October Conference: President Nelson Announces New Temple Recommend Questions

Below you can see a comparison between the new and previous recommend questions. There are a few changes. These changes emphasize certain points and deemphasize or at least make others less specific.

New Recommend Questions Previous Recommend Questions
1 Do you have faith in and a testimony of God, the Eternal Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost? 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 of His role as your Savior and Redeemer? 2 Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Christ and of His role as Savior and Redeemer?
3 Do you have a testimony of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ? 3 Do you have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these the latter days?
4 Do you sustain the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the prophet, seer, and revelator and as the only person on the earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys?

5 Do you sustain the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators?

6 Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local leaders of the Church?

4 Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the prophet, seer, and revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys?

Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators?

Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?

7 The Lord has said that all things are to be “done in cleanliness” before Him (Doctrine and Covenants 42:41) [41 And let all things be done in cleanliness before me].

Do you strive for moral cleanliness in your thoughts and behavior?

Do you obey the law of chastity?

5 Do you live the law of chastity?
8 Do you follow the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ in your private and public behavior with members of your family and others? 6 Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church?
9 Do you support or promote any teachings, practices, or doctrine contrary to those of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? 7 Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
10 Do you strive to keep the Sabbath day holy, both at home and at church; attend your meetings; prepare for and worthily partake of the sacrament; and live your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel? 8 Do you strive to keep the covenants you have made, to attend your sacrament and other meetings, and to keep your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?
11 Do you strive to be honest in all that you do? 9 Are you honest in your dealings with your fellowmen?
12 Are you a full-tithe payer? 10 Are you a full-tithe payer?
13 Do you understand and obey the Word of Wisdom? 11 Do your keep the Word of Wisdom?
14 Do you have any financial or other obligations to a former spouse or to children?
If yes, are you current in meeting those obligations?
12 Do you have financial or other obligations to a former spouse or children? If yes, are you current in meeting those obligations?
15 Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple, including wearing the temple garment as instructed in the endowment? 13 If you have previously received your temple endowment:

Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple?

Do you wear the garment both night and day as instructed in the endowment and in accordance with the covenant you made in the temple?

16 Are there serious sins in your life that need to be resolved with priesthood authorities as part of your repentance? 14 Have there been any sins or misdeeds in your life that should have been resolved with priesthood authorities but have not been?
17 Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord’s house and participate in temple ordinances? 15 Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord’s house and participate in temple ordinances?

Comments

  1. Kevin Barney says:

    Thanks for doing this. Peggy published a comparison but I find your side by side version easier to follow.

  2. Just noticed an interesting change in #4. Unique possession assertion has been eliminated.

  3. Great. There goes my “but they’re not my fellowmen” defense for why I could lie to the Nazis who came looking for Anne Frank.

  4. Do you support or promote any teachings, practices, or doctrine contrary to those of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

    How do we reconcile this with previous statements from church leaders saying it’s ok for members to have personal opinions that differ from church teachings, practices, and doctrines? I’m trying to understand if the interpretation of this question is supposed to be the same as the previous version, or if this is basically saying members shouldn’t believe anything contrary to current church teachings, practices, or doctrines.

  5. AK Transplanted says:

    WVS – If I remember my Sunday School lessons, doesn’t the QTA also posses the keys as a group? If so, how did the original question get by all those years ago?

  6. Mary, I don’t know if this implies some new ontic meaning, but I expect that the boundaries haven’t moved.

  7. I’m guessing the unique possession assertion was eliminated because (a) it’s inconsistent with the idea that the Q12 as a group has the keys and (b) inconsistent with church practice when the president of the church is alive but incapacitated.
    But no.15 may be still out of line with apparent current expectations regarding the law of consecration or with certain past presidents’ inclination to loud laughter. I expect some casualness about answers to that question is expected. E.g., my grandparents’ covenants would have included the oath of vengeance and no one really expected them to teach it to their children and to their “children’s children unto the third and fourth generation,” nor did they.

  8. AK, my guess is this is part of a continuing move to make space for church president ill health.

  9. Left Field says:

    I think the old #4 was intended to mean that he is the only one who both possesses AND is authorized to exercise. The others possess only. The revision removes the ambiguity in interpretation.

    During a period when there was to First Presidency, I once responded to this question with, “No, I sustain the Quorum of Twelve Apostles as the only body who holds and exercises the keys.”

