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Temple Worthiness


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#1 prisonchaplain

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 12:07 PM

What does it mean to be "temple worthy?" Who determines whether a member is? Once you are declared worthy, what does it take to remain worthy--or do you have to regain the worthiness before each visit? Can a member not be temple worthy, but still be in good standing? Is there a correlation between being a "temple worthy Mormon" and being in a state of salvation-readiness? Any thoughts on the expectations of members vis a vis the Temple and this whole discussion of faith and works?

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." -- Lord Acton


#2 Traveler

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 12:57 PM

What does it mean to be "temple worthy?"

Who determines whether a member is? Once you are declared worthy, what does it take to remain worthy--or do you have to regain the worthiness before each visit?

Can a member not be temple worthy, but still be in good standing?

Is there a correlation between being a "temple worthy Mormon" and being in a state of salvation-readiness?

Any thoughts on the expectations of members vis a vis the Temple and this whole discussion of faith and works?
[/b]


Temple worthy is one of those topics that involves very simple concepts that are sometimes not understood very well within the LDS community let alone the non-LDS religious community. The foundation of the concept begins with divine law and associated covenant. In essence there are 4 Laws and associated covenants that prepare the Latter-day Saint for temple worship. The laws and associated covenants have to do with chastity, sacrifice, consecration and obedience.

Currently all Latter-Day Saints (including president Hinckley) are required to make an accounting of their stewardships in relationship to their covenants at least ever two years – more often is circumstances require it. This accounting is to their Bishop (or councilor) and Stake President (or councilor). During this accounting of their covenant stewardship the Latter-Day Saint is reminded of what is expected as a minimum requirement and given an opportunity to make an accounting. The determination of worthiness is the primary responsibility of the Latter-Day Saint with the Bishop and Stake Presidents having secondary or advisory roles.

Being active in G-d laws and associated covenants is essential to one’s eternal standing. For example our eternal relationship with G-d is associated with our desire and ability to live according to his laws. G-d will not force us to live according to laws we do not accept or cannot live. Therefore our life here on earth gives us an opportunity to “try” various laws and covenants in our quest for eternal rest; to help us understand living with G-d or what-ever it is we choose. In this, G-d encourages us to be invested in his plan for our eternal destiny – or some other plan. This is what we understand as “agency”.

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#3 Ray

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 01:06 PM

Q: What does it mean to be "temple worthy?"

A person receiving a "full" temple recommend is basically saying they feel ready to enter God's presence.

You can also receive a partial recommend, for certain things... like baptism, or for a child to attend a sealing ordinance.

Q: Who determines whether a member is (temple worthy)?
The member and a representative of our Lord... who is there to help the member by asking questions to help the member determine whether or not their answers are considered appropriate for someone who is seeking to enter the presence of the Lord. The final word is with our Lord, of course, but He acts through representatives, so their word is considered "good enough"... unless He overrules them.

Q: Once you are declared worthy, what does it take to remain worthy--or do you have to regain the worthiness before each visit?
It is the member's responsibility to remain worthy to enter the temple after they receive their temple recommend. The member is also responsible for renewing their recommend, which expire after 2 years. We go through the same process for each recommend we receive.

Q: Can a member not be temple worthy, but still be in good standing?
Yes. A member who is in "good standing" is a member who is not restricted because of inappropriate activity as a member of the Church. A member who is "temple worthy" is a member who is worthy to enter the temple. A new member must wait for a full year before they can seek to receive their temple recommend, but they are still considered to be a member in "good standing".

Q: Is there a correlation between being a "temple worthy Mormon" and being in a state of salvation-readiness?
Yes. A person who is worthy to receive a temple recommend is, according to the word of the member and that member's bishopric, worthy to enter the presence of the Lord. In other words, they are ready, and only our Lord can say otherwise... and we believe our Lord is speaking through His representatives.

Q: Any thoughts on the expectations of members vis a vis the Temple and this whole discussion of faith and works?
My expectation is that faith and works will lead me into the presence of God.
But not my faith and works... the faith and works God gives to me.

#4 Traveler

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 01:18 PM

Just a side thought PC: Is there any way or method, in a formal setting, that an EV has opportunity to make an accounting and be taught concerning their personal covenants (commitments) and standing with G-d? The Traveler

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#5 Ray

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 01:36 PM

Just a side thought PC: Is there any way or method, in a formal setting, that an EV has opportunity to make an accounting and be taught concerning their personal covenants (commitments) and standing with G-d?

The Traveler
[/b]

Just a side thought to your side thought, Traveler... based upon what I know.

The term "evangelical" or "evangelist", as understood by most people in the world today, refers to a member of any of many religions... or religious organizations... or sects, and there's a lot of diversity among them.

