Episode 150: The Temple Recommend Questions for Dummies

John and Zilpha are joined by Matthew and Amy to discuss the temple recommend questions.

Episode 150

124 comments on “Episode 150: The Temple Recommend Questions for Dummies”

  1. Nancy Reply

    Great podcast. I’m remembering Mormon 8:32 in regards to requiring tithing for temple attendance. Also, I was wondering what happened to the Book Club podcasts?

  2. Ward Reply

    Thanks Mormon Expression!   In part due to your great efforts I am almost free of the Morg.  I talked with my Bishop by phone and he is helping me resign!   suprise suprise, he does not want to discuss any issues.  I suppose that is because he has no defense against the mountain of effidence to say it is all rubbish.

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      . . . or to point you to FAIR, Maxwell/FARMS, SHIELDS, Mormon Fortress, Lightplanet, Mormonism Researched, or any of the other plethora of LdS Apologist sites.


  3. Kevin Reply

    Wonderful podcast, with your usual intelligence, insight, and kind humor.

    I was especially interested in your discussion of the pride that Mormonism seems to take in not having a creed. I have never understood why this was supposed to be such a good thing. Could someone enlighten me? Thanks!

    • Hermes Reply

      I like to think of it this way: the lack of an official creed in the church means that smart members don’t have to get hung up on definitions dumbed down for the general public, but dumb members can believe whatever crap they want (and assume that everyone who matters agrees with them).  The freedom works well as long as smart and dumb don’t speak to one another at great length or try to forcibly convert one another (e.g. using leadership positions to give their private heresies leverage).  Hence the admonition to avoid anything like “deep doctrine” in any kind of group setting at church. 

      • Hermes Reply

        I am removing my tongue from my cheek now.  In Mormon history, the myth of the Great Apostasy typically identifies creeds as indicative of “falling away” from Christ’s true church (which early Mormons imagined as creedless). 

        • Kevin Reply

          Thanks. I think I understand a little better. And I hope that I won’t offend anyone if I point out that the ostensible lack of a creed still doesn’t make much sense.

          If members can believe anything they want, you don’t get Mormons. You get modern Unitarian-Universalists. Which I guess is still a religion — sort of.

          • Hermes

            Your reference to UUs is good.  From my perspective (which is decidedly not that of an expert), Mormonism emerged originally as a kind of primitive Universalism (with heavy input from other sources as well, over an extended period of time).  In other words, Mormon culture shares genes with modern UU-ism, but diverged from the common ancestor before the lack of any creed became itself a hardened creed (with an explicit rhetoric built around allowing individual people in the tradition room to create and employ their own beliefs).  I sometimes think of Mormonism as UU-ism for nineteenth-century Christian fundamentalists (people with a strong commitment to biblical literalism and the modern restoration of an imaginary primitive church created by Christ).  The modern LDS church lives with an impossible paradox (trying to unite the sovereign believer of Universalism with the sovereign institution of the “primitive” church of Christ: in theory, these should never oppose one another; in fact, they always do).

  4. Anonymous Reply

    Matt, you mentioned that no one was excommunicated over prop 8.  However, it seems like Peter Danzig’s church discipline can be considered a
    consequence of his opposition to the church’s stand on Prop 8 and gay
    rights.  He may not have actually been excommunicated, but from what I
    understand from various online interviews, his leaders removed him from the
    mormon symphony, took his recommend, and threatened him with
    excommunication if he spoke about his treatment.  In addition, they mostly ignored him when Peter tried to resolve his membership.  Finally he and Mary chose to resign.  IMO, they weren’t given much of an alternative.

    • Matthew Reply

      Robyn I love the Danzigs and am very sympathetic to them.  But I do think there is a distinction between the church not wanting you to be their spokesman, even if in a small way, and them taking away your membership privileges.  I disagree that the Danzigs did not have a choice.  I think it was a very powerful choice and I think it diminishes it to say they were forced.  Of course I agree with your point that for them they could not in good conscience stay.  But lots of people would have just knuckled under in the same circumstances.  I understand either choice actually. 

      • Anonymous Reply

        Thanks for responding.  I noticed I called you Matt, not Matthew.  I hope you don’t mind.  Good points.  I misspoke regarding no alternative.  I would have better expressed my thoughts to say, “no alternative which allowed the full privileges of membership”.  I agree about understanding either choice.  It all depends what someone values more, and no one can else can determine that for someone.  I can’t help but imagine that *somebody* in the church’s vast membership wasn’t excommunicated over prop 8.  I hope if someone out there knows of someone he/she will enlighten us.

        • Anonymous Reply

          MsRobyn, I also wanted to add another note on the Danzigs. Peter Danzig was not dismissed from the symphony solely because he criticised the Church on their Prop 8 position. Peter Danzig was dismissed from the symphony because he used his calling in the symphony to lend more credence in his SL Trib letter to the editor. I don’t know much about the actual discipline that he received from his Bishop, but I think his initial letter made it sound like he was speaking on behalf of the Mormon Symphony (or at least using his position in the symphony for the purpose of criticising the Prop 8 position of the Church). I’m not defending the action, but I think that was one of the bigger issues in relation to his release in the symphony.

          • Anonymous

            Yet again, good point.  I’m not aware of the specifics besides what Peter and Mary have responded in interviews.  I was not aware they were using the mormon symphony in any way to add credence to their stance.  Although, I do see that being part of the symphony, their stance could be interpreted as loosely tied,  or as Matthew put it, “a spokesman, if even in a small way”.  It was the temple recommend thing that really floored me.  Holy cow.  Not okay to take that away.    Does the church want a bunch of “yes, men” automatons?  Or the sharp folks that tend to buck the conventional trends? Are the mormons PECULIAR, or just run of the mill *tools*?

          • Anonymous

            MsRobyn, I totally agree. It’s sad to say, but I think the Church does want a bunch of “yes, men” automatons. I read a quote by Noam Chomsky the other day that I thought totally captured the Church’s stance on freedom of expression (for it’s members): “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.”

  5. Wes Cauthers Reply

    This one had a lot of good discussion. 

    The issue of worthiness in Mormonism is huge and plays a major role in members’ lives.  The problem is that one can never be sure if he or she is truly worthy.  As a result, a large amount of Mormons likely feel trapped on a never-ending treadmill of guilt, fear, insecurity, depression and exhaustion.  Amy jokingly mentioned “not wanting to make the baby Jesus cry” but many a true word spoken in jest as the saying goes.  I also thought it was interesting when she described how foreign the Jesus of her Christian friend was to her.

    The specifics of what people believe about this stuff really do make a difference. 

    On the one hand, you have a situation where people believe they are made in the physical image of certain deities that are created beings (even though the phrase God the eternal father is often used within Mormonism), some of whom are exalted humans once no different than earthlings.  In this scenario, people are constantly trying to be worthy enough to earn favor with these deities in order to become on of them and get a place in the CK.

