What is the goal of the temple recommend interview?

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Ann
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Re: What is the goal of the temple recommend interview?

Post by Ann » 14 Jan 2015, 23:31

Caveman wrote:
I wonder if the church gets in the way of peoples repentance sometimes. The whole idea of being worthy, having to reach perfection and so forth has been toxic to many and though the Lord forgives us we just cant forgive ourselves. The church has made a mistake in that they teach that a person must never commit the sin again as part of repentance process. Any one remember 70 times 7? If we regret something and want forgiveness then its not like we are planning on repeating the sin. If we repent then we want it off our chest. So often we are week and succumb over and over to our weakness. God gives us weaknesses so that we keep coming to him. We are subject to the world and sin is in our nature. Its part of the plan and makes us look inside, reevaluate, seek strength and come to the Lord. Guilt and shame can bring us to repentance. It can also destroy us if we dont forgive ourselves and just realized that sin is part of the plan. But dont take my word, ask God.

Caveman
I think I saw this recently. Someone I know in her early twenties came to me for advice (I guess) about a situation on a date that had gotten a little out of hand. I realized as she talked that she wanted to go to the bishop to just wipe the slate, but was not giving any thought to how she would handle the situation in the future, or to what her approach to pre-marital physicality was going to be. Her quick reflex to emergency-phone for an appointment was hardly giving her any time to even "sit" with what had happened. And she didn't say a word about God; it was all about her and the bishop.
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Curt Sunshine
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Re: What is the goal of the temple recommend interview?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 15 Jan 2015, 00:01

Yes, churches get in the way of repentance all the time - either by not focusing on it at all, by teaching it incorrectly (or, more often, incompletely) or by substituting institutional penalties that distort it. We absolutely are not immune to that.

To answer the post's title question, the temple recommend interview has one purpose and only on purpose, imo: to act as a final safeguard of the sacredness of the temple. The actual questions / format of the interview can vary from time to time, but the process is established out of a belief that the temple is our representation of The House of the Lord into which no unclean thing is supposed to enter - "unclean" being defined as "unrepentant", broadly, and "undefiled in the moment by egregious sin", more narrowly.

Issues with certain qualifications and local leader roulette notwithstanding, I have absolutely no issue with the concept of a temple recommend or an interview. At the macro level, I understand and appreciate the concept. It is at the micro level (the exact questions and the interviewer) that things get wonky.
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.

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SamBee
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Re: What is the goal of the temple recommend interview?

Post by SamBee » 20 Jan 2015, 11:18

DarkJedi wrote:I've always thought the interview questions were designed for self reflection. Since my faith transition I believe so even more.
That's the best way of looking at it.
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Reflexzero
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Re: What is the goal of the temple recommend interview?

Post by Reflexzero » 20 Jan 2015, 11:48

Mid 1800's Temple Recommend Questions.

Have you committed murder by shedding innocent blood, or consenting thereto?
Have you betrayed your brethren or sisters in anything?
Have you committed adultery, by having any connection with a woman that was not your wife, or a man that was not your husband?
Have you taken and made use of property not your own, without the consent of the owner?
Have you cut hay where you had no right to, or turned your animals into another person’s grain or field, without his knowledge and consent?
Have you lied about or maliciously misrepresented any person or thing?
Have you borrowed anything that you have not returned, or paid for?
Have you borne false witness against your neighbor?
Have you taken the name of Deity in vain?
Have you coveted anything not your own?
Have you been intoxicated with strong drink?
Have you found lost property and not returned it to the owner, or used all diligence to do so?
Have you branded an animal that you did not know to be your own?
Have you taken another’s horse or mule from the range and rode it, without the owner's consent?
Have you fulfilled your promises in paying your debts, or run into debt without prospect of paying?
Have you taken water to irrigate with, when it belonged to another person at the time you used it?
Do you pay your tithing promptly?
Do you teach your family the gospel of salvation?
Do you speak against your brethren, or against any principle taught in the Bible, Book of Mormon, book of Doctrine and Covenants, revelations given to Joseph Smith the Prophet and the Presidency of the Church as now organized?
Do you pray in your family night and morning and attend to secret prayer?
Do you wash your body and have your family do so, as often as health and cleanliness require and circumstances will permit?
Do you labor six days and rest, or go to the house of worship, on the seventh?
Do you preside over your household as a servant of God, and is your family subject to you?
Have you labored diligently and earned faithfully the wages paid you by your employers?
Do you oppress the hireling in his wages?
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?

