History of the Temple Recommend

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dande48
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History of the Temple Recommend

Post by dande48 » 10 Sep 2018, 07:43

Pondering over another post, I decided to look into the history of temple recommends. I came across a blog post, on Upward Thrust, which had a lot of references and covered its development pretty thoroughly. Here are some highlights I found interesting:
1856, Mar 2 - "The persons who can get their endowments must be those who... believe in the plurality [of wives]"

1856, May 19 - "These men and women whom you recommend, must be individuals who... do not speak against the authorities of the Church and Kingdom of God... those who pay due respect to their presiding officers, and Bishops and those who do not swear."

1886, Nov 30 - "There are many cases where people may violate the strict letter of the Word of Wisdom, and yet be following its spirit in doing so.....and yet...we are opposed to the common use of these articles by Latter-day Saints. A man or a woman who disregards the Word of Wisdom and still profess to be a Latter-day Saint ought to be ashamed of their conduct. A judicious bishop will not give a recommend to such a person without first taking up a labor with him or her against the indulgence in the habits mentioned in the Word of Wisdom. No person who flagrantly violates that word should ask for a recommend."

1905 - "Ordinances for the dead are not to be performed for those who committed murder, suicide, or were excommunicates except by permission of the temple president."

1934 - "The applicant should also... sustain without reservation the general and local authorities of the church."

1966 - "1st Presidency Letter allows proxy work to be performed for all except those of known "Negro" blood without consideration of worthiness or any qualification."

1966, Aug 39 - "1st Presidency announces to stake presidents and missions that those who work at casinos are not to have administrative callings or temple recommends."

1971, Feb 12 - "A searching interview should be conducted by the bishop and also by the stake president to determine whether or not... He supports local and General Authorities... Accepts and follows the teachings and programs of the Church."

1976 - "Before issuing a recommend the bishop will assure himself by searching inquiry of the worthiness of the applicant in relation to the standards and principles of the Church. These may include the following questions: 1. Are you morally clean and worthy to enter the temple? 2. Will you and do you sustain the local and General Authorities of the Church, and will you live in accordance with the accepted rules and doctrines of the Church? 3. Do you have any connection, in sympathy or otherwise, with any of the apostate groups or individuals who are running counter to the accepted rules and doctrines of the Church? 4. Are you a full tithe payer? 5. Are you honest in your dealings with your fellowmen? 6. Do you keep the Word of Wisdom? 7. Do you wear the regulation garments? 8. Will you earnestly strive to do your duty in the Church; to attend your sacrament, priesthood, and other meetings; and to obey the rules, laws, and commandments of the gospel? 9. Have you ever been denied a recommend to any temple? ...10. Have you ever been divorced? ..." (emphasis added)

1982, Jan 5- "Married persons should understand that if in their marital relations they are guilty of unnatural, impure, or unholy practices, they should not enter the temple unless and until they repent and discontinue any such practices....The First Presidency has interpreted oral sex as constituting an unnatural, impure, or unholy practice."
Thoughts?
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nibbler
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Re: History of the Temple Recommend

Post by nibbler » 10 Sep 2018, 12:58

It would appear that over time we trend away from the cray-cray. I like to think of myself as living according to the temple recommend requirements of the year 2164. If I'm good enough to get a TR then, I'm good enough to get one now. Right? ;)

One standout, which was probably the intention of the person singling out these specific questions... murderers were given the green light for vicarious temple ordinances but black people were still barred from the ordinances "without consideration of worthiness." I guess it's nice to have a well established pecking order in any caste system. :roll:

This reminds me of a list that was purported to be the list of TR questions in 1857, though I haven't seen the source. Here they are framed as questions a home teacher might ask in 1857 in a LDSLiving article: Could You Pass this 1857 Home Teaching Interview?. Maybe presenting them as TR interview questions is too taboo, since the questions are only printed in materials that have restricted access.
Have you taken up and converted any stray animal to your own use, or in any manner appropriated one to your benefit, without accounting therefore to the proper authorities?
You mean like finding a dog and not paying the dog license? So far I've had lots of stray animal investigators but none of them have converted.
Do you wash your body and have your family do so, as often as health and cleanliness require and circumstances will permit?
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AmyJ
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Re: History of the Temple Recommend

Post by AmyJ » 10 Sep 2018, 13:00

4 Thoughts...

1. "We aren't in New York [Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, or Utah} anymore."
2. That is a lot of changes over time.
3. How do you cross-reference to confirm the person you are being baptized on behalf of was not suicidal?
4. There are certain themes going on there regarding authority :D

SIDE NOTE: Off the top of my head, I would be out the door at the Mar 2 1856 entry. I have been thinking about it for a while now, and I am cool with polyandry, and sort of cool about polygamy - BUT I don't think it should be externally imposed by authority figures or bait and switched into the power structure.

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Re: History of the Temple Recommend

Post by Roy » 10 Sep 2018, 17:20

nibbler wrote:
10 Sep 2018, 12:58
Here they are framed as questions a home teacher might ask in 1857 in a LDSLiving article: Could You Pass this 1857 Home Teaching Interview?. Maybe presenting them as TR interview questions is too taboo,
This is one reason why I like the shift from HT to ministering. It appears that the HT program came from the Mormon Reformation movement. The "ward teachers" would visit homes, doing interviews, committing families to rededicate themselves to the gospel with renewed fervor (to be demonstrated before the community through re-baptism), and reporting back their findings to the stake leadership. It just feels too "big brother" to me.

