26
Jul
10

TEMPLE REQUIREMENTS: WORTHINESS OR PERFECTION

    In the latest (August 2010) edition of the Ensign (the official magazine of the LDS Church) both the First Presidency message and the article on its beliefs focus on the Temple and especially the requirement to be worthy.  In just a few short pages various forms of the word worthy appear over 15 times.  If there is something the LDS Church emphasizes, it is that a person must be worthy to enter the temple.  (By the way, many Christians are surprised to learn that many Mormons don’t meet the requirements – that they are not temple worthy.)

     But, according to the LDS Church, they don’t have to be perfect.  “We are not expected to be perfect to enter the temple.  Rather, the purpose of the things we learn and the covenants we make in the temple is to help perfect us.  We must, however, be worthy to enter.”  (p.8) That same page states:  “The Lord has set the standards of worthiness to enter the temple, as expressed by the Psalmist: ‘Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?  or who shall stand in his holy place? ‘He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart.’ Psalm 24:3-4)”

    I find the contrast between those two statements interesting.  Isn’t a person with a pure heart describing more than just a “worthy” person?  Isn’t that a description of a perfect person?  Doesn’t this Scripture, which the LDS itself cites, contradict its statement that “we are not expected to be perfect to enter the temple”? 

    The Bible consistently sets perfection as the requirement for people to be in the presence of the Lord.  For example, Hebrews 12:14 states:  ‘Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”  God doesn’t command us to be worthy – He commands us to be perfect.  “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  (Matthew 5:48)  By teaching that people are to be worthy but don’t have to be perfect to “stand in the holy place” the LDS Church severely lowers the requirements and is setting people up for a rude awakening.  Remember Hebrews 12:14:  without holiness no man shall see the Lord.

     Only holy and perfect people will be with the Lord.  That’s a sobering fact. That should drive everybody to despair of their own shabby worthiness and trust totally and completely in the holiness and perfection that is theirs through Jesus.  “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”  (Hebrews 10:10)  “For by one offering he hath perfected for even them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14)  Jesus’ perfection – and only Jesus’ perfection – enables us to be with the Lord.  It is my prayer that many Christians share this truth with their Mormon friends.  It further is my prayer that many Mormons abandon finding comfort in their worthiness and instead find joy in Jesus’ perfection for them.

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9 Responses to “TEMPLE REQUIREMENTS: WORTHINESS OR PERFECTION”


  1. 1 shematwater
    July 27, 2010 at 1:53 am

    Hebrews speaks to heaven, not the Temple.

    A pure heart is not synonomous with perfection.

    We all must be perfect to enter Exaltation (Christ’s perfection will not help us here) but we are allowed to attain this perfection after this life.

    What is required from us in this life is the perfect willingness to obey, not perfect obedience. This is what is synonomous with a pure heart.

  2. 2 markcares
    July 27, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Hi Shem:
    On what do you base your interpretation of a pure heart?
    But even on the basis of your interpretation. how can a perfect willingness to obey not result in perfect obedience? And even if you separate the two, are you claiming that every temple worthy Mormon has a perfect willingness to obey? Think of what that means! Not one hint of unjust anger or greed or lust or selfishness or a thousand other things. Those are all things the Lord has commanded us not to have. A perfect willingness to obey would not allow any of those things to arise in a person’s heart, would it? Otherwise that heart wouldn’t be pure, would it?
    I don’t know if you are temple worthy or not. If you are, are you telling me that you have a pure heart according to your definition – that you have a perfect willingness to obey?
    Please also clarify your statement “Christ’s perfection will not help us here”. Does the here refer to the subject you were talking about, namely exaltation or does here refer to life here on earth?

  3. 3 shematwater
    July 27, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    MARK

    A perfect willingness to obey is not synonomous with perfect obedience. Perfect obedience is only attained through a slow and difficult process. Just as any addiction takes time to conquer, all sin takes time to overcome. As such, having a few small sins on your record does not mean you cannot be pure of heart.

    The pure of heart are those willing to do what it takes to attain to that perfection that God demands. Like addicts, they are the one who check themselves into rehad (just for comparrison) and do all they can to make the treatment work. They are not the ones who sneak a little substance in, or who fight the process the whole way.
    Therefore, the members who enter the temple can have a few minor problems, such as the one you listed. As long as they are honestly endevouring to correct these they are still the pure in heart.
    (Aslo, personal worthiness is generally left up to the individual. They are asked questions, and if they feel they are worthy they are given the recommend. So, no not all will be pure in heart. Theose who aren’t will give answer for this.)

    And I was talking about Exaltation when I said Christ’s perfection will not help us. His perfection got us to Heaven, but it is our own (or willingness to be so) that determines what reward we receive once there.

