← Back to Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism Index

Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1978

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1978.” You can view other years here.

Search the content below for specific dates, names, and keywords using the keyboard shortcut Command + F on a Mac or Control + F on Windows.

TEMPLES, 1978.

1978:  Current purposes of prayer circles.

“The purposes of the prayer circle are outlined in a recent instruction from the LDS Authorities:

The purpose of the prayer circle:  The true order of prayer, Get Close to the Lord, Spirits drawn out to God and His Son, Hearts Humble, contrite and at peace, Soften hearts of participants and draws them near to God, Perfect love and harmony, Pray for the sick, Pray for the advancement of the Lord’s work with His blessings upon the people and His leaders.”

(D. Michael Quinn, “Latter-day Saint Prayer Circles,” BYU Studies 19(1):104, Fall, 1978; quoting from “Requirements and Instructions for Setting Up Prayer Circles,” (n.d.), HDC)

22 Feb.:  Withholding of temple blessings from Blacks.

“We continue to receive inquiries about the policy of the Church with respect to withholding priesthood and temple blessings from those of Negro ancestry.  For your information and guidance, we set out below the policy governing these cases:

The fact that there may be some question as to a man’s ancestry cannot be rightfully considered as evidence that he has Negro glood.  The matter of determining whether or not one does have Negro blood must be left to the final determination of the stake or mission president involved, after making such thorough investigation as he can.  If there is no evidence to indicate that a man has Negro blood, you would not be justified in withholding the priesthood and temple blessings from him, if he is otherwise worthy.  However, if you find convincing evidence that he has Negro blood, then the priesthood and temple blessings should be withheld.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 22 Feb., 1978)

1 Mar.:  Changes in temple recommend questions.

The following changes in temple recommend questions were made since Supplement Number 1, 1 Jul., 1976:

Changes in position:  #12 now (transgression relating to the law of chastity) was #1 in Supplement #1; #10 now (divorce not cleared) was #12.

New question (now #11):

“In speaking of the temple, the Lord made it clear that no unclean thing should enter therein.  He also said, ‘But if there shall come into it any unclean thing, my glory shall not be there; and my presence shall not come into it’ (See D&C 94:8-9).  Our Heavenly Father is very displeased when any of his children engage in impure, unholy, or unnatural sex acts.  When a person has been involved in any of these situations, complete repentance is required before a temple recommend is issued.”

(General Handbook of Instructions, 1976, #21, Supplement Number 3, 1 Mar., 1978; pp. 4-5)

1 Mar.:  Special exceptions to one-year rule for temples.

[Revision]  “A couple married in a civil ceremony outside the temple is not to be issued recommends for the performance of ordinances in the temple, other than baptisms and confirmations for the dead, until after a year has elapsed since the civil ceremony was performed.  This rule does not apply to the following:

. . . .

2. Special situations:

a. A worthy person endowed before his or her civil marriage may be recommended to go to the temple for any purpose (except for sealing of wife to husband) within the year following such marriage.  An unendowed person not qualifying for a recommend at the time of civil marriage but who has since become worthy and eligible in all respects may receive a recommend to the temple for his or her own endowment and subsequently for any purpose (except for sealing of wife to husband) within the year following civil marriage.  It should be remembered, however, that a wife cannot be endowed unless her husband is already endowed or is to be endowed at the same time.  Couples in these categories are not eligible to receive recommends for their own sealing until one year has elapsed from the date of their civil marriage.

b. A worthy husband and wife married by civil authority who could not be married in the temple because one or both of them had not been a member of the Church for a full year may be endowed and/or sealed as soon as both have been members for one year.

c. A worthy husband and wife married by civil authority who could not be married in the temple because a divorce clearance by the First Presidency was pending may be endowed and/or sealed as soon as the divorce clearance is received.

d. Worthy couples waiting for cancellation of a previous sealing who were civilly married in the temple for time only may be sealed any time after such cancellation is received.”

(General Handbook of Instructions, 1976, #21, Supplement Number 3, 1 Mar., 1978; pp. 6-7)

1 Mar.:  Temple dress standards.

[Revision]  “Because temple attendance is a sacred occasion, conduct, clothng, and grooming of all who enter the temple should reflect their reverence for the sacred nature of the temple and ordinances performed therein.