I suppose any of them could make that opportunity, but most of them don't.

And there is no "standard practice" to follow... other than to ask our Father in prayer.

But they don't have temples, so what would they use recommends for?

#6 prisonchaplain

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 01:49 PM

My expectation is that faith and works will lead me into the presence of God.
But not my faith and works... the faith and works God gives to me.[/b]


That's some good old-fashioned preaching, right there! :sparklygrin:

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." -- Lord Acton


#7 Ray

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 01:53 PM

[quote]
<div class='quotemain'>
My expectation is that faith and works will lead me into the presence of God.
But not my faith and works... the faith and works God gives to me.[/b][/quote]

That's some good old-fashioned preaching, right there! :sparklygrin:
[/b][/quote]
Do you think I'm evangelical now... like maybe a closet evangelist?

I thinking that maybe you are LDS. ;)

#8 prisonchaplain

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 01:59 PM

Just a side thought PC: Is there any way or method, in a formal setting, that an EV has opportunity to make an accounting and be taught concerning their personal covenants (commitments) and standing with G-d?

The Traveler
[/b]


Not in the on-going sense you've explained here. However, there are incidences. If an EV sought formal membership in his/her church (as many as 50% in a church may be 'adherents,' but not formal members), questions might be asked, commitments sought, etc. Likewise, if one sought a church office, such as deacon or teacher. Clergy, of course, go through such every year.

In addition, when we partake in the Lord's Supper (communion) there is usually a time for reflection, and even repentence--prior to adminstering the elements.

Finally, Pentecostals have 'altar services' every week. They are a time, usually at the end of the meeting, when folk are invited to come to the front to receive prayer, repent of sins, etc.

Additionally, some churches do have "accountability groups." Three or four guys might meet on a weekly basis to share and pray for each other. Once trust is built, they begin to encourage each other about their personal lives. "How's that struggle with lust gone this week, brother?" It's not a forced accountability, but one based on love and trust.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." -- Lord Acton


#9 Ray

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 02:13 PM

...Pentecostals have 'altar services' every week. They are a time, usually at the end of the meeting, when folk are invited to come to the front to receive prayer, repent of sins, etc.[/b]

That brought to my mind something I had practically forgotten about... at the end of each "sermon" there is always (or almost always) an "invitation" and an "invitation hymn". I remember my Dad, and Granddad, doing that, now, and I think it's a "standard practice".

We (LDS) don't do that, btw. And we don't pass a plate, either.

Have you attended one of our services yet, Tommy?

Additionally, some churches do have "accountability groups." Three or four guys might meet on a weekly basis to share and pray for each other. Once trust is built, they begin to encourage each other about their personal lives. "How's that struggle with lust gone this week, brother?" It's not a forced accountability, but one based on love and trust.[/b]

Yep. "Bible Study groups"... they call them.

They're not expected to attend, but I'd say they are regularly encouraged.

And btw, if you don't know, Tommy, nobody forces our accountability, but we do encourage that because we believe it does help strengthen us.

#10 prisonchaplain

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 02:32 PM

Have you attended one of our services yet, Tommy?[/b]


Nope. I've never been to the Church of Christ. :P We have a COC volunteer that comes in regularly though--keeps our portable baptismal tank nice and wet.

They're not expected to attend, but I'd say they are regularly encouraged.

And btw, if you don't know, Tommy, nobody forces our accountability, but we do encourage that because we believe it does help strengthen us.
[/b]


Every church has a large contingent of hanger-on-ers that we hope will ultimately "enter in." :sparklygrin: I only mentioned the "forced accountability" part, because even some very sincere Christians might be alarmed at having to discuss their intimate struggles with others--and they never do "have to."

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." -- Lord Acton


#11 Ray

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 03:05 PM

We have a COC volunteer that comes in regularly though--keeps our portable baptismal tank nice and wet.[/b]

An interesting thought... Do you know any LDS that meet for worship where you are?

... or some people who claim to be LDS and worship in prison with you?

You said your supervisor is LDS, right? Are there others who are LDS you know there?

Either volunteers, or incarcerated?

I wouldn't be surprised, either way. Not all LDS are always faithful... either in the world or out of it.

#12 prisonchaplain

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 05:04 PM

An interesting thought... Do you know any LDS that meet for worship where you are?[/b]


We used to have a couple of volunteers (LDS), but they stopped going. We have a couple now waiting to be trained.

... or some people who claim to be LDS and worship in prison with you?[/b]


Some LDS inmates choose to join the Protestant chapel service. We also have BOM, the triple, and a few of the gospel instruction books. Several videos of conferences too.

You said your supervisor is LDS, right?[/b]


No, I'm almost positive he's not.

