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President Russell M. Nelson said in this weekend’s conference, “in some respects, it is easier to build a temple than it is to build a people prepared for a temple.”  So much of the conference seemed to invite us to more holiness—more holy living.  I really felt the personal invitation to draw closer to the Lord, to beware of the subtleties and direct attacks of Satan and to do everything in my power to increase the quality of my daily devotions to God.

Then, in the last talk by the Prophet, often titled Final Remarks, President Nelson announced an updated list of questions Church members will be asked when receiving a temple recommend.  I was so very interested to hear then read each one of these questions and think about the changes in the new questions.

I have given hundreds of temple recommend interviews over the years when I served in bishoprics.  In fact, I always said that was my favorite part of the calling—giving these sacred interviews.  I always felt the Spirit during them and I loved hearing members quietly bear their testimonies through the way they lived their lives. 

I will quickly review the recommend questions in a moment, but I have to first say how grateful I am that President Nelson is such a temple-building prophet.  He has announced 35 new temples in the brief 21 months of his tenure—and many of these temples are in places we would have never dreamed one would be built (Russia, India, Papua New Guinea, Budapest, Freetown, for example).  I am thrilled to be on the same speeding train with President Nelson.  He is visionary and resolute.  He’s moving the work forward with the revelations and inspiration of the Lord.  It is thrilling.

As reported in the Church Newsroom, “This adjustment to the temple recommend questions highlights some of the things that matter most as Latter-day Saints carefully prepare to enter a temple.”

Comparison of the Questions

The day will come when we will hardly remember the old questions, but let’s look at the changes in the questions briefly.

Question 1

Old

Do you have faith in and a testimony of God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost?

New

Do you have faith in and a testimony of God, the Eternal Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost?
 

This first question, declaring our foundational faith and testimony of the Godhead remains the same.

Question 2

Old

Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Christ and of His role as Savior and Redeemer?

New

Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and of His role as your Savior and Redeemer?

Notice the addition of the full name of Jesus Christ in the new question and the importance of Him as a personal Savior by adding the possessive pronoun ‘your.’  In order to enter His House, we have to declare our witness of Him who bought us with His blood.

Question 3

Old

Do you have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these the latter days?

New

Do you have a testimony of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

The slight wording change here retains the invitation for us to declare our witness of the Restoration.  The dropping of “in these the latter days” is not a concern as “the Restoration” connotes the latter days.

Question 4

Old

Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?

New

Do you sustain the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the prophet, seer, and revelator and as the only person on the earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys?



Do you sustain the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators?



Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local leaders of the Church?

This continues to be a three-part question.  In the first question, the word “possesses” has been dropped.  In reality, all 15 senior brethren, the Apostles and the members of the First Presidency all possess the keys.

The second part of question 4 remains the same.

The third part only changes one word from “authorities” to “leaders.”

Question 5

Old

Do you live the law of chastity?

New

The Lord has said that all things are to be “done in cleanliness” before Him (Doctrine and Covenants 42:41).

Do you strive for moral cleanliness in your thoughts and behavior?

Do you obey the law of chastity?

I love the changes in this critical question.  This now begins with an introductory scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants and then asks a very telling and soul-searching question about striving for moral cleanliness in thoughts and behavior.  In Proverbs we read: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7)  Morality and chastity begin in the mind and heart before any actions.  Notice also the word of “live” changed to “obey”—a much more exacting question.

Question 6

Old

Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church?

New

Do you follow the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ in your private and public behavior with members of your family and others?

This question is broader and also more specific at the same time.  The new question includes not only members of one’s family but others as well and is very specific about private and public behavior.

Question 7

Old

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?

New

Do you support or promote any teachings, practices, or doctrine contrary to those of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

This new questions goes right to the point very quickly and has added the word ‘promote’ which is certainly more apropos to our modern Internet and social network-based world.  The question is much more clear than the old one.

Question 8

Old

Do you strive to keep the covenants you have made, to attend your sacrament and other meetings, and to keep your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?

