Looking through a book of family history, I came across the image of a temple recommend for my grandmother (now deceased), Ida Rose Langford.  It is her recommend to go into the temple for her own endowment – in preparation for her sealing to my grandfather, Howard Tracy Hall. 

At the top a date stamp reads “DEC 31 1941.”

It is interesting to see this document for a number of reasons. It is a form to be filled out.  First there is an area where the applicant fills out name, demographic information, names of parents, and other lines that provide information about what ordinances are to be performed.

Midway through the form there is a line that reads: “STATEMENT TO BE FILLED IN BY THE APPLICANT.”  Below this line is a list of the temple recommend questions that need to be answered with the potential answers (usually “Yes” or “No”) already there for the applicant to indicate which answer applies.  Here are the questions:

1. Are you morally clean and fit to enter the temple?     Yes     No

2.  Will and do you sustain the General Authorities of the Church and will you live in accordance with the accepted rules and doctrines of the Church?     Yes     No

3.  Are you a full tithe payer?     Yes     No

3a. Are you a part tithe payer? Yes No

3b. Are you exempt from paying tithes? Yes No

4.  Do you keep the Word of Wisdom?     Yes     No

5.  Do you wear the regulation garments?     Yes     No

6.  Will you earnestly strive to do your duty in the Church, to attend your sacrament, priesthood and other meetings, and to obey the rules, laws and commandments of the Gospel?     Yes     No

7.  Have you ever been denied a recommend to any temple?     Yes     No

If so, please indicate: (name of Bishop, Ward, Stake and Date)

(Signed) ………………………………..

Because this temple recommend is formatted as a form to be filled out, I wonder if there was a temple recommend interview or not. Or did the applicant fill it out and merely hand it in to the bishop?

The tithing questions, particularly the question that asks if the applicant is “exempt” from paying tithes, surprised me. What did this mean? Who was exempt? Why?

There is also the matter of the applicant indicating whether he/she has ever been denied a recommend. That doesn’t seem to be a question that is asked anymore.

Looking at this temple recommend makes me wonder what the history of the temple recommend might be and how the questions and approach to providing a temple recommend to a member of the church has developed/changed over the years.