What do I say in Temple recommend interview?

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
fisherman
Posts: 8
Joined: 15 Feb 2014, 11:01

Re: What do I say in Temple recommend interview?

Post by fisherman » 19 Feb 2014, 08:08

This is great. It's so nice to see that others are in my same position and are experiencing similar problems as I am. You guys are offering a great service here.
I looked around a little more on the site and have found comments from doubters that echoes how I feel. There is a common theme. Confusion. When you're grounded in something it is easy to make decisions because we know what is right and the consequences for our actions as well as the enormous rewards that await the faithful. But when that foundation is gone we've got to re evaluate our thoughts and actions. Why refrain from temptations if it is not a sin?I'm not talking about obvious wrongs like murder out robbery, but sins not crime like drinking. I'm trying to hold onto what little faith I have but if there is no God them why wouldn't I occasionally drink?
What are your thoughts on paschals wager?I relied on that for a while but doubts seem to be winning and I ask myself why bother?
I'm still trying to live the gospel the best I can but most of my black and whites have become grays now. I am living it mostly for my wife's sake because I don't want to hurt her.
I also have just heard from an acquaintance that as he was going through major trials in his life that God left him on his own and he was alone for the biggest trials off his life but he endured and now feels closer to God than ever. What if we just dropped the ball in our test and passed the opportunity to get stronger? The not knowing is driving me Crazy. If I had just a tiny bit of instruction from God I'd be set. It's he silent because this is my test that I'm failing and looking for signs or is he silent because there is no one there?
Thanks for listening to my rants

User avatar
Orson
Site Admin
Posts: 2252
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 14:44

Re: What do I say in Temple recommend interview?

Post by Orson » 19 Feb 2014, 08:28

fisherman wrote:...if there is no God them why wouldn't I occasionally drink?
I don't know what your reasons may be but I have always held my own personal logical reasons for not drinking and trying other things. I can see the difficulty for people who have rested heavily on "God says no" but I didn't have that as a primary reason for me.
fisherman wrote:If I had just a tiny bit of instruction from God I'd be set. It's he silent because this is my test that I'm failing and looking for signs or is he silent because there is no one there?
I don't know what to say other than we probably have expectations for God that we shouldn't have. There is wisdom in the advice to "go slow." I think it's best to not complicate the situation, and to not give ammunition to anyone that may be inclined to claim: "See, he didn't really want to believe -- he wanted to _______ (add sin or other inactivity here)."
My avatar - both physical and spiritual.

I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16764
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: What do I say in Temple recommend interview?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 19 Feb 2014, 08:48

Aside from the effects on my family and religious community, I don't drink because I know enough of myself and my extended family physiology to be concerned that I might be one of the people who end up with serious issues if I start. (no drunks, since we're multiple generation LDS, but other things) When I "thought as a child", I abstained because it was expected of me and it was a commandment from God; when I "became a man, I put away childish things" - and I now abstain through personal choice. Others who know they can drink in moderation (like a couple of our more vocal participants here when it comes to that issue ;) ), don't abstain anymore - but, in your situation, I don't think there is any reason you should start. Literally, I can't think of a single reason that would be strong enough to offset the negative impacts it would cause.

I absolutely LOVE 1 Corinthians 13. It's like the Princess Bride / Monty Python of Biblical chapters. :silent: SO many wonderful quotes, but the one that came to mind as I read your last comment isn't the one I quote a lot here ("We see through a glass, darkly."). Rather, it is: "When I was a child . . . when I became a man . . ."

Welcome to true religious adulthood, where you start to let go of borrowed light and figure out how you, personally, as an individual, see all of this. Leaving home can be scary, but it's the only way to establish truly independent adulthood. Don't go wild, like too many children do when they leave home - but don't avoid growth, either, just because growth spurts hurt.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 7030
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: What do I say in Temple recommend interview?

Post by DarkJedi » 19 Feb 2014, 09:57

Your question is good. Like both Orson and Curtis said, I don't drink because I choose not to, not because I believe it is a commandment. I did once believe it was but no longer do. For me, it's good advice, like much of the other stuff contained in the scriptures and given my family history (there are several alcoholics in one side of my family) I believe it is best for me to abstain. Likewise, I have watched loved ones die from the effects of smoking and choose not to suffer a similar fate.

