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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Temples & Mormonism – 1982

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Temples, 1982.” You can view other years here.

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TEMPLES, 1982.

1982:  5 Jan.:  Oral sex letter (compare with 1978 letter).

“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.  The First Presidency has interpreted oral sex as constituting an unnatural, impure, or unholy practice.  If a person is engaged in a practice which troubles him enough to ask about it, he should discontinue it.

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, 5 Jan., 1982.  Compare with letter of 1978:  Only the part underlined in this letter [underlining added by me] differs from the 1978 letter.)

Proof of military status to obtain military garments.



47 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150

11 January 1982


Dear Brethren:

Bulletin No. 18, December 1981, Item: Military Relations, Temple Garment for Military Personnel

Please advise all military personnel, including Reserve, National Guard, and Active Duty, that duplicating a military identification card is prohibited by law in any form or manner. Disseminate this information immediately. Certification of military status by the persons’s military commander, bishop, LDS chaplain, group leader, or other military or Church official will serve as proof of military status when ordering the temple garment for military personnel.

Faithfully yours,

/s/ Ezra Taft Benson


(Letter from Ezra Taft Benson, President of the Council of the Twelve to Stake, Mission, and District Presidents, Bishops and Branch Presidents; 11 January 1982.  Bergera collection.)

3 Apr.:  Regular temple attendance increases spirituality.

“Implicit in the building of temples is the principle of regular temple attendance by the Saints.  Nothing builds spirituality and our understanding of the priesthood principles more than regular temple attendance.”  (Spencer W. Kimball, 3 Apr., 1982; CR Apr., 1982, p. 4)

1 Jul.:  Temple recommends for singles.

“The temple endowment includes certain sacred covenants which place the individual under obligation to observe these throughout life.  Those who go to the temple for the first time should be both worthy and sufficiently mature to assess their capacity to keep these covenants thereafter, whether by marrying an active Church member, or by righteous living, though unmarried.

Single members who so qualify may be permitted to receive their temple blessings.  Generally such unmarried individuals could be recommended as they become established in their vocations and professions and desire to be further strengthened in righteous living.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 1 Jul., 1982)

15 Oct.:  Concerning oral sex.

“Under date of January 5, 1982, we addressed a letter to you which outlined procedures to be followed in conducting worthiness interviews.  Since then, we have received a number of letters from members of the Church which indicate clearly that some local leaders have been delving into private, sensitive matters beyond the scope of what is appropriate.

In conducting worthiness interviews, you should follow carefully the instructions contained in our letter of January 5, 1982.  Also, you should never inquire into personal, intimate matters involving marital relations between a man and his wife.  You should never deviate from or go beyond the specific questions contained in the temple recommend book.  If in the course of such interviews a member asks questions about the propriety of specific conduct, you should not pursue the matter but should merely suggest that if the member has enough anxiety about the propriety of the conduct to ask about it, the best course would be to discontinue it.  We feel, brethren, that if those who conduct these interviews are sensitive and wise, they can avoid such explicit questions being asked by those being interviewed. 

We request that stake presidents and mission presidents make certain that those under their jurisdiction who are authorized to conduct worthiness interviews are properly instructed about this matter.  Also, when new brethren are called to offices which include the authority to conduct worthiness interviews, stake presidents and mission presidents should make sure that these new appointees are properly instructed in the same way.”  (First Presidency Circular Letter, 15 Oct., 1982)