How should I prepare for the Temple? And what’s a Temple recommend? (Under Revision)

For those who are planning missions, I suggest that you go talk to your Bishop at least a year before your anticipated departure date. Perhaps you could ask your Bishop for a practice Temple Recommend interview. That way, you become acquainted with the questions you will be asked and the standards that the Lord has set for entering His house. (Ben McGuire lists and discusses the Temple recommend questions in this FAIR article, and you can read about the history of Temple Recommend requirements from the article listed here.) If you have questions or moral issues you need to discuss with your Bishop, having an interview a year ahead of time gives you time to turn, change, and repent.

The Lord does not require perfection to enter the Temples (or they’d be empty!), but He does require you to be living high standards, and demonstrate that you are keeping your baptismal covenants. Once you have gone to the Temple, you will wear garments under the rest of your clothing. These may require a change in your wardrobe, if you have short-shorts, or tank tops, etc. In other words, try to be living the Temple standards in every way for one year before you go.

In terms of spiritual preparation, several things may help. First, pray to be humble and teachable, and especially to have a good experience in the Temple. You may hear negative stories about some people’s first experiences. That does happen, particularly to people who go unprepared in some respect. Even President David O. McKay did not enjoy his first experience at that Temple, because he had not been sufficiently prepared! (See his comments under Does Everyone Have a Good Experience in the Temple?)

It will do you no good to pray for humility and a good experience if you don’t also try to be humble and teachable in your actions. Show the Lord you are willing to be taught by reading the scriptures and other good books and articles that relate to the Temple. (Should I Read Something in Particular Before I Go?)

Second, ask yourself if your actions and attitudes in regards to your family, friends and others are truly Christ-like. Much of the Gospel centers on how we treat others, not on how “righteous” we are in keeping the outward, visible commandments of attending meetings, or paying tithes and offerings, etc. (Matt. 25:31-46, 23:23, Micah 6:6-8, Isa. 1:10-17)

The altar of the Temple/Tabernacle was where the Israelites were to bring their offerings and sacrifices, but they were to do so in purity of heart. “Therefore if you bring your offering to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Mat. 5:23-24) In 1890, Elder Francis Lyman, an Apostle, similarly taught that we should be anxious

as to our preparation to go into [the Temple], so that when we go there we will have settled all our quarrels, all our difficulties, all our hardness of heart, bitterness, jealousy and heartburnings, and that we may never do another evil thing in our lives after we have gone through that building.”

-Collected Discourses, Vol. 3. Discourse of Francis Lyman, Oct. 9, 1892.

The Lord does not require perfection of us when we go, but we should be striving to live in such a way that our actions and relations are pleasing to God.

When you come to the Temple and receive your endowment, and kneel at the altar and be sealed, you can live an ordinary life and be an ordinary soul-struggling against temptation, failing and repenting, and failing again and repenting, but always determined to keep your covenants… Then the day will come when you will receive the benediction: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21).”

-Elder Packer, Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, 257-258.


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