Thoughts About Temple Recommend Interviews
The Church recently released an updated/clarified version of the temple recommend interview questions.
And for the first time that I can remember, the President of the Church read them out loud over the pulpit in General Conference.
It used to be that you didn’t really have access to these questions until you were sitting with a leader in a temple recommend interview. If it had been a while since hearing them, some things may have caught you off guard.
As they seem to be made more accessible to the members, I think it would be wise for us to ponder them regularly and certainly before an interview so that we have time to prepare in any way necessary to answer with confidence.
A Great Check
In observing how people talk about temple recommend interviews and the associated questions, it seems that many think that answering each question in the right way is mandatory to receive a recommend; this isn’t the case.
It is not a black and white issue to where if you answer wrong, you get rejected. I think that the temple recommend interview engages us in a similar way to how Alma engaged his people:
“Therefore, after Alma having established the church at Sidom, seeing a great check, yea, seeing that the people were checked as to the pride of their hearts, and began to humble themselves before God, and began to assemble themselves together at their sanctuaries to worship God before the altar, watching and praying continually, that they might be delivered from Satan, and from death, and from destruction”Alma 15:17
Note that this check happened before they gathered to their sanctuaries so that they could be properly prepared to worship there so that they could be delivered from Satan, death, and destruction.
I think that the temple recommend interview serves the same purpose in our day.
Lessons learned from answering honestly
When my 11-year-old daughter was preparing to receive a recommend, I stressed to her that the point wasn’t to try and answer the questions the way that she thought the bishop would want them answered.
I told her that the best thing to do was answer them honestly. So I read each of the questions to her and asked her about how she felt about them. I also answered many questions regarding things that she didn’t understand.
In the interview, when asked if she had a testimony of Jesus, she answered “no.” The bishop inquired further and she said that although she believes in Jesus, she has not yet had any experiences where she could say that she had a testimony of Him and His atonement.
The bishop had some words of counsel and encouraged her. She received her recommend and I think it was a great experience for her and revealed some places that she could focus her growth.
Improving our experiences
If there is anything about the questions that we feel uncomfortable with, we can prayerfully fellowship with others and seek to find peace with our answers.
The questions are there to make sure we have the best experience possible in the temple.
My perspective is that they help to ensure that all who go to the House of the Lord are of one heart and one mind and that we each feel confident in our purposes for being there and participating.