Guest Post: The Temple Rec Interview and the Affiliating Question

Posted by on July 2, 2011 in Policy | 143 comments

by April

(April is a health educator and mother of three young children.)

temple recommend interviewYears ago, someone asked me how Mormon bishops figured out who was worthy to enter the temple.  How did bishops monitor the members to catch them in wrong-doing?  I explained that it wasn’t like that at all.  The bishop simply asks us a prescribed list of yes/no questions.  We judge ourselves and report our own worthiness to the bishop.

As I judge myself, I pass many of the questions with flying colors, especially those regarding my conformity to gospel rules. Law of chastity?  Check.  Word of wisdom?  Check.  Tithing?  Check.

Other questions trip me up a bit.  My testimony fluctuates, but I give myself the benefit of the doubt during the testimony-related questions.  After all, Alma gave credit for merely having a desire to believe, right?

Although I know it is coming, one particular question always tosses itself at me like a nasty curve ball: “Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?”

I try not to growl at the bishop when he asks me such an impertinent question.  It is not his fault.  He did not write the questions.

But really, how do I answer that?  If I have friends who smoke or have premarital sex or (heaven forbid) drink coffee in the morning, aren’t I affiliating with individuals whose practices are contrary to those accepted by the LDS church?  Do I have to disregard apostolic counsel to fellowship people of other faiths to be temple-worthy?

That doesn’t seem right to me.  Maybe the affiliate clause is not the most important part of this loaded question.  If I don’t “support” these sinful acts, am I worthy to enter the temple?  A closer look at the question reveals that the question is not about supporting the sin, but the sinner.  Do you support any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary…”  Certainly, merely offering moral support to imperfect people wouldn’t disqualify me from temple blessings, would it? Aren’t we supposed to comfort those that stand in need of comfort?

Maybe they are referring to financial support.  If that is it, I fail again.  I do subscribe to newspapers and magazines that occasionally criticize church policies.  I donate to my political party, whose platform complements church teachings in some ways but in others opposes them. That brings me back to affiliating.  Political party membership is a much more formal version of affiliating than friendship. Yet, although no major political party copies its platform directly from the church handbook, the church encourages members to be politically active.

Thus far, it looks like “yes” is the winning answer to this trick question.  People who are conforming to scriptural and apostolic guidance will support and affiliate with groups and individuals with a variety of teachings and practices.

Then I consider the last clause.  Do I agree with these groups and individuals whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the LDS church?  Sometimes I do, but I really doubt that improves my temple-worthiness.

In the end, my usual tactic is to internally rewrite the question like this: “Are you involved in an organized effort to destroy the Church?”  So I answer, “No, of course not.”

That seems to be the right answer, because I pass and get my recommend signed. I am relieved to have found the right answer, but I am left wondering if I asked myself the right question.


  1. Wow, kind of concerns me that so many would question how Temple recommends are handled. We are blessed to be members of a Church that is guided by Jesus Christ through a living prophet who speaks for God. If we answer yes to the first question in the Temple recommend interview, then why would any of the others pose a problem? These questions weren’t pulled out of thin air, they are from the Lord.

    • I didn’t like the post or many of the comments after. I find that people still get too defensive, like it’s “Big Brother” (1984-George Orwell) asking me to snitch on myself and the friends/politics/groups I hang out with. I don’t believe that is the attitude befitting those questions.

      Instead, they are questions for me to check on myself out loud, including the one about affiliating. And the truth is, if I am “affiliating” with groups or people who teach against the principles of the gospel, then maybe I’m not in good company. After all, as a member of the kingdom of God, I hope I am spreading the good word (through example, word, deed, etc.) as opposed to allowing the world that opportunity while offering no alternative to people.

      All the questions are meant to reveal, to the one being interviewed, is if there is a need for guided repentance-and the Savior died to give us that opportunity; it is meant to be a help. Regardless of that, however, the final question is always about how I personally see my worthiness to enter the Temple, and that is the one that matters most.

  2. I’m with Sis. Purcell. I’m astonished you would trifle over such matters. The issue here isn’t about befriending those who aren’t perfect; the issue is whether or not, if an argument were to be had, you would be on the side of the stated Church policies or if you would argue and nit-pick, begging for change.