  10. I’m with Mary. The question that stands out to me is #9 — what does it mean to support teachings, doctrines, etc. contrary to the teachings of the Church? How is supporting similar to and different from promoting?

  11. I appreciate the change in #15. I’ve always refused to answer that question in the way it was asked – way too specific.

  12. #15 leaves more room for interpretation for wearing garments. The wording about wearing them night and day is out, but I wonder if the statement explaining when to wear them, like not taking them off to do yard work, will be read.

    In the temple we never covenant to wear garments night and day so I’m glad for this change.

  13. Thank you for this comparison. I was hoping someone would do this the minute the new questions were announced! I like the changes for number 15 with the elimination of the “night and day” stipulation and the “in accordance with the covenant you made…” I am worried about the changes to number 9 “Do you support or promote any teachings, practices, or doctrine contrary…” because the two thoughts that came to mind were gay marriage, LGBT acceptance/rights, and Ordain Women. This could be sticky, and as suggested above, is there a difference between public support and private opinion/support? Number 7 specifies “moral cleanliness in your thoughts” which is interesting because how far does this go? Can I not fantasize about my hot spouse anymore? Finally, it’s interesting on number 4 that there is no wiggle room. The prior question allowed you to interpret it like maybe you could sustain *most* of them, if you wanted to, but the new question is basically all or nothing.

  14. In #10 the new emphasis is on keeping the entire Sabbath a holy day; before, during and after the meetings.

  15. The ability to survive in the “messy middle” way just got a lot harder, imo. I wish the questions ended up reducing the amount of checking on conformity to rules instead of increasing them. Now we have a few more things to judge our fellow saints about for outward behaviors.

  16. I’m curious if they are still going to read a letter instructing to wear the temple garment while mowing the lawn? Or is that an optional extra thing already? It seems like that letter got read to me almost every time.

    Question 9 seems more relaxed. The prior wording included the phrase “agree with” groups, an extremely broad brush. The new phrasing only says “support or promote”, which implies a more active role.

    But also on question 9, there is a long history of people saying that this question was really talking about polygamy or fundamentalism. I have always thought although the historical basis may have been polygamy, the question is what the question says, unless the leaders have instructions to treat it differently, and it doesn’t explicitly limit itself to polygamy in either old or new wording.

    The inclusion of “understand” in the question about the Word of Wisdom is a bit puzzling; they don’t ask if you understand anything else.

  17. I like these, feels right to me.

  18. If I use a person’s preferred pronouns, ones that do not match “biological sex assigned at birth,” am I supporting a problematic practice? If I’m proud of my friend’s kid for being brave in transitioning, and proud of my friends for how they’re handling it, and I tell them so, aren’t I supporting a practice contrary to church teachings? If I buy my friend a nice wedding gift when he marries his future husband?

    To me, these things feel right and just and decent. I don’t feel I’m in open rebellion, and yet I can’t pretend I agree with the church’s position on many LGBTQ+ issues, and my behavior more than suggests support for these issues. The temple matters to me; so do all of my brothers, sisters, and siblings.

  19. Rockwell, the current handbook reads thus:

    When issuing temple recommends, priesthood leaders should read aloud the First Presidency statement on wearing the garment. Leaders also emphasize the blessings that are related to this sacred privilege. These blessings are conditioned on worthiness and faithfulness in keeping temple covenants.

    The garment provides a constant reminder of the covenants made in the temple. When properly worn, it provides protection against temptation and evil. Wearing the garment is also an outward expression of an inward commitment to follow the Savior.

    Members should not alter the garment from its authorized design or wear it contrary to instructions to accommodate different styles of clothing. Members should wear both parts of the two-piece garment.

    The garment is sacred and should be treated with respect. The garment is worn beneath the clothing, and out of respect for its sacred significance, it is kept covered. Members normally care for their garments personally. Members should avoid displaying the garment publicly.

    Members who have made covenants in the temple should be guided by the Holy Spirit to answer for themselves personal questions about wearing the garment.

    Perhaps the new recommend books yet to be distributed alter this instruction.

  20. Leona, I don’t think you’re in rebellion either.

  21. Regarding the change in #7-now-#9, two thoughts:

    1. Anecdotally I believe it had become common practice for people to answer “yes” (i.e., “I do support, affiliate with, or agree with”) because almost everybody literally does. Just being a member of either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party could be construed that way, given the several party platforms. And common practice for that “yes” to be passed over as an acceptable answer. One way to read the new #9 is a clarification to make it a question to which the reasonably expected answer is “no”.
    2. In practice I worry that the new #9 with its “promote . . . doctrine contrary” will give pause to anybody thinking about public dissent. I don’t know whether that is intentional.