  4. 4 markcares
    July 28, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Hi Shem:
    Your description of the sins I listed as minor problems is an accurate protrayal of what the LDS Church teaches. But that is one of the many reasons why those teachings are so dangerous. Those are not minor problems. Jesus said: “But I say unto you, That whosever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment;” (Matthew 5:22) and again: “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Mt. 5:28)
    By labeling something minor that Jesus labels as serious is not only misrepresenting him but it also gives people the false hope that they are not as bad as they truly are. It’s only when we see how bad off we are that we will despair of our own purity and righteousness and rely totally on Jesus’ purity and righteounness.

  5. 5 shematwater
    July 28, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    MARK

    The action will always be worse than the thought.

    Christ does say that those who are angry will be in danger of judgement, and he does equate lustful thinking to adultery. However, the reason for this is that the thought so often leads to the action and is thus dangerous.
    No, adultery is not a minor thing, and is an act that will bar one from the temple (and possibly lead to excommunication). However, the thought of lust is not as serious, until it is acted upon.
    Also, if you recall, I did say that worthiness was left to the individual. How can any man know the thoughts of another (except God)? But more importantly, how can any man judge the thoughts of another. If a person commits the act of Adultery they can be judged, and the sin dealt with. However, if a person only thinks about it what can then be done?

    No, the church does not de-emphasize these sins, and we are constantly told to watch our thoughts, and reminded of these very words of Christ on a regular basis. However, as long as they remain a thought, and do not turn into any outward action they will remain minor offenses in the list of sins against God.

  6. 6 markcares
    July 29, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Shem:
    Jesus didn’t say that the thoughts become serious sins when they lead to actions. He said that the thoughts themselves were serious sins. Your answer is an example of what I mean that the LDS Church downplays sin.
    Also doesn’t the LDS Church teach that the people conducting the temple interview, the bishop and the member of the stake presidency, have the ability to read the people’s hearts?

  7. 7 shematwater
    July 29, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    MARK

    Not really, unless God wants them to. The power is God’s, and he must communicate the thoughts to the Bishop of Stake President. In general he doesn’t, because it really isn’t that important. If a person does get in who is unworthy the ordinances and covenants will not be made by the Lord, and he we bring judgement against such a person. It doesn’t hurt the temple or the church for people to do this. It only hurts the person.

    As to the seriousness of the sins, it is only logical. It is not down playing anything. God has said that we will be judged according to our works, but I know of no place that he says we will be judged of our thoughts. Consequently the thought cannot be as serious as the action, because it is not judged like the action.

  8. 8 rblandjr
    July 30, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Shem and Mark,

    The phrase, “perfectly willing” struck me as something that no matter what my intentions are, there is a part of me that is divided or unwilling. In fact God says that my good and righteous things I do are vile in his sight. Only Christ righteousness placed on my account is what made me perfect in Gods eyes positionally. Now in a practical sense that is still a work in progress. But God sees me as perfect “in Christ”.

  9. 9 Martha
    August 13, 2010 at 2:56 am

    Thanks Shem for your comments on worthiness. Being a former Mormon for almost 30 years, I still get stuck in that worthiness drivel that the Mormon religion brainwashes you with. I read through your entries here and only saw one statement about Christ.

    “We all must be perfect to enter Exaltation (Christ’s perfection will not help us here) but we are allowed to attain this perfection after this life.”

    This statement basically nullifies the purpose of Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins. It nullifies the Bible and all the teachings of Jesus Christ. This statement proves that the Mormon people are not Christians and shall not be in the presence of God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit when they leave this existence. I feel sorry for you. I really do. I want to cry because Satan has brainwashed you into thinking that if you are not perfect in this life, you will get another chance.

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. John 5:24

    He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:36

    But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. Romans 6:22

    For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Gal 6:8

    You see Shem, when you receive Jesus into your life, when you accept that you are a sinner, never to reach perfection in the flesh, you enter the Kingdom of God through the Spirit. I am assured right now that I will enter exaltation, because I already have. I have a personal relationship with God now. I don’t need another chance. I speak with Him and He speaks to me. He loves me and I love Him. There is no second chance. If you don’t accept Jesus Christ as your Savior in this life, you shall not see life; but the wrath of God shall be on you.

    Please don’t believe the things the Mormon Church teaches, Shem. The teachings will lead you to the wrath of God. I pray you open your Bible and start with Matthew. Read the Words of Jesus Christ and you will see the Way to everlasting life in the presence of God the Father, God Jesus Christ and God the Holy Spirit. I pray that God will remove the scales off the eyes of the Mormons lost in their imperfection. I pray the Holy Spirit fills you with His love so that you may know Him, the only true God. In Jesus’ Holy name, Amen.

    In His grace, Martha


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