Brethren.  Brethren should wear a clean white shirt and a tie when going to the temple for ordinance work or to witness a marriage.  A suit jacket is encouraged but is optional in hot climates.

While participating in temple ordinances, patrons have the option of wearing the approved one-piece white suite (white tie optional) or white trousers with a long-sleeve white shirt and white tie.

Sisters.  In going to the temple sisters should be encouraged to wear hose and shoes, be dressed modestly, and should not wear slacks.

Hats and head scarves, if any, should be removed at the temple entrance.

Brides.  Brides who take their own dresses to the temple need to know that the dress shouild be white with long sleeves and a modestly high neckline.  Sheer materials, if any, should be lined.  Brides will be permitted to wear their wedding dress on the session if they so desire.  However, trains, if any, must be removed for the endowment session.  White gowns with long dress pants and not approved for the temple.

Children.  Children must be clothed in white while being sealed to their parents as well as while witnessing sealings of brothers and sisters to parents.  Girls should wear a long white dress with long sleeves.  (Tinygirls may wear either a short or long dress.)  Children should learn the beauty and sacredness of the temple and proper dress is part of that training.

White and Clean.  All clothing worn in the temple, including the garment and underclothing, should be white, clean, and in good repair.  Appropriate items, such as robe, apron, and sash, should also be kept clean and neatly pressed.

Witnessing Marriages.  White clothing will be required onlywhen patrons must go through the celestial room to the sealing room.  Shoes should be removed in designated areas.  White slippers are optional.

Jewelry.  All jewelry worn in the temple should be conservative so as to avoid drawing attention to the individual rather than the sacred ordinances.  Earrings that are small and inconspicuous are acceptable and need not be removed.  This includes but is not limited to pierced earrings.

Sisters’ Grooming.  Plain combs, small barrettes, and white ribbons may be worn in the temple when patrons desire to do so in order to keep their hair in place.  Hairdos, nail polish, and makeup should be conservative.  Loud colors and heavy makeup are out of place in the temple.

Patrons’ Own Shoes.  Patrons’ own shoes when they are to be worn in connection with temple ordinances should be white with a low or medium heel.  The sole should be white or a conservative pastel such as light tan or light gray.  White slippers may be worn in the temple instead of the patrons’ own white shoes and will be available if desired.

Temple Garment.  Those going to the temple for their own endowment should bring an approved temple garment to wear from the temple.

Rental Clothing.  Clothing needed in the temple, including brides’ dresses, will be available at the temple for a modest rental charge, or patrons may use their own provided such clothing meets temple requirements.

Exceptions to Meet Local Conditions.  In countries where customs for street dress are different, and in hot climates, changes may be made in these provisions so as to conform to local conditions and tradition.  However, patrons should be encouraged to go to the temple dressed as they feel would be appropriate for attending a sacrament meeting.

Reverence and Spirituality.  The observance of guidelines set forth herein will bring increased reverence and spirituality into the lives of all who enter the holy temples.”

(General Handbook of Instructions, 1976, #21, Supplement Number 3, 1 Mar., 1978; pp. 8-9)

1 Mar.:  Children born in the covenant.

[Revision]  “Birth in the covenant is a birthright blessing and guarantees the right of having parents eternally, regardless of what happens to the natural parents, so long as the child remains worthy of that blessing.

No sealing to parents is necessary for a child born in the covenant even if the sealing status of the parents is subsequently changed.

If children are sealed to parents during this life, they cannot be sealed later to any other parents, even if the sealing of the parents to whom they are sealed is later cancelled.  This policy is not altered by adoption, consent of the natural parents, request of the child after coming of age, or death of the natural parents.

This would apply to deceased children sealed by proxy if one or both of the parents to whom they were sealed were living at the time of the sealing, unless revoked or cancelled by the First Presidency.

When a woman is properly sealed to a husband in the temple, all children born to her while that sealing remains in effect are born in the covenant.  Her sealing is no longer in effect when any of the following occurs:

1. She is excommunicated.

2. The husband to whom she is sealed is excommunicated.

3. Her sealing to her husband is cancelled.

If a woman is sealed to a husband and he is later excommunicated, that sealing (though no longer in effect by virtue of the act of excommunication) must still be formally cancelled before she can be sealed to another husband.

