What does a Temple Recommend mean to you?

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Minyan Man
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What does a Temple Recommend mean to you?

Post by Minyan Man » 17 Jan 2020, 14:14

I'm curious:
- what does having a Temple Recommend mean to members of this forum?

I joined the church as an adult. I thought at the time that it was an outward sign that you met the minimum
standards for worthiness. It gave you the ability to go to the temple and participate in the "higher" ordinances
of the church. By participating, you received special spiritual blessings, understanding & acceptance by God &
the Church. That seems so naive today.

I went through my faith crisis & everything changed. For the crisis I was going through, I wanted answers of why.
When that didn't happen, I wanted comfort. ("everything happens for a greater good & you're not alone.")
When that didn't happen, I became very angry. It took many years to work through & I'm active again & hold a
recommend. I rarely use it to go to the temple. Our closest temple is a 3+ hour drive round trip. There is
no family pressure to have one. So, why do I have it? Do I need it to be accepted by God? Do I need it to hold a
calling in the church? Do I really care if I have one or not?

Curt Sunshine
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Re: What does a Temple Recommend mean to you?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 17 Jan 2020, 14:30

It means I can go to the temple with my wife and children - and good friends.

It means I can hold certain callings and help in ways not possible without it.

That's about it.
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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Heber13
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Re: What does a Temple Recommend mean to you?

Post by Heber13 » 18 Jan 2020, 00:41

For me, it means I can see my kids get married.

That's all, really.

The church has their standard, and I can choose to live it and see my kids get married or not.

I don't think God cares. He comes to all of us wherever we seek him. He is all throughout the universe, and can be found in the mountains, our homes, or churches and temples. Wherever our hearts are open to meeting him.
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."

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DarkJedi
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Re: What does a Temple Recommend mean to you?

Post by DarkJedi » 18 Jan 2020, 08:48

I think for many a TR is the "standard of worthiness." I can't say I disagree, but the question is really worthy of what? God's love? God's blessings? The atoning sacrifice of the Savior?

I'm pretty much where Curt and Heber are. I haven't been to a temple in over two years but should the occasion arise where I would like to attend a family event (two years ago was a son's wedding) I am able.
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."

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Roy
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Re: What does a Temple Recommend mean to you?

Post by Roy » 19 Jan 2020, 16:23

DarkJedi wrote:
18 Jan 2020, 08:48
I think for many a TR is the "standard of worthiness."
I have not had a TR in about a decade due to tithing. For me, I believe that holding a TR would communicate to others that I am a member in good standing - that I am a contributing and trusted member of the team/tribe.

One of the things that was said to me by my bishop at the time was that as a non-TR holder not all callings are available to me. He used EQ president as an example. This seemed like an odd comment to use as motivation - not being extended a call to serve as EQ pres. seems to me to be a bonus. I did not reveal my feelings but I must have looked at him quizzically. He elaborated that for him to be limited in his capacity to serve because of perceived testimony, trustworthiness, or worthiness issues would affect him greatly. He would feel that he was disappointing God and artificially limiting his potential.

I suppose there is a reason why "card carrying member" is a phrase synonymous with loyalty and good standing.

Not having a TR means that I sometimes feel like a second class citizen of the church. That there is something suspect about me. Part of this is likely in my head - but not all of it.
"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

Minyan Man
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Re: What does a Temple Recommend mean to you?

Post by Minyan Man » 19 Jan 2020, 20:48

The point that I was considering is: it seems like a temple recommend is a way to exclude people. The ministry & mission of Jesus
Christ seemed to be one of inclusion. For some, there seems to be status assigned to having one by the positions called to in the Ward & Stake.
There are ways to be excluded: individual choice is one.

Are there eternal consequences if you qualify for holding a TR & choose not to have one?

Recently, I have been asking myself, why do you want one? Are you getting anything out of having it? Am I contributing to the greater
good by having a TR? The one thing I would like to do is go to the temple on a regular basis & gain a deeper understand of temple work.
I find myself questioning a lot of things about the church & my role in it.

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nibbler
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Re: What does a Temple Recommend mean to you?

Post by nibbler » 20 Jan 2020, 06:25

I do think the temple recommend is used to exclude people but a distinction I make is that I don't believe the purpose of a temple recommend was to exclude people; excluding people was just a byproduct that we've accepted into the culture.

