A few days ago a man who is currently serving as a bishop in an LDS ward wrote an article about one of my ‘favorite’ Mormon politicians (there was much sarcasm intended by that word). This Bishop suggested that if Harry Reid lived in his ward there might be some difficulties in signing a Temple Recommend for the illustrious Democrat.
(For those not of the LDS Faith, a Temple Recommend is the document required to allow an individual to enter Temples and participate in the religious rituals found therein. A member is presented with a number of questions that must be answered appropriately to receive the Recommend. Some deal with the stance on beliefs and associations that might be considered ‘against Church practices or doctrine.’)
The author of the article indicated that, at least from his perspective, Harry Reid was in violation of several of the questions that are asked of each member desiring entrance to the House of the Lord.
There is no sympathy from me for Mr. Reid and his political persuasions. His actions are often odious and despicable (see the tricks he pulled on Mitt Romney) and his leanings are so far left that I wonder how he can walk. In my estimation he is a liberal in the most offensive way that term can be used.
His worthiness to participate in the religious practices of His (and my) church is not based on his political beliefs or practices.
(I suppose if he was a member of ISIS and went around cutting heads off innocent people we might reconsider.)
He is my brother in the gospel of Christ.
His support of some programs and laws leaves me wondering how he sleeps at night.
Nevertheless – and this is a big nevertheless – I (nor anyone else except his Bishop) do not have the authority or responsibility to determine his worthiness to enjoy the blessings of the temple.
For a few years I was invited to serve as bishop of my ward. In that responsibility I interviewed countless individuals, seeking to determine worthiness to partake of sacred blessings. Most who came were completely qualified to receive recommendation.
Not surprisingly, none were perfect.
But there were some who caused me to think and prayerfully consider what to do. A few were encouraged to prepare themselves more fully in certain areas and return when they felt they were ready.
Some responded with anger or shame when denied a Recommend and left without the desired blessings. Through it all, my decisions were based on what I knew of the person, the answers to their questions, and the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.
I sincerely believe that I never made a decision founded in personal opinion, anger, or frustration with the member or circumstance.
It is not the duty of a bishop to make judgment on souls who reside outside the realm of his stewardship. When one bishop calls into question the judgment of another there is a serious breach of protocol and propriety. That is not the ways things are done in the Church.
I am confident the bishop who wrote the article is a good man and is doing his best to fulfill his calling. He is offered inspiration from the Holy Ghost to know how to lead his little flock of saints
But, he is not privy to the facts, inspiration, worthiness, or anything else concerning members of another congregation.
It is highly inappropriate to speculate on the worthiness of a member who is not within the stewardship one has been given.
I know Harry Reid in his political role by his voting record and the things he preaches.
I know nothing of his role as a husband, father, man, or member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
There is only one person responsible to give or withhold permission to participate in temple blessings.
|Jordan River Temple|
Those judgments are best handled by leaders who have the right to make the determinations necessary. They are trustworthy and will do what is right.
Without help from the ‘peanut gallery.’