Question from a Reader

Today in Sacrament meeting our Bishop announced that
the church will be replacing our current temple
recommends with new bar-coded recommends. There was
no explanation or discussion. My husband and I were
wondering if anyone has heard of any explanation or
rationale from Salt Lake for the change. We are
interested in hearing the church’s explanation as well
as opinions from others. Thanks.


Deborah is K-12 educator who nurtures a healthy interest in reading, writing, running, ethics, mystics, and interfaith dialogue.

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No Responses

  1. Deborah says:

    Our ward hasn’t gotten this yet — security, perhaps?

  2. madhousewife says:

    Enhanced security, says our bishopric.

    Or the mark of the beast, depending on your theological vantage point.

  3. Caroline says:

    Mike says security. Apparently people have been losing their recommends, and random people have been finding them and going.

    Also to get useful information. Like what temple attendance rates are like in a stake or ward. But he says there’s no intention of keeping track of how often individuals are going.

  4. cchrissyy says:

    my husband was told this at his renewal interview this week. we hadn’t heard, and there was n explaination for why.

    what got his attention was the painfully slow process for getting in the system and renewing them, in a system that you’d think would be electronically linked for instant updates between stakes and temples. I hope that’s coming.

  5. amelia says:

    i asked my dad this (he’s part of our temple presidency, sort of). he gave two reasons:

    1. it speeds things up at the front desk for getting people into the temple and ready for a session. this is good for people like me, who show up seven minutes before the session starts and want to make it into the session.

    2. security. for both lost recommends reasons and in the case of people who have been disfellowshiped or excommunicated but who refuse to give their stake president their recommend back.

    i’m not really sure why or how the process for getting an initial recommend or renewing a recommend should be sped up (am i interpreting your last point correctly cchrissyy?). the process is meant to force contemplation and reflection about your own testimony and worthiness. something i think is absolutely vital. and something i enjoy. is it really all that much to ask that every two years you sit down with your bishop and a member of your stake presidency for 15 to 20 minutes each and talk about your testimony?

  6. Melanie says:


    I think the concern about speed isn’t about the interview itself, but rather about the lag between the interview and the barcode/name info being sent to SLC and then to the various temples. As the system works now, you can go to the temple as soon as you have the signatures on your recommend. With the new barcode (at least as I understand it from a stake pres. member), you’ll have to wait until the stake clerk has submitted(hopefully electronically!) your name, barcode number, ward, stake, and expiration date into the system.

    It shouldn’t be a big deal for most situations, but it will mean no more of those last-minute “President So-and-So, my sister’s getting married in three hours and I can’t find my recommend” interviews.

  7. amelia says:

    that makes much more sense. thanks for the clarification, melanie. it does seem they should be able to just scan everything in and have it be very quick.

    it also seems that there could be some kind of a policy that if a recommend has been signed within the last say two weeks, you can get in without a scan if the scan doesn’t go through. after all, the new recommends have exactly the same info written on them as the old ones do, so it would seem logical that they could still do a manual check. and if they’re that new, it’s less likely that there would be a security issue.

    it’ll be interesting to see how it works. i’m sure they’ll iron out kinks as problems manifest themselves.

  8. Starfoxy says:

    I’ve heard of some break away groups that, for whatever reason, feel the need to attend regular LDS temples for ordinances. Supposedly these groups will steal new, blank recommend books and distrubute them among their members. Having to have an activated recommend would make stolen or forged recommends invalid.

  9. cchrissyy says:

    sorry i was AWOL, but melanie totally read me right. my husband was quoted a SIX MONTH lag time before his new barcode recommend would be scannable in a temple.

    you’d think there would be an easy electronic link and at very most, there could be a week delay between your interview and when a stake clerk clicks it through. But apparently that interface doesn’t exist yet. they’d better make one soon!

  10. Jane Maynard says:

    starfoxy is on track with what we were told as well when we switched them out…without the bar codes if someone stole a blank recommend book, they could use those recommends. if they steal a blank book with the barcodes, the barcodes will never be activated, so they can’t use the recommends. same with if your recommend gets lost – they can de-activate your barcode and issue you a new one, and no one else would be able to use your old recommend if they picked it up.

  11. Anonymous says:

    20 years or so ago when I went to the MTC, they used a magnetic strip reader for the recommends. I also believe it was networked in with SLC, and at the time some members thought it would be used to check on temple attendance rates.
    I do not think it was any quicker going into the temple or in finishing the sessions (you would swipe your recommend after going through the veil).
    I think the magnetic strips might have been discontinued because they were so impersonal.

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