There's dualism associated with the temple recommend. Just like there is no light without dark and no dark without light, there is no temple recommend inclusion without temple recommend exclusion and no temple recommend exclusion without temple recommend inclusion.
Minyan Man wrote:
19 Jan 2020, 20:48
Are there eternal consequences if you qualify for holding a TR & choose not to have one?
I don't think there are eternal consequences for someone that doesn't qualify for a TR, someone that does qualify but chooses not to have one - less so. There may be temporal consequences, but those are mostly related to how the culture treats the person without a TR and how a person feels about themselves as a result of not having a TR. Some examples of cultural consequences are not being able to hold certain callings, not being able to enter the temple, not being able to participate in certain ordinances, using TR status to judge someone, etc. An example of a more personal consequence is feeling inadequate or less than as a result of not having a TR, and even that may be the result of cultural programming.

This one cuts to the core of my issues with the culture. An obsession with "worthiness" and measuring up. I try to remind myself that these things are byproducts of something that when considered in isolation is a very positive thing. The temple is seen as an extraordinary place, as if it were a part of the celestial kingdom here on earth. It's natural to believe that we must be extraordinary ourselves in order to enter such a place. An alternate way of looking at it, the temple is as holy as we make it so we focus on obedience and being the best we can possibly be as qualifiers to enter. But, as with everything, these beliefs have side effects.

I'm going to get a little judgey, sorry in advance.

I think the qualifiers we place around entrance to the temple serve as a barometer on where we fall on the justice vs. mercy scale. IMO we, as a culture, have the scales tipped towards the justice side of the spectrum. Yes, we don't believe someone has to be perfect to enter the temple, but entry requires a recommend and the recommend has many questions.
Minyan Man wrote:
19 Jan 2020, 20:48
Recently, I have been asking myself, why do you want one? Are you getting anything out of having it? Am I contributing to the greater
good by having a TR? The one thing I would like to do is go to the temple on a regular basis & gain a deeper understand of temple work.
I find myself questioning a lot of things about the church & my role in it.
If you'd like to go to the temple on a regular basis, there's your reason. I'm a big proponent for people needing an internal reason to do things. While external reasons can be motivators, I think we get less out of the experience when we're only doing things because of expectations of others.

For me...

The temple no longer occupies a central role in my spiritual journey, lately it has meant less and less to me. I could take it or leave it. I maintain a TR mostly because it greases the cultural wheel. I "qualify" for a TR, I'm just not that interested in attending the temple, but a TR comes in handy. I'd have one if I ever got the itch to go to the temple (you never know). If I wanted to participate in ordinances for family members having a TR makes the process go smoother. Having a TR keeps me off the endowed members without an active TR list, which keeps the ward executive secretary focused on other people.

As it pertains to my relationship with god and my own self worth? Possession of a TR no longer registers on the meter.
Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
― Jesus

Minyan Man
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Re: What does a Temple Recommend mean to you?

Post by Minyan Man » 20 Jan 2020, 10:44

Has there ever been a time when a special meeting was called on a stake or ward level where it is was for only
members with a TR? I never heard of any in our area. Just curious.

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nibbler
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Re: What does a Temple Recommend mean to you?

Post by nibbler » 20 Jan 2020, 12:02

I haven't heard of a meeting like this in a long, long time but I have memories from back in the day where stake presidents would hold a special meeting in the assembly halls for the temples that are large enough to have them. People from a stake would travel to the temple together and the SP would call a meeting, typically for PH holders only, in the assembly hall. I don't think this is done anymore. A temple recommend was required for that meeting by virtue of it taking place inside the temple.

The only circumstance I can think of where a TR is required but the meeting itself does not take place in a temple is for temple dedications. A temple recommend is required to enter any satellite building where the dedicatory prayer is being broadcast.
Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
― Jesus

Roy
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Re: What does a Temple Recommend mean to you?

Post by Roy » 20 Jan 2020, 12:58

nibbler wrote:
20 Jan 2020, 06:25
I think the qualifiers we place around entrance to the temple serve as a barometer on where we fall on the justice vs. mercy scale. IMO we, as a culture, have the scales tipped towards the justice side of the spectrum. Yes, we don't believe someone has to be perfect to enter the temple, but entry requires a recommend and the recommend has many questions.
When we were newly married we were friends with a born again Christian couple an the topic of the temple had come up. We explained that only members are allowed in temples and even only those that fulfill certain worthiness requirements. I remember the wife looking at the husband and saying somewhat sarcastically something like "I guess being good Christians just isn't good enough. Jesus gave his life to make us holy but I suppose that won't quite do to get us into a Mormon temple."

I'm not sure what the best solution would be here. I would like to see more inclusion for those that wish to be a part of a wedding ceremony. I am thankful that the church has recently made some changes to help destigmatize those that choose to be married civilly and then follow up with a more private temple sealing.
"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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