    And yes, it does matter. This question measures our level of apostacy – are we seeking to build the Kingdom of God, or the kingdom of us? Do we believe our worldly learning makes us more wise than the inspired leaders the Lord has selected?

    Herein lies the real issue…. Perhaps you ought to re-think your thoughts. Or, perhaps, your thoughts simply weren’t communicated clearly enough.

  3. April, thanks so much for outlining how you think about the temple recommend questions. I often do the same as I prepare to renew mine, and I wish I had some insight into what others are thinking as they answer. There have been times when I have blindly gone in and answered the questions quickly and left with my recommend, but I feel more spiritually-fulfilled and worthy when I carefully assess where I am before responding to each question.

    I am very troubled by what I perceive as some judgmental attitudes in the last few commenters’ responses to your post. Thinking deeply and seriously about the temple recommend questions does not seem trivial to me. I would argue that’s what is required of us each time we answer those questions, and for many of us, that means thinking about the nuances of the language used in those questions.

    Many of us will, from time to time, struggle to answer these questions. That doesn’t mean we don’t belong in this Church–I would say it means quite the contrary.

  4. The question should be rewritten:Do you support fundamentalist mormon groups that practice polygamy? That was the original intent of the question when it was added to the interview list in the early 19th century.
    My whole family is non-mormon, and they hate the church. Does that disqualify me from going to the temple? Of course not.

  5. I have never looked at that question that way. In my mind, it is clearly addressing apostate religious groups, such as those that support polygamy or those that believe you must first be baptized and endowed LDS, then join their “higher” order. You cannot believe them and the LDS Church at the same time. This question and the question about the president of the church being the only person who holds all keys catches those who used to weasel by the other questions.

  6. I, too, struggled with that question for a while. My husband is a non-member and has some beliefs, that to me, are strange. Since I definitely affiliate with him and support him in many ways, I discussed it with the bishop when answering that question. He said that question means do we personally support that belief (such as reincarnation etc) or groups that believe that particular way and try to further their cause. The answer for me was a definite no.

  7. Just Stop Reading More Into The Question That’s Not There.–Just Answer The Question For The Value It’s Addressing.

  8. I always answer yes. I think they should change the question.

    Do I stay at Marriott Hotels? Yes.
    Do they have bars? Yes
    and porn? Yes.
    The marriott hotel bar in Cairo is THE place to find prostitutes…

    Do I live in Vegas and work for a casino? Yes.
    In the HR department, but I am deeply affiliated with the Gambling Industry.

    Political affiliation aside…The US govt and many state Govt do many things contrary to the teachings of the Church. (Secret bombing of Campbodia, sex education moneys, etc, etc)

    I think this is a oddly weird question. Relevant. Yes. And a good indication of those moving down the road of apostasy.

    Flip the question around:
    “Do you denounce, disaffiliate with, or disagree with groups or individuals whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?”

    What happens if you don’t vote? Is it a sin of omission? To do nothing….to not stand up or get involved.

    good article. good thinking. kudos

  9. While the article is interesting in its style, I would just remind everyone who is nit-picking at this to study Matthew 23 and the message the Savior was trying to get across to us. Are we “straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel”?

  10. This is a great post! Thank you! I always answer “yes” when asked the question, and it opens into a good discussion, mostly with the bishop saying that my involvement with certain groups does not preclude me from attending the temple. I have yet to be denied a recommend and feel better in answering honestly.

  11. I appreciate Emily, Sharon, and Ray’s comments. Pondering the questions for a deeper introspection definitely is far from being labeled as “nit picky” in my opinion.

    I have to admit I’ve had mixed feelings about when my children and I visit my parents in CA and I see my mother allow my sister to drink coffee in front of the kids and my older brother has get-togethers with several gay friends in their home. How do I reconcile that? I’m torn in many directions as to whether or not my parents are allowing “affiliation.”