All children born to her while the sealing is not in effect are not born in the covenant and would need to be sealed to parents even if the sealing of the parents is restored after the birth of these children.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, 1976, #21, Supplement Number 3, 1 Mar., 1978; pp. 9-10)

1 Mar.:  Sealing of children to other than natural parents

[Revision]  “Without approval from the First Presidency, a living child may not be sealed to a natural parent and a stepparent or to foster parents if any of the following six conditions is known to exist:

1. The child is married and not endowed.

2. The child is born in the covenant while sealed to parents.

3. The child was adopted because both parents died.

4. The child’smother did not give up the child voluntarily for adoption under conditions not involving neglect.

5. The adopting parent is the stepmother, and the natural mother is sealed, or it is planned to have her sealed, to the natural father.  (The natural mother can be sealed to the natural father unless she is sealed to another husband before her death.)

6. When the traditional practice (as in Asia or the Pacific) violates the laws of the country in which the child resides.

A person who is twenty-one or older at the time of a sealing request and to whom none of the preceding conditions applies–

1. May be sealed to a natural parent and a stepparent or to foster parents by making a request to the temple president for this sealing.  If the person has been adopted, he should present to the temple president documentary proof of the adoption.

2. Must submit a special request to the Genealogical Department and receive clearance to be sealed to a natural parent and a stepparent or to foster parents if the person was adopted after reaching legal age.

3. May be sealed to a living mother and a stepfather to whom the mother has been sealed.  A person has this right of election because he cannot be sealed to both natural parents in this circumstance.

A person who is under twenty-one at the time of a sealing request and to whom none of the preceding conditions applies may be sealed to a natural parent and a stepparent or to foster parents if the parents requesting the sealing present any one of the following documents to the temple president:

1. Copy of the final decree of adoption, or

2. Copy of the revised legal birth certificate, or

3. Written consent to the proposed sealing signed by the other natural parent.  If the other natural parent is deceased or missing (as defined in the following paragraph), the consent of the remaining parent will suffice.  If a court has withdrawn parental rights permanently from a natural parent because of neglect, the agency or person to whom parental rights were awarded must give written consent to the proposed sealing.

If a natural parent has been missing for more than ten years and is therefore not available to give written consent, a person under twenty-one may be sealed to the other natural parent and a stepparent, subject to future review.  However, such a sealing should not be performed if the natural parents are sealed.  In this context, the word missing means that reasonable efforts have failed to locate the parent.  ‘Reasonable efforts’ includ contacting relatives and friends and checking records that might reveal the parent’s location.  The temple president should be satisfied that reasonable efforts have been made to locate the missing parent.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, 1976, #21, Supplement Number 3, 1 Mar., 1978; pp. 10-11)

1 Mar.:  Children whose natural parents are not known.

[New material]  “If the natural parents of a child who has not been adopted legally are not known and cannot be determined by reasonable efforts, the foster parents or the child should request permission from the Genealogical Department to have the child sealed to the foster parents.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, 1976, #21, Supplement Number 3, 1 Mar., 1978; p. 11)

1 Mar.:  Lines of responsibility for living children.

[New material]  “Living children are responsible for the temple and genealogical work on the lineages of the parents to whom they are sealed.  Living children who are sealed to a parent or parents other than natural parents also retain the privilege of doing temple and genealogical work on the natural lineages that are different from the lines of sealing.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, 1976, #21, Supplement Number 3, 1 Mar., 1978; p. 11)

1 Mar.:  Restoration of blessings is divorce clearance.

[New material]  “Restoration of blessings constitutes a divorce clearance so that the bishop and stake president can then issue a temple recommend if in the interview the person is found to be worthy.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, 1976, #21, Supplement Number 3, 1 Mar., 1978; p. 15)

1 Mar.:  Sealings and artificial insemination.

[Revised since Supplement Number 2]  “The Church discourages artificial insemination with other than the semen of the husband.  Artificial insemination with semen other than from the husband may produce problems related to family harmony.  The Church recognizes that this is a personal matter which must ultimately be left to the determination of the husband and wife with the responsibility for their decision resting solely upon them.