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DarkJedi
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Re: What is the goal of the temple recommend interview?

Post by DarkJedi » 20 Jan 2015, 14:42

Reflexzero wrote:Mid 1800's Temple Recommend Questions.

Have you committed murder by shedding innocent blood, or consenting thereto?
Have you betrayed your brethren or sisters in anything?
Have you committed adultery, by having any connection with a woman that was not your wife, or a man that was not your husband?
Have you taken and made use of property not your own, without the consent of the owner?
Have you cut hay where you had no right to, or turned your animals into another person’s grain or field, without his knowledge and consent?
Have you lied about or maliciously misrepresented any person or thing?
Have you borrowed anything that you have not returned, or paid for?
Have you borne false witness against your neighbor?
Have you taken the name of Deity in vain?
Have you coveted anything not your own?
Have you been intoxicated with strong drink?
Have you found lost property and not returned it to the owner, or used all diligence to do so?
Have you branded an animal that you did not know to be your own?
Have you taken another’s horse or mule from the range and rode it, without the owner's consent?
Have you fulfilled your promises in paying your debts, or run into debt without prospect of paying?
Have you taken water to irrigate with, when it belonged to another person at the time you used it?
Do you pay your tithing promptly?
Do you teach your family the gospel of salvation?
Do you speak against your brethren, or against any principle taught in the Bible, Book of Mormon, book of Doctrine and Covenants, revelations given to Joseph Smith the Prophet and the Presidency of the Church as now organized?
Do you pray in your family night and morning and attend to secret prayer?
Do you wash your body and have your family do so, as often as health and cleanliness require and circumstances will permit?
Do you labor six days and rest, or go to the house of worship, on the seventh?
Do you preside over your household as a servant of God, and is your family subject to you?
Have you labored diligently and earned faithfully the wages paid you by your employers?
Do you oppress the hireling in his wages?
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?
In some ways I like these questions, and can answer most of them (except the prayer one) correctly as well. I'd much rather be asked if I get intoxicated than if the insinuation is "Do I drink Pepsi" because it is more in line with what I think the WoW is really about. Out of curiosity, do you have a reference link for these questions?
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LookingHard
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Re: What is the goal of the temple recommend interview?

Post by LookingHard » 20 Jan 2015, 14:52

Now lessons looking at things like this would really be interesting Sunday School lessons? Right?

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wayfarer
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Re: What is the goal of the temple recommend interview?

Post by wayfarer » 20 Jan 2015, 15:43

Here are comments from the Church handbook of instructions around the purpose of temple recommend interviews, how they are to be conducted, and what the Church officers are expected to do if they feel a person may be unworthy.
3.3.3 General Guidelines for Issuing Recommends wrote: Authorized Church officers conduct worthiness interviews for temple recommends as outlined in the temple recommend book. Church officers make every effort to see that no unworthy person enters the house of the Lord.

Temple recommend interviews must be private. They should not be rushed. Interviewers should not add any requirements to those that are outlined in the temple recommend book.
While the second paragraph indicates that the interviewer should stick to the "requirements", the first paragraph frames the idea that the interviewer must make a judgment of worthiness. "Outlined requirements" can be interpreted to mean "topics" or "intent" of the questions. The idea that "Church Officers make every effort to see that no unworthy person enters the house of the Lord" means that there is no absolute limit to what the Bishop can do to determine your worthiness.

