“What are the requirements for a person to receive a temple recommend for marriage?” New Era, June 1975, 46–47
Answer/Brother Malcolm S. Jeppsen
“The temple has always been mysterious to me,” said Mary, as she and Phil visited with me, her bishop, that Sunday afternoon. They were planning a marriage in the temple in June, and already it was the end of March. “I have always wondered what goes on inside and can hardly believe that I have become old enough to be married there for time and eternity.”
“First let me congratulate you for your wisdom in coming to me early and letting me help you with your temple plans,” I said. “You know, many young people wait until late in their plans to visit with their bishop, and occasionally this causes real problems. Especially can this be true if announcements have already been sent out telling of a planned temple marriage. But most important, let me talk to you about some of the things required of you and Phil to enter the temple and be married there. I congratulate you two for your desire to go to this sacred place and there begin your married life together. Those who do so have an eternity of possibilities before them, you know.”
Mary asked what the requirements were to enter the temple. “You know, it’s really not mysterious,” I said, “but rather something that is too sacred to discuss except within the walls of the Lord’s holy house. There are several basic requirements for a temple recommend that you and Phil have already accomplished. Let me tell you what they are. You have both been baptized by the authority of the priesthood and confirmed members of the Church. Phil, you’re already an elder and hold the Melchizedek Priesthood, and that’s a requirement. Next, you both need a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. President Joseph Fielding Smith said in his book The Way to Perfection that no man or woman should ever enter the holy temples of our Father in heaven before having a testimony of the truthfulness of the restored gospel. And you’ll need to each have your own endowments before you can be married for time and eternity.”
At this point Phil interrupted. “What is having one’s own endowment?”
“The endowment,” I continued, “is instruction coupled with covenants that prepare us to enter into the highest order of eternal marriage and jointly be candidates for godhood. Brigham Young said of it, ‘Let me give you a definition in brief. Your endowment is to receive all those ordinances in the House of the Lord which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give them the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the Holy Priesthood, and gain your eternal exaltation in spite of earth and hell.’” (Journal of Discourses, 2:31.)
“What other requirements are there,” asked Mary. I then told her how important it was to be personally worthy.
“Probably more young couples fail to meet the requirements relating to this than any other,” I continued. “There must have been no unrepented moral uncleanliness prior to marriage, including heavy petting, fornication, homosexuality, or similar transgression, because the powers of procreation are most sacred. Only the simplest forms of affection should be expressed between those who date, and when passions become unrestrained during that time, it is most offensive to the Lord. Even immoral thoughts are displeasing to him. If transgressions have occurred, repentance must be complete, including sufficient time elapse before one can be admitted to the temple.”
At this point I read to them from the Doctrine and Covenants 97:15–17: “And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it;
“Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God.
“But if it be defiled I will not come into it, and my glory shall not be there; for I will not come into unholy temples.” [D&C 97:15–17]
“Can you see how important it is to be morally clean before entering the Lord’s holy place?” I said.
President Marion G. Romney said in the Improvement Era (February 1965, p. 120), “God grant that we may be worthy to stand in His presence when we come here. To come unworthily into this temple and receive our endowments will not prove to be a blessing to us.”
“I can see that one must be really morally worthy to enter His house,” said Mary.
Then I outlined several other requirements. “One must live the Word of Wisdom, including abstaining from coffee, tea, alcohol, and tobacco. Abusive use of drugs should also be avoided. And one must live the law of tithing and receive the blessings that come from this expression of unselfishness.”
“These things aren’t difficult for us,” said Phil. “Are there others?”
“Yes,” I said. “It’s a requirement that you be willing to sustain the local leaders and the General Authorities of the Church. Only as we stand in obedience to the teachings and commandments of the Lord, including those he gives through his living prophet and those who preside with him, can the atonement of Jesus Christ apply to us, and we be worthy to enter the temple. It’s important that we be honest in everything we do, really honest in dealing with our fellowman. We have to live righteous lives in all that we do, striving to keep all the rules, laws, and commandments of the gospel, and to attend sacrament, priesthood, and other meetings designed for our spiritual improvement. And one other thing. You can’t have any sympathetic feelings toward any of the apostate groups whose teachings are counter to the accepted doctrines of the Church.
“In summary,” I said, “it’s required of all who would enter into the temple for the purpose of celestial marriage that they be prepared, worthy, and valiant in the kingdom of God on earth. Then their blessings will abound and the Spirit of the Lord will be felt.
“There is another requirement I’d like to mention,” I said. “Because of the sacred nature of celestial or eternal marriage, it becomes doubly important that those who enter into it would be prepared to do so. I would almost think that it was a requirement that there be an intellectual preparation, if you see what I mean. Those who would so marry should be mature and in full control of their emotions. They should have, it seems to me, a distinct willingness to share and a commitment to live by principles. Someone getting married in the temple should have the ability to control his life and himself and be willing and able to sacrifice for the future.”
Mary and Phil sat thoughtfully for a moment and reflected on the discussion that they had been involved in. “Let me read you two sentences from President Harold B. Lee’s article in the Improvement Era for June 1967 (p. 144),” I said. “‘When you enter a holy temple, you are by that course gaining fellowship with the saints in God’s eternal kingdom, where time is no more. In the temples of your God you are endowed not with a rich legacy of worldly treasure, but with a wealth of eternal riches that are above price. The temple ceremonies are designed by a wise Heavenly Father who has revealed them to us in these last days as a guide and a protection throughout our lives, that you and I might not fail to merit exaltation in the celestial kingdom where God and Christ dwell.’”
“That’s quite a list of requirements and lots to ponder,” said Mary.
“I agree,” I said. “But when you kneel across the altar with your chosen companion and you know you are worthy to be in the house of the Lord, you will personally know that every effort was really worth it.”