Even in my recent "ministering interview," I was saddened by how much of the interview was on the inactive members moral failings - they do not go to church, maybe cohabitate, drink alcohol, or smoke. Our ministering certainly appeared to be geared around convincing them to stop doing that bad stuff and to come back to church rather than meeting them where they are and addressing their family needs. Maybe the ministering program will evolve into more of an outreach program later on. I hope so.
dande48 wrote:
10 Sep 2018, 07:43
1966, Aug 39 - "1st Presidency announces to stake presidents and missions that those who work at casinos are not to have administrative callings or temple recommends."
This actually was more surprising to me - especially since I have built my career working in Casino Hotels. I suppose in the 1960's casinos were considered more like seedy dens of iniquity than they are now. Culturally there has been a shift where casino gambling has become much less frightening. Today many states offer state sanctioned gambling in the form of lotteries, "Vegas style video lottery", and even state sponsored casinos. Still Utah remains one of two states that criminalizes gambling (not just regulates but prohibits). Therefore Native American tribes with reservations within the state of Utah may not build Casinos within the state. IOW, Sovereign Indian tribes are prevented from pursuing economically game changing casino operations likely because of the history of Mormonism within the state.
"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

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SamBee
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Re: History of the Temple Recommend

Post by SamBee » 10 Sep 2018, 17:24

I actually have done temple work for a murderer - see here

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2531&hilit=Murderer
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Re: History of the Temple Recommend

Post by Curt Sunshine » 11 Sep 2018, 07:54

Yep, doctrine changes over time - often dramatically.

I am glad I live now.
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

Roy
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Re: History of the Temple Recommend

Post by Roy » 11 Sep 2018, 16:18

I find it interesting that there is the refrain is repeated to the general membership that all these things (the ordinances, the presentation, the sequence, the garment, the TR questions) are handed down by revelation and cannot be changed … and then many of these things get changed.
1966, July 6: 1st presidency letter states that although civilly married couples normally have to wait one year for a sealing, this is usually waved for those whose parents are non-members so that parents can see the wedding. (1st Presidency letter)
I found this one interesting. I know much has changed in the last 50 or so years. I believe that this waving of the year penalty is no longer a thing. Anybody have any history on how or why this changed?
"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

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dande48
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Re: History of the Temple Recommend

Post by dande48 » 11 Sep 2018, 21:20

I think most of the policy changes to the "one year" rule have been made without a lot of fanfare, behind closed doors. I'm not sure what's happened since 1966, but here is the current Church policy:
Church handbook of Instruction 1, 3.6.1 (2017) wrote: A husband and wife who were married outside a temple may be sealed after one full year from the date of their civil marriage. However, this one-year waiting period does not apply to worthy couples in the following cases:

1.Both the civil marriage and the temple sealing take place in countries that do not recognize a temple marriage and that require a civil marriage.

2. The couple live in a country where there is not a temple and the laws of the country do not recognize a marriage performed outside the country.

3. A couple could not be married in a temple because one or both had not been a member of the Church for one year at the time of their civil marriage. They may receive their endowments and be sealed any time after at least one year has passed from the confirmation date of both members.

In the first two cases, worthy couples should receive their endowments and be sealed as soon as practical after their civil marriage. They may be sealed in any temple convenient to their circumstances.

Worthy couples who were married in a civil ceremony and have been members of the Church for at least one year may receive their own endowments and participate in all other temple ordinances except their marriage sealing any time within the year following civil marriage.

Only the First Presidency may grant exceptions to the preceding policies. The stake president may seek an exception if it appears to be justified. The couple should not go to a temple to be sealed unless they are notified that the First Presidency has granted an exception. They should bring this notification with them. (emphasis added)

(Reference)

The First Church policy concerning civil marriages was found in the first edition of Doctrine & Covenants. This section has later been removed.
D&C 1835 pg251 wrote:"According to the custom of all civilized nations, marriage is regulated by laws and ceremonies: therefore we believe, that all marriages in this church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, should be solemnized in a public meeting, or feast, prepared for that purpose: and that the solemnization should be performed by a presiding high priest, high priest, bishop, elder, or priest, not even prohibiting those persons who are desirous to get married, of being married by other authority.-We believe that it is not right to prohibit members of this church from marrying out of the church, if it be their determination so to do, but such persons will be considered weak in the faith of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (Reference)

I did find this article, albiet one without clear references, covering the history of the one year rule:

TLDR;
-Much of the policy was made behind closed doors and without much fanfare.
-In the early days, just about anyone could be given a temple recommend at the bishop's discresion, without regard to how long they've been a member.
-In the early 20th centry, Church leaders started to get concerned about those who would join the Church, attend the temple, and then dial back their Church activity or leave altogether.
-There was also an issue, with more and more Mormons spending time with non-members and subsequently falling in love. This lead to many "false conversions" for the sake of a temple marriage.
-In the early 20th century, it became popular for many Mormons to throw lavish weddings. It brought the temple ceremony, which was supposed to be the main event, into the background.
-The rule first popped up under Joseph F Smith's leadership.
Last edited by dande48 on 12 Sep 2018, 06:12, edited 1 time in total.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

Curt Sunshine
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Re: History of the Temple Recommend

Post by Curt Sunshine » 11 Sep 2018, 21:50

Thanks, dande48. I might disagree with the marriage first, temple sealing wait policy, but that timeline and context makes sense logically. I wish it hadn't been the decision, and I hope it changes again, but I understand the reasoning, given the outline above.
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

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SamBee
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Re: History of the Temple Recommend

Post by SamBee » 12 Sep 2018, 08:05

The one year rule doesn't apply in many countries including my own. Weddings have to be public so theoretically someone can prevent the marriage of people who are:
* Related
* Underage
* Pressed/forced
* Already married
etc.

However what I object to is having to rush from the marriage to the temple. Our temple is several hours drive away, in another country. It's a VERY long day. I've been to LDS weddings and sealings on the same day round here. Very complicated. I can only imagine what it's like for bride and groom.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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