By Hollie Ogden
A few weeks ago, I had a temple recommend interview. My bishop is caring and warm and started the interview— as most bishops do— with a little conversation. He pointed to the physical recommend that he would be filling out and said,
“There are three signatures on this recommend, but the most important signature is your own.”
I smiled, nodded, and we got on with the interview. However, I’ve been left thinking and dwelling about his statement since. You would think that the endorsement of ward and stake priesthood leaders would trump my own signature. If you had asked me which is the most important signature, I probably would have given a sheepish response trying to blend the words bishop-stake-president to avoid a wrong answer. Often when I renew my recommend, I do not even remember that I need to sign it!
But what he said is true. The one that truly matters most is my own. In fact, during the COVID-19 pandemic, I went months after a virtual interview without the signature of my stake leader!
This got me thinking about my worthiness to enter the temple and my own self-perception of it.
God finds it very important that you think of yourself as worthy, more so than he does for a priesthood leader to declare you as such. This is the principle behind the last temple recommend interview question that goes as follows,
“Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord’s house and participate in temple ordinances?”
Saying yes to this question is a verbal signature to the Lord. There is no better feeling than being able to confidently meet the eyes of your bishop and say “yes.” Knowing you’re worthy for the Lord’s house and covenants changes who you are and how you think of yourself. You begin to see yourself not only as a child of God, but as part of His royal covenant, one who is worthy of His promises.
And in any discussion about worthiness, it is crucial to emphasize, as Brad Wilcox said, that worthiness is not flawlessness. It doesn’t mean we never make mistakes or that we’ve gone our whole lives perfectly in line with the expectations of the temple recommend interview. It means we repent relentlessly and fiercely. It means our hearts are in the right place and we are willing to keep the specific promises we make in the temple.
A temple recommend in your name is like a personal plaque that reads “Holiness to the Lord, House of the Lord,” just like the ones inscribed on each temple. It changes your world to think of yourself as worthy of such a badge of honor.