New

Do you strive to keep the Sabbath day holy, both at home and at church; attend your meetings; prepare for and worthily partake of the sacrament; and live your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?

This new questions allies closely with the teachings we have had from the leadership of the Church of the past few years focused on keeping the Sabbath Day holy—meaning not only going to church but continuing to remember the Sabbath Day at home.  Doctrinally this change comes right from the teachings of the Book of Mormon:  …see that ye partake not the sacrament of Christ unworthily; but see that ye do all things in worthiness…” (Mormon 9:29)

Question 9

Old

Are you honest in your dealings with your fellowmen?

New

Do you strive to be honest in all that you do?

The old question was always a stopping point for many (in my experience) as they would review their thoughts and their assessment of their lives with their fellowmen.  “I’m certainly striving to be honest” was often a response to the old question.  This new question is also broader in honest “in all that you do.”

Question 10

Old

Are you a full-tithe payer?

New

Are you a full-tithe payer?

This question is exactly the same and reminds us that we cannot enter the doors of the temple unless we are honest with the Lord in the payment of our tithes.

Question 11

Old

Do your keep the Word of Wisdom?

New

Do you understand and obey the Word of Wisdom?

What a great change in this question.  Many people may have different ideas about what is and what is not included in the Word of Wisdom.  The new clause “understand and obey” is brilliant.  I interviewed a number of people over the years who thought that coffee and tea were okay to drink if it wasn’t too much.  This would fall under the new phrase of “understand and obey.”

Question 12

Old

Do you have financial or other obligations to a former spouse or children? If yes, are you current in meeting those obligations?

New

Do you have any financial or other obligations to a former spouse or to children?

If yes, are you current in meeting those obligations?

This question is essentially the same except for addition of the word “any”—meaning, it doesn’t just refer to child support or alimony. It could refer to any other agreements, obligations, contracts or past things that need to be taken care of.

Question 13

Old

If you have previously received your temple endowment: 1) Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple? 2) Do you wear the garment both night and day as instructed in the endowment and in accordance with the covenant you made in the temple?

New

Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple, including wearing the temple garment as instructed in the endowment?

This question has been slightly modified and shortened and gets to the point faster.  It essentially asks the same things as the old question.

Question 14

Old

Have there been any sins or misdeeds in your life that should have been resolved with priesthood authorities but have not been?

New

Are there serious sins in your life that need to be resolved with priesthood authorities as part of your repentance?

This new question encompasses the old question perfectly and gets to any current issues in the person’s life. 

Question 15

Old


Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord’s house and participate in temple ordinances?

New

Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord’s house and participate in temple ordinances?

This last question is exactly the same.  Remember years ago this question used to read:  Do you consider yourself worthy in every way to enter the Lord’s house and participate in temple ordinances?  That would often stop the person being interviewed to quickly review their life again.  Many would say, “Well, I’m not sure I’m worth in every way, but I’m certainly trying.

An Invitation from the Prophet

“The crowning jewel of the Restoration [the process of fully establishing the Church of Jesus Christ on earth] is the holy temple,” President Nelson said. “Individual worthiness to enter the Lord’s house requires much individual spiritual preparation. But with the Lord’s help, nothing is impossible… Individual worthiness requires a total conversion of mind and heart to be more like the Lord, to be an honest citizen, to be a better example and to be a holier person.”

Throughout his ministry, President Nelson has invited us to become more committed to the Lord, to become a holier people—to draw nearer to Jesus Christ.

In this conference he said:  “Many friends not of our faith will participate in tours of those temples and will learn something about temple blessings. And some of those visitors will be moved upon to know more,” he said. “Some will sincerely ask how they might qualify for the blessings of the temple. As members of the Church, we will need to be prepared to answer their questions. We can explain that the blessings of the temple are available to any and all people who will prepare themselves.”

As he concluded his remarks about preparing oneself for temple worship, President Nelson told Latter-day Saints that “preparatory work brings innumerable blessings in this life and inconceivable blessings for the life to come, including the perpetuation of your family unit throughout all eternity.”