    On the other hand you have a situation where people believe they are made in the spiritual image of one eternal, uncreated, infinite, uncaused, spiritual deity who created everything that has ever existed from nothing.  The core of this deity is love which was most fully expressed when he became a human in order to more fully reveal himself and willingly suffer on behalf of those made in his spiritual image to freely offer them the abundant life he originally intended and restore the original image that had become tarnished.  In this scenario, people are well aware that they are anything but worthy and yet they still have unmerited favor (grace) and lavish love from the God of everything and there is nothing that can separate them from this. They are motivated to do good by awe and gratitude and look forward to the day of full restoration.

    • Kevin Reply

      You make a good point. I think that some Mormons don’t realize how jarring their use of the term “worthiness” is to non-Mormons.

      Non-Mormon Christians are often aghast at the idea that people could achieve worthiness or anything close to it. If someone were to say “I am worthy” of something in a religious context, a mainstream Christian would generally regard the statement as an obvious blasphemy. If Mormons want to be thought of as Christian by their non-Mormon Christian neighbors, they would be well advised to be aware of how others hear this type of statement.

      I’m not trying to ignite another tedious discussion of “Are Mormons Christian?” Jesus spoke directly to this question when he said, “I know mine, and mine know me.” In other words, He doesn’t need anybody’s opinion on the issue.

      • Fred W. Anson Reply

        With all due respect Kevin, your post demonstrates an ignorance of mainstream Christian Theology and modern Christian culture.

        YOU WROTE
        “Non-Mormon Christians are often aghast at the idea that people could achieve worthiness or anything close to it. If someone were to say “I am worthy” of something in a religious context, a mainstream Christian would generally regard the statement as an obvious blasphemy.”

        Nonsense. Biblical Christians use the term to refer to them self and to other Christians all the time both inside and outside of church.

        However, the difference is the implied recognition that said worthiness comes NOT from oneself or anything that one has done but from Christ’s atonement alone. In other words, I am worthy because of what Jesus did for me not because of anything that I can do for myself. This core, essential doctrine is reiterated constantly in mainstream Christian sermons and literature.

        What we Christians find offensive that Mormons sincerely seem to believe that they’re justified through their good works and deeds – which runs completely contrary to what the Apostles taught. For example:

        Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)
        “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

        Do Christians find the Mormon concept of “worthiness” blasphemous? Maybe, some do, some don’t (after all the Mormon doctrine of conditional grace is quite close to Catholic and Jewish teachings in this regard). Rather, I think that the more common word that Biblical Christians use to describe Mormon concepts of worthiness is either “misguided” or “arrogant”. After all Paul also said:

        Galatians 6:14
        But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

        And of course all Christians would agree with you when you said:

        ‘Jesus spoke directly to this question when he said, “I know mine, and mine know me.” In other words, He doesn’t need anybody’s opinion on the issue.’

        Jesus gave His opinion on this matter in the pages of the Bible. Nothing more need be said, we know His opinion.

        • Kevin Reply

          I certainly agree that any worthiness claimed by mainstream Christians is due to unmerited grace through Christ.

          But speaking as a Catholic, I have to add that most members of my denomination have gotten away from our formerly heavy emphasis on works as differentiated from faith. That’s sort of regarded as pre-Vatican II. 

          A lot has happened since then to reconcile Catholicism with Protestantism. Many Catholics today, especially among priests and other religious, see the old faith vs. works dichotomy as pretty meaningless: Everything good is of Christ, and it is through His grace that we are saved and are enabled to participate in His ministry.

          In fact, Mormonism often reminds me of old-time Catholicism — really old-time, like maybe sixteenth century. It’s authoritarianism, exclusivism, readiness to excommunicate, and suspicion of former members makes me wonder if there’s a Mormon Luther somewhere on the horizon.

          • Fred W. Anson

            YOU WROTE
            “In fact, Mormonism often reminds me of old-time Catholicism — really old-time, like maybe sixteenth century. It’s authoritarianism, exclusivism, readiness to excommunicate, and suspicion of former members ….”

            MY RESPONSE
            100% agreement.  

            YOU WROTE
            “…makes me wonder if there’s a Mormon Luther somewhere on the horizon.”

            MY RESPONSE
            For the sake of my Mormon family members and friends I certainly hope so.
            YOU WROTE
            “But speaking as a Catholic, I have to add that most members of my denomination have gotten away from our formerly heavy emphasis on works as differentiated from faith. That’s sort of regarded as pre-Vatican II.”

            MY RESPONSE
            Again, 100% agreement.  I’ve seen that among my devout Catholic friends and it pleases me.  

            BTW, have you read my “If I Were Mope” article yet?  If not, the link is below – I’m anxious to see your list added to the proceedings.  And may I say that you guys really have the coolest Church buildings on the planet?  

            Link to “If I Were Mope”  http://mormonexpression.com/blogs/2011/07/19/if-i-were-mope/

  6. Joseph Reply

    My dad, a former bishop and member of a stake presidency, tells people that being a Democrat is in direct violation of question #7.  He argues that since abortion, in 99% of circumstances, is against Church policy, and since the Democrat party is pro-choice, affiliating with the party puts you in a position of direct conflict with the church.  I am confident that he never withheld anyone’s temple recommend because of their being a Democrat.  But that’s part of the collective Mormon mindset.

    • Anonymous Reply

      yeah, some republican mormons have this kind of flawed thinking. However the church’s position on abortion is closer to the pro-choice side than pro-life. Pro-lifers state that a new persons starts at the point of conception and so killing the feteous is murder whereas the church states that a person ‘starts’ when the baby is born and killing a feteous is therefore not murder but a lower sin. Plus pro-lifers dont accept abortion in cases of rape, incest or when the  life OR THE HEALTH of the mother is in danger whereas the first presidency does. Note that health includes emotional health as would be the danger with a 13 year old.

      So although the church is neither pro-life or pro-choice it is closer to the pro-choice side. But republican mormons generally reject this to be accepted by the republican right like the evangelicals, something which will never happen imho…

      • Anonymous Reply

        I consider myself both pro-choice and pro-life.  I highly resent the implication that those who are pro-choice are somehow anti-life.  I don’t particularly relish the idea of abortion (I doubt that any other pro-choicers really do), but in certain circumstances it could be the lesser evil of the available choices, and the decision should defintely be left up to the carefully considered, well-informed judgement of the patient and her fully competent attending physician–not dictated by unbendable goverment edicts.

        The idea that life begins at conception is biological nonsense because the sperm cell and egg cell that unite to form the fertilized zygote were just as much alive immediately before that union as the zygote is immediately after their union.

        • Anonymous Reply

          yeah, that makes sense…….

          I agree that life at conception is nonsense but catholics and evangelicals don’t -or they believe it does and between them they make up about 60% of votes, so their opinions about life will be a part of this debate for many years to come.

          • bree

            Didn’t I hear that J. Smith Jr. had his own personal abortionist?

          • Fred W. Anson

            Bree, I believe that you’re referring to this:

            “In her 1886 interview with “vitriolic anti-Mormon journalist W. Wyl”,[23] Sarah Pratt alleged that Joseph Smith allowed Bennett, a medical doctor, to perform abortions on Smith’s polygamous wives who were officially single.[24][25] In a public charge “that was likely true,” according to author Andrew Smith, Bennett was accused by many of performing abortions,[26]including Hyrum Smith;[10] Zeruiah Goddard claimed Bennett told Sarah Pratt “that he could cause abortion with perfect safety to the mother at any stage of pregnancy, and that he had frequently destroyed and removed infants before their time to prevent exposure of the parties, and that he had instruments for that purpose.”[10] If the women refused, Bennett stated that he came with Joseph’s approval.[26] Sarah Pratt herself recounted an incident in which

            “[Bennett was en route to do] “a little job for Joseph [because] one of his women was in trouble.” Saying this, he took [out] a pretty long instrument of a kind I had never seen before. It seemed to be of steel and was crooked at one end. I heard afterwards that the operation had been performed; that the woman was very sick, and that Joseph was very much afraid that she might die, but she recovered.[27]”

            Pratt also related her observations of Bennett’s work for Joseph Smith to Smith’s son Joseph Smith III,[28]

            “I saw that he was not inclined to believe the truth about his father, so I said to him: ‘You pretend to have revelations from the Lord. Why don’t you ask the Lord to tell you what kind of a man your father really was?’ He answered: ‘If my father had so many connections with women, where is the progeny?’ I said to him: ‘Your father had mostly intercourse with married women, and as to single ones, Dr. Bennett was always on hand, when anything happened.'[29]”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Marinda_Bates_Pratt#Allegation_of_abortions ; retrieved date of post)

      • jeremy Reply

        You say that ” … the church states that a person ‘starts’ when the baby is born and killing a feteous is therefore not murder but a lower sin. ” That’s actual Church Doctrine? Could you provide reference?  

        Growing up in the church, I was always taught what Brigham Young taught, and Joseph Fielding Smith cited in Doctrines of Salvation..”The time of quickening is when the mother feels the life of her unborn infant.”  Or even as read in the Ensign 1987 President Brigham Young said “when the mother feels life come to her infant it is the spirit entering the body.” (Journal of Discourses, 17:143.)

    • Anonymous Reply

      Wars of aggression and leaving sick people to die = Christlike
      Allowing gays to marry who they love and providing healthcare for the poor = Satanic

    • Mandiemarie17 Reply

      I think this is an interesting misconception in the LDS church borne of ignorance. My grandfather attended a Republican rally sometime in his early twenties in SLC. He wasn’t very impressed with how the RNC had already outlined the goals of the party and the rally was really just a way for party members to “get the memo” on that year’s objectives. He struck up a conversation with another young man on his way out of the meeting and they decided to carpool to the Democratic rally the next weekend. My grandfather, and the other young man were impressed by the completely different approach. They were asked what they thought about current national politics and what they thought needed to be changed or continued. They were part of the decision process for the DNC’s plans. It was refreshing. My grandfather was an active lifetime member after that and attended meetings and rallies for years with his lifelong friend, the other man…Gordon B. Hinckley.

  7. Anonymous Reply

    Slight errors here:

    1- Bishop has to obtain approval from stake president to hold a formal
    disciplinary council. Then the form reporting what happens goes up to the stake
    president for his consenting signature and he then sends it to church HQ. 2)
    plus bishops can hold councils for priesthood holders as long as the expected
    outcome is NOT excommunication -something bishop and stake president discuss
    before the council is approved and held. S Bishop’s council can disfellowship
    or place on probation a melquesidec priesthood holder but can’t excommunicate
    them, stake president of the high priest quorum ie stake president only has
    that authority.

    3-you find a testimony in bearing it? hmmm……you get your testimony from a
    revelation from the holy ghost, but you maintain it and keep it growing and
    current by bearing it and other activities.

    4- Restoration of the church in these later days……its just a yes/no answer.
    Can’t be anything else since it includes the book of mormon, d&c etc …

    5- “top down authoritarian organisation”…..hmmm.. I’d call it a
    kingdom or theocracy not a democracy, so you listen to what the authority says
    but then whether you do it or not is another matter.  Mormons are not
    ‘automatons’ …thanks. But if you don’t agree with prop8 it doesn’t matter,
    you can still get a recommend…..its when people openingly fight against
    authorities that they get into trouble….not for thinking differently but for
    challenging authority. Like Marie Osmond….she can say that in her opinion her
    lesbian daughter is holy or whatever and still get a recommend but if Marie
    started criticising President Monson for prop8…well then she wouldn’t get a

     6- Masturbation punishment…….its left up to the bishop’s discression
    because its a minor offense or a minor sin…like porn watching is. And this
    since president McKay’s days, he taught that a young man should overcome this
    before going on a mission but it wasn’t bad enough for a church court. Now I
    know there are zealots out there who will hold a court for masturbation.

    7- Quesiton 7 of temple recommend….SUPPORT…..the key word is
    support….I enjoy listening to mormon expression but that doesn’t mean I
    support your doctrine, actually I argue against some of the things you say and
    debate you….so I can answer a big NO to question 7. .. And yes, its more
    about polygamist groups in Utah, not podcasts……

    8-Question 8 of interview…..again “STRIVE” the key work. Its
    do you try? are you interested? do you like going to church or strive to go to
    the football every week?…..its do you try question…

    9- Illegal immigrants…off course they can. Sometimes people speed,
    park illegally, and overstay a visa….all minor offenses which are solved by
    paying the corresponding fine….but honest with your fellow man refers to
    ripping off people deliberately, like with a ponzi scheme. An illegal immigrant
    may be living an honest life but just without the corresponding paperwork.

    10- Church has defined what 10% of your yearly increase is: 10% of your
    yearly income. It’s clear in book 1. In black in white. You pay on net amount
    because that’s the money you have, not any taxes withdrawn forcibly, 
    although from your gross you still get some goods back, like the use of good
    roads or free hospitals etc (oh , sorry no free hospitals in the USA) but its
    the honest part. People may also get payments for children, as they do in most of
    Europe, and the honest bit will cover that

    11- Mall was NOT payed for by tithing funds. it was all from investment
    funds like LA times etc. Big..big..falsehood there. Hinckley was clear on this
    several times that he didn’t want tithing to pay for the mall in salt lake. But
    tithing is a topic of itself for another day…..tithing for salvation?….not
    exactly since one can still be done later by proxy -when you don’t pay any
    tithing dead- but in life its a very minor rule.

    12- WoW is another topic for an entire podcast due to its history.
    Remember it was Grant that added it to the questions because he was sick of
    jack mormons drunk on the trains.

    13- Alcohol isn’t bad for you…..??? you kidding?? …
    &^$^)%$,  all studies show that what comes from the fruit or the wheat
    is good but all studies that alcohol is a cancerous agent. Big big mistake
    here. big myth…..
    14- child support, Hinkley put it in due to all the complaints about dead beat dads.

    Anyways I’ve written far too much today…..maybe if you guys would go
    to church more often you’d get the spirit of what these questions mean and what
    their intentions are……after so long of not going you are sure to get the
    wrong impression.

    15- Retell them past sins….big mistake by the priesthood officer. The
    recommend book specifically says to not add other questions like that or
    like:  ‘do you masturbate’, or ‘do you engage in oral sex’  etc.
    ….mistakes in church which the brethren are constantly trying to fix….

    • Richard of Norway Reply

      Seems you are spreading a few errors yourself. I don’t have time to respond to all your nonsense now but point 13 is an easy one. Alcohol is sometimes good for you, and sometimes bad. When taken in moderation (for example, a glass a day) it is often healthy. You can deny it if you want but plenty of health experts will be happy to argue the point with you because, well, you’re wrong. Here’s one simple, easy-to-read article for you to peruse.

      Quick quote: “One glass a day (or less) can make your heart stronger and may boost your memory.”

      • Richard of Norway Reply

        All you really need to do to confirm that alcohol isn’t always unhealthy is to look to Italy, Spain, France and other countries where drinking a glass of wine (or beer) a day is common practice, and fewer people in those countries suffer from health problems and alcoholism than people in the United States. Same argument can be made for coffee and/or tea. The Word of Wisdom is complete nonsense, dude.

        • Anonymous Reply

          Richard, I generally agree with that the Word of Wisdom contains advice that was more likely inspired by concepts concerning human health and nutrition held by certain prominent “experts” of Joseph Smith’s day (at least some of which we now know were mistaken) than by God, but it did get some things right.  There is no doubt, for example, that tobacco is very bad for us, and that alcohol in excess can be deadly.  Plus, before the easy availability of modern refrigeration and canning techniques, it was certainly much safer to eat fruit and vegetables as soon after picking as possible.

          As far as alcohol in moderation is concerned, I think it may very well be true that a glass of wine per day confers some moderate health benefit, but I am not fully convinced that it is the alcohol itself that is responsible (particularly not soley responsible) for that benefit.  I suspect that the difference in the average health status of Americans and Europeans is more likely due to factors other than differences in their alcohol consumption (such as exercise habits and dietary choices other than alcoholic beverages).  As I see it, there is such a frighteningly small difference between the amount of alcohol that is beneficial and the amount that is demonstrably and even devastatingly detrimental, that is better to avoid the risk altogether, considering the relatively small (at best) benefit.  I am sure that there are other dietary choices that can confer at least as much benefit with less risk.  This may be due to lingering prejudice caused by my Mormon upbringing, but I don’t think it is entirely that.  While it is true that alcoholism is less common in Europe than in America, it is also true that it is significant problem in Europe as well.  One can’t become an alcoholic if one never takes that first drink.

          I agree, based on the evidence that is now available, that it is possible or even probable that moderate use of tea or coffee (especially tea) may be more beneficial than harmful.  I can appreciate some flavored teas once in awhile, but it will probably never be my favorite beverage.

          Most importantly, if I could think of no other reason to refrain from the things prohibited by the WoW other than the mere fact that the LDS Church prohibits them, I would not refrain from them.

        • Anonymous Reply

          I should have read the JACC article link that Aaron L. provided before writing my previous reply.  It appears, based on that, that the correlation between moderate alcohol consumption and good health may be more positive than I initially thought.  The J curve presented in that article is quite interesting.  The fact remains, though, that there seems to be a disturbingly small difference between the amount of alcohol consumption that confers a health benefit and the amount that is debilitating to health.  In fact, the article cautioned against universally recommending or prescribing moderate alcohol consumption, especially to people who may be prone to substance abuse of any kind.

      • Anonymous Reply


        Major studies, especially the french one done in champagne over a 40 years period following all its population, clearly state that the antioxidants which come from the grape, especially resveratrol, makes wine good for you. Bear drinkers rate second since bearly and wheat have less anti-oxidants. However for resvaratrol to be effective and do good alcohol consumption needs to be low so as to not destroy your liver or assist cancer growth.

        Maketing disagrees, not science. Problem is that many doctors are also businessmen and the marketing that fooled you sometimes also fools some docs or even pays them out a few dollars to say they enjoy a drink or two. Nothing new there.

        But don’t believe me….please….keep your drinking so you can just die early…..please do me that favour….

        Re:  Italy, Spain, France…..all countries where wine drinking (france, italy spain) out does beer drinking (Germany, US and Australia) have better results. But the correlation again is due to the good that comes from grapes fruits and its derivatives over the malted bearly of beer. If Alcohol was the ‘good stuff’ then you wouldn’t see much difference between the wine drinking countries like France and the beer drinking countries like Australia or Germany. But you do see huge differences….. Dude!!!

        • Richard of Norway Reply

          Wait, so you agree that alcohol consumption is not harmful? Or.. What are you saying? Oh yeah! It’s all a conspiracy! Damn those statistics, the church has it right regardless of what any expert or statistic tells us!

          FYI I hardly ever consume alcohol. In the last 3 years I’ve probably only had drinks a total of 5 times.

          So glad you can share with us in such a friendly, non-condescending way. Oh wait… Scratch that.

          • Anonymous

            “Wait, so you agree that alcohol consumption is not harmful?”

            Obviously you don’t understand enough English, Norwegian…..what I was saying is clear and it isn’t what you claim.

            “FYI I hardly ever consume alcoho” I don’t care…

            “So glad you can share with us in such a friendly, non-condescending way” …what your comment deserved…

          • Richard of Norway

            My comment deserved a dick comment that you hope I die? Clearly. Any sane person would agree with you.

            You accuse me of drinking so much that I will die from it but then admit you don’t really care if your statement was true or false?

            Seems pretty clear what your motives are here. I’m glad we can all safely ignore anything you post and write it off as propaganda from one who cares nothing about truth. Thanks.

          • Anonymous

            No…. i accused you of not believing me regarding alcohol and what science actually does say about it….so if you want to keep drinking,,go for it, not my problem nor do I care…..

            “safely ignore anything you post” you haven’t done much of that today….

          • Ella Menno

            Wow, guys, chill.  I think it can be safely said that neither of you is going to get your way on this one.  Sorry, darkmatter, some of what you have said is wrong.  If you are a faithful member, though, which I assume you are, you have to tow the church line.  I understand.  That’s not a bad thing.  Unfortunately, all you’re going to get is pushback from those of us that have left due to cognitive dissonance and have done a great deal of soul searching and study on our way out.  I would dare say that a majority of us would have stood by you in your assessments when we were active believers.  We get it.  No peer reviewed study, book, or article any of us present to you will change your mind.  That is no reason to denigrate or wish death on anyone.

          • Anonymous

            Yeah, ok , I’m chilling.

            ” If you are a faithful member, though, which I assume you are, you have to tow the church line”

            Not necessarily true. We can, and do have dissenting opinions however when one openingly fights against the authorities, well then that’s when the person has a problem with the church.

          • Ella Menno

            I don’t know that any of us is “openly fighting against the authorities” of the church.  As you have said, we can have dissenting opinions.  Even amongst members there is a wide variety of views on doctrinal issues.  A believing member can disagree and not be apostate, as we see in the case of Marie Osmond.  Even so, if one does not consider themselves to be a member they are not in the category that would fear speaking out against church policy.  Being LDS you are welcome to openly disagree, or fight, against the Pope.  He has no power over you.  There is a wide range of belief in the LDS church claims among those that listen to the ME podcast.  There is no reason we can’t be respectful of each other and our differing beliefs.

          • Anonymous

            No…. i accused you of not believing me regarding alcohol and what science actually does say about it….so if you want to keep drinking,,go for it, not my problem nor do I care…..

            “safely ignore anything you post” you haven’t done much of that today….

          • Anonymous

            Richard of Norway’s English is not deficient.  Unless I am mistaken, it is actually his first language–not Norwegian.  He was not born and raised in Norway.  (His Norwegian is surely better than mine, though, even though I was born there, as I spent most of my life in the USA).

            Even if he were born and raised Norwegian, however, it would not be unlikely that he would have a solid mastery of English.  It has been my experience (based on the 2 1/2 years I was in Denmark acquiring fluency in Danish) that educated Scandinavians’ mastery of English (even though they may still have a noticeable accent) tends to equal or exceed that of Americans with only a high school education or less.

        • Richard of Norway Reply

          Btw, I have to say: you asking me to do you a favor and DIE is possibly the cruelest thing anybody has posted to me ever. Some good that Mormon upbringing has done for you. I only hope my kids don’t follow your truly Christian example.

    • Matthew Reply

      No time to respond to all of that, but two quick hits:  (1) alcohol in moderation is beneficial and (2) the church does not have a penny that is not at bottom tithing funds, saying otherwise is a shell game.  Even if the money is so thoroughly laundered through other entities that you call them something else, it still doesn’t change the point that the church is spending a huge amount of money on a mall and virtually nothing on the fourth mission of the church. 

      • Anonymous Reply

        Again it isn’t the alcohol but what comes from the fuit. “Alcohol in moderation” is a myth created by marketers.

        2) church has been investing in many different business since the early 1900’s. You can’t be serious claiming that the money is ‘laundered through other entities” …no way. But bottom line is simply what Hinckley said publically several times: no tithing funds went to the mall costs.

        • Richard of Norway Reply

          The real point should be: where did the money come from? Oh yeah: “investments”! And where did the church get any money to “invest” in the first place? Oh yeah! Tithing!!

          So any way you (or Hinckley) spin it, the money does in fact come from tithing dollars.

          • Matthew

            Forget the little slight of hand darkmatter wants to engage in.  Why does it matter?  If my wife catches me paying for hookers will it matter if I say “well I didn’t use any of your paycheck for it, just my travel reimbursements from work.” 

          • Anonymous

            You are committing two sins there. One adultery, two misappropriation of travel reimbursements.

            Church commits no sins in A-building a Mall near the Temple to keep the area modern and useful and B-using investment profits means that peoples tithing aren’t used for the project.

            However if it did use tithing for the Mall -which it didn’t- it still would not be a sin per se since it is entitled to spend the money that comes in. Buildings need to be built plus the Mall would be just another investment…nothing sinful like your example of prostitution hire and use.

          • bree


            Also when I toured the church building years ago, I asked about the money, I was told that it went out as soon as it came in.  Does that now mean “out to investments”?  They mentioned that the baby boomers have paid for the next generation and that they have tons of money, that doesn’t sound like it go out as soon as it comes in.

          • Anonymous

            Actually, the church started investing back in the 1900’s odd, so the money they recieve today from say the LA Times, is pure profit since the capital invested would’ve been paid back decades ago.

            Also, the church may use tithing funds to buy Bonds today but its the interest paid back that we used for those other projects like the Mall, not the capital or the tithing amount which is simply returned on maturity. So again, Hinckley is accurate in saying that no tithing funds are used for the Mall since only that interest paid back goes to projects funding.

          • Fred W. Anson

            Darkmatter20, do you have any evidence to support these assertions? 

            I ask because since the LdS Church doesn’t disclose financial information I don’t understand how you can state this so emphatically, with such certainty, and in such detail.

          • Anonymous

            Both from tithing and from previous investment income…..no secret there.

            However if we use the profits, ie income, from investment for out there projects and return the tithing amount to the church’s accounts for day to day expenses….well there isn’t a problem there either.

          • Patriarchal gripe

            So if the mob builds a hotel and casino in Vegas from “investment” funds that have a provenance that can be traced through legitimate investment earnings back to drug money or confidence schemes, it is a legitimate build?  Sorry, DM20, but the mall was built with tithing money, right or wrong.  The money just didn’t drop out of the sky one day.

          • Anonymous

            This fight is becoming slightly ridiculus now. Drug money and tithing in one argument?…nah..

          • Fred W. Anson

            Darkmatter20, there was nothing ridiculous about the logical parallel drawn there by Patriarchal Gripe. 
            The issue in both cases is transparency and integrity.  The LdS Church could put all this speculation behind it if it would just be transparent in how it gets it’s money and where it goes. Logically one must ask why they don’t open their books like other churches do and exercise established standards for financial accountability – like similar to those of the ECFA for example.  (see http://www.ecfa.org/Content/7Standards )

          • Matthew

            Not a problem if you are a for profit business.  But the church of Jesus?  As I said, every penny at bottom started as a transfer of money from a member to the entity they believe belongs to God.  It’s a shell game you are playing.  The bottom line is that it is obscene to horde money and spend it on malls when a fraction of that could alleviate vast amounts of human suffering.  

          • Matthew

            Not a problem if you are a for profit business.  But the church of Jesus?  As I said, every penny at bottom started as a transfer of money from a member to the entity they believe belongs to God.  It’s a shell game you are playing.  The bottom line is that it is obscene to horde money and spend it on malls when a fraction of that could alleviate vast amounts of human suffering.  

          • bree

            The mall IS an investment… what’s the difference.  Tithing money is used for their profit.

          • Jason

            The LDS church has several for-profit subsidiaries.  These assume the obligations of for-profit businesses including paying taxes.  The most visible of these, IMO, is Deseret Management Corporation, which own Bonneville Communications, which owns KSL.  The downtown malls fall under “Property Reserve, Inc.”, another for-profit subsidiary of the LDS church.  So I don’t think any more tithing money is going to the City-Creek Mall than is going out to pay Nadine Wimmer’s salary.  I’m not a legal expert, but I believe it might even be illegal for the church to use tithing money directly for the mall.  They would first have to make a conspicuous donation to “Property Reserve, Inc.”

            However I am calling BS on drinking in moderation being unhealthy.  There is no evidence of harm its in moderation, (excepting those that have a special intolerance), and plenty of evidence that it is beneficial.  As was mentioned above the absolute abstinence position that the LDS church takes today came from Heber J Grant, who was a militant prohibitionist.  In the 1900’s and 1910’s members would often debate whether beer and wine fell under the WOW as members might have argued about Coca-Cola in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  (IMO, after 1990, it seemed basically established that Coke was okay.)  When Utah became the state that gave the repeal of prohibition the final support it required, Heber J. Grant wrote a scathing letter to the church membership in the state.  Today the letter is considered “non-canonical.”

          • Anonymous

            ” I am calling BS on drinking in moderation being unhealthy.”

            That’s not the argument. It is good in moderation however that is due, imho, to the other components in the wine or in beer rather than the alcohol. And as the WOW states, it is actually ok to drink it as long as its pure, made by us, not commercial. Fermentation may still occur but its minimal and does no harm.

            The absolute abstinence is only regarding alcohol ie ethanol or ethyl alcohol… -the stuff used in some bio fuels!! 

          • Matthew

            Where did they get the money to purchase for profit businesses? 

          • Matthew

            Where did they get the money to purchase for profit businesses? 

        • Aaron L Reply

          For those interested in the actual science behind the health benefits of alcohol (or any other topic) rather than reading somebody’s opinion of the science, here are a couple of databases with a ton of mostly free information:


          These will get you much closer to the sources of the raw data which are much less likely to be influenced by bias or corrupted in some other way. 

          Darkmatter20 raises some interesting points about alcohol, but isn’t totally correct in his assertion that alcohol is necessarily carcinogenic or that the benefits come solely from the fruit.  Here is one more link to a a generally well balanced article that addresses these questions directly:


          We would all be better off to read the science ourselves then make decisions on how to behave and what to think based on the best information possible. 

          • Anonymous

            Problem I have with the JACC article, and many others, is that it treats a glass of wine as ‘alcohol’ when in fact it is made up of many ingredients…anti-oxidants, complex vitamin’s etc (although few survive the fermentation and filtering) It doesn’t really prove that ethanol is what is making the difference, its mostly just observational and they even conclude that we can’t as yet recommend a glass of wine a day to people with heart disease.

            And, again, going by the more favourable results seen in wine drinkers of France and Italy compared to the mostly beer drinkers of Germany and Australia, its difficult to conclude that ethanol is the magic substance.

            Plus, one can argue here for hours upon end but still the debate is opened and unsettled. Take for example NEJM’s “Moderate Alcohol Consumption and the Risk of Breast Cancer”:

            “These prospective data derived from measurements of alcohol intake
            recorded before the diagnosis of breast cancer confirm the findings of
            several previous case-control studies. Viewed collectively, they suggest
            that alcohol intake may contribute to the risk of breast cancer. (N
            Engl J Med 1987; 316:1174–80.)”  And that’s for women consuming only 3 to 9 drinks per week!

            And another NEJM study states:  “The mortality from breast cancer was 30 percent higher among women reporting at least one drink daily than among nondrinker”

            And we could go on and on.

            Conclusions are though that as of today, one glass of wine per day will do good to men especially their cardiovascular health however the debate is still open on whether it is the ethanol in the wine or the antioxidants, especially resvaratrol, that is doing the good. More research is needed overall.

            But 4 or 5 glasses per day will certainly damage ones health, as all studies conclude, irrespective of whether its the alcohol or the resveratrol or something else in the drink

            Also remember our history with the tabacco industry and how marketing did actually dictate science for many years. Although studies where showing a correlation between smoking and lung cancer the Army actually promoted and supplied those cancer sticks to troops for their well being and to calm their nerves, as the tabaco industry scientist claimed. So although today you will find studies which genericallly state that ethanol is good for you in moderation we really have not proven one way or the other if it is or if the rest of the wine is what is doing you good.

            (Good and fair comment by the way Aaron L, I appreciate your seriousness in addressing this issue)

          • Aaron L

            I agree that more research needs to be done.  I would love to see a large, randomized controlled trial comparing moderate usage of regular wine to non-alcoholic wine that controlled for all other variables to put the issue to rest, but haven’t been able to find anything thus far.  Hopefully we will soon figure out what exactly it is in the wine that is providing the benefit. 

            The science does seem consistent that the negative effects of alcohol (cancer being one of many) don’t seem to rear their ugly head unless people take it in excess, beyond the modest recommended dosages.  Alcohol is generally not prescribed to improve heart health because people sometimes lack the discipline to cut themselves off and not drink too much, not because  it is necessarily harmful when drunk in moderation.

          • Richard of Norway

            Thanks Aaron, you eloquently and fairly illustrated exactly the point I and others were trying to make: Alcohol in moderation is not harmful and may in fact benefit people’s health. (WoW is bogus)

            Why DM20 had to fly off the handle at me for the statement, but respond kindly to you when stating essentially the same thing, I have no idea. But thanks for backing me up.

    • Elder Vader Reply

       Darkmatter – I have to disagree with you.  Bishops will interpret these questions differently for many many reasons.  Even something as simple as the bishop’s own understanding about the role of the bishop will change things.  If he perceives his role as ‘defender of the faith’ he will see these questions one way, and if he perceives his role as ‘shepherd for Jesus’ little lambs he will see the questions differently.  Some bishops have a hands on style, some are more administrative.  Some are newer to the church, some have church history going back many generations.  Some are academic bookish types, others are more into organized sports, others still are more CES-ish. 

      Some ecclesiastical leaders have a very stable home life.  Others not so much.  I can think of several examples of ecclesiastical leaders struggling in their own lives with answering all the above questions appropriately.  There is more variability in the interpretation to these questions than you are recognizing in your comment. 

      • Anonymous Reply

        Hmmm….sure, different people will interpret the questions differently however the variance will always be slight, unless you have a real zealot in there who claims that drinking coca cola is against the work of wisdom. But those dudes rarely last very long…they are just too extreme.

        Maybe point 5 and 6 above could vary but little else.

        But I did mention that 15 that those who asked them to retell past sins where just plain wrong. Mistake do happen frequently across the church and the brethren are always trying to fix them, eg only allowing men pass the sacrament tray inside the pews or not allowing women to offer the opening prayer. Errors do appear in church since humans make mistakes which , by the way, is one of the reasons why we have those set questions for the Temple in the first place: so local leaders don’t change or vary thing too much with regards to Temple worthiness. Note that the book has very clear instructions about the questions, that we shouldn’t change them or add to them but read them out one by one, and there’s a declaration from the first presidency about use of garments -that its between the member and the Lord- so these Temple interviews are actually one of the easiest interviews to do in church.

    • Patrick Darby Reply

      Regardless of the running gun battle that you’re having with a few posters because of your post here, your remarks show the need to balance a topic like this with a knowledgable and Active mormon. (I know Mike had his shot but the Lord didn’t like his answers so the copy was  erased to prevent false doctrine.)

      I think you do a good job of trying to show some sanity to the questions, but I think we’ve all experienced the insanity of allowing untrained men with a vague list judge others’ virtue and I think that was more the point of the panelist on the podcast.

      • Anonymous Reply

        “but the Lord didn’t like his answers so the copy was erased to prevent false doctrine.” haha…

        maybe the powers that be here finally gave up on the ‘balanced commentary’ and allowing some input from TBM’s -I don’t know- but they took many many cheap shots at Mike the faithful mormon. Hopefully he will come back soon because he did a good job and told it like it really is. Plus he’s most important commentary was that its all a matter of perspective and attitude. If you go to a mormon church sooner or later some leader will offend you or some leader will get it wrong and you will see it. Most of us say ‘he’s human and made a mistake’ ….the panalist here will use it as an example of why the church isn’t true. That’s, in my humble (sarcasm here) opinion is what the main point of these panelists is. They seek out and look for examples of mistakes, abuse of authority, sins by leaders to ‘prove’ the church they no longer believe in is false and a lie. That is, they do the apostates job!

        The rest of us, those who look for God first and see he’s servants as servants who will make mistakes from time to time, will see those sins or abuses of power and call them problems in the organisation, problems which need to be solved one way or another, sooner or later!

    • brandt Reply

      This exchange has been absolutely fascinating (referring to the entire thread).  I am sitting here, popcorn in hand, waiting for the next response from each side.


    • bree Reply

      So, #11 where did the $ come from for these “investments” then? Other personal donations?  The higher ups personal funds? Where?

  8. Richard of Norway Reply

    All you really need to do to confirm that alcohol isn’t always unhealthy is to look to Italy, Spain, France and other countries where drinking a glass of wine (or beer) a day is common practice, and fewer people in those countries suffer from health problems and alcoholism than people in the United States. Same argument can be made for coffee and/or tea. The Word of Wisdon is complete nonsense, dude.

  9. Elder Vader Reply

    Ecclesiastical leaders add to this list of questions often enough that it should be mentioned.  I specifically am thinking of at least one mission president I am aware of who asked “Do you masturbate?” as a follow up question to chastity, and one stake president at BYU (when I was there) who added a question about R-rated movies onto the list of temple recommend questions. 

  10. Elder Vader Reply

     The confusion about temple recommend questions, and disciplinary roulette could easily be handled by the church.  I’m thinking of a series of focus groups put on youtube (by the church) where a few bishops and stake presidents talk through these kinds of issues.

    The discussion could go like this: 
     “The priests, and teachers keep confessing about masturbation.  I don’t know what to tell them.  What do you guys think?” 

    “I just tell them that… sure its a sin, buts on par with the class clown putting a whoopee cushion on the teachers chair, or one of the jocks ‘being an asshole’.  Then I remind them that I don’t need or want that image in my head so they should take this shit up with Jesus… who by the way probably doesn’t need that image in his head either.” 

    But seriously though.  The church could iron this kind of confusion out very easily.  There are ambiguities in all of the interpretations of policy.  If the church really wanted to get it out there what they mean by all of the different rules they could easily do it. 

  11. mono Reply

    RE: Temple Recommend Questions.

    Whenever the WOW is discussed, I have never heard any discussion on 1.) eat meat sparingly except in times of famine and 2.) only eat foods in season. I doubt we are in a famine, judging from the ample size of most Mormons. And to even hint that canning your own fruits/vegetables is not in harmony with the WOW is just asking for the the Relief Society to morph into a female Danite clique.

    The soda pop caffeine vs coffee seems to dominate the discussion Ad nauseam. As the WOW is supposed to be a basic health code and you are not to be commanded in all things how about some discussion around a vegetarian (fresh, of course) diet? Or is the famine still on?

    • Matt Reply

      I once went on splits with a missionary who actually did teach an investigator that eating unripe fruit was against the WoW.

      • Anonymous Reply

        Because the fruit is “out of its season” if it’s unripe?  Awesome.  haha.

    • Robert Reply

      WOW makes no sense to me!! No tea which is healthy but my girlfriend can be at liberty to take Adderal twice a day because her doctor told her she has ADD!!!!

  12. Matt Reply

    I had a bishop and later stake presidency member who would skip all the questions except the last one about considering yourself worthy. I kind of liked it. In retrospect, I wonder if he personally didn’t like the reminder to be honest with your “fellowmen”, because he was later charged with securities fraud. It’s a shame, he was extremely likeable.

    • Amy aka sinclaire Reply

      🙂 both my forearms have some tatttoos….some arabic on one arm and a traditional Sailor Jerry fly on my inner wrist….a swirl of blackbirds and some japanese cherry blossoms on the other….roman numerals on my left trapezius, my whole upper back are flowers and vines….hebrew on the back of my neck…a little wreath of flowers on my right ankle and because i am a knitter; a blue ball of yarn unraveling down my left leg among other things… the day i went with my mom and sister to the distribution center i had a summery skirt on and a short sleeve tshirt of some sort…so a good deal of deal were showing. i was a dead give-away apostate (or gentile) either way….she wasnt gonna let me ruin someone day buying their garments pre temple wedding. :/

      • Anonymous Reply

        That’s hot 🙂

        The ironic part about that story is that, when you really think about it, garments and tattoos serve the same purpose: both serve as a reminder or symbol of some important aspect of your life (for most people anyway). It’s kind of funny that, as Mormons, we would judge another person for tattooing a symbol on their body (as a reminder), when we basically implement the same practice by “wearing” our symbols every day.

  13. jeremy Reply

    I think you missed a question that got removed. It went something like, Do you belong to any group/organization that requires you to take oaths or covanants? I remember getting asked that one a few times. The reason I remember it is because:

    In my last Temple Recommend (a few years ago), I asked my stake president that since Joseph Smith and many of the “founding fathers” of the church were Freemasons, if I would be allowed to join. He didn’t know, but said that he’d find out and email me. A few months go by, along with several emails from me requesting an answer, and finally he responded with “No.” When I inquired as to why not, he said, “Just because.” Around the same time, I read that the new Grand Master in Utah was LDS. 
    Now, since GAs have instructed members to NOT write to them regarding LDS doctrine or history, and that any who DO, their letters will get redirected to their stake president, it instills zero confidence. 

    I am so grateful that you guys are around to help.   

  14. Fred W. Anson Reply

    Well, shooting from the hip (I’m in that kind of mood) and not haven listened to the podcast yet, here’s a list of the 1857 Temple Recommend Questions for anyone who’s interested:

    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 her 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 answer to the above questions, let all men and women confess to the persons they have injured and make restitution, or satisfaction. And when catechizing the people, the Bishops, Teachers, Missionaries and other officers in the Church are not at liberty to pry into sins that are between a person and his or her God; but let each person confess to the proper authority, that the adversary may not have an opportunity to take advantage of human weaknesses, and thereby destroy souls.
    (source = http://byteline.blogspot.com/2007/03/temple-recommend-questions.html ) 

    Link to Scan of Original Document  http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_5KXF40QQdxs/RgLHnmga61I/AAAAAAAAAAM/dt-CsdWtBR8/s1600/questions.jpg

    • Ella Menno Reply

      These questions were not necessarily TR questions.  In fact there wasn’t even a functioning temple in 1857.  They were using the Endowment House at the time, in which they could do ordinances for the living and baptisms for the dead, but not endowments or sealings for the dead.  The questions came about during the Mormon Reformation and they were not asked in reference necessarily to attending the temple.  They were asked by the ward missionaries who were basically home teachers on home visits.  During this time period, these questions were used to determine the faithfulness of the membership and weed out the “jack” mormons.  Faithful members were then asked to be rebaptized as a symbol of their dedication.  I am not sure when these questions ceased to be used, but the Mormon Reformation was pretty much over by 1858.

      • Fred W. Anson Reply

        You are correct. That’s why the phrase “catechizing the people” is mentioned in the closing paragraph.

        As J. Shipley notes in the discussion thread of the source I got this from:
        “This is what is typically referred to as the catechism employed during the Mormon Reformation. See: Paul H. Peterson, “The Mormon Reformation of 1856-1857: The Rhetoric and the Reality,” Journal of Mormon History 15 (Spring 1989): 59-87, which is available freely on the UU Digital Archive.”

        And those interested will find the referenced MHA article here: http://content.lib.utah.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/jmh&CISOPTR=17308&CISOSHOW=17244

    • brandt Reply

      While many of those questions might seem antiquated to today’s Mormon, I find the emphasis on being in debt to be very interesting.  While the environment on debt and lending has changed a bit since the 1850’s (for example, home mortgages), how many believing members would be able to pass a recommend interview based on the debt alone?

      How many of the pyramid schemers, or MLM managers, or security salesmen would be able to pass the question about betraying their brothers or sisters in anything?

      • Fred W. Anson Reply

        Interesting observation and insight Brandt. 

        And, personally, I think that this set of questions has a lot of merit. I actually prefer it to the modern questions quite frankly.

  15. Ella Menno Reply

    FWIW, the marks in the garment USED to be actual cuts, but they aren’t any more.  Currently they are simply sewn marks.  When they are carefully removed and laundered, there will be nearly no trace of the mark that once was.  IMHO, it would be far more meaningful to return to the practice of cutting the marks in and then sewing them up yourself.

  16. Elder Vader Reply

    I thought the part of the discussion about how the temple recommend questions being the closest thing the church has to a creed was very interesting.  It has probably been the thing that has popped into my mind the most over the past week.  

    Do you wear your temple garments day and night.  Its a creed.  Plain and simple.  That adds clarity to some things I’ve experienced since no longer wearing temple garments.  Certain people act like its sinful in and of itself.  That has confused me, but it makes sense now.  

  17. Kevin Reply

    John made a very good point about the connection between tithing and the ability to have access to the temple in order to perform the ordinances necessary for getting into the Celestial Kingdom.

    Yeah, it’s selling salvation alright. But Mormonism is the most American of all religions, after all. And what’s more American than selling tickets to the main attraction?

  18. Mike Conder Reply

    I didn’t listen to the whole thing, but in the late 70’s, early 80’s there was a big uproar about them asking couples whether they engages in Oral sex or not. Why the back and forth on that? If the prophet is speaking for God, either it’s right or it’s wrong. 

  19. Anonymous Reply

    Another thing you didn’t mention that can’t be done if you don’t have a temple recommend: keep your job if you work for the Church.

  20. Anonymous Reply

    Another thing you didn’t mention that can’t be done if you don’t have a temple recommend: keep your job if you work for the Church.

  21. Aaron L Reply

    I just had an epiphany of something else about the TR questions that really irks me.   Now that I think of it, I’m surprised nobody in the podcast discussed it already.  I may be too late to the discussion to have anybody read it, but I’ll throw it out there anyway.  

    Why is there no question about charity?  We are told all over the place in the scriptures the importance of clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, etc… and that if we don’t have charity we are nothing.  I think it is telling that this major part of what it means to be Christlike is hardly even touched up when considering temple worthiness.  

    Understandably, measuring charity objectively is near impossible.  Nevertheless, the issue really ought to be addressed.  It could be worded similarly to the honesty question – something like… “Do you strive to give of your time, money, and other resources to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and serve the less fortunate?”  It would be left up to the individual to decide if they were living up to their potential or not.  

    How does the organization claiming to represent Christ completely neglect this?  It blows my mind.  

    • Fred W. Anson Reply

      Excellent point Aaron.  I wish that every Christian church regularly challenged it’s member with just such a question.  I know it’s a question that I could certainly use some accountability on!

      I wish I could give you a “Double Dog Like” for that one mate.

    • guest Reply

      EXCUSE ME!!…  I had this conversation with my mother when I was doing her taxes for her, I got the impression that she thought tithing was just another tax that she was required to pay.  I had to explain to her that it was a donation/charity.  So if the bishop asked the question about tithing then the charity question is answered, 10% to charity.  That being said… shouldn’t that money be going towards charity,   i.e  “clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, etc…”    but where is it going?  Building buildings, buying business, investing, etc.

  22. Scotty Reply

    “Is there anything in your conduct that is not in harmony with the teachings of the church” means more than are you being nice to your family.  When I got off my mission my old Bishop, now Counselor in the Stake Presidency explained that it a wide net being cast on your relationship with your family, but specifically they are looking at if you are molesting your kids/siblings or even worse.  At the time a father was just excommunicated and turned into authorities for incest with his daughter.

    • guest Reply

      YES, I have been waiting and watching for ME to do a podcast on this subject.  I am in my mid 50’s and am still hugely dealing with this matter.  When asked by the bishop in the baptism for the dead interview, I told what I had never told anyone, and guess what he did… nothing.  I would love to know how many have had my experience.  (where was god in the room that day?) Do they really support the children, etc.

  23. Scotty Reply

    As far as tithing, I have asked 3 Bishops and 2 Stake Presidents about what is a full tithe, net or gross.  All 5 told me it is between me and the Lord.  About 16 years ago in a elders quorum meeting it got kind of heated, my friend from Brazil brought up what if you live in a country that taxes at 80%, you pay 10%, you are in essence giving 50% of what you have to live off of to the church, is that right?
    I had a Stake President tell me tithing makes up much less than half of the Churches overall budget.  The vast majority of the money comes from businesses the Church owns.  Why is the Church investing so much into down town SLC?  They need the money in order to run the Church.

  24. Pingback: Late Summer ’11 Update | Second Gospel of Matthew

  25. Anonymous Reply

    I’m new to this website and forum…thank you! I am so happy to have found this incredible resource of like minded individuals who have gone through similar experiences as I have. I am happily removed from the Mormon religion. I still need to have my name removed from the membership. I have two requests/questions: First, can someone direct me to a website where there is a printed list of the questions that are asked during the temple recommed interview? Second, how can I get my name removed form the membership record of the church?
    Thank you so much!

    P.S. I have a copies of the “Mormon Handbook of Instructions-Book 1” from 1968, 1999 and 2006. If anyone would like a copy, I can direct you to the website.

  26. Jean Bodie Reply

    Apparently despite the fact that the bishop/SP asks you if you wear the garment day and night as instructed in the temple; the temple instructions do not tell you to do that. They just instruct you to wear them for the rest of your life and that cannot possibly mean 24/7. We bath, have sexual activity, swim, compete in sports etc. They are supposed to be a part of your normal every day wear. To me this means when you are out and about and wearing underwear. Before TG’s I didn’t wear my underwear to bed ever. I wore PJ’s and nightgowns or nothing. People don’t normally wear underwear without outer wear.

    If you wanted to get nit-picky about this it wouldn’t be hard to do.

  27. Ben Robbins Reply

    Regarding the recommend question 7. (about affiliation with those with views contrary to the church)
    My wife had expressed belief that there will be poly-amorous union in the celestial kingdom.  The stake president pulled her recommend because “she agrees with herself”

  28. Lawrence Gragg Reply

    why don`t we hear more about temple ritual and the far out beliefs and so called messages received by joseph smith is this where all the virgin harems etc come from?     Jesus said they would come saying that I am and lead astray even the faithful. I guess j.s. and mohammed would qualify as well as a bunch lessor liars and money preachers thanks for letting me vent. bud gragg

  29. Pingback: The Temple Recommend | Trudging Toward the Telestial Kingdom

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