The bishop called me in a couple of months ago to check on me, to give me a calling, and mostly to let me know that he was ready to give me a temple recommend. He got out his book, all ready to go, but I had to honestly let him know that I was a bit behind on the money I owe to the Lord, so he told me to come back when I was ready.
With the help of some Christmas money from my dad, I made an appointment this week with the bishop.
But since I met with him last, there has been general conference, and stake/regional conference, and I have had some doubt in my mind as to whether or not I will be able to truthfully answer the questions to get my recommend.
As I thought about it last Sunday morning, though, my heart swelled with excitement at the prospect of attending the temple. I had just written a check, and was ready to make an appointment upon seeing the bishop at church that day. I have had moments in the past when I thought I did not want to go to the temple again. A main focus there is eternal marriage, and why would I want to be reminded of that? But this time I did not fear my reaction to that subject. I have become a pretty strong person through everything, and I feel like I am ready to go back.
So now in preparation, I want to explore the questions that have been a problem in the past...
1. 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?
2. 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?
For the first question, I believe I do and always have sustained my leaders. "Sustain" to me means that I believe that leaders, both general and local, have been called by God Himself to those callings and that they have been set apart and given certain priesthood keys that they are entitled to with those callings. I do not believe that sustaining them means I have to always agree with every little thing they say, but I do believe that God will give them certain revelation on certain topics when the time is right. I know that every leader has people under their jurisdiction that they really connect with and touch, and others that they do not. It is the same for me as a teacher. Some of my students have a great experience with me as their teacher, while others do better to switch to a different class or are grateful when they do not have to endure my teaching any more. I think that is simply called life and personality, and that it is impossible for a person to please everyone regardless of how hard they try or how inspired they try to be. Sometimes personalities and personal ideas and opinions and interpretations get in the way of that. So even when a leader and a member do not always see eye-to-eye, that does not mean to me that the member automatically does not sustain them or does not believe they are called of God.
Does that make any sense?
I don't like the way the second question is worded, because I doubt anyone could answer it honestly. Aren't we all supposed to associate with our neighbors, be-friend them regardless of their religious affiliations or beliefs on values, morals, word of wisdom, etc? Don't most of us have jobs that require us to associate with people whose views may not be in harmony with our own? Just because we associate with them, does that automatically mean that we are going to agree with everything they say or choose to act as they do?
No! The idea is ridiculous.
I associate with many people who do not believe everything exactly as I believe it or exactly as the church teaches it. But that does not mean that I am an apostate for enjoying the time I spend with them, for cherishing the chance to serve them and to listen to and understand their points of view. Yes, a few of my thoughts and feelings do conflict with what the church teaches, so I guess I am in trouble for associating with myself. :) But like I've said before, I don't know all the reasons why I have felt like God wants me to feel the way I do about certain things. Either they really are true, and it's just not time for the Prophet to tell us yet, or I need to believe that they are true so that I can truly empathize with and therefore serve some of God's precious children.
If all people with temple recommends are required to be absolutely perfect all the time with regards to all of the questions, then I think there would be very few people that are actually worthy to have a recommend. I think we are just expected to do the best we can, and God will bless us for our efforts to improve and will tolerate or overlook our imperfections if we truly have a desire to attend and partake of the blessings of the temple.
That is all I have ever done or ever wanted. Truly it is. I hope my leaders can see what is in my heart this time and allow me the opportunity to return to the house of the Lord.
Wish me luck!
4 weeks ago