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Re: Temple recommend interviews and "testimony"

Posted: 04 Jan 2019, 00:02
by squarepeg
mom3 wrote:
02 Jan 2019, 22:22

So yes, you can be a change agent, just make sure you are prepared to hold out for a long time.

Sounds to me like family is second. That is great. Own it.
I guess my point is that just because it will take a long time for changes to come to fruition doesn't justify NOT doing the small things necessary to bring about the changes.

Family is not second, family is first. Setting an example for my kids of doing what my conscience tells me is right regardless of the consequences is top priority. If I can't do baptisms with them or someday attend their sealings or be with them when they receive their endowments, they'll understand why, and they'll know that they can always trust me. I will be right there on the steps or in the waiting area, eager to give them a hug and share my love and approval of them. It will only strengthen my family relationships. I know that's not the case for everyone. But my family is never second.

Re: Temple recommend interviews and "testimony"

Posted: 04 Jan 2019, 00:19
by squarepeg
Heber13 wrote:
03 Jan 2019, 16:28

In the end, I'm not sure how much it all matters in the grand scheme of things, right? If someone lied to go do service like baptism or other covenants for the salvation of others, besides that being kind of odd, it also isn't causing anyone any pain. Is it? God isn't calling those ordinances void to the names on the temple records, right? So...wherein is the harm? I guess it becomes the principle of the matter.

But if we are splitting hairs on definitions of what testimony in these things mean and what is really honest or dishonest about some arbitrary definitions, I'm not sure we should make it harder on ourselves than it needs to be. We don't get points for being a martyr for honesty, do we? So what does it really matter? i guess one could argue...peace of mind...and I think that was what Nibbler was saying back several pages ago. Do what helps you find peace.

There are limits. Lying to go record the ceremonies to broadcast it on the internet is in a different realm. Avoiding consequences to a wife by pretending outwardly to be good when causing so much pain to the family is in a different realm.
I dunno. It may not matter how we specifically answer the questions, or how we specifically interpret them, but I absolutely think it matters a great deal that we answer in a way that allows us a clear conscience. Honesty, integrity always matters. A lot. If the reasoning for keeping the recommend current is to avoid causing familial pain, I can really only justify that for myself if I have confided to my spouse my unorthodox interpretation of the interview questions and gotten his/her blessing and encouragement to move forward and answer "yes" to all. I'd be absolutely devastated if I were TBM and my husband was giving me the impression for years on end that he had a TBM testimony when he secretly no longer had one. When I finally did find out, I would feel deeply betrayed and hurt that he didn't feel like he could confide in me, his WIFE, how his testimony had altered or diminished. My trust in him would be pretty wrecked. There are maybe some spouses who just don't want to hear about the other one's faith crisis, just want to pretend like everything is TBM-hunky-dory, but that's pretty hard for me to understand.

Re: Temple recommend interviews and "testimony"

Posted: 04 Jan 2019, 08:32
by dande48
Heber13 wrote:
03 Jan 2019, 16:28
In the end, I'm not sure how much it all matters in the grand scheme of things, right? If someone lied to go do service like baptism or other covenants for the salvation of others, besides that being kind of odd, it also isn't causing anyone any pain. Is it? God isn't calling those ordinances void to the names on the temple records, right? So...wherein is the harm? I guess it becomes the principle of the matter.
I fully agree, maybe even moreso. I don't think the beauty of the temple, or its holiness is effected by any "unworthy" entering into it (though the Church may disagree). Even in the worst cases of sacrilege, I think it does good in so far as it helps us to scrutinize the holy (but it makes people feel uncomfortable and angry, which should be avoided). Even so far as recording the ceremony, while I have qualms about the integrity of the individual, I am grateful for the result. It has allowed me to learn of the many changes which have taken place, and provides a more thorough analysis of the endowment ceremony.

We are, I think, taking two different ethical approaches. There's utilitarianism, which states we must act in such a way that provides the most good for the greatest number (of our family members, specifically). Therefore, if our family is benefited while no one else is being harmed, it is permitted to do or say whatever you need to, in order to receive a TR. The other ethical approach is Kantian Ethics (FWIW, Kant was an atheist). His approach to ethics was, we should
Kant wrote:"Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."
Hence, as an extreme example, we shouldn't be willing to kill one person in order to save the lives of two, even though that would follow in utilitarianism, because a society where people were legally killed whenever required to save lives is not a just society. Likewise, I would rather live in a society where everyone is open, honest, and forthright, even if it means sometimes that honesty causes others (the Bishop and SP in this case) act in a way I wish they wouldn't. Universal openness and honesty is a good thing, and even though we live in a world where that is NOT the case, and even though I will be disenfranchised by following such a maxim in a world where it is not a universal law, I should still live by that maxim.