    My brother respects my asking him to not show any affection (including hand holding) in front of my 8 & 6 yr. olds, but my sister thinks I should simply “get over” the coffee drinking. Do I tell her my son was in tears asking “Why?” and “Doesn’t Aunt — know it’s wrong?”

    Some members may think I’ve become too rigid, but I’ve decided to be careful how often we visit (usually 3 times a year) so we can avoid some desensitization. My kids will have plenty of exposure to the “big world” when they’re older.

    Drawing a line in the sand is a matter of personal prayer and revelation. I try to remember my parents attend the temple every week and they are entitled to revelation for their home as I am to mine (as a single mom).

    I just haven’t been able to ignore the deteriorating pace of our moral society continuing to evoke the nagging question, “Am I justifying behaviors and attitudes by continuing to say, it’s the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law that matters?”

  12. Very thoughtful and enlightening post. I’ve thought about this in particular, especially with respect to political parties, and without naming specific ones, I have recently considering using a recent move to update my party affiliation to a certain third party that I feel would be clean from the stains of both the major parties.

    I’m not sure if this was the question, but I remember my mom telling me that the first time she went and got her temple recommend, she got tripped up by a certain question, and she flat out said, “Bishop, I don’t commit the sin that question is referring to, but I can’t tell from the way it’s worded if I’m supposed to say yes or no!” And the Bishop just responded, “You’re right, it’s not a well worded question.”

    Similar instance – when I was interviewed for my worthiness to serve a mission, and I was asked the question about believing the President of the Church being the only man to hold all the keys of the priesthood, and I said yes, and then I was asked about the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve holding all the keys of the priesthood, and I said, “Wait a minute, didn’t you just say that the President of the Church was the only man to hold all the keys of the priesthood?” The Bishop took a moment to explain the difference, and I accepted it, and we moved on.

    As to certain responses, expressing concern over a temple recommend question doesn’t automatically equal finding fault in the gospel. It can just as easily (and I think in this case, it does) mean, “this doesn’t make sense to me. I need help understanding it.”

    • Many of the questions asked during the interview should be pondered and as indicated from previous post, it is a way to judge ourselves. I have asked the Stake President at one point what this question and the one regarding ‘anything amis with family members’ and what that was really meaning. But I will never forget the very first time I had the interview after being married and they asked the question about being moral clean and I looked at the Bishop and said “But Bishop, I am married now it is okay..” He smiled and then explained what that question meant when married… I had no idea grown-ups would struggle with that issue as I felt as a youth it was just for us..

  13. We have compasion for the sinner but we wallow in rhe mud with them.

  14. I believe this can be summed up as whether we are supportive of the views and practices of those who go against the church or not. As for the seemingly conflicting counsel, it reminds me of the adage to ‘be in the world but not of the world’ and ‘love the sinner not the sin’. Elder Oaks taught in conference that there is a fine line between love and law; essentially, we shouldn’t in any way embrace what the sinner is doing, yet we should not shun them at the same time, whether this be as personal as a family friend or as broad as political or extra religious involvement. Our ideal should be make our allegiance to the values and views of the Lord’s church our own . We should activate ourselves in supporting the best that is of the world, while working for change in that which goes against the where the Lord and the brethren stand.

  15. Now i really know what is wrong with me. I guess i do not feel really bad cause i am not alone anymore. I have been a member all my life and only now i found out. i did not know a things about the church which i testify of everyday, all these years i thought i was smart and listen to smart people, and now i find out what smart people do.. Just look at Washington DC..All smart peoples does not a Grap. Now i just need to learn about my curch.

  16. I share April’s ambivalence with that particular question. When asked, I replied, “Yes, I’m a member of the (city name removed to protect the guilty) 4th Ward.” The shocked Stake President’s counselor was all ears as I attempted to explain. Over the pulpit in Sacrament meeting I’ve been taught that Obama is the anti-Christ and the white-horse “prophecy” is continuingly taught to affirm the state of the U.S. today. (Even after the First Presidency’s 2010 disclaimer.) So, yes, I do “Do support (sustain leaders), affiliate with (them), but don’t agree with a group or individual(s) whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” I AM an active member of the ward! I still got my recommend.