A child born by means of artificial insemination after parents are sealed in the temple is born in the covenant.  A child born by artificial insemination before parents are sealed may be sealed subsequent to the sealing of the parents.”  (General Handbook of Instructions, 1976, #21, Supplement Number 3, 1 Mar., 1978; p. 16)

10 Mar.:  2nd anointing today different.

“In conversation with Robert Black and Knut Knuteson on March 10, 1978, they both indicated that Henry Richards (Manager of Granite Furniture and Regional Representative) had received his second anointing.  According to Black and Knuteson, Richards said that the second anointing today was actually a kind of washing of the feet ordinance; that he was not anointed a king or a priest or a god; and that Richards seemed surprised when Black and Knuteson told him of the second anointing ceremony as performed in Nauvoo because there was apparently no similarity with the second anointing ordinance as performed today.”  (Bergera notes)

Apr.:  Kimball’s testimony of Savior; calling and election.

“Salvation could not come to this world without the mediation of Jesus Christ. How shall God come to the rescue of the generations? He will send Elijah the prophet. The law revealed to Moses in Horeb never was revealed to the children of Israel as a nation. Elijah shall reveal the covenants to seal the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers. The anointing and sealing is to be called, elected, and the election made sure.

I know that God lives. I know that Jesus Christ lives,” said John Taylor, my predecessor, “for I have seen him.” I bear this testimony to you brethren in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”  (The Ensign/May 1978, p. 48; April General Conference, Priesthood Session; President Spencer W. Kimball; Sermon entitled: “Strengthening the Family—the Basic Unit of the Church.”) [Note: The reference to the anointing and sealing comes from Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 323: “The anointing and sealing is to be called, elected and made sure”, and refers to the second anointing and subsequent sealing which makes a person’s calling and election sure.  Bergera collection.]

3 May:  Cessation of temple prayer circles.

“Over the years special permission has been given from time to time for special prayer circles to be held either in the temples of the Church or in special rooms designated for that purpose in stake, ward, or other buildings.

Because of the increasing number of requests for such prayer circles, viewed in light of the rapid growth of the Church, and because of the complications that holding prayer circles in temples on Sunday have created and their tendency to take the participants away from their families and their other Church responsibilities, the Council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve has decided that all such prayer circles, whether held in the temples or outside the temples, be discontinued immediately.

However, recognizing the value of these prayer circles in developing spirituality, commitment, and unity among those participating in them, we suggest that in lieu of such prayer circles, stake leaders may wish to consider the following:  (1) that periodically stake leaders and their wives attend a temple session together in connection with which arrangements be made with the temple presidency for the prayer circle held during the endowment session to be composed of several stake leaders and their wives; and (2) that periodically stake leaders and their companions be called together in a special meeting where opportunity be given to those present to express themselves by way of testimony or exhortation.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 3 May, 1978)

8 May:  Homosexuality and lesbianism.

“Homosexuality in men and lesbianism in women violate the moral code of the Church.  Common judges should keep this in mind when conducting worthiness interviews.

Enclosed for your information and use in counseling those who have these problems are several copies of Letter to a Friend by President Spencer W. Kimball and To the One by Elder Boyd K. Packer.

These pamphlets should be used with wisdom and discretion only in cases where it is felt they will be helpful to those burdened with these problems.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 8 May, 1978)

9 Jun.:  Guidelines on temple recommend interviews.

“As leaders it is our main purpose to save souls.  We must love the people with whom we labor and let them know that we love them and are ready, willing, and anxious to help them wherever possible.

Priesthood leaders responsible for interviewing members as to worthiness to accept positions of responsibility should first discuss with the member what the position entails and what is required of the person accepting the position.  The interviewer should then satisfy himself that the person is prepared to meet the following requirements:

Keep the Word of Wisdom strictly; pay a full tithing; attend the appropriate meetings such as sacrament, priesthood meetings; is honest, honorable, and upright in his dealings; is morally clean, which should include refraining from homosexual or lesbian activities or other unnatural, impure, or unholy practices; is not guilty of spouse or child abuse; and supports the general and local priesthood authorities of the Church. . . .  

In interviewing one for a temple recommend, the individual being interviewed should be reminded that the Lord has said that no unclean thing should enter His house.  The procedure should be the same as for the other interviews.

When interviewing married persons, the one doing the interviewing should scrupulously avoid indelicate inquiries which may be offensive to the sensibilities of those being interviewed.