  22. Regarding #5-now-#7 (law of chastity):
    There’s a Christian world tradition (probably elsewhere too but outside my knowledge base) of labeling as sin everything with a sexual taint outside of marriage. (Make up your own list; mine might get this comment booted.) It seems obvious, perhaps because it’s said so often over the pulpit. But we struggle with scriptural basis fir this teaching. It is an occasion for thought (for me, anyway) when the best we can do is a reference to cleanliness. Especially one that I associate more with plainness and hard work (a picture of Pennsylvania Amish pops into my head) than with lust and adultery.

  23. Jon Miranda says:

    Leona
    This comment might get me booted but Latter-Day Saints should not support gay marriage in any way. Gay marriage is a satanic ceremony designed to separate us from God.

  24. I don’t agree (Jon Miranda), but your comment usefully illustrates the attitudes of some Church leaders who may use the restated now-#9 to enforce that view.

  25. I asked during one of my recent temple recommend interviews about same-sex marriage, and the stake councilor said I could support it without any consequence in regards to the temple. Of course, because “leadership roulette,” your mileage may vary. This was in West Texas.

  26. Wondering says:

    Elder Christofferson also disagreed with Jon Miranda. Salt Lake Tribune, March 2015:

    “An LDS apostle reaffirmed recently that Mormons who support gay marriage are not in danger of losing their temple privileges or church memberships — even though the Utah-based faith opposes the practice.

    In an interview Friday with KUTV in Salt Lake City, Elder D. Todd Christofferson said that individuals in the 15 million-member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would be in trouble only for ‘supporting organizations that promote opposition or positions in opposition to the church’s.’

    Backing marriage equality on social media sites, including on Facebook or Twitter, ‘is not an organized effort to attack our effort,’ Christofferson said in the interview, ‘or our functioning as a church.'”

    I do wonder, however, how someone else’s same-gender marriage could separate Jon from God.

  27. I can only guess that the change to the Word of Wisdom question came about because so many seem not to understand it. Thus the need to clarify that coffee drinks violate it. As do other currently popular products that my generation would have known were forbidden but today’s generation needed to have pointed out.

  28. christiankimball, I’ve looked a bit at the history of sexual mores in Christianity. The Mormon ethic is late to the party but its evolution in some ways mirrors what took place over the last thousand years in the rest of the religious world. We’re still struggling with eros. Another post for another day.

  29. Not a Cougar says:

    While I think the wording in new #15 is better than before, I still think the question about wearing of the garment is misleading in that it still indicates members have made a specific covenant to wear the garment which is not true.

  30. WVS: I know you’ve got it. My comment was in part to draw you out. [smile]

  31. felixfabulous says:

    I wonder how literally people will take these questions and if more people will feel like they can’t get a recommend and if they will have to maybe soften some of them.

  32. #13 should just say what it means – “Do you abstain from tobacco, alcohol, coffee/tea, and harmful drugs?’

    Just ask what is actually being asked about a portion of the WoW, and not about anyone’s fruit, grain, or winter meat eating habits.

  33. According to the letter the Church just sent out to leaders, there is still a statement on wearing the garment, but it no longer has the “working in the yard” condition:

    “The temple garment is a reminder of covenants made in the temple and, when worn properly
    throughout life, will serve as a protection against temptation and evil. The garment should be worn
    beneath the outer clothing. It should not be removed for activities that can reasonably be done
    while wearing the garment, and it should not be modified to accommodate different styles of
    clothing. Endowed members should seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to answer personal
    questions about wearing the garment.
    It is a sacred privilege to wear the garment and doing so is an outward expression of an inner
    commitment to follow the Savior Jesus Christ.”

  34. The new statement on the garment doesn’t have the “working in the yard” condition:

    “The temple garment is a reminder of covenants made in the temple and, when worn properly
    throughout life, will serve as a protection against temptation and evil. The garment should be worn
    beneath the outer clothing. It should not be removed for activities that can reasonably be done
    while wearing the garment, and it should not be modified to accommodate different styles of
    clothing. Endowed members should seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to answer personal
    questions about wearing the garment.
    It is a sacred privilege to wear the garment and doing so is an outward expression of an inner
    commitment to follow the Savior Jesus Christ.”

