What is it about that temple recommend interview?

Posted by on August 29, 2007 in authority, Belief, leadership, temple | 32 comments

It’s been six years since I last had that interview. Ever since my difficult experience with the temple, I haven’t been able to bring myself to get a temple rec, even though I, in good peace of mind, could probably answer all the questions well enough to get one.

There would be some tricky questions, of course. Particularly that one about living up to my temple covenants. How does a woman who absolutely rejects the idea of hearkening unto a husband get past that one? I think I would honestly respond that I’m not perfect but that I’m trying to be a good person. And that I don’t understand or support the idea of a woman hearkening unto her husband. I’m relatively sure that most bishops/counselors would just nod sympathetically and move on to the next question. Another question that might give me pause is the sustaining my leaders question. But I know that I can answer yes to that one. After all, someone’s got to do it, and sustaining them doesn’t mean I always have to agree with them.

So given that I doubt I would be rejected, I often ask myself why I just can’t make myself go into that office. I’ve come up with a few reasons why: 1. There’s something terribly intimate about discussing your deepest personal beliefs (and underwear wearing habits) with a man who you barely know. That makes me uncomfortable.

2. Confiding in someone, truly opening oneself up to someone else, gives the listener power. I haven’t exactly figured out what I mean by that, but I sense that this is true. And I don’t know if I like the idea of giving a stranger man that kind of intimate power over me. My confidence, my concerns, my fears, my faith are gifts I want to discriminately bestow.
3. The male over female power structure. The fact this it’s always a man who decides whether or not I’m worthy to enter the Lord’s house. This really bothers me. While I’d still have concerns about discussing my intimate issues with a stranger woman, I sure would love to have that option. (Temple rec interviews with RS President? Would anyone like that as an option?)

4. The isolated and possibly intimidating environment of the interview. There’s something starkly authoritarian about someone sitting behind that big brown desk in a power suit. Possible solution: make it known that people can bring a trusted friend into the interview with them. I think this would help some women who have been abused by men to feel more comfortable.

5.The focus on practice AND beliefs. I haven’t thought this one out too clearly, but I think I might be more comfortable with a focus on practice. After all, beliefs are so fluid. And if a person is acting like a good person, trying to practice Christianity, treating others well…. That just seems like it might be a better way to judge someone than on whether or not they know for sure that all the church leaders have been called by God. (But I’m sure there are tons of people out there who can come up with great reasons why an emphasis on beliefs and practice are important.)

I realize that there are also reasons to like the interview. I have a friend who sees it as a valuable way to mentally assess herself and see where she is with her faith. I’m sure others like the chance to talk one on one with their local leaders.

I would love to know about your feelings and experiences with temple recommend interviews. Please feel free to share both positive and difficult experiences with this.

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32 Comments

  1. I had to laugh at my last interview, the Stake President asked if I sustained local authorities. It struck me for the first time that I would have to tell him to his face if I didn’t sustain him. I smiled and said yes I do. I think he must have read my mind because he laughed and said, well thank you.
    I haven’t really had an issue with hearkening unto my husband. I know how smart and sensitive he is and he values my opinion as well.
    As for the garment question, I don’t think of it as underwear. The men are always professional and the way they ask the question makes me think of them as something besides underwear.
    For me I think of practices as being more fluid than beliefs. Our beliefs should be the bedrock of our faith in the church. Whether or not you have family home evening every week can be fluid, but your belief that Joseph Smith helped to restore the gospel and your belief in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ should be consistent.
    All that said, I had the hardest time going to the temple. I have had some bad experiences with temple workers and the time it takes and the pain of sitting on the chairs for so long and the fact that my husband and I have a date about once every three months makes it so that the temple is not the first thing we think of and when the Bishop nags us to attend the temple once a month, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  2. I don’t have any feelings about the temple recommend interview, except that it’s a pain to get an appointment for one.

    I too have never thought of the question about the garment as someone asking me about my underwear. Obviously the garments are my underwear, but I’ve just never personalized the question that much. To me the question about having faith in Jesus Christ is much more invasive–yet arguably that much more important.

    I also, personally, place more emphasis on practices as a measure of worthiness. But then again, I think that believing “correctly” doesn’t count for much if the beliefs aren’t accompanied by an honest striving to do the right thing. It doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect or anywhere close to perfect, but if you’re making a sincere effort to live according to your beliefs–if your heart is in the right place, so to speak–that that counts. I also think that even if you lack belief, your actions should count in your favor anyway.

    The male over female power structure doesn’t bother me. I don’t think of these men as having “power” over me. I guess technically they do, but it’s like that underwear thing–I don’t think of it that way. I think of them like gatekeepers. They’re just doing their jobs. I actually think having the interview with another woman might make it seem more personal. Maybe that would be a good thing. But it wouldn’t make me more comfortable.

  3. Given that “hearken” is merely defined as “to listen”, is it really an obedience issue. I can listen to someone all day long, but it does not mean I have follow or obey. Just my 2 bits.

  4. I realize that this comment won’t assuage the uncomfortable feeling of the question about hearkening unto your husband; but there is a caveat in that covenant: “hearken unto your husband as he hearkens unto the Lord,” if I remember correctly. Now, you may ask why it’s not just “hearken unto the Lord,” or if marriage is so darned important, why don’t the men have a similar covenant, e.g. “hearken unto your wife as she hearkens unto the Lord.”

    I don’t have a good answer; call it a patriarichal power structure, call it tradition, call it sexism. I have wrestled a lot with this kind of language in the Church recently, and still don’t have any good answers to those questions.

    However, that little bit about the husband obeying the Lord is importatn. When I was on my mission, about half way through the mission president finished his term and a new mission president came aboard. One of his big themes throughout my remaining time in the mission was obeying him and his counsel only as they obeyed the Lords. He said that we can only lead properly and will not abuse our own position if we humbly follow the Lord’s will.

  5. I have always enjoyed temple recommend interviews. For me they are a wonderful opportunity to bear my testimony about core beliefs. I find that they are always very spiritual. They help me focus on the importance of keeping my covenants, and give me the chance to personally express my support to my local leaders by my responses.

    Answering the question about garments strikes me as another way of reaffirming my strong desire to keep covenants. Garments may be worn under other clothing, but to me their symbolic significance makes them very different from mere “underwear.”

    I see the interviewer as a person who is called by the Lord to a stewardship, and as someone who genuinely cares about me–not a “man” who has “power” over me. I am glad he is (as madhousewife put it) acting as gatekeeper to the Lord’s house.

    But then, I also love the temple ceremony and find that the wording which upsets some women not at all disturbing. Maybe if I had a domineering husband I would think differently; but with the husband I have, I am more than happy to accept my role at his side. :)

  6. Thanks for all your input, women. Very interesting that so many of you don’t really worry about that hearken covenant. I appreciate you explaining where you are coming from, but of course, I’m coming from a different place. Let me explain further. :)

    Some of you say you don’t struggle much with the hearken language because you have such nice husbands. But for me, that’s not the point. I have a nice husband too who wouldn’t dream of pulling priesthood rank on me. It’s the principle of having to covenant to have a middle man between me and God (at least that’s what it sounds like to me). And while I know that the “as he hearkens unto God” caveat comforts a lot of women, it just doesn’t make me feel a whole lot better. Because even if a person has a kind and benevolent husband, it still doesn’t make it right that he somehow in theory presides over his wife. Hierarchy does not belong in a marriage. IMO.

    And as for the hearken word meaning listen, anonymous, you’re right. But sadly, I’ve also seen it defined as listening AND obeying. And actually in principle, I have no problem with the idea of me hearkening unto my husband, etc. It’s the fact that he doesn’t say it back to me that is the real problem, as Cameron mentioned. Because that omission is what implies the woman needing a male intermediary with God. Makes me very sad.

  7. Thank you for this honest and open blog. I was particularly surprised to hear this comment: “Temple rec interviews with RS President? Would anyone like that as an option?” This is the first time I’ve ever heard anyone voice this concern, which is one that I have had ever since I went to a Bishop and went through the repentance process for sexual sins. It would have been so much easier to talk to another female…maybe repentance is not supposed to be “easy”? But it can be very tramatic for a young woman to have to confess her sins to an older male, and in this day and age, I believe it is simply more appropriate for women to talk to other women about the personal issues that can come up.

