Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
So on my wedding website (www.mywedding.com/megankyle, if you're interested) I've recently noted the preparation that Kyle and I have made to be able to go to the temple to be married for time and all eternity. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and even though I try not to talk too much about the wedding on this blog (that's what the wedding blog is for!), I want to make an exception! Worthiness has been on my mind a lot over the past few months--and it should be, seeing as if we want to be worthy to be sealed, time is running out to sufficiently repent if there is something amiss!
When Latter-day Saints go to the temple, they must hold a temple recommend, obtained by an interview with the bishop and stake president (our local church leaders). Kyle and I have scheduled a meeting with our bishop for our temple recommend interview this Sunday and have now finished the pre-endowment section of the temple prep classes (the final class happens after the wedding). I'm actually very, very, very happy to be going to see the bishop and have a worthiness interview--it's such a good thing to be worthy to go to the temple. In the past, I've had interviews with the bishop for a temple recommend that is good for a year--these recommends are for doing baptisms in the temple ONLY. Since we will be getting endowed and married, the temple recommend will expire every two years, but the process of obtaining this one is a little bit different...we have to go not only to our bishop (the leader of our local church unit) but also to the Stake President (the leader of our stake, which is a cluster of local units). We must have a worthiness interview with both of them in order to obtain a temple recommend that would gain us entrance for the endowment and sealing (marriage) ordinances. For those who are unfamiliar with what's all involved in a worthiness interview, here are a few basic facts about worthiness, recommends, etc.:
1) You must have a temple recommend to be able to go to the temple, which means that contrary to what everyone thinks, not every Latter-day Saint is automatically able to go there. We believe that when the Lord gives much, much is expected in turn, meaning that if you have a testimony of the truths of the gospel, the Lord holds you in higher accountability to follow those truths than those who do not have a testimony of the gospel. Would you punish a four-year-old child and a fourteen-year-old child in the same way if they committed the same offense? Any typical parent or guardian would not. Neither would the Lord hold those responsible for a lack of knowledge. Latter-day Saints have knowledge of the restored gospel, and it is their duty to adhere to the commandments given by God. This is why it's not enough to just be a member of the church to be able to enter the temple--the Lord's house is about more than just "belonging" to a certain religion.
2) In order to determine whether or not a Latter-day Saint is worthy to enter into the House of the Lord, he or she is "asked searching questions about his or her personal conduct, worthiness, and loyalty to the Church and its officers. The person must certify that he or she is morally clean and is keeping the Word of Wisdom (no drugs, alcohol, coffee, tobacco), paying a full tithing (10% of annual income), living in harmony with the teachings of the Church (Law of Chastity is a big one), and not maintaining any affiliation or sympathy with apostate groups. The bishop is instructed that confidentiality in handling these matters with each interviewee is of the utmost importance" (Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple--my comments added in parentheses).
3) I've been asked how the bishop (or stake president) would really know if I'm being truthful about my responses to obtain a temple recommend. Couldn't I just lie if I wanted? I could. But what good would that do? I might be able to deceive the bishop, a person who is human and imperfect, like me. The Lord, however, knows all things and will not be mocked. If I obtained a temple recommend and used it without being worthy, I will not receive any blessings from the covenants I've made until I am worthy. Covenants must be kept to receive blessings from the Lord--if we disregard our promises, the Lord is not bound to uphold His. At baptism, we covenant to follow the principles of the gospel, and if we do not, then we receive considerably less blessings from the Lord.
4) You don't just get one shot at the interview! If something is amiss in the patterns of your life, the bishop will help you resolve it. This is what he has been called to do! After you have sufficiently repented and prayed, you may return for another interview. Just because you might be kept from a recommend once does not mean you can't get one a little later. This also works in reverse--just because you have a temple recommend does not mean that it cannot be taken away if your actions are not in accordance with gospel standards. Recommends must be renewed every two years, so regardless of whether you have had reason to not use your recommend, it can expire, and you must submit to an interview again.
Kyle and I pray for strength everyday to make righteous choices so that we'll be able to enter the temple confident that we are worthy to make covenants therein. It's not always easy--when you become engaged, it's easy to be tempted in more ways than one! It's very important to us to be worthy in every way before entering the temple, or else we know the blessings promised to married couples will not come to us. As for worthiness interviews, they aren't scary (if everything is as it should be!)...when I'm following the commandments and obeying the Lord, worthiness interviews are a blessing because I receive encouragement and confirmation that I am doing the right thing.
Saturday, November 14, 2009