  35. felixfabulous says:

    I wonder on the WOW as well, if they are subtly allowing people to understand that in different ways instead of spelling it out.

  36. “Do you understand and obey the Word of Wisdom?” stuck out most to me. In short, I do not understand the Word of Wisdom. And given the raging debate over our current practice versus the text of Section 89, I’m not sure any consistent “understanding” exists. I agree with Talon that if there is one single “understanding,” they should just tell us what it is.

  37. Yes, Jon Miranda, I can imagine having a member of the bishopric or stake presidency feeling exactly that way about my behavior.

    And it doesn’t take much to imagine that man might also tell me that the new recommend questions represent “further light and knowledge” obviating and trumping anything any individual apostle has said on the matter earlier.

    If giving up my temple privileges is necessary in order to do what I believe is right by our Heavenly Parents’ children, then I will. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

  38. I have heard from two independent friends living in UT tell about visits from General Authorities who lament the church’s broken culture and efforts to change it. But IMO the only way to change the culture is to stop being check the box pharisees which starts with the temple recommend interview.

  39. A couple thoughts

    Leona – I think the discussion of same gender attraction and the questions surrounding LBGTQ members of the church (and outside the church) are simply childish and do not leave any room for human kindness and empathy. It constantly skirts issues and seems reactionary to the common dialogue and seems to hold out on any intellectual conversation regarding the issue. I have thought on this question many times. My life does not revolve around a “church community” for many reasons but I do have involvement in the lives of many wonderful people and some of these people identify as LGBTQ. As individuals many people have there reasons why they are identifying as such. I can never know is there heart. I have met over the years many good Christian people who identify as LGBTQ and deserve a place to worship and be a part of a community if they desire that. Unfortunately we are just not a church but a culture. And members who grew up in the Church and identify as LBGTQ are culturally LDS just as much as any heterosexual member of the church. For years, as you probably saw as well, men, especially men in the Church who are gay or have same gender attraction have lived double lives leading to mental illness, anxiety, and host of other ills – like lying to their spouse. We as a church need to work on looking past labels and see and feel where people are in their heart. If not we as a whole will continue to push away people from Jesus Christ and how the Spirit can change lives (not us, we just need to keep a safe place for people to come.)

    One thing that I do think about too is the idea of who is behind the groups that promote LGBTQ agendas? That is worth looking into. When you find out who and what ideas are the driving force behind an issue you better see what is happening. But to lump all LGBTQ people into the same category (they often don’t even know what the deeper issues are agendas are for those who are saying they support their cause and lifestyle) is ridiculous. LGBTQ people are no different or no less worthy to know Christ in their life than any other person.

  40. My other thought is on the Word of Wisdom – why is it Ok for members to abuse sugar, meat, and other food products? Why are so many members so obese? This is ok? How does this support the Word of Wisdom?

    10 And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man—

    11 Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.

    12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;

    13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

    my question is, how can you be moved by the Spirit if you can’t even move your body?

    We pick on Coffee, Tea and strong drinks and yet Diet Coke is a staple in most LDS homes.
    We shun natural products like Marijuana and CBD’s (yes, I know they are ‘ok’ now with some people as a medical treatment) yet we willing take opioids given by Dr prescription without thought. Hence the billboards down the 15 in Utah reaching out to help solve the opioid issues in Utah.

    I will leave you with this last thought –
    “In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation” – find out about the conspiring men and organizations who seek to have control over your heart, mind, and hearts – basically be wise, use prayer, use personal revelation, this isn’t rocket science yet the Church at times acts just like the Pharisee’s and Sadducees; we love rules! We love judging others! We love make things harder than they really are

    oh well .. take it for what it’s worth, you can hate me, love me, whatever .. its all good either way

  41. dsantovin – “One thing that I do think about too is the idea of who is behind the groups that promote LGBTQ agendas? . . . But to lump all LGBTQ people . . .”

    You’re lumping just fine yourself. First, to think that there is a LGBTQ “agenda”, second that LGBTQ groups are a front for someone with nefarious motives (probably the deep state or the desire to destroy the family).

    Most of us just want to feel welcome in a Church that prides itself on welcoming all. We know of Christs’ love for us (those of us who believe in Him), but of our siblings’ love? Not so much.

    To the OP – I think #9 was broadened too much. I understand the “teachings or practices” is held over from the old question, but the problem is that there is no solid list on what those “teachings or practices” are. Ironically, Pres Oaks talk about how little we really know, how we should stick to doctrine, and the prevelence of “not doctrine” is a big example of this.