  8. I can definitely relate to your concerns. I haven’t gone to the temple for an endowment session for about 3 years, although I have renewed my recommend a couple years ago, and have gone back a couple of times for baptisms and a wedding. I have always been disturbed by the same things you mentioned, and it just got to be too difficult for me. I’m not married, so there is technically no one for me to hearken to, but I just can’t stand the idea. I have recently thought about going back to the temple as well, but haven’t gotten there yet.

  9. I would love to talk to the RS pres for my interview. I’ve had/have wonderful bishops, but it’s really hard for me to confess sins to them. I’ve had bishops that I worry would think my feminist tendencies mean I’m not worthy of a recommend. I’ve never worried about that with my RS presidents.

    I don’t mind the interview questions because they are so open-ended; I get to decide what is a problem and tell the bishop. If I feel guilty or worried about one of my answers, I’ll tell them, but I search myself and decide. I can’t imagine the days when the bishop was privy to details of my sex life with my husband (for the record, I wouldn’t want to tell my RS president those details, either).

  10. Sorry, I just have to respond to the hearkening thing–I’ve been thinking about it a lot since Maria’s post.

    Ok, is this really bad? IMHO, there’s no way this can be the whole covenant. My husband and I can’t have an eternal and equal relationship if only one of us is hearkening to the other. And, I don’t need an intermediary. God and I get along just fine.

    We are a church that believes in continuing revelation. I believe that one day this hearkening question will be clarified so I don’t worry about it. Or maybe I’m just a heathen in complete denial :)…

  11. My issues with the interview are almost completely separate from my issues with the endowment itself. Maybe it’s my Puritan/New England/Scandinavian Lutheran background coming through, but your number one totally resonated with me. Those questions are really PERSONAL! I also think that your local leaders should know you well enough to judge from your actions/practice whether you pass.

    I also really struggle with the “sympathies with apostate groups” question. Well, we have gay family members whom we know and love. We know and love a few of the September Six. Of course we’re sympathetic to them!

    And then, yeah, there’s the whole hearken thing. This part of this comment probably better belongs on the earlier temple thread, but I’ve never really felt at home in the temple because the spousal relationship modeled there is so qualitatively different from my relationship with my husband. The veil ceremony in particular bothered me–sorry, there just isn’t a parallel between my relationship with God and my relationship with my husband! I felt much less ooky about it when my father was the veil worker.

    So, we don’t have current recommends, and I don’t think we’re likely (despite my mother’s hopes and pleas) to renew them any time soon–all of our siblings are already married. ;)

  12. Anonymous and Emily, I’m with you. I would feel so much more comfortable talking about things – particularly garments and sexual sins – with a woman.

    Chelle, I sympathize. It must be doubly hard to endure that hearken covenant when you don’t even know if/who you’ll marry.

    Emily, good point about the open ended questions. It is good to keep in mind that I’m the one who gets to decide if I “wear my garments day and night” etc.

    Regarding the hearken covenant, I agree with you. I see it as a cultural remnant from the Victorian era. It has changed in the past and it will change again. I just have to wait it out.

    JaneAnne,
    I had forgotten about the apostate groups question! Like you, I sympathize with lots of people who have been exed for their beliefs. And I’d be willing to tell the interviewer that. But I don’t think they care so much about gays and feminists. I think the question is referring to fundamentalist LDS, so I’ve never worried to much about that question.

    The veil thing is is a problem for me too. I see it as just another piece of the patriarchal puzzle that is reinforced in the temple. (Another part is the fact that the woman is “given” in marriage, and the man is not.)

  13. Well, I have to say that I also am extremely uncomfortable about the interview. I’ve never felt at ease sitting in a closed room with a man answering personal questions. I’m ver uptight about it. It helps if you have a bishop or stake president you know well with whom you have a good relationship, but I’ve moved around a lot and don’t always know these people. My last temple recommend interview with my branch pres was fine, but then I had to do the second interview with a stake/regional president guy. I’d never met him, and he threw in things like, “what callings do you hold?” “do you attend relief society?” (“yes.”) And when I responded that I did indeed keep the law of chastity, in a rather accusatory tone (no – it was not my imagination), he asked, “Do you know what that means?” I was so offended!!! I’m 44 years old, and am completely faithful to my husband. I don’t read porn, come on to other men, or whatever! YES! I know what keeping the law of chastity means, sir! How dare you!

    And this is my problem with temple recommend interviews. These wonderful men, who are just trying to do their callings and be faithful servants of HF, sometimes have no sense!! His rude manner and lack of decorum practically made me want to just walk out of there. But then, that’s probably what the adversary wanted me to do, so I kept my cool. I played nice.

  14. A major turning point in my life came when I went in for a temple interview with a bishop who was someone I knew socially and liked as a peer and “normal guy” before he became bishop. At that time I was trying to resolve some chronic hesitations I had about my church involvement, and although I had been away from the temple for about 5 years, I thought I’d give it another go. As he asked the questions, I heard them in a way I never quite had before – as questions from a real person deserving honest answers, rather than part of a scripted drama in which we both took roles. When he asked me if I had a testimony of the restored gospel, I struggled and waited for the right words to come that would be both honest and affirmitive. They never came. I finally looked him straight in the eye and said “You know, I really don’t have a testimony. Thank you so much for asking.”

  15. I wanted to clarify that I can understand the discomfort with the TR interview, even if I don’t share most of the specific concerns Caroline mentioned here. The interview generally makes me feel vaguely uncomfortable, just because all I do is sit there and say yes, yes, yes, no, yes, no–and I wish I could just fill out a form or something instead. :)

    I actually was more disturbed by the hearken covenant once I got engaged to be married. Before that, I thought I would probably not ever be married (not in a woe-is-me way, just what I thought), so while it did bother me a little bit, I was able to more or less ignore it, since I didn’t have a husband to hearken to. Once I actually had a husband to hearken to, I had to deal with what the covenant really meant. And I agree, it has nothing to do with how nice your husband is or how much you love him. It’s the principle of a woman needing an intermediary between her and God. I’d like it to be done away with also. It can be confusing to men as well as women. It was just earlier this year that my husband was in a priesthood meeting and the speaker was explaining how marriage is not a hierarchical relationship, and he was just stunned. He’d always assumed it must be–not that he was was especially domineering, ahem–but what else was he supposed to think when he’s always been taught that he’s the head of the household and presides and his wife is supposed to hearken to him? His father died when he was very young, so he didn’t have a male role model in his home to show him how this stuff would work in real life.

    But now I’m off the subject. I’ve never brought up this concern to a priesthood leader because I don’t imagine he’d have any pearls of wisdom for me. Nothing that I haven’t heard a million times. I wouldn’t expect anything different from a female leader. Frankly, when I have to do that part of the endowment, I go back to my pre-married state of mind and think, “This isn’t what I’m really covenanting.” In my mind I make the same covenant my husband makes, to God. Maybe it’s wrong, but I’ve decided I don’t care.

    The question about “sympathizing” with apostate groups used to bother me, until I was informed that it’s just code for polygamist groups, just as “family relationships out of harmony with gospel principles” is code for domestic violence. I don’t see why they can’t just ask you if you’re involved in polygamy or abusing your spouse, so I guess I’m a little bothered by the obtuseness of it all, but I don’t have any qualms about answering “no” anymore, since I know what they’re really asking.

  16. madhousewife,
    Thanks for sharing more. I bet that covenant would be confusing for men as well as women. What are they? Heads of the household or equal partners? Seems very contradictory to me, and given the fact that it’s the temple that reinforces the former, I can see why some men would lean more in that direction.

    The way you mentally deal with the covenant reminds me of the way a friend deals with it. She says that on the toll road of life as woman, this is apparently the dime she must pay. She says that covenant means no more to her than a dime she would toss in the bin. It’s essentially meaningless to her. I admire her – and your – fortitude when it comes to this. I wonder why it affects me so much more strongly?

  17. I’ve posted before, but I’ll post it again. Skip this if you’ve already read it as a comment on a previous post.

    The English language is an ambiguous and occasionally multi-meaninged one. When I find a ritual that is of God but that seems to be contrary to what I understand about him and his gospel I have two choices. I can assume that I’ve understood the message correctly and feel miserable or betrayed, or I can assume that I’ve understood the message incorrectly and toss out my first understanding as wrong and seek for a more correct one. I never assume that I’ve understood something in the temple correctly if that understanding seems to imply relationships or principles that are wrong, uncharitable, diminishing of someones worth or potential, or discriminatory. Even if someone I love or respect reads it that way, I feel totally free to reject that interpretaion. In such situations I always assume that my first interpretation of the phrase or language is incorrect or that it was received incorrectly and I’m getting it in an imperfect form. And I seek further light on the subject.

    I can add a few semantic bits of information in regards to covenants that make sense to me.

    The word “over” in Genesis 3:16 is, in the Hebrew, the word “bet” which means “with”.

    “As” is a word in the English language which has a multitude of meanings. I find that the meaning that makes most sense in this context is the one that means “only as long as” or “while”. Using such a definition, by the way, requires much direct communication with God on the part of the person making such a conditional requirement and requires thoughtful, accurate discernment on the part of that person.

    “Hearken”, despite various conference talks that expound upon it and add a measure of “quick obedience” to the definition, actually means simply to listen or to listen sympathetically or kindly, something all Christians should do for each other. (Check your dictionary.)

    Finally my understanding of the phrasing in the endowment does not in the least imply to me that I do not have a direct line to our Father or that my husband has some mediator role or other between Him and me. I can understand how the phrasing could be interpreted that way, but due to the above, it doesn’t say that to me. And I’m sure my interpretation is more accurate. (big grin)

  18. I’ve always disliked the TR interview, too. It’s just awkward and weird. And, it’s even weirder when it’s your husband interviewing you. Trying to figure out that “equal partnership-but he’s still my leader” thing just makes my head spin.

    Another take on how to stomach “hearken”–get your husband to agree to silently make that same covenant to you during the appropriate time during the ceremony (also works by proxy if you’re doing work for the dead). This strategy works for me and DH–we’re just applying our personal understanding of equal partnership to the temple ceremony. :)

  19. meems, anonymous, thanks for your stories.

    maryb, I have also heard the “with” translation. Needless to say, I like that a lot more.
    Like you, I too figure that the covenant is currently in imperfect form. But I am still so bothered by it. I am always amazed that people can brush it off. I wish I could do that more.

    Maria, that is exactly what Mike and I do! He has made a solemn vow to make the same covenant to me mentally everytime he does an endowment.

  20. Caroline,
    Actually, it isn’t brushing it off, though, I admit, sometimes it sounds like it when I talk about it. When I consider it, it’s really a form of seeking to be gentle and forgiving of imperfections, instead of being upset by them.
    Brushing off means not taking considerate thought or deciding not to respect. But there has been a lot of considerate, respectful thought involved in the process.

    So the process is not to stop caring, but rather to care more about forgiving imperfections.

    I must admit, though, that I think forgiving is one of the most challenging things to learn in this life, right up there with repentance.

  21. Thank you for these comments. i likewise have felt like I’ve had to have a “middle-man” between God and me. That covenant is one of my biggest hang-ups with the temple and having not orginally been married in the temple I can honestly say that I made a better wife and mother before I went through the temple. Largely because our relationship was more of a team effort, I felt more that I chose my role and had power over it vs being instructed as to what I should do and to whom I should hearken to.

  22. I have never had a problem with the temple interview process or what we promise in the temple. But, as I am reading here, I see that many women do. In fact, my recent experiences on the blog have taught me that not every Mormon sees our religion the same way I do.

    Even though I don’t share these views, I wish people would speak of them more openly in the church. I think it would help us to understand each other and be more open to differing beliefs if we could see how common they were. It would also be a help to many women who must feel that they are alone in their struggle to understand their temple covenants.

  23. You said: “The fact this it’s always a man who decides whether or not I’m worthy to enter the Lord’s house.” But I think there are number of people here who have commented on the fact that he doesn’t really decide, rather you decide if you are worthy by answering the questions.

    I don’t mind the TR recommend interview b/c I like being able, as others have said, to take a personal inventory of my life. The only time I felt angry about it was when out new stake pres pointed out to me and my husband seperately that oral sex was not OK. First, NONE OF HIS BUSINESS imho. Second, I have not been able to find a single other person in the church who has ever had this sort of information given to them in or out of a TR interview. The thing that generally bothers me is when some people get into positions of authority and start to push their opinions and personal interpretations of the gospel as truth. I sustain and support him in a lot of ways, but I still think he is a bit of a nut bar.

  24. The garments aren’t your underwear. They are the garments of the Holy Priesthood, that you have covenanted to wear througout your life, that will be a shield and a protection unto you. It might help for you to actually go back to the temple to get a little bit of perspective about what it is that you are being asked about.

  25. Caroline-

    Every time you post about the temple, I constantly think, “She needs to go back”. I think you have posted elsewhere that you haven’t been back for ages because of your painful experience. I can appreciate that, but I also wonder if staying away from the temple for so long has given you too much distance from what actually takes place there, and the meanings of the covenants.

    Obviously you have experienced pain, and I don’t want to diminish or trivialize your feelings. I know that you think Eve is brushed aside–but really, how much more does Adam say after they leave the garden? Not much. I know you are bothered by the hearken covenant, that it diminishes a woman’s relationship with God, but it seems to me that nowhere else than in the temple is it made clear how equal men and women are. We all come to the altar–the man does not go before God, and then return and report to his wife. We are all given the same instructions at the same time. We are all promised the same blessings. There is nothing that says, “This blessing is for men, this blessing is for women”. Not only that, but the initiatory blessings for the men are predicated on their faithfulness—the initiatory blessings for the women have no such language. Men need to be ordained to go through the temple–women need no such preamble or worthiness measure. There is also language in the endowment about the priesthood that makes it quite clear that in the eternities, women are indeed equal with men.

    I agree with you to a certain extent about the temple recommend interview. It’s an awkward conversation at best. But I always find that as awkward as it can be, it is conducted by disciples of Christ who look upon attending the temple as an act of joyful service who are hoping that you too will be blessed by the joy that service in the temple brings.

    Obviously I can’t change your mind, nor can I lessen the pain that you have felt in connection with the temple. It clearly has had a huge impact on how you view your Heavenly Father, and your place in the eternities. I guess I just hope that you could return someday to the temple, and find the beauty and joy that is there as well.

  26. to the anon who said you decide if you are worthy, that is not true. I had a stake president try to withold my temple reccomend because I was too sick to stay for the 3 hour block-my health would only allow me to stay for 2. He got the last say not me.

    Also, I had the same experience that Caroline did in the temple. Only I kept going back. Then I took some time off and tried going back again. It did not get easier at all. The same things that upset me were there-that didn’t change by going back. If anything it was a reminder that made me feel sick about the temple whereas when I get distance my feelings calm down.

  27. Heather, thanks for your thoughtful comment. But I don’t see myself going back anytime soon. It’s just too hurtful. I do see an enormous difference in the way Eve and Adam are treated. Adam might not say much, but he is the only one who speaks and interacts with the heavenly beings. That’s huge and that hurts.

    I know some women are comforted by some of the discrepancies between the women’s initiatories and the men’s. I’m not one of them. I don’t like the fact that my blessings are not predicated on my faithfulness. I think it should be the same as the men’s. Can’t think of one reason why it wouldn’t be.

    Also I don’t like the fact that the men are blessed with strength to bear the burdens that they “will” carry, while the women are blessed with strenth to bear the burdens they “might” carry. (I may have some of the language wrong, but that’s the gist.) As if it’s a sure thing that men will carry burdens while women might not. Ugh.

    I know there are some great things about the temple that some women do find very empowering. But the way those things are undercut by a patriarchal strain is just too much for me at this point in my life. Maybe i’ll go back later on when I don’t really care anymore. I’ll definitely be back when they change the covenant.

  28. Am I the only one who thinks confiding these things in a Releif Society Pres. would be nutso? We’ve had RS presidents who were like leaky cauldrons about discretion and keeping secrets- I would be far less likely to trust in that situation.

    I have not been to the Temple yet. The plans are for this fall, but I have had the interview, as was OK with it.

    Maybe it’s because I have really loved my Bishops- I know someone else mentioned how much that helps. I would really rebel if any stranger deigned to speak to me about my private sex life with my lawfully married husband. That would cause me to make some noise- would I then lose my rec? I don’t know.

    As far as the Hearken thing, which I know a great many women take pause over- for me, as a convert of almost five years, one of the thing I love best about this Church is the open cannon. I don’t think we have much that IS complete- and I have total faith that there is much more to be revealed- and will be, in time. With that, I can let go of some things that might otherwise bother me.

    I know what else is out there, and this Church has so very much good going for it. And it excites me that there is more to come…

    What a beautiful thing.

    Caroline, I really hope you find your peace with this someday.

  29. I think it’s important to remember that, except for the first time, we don’t attend the temple for ourselves, but rather to provide saving ordinances to those who don’t yet have those blessings.

    I realize the recommend process can be uncomfortable for some, but it’s only a few minutes every two years. And with that recommend, you have the opportunity to remember and serve women from all walks of life, all over the world. Without the blessings of the temple, those women can’t have eternal families–they may choose not to accept the covenants we make on their behalf, but I don’t think we have the right to deny them the opportunity to accept the covenants by avoiding the temple ourselves. Assuming that we are better able to make that decision about what is best for each of them strikes me as similar to some of the most pernicious abuses of patriarchy. Let’s do the temple service and let our sisters make their own choices about what to accept or reject.

    And Tracy M–no, you’re not the only one. I’ve had wonderful RS presidents, but I’ve also had a few I would not trust with anything sensitive.

  30. Anonymous, I know that that argument – that we need to do this so others can be saved – is powerful for some people, but it’s not so powerful for me.

    If I think realistically about it, I know that there is absolutely no way for LDS people to do this ordinance for everyone who has ever lived. I’d be shocked if we could even do it for 0.1% of the earth’s population. So I figure that the vast majority of this work will really be done in the millenium.

    There’s no way God’s going to deny someone else these ordinances just because people like me can’t bear to put themselves through that ceremony.

    That said, it might help some women who struggle with the ceremony to think of it purely as service and sacrifice for someone else. Maybe that would make it more bearable.

  31. I have had bishops who could not be trusted to keep their mouths shut. Once something got back to the bishop’s wife, and from there around the ward. Shouldn’t we judge this on a personal basis rather than a steriotype that women gossip and men do not.

    I would LOVE to have my interview with another woman. I was abused as a child and find being in a closed room with a strange male authority figure very uncomfortable. They tend to interpret my discomfort as guilt, so then they pry to see what I am not being quite honest about. This has happened over and over. I think next time I will just wear a sign that says “abuse victim, I hate men.” and see if that makes the interview less difficult. Or maybe I will just ask that the door be left open, or we go out on the lawn. I also find the questions too personal and feel more should be left between me and God, and not so much his to judge.

  32. I have also had my personal issues with attending the temple, but mostly from a worthiness standpoint. Not that I can’t answer yes to the questions but I just feel overwhelmed sometimes at the expectations. When I first attended the covenant made to hearken unto my husband did create an issue for me until it was explained by someone in authority to do so. He explained that first, we are only given what we can handle in the temple. There may be other covenants to come- actually we know there will be. Who knows what they involve. Just because the men don’t covenant back doesn’t mean they never will. It also doesn’t mean that they will either. It just means this is what the Lord is asking of us as women today.
    Secondly I’ve come to understand that we each truly do have our own roles. Our own “hats” to wear, if you will. The men have the priestHOOD, women motherHOOD. Who knows what all Motherhood truly entails in the eternal scheme. Certainly more than we are now privy too. I think when we try to determine the Lord’s motivations or expecations instead of just offering our obedience we are shorting ourselves. There is much in the temple to be explained but we’ll never reach the understandings we seek by staying away.

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