By Alexis Tanner
When the temples in Utah were closed during most of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, my temple recommend was going to expire during that time. Not knowing when the temples were going to open again, I could have waited until I knew we could start attending. But I was anxious to get back to the temple. I desperately craved the peace and Spirit that I felt there and needed strength to combat the chaotic world we were living in. So I made sure to schedule interviews with my bishopric and stake presidency. When I was in my interview with the stake presidency member, he was grateful I was there renewing my temple recommend before the temples opened back up because he knew there would be a rush once they opened again.
Then a few months later, I received the email that we could start scheduling times to go to the temple and I was ready! Our temple slots quickly filled up and I was so glad I could grab a spot and that I had a current temple recommend.
A Recommend Brings Happiness
A temple recommend is more than a piece of paper and it’s more than checking off a to-do list to be worthy to enter the temple. Having a temple recommend and being worthy to enter the temple blesses our lives. President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “It would please the Lord if every adult member would be worthy of—and carry—a current temple recommend. The things that we must do and not do to be worthy of a temple recommend are the very things that ensure we will be happy as individuals and as families.”
Sometimes we may feel uneasy or worried that we aren’t worthy to enter the Lord’s house. I love what Elder Djarot Subiantoro said in his talk called “Always Having a Temple Recommend, ”If we are striving to be true and faithful to the principles of the gospel, then we will always be temple worthy.” When we are trying our best and trying to live the commandments, then we can be sure that we are ready to enter the Lord’s house.
Temples Around the World
The temple is where we can perform the necessary ordinances for salvation. As the church’s membership grows, so does the building of temples. It is evident that God and the leadership of the church would like all of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to more easily access a temple. Currently there are 170 operating temples and an additional 95 are under construction or have been announced for a total of 265 temples around the world. It’s truly a miracle to see how quickly these sacred buildings are dotting the earth.
History of the Temple Recommend
Did you know that the president of the church used to sign every temple recommend? He would receive letters of recommendations from local church leaders of people who wanted to go to the temple. It wasn’t until 1891 that the responsibility was delegated to the bishoprics and stake presidencies by President Wilford Woodruff. Uniform recommends were created in 1922 and they were only valid for one year, but were changed to two years in 2002 and barcodes were added in 2007. In a recent announcement, some areas will be able to apply a digital signature to temple recommends. Even though how the temple recommend looks has changed over time, it has always been a symbol of your dedication to the Lord.
Recommended to the Lord
In the October 2020 General Conference, Elder Ronald A. Rasband shared a story about his father-in-law who was nearing the end of his life. He had asked the bishop to interview him to renew his temple recommend because he wanted to be “recommended to the Lord.” I hope we can each strive to live a life that’s in harmony with the teachings of the gospel so we can also be recommended to the Lord.