  17. “I am very troubled by what I perceive as some judgmental attitudes in the last few commenters’ responses to your post.”

    You have perceived them wrong. Everyone is blowing this question out of proportion.

  18. I married a good Catholic girl after my mission, and wondered about that question for a few years before finally asking my Bishop to help me reconcile it. Obviously, marriage to someone outside the faith qualifies as ‘support’ and ‘affiliation,’ right? I think April is correct in assuming that the question is more along the lines of apostacy, and not friendly association.
    My wife is still Catholic, and I currently serve as 1st Counselor to my Bishop, placing me in the position of asking that question of others to determine their worthiness where my Bishop’s answer years ago is confirmed and re-affirmed to me each time.
    If you hesitate to answer any of the questions, it’s appropriate to ask for clarification and counsel. I feel it would be much better for members to discuss these type of sacred questions during the private and sacred interview than on a web site for the whole world to see.

  19. I found these definitions at –

    1. to bring into close association or connection: The research center is affiliated with the university.
    2. to attach or unite on terms of fellowship; associate (usually followed by with in U.S. usage, by to in Brit. usage): to affiliate with the church.
    3. to trace the descent, derivation, or origin of: to affiliate a language.
    4. to adopt.
    5. Law . to fix the paternity of, as an illegitimate child: The mother affiliated her child upon John Doe.
    6. to associate oneself; be intimately united in action or interest.

    I’ve understood this temple recommend question to use this word according to either definition #2 or 6… For #2, I gained further insight by looking up “fellowship” at – I think it must be meaning one of these two definitions –

    community of interest, feeling, etc.


    an association of persons having similar tastes, interests, etc.

  20. Bill Belamy, your comment doesn’t add to the conversation. If you can’t engage civilly, then you will not have commenting privileges on The Exponent.

  21. In my most recent TR interview,with a member of the Stake Pres. in relation to this question, I expressed my deep concern at the Church’s political involvement in the Prop 8 saga. I expressed my concern that were such calls for political campaigning, fund raising etc come over the pulpit in my country, as have done in California, I would need to voice my concerns openly. I would speak to building on a common belief in the importance of marriage as a public commitment, of the importance of legally protecting those who form families. I would call on my friends and neighbours to focus on the things we have in common, to judge not, and to seek their own personal revelation before participating in a process that in the USA has been hateful, devisive and cruel.
    I got an “I have to talk to the Stake Pres. before I issue a recommend” as a response. And weeks later in follow up I have received a handful of photocopied articles about ‘Following the Prophet’ and an unsubtle remark about the path to apostacy. The Pres. member agreed with my assertion that a belief in the prophet is not a belief that the prophet is infailable. He agreed that to sustain someone may be to offer heart felt prayer that that person seek and receive new revelation for their area of responsibility. He spoke against blind following.
    He told me there was no appropriate place at church for me to discuss my concerns or answer my questions, certainly not RS or Gospel Doctrine class. He agreed with my observation of the white washing/ dumbing down of Church History as presented at Church over the last 30 years. He had no explanation of that process’s motivations.
    So here I am. Weeks later. No recommend.
    Because I expressed a concern, in private interview.

    I’m really not sure how I should respond. On the one hand I’d need to travel interstate to attend a Temple, and havent got the financial resources to go, on the other hand, I’m sure I’ve read some where on the Blogernackle an official statement that you can support gay rights without loosing your recommend, I just don’t remember where to look.
    I don’t want to quietly roll over that’s for sure.

    • Elizabeth, I’m so sorry to hear that this was your experience. I too have heard that temple recs were not supposed to be pulled because of not supporting Prop 8, but I forget where that was. I hope that your leaders see reason soon…

    • I noticed there are 2 Elizabeths commenting… so now I’m Chibby, and I’m the recommend-less Australian…

  22. I always say yes — and I always get the recommend. I have two children who are actively anti-Mormon. I definitely affiliate with them, on the deepest level. The question is absurd and my honest answer often gets a chuckle, or at best a decent conversation about what it means to be a Latter-day Saint in the world, but not of the world.

