secure website, click our answers, and print our recommend at home (assuming we clicked correctly).

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  78. Howard on February 13, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    Whether you like it or not, a bishop is a judge in Israel. Don’t let this go to your head it assumes you are not exercising unrighteous dominion.

    The problem I see is an ecclesiastical judgement is being made on the basis of “like me” vs. “not like me”. If they think like Bishop they are right. If they think not like the Bishop they are wrong or at least suspect. This is bias or prejustice. It is closed minded thinking and lacks critical thinking it lacks weighing the issue based on merit. The problem is further compounded by conflating things. They may be conflate what they hear from the member or they may have conflated what they as Bishop believe.

    I strongly doubt you can be an effective judge in Israel without discernment.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  79. Chris on February 13, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    with all due respect to Stephen, my husband has been a bishop and a branch president, and I have served as stake and ward RS president. I cannot imagine any worthy bishop denying a person a temple recommend who answered each question honestly and sincerely unless he had veriable evidence the applicant was unworthy.

    My husband told me that on a number of occasions people would question whether or not they deserved a recommend (in the Church, we can be very critical of ourselves), and after they answered the questions affirmatively, he assured them that the Lord was pleased with their lives and that they were worthy.

    On the other hand, I know adulterers, child molesters, and wife beaters who lie to their bishops, hold current recommends, and attend the temple regularly. They will eventually be held accountable for their deceptions and sins by the ultimate Judge.

    When my husband served as bishop, a bishop in our stake interrogated members in addition to asking the standard temple recommend questions. An apostle called this bishop into his office and instructed him that he was absolutely wrong is doing so and to cease and desist.

    Any Church leader, especially a bishop, must be very careful to not go beyond the mark when they serve their people. In a leadership training meeting, Pres. Monson, then an apostle, taught my husand, “If your err, err on the side of mercy.” I think that is excellent advice for each of us.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  80. Brian on February 13, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    A couple of years ago, the wife of a friend of mine was having an “internet affair” with her bishop. This bishop had been in office for less than a year. My friend call me to talk about this because I had served in a number of ward and stake administrative callings. My friends was beside himself because the church did not release the bishop but tried to work the situation with him.

    As a favor, I called our stake president at the time to get his take on the situation. The SP said that SLC avoids releasing bishops who have been in such a short time because it was their experience that they leave the church. Better to try to solve the problem, get the bishop straightened out, than lose a good man, I guess the thinking goes. This stake president is a nationally-known author and one of the most honest men I have known. I have no reason to doubt that this is the case. He is not one to speak without knowing what he is talking about.

    I have to believe the big picture in the case of our friend who doesn’t believe in the historicity of the BOM lets this guy in to the temple. If that is the worst of his shortcomings, we all know he is better than most with a TR.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  81. Heber13 on February 13, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Revoking it is specifically trying to keep someone from being in the temple. There are some good reasons when that should happen…someone unworthy to make ordinances binding, someone that is dangerous to the sacred temple ceremonies such as mocking it, someone that may disrupt the Spirit, someone that hasn’t learned enough or isn’t prepared enough to participate, someone that may need to repent and learn about repentance prior to entering into Holy Places. (Anything else I missed?)

    Having a different interpretation of a teaching or doctrine or belief by itself does not mark someone that fits those to me. Especially one that is as benign as the one in this example.

    If a bishop did without further trying to understand the person, it would identify him as a zealot, IMO.

    Having said that, I agree with Paul #76, some followup questions or conversations would be appropriate, but not rehashing the prior TR questions, but more around since the beliefs are a little different, are the actions of the person any different (like having a non-literal interpretation of the Word of Wisdom that does not comply with church standards).

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  82. MD on February 13, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    #68 A sister in our ward spoke about being a god and ruling her own planet during our ward conference recently. The look on the SP counselor’s face was priceless.

    #74 I am so glad you are not my bishop. How the ding dang would you know if someone was not paying a full tithe? Unless you are the one who signs my paychecks or prepares my tax returns you have no idea how much money I make and therefore no cause to know if I am not paying a full tithe (unless I tell you I am not).

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  83. jmb275 on February 13, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    I think there’s an interesting question about the idea of safeguarding the temple.

    @Paul, could you expand on your idea of what this means, if you believe it?

    I guess I don’t see it this way. I see the TR interview process as a chance for me to declare my worthiness to enter the temple. That is, the interview is for ME, not for my bishop to protect the temple. That makes it seem like we need to “protect” God’s greatest blessings from those who likely need it most, reserving those blessings for only the most “healthy” (as defined by the church) saints. That seems to be directly contrary to the injunction of the Savior.

    In my purview, if the TR interview was reduced to the last question it would be an (improved) appropriate interview. As an interesting sidenote, in my last TR interview, my bishop and I discussed this very thing and he agreed.

    Fan Favorite! Do you like this comment as well? Thumb up 4

  84. Mark D. on February 13, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    An important question is: by wording the questions that way, does the leadership of the church _want_ members who believe that the Book of Mormon is divinely inspired work of scripture, but not necessarily historical, to be kept out of the temple on that basis alone?