Are there others who are LDS you know there?[/b]


I've had a couple staff who say they were raised LDS, but none active.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." -- Lord Acton


#13 Ray

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 05:12 PM

Some LDS inmates choose to join the Protestant chapel service. We also have BOM, the triple, and a few of the gospel instruction books. Several videos of conferences too.
That's good to know. :)

Me (Ray): You said your supervisor is LDS, right?

Tommy (prisonchaplain): No, I'm almost positive he's not.

Then please clear up that story for me. I know you said something like that before.

From my memory, faulty though it may be, sometimes, I remember you saying something about how you first found this website while trying to learn more about LDS, since (one of your higher ups) was LDS, and you didn't know much about that... our (LDS) religion.

Maybe he's on the board of directors, or something else like that, instead of being a "supervisor".

#14 pushka

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 09:07 PM

I think I recall a little of the background of PC's situation. That there used to be LDS 'priesthood' types (sorry for terminology!) who would counsel the LDS prisoners each week, but that they are no longer working there, so PC was learning what he could so that he could appropriately counse LDS inmates during their absence...does that about sum it up correctly PC? (Apols in advance if I'm mistaken!)

#15 prisonchaplain

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Posted 23 November 2006 - 09:18 AM

Ray: It all had to do with a school board member appointment. The appointee was LDS, and was now up for re-election. The opponents complained that since there were already two other LDS on the 5-person board, this selection might have been religiously motivated. I wrote a letter condemning the use of religion to cast aspersions in a school board race. Pushka: After the school board race, yes, the problem of the volunteers quitting did motivate me to learn more. Ironically, it's most become useful in the past three or four months, as I've had a few inquiries.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." -- Lord Acton


#16 Ray

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 09:43 AM

...the problem of the volunteers quitting did motivate me to learn more. Ironically, it's most become useful in the past three or four months, as I've had a few inquiries.
[/b]

I hope you're referring them to the elders... to learn more about the Church.

It's "okay" to give your own perspective, of course... with the understanding that you are accountable for what you tell others... but you and any other person who is not appointed by the Lord to represent the Church, including members of the Church... do not officially represent the Church.

I hope we have helped to teach you at least that much. :)

#17 prisonchaplain

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 01:55 PM

As with any faith group other than my own, I give them actual church literature, organizational addresses, etc. My own perspectives only come into play if they are directly sought. Even then, my thoughts are usually limited to comparisons of doctrine and practice. I leave it to the inmates to draw their own conclusions. One approach I learned early on in the chaplaincy--and I find it appropriate in general, is that we are called to tell of the good things of our own faith, not what we might perceive to be the weaknesses of others. I had to dismiss a group of volunteers once for going negative (anti-Catholic). It was a tough call. We had 'encouraged' them--received further negative feedback, and ultimately had to ask them to find another venue that might be more appropriate for their approach.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." -- Lord Acton


#18 Ray

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 10:07 AM

As with any faith group other than my own, I give them actual church literature, organizational addresses, etc.[/b]

I think that is good, and I would appreciate that if I didn't know anything about the Church.

My own perspectives only come into play if they are directly sought. Even then, my thoughts are usually limited to comparisons of doctrine and practice. I leave it to the inmates to draw their own conclusions.[/b]

That is the tricky part, I think. I believe you're a good guy who doesn't intend to cause problems, but your "comparisons" of other doctrines would have to come from your perception and your perception of those things could be flawed.

For instance, I know all the doctrine that the "Church of Christ" teaches, and I also know the LDS doctrine. Would you be comfortable with me teaching the doctrine of the "Church of Christ" now that I'm no longer a member of that Church? I do know their doctrine and could share those without errors, but when I started making "comparisons"... would you like that? Do you believe I could do that while being totally fair?

One approach I learned early on in the chaplaincy--and I find it appropriate in general, is that we are called to tell of the good things of our own faith, not what we might perceive to be the weaknesses of others. [/b]


But our words are not the only thing that help others learn from us. We also learn from body language, actions, and examples. And what I'm learning from you now is and would be very different than what I'd be learning from you if you simply changed your religion while still being totally sincere while your religion was a reflection of you.

I had to dismiss a group of volunteers once for going negative (anti-Catholic). It was a tough call. We had 'encouraged' them--received further negative feedback, and ultimately had to ask them to find another venue that might be more appropriate for their approach.
[/b]

I probably would have done the same thing. But do you see that they were doing what they thought they should do, and you, from your view, saw things differently?

And btw, we haven't strayed from the topic of this thread. Being and becoming "temple worthy" means something. For one thing, for us, it means we see things as they are. And those who don't see what we see do not see why we think what we think is important... at least not enough to believe that what they're actually seeing is the way things really are from God's perspective.