Married persons should understand that if in their marital relations they are guilty of unnatural, impure, or unholy practices, they should not enter the temple unless and until they repent and discontinue such practices.  Husbands and wives who are aware of these requirements can determine by themselves their standing before the Lord.  All of this should be conveyed without having priesthood leaders focus upon intimate matters which are a part of husband and wife relationships.  Skillful interviewing and counseling can occur without discussion of clinical details by placing firm responsibility on individual members of the Church to put their lives in order before exercising the privilege of entering a house of the Lord.

Anyone guilty of verbal or physical child or spouse abuse should not enter the temple.

All should be reminded that the Lord is the judge, and He knows what they are doing.  They should be asked if they are worthy and qualified for a temple recommend.  If not, advise them to repent and being their lives in harmony with the teachings of the gospel.

We urge you to review your interviewing practices critically and to conform them where necessary to the suggested procedures outlined above.

At the same time, we should let our people know that we love them and should endeavor to teach and lead them in such a way as to avoid the evils and pitfalls which surround them.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 9 Jun., 1978)

Jul.:  Spring City Endowment House.

“Separated office buildings for stake presidents were not uncommon prior to 1920, and during [Orson] Hyde’s lifetime general authorities were authorized to perform endowments and sealings ‘on the road.’  Such ordinances were performed in private homes, the Council House in Salt Lake City, the governor’s office, the bath house in Salt Lake, tithing offices, and meetinghouses–even on Ensign Peak in Salt Lake.  Included in an official Church list of nontemple locations for receiving ordinances is ‘O. Hyde’s Office.’  Thus it does not seem unlikely that sealings, prayer circles, and even endowments were performed in the Spring City ‘Endowment House.'”  (Allen Roberts, “The ‘Other’ Endowment House,” Sunstone 3(5):10, Jul., 1978)

30 Sep.:  Name extraction program.

“In the April general conference of this year, President Spencer W. Kimball said:

I feel the same sense of urgency about temple work for the dead as I do about the missionary work for the living, since they are basically one and the same. . . .

The First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve recently gave careful consideration as to how we can lengthen our stride in this tremendously important responsibility. . . .

We want to emphasize again and place squarely upon the shoulders of . . . individuals and their families the obligation to complete the four-generation program.  Families may extend their pedigree beyond the four generations if desired. . . .

We are introducing a Church-wide program of extracting names from genealogical records.  Church members may now render second-mile service through participating in this regard in extracting these names in this program supervised by the priesthood leaders at the local level.  (Ensign May, 1978, p. 4.)

This announcement will make sweeping changes in the mechanics of genealogical reserach and name submission for temple ordinance work.  To determine the effect on us individually and collectively as family organizations, let us consider what has and what has not changed.

First, I mention some things which have not change:

1. The Lord’s mandate given in section 128 of the Doctrine and Covenants has not changed: 

Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? . . .

Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness; and let us present in his holy temple . . . a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation.  (vv. 22, 24.)

2. Our responsibility to keep a journal and to write our own personal histories and those of our ancestors, particularly those who belong to the first four generations of our pedigree, has not changed.

3. Our responsibility to make certain that all living family members have the opportunity to receive the ordinances of the temple has not changed.

4. Our responsibility to compile our books of remembrance, including the submission of the names of our ancestors for at least the first four generations, and to have the temple ordinances performed in their behalf has not changed.

5. Our responsibility to organize our families at the immediate family level begins when a couple is married.  The grandparent family organization develops as children from the immediate family marry and have children.  Through such family organizations, every family in the Church should become actively involved in missionary work, family preparedness, genealogy and temple work, teaching the gospel, and cultural and social activities.  These vital responsibilities certainly have not changed.

Next, consider some things which have changed:

1. The four-generation program has changed in a very significant way.  In the past each individual was responsible for the submission of his or her four-generation family group record forms.  December 1978 marks the end of the old (current) four-generation program.  Beginning July 1979, the Church will accept newly prepared pedigree charts and family group record forms from family organizations, rather than from individuals.  In the interim between now and July 1979, members of the Church are encouraged to organize as families–each individual with his brothers, sisters, and parents–to compare the information on the family group sheets which they have in common, check the accuracy of the information, verify the dates, and formulate one record to be submitted on behalf of all family members appearing on the group sheet.  This process repeats itself next with the parents (if still living), and so on until all generations are completed, verified, and corrected as necessary.  You can readily see the importance of the family organization.