In my experience, they typically keep to the script, starting with a prayer. To me, it can be a very spiritual experience. On the other hand, some Church officers and participants enter the interview with a feeling of suspicion. This often can be sensed by both parties, and if it is acted upon, doesn't lead to good results. I truly believe that approaching a temple recommend interview prepared is the best policy, and to take it seriously if you want a recommend.
3.3.4 Members Whose Close Relatives Belong to Apostate Groups wrote:Bishops and their counselors must take exceptional care when issuing recommends to members whose parents or other close relatives belong to or sympathize with apostate groups. Such members must demonstrate clearly that they repudiate these apostate religious teachings before they may be issued a recommend.
This should be motivation for us to keep our facebook profiles relatively clean from public denunciations of Church leaders, and absent any overt associations with what are becoming known as "apostate groups". Ask cwald. Here's what happens: A bishop (or an overzealous family member or 'friend') who is perusing Facebook or these forums might observe, through friends and "likes", that a ward member has connection to OW, John Dehlin or other people he deems to be "Apostate". Perhaps the bishop or "friend" has been reading some of "Mormon Interpreter" himself, and noting the articles vehemently denouncing MormonStories leaders and participants like us as being "antichrist". This clause gives him the right to probe into your family and relatives to determine if ANYONE "sympathizes" with "apostate groups", and it goes without saying that if we have "likes" to any of the "apostate groups" or their leaders, then the bishop has a basis for asking probing questions and require us to "repudiate these apostate teachings" before you can get a recommend.

The damnable part of this is that zealous family members who know this policy simply don't want you as a friend or even family member. They don't want to be called into question. This policy poses a real concern to keep your overly religious family members distant from your facebook profile and your public expressions about the church.
3.3.7 Unworthy Recommend Holders wrote:If the bishop determines that a member who has a current recommend is unworthy, he immediately requests the recommend from the member. If the member refuses to return it, the bishop notifies the stake president at once. The stake president cancels the recommend ..."

Note that there is no criteria for determining whether a member is "unworthy", it's just a blanket determination of whether the Bishop "determines" that a member is unworthy. The bishop at any time could "determine" that I am unworthy, perhaps by looking on my facebook page or determining that I'm a member of MoSto or something, and by that determination, unaudited by anyone, could simply demand my Temple Recommend and cancel it.

I hope this helps.
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Heber13
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Re: What is the goal of the temple recommend interview?

Post by Heber13 » 20 Jan 2015, 16:33

Good stuff, wayfarer.

I've conducted several interviews in my past. I would agree most go along without much to do. But it is still something instructed in the handbook to take seriously, and leaders take it seriously.

But I return to my original statement on the purpose of the recommend interview:
Heber13 wrote:It is a checkpoint, and while self-reflection is part of it so we can testify of our commitments, the authority figure has an opportunity to deny the recommend. They have to recommend you to be worthy for going to the temple, and if things are not in order, they control the issuance of the recommend.
That is the purpose.

While it will most likely be anticipated to be a positive and uplifting experience, it is by design a checkpoint by leaders. And if they know something about you, they will not simply pass it based on the respondent's Yes/No answers alone. They go by the spirit, and have a stewardship.

Anonymity on the websites is a helpful thing for many, not just in the names we use on profiles, but the content we disclose, for those who come looking for it.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Ann
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Re: What is the goal of the temple recommend interview?

Post by Ann » 20 Jan 2015, 18:10

wayfarer wrote:Here are comments from the Church handbook of instructions around the purpose of temple recommend interviews, how they are to be conducted, and what the Church officers are expected to do if they feel a person may be unworthy.
3.3.4 Members Whose Close Relatives Belong to Apostate Groups wrote:Bishops and their counselors must take exceptional care when issuing recommends to members whose parents or other close relatives belong to or sympathize with apostate groups. Such members must demonstrate clearly that they repudiate these apostate religious teachings before they may be issued a recommend."
I'm new to being a green-typeface moderator here, but maybe this will be the end of it. I'm really angry.

To the church I want to say: Write the standard questions differently if you want this information. Please don't pretend that only open advocacy endangers a person's recommend. If my unspoken thoughts and sympathies are going to keep me out of the temple, I'm afraid they will also keep me out of the chapel. Life's too short for this particular type of contentiousness.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

nibbler
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Re: What is the goal of the temple recommend interview?

Post by nibbler » 20 Jan 2015, 19:07

3.3.4 Members Whose Close Relatives Belong to Apostate Groups wrote:Bishops and their counselors must take exceptional care when issuing recommends to members whose parents or other close relatives belong to or sympathize with apostate groups. Such members must demonstrate clearly that they repudiate these apostate religious teachings before they may be issued a recommend."


So, depending on how broadly you define apostate groups, pretty much every. single. member. of the church in the next decade or so. You're probably on to something, rewrite the question to make it clear, then ask the same question to all people seeking a recommend, not just specific people.

For convenience: Thread to the discussionon TR Question Survey - Question 7: Affiliating with Apostates.

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