In other words, we should do what we do, not because it will give a desired outcome, but because its the just thing to do. But I'm not going to go so far as to fault anyone who feels they are looking out for their family. Of course, any approach when taken to the extreme won't turn out well. But personally I still feel I should ethically act in a way I wish I was treated (even if I'm not). I still wish others would deal with me likewise (even though they won't).

Re: Temple recommend interviews and "testimony"

Posted: 04 Jan 2019, 09:09
by squarepeg
dande48 wrote:
04 Jan 2019, 08:32

We are, I think, taking two different ethical approaches. There's utilitarianism, which states we must act in such a way that provides the most good for the greatest number (of our family members, specifically). Therefore, if our family is benefited while no one else is being harmed, it is permitted to do or say whatever you need to, in order to receive a TR. The other ethical approach is Kantian Ethics (FWIW, Kant was an atheist). His approach to ethics was, we should
Kant wrote:"Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."
Thanks, dande, for outlining the philosophical underpinnings. That is so helpful. I'm with Kant.

Re: Temple recommend interviews and "testimony"

Posted: 04 Jan 2019, 10:27
by Curt Sunshine
It may not matter how we specifically answer the questions, or how we specifically interpret them, but I absolutely think it matters a great deal that we answer in a way that allows us a clear conscience. Honesty, integrity always matters. A lot.


So, in the end, we agree.

Cool. :thumbup:

On a philosophical note, each position described above has limits for almost everyone. For example, if I had the opportunity and ability, there is no way I would sit still and not intervene while someone tortured and killed someone, even it meant killing the perpetrator. That isn't just mathematical; it isn't hypocritical or even inconsistent; it also doesn't require killing one person to save multiple people. It can be a one-to-one exchange. I am against murder, specifically, and killing other people, generally, and it would be extremely difficult for me to kill someone else, but I hope I would do so in that situation.

I abhor almost all extremes that do not allow for exceptions. Life simply isn't black-and-white, so I don't like universal black-and-white solutions.

Re: Temple recommend interviews and "testimony"

Posted: 04 Jan 2019, 11:15
by dande48
Curt Sunshine wrote:
04 Jan 2019, 10:27
On a philosophical note, each position described above has limits for almost everyone. For example, if I had the opportunity and ability, there is no way I would sit still and not intervene while someone tortured and killed someone, even it meant killing the perpetrator. That isn't just mathematical; it isn't hypocritical or even inconsistent; it also doesn't require killing one person to save multiple people. It can be a one-to-one exchange. I am against murder, specifically, and killing other people, generally, and it would be extremely difficult for me to kill someone else, but I hope I would do so in that situation.

I abhor almost all extremes that do not allow for exceptions. Life simply isn't black-and-white, so I don't like universal black-and-white solutions.
With my example, killing one to save two, I was thinking more along the lines of when all parties are innocent, i.e. harvesting a healthy person's organs so that multiple other people could live. I still think you could turn it into a "universal law", i.e. All should be willing to defend the innocent from unjust death, even to the point of killing those who perpetrate unjust death. That would be in line with Kantian ethics, and considered a virtuous action.

Exceptions don't break Kantian ethics, and just because we don't consider all the exceptions doesn't mean you aren't acting in line with Kantian thinking. It's simply asking yourself if the action you are about to take, is something you'd be comfortable if everyone did, under similar circumstances.

Re: Temple recommend interviews and "testimony"

Posted: 04 Jan 2019, 12:27
by DarkJedi
Curt Sunshine wrote:
04 Jan 2019, 10:27
It may not matter how we specifically answer the questions, or how we specifically interpret them, but I absolutely think it matters a great deal that we answer in a way that allows us a clear conscience. Honesty, integrity always matters. A lot.


So, in the end, we agree.

Cool. :thumbup:
I basically came to make this same comment. Although my beliefs and answers are nuanced, I do indeed answer with a clear conscience and without reservation. From that point of view we do apparently agree.

Re: Temple recommend interviews and "testimony"

Posted: 04 Jan 2019, 13:09
by squarepeg
This all just reinforces how many shades of gray moral issues inevitably turn out to be. Thanks for everyone's input.

Now I have Billy Joel, "Shades of Gray" in my head!

"Shades of gray wherever I go,
The more I find out, the less that I know.
Black and white is how it should be,
But shades of gray are the colors I see."

So cheesy but true!


I'm sure there's a reason why two people can both be following their consciences exactly and each arrive at the opposite conclusion. That's why I believe all the major world religions are "true" even though that shouldnt be logically possible. Members of each religion have "testimony" every bit as strong as the strongest LDS testimonies, from all I can discern.

Re: Temple recommend interviews and "testimony"

Posted: 04 Jan 2019, 17:37
by Curt Sunshine
"We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all (people) everywhere the same privilege."

All includes members of the LDS Church who see things differently than each other.

Re: Temple recommend interviews and "testimony"

Posted: 17 Mar 2019, 07:19
by squarepeg
I had both temple recommend interviews over the past couple weeks. I determined that this was such a gray area, I needed to just follow my gut, or the spirit. In my interview with the bishop I told him that I have faith and hope of these questions about testimony, but no knowledge of the truth of these claims. He felt that faith and hope was plenty good enough to qualify as a testimony. I told him it didn't seem to according to how the church defines testimony, but he seemed undaunted in his own conviction that testimony runs along a spectrum and the only way one could have sure knowledge would be if they had had some pretty unique experiences.

A side note: I don't recall whether this came up in this thread, but I have had struggles wearing the Garment for a very long time, due to tactile sensory processing issues, that resulted in my ultimately being no longer able to wear it consistently when I became really sick 9 years ago. I had discussed this with the bishop (which was embarrassing and awkward for me but I felt it was important because I know I can't be the only one in this situation) and he, in turn, spoke to our stake president and temple president about my case. It was decided that my inability to wear the garment as directed should not prevent me from attending the temple, that the garment was made for man and not man for the garment. I should wear it when I am able, and especially if able I should wear it while actually participating in temple ordinances. And ultimately the matter is to be between me and the Lord. I thought it was really kind of my bishop to speak to those others about my situation and I will gratefully and humbly accept this gift.

During my recommend interview I also mentioned that I definitely affiliate with and sympathize with individuals who have beliefs and ideas that run contrary to the teachings of the church. Some of those people are my family and close friends. My bishop thinks that question about anti-church affiliations was added to the interview initially in order to weed out polygamists and/or RLDS folks, or something like that, and he thinks of it as being mostly just to identify people who are truly against the church. He feels, and I agree, that it is good for us to have associations and love for everyone, like Jesus did.

I explained my garment issue briefly during my stake presidency interview, and he (stake 1st counsellor) agreed with the others. I didn't talk to him about whether faith and hope count as "testimony". I was not feeling well, and decided in that moment that my having already discussed it with my bishop was enough, and was all the emotional stirring up in isolated rooms with adult males in leadership positions that I could handle in a single month, lol. I kinda know this stake leader, I am good friends with his wife, and they are an amazing family with open minds and hearts, and I am pretty confident that if I had brought it up with him, he would have felt that what I carry with me in my heart is enough testimony to qualify me for the temple. I was also antsy because years prior when I went in for a stake presidency temple recommend interview with a different stake leader on a weekday evening and was told that my having worn regular pants was unacceptable and I should wear a skirt next time. I felt so ashamed and upset. This time, even though this leader is kinder and would be much less likely to judge based on appearance, I still wanted to go home asap.

Two books I have been reading have thrown light on this nm issue of truth or honesty and all its shades of gray. One is written by two Evangelical Protestants, "Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes," that discusses, among other issues, how the Bible contradicts itself in many places because we are supposed to use the spiritual to discern when a "rule" applies and when there should be an exception to the rule. Temple recommend interviews might be thought of this way. The other is "The Hiding Place" by Corrie ten Boom. Corrie ten Boom lives through concentration camp tortures in WW2, and was a devout Chrustian who believed in being honest and had a hard time telling lies, but she did lie on multiple occasions in order to save her own and others lives, and it would be a rare person who would say she was not justified in this.

So anyway, I have a temple recommend, now. Thank you for everyone's input and help as I went through this process. I am pretty pumped to see the changes in the Endowment ceremony.