2. A second major change is that original research beyond the four-generation level will be accepted but will no longer be required of individual members or individual families in the Church.  Instead, the Church has assumed the responsibility to begin a massive record-gathering and extraction program in order to prepare names for temple work.

Those who are acquainted with Latter-day Saint scriptures and the process of genealogical research will recognize that the extraction program is but a first step in the overall program of preparing a Church book of remembrance ‘worthy of . . . acceptation.’  The extraction program is primarily aimed at more efficient identification and processing of names for individual temple ordinance work.  It solves the immediate need to provide many more names for the operation of the temples.

In the past it was not uncommon for family organizations to spend an inordinate amount of time, money, and effort in search of a given ancestor.  Now it would seem that once a reasonable, conventional effort has been made to locate a given ancestor, if he or she cannot be found, the family organization can assume its responsibility completed and move on to the next line or ancestor in question, leaving the processing of the unidentifiable ancestor to the extraction/indexing program.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, 30 Sep., 1978; CR Oct., 1978, pp. 40-42)

30 Sep.:  Format for worthiness interviews.

“With all this evil present in the world today, it is most important that those who are responsible conduct proper interviews.

Let us always remember that our main purpose, assignment, and responsibility is to save souls.  It is important that those we interview realize that they are spirit children of God and that we love them, and let them know that we love them and are interested in their welfare and in helping them succeed in life.

It is a great responsibility for a bishop or a stake president to conduct a worthiness interview. There is equal responsibility, however, upon the member who is interviewed.  Careful, searching interviews need to be conducted always individually and privately.

When you interview a young man for a mission, determine through discussion with him what the Lord would want as an ambassador to represent him and his church.  Let him explain, for instance, what the Lord would want in a missionary with regard to the Word of Wisdom, with regard to morality, honesty, dependability, tithing, obedience, devotion, etc.

Tell the young man that you are interviewing him on behalf of the Lord.  The statements he makes will be commitments to the Lord.

Let him interview himself along with you.  Would the Lord want him as a representative?  Does he measure up in every way?  Remind him that the Lord knows, and the Lord will not be mocked.

Let him know that if there is something amiss in his life, there are ways to straighten it out.  There is a great cleansing power of repentance.

He should know that it is much better to postpone a mission for a period that to go unworthily.  In almost every case he can repent and prepare himself for a mission.

Where there has been serious transgression, he must be referred to a General Authority for clearance, but not until both the bishop and the stake president, in searching interviews, are thoroughly satisfied that he has fully repented and is now completely worthy.

You must know also that an appointment is not to be made until the stake president has discussed the case with the General Authority to determine whether or not he feels it is time to conduct the interview.

If a young man has made a mistake, he should see his friend, the bishop, on his own, without waiting to be interviewed.

It is a time to rejoice when a young man who has made mistakes clears his life and can start anew, clean and worthy to be an ambassador for the Lord.

Remember, the interview is based on consideration, on sympathy and love.  This is so important.  Let the people know we love them and are only trying to help them.

You bishops and stake presidents might approach an interview for a temple recommend something like this:

You have come to me for a recommend to enter the temple.  I have the responsibility of representing the Lord in interviewing you.  At the conclusion of the interview there is a provision for me to sign your recommend; but mine is not the only important signature on your recommend.  Before the recommend is valid, you must sign it yourself.

When you sign your recommend, you make a commitment to the Lord that you are worthy of the privileges granted to those who hold such a recommend.  There are several standard questions that I will ask {because you are instructed to do that}.  You are to respond honestly to each one.

An associate of mine mentioned that some years ago, when he held a position in his ward, he went to the bishop for a temple recommend.

The bishop was busy, and said,

Now, I know you very well, and I will not have to ask you the questions before signing your recommend.

This member responded:

Bishop, don’t you have the responsibility to ask those questions?  It is my privilege to answer them.  I need to answer those questions to you and to the Lord and would appreciate your putting each question to me.