That said, I think your question is actually bigger than that. I think it's more why we should obey any of the things we once thought, or maybe still think, are commandments. I don't have a good answer because, as you have pointed out, I'm still very confused about God and God's will (if any) and God's plan (if any). As part of rebuilding my own faith I tried to decide what the essence of the gospel is, and I believe that essence is love God and love your neighbor. All major world religions and belief systems teach us to love each other and this idea is almost universal. It is clear to me that taking the life of another is not what we are meant to do except in certain extreme circumstances (like protecting your own life). I think all humans have this hard wired into their being from the start as it appears to be universal among humans, although it can be altered by those who might try hard enough to do so. All other commandments contained in the scriptures relate to these two commandments, and most fall under love your neighbor. I'm definitely not sure what the final judgement (if any) will be like, but I do believe if there is one this will be the major theme, and that's why I keep the commandments (and thus I think I have answered your question about Paschal's wager). I don't however, keep all of them with preciseness and never will - and I doubt anyone is capable of doing so.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

Roy
Posts: 6003
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: What do I say in Temple recommend interview?

Post by Roy » 19 Feb 2014, 10:58

fisherman wrote:I also have just heard from an acquaintance that as he was going through major trials in his life that God left him on his own and he was alone for the biggest trials off his life but he endured and now feels closer to God than ever. What if we just dropped the ball in our test and passed the opportunity to get stronger? The not knowing is driving me Crazy. If I had just a tiny bit of instruction from God I'd be set. It's he silent because this is my test that I'm failing and looking for signs or is he silent because there is no one there?
My FC centered on questions of this nature. I find it fascinating how different people make sense of adversity in their lives (particularly those that come from Mormon backgrounds). There is lots of support in LDS teachings for the idea that God masterminds our lives as a sort of obstacle course to bring about the greatest growth. OTOH, this largely flies in the face of free agency (another basic Mormon principle). Even if God controlled every gust of wind or movement of bacteria - so much of my life seems to be based on interaction with beings that God has said He will not control. There is a tension here between the two ideas and I like to see how people solve it. I can see how people take comfort and purpose in the thought that their enormous trials are personalized by a loving God for their growth and eventual exaltation. I can also see how people take comfort in seeing Gods involvement as more hands off - as it removes the need to question the divine purpose in every senseless tragedy. While Mormonism is general leans more toward a personally involved God, there is room for both perspectives.
fisherman wrote:What are your thoughts on paschals wager?I relied on that for a while but doubts seem to be winning and I ask myself why bother?
As humans we are pretty good at building a case for the scenario that we want to believe. If we want to believe in a religion and we imagine that Pascal’s wager helps us to dismiss gnawing doubts then it is successful for its purpose.

I have heard this wager turned against Mormonism. Mormonism teaches that even the worst of people will receive a glory. Many versions of Christianity believe that if you reject their version of Jesus you go to hell. So, in the spirit of Pascal’s wager, it is a safer bet to go with general Christianity than Mormonism because you avoid hellfire in either scenario. Unfortunately this means that the religion that promises the most horrible fate for non-believers is always the winner.

I feel like most of what I have written on this post to this point has been pretty academic. I also understand that this is no idle curiosity for you. There was a time when these and other issues robbed me of my sleep, my desire for food, and began to affect my health. You are not alone and it does get better.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

User avatar
opentofreedom
Posts: 179
Joined: 11 Jun 2013, 09:36

Re: What do I say in Temple recommend interview?

Post by opentofreedom » 19 Feb 2014, 11:58

Why refrain from temptations if it is not a sin?I'm not talking about obvious wrongs like murder out robbery, but sins not crime like drinking. I'm trying to hold onto what little faith I have but if there is no God them why wouldn't I occasionally drink?

I had these same questions when I first started my FC. I was terrified that I was going the leave my husband and family, become a drunk, possibly prostitution...haha.. OK. Extreme thinking, but that's how I roll. One of my mentors (who is LDS, but is far from TBM) had me question WHY I didn't drink, smoke, cheat on my husband? I had to ask myself one by one, why I wouldn't do these things. Do you want to know what I realized? ... That I am a good person in or out of the church. The church tends to teach us that if we leave the church we will be drunks on the side of the road. We obviously can't make good choices when we leave, so we MUST rely on them. I am not sure if they mean to teach that nor do I think that everyone has come away from church feeling this way.... so I can only speak for myself.. and I 100% believed that. (and so did most of the people I associate with... DEEP fears about leaving the church)... From your question I tend to think that you don't understand your own ability to make good decisions on your own. I want to testify ..hehe.. that you are capable of deciding what is right for you. I feel that this is major teaching spiritual maturity is extremely lacking in the LDS church. I feel that having a True connection with the highest part of ourselves/ and God (which I believe IS God.. or at least part of "Him") is more important that Scriptures, going to church, HT or Vting, Temple attendance.. etc... but the church doesn't really teach how to do that, IMO.

