NeedleinA

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  1. Like
    NeedleinA reacted to hzdbl5 in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    A couple of fun experiences doing temple recommend interviews as a bishop:
    Our stake president, who was a member of my ward, needed to renew his recommend at the same time I needed to renew mine.  So we sat down across from each other at my desk.  I asked him the questions, he asked me the questions, I signed my recommend twice (member and bishopric) and his once (bishopric), turned the book around to him and he signed his recommend twice (member and stake presidency) and mine once (stake presidency).  We shook hands and went on our way.
    One of my last weeks prior to being released, as we were getting ready for the day, my wife asked if I would do her renewal interview.  I thought about it for a moment and suggested she visit with one of my counselors.  Later at church she approached me and asked again that I do her renewal interview.  I asked if she wouldn't be more comfortable meeting with one of my counselors.  She said, "no" so we sat down in my office and did the interview.  I didn't think much of it as it seemed to have been just another recommend interview.  Later while sitting at dinner our son asked how her recommend interview had gone.  She responded saying it had been one of the toughest recommend interviews she had ever had.  I was totally surprised as it had seemed uneventful to me.  She said I was very direct and businesslike in my asking of the questions.  That's how I am so I didn't understand.  She went on to explain that by being as serious as I am with the interview it comes across as intimidating.  We ended the conversation with me wondering if everyone I'd ever interviewed had come away feeling that way.
  2. Like
    NeedleinA reacted to Carborendum in No more Priesthood/RS General Session   
    Of course that is the reason.  I thought it went without saying.  But I think it is sad.  It gives the impression that the Church is cowing to the demands of the world.
    Maybe it is simply a necessary evil at this point.  It has happened before (hello, LoM).
    I get the impression that one mechanism of "the sifting" is by making Church "policy" so loose that only the very faithful will actually live according to just and true principles.  All others will simply justify their immoral and sinful behavior by saying, "Well, Church policy doesn't forbid it."  He who must be commanded in all things...
  3. Like
    NeedleinA reacted to Just_A_Guy in No more Priesthood/RS General Session   
    Also, it cuts down on the media photo-ops for gender based agitators trying to draw attention to their cause by storming into (or visibly being denied entry to) priesthood meetings—Ordain Women, transgender folk, that kind of thing.  
  4. Like
    NeedleinA reacted to Vort in No more Priesthood/RS General Session   
    I'm sad that I have lost my chance to take my boys to a General Priesthood Meeting.
  5. Thanks
    NeedleinA reacted to Vort in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    Sounds like various stories that President Monson (I believe) told several times, but I can't find any record of it.
  6. Like
    NeedleinA reacted to estradling75 in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    I am/was one of those people whose recommend expired during COVID.  I didn't realize it because I had no reason to pull it out and look at it with the temples closed.  I only realized it because my wife started talking about getting hers renewed and mine expired before hers did. (I had put mine through the wash so we were out of sync)
    So I queued up with her for renewal...   The reason I am sharing is because my experience with the stake was just like @Carborendum's only through Zoom
  7. Like
    NeedleinA reacted to Carborendum in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    I had a fun exchange a couple of months ago.  My wife and I were trying to get our recommends renewed.  We had already gotten with the bishopric.  We now needed to meet with the Stake Presidency.
    It happened to be ward conference one week, so all three of them were there instead of the one counselor that often visits.
    As they found out we were trying to renew our recommends, one of the counselors came to us and said he only had a minute.  He asked if we could do our interview together (in the room at the same time).  My wife looked at me because she knew there was something that might make me say no.  I was able to confidently look her in the eyes and say, "You know everything about me."
    She gave me a kiss and we went into the interview room.  He only asked the questions once.  We both answered "yes" or "no" as appropriate.  And at our age & experience, we really didn't have any questions.  So, he signed and we were off.
  8. Love
    NeedleinA got a reaction from Carborendum in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    Has anyone else heard this story before? If so, was it recent? 
    I'm trying to figure out why it has come to my mind, and trying to rule out if 'we' all recently heard it for some reason like in a General Conference talk??
     
  9. Like
    NeedleinA got a reaction from Vort in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    I won't pretend to speak for other stakes elsewhere, but I know for our stake presidency/leadership the concern is thankfully pastoral in nature.
    We all are very open about the fact that numbers/stats are only small tools/indicators to help get us to the real goals BUT they are not the goals. In this case: temple attendance, saving ordinances, service to those who have passed on and ultimately exaltation are the real focus.
    We can't get to step 2 (the temple) without step 1 (recommend). If we can't get to step 2 (covid), we can at least strive for step 1 in the meantime.

    It reminds me of stories where members of the Church in eastern block countries, post WW2, would save their tithing in jars, etc. even though they had no one to give it to. They saved it up in the hopes that someday they could actually turn it in. While they were limited in their ability, they still did the best they could at that particular time in those particular circumstances.
  10. Thanks
    NeedleinA reacted to Just_A