And so it is.  The Lord gives the privilege to members of the Church to respond to those questions in such interviews.  Then if there is something amiss, the member can get his life in order so that he may qualify for the priesthood advancement, for a mission, or for a temple recommend.

Now, after you have put those required questions to the applicant, you may wish to add something like this:

One who goes into the house of the Lord must be free from any unclean, unholy, impure, or unnatural practice.

Brethren, we who lead the Church are responsible to see that you are taught in plainness.  I, therefore, must make reference to a matter that otherwise I would not present in a meeting such as this.

There are evil and degrading practices which, in the world, are not only condoned but encouraged.  Sometimes married couples in their intimate expression of love to one another are drawn into practices that are unholy, unworthy, and unnatural.  We receive letters from time to time asking for a definition of ‘unnatural’ or ‘unworthy.’  Brethren, you know the answer to that.  If in doubt at all, do not do it.

Surely no holder of the priesthood would feel worthy to accept advancement in the priesthood or sign his temple recommend if any impure practice were a part of his life.

If, perchance, one of you has been drawn into any degrading conduct, cast it away from you so that when you are subject to a worthiness interview you can answer to yourself, and to the Lord, and to the interviewing priesthood officer that you are worthy.

Remember, you who conduct worthiness interviews are representatives of the Lord and you must conduct the interviews as the Lord himself would conducte them.

That is, there must be nothing immodest or degrading in your interview.  Our interviews are not to be indelicate, or offensive, or pornographic in any way.

May I say here that occasionally we receive reports that a bishop or a stake president has been very indiscreet or indelicate in an interview, especially of married members.

It is not in order for a priesthood leader to list in detail ugly, deviant, or bestial practices and then cross-examine a member of the Church as to whether or not such things are practiced.

One of the General Authorities once interviewed a young man who had gone into the mission home who had made confession of a transgression which disqualified him from missionary service.

The General Authority was amazed at the sordid nature of what the young man had done and asked, ‘Where on earth did you get the idea to do things like this?’  He was shocked when the young man answered, ‘From my bishop.’

During a preliminary interview for the young man’s mission, the bishop had said, ‘Have you ever done this?  Have you ever done that?’ describing every unworthy and depraved act he could think of.  Such things had never before entered the young man’s mind, but they were in his mind now!  The adversary put in his way the opportunity and the temptation–and he fell!

Brethren, our interviews must be conducted in love, in modesty.  Ofttimes things can be corrected if you ask: Would there be a reason you may feel uncomfortable or perhaps even dishonest to the Lord if you were to sign your own temple recommend?’

Would you like a little time to get some very personal things in order before you sign it?  Remember, the Lord knows all things and will not be mocked.  We are trying to help you.  Never lie to try to obtain a call, a recommend, or a blessing from the Lord.

If you approach the matter as outined above, the members has the responsibility to interview himself.  The bishop or stake president has the right to the power of discernment.  He will know whether or not there is something amiss that ought to be settled before a recommend is issued.

How blessed we are to have the gift of discernment available to us as officers in the priesthood!

On occasion a bishop or a stake president will receive a confession from a member of the Church concerning a transgression that took place many, many years ago.  That individual should have made confession long since but did not and, therefore, has suffered unnecessarily.

It is not always necessary to conduct a court in such cases.  That is up to the bishop.  You are entitled to inspiration and guidance, particularly if the individual has demonstrated through his conduct over the years that that mistake is not characteristic of his life.

How marvelous that inspiration and revelation may accompany us in our duties!  Brethren, be worthy of that.

We frequently hear accounts of how bishops and stake presidents, motivated by consideration and love, have been inspired in conducting interviews and have been able, where problems were present, to help members of the Church correct their course of life so that they became completely worthy to fulfill missions, to be advanced in the priesthood, or to enter the house of the Lord.  And that’s what we are trying to do–help these young men, through love and understanding and interest, to do those things which are necessary in their lives for them to enjoy the blessings of the faithful.

Again I say, what a blessing that we have discernment and revelation and inspiration to guide us in our main purpose, which is to save souls, yes, even our own, and to help prepare our members to understand the purpose of their mission here upon the earth, and to prepare themselves to go back into the presence of our Heavenly Father!”  (N. Eldon Tanner, 30 Sep., 1978; CR Oct., 1978, pp. 59-62)