I loved what the others have mentioned "When I was a child.... ". Now we are growing up Spirituality and we get to make decisions, and even mistakes. It is our own decisions and mistakes to make because GOD LOVES FREE AGENCY. It is quite beautiful to realize that I am not bad. It is also freeing for me to understand that I am not capable of screwing up so bad that God will shun me nor am I even capable of ruining my soul. That would put limitations on God, IMO. .. and wow! has this change in belief changed my parenting. I am not afraid for my children anymore or afraid that all of their "sins" will come down on my head. .. but that is for anther topic. Basically, I would like to just reiterate that I am good independently from beliefs regarding the church and even God. I do think the church has helped to guide me into this amazing person that I am, ;) so I am grateful for that. I feel the same about you, even though we have never met, YOU are "good" independently from church beliefs. You have the ability to live according to your own dictates, even if they contradict what the church teaches.

I hope you don't mind my 2 cents on advice on possible ways to find your own voice. Writing your thoughts, questioning one by one of your beliefs ON PAPER, trying to shut the left brain judgment and just writing until your personal truth comes out. (A good book to read is "The Artist's way" on how to turn that left brain off.) But you don't need to read it to write. This worked for me and I understand there isn't one way to find our own truth.

Meditation is also an amazing practice in turning off the ego to find truth, but takes so much longer.. IMO, to be able to connect with ourselves than writing...even though profoundly deeper and a practice I hope to be able to get better at.. because most of the time my brain is like Jim Carrey on crack!

So what keeps you "good"? What are your motivations for... not drinking? or any of the other things you fear you might do without God? .. you don't have to answer here... just giving you a place to start.

Namaste my friend.
Namaste: the divine light in me honors the divine light in you.

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

jhp33
Posts: 49
Joined: 06 Jan 2014, 10:09

Re: What do I say in Temple recommend interview?

Post by jhp33 » 19 Feb 2014, 19:28

I think I've said this before, but I think it is applicable here.

I have come to believe that the way I have viewed the temple recommend interview in the past is no longer compatible with my view of God. I do not believe that we can rely on the arm of flesh to judge worthiness. I do not believe that the purpose of a temple recommend is for the interviewer to judge our worthiness. I believe the purpose of the interview is for the interviewer to stand as a witness of us declaring ourselves worthy or unworthy.

Usually, the bishop stands up in sacrament meeting with a new deacon and says "I have found Johnny to be worthy to receive the Aaronic Priesthood."

I had a bishop who explicitly avoided this verbiage, and it was something that always stuck with me. Instead, he would consistently say "Johnny has presented himself worthy to receive the Aaronic Priesthood." As in, "I interviewed Johnny, and he declared himself worthy, and as a judge in Israel, I accept his declaration of worthiness."

Earthly leaders aren't here to judge us. They are here to act as witnesses.

This is how I choose to approach the temple recommend interview.

As such, I do not worry what the interviewer thinks about or how they interpret my answers. If the interviewer ever strays from the questions, I am VERY quick to correct them and emphasize that they are required per the CHI to read the questions verbatim and not stray from them. I don't need to explain to them what I define as a full tithe. I don't need to explain to them how I understand the Word of Wisdom. I don't need to quantify my testimony, only that I have one.

My worthiness is between me and the Lord. Honestly, I really don't understand why anyone would ask for a recommend interview if they don't already feel worthy. Doesn't make sense to me. That's for you and the Lord to work out between yourselves privately, then go receive multiple witnesses and get your signatures and you're good to go.

My $0.02.

User avatar
opentofreedom
Posts: 179
Joined: 11 Jun 2013, 09:36

Re: What do I say in Temple recommend interview?

Post by opentofreedom » 19 Feb 2014, 20:18

jhp33 wrote:
I had a bishop who explicitly avoided this verbiage, and it was something that always stuck with me. Instead, he would consistently say "Johnny has presented himself worthy to receive the Aaronic Priesthood." As in, "I interviewed Johnny, and he declared himself worthy, and as a judge in Israel, I accept his declaration of worthiness."
That is awesome! How cool is that! I love that verbiage.

I have had similar thoughts with the fact that I get to declare my worthiness. My temple recommend expired for the first time in 18 years. It has been months since I have attended (but hurray I got to see the new video.. the curiosity may have killed me.. which I why I went.) I have also struggled with what I would say if I were to go. I drink coffee, but personally feel that it is healthier than soda's. I actually feel less worthy about the word of wisdom part because of how much meat and junk food I eat. Other than that I am "worthy"... well that and I don't know if I can answer the questions anymore either. But one thing I DO know is that I get to determine my personal worthiness according to God.
Namaste: the divine light in me honors the divine light in you.

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16764
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: What do I say in Temple recommend interview?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 19 Feb 2014, 22:55

Thanks, jhp33.

I really like that Bishop's wording - and the idea that the signatures on the recommend are there as witnesses, not judges.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 7030
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: What do I say in Temple recommend interview?

Post by DarkJedi » 20 Feb 2014, 04:23

I agree with you JHP. I have always viewed the questions as more for us to be self reflective and more for us than for the interviewer. I, too, like the idea of the interviewer being a witness - it really fits.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

Post Reply