  23. I don’t understand why the concern for “affiliating” with those that aren’t living the gospel standards. Didn’t Jesus eat with prostitutes and publicans?
    As far as supporting gay rights, Jesus said that His disciples will be recognized by how loving they are to others. Whether or not the church is opposed to gay marriage, we still treat everyone with the same love and respect as they are our brothers and sisters. The church isn’t trying to discriminate, but preserve our temples and church buildings from being used to perform marriages that our against our beliefs. I’ve always taken the question to mean “apostate” groups and/or individuals, so it’s never occurred to me to worry about it I guess. If I remember correctly, it used to be worded that way before.

    • Prop 8 was never about ‘preserving our temples and church buildings from being used to perform marriages against our beliefs’. There was no risk of this happening, and claiming there was is just scaremongering.
      Religious freedom laws protects the Catholic Church’s stance against performing marriages where one party had previously been divorced. They protects us from the obligation to marry non recommend holders in our Temples. Religious institutions have the right to chose who they will perform weddings for. The right under civil law to marriage is in no conflict with this.
      Perhaps the whole thing would have been a non event, if, as is the case in many European countries a civil commitment recognized by the state was a required prerequisite for a religious service, clearly differentiating between the legal and religious state of marriage.
      Just as I believe the marriages of my friends in churches, gardens, beaches etc are no threat to my Temple marriage, I believe gay marriage is no threat.
      In fact I feel great support from those who also believe, as I do, that marriage, publicly and legal recognized, and families where the rights and responsibilities and obligations of all parties are recognized under law is an important, even central core to our community. A state where only some families have value is a threat to all families.

      • and this Elizabeth is really Chibby too :)

      • Beautifully said, Elizabeth. The fear mongering about how allowing legal gay marriage would threaten our ability to marry people in temples drives me bonkers. There is absolutely no merit to that argument at all. Just as in European countries, civil marriage in the U.S. is distinct from religious ceremonies. Where we differ is that, for convenience, we’ve granted religious authorities the power to also perform civil ceremonies. But that conflation does not require every religious authority to perform any marriage for any person. If it did, we’d already have a major problem on our hands.

        If we’re really concerned about this, the best way to make sure the church never had to sanction marriages of which it did approve would be to make civil marriage and religious marriage two completely distinct things, removing all civil authority from religious figures. People could go to the courthouse and get civilly married, then to the church of their choice and have their religious ceremony.

  24. It’s really kind of a silly, illogical blog. My response is simple: “I love my mother who was in two polygamous relationships before her death, but I don’t agree with her.” I still go to the temple… 3 times in the last 2 weeks.

    • Did you mean “question” in your first sentence?

  25. A couple of thoughts:

    1. Virtually all us associate with people whose practices are contrary to or oppose those of the church. Sadly they are often our own siblings or children. We still love them and still associate with them, but we do not subscribe to their practices or beliefs. I think the adversary would have us begin to sympathize. We sympathize, then we sanction, and then we advocate. We have to be careful not to begin thinking the church is out of step rather than our associates being out of step.

    2. There are a number of comments here about the church stand toward gay marriage. I think the first two paragraphs of Chapter 36 in the “Gospel Principles” manual are very clear and concise statements on why the church assumes the position it does. When you look through an eternal lens you get a very different view. But that does not mean we should stop associating with, loving, and showing Christlike kindness to those who don’t understand or agree.

    • in re: your point #2

      Nor does it mean we cannot advocate for the fair treatment and equal civil rights of our gay brothers and sisters.

      I lived in CA during the Prop 8 debacle. I loudly and publicly opposed Prop. 8. I told church members straightforwardly that I disagreed with Prop. 8, that I would not only do nothing to support it but everything I could to defeat it, and that I thought the church was wrong to be so publicly advocating for Prop. 8. The church’s whole involvement in that campaign to this day horrifies me and offends the very deepest beliefs I hold as a result of the church’s own teachings. I was greeted with condemnation and judgment by many church members. But both my bishop and my stake president had absolutely no problem with what I had to say. And they knew what I had to say because I renewed my temple recommend two weeks into the church’s advocacy in favor of Prop. 8 and I told them what I thought just as directly and bluntly as I told everyone else. Because I was doing nothing wrong and had nothing to hide. They both gladly signed my recommend and encouraged me to believe as I saw fit according to my conscience and to feel free to speak my mind.

      There is nothing in this particular temple recommend question nor in being a practicing member of the church that requires us to agree with everything the church teaches. Gay marriage is not an exception to that reality. If there were such a requirement, we would every single one of us be screwed because none of us agrees perfectly with everything that gets pronounced upon by church leadership.

      • Great, so you were there, at the time, spoke freely and had your recommend endorsed.
        I am on the other side of the world, expressing private concern in an interview situation about my potential response to a hypothetical future situation, and my recommend is withheld?

        Does anyone have an ‘official’ statement about temple recommends and gay rights issues?

      • I’m really sorry that’s been your experience, Elizabeth. I wish I had some practical advice for you. I don’t know of any official statement from church headquarters that says that this issue should not prevent you from having a recommend. You could write a letter to church headquarters asking the question. If you do, you should understand that they’ll likely refer the issue back to your local leadership. Knowing that they’re likely to do that, if I were you I would indicate at the end of the letter that you’ve sent a cc to your stake president already. And, if I were you, I’d say right in the body of the letter that you’ve raised the issue with your local leaders and they are giving you a different answer than other people you’ve talked to get from their local leaders so you are seeking more specific guidance from church headquarters. Of course, you shouldn’t write the letter at all if you’re not comfortable with your SP and/or bishop reading it. It’s standard practice for church headquarters to send letters back to your SP so you really can’t avoid him reading it, even if you don’t send him a copy yourself.

      • Elizabeth, I put this question to some Bloggernacle friends. One referred me to this article:

        From that article: “Latter-day Saints are free to disagree with their church on the issue without facing any sanction, said L. Whitney Clayton of the LDS Quorum of the Seventy. ‘We love them and bear them no ill will.'”

        Whitney Clayton, who lived in Southern CA for much of his adult life, was pretty heavily involved in the Prop 8 thing.

      • oops, this Elizabeth is Chibby too, how confusing!
        Thankyou so much for the Clayton reference amelia!

  26. Too often we ‘over-think’ the issue and that’s usually when we have a guilty conscience. If you have to justify something, you start skating on thin ice. If you aren’t doing something you shouldn’t, you don’t have to think about the question. While I know most people will think this is a simplistic outlook, the gospel is built upon basic principles, when we start to move away (justify) from them, we are allowing ourselves to question the church’s moral code.

    • Too often we ‘over-think’ the issue and that’s usually when we have a guilty conscience.

      I hear that a lot. Over-thinking happens by people who are confused between what the church actually teaches and what a) individual volunteer leaders believe and b) what church culture demands of them.

      After all, I’d not want to have my “associations” judged by a bishop who demanded his teenage son wear a white shirt and tie every waking minute of every single day from the time he was 17 until he went on his mission and then, when he didn’t for a day, refused to allow his son to go on aforementioned mission because he’s disobedient. (Said son left the church the minute he left his father’s roof at 19 after aforementioned refusal. Quel surprise.)

      Oh, wait. I did refuse to be judged by that bishop. Went to a different ward for three years. So did half the rest of that ward.

      Over-thinking? No. Trying to navigate vague questions in the face of vastly differing opinions of a revolving door of men who bring their own baggage to the table.

      Being constantly confused is not a sin. Don’t make it about sin.

      • Amen, Moriah.

        It really bugs me that church members automatically jump to the conclusion that anyone who sees shades of gray, or who seems improprieties in the behavior of church leadership (whether local or central), must have a guilty conscience. That conclusion is a result of deeply flawed logic and indicative of an unwillingness to engage with the complexities and vagaries of life in a fallen world full of flawed human beings.

        And here’s my experience: I didn’t allow myself to question the church’s moral code. I performed mental gymnastics for years to find ways to justify it and make it mesh with my conscience. I refuse to perform such mental gymnastics any longer. I wholeheartedly embrace those aspects of the church’s moral code with which my conscience is easy, I slightly more tentatively embrace those that sit a little uneasily, I examine and abide by some on a case-by-case basis, and still others I reject. It is my right as a thinking agent (and please do connect that word to the central principle of the gospel, agency) to do so.

        Galileo once said: “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forego their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them.”

        That is a code I can embrace wholeheartedly and live by. It would be nice if the church overtly encouraged all of us to do so. Because at the end of the day “the church told me to do it” is no better a reason to do something (even something good) than “satan told me to do it” is a reason for doing something.

      • Well, I came to this because I have generally been overwhelmed by irrational guilt my entire life by things along the lines of accidentally taking a pen from an establishment where I wrote a check, never realizing that the REASON they have dozens of pens with their names all over it is advertising.

        I have gone to bishops who, when they ask, “Have you been honest with your fellow man?” and I confess to such things, have had to counsel me that that’s not what they’re asking.

        Likewise, when they say, “Do you feel worthy to enter the temple?” the auto-response is NO. In my logic, why would it EVER be YES? And again, counseling ensues that THAT is not what the question means.

        I’ve even confessed to my high-protein, low-carb diet, for cryin’ out loud, because so many members accuse me of not keeping the Word of Wisdom. (But hey, copious amounts of sugar’s okay.)

        So when people say, “You just have a guilty conscience,” my question is, “You mean you DON’T? Why in the world NOT?”

    • I do the same thing Moriah, I over think, feel guilty, have anxiety. It doesn’t help to hear things like “well, then you’re doing something wrong because otherwise you wouldn’t be feeling that way”. Hmm. First of all, that’s circular and non-falsifiable. So there’s that.

      And, possibly, I am an anxiety-prone person living in a perfectionistic church society which feeds my irrational fear and guilt, and when I gain enough self-confidence to look inwardly and outwardly to gain self-awareness, I am able to see my triggers and question the moral code in the church. Could be that too.

      • @kmillecam I am of the opinion that, as you suggest, this is a response to a long-term perfectionist environment and possibly a symptom of PTSD. In my circumstances, the church was less perfectionist and more–dare I say it, forgiving and freeing–than any other area of my childhood and adolescence.

  27. The church does expect perfection. We are in a learning mode while we are on this earth. That is why the Atonement was so important to our lives. So we can repent and start again.
    As you have read above even Bishops are fallible. And maybe they received that calling so their congregation could learn humility and kindness, because he has a lot to learn.
    I agree with many who stated that the questions presented to us are for our reflection. So we can look within ourselves and see where we need to improve and learn more.

  28. The church does expect perfection.

    Ah, no, it doesn’t. It expects progress toward Christ’s example. Expectation of perfection and preaching the need for an Atonement are mutually exclusive philosophies.

    It seems to me that people expect perfection of everyone around them while claiming fallibility and thus, the Atonement for themselves.

  29. umm, have you tried asking these questions to your bishop?

  30. There is a simple answer for the original question. Do you support with time, money, affiliate or endorse and allow your name to be used in support of any organization or group that is in opposition to the LDS teachings? Everybody has their free agency to pick and choose. Our conscience will make it known between right and wrong. It is wrong to hurt people who choose to be evil. These people have made their choice. It is not our position to judge, even if it’s family members. Show them by your example—good—so that they can pick between good and evil.

  31. I am really enjoying the theme/design of your site. Do you ever
    run into any web browser compatibility problems?

    A number of my blog audience have complained about my blog not operating correctly in Explorer but looks
    great in Safari. Do you have any ideas to help fix this problem?

  32. As I sit and count donations with bishopric counselors, we discuss all kinds of things. We one day discussed this affiliate question as is relates to Beehives seeking a temple recommend. Most Beehives don’t understand the question at all, and many “guess” at an answer (i.e. say “yes” and then look at the interviewer, hoping that was the “right” answer). The counselors often wind up re-phrasing the question in a way so that it makes more sense to the Beehive. After one such re-wording, a certain Beehive answered as follows: “Well I love my brother and he doesn’t like the Church at all”. The wise counselor moved on to the next question.


  1. Finding My Voice | - [...] following, linked to my final guest post.  By the end of the day, thousands of people had read my …

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