    LGBTQ people have many, many kinds of groups, some even groups of those who are desperately hoping each week that we can be welcomed with the rest of the imperfect Saints rather than unceremoniously told that we are not welcome or that we only want to “recruit” or promote our own “teachings”.

  42. Leona
    It’s a difficult decision but I made up my mind come what may I will not attend a gay marriage ceremony.
    The way I look at it the church is out to save souls not to destroy them.

  43. My response to hearing the new #9 question (old #7) was IMMEDIATE JOY because “agree with” was omitted. To me that means no more thought police!!

    It seems to me a loosening of the reins, not a tightening: It’s okay to disagree and hold my own opinions and preferences personally. It’s crossing a line if I publicly promote or offer support to them.

    How is my reading of this the opposite of everyone else’s reaction here?

    I am not trying to get anyone to agree with me; Please simply consider my perspective.

    For many years I’ve only been okay making it through temple recommend interviews by telling myself: this person in front of me only has as much authority as I choose to allow him. He is not God; he is imperfect as I am. My innermost heart is none of his business. I will not open myself up to scrutiny through anyone’s thought police tactics.

    The temple isn’t for perfect people, it’s like a hospital for all of us sick souls to go to feel better. As long as I have that desire, I’m worthy. That’s how I view the barrier to entry. I think God wants as many of his children to come as possible.

    Why would I try to limit my ability to be there, simply because I’m pro-choice and knew the 2015 policy was wrong the moment it was announced?

    God made us so we can have our own private thoughts. And isn’t it great? Not every thought and opinion needs to be shared. We can choose. And I choose to keep those thoughts personal during temple recommend interviews. My actions are in alignment. I’m there and willing to participate. That is enough.

  44. The Lord has my heart. I have my agency. And the church can’t have my mind—and the new recommend wording reflects that.

    An overreach has been corrected, and I am rejoicing.

    (Alone, perhaps, but still—serious rejoicing here!)

  45. “I made up my mind come what may I will not attend a gay marriage ceremony.”

    I strongly suspect this is a problem that will be solved in advance, at the invitation stage.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Are these the same questions being asked to youth? And if so doesn’t question #7, moral cleanliness in thoughts and actions, open things up for problematic discussions between youth and the bishopric? I am feel like meems noted earlier, wondering how far does cleanliness in thoughts go. I find it more vague than the previous question and it is not something I would want to discuss privately with my bishop.

  47. Jim Bennett says:

    Neon, that’s my reading of the new #9/old #7 as well. Lots of people are reacting as if this is a harder to question to answer, when I think it’s much easier.

    In the end, these questions are all going to be interpreted by individual members in many, many different ways.

  48. Neon: My conscience, my bishop’s understanding, and original intent, may well be three different things. My very hazy crystal ball into original intent points to freeing up internal, private debate, and closing down public dissent.

  49. It has for a long time seemed appropriate to some to be more concerned with how they understand the questions and their own answers than to inquire after either original intent of “the Church” or the understanding of their interviewers. Some like Neon may feel a little more freedom in that regard with the deletion of “agree with.”

  50. The change to #9 removes mention of supporting groups that oppose church teachings. My employer does business in China, the Middle East, and with other organizations that oppose the church in some way. I would always answer yes to the old question. I then got to explain about the poor wording of the question.
    Sometimes a stake leader might mention polygamist groups, but the bishopric members knew my family lived in southern Utah and I knew more about “apostate polygamists” than they did. I have also heard that there had been members of the KKK in our stake a while back. More recently, they do not even mention any specific groups, likely because mentioning on-line apostates would probably just make some members curious about what is out there.

  51. Wondering says:

    Just idly wondering about the change (new #6) from “local authorities” to “local leaders.” What might that change mean? or seek to avoid in the future?

  52. None of the comments have mentioned how the full name of “Jesus Christ” has been generously added throughout the interview questions.