#19 prisonchaplain

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 08:50 PM

Would you be comfortable with me teaching the doctrine of the "Church of Christ" now that I'm no longer a member of that Church? [/b]


I would be comfortable with you teaching curious Mormons about the Church of Christ. In the scenario I presented, it's well known that I'm the Protestant chaplain. So, if an inmate comes to me (sporting my clergy collar, mind you), and asks, "What do you know about the Mormon Church?" I'd likely print out a few basic articles from lds.org. Then, he might say, what do you know about baptism for the dead. I'd say, not much, but it's rooted in a verse in Corinthians. You might want to right the church?

Here's the bugaboo. What's the difference between the Mormon and Christian church? I'd likely give print outs from both. Additionally--and I've done this--I'd recommend the book we often refer to here: How Wide the Divide (since it has both an evangelical and a Mormon 'voice').

Bottom-line: Ray, it does not come up that often. I don't pretend to be an authority. I offer some perceptions, and lots of resources.

I do know their doctrine and could share those without errors, but when I started making "comparisons"... would you like that? Do you believe I could do that while being totally fair?[/b]


The word may have thrown you for a loop. To say, "LDS believe this, evangelicals believe that" is comparison. Refer back to my string on AOG and LDS. That's very much how I'd handle any questions about other religious groups. Here's some standard evangelical (or even AOG) doctrinal statements. Here are the ones from the group your interested in. I've given information on Santeria, the god Maat (Egyptian), Asatru, Odinism, and even Satanism.

But our words are not the only thing that help others learn from us. We also learn from body language, actions, and examples. And what I'm learning from you now is and would be very different than what I'd be learning from you if you simply changed your religion while still being totally sincere while your religion was a reflection of you.[/b]


That's why I much prefer to bring in religious volunteers and contractors, rather than relying on literature, videos, etc.

I probably would have done the same thing. But do you see that they were doing what they thought they should do, and you, from your view, saw things differently?[/b]


Of course. I did not condemn them. I explained that in our correctional environment, there were limitations. They could advocate what they believed, but must not disparage other religions. They ultimate could not accept the limitations. So, security concerns required me to let them go.

And btw, we haven't strayed from the topic of this thread. Being and becoming "temple worthy" means something. For one thing, for us, it means we see things as they are. And those who don't see what we see do not see why we think what we think is important... at least not enough to believe that what they're actually seeing is the way things really are from God's perspective.[/b]


In other words, it takes embracing a Mormon perspective (worldview) to truly benefit from a Mormon Temple. That is actually a very logical proposal, Ray.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." -- Lord Acton


#20 Ray

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Posted 28 November 2006 - 10:00 AM

In other words, it takes embracing a Mormon perspective (worldview) to truly benefit from a Mormon Temple. That is actually a very logical proposal, Ray.
[/b]

I appreciate how tactful you are, Tommy. That's one of your qualities I admire. But I don't think I got my point across and I'd like you to see what I'm saying.

... you don't have to agree or accept this, of course. I'd just like you to see what I'm saying.

I think it is really important for you to know what I am trying to tell you.


For instance, if you said this...

(if someone asked you what you know about our (LDS) baptisms for the dead)

I'd say, not much, but it's rooted in a verse in Corinthians.[/b]


... you'd be propogating an error about us (LDS) and our (LDS) doctrine.

Or in other words, you'd be sharing what you see from your perspective... without really understanding what you're doing... and what you are seeing is not really the way things are.

I will later try to explain how what you said is an error, but that is really not the point I'm trying to make.

You would be giving a false impression... because you have a false impression... even though it is not your intention to have a false impression and even less to share it.

So you can't help someone else understand us (LDS) or our (LDS) doctrine. And you might even help to keep yourself and other people you interact with from learning what is really true about us if they are satisfied with what you tell them about us and our doctrine.

And btw, the error is in teaching that the roots for our (LDS) baptisms for the dead come from something Paul said when he wrote one of his letters to the Corinthians... instead of telling others that the roots are based in teachings from Jesus Christ both back then and now today through His authorized prophets and apostles... or at least that's what I believe and you should tell him I said so if you're going to spread what I think to other people who ask you.

And if you're wondering "what is the point" of me saying all this I'll now tell you that I'm trying to tell you that we should be very careful when we tell other people what we believe about God (or anyone else) instead of telling them they should get to know God (or the source) for themselves.

If we want to know about the Church, we should go to the Church to ask questions.

And Yes, while it is true that the Church is the people, or members, of the Church, it is more precisely the "body" of people, and it is best to go to the head instead of being satisified with what a finger tells you.. especially if it has a fingernail that really needs to be trimmed.




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