    My _guess_ is that the answer is no.

    However, my guess is also that most issuers of temple recommends feel differently (relative to the impact on the testimony of the restoration question), unless they have specifically been instructed otherwise, which does not seem to be the case.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  85. Paul on February 14, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    jmb, I’ve personally never thought of the TR interview as “safeguarding” the temple, though I suppose it might be one reason (particularly the loyalty question, which seems to be there to keep out polygamists).

    I remember as a child believing (and I don’t know if I was ever taught this or had an over-active imagination) that if someone unworthy showed up at the temple, the gates would slam shut. (I had my first “recommend interview at age 9 when I was to be sealed to my parents.) Of course we know plenty of unworthy people have found their way into the temple over the years, and the temple neither slammed its gates nor crumbled to the ground.

    But I do understand the need Heber13 cites to keep people from entering into covenants they are not ready to make — to their own condemnation. And that’s the primary reason for the worthiness interview, I believe.

    I have viewed the recommend interview as you have — a chance for individual members to declare individual worthiness and preparation to enter God’s house and participate in its ordinances.

    Of course, I’ve never been a bishop in the intermountain west, and maybe things are different there (meaning, maybe there are more people trying to sneak into temples).

    As for that last question — I remember one interview I had with a member of the stake presidency while I was in grad school. I stopped him in the hall and told him I needed a recommend interview, thinking we’d arrange a time (he was in my home ward). Instead, he pulled me into a classroom, looked at my recommend, and asked me the last question only. And then he signed my recommend. I don’t imagine every interview he gave was that way, but it was an interesting experience for me.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  86. Jake on February 14, 2012 at 7:18 AM

    Something I just remembered, is that in my last temple recommend interview I spoke about all of my doubts with my Stake President. I told him I didn’t think the Book of Mormon was a literal document, I didn’t think the official account of the first vision was what really happened amongst other doctrinal and policy issues. My SP was a hardcore TBM, he used to always speak to my friend disapprovingly about his beard, so I expected him to say he needed more time or to say no, yet he signed it with no problems.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  87. Jeff Spector on February 14, 2012 at 7:25 AM

    I’ve often thought about a situation where an officiator might stand in the Chapel and declare that someone in that room was not worthy to be in the Temple and should get up and leave now. And then nearly everyone in the room might stand up and walk out. I think we are, to some extent afraid we might not be worthy, not due to anything we done but because of the overt emphasis placed on this high standard put before us, that relatively few of us can attain. And in many cases, those who judge us are often no better.

    “But I do understand the need Heber13 cites to keep people from entering into covenants they are not ready to make — to their own condemnation. ”

    I thought this was an interesting comment because there is a lot of pressure placed on members to attend the Temple and, as Paul stated, might not be ready. I know of a few people who were not well prepared and went once or twice and have never been back.

    Went my wife and I went through, we did not have any preparation whatsoever. Luckily, I loved the experience but my wife did not. It took her years to overcome that. As a note, I didn’t even know there were marks on the garments until it was mentioned in the ceremony.

    I don’t recommend that for people to go it alone. The Temp prep is crucial.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  88. Douglas on February 14, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Well said, El Jefe!
    At times we can be our own harshest judges, to our detriment.
    What is said in the BoM? “Men (by inference, “winnings” too!) are, that they might have JOY.
    What is part of the introduction in the temple? “May you find JOY in serving in the House of the Lord”
    ’nuff said.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  89. NewlyHousewife on February 14, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Bishop Bill,

    I think this might be your first (at least from when I started reading) poll that wasn’t really needed–only 22 votes had a differing opinion. It seems there is a universal understanding (ambit a couple of comments of course) that if it isn’t directly asked, it doesn’t matter.

    Though I do wish I could get away with wearing a tank-top to RS exercise activities.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 2

  90. hawkgrrrl on February 14, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    NewlyH – why can’t you wear a tank top to exercise? I would just do it. What are they going to do? Kick you out? Did they specifically prohibit it?

    Like this comment? Thumb up 3

  91. Douglas on February 14, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Depends upon the sister! Some look tasteful in a tank top and shorts. Others…well, they shouldn’t try it. A similar observation I make about the brethren. And the sisters (usually) don’t have to worry about showing enough chest or leg hair to give credence to the existence of a missing link!

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  92. Erin on February 15, 2012 at 7:54 AM

    What would Jesus sign?

    (not trying to be snarky)

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  93. NewlyHousewife on February 15, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    Nursing has given me a chest of adulterous power. Lest I be called to nursery, I wouldn’t dare unleash it to the world. Even if it were by a slightly-too-small tank top.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 1

  94. GB on February 15, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    Luke 18:9-14 says it all.

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

  95. Answering Questions | Wheat and Tares on February 17, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    […] As for how negotiable things are, see the Temple Recommend discussions we have had on this blog.  It is interesting that you don’t have to believe all thirteen of the articles of faith to qualify for a temple recomm…. […]

    Like this comment? Thumb up 0

Archives

%d bloggers like this: