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Origins Of The Temple Recommend?


Chris Smith

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I'm just curious how the practice of Temple Recommend Interviews got started. Can someone point me to a good website or essay on the subject?

Just guessing here, but I think it was Heber J. Grant who made Word of Wisdom observance a condition for temple worship. Maybe the recommend interview originated during his presidency.

Interesting question. Let us know what you find out.

Edit: Ah, I see that LOAP, that quintessential fountain of knowledge, has been quick with a substantive reply. Well done, LOAP.

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I'm just curious how the practice of Temple Recommend Interviews got started.
In the beginning, there was only one person who signed a recommend, the President of the Church. As you can imagine, this got overwhelming as the numbers of people got very large.

I believe it was Lorenzo Snow, but I wasn't there at the time, who decentralized the responsibility to the bishop/stake president duo. (Edit: Wilford Woodruff — thanks to Mr. Plate))

I remember at least five different sets of questions (well, that there have been five) since I first entered the House of the Lord in 1967. Each one had most of the same questions, but some have changed as societal conditions vary.

Lehi

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How long did the temple recommend last or was it always a year until recently? Also, when did it become standard procedure to interview with both the Bishop and the Stake President? (in case anyone knows.)

Just in reading the article linked by Brother Plate, it looks like a bishop interview was good on its own in the 1940s, but by the 1960 GHI, a member of the stake presidency also had to interview the member.

Interesting read so far. . .

eta:

This IS interesting. In 1856, in order to receive one's endowment, one had to "believe in the plurality." It doesn't say one had to practice it, but at least one had to believe. I find that interesting for some reason.

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Just in reading the article linked by Brother Plate, it looks like a bishop interview was good on its own in the 1940s, but by the 1960 GHI, a member of the stake presidency also had to interview the member.

Interesting read so far. . .

eta:

This IS interesting. In 1856, in order to receive one's endowment, one had to "believe in the plurality." It doesn't say one had to practice it, but at least one had to believe. I find that interesting for some reason.

If that provision were still in place, it might exclude some of today's recommend holders.

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Just in reading the article linked by Brother Plate,

;)

... that's me, laughing out loud.

I'm going to have to remember that one. I never thoguht of that before.

Oh, hey, wait a minute! That's got me thinking about a movie.

Have you ever heard of Seth Plate, from the "City of Angels' ???

Hmm. I wonder if they are related. :P

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From Psalm 24:3-4

3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?

4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

I think this applies directly to the temple recomment interview. It speaks of righteousness, worthiness, and honesty with the Lord.

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If that provision were still in place, it might exclude some of today's recommend holders.

Which (for some odd reason) reminds me of a J. Reuben Clark quote (from the Autumn 1981 issue of Dialogue on the WoW):

"...the Church cannot change the laws of God. They stand immutable. We may change the rules; we may say that a drunkard... [or] he who drinks tea and coffee may go into the temple. These rules we may change. But we cannot change the biological law that he who uses narcotics must pay the penalty somehow, somewhere, sometime...."

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This is the earliest "recommend" list that I have seen:

"I hope to write you a further letter...I will certainly do this if the Lord

reveals to me that you are all, man by man and name by name:

--attending your meetings in a state of grace

--united in faith and in Jesus Christ...

--ready now to obey your bishop and clergy with undivided minds and

--to share in one common breaking of bread - the medicine of immortality -

and the sovereign remedy by which we escape death and live in Jesus Christ for evermore."

Ignatius to the Ephesians:20

Bernard

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Personally, I think 30 days "after the onset of menstruation" should about cover it!

Well, the reference said seven days after onset of menstruation, but "several days" (the footnote says ten days) after intercourse.

Ouch.

Luckily it sounded more like a guideline than a rule. :P

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Also, this checklist from the Didache...

"The Way of Life"

--Thou shalt love first the Lord thy Creator, and secondly thy neighbor as thyself; and thou shalt

do nothing to any man that hou wouldst not wish to be done to thyself

--Bless them that curse you, pray for your enemies, fast for you persecutors

--Beware the carnal appetites of the body

--If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other one to him as well

--Should anyone compel you to go a mile, go another one with him

--If someone takes away your coat, let im have your shirt too

--If someone seizes anything belonging to you, do no ask for it back again (you could not get it, anyway)

--Give to everyone that asks, without looking for any repayment

--Commit no murder, adultery, sodomy, fornication or theft

--Practice no magic, sorcery, abortion, or infanticide

--See that you do not covet anything...

--Never be guilty of perjury, false witness, slander, or malice

--Do not equivocate in thought or speech

--You are not to be avaricious or extortionate

--you must resist any temptation to hypocrisy, spitefulness, or superiority

--You are to have no malicious designs on a neighbor

--You are to cherish no feelings of hatred for anybody

--Keep away from every bad man

--Never give way to anger

--Refrain from fanaticism, quarreling, and hot temperedness

--Beware of lust [and fornication]

--Refrain from unclean talk and the roving eye

--Do not be always looking for omens

--Have nothing to do with witchcraft, astrology, or magic

--Tell no lies

--Do not be over-anxious to be rich or to be admired

--Do not be a grumbler

--Do not be too opinionated or harbor thoughts of wickedness

--Learn to be meek

--School yourself in forbearance, compassion, guilelessness, calmness, and goodness

--Respect the teaching you have had

--Do not parade your own merits...or behave presumptuously

--Do not make a point of associating with persons of eminence, but choose the companionship

of honest and humble folk

--Accept as good whatever experience comes your way

--Remember him who speaks the word of God to you...give him the honor you would give to the Lord

--Frequent the company of the saints daily

--Never encourage dissensions

--Judge with justice, reprove without fear or favor, and never be in two minds about your decisions

--Do not be like those who reach out to take, but draw back when the time comes for giving

--Never turn away the needy

--Share all our possessions with your brother

--You are not to withhold your hand from your son or daughter, but to bring them up in the fear of God

--Never speak sharply when giving orders to male or female domestics

--Obey your masters with respectfulness and fear

-- Hate all impiety and everything that does not please the Lord

--See that you do not neglect the commandments of the Lord

--In church, make confession of your faults, and do not come to your prayers with a bad conscience

--As regards diet, keep the rules so far as you are able; be careful to refuse anything that has been

offered to an idol

--Do not keep the same fast-days as the hypocrites

--Pray as the Lord enjoined in His Gospel

--Assemble on the Lord's Day...come often together for spiritual improvement

Be watchful overy your life; never let your lamps to go out or your loins be ungirt

That is the Way of Life."

A fine check list.

Bernard

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Guaranteed to keep our temples empty! :P

They were a lot tougher back then. On the other hand, one of the recommend questions

covers all the above list. Perhaps we should dig a little deeper into our own souls when

we answer that question.

Bernard

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No one can do all those things all the time. We can and should try but we all fall short.

Again from the Didache:

"If you can shoulder the Lord's yolk in its entirety, then you will be perfect;

but if that is too much for you, do as much as you can."

Bernard

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