  53. OctoberSky says:

    Splitting former question #4 is interesting. As a researcher, curious if the church ever collects data on which questions disqualify one for a recommend. Gut is that this split just helps the interviewer follow-up if clarification is needed, but would be interesting…

    Somewhat related for me is the hot topic #9. Some time ago I came to the strong realization that even believing that LGBT+ deserved better but staying silent was not reflecting Christ. I’ve taught youth off and on for years (I’m sure it will be while now though : )). I couldn’t help but imagine my child, one of those children or anyone suffering because of the rhetoric of “we love you, but….” and not having anyone they felt could fully accept and love all of them. Over the years, I’ve seen kids leave the church, but also kids felt they couldn’t live anymore. I applied basic gospel principles: “By the fruits ye shall know them…” Following the current council was tortuous for people, sometimes deadly, while the same sex marriages I saw produced the same strengths and challenges as my own. My husband, who initially agreed with me, wondered again if “maybe this was just the challenge some people have.” I postulate, which won’t convince anyone, but is solace for me, that this is rather a challenge for the church to get back to basic principles of Christ, and force members to judge based on the principles we have been taught and believe. Just as we sometimes make our children struggle to find the right answer to a problem for their own learning and development, I believe God doesn’t jump in every time personal and cultural biases influence the church. We have to learn and grow too. While most see my dissent as a lack of faith, I see it as the ultimate act of faith.

    I plan to explain my point of view, and if I give up my recommend for that I will do so without angst and faith in those basic principles. I fully expect that there will be a lot of variation in leaders’ interpretation, and likely more people that do not renew the recommend because they don’t want the conversation.

    Many of the recent changes to youth programs, ministering, and even this make individual judgement more important. Perhaps it increases variability, but hopefully increases meaning to people.

  54. I absolutely love the change to #9. The new wording makes it entirely about belief and eliminates the people/organizations from the equation. As someone who “affiliates” with and “supports” friends with other religious beliefs and in some cases organizations with differing doctrines and beliefs–even through my employment–I’ve been hoping for changes exactly along these lines for many years. In practice I don’t know how differently the question is meant to be interpreted. But the new wording feels far more Christian to me.

  55. Martin James says:

    Although some may be stricter tests, there is one giant loosening of the rules. You don’t have to be honest, you just have to strive to be honest. Since, that would apply to the other questions, as long as you are striving to be honest, your answers don’t actually have to be correct. A for effort!

  56. I’ve been debating with myself about whether to make a comment here. I have always disliked the temple interview, and the tweaking described here does nothing to help. I cannot imagine that my judgment interview at the last day will be anything even remotely like our temple recommend interview. This is partly because our leaders don’t have the insight and knowledge that God will have. Of course. But I believe that it would be much more helpful to someone’s spiritual progress, and much more meaningful to a member if they had a 30 or 40 minute interview with one of their leaders every other year where they just simply discussed repentance, love, testimony, obedience, service, sacrifice, family, or other things. We all know people who are “unworthy” who get into the temple. I recall, when I was on a high council, a bishop and stake president both appearing astonished that a man (who was the subject of a disciplinary council) who had been in an abusive and inappropriate relationship for years continued to have a temple recommend through it all: “He told me that he kept the law of chastity, and that he treated his family well.” Of course he did, either because he is a liar, or because he is unable to understand or perceive that his behavior is abusive and destructive. That kind of lying or self-deception is more likely to be revealed through a conversation than through black-and-white yes/no answers. I don’t understand why we need two interviews, each identical to each other. I would recommend that our church leaders learn to vouch for the “worthiness” of their members through some process other than this box-checking.

  57. The “do you understand” question about the Word of Wisdom is weird. Do people know if they misunderstand or do they think they do understand? If they are disobeying it because they misunderstand it, then by default they think they understand it and are obeying it, right? Either they understand it and disobey it anyway, in which case, are they likely to be in this interview, or they don’t understand it and as a result think they obey it, so they are going to answer yes. I don’t see what asking people if they understand it gains.

    As to Question 9, it feels like both an improvement and a problem. The improvement part is that merely associating with people or groups who have beliefs different from the Church is a ridiculous bar, so the question was meaningless and mostly ignored on that basis, or resulted in strange thought-policing witch hunts. I doubt the Church intends for bishops to thought police the membership, but I suspect that they think that was the original intent of the question (it wasn’t–it was about polygamy as Rockwell points out). So this reduces the ability of rogue bishops to go on witch hunts, but it still expands the scope of the question by retaining it and assuming it was about something broader than it was.

  58. The most important question remains – Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord’s house and participate in temple ordinances? My beliefs and practices may vary from those of the person who is interviewing – sustain the prophet, sure, but maybe that means something different to me than to you. Perhaps it is none of the other’s business, perhaps these are issues to be discussed with a priesthood leader outside of a temple recommend interview if you feel the need or not.

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