A few months ago, folks here at Mormon Coffee were discussing LDS temple weddings and the difficulties that can arise when the bride and/or groom come from part-member families. Non-Mormons, as well as Mormons who do not possess temple recommends, are not allowed to enter LDS temples; therefore, they are not allowed to attend the temple weddings of their loved ones.
A Mormon participating in the discussion chided the others:
“Many people here used the word ‘unworthy’ to describe everybody who cannot enter the temple. The implication is that we think we are better than everybody else. And that really isn’t accurate at all. Are the LDS who are not old enough to go to the temple ‘unworthy?’ No.
“And yes- I venture to say that there are a lot of people who live their lives in a manner that they would qualify, if members of the church, to go to the temple.
“For these reasons, I make the point that it is not accurate to us[e] the word ‘worthy’ or ‘unworthy’ to describe everybody who cannot enter the temple.”
I understand that some are not allowed to enter Mormon temples because of being younger than the minimum age requirement. Yet the mild rebuke advanced by this Mormon commenter is really undeserved.
The What We Believe section of the August 2010 issue of the official LDS Ensign Magazine is titled, “Being Worthy to Enter the Temple.” This article is only four paragraphs long, yet uses the words “worthy” or “worthiness” seven times (not including the title):
- “We must, however, be worthy to enter.”
- “A temple recommend signifies that we have been found worthy through an interview with a member of our bishopric…”
- “Temple recommend interviews are opportunities for us to examine our worthiness.”
- “If our priesthood leaders find that we are worthy to enter the temple,…”
- “We sign our recommend to confirm our worthiness to enter the temple.”
- “Our priesthood leaders also sign our recommend as additional witnesses of our worthiness.”
- “This recommend allows us to enter the temple for the next two years, provided we remain worthy.” (Ensign, 8/2010, p.8)
Whether Mormons “think they are better than everybody else” or not, I cannot say. But I do believe that applying the words “worthy” or “unworthy” in the context of describing someone’s general eligibility regarding entrance to LDS temples is indeed accurate.
It is a common thing here at Mormon Coffee for Mormons to accuse non-Mormons of purposely misrepresenting Mormonism, of not understanding the LDS religion, or of ignoring contemporary official statements. In this case, I fail to see where we have gone wrong. We have merely used the same terms used by LDS leadership in official publications and temple recommend interviews, and those commonly used in Mormon circles.
The reason I bring this up is not in an effort to defend the Christian community here. The reason I bring this up is to demonstrate, with one real-life example, that things are not always as they seem. Here, critics of Mormonism were accused of misrepresenting Mormon doctrine while accurately employing the very words and ideas utilized by the LDS Church itself.
The next time you come across an accusation like this, readers, I challenge you to remember this example and recognize that the accusation may be unwarranted. If Mormons raise objections–and cast aspersions–over simple and verifiable issues like this, it begs the question–what sort of basis is there for the other objections and accusations Mormons frequently bandy about online? Think about it and check it out because, when Mormons tell you that you are reading lies, the information you’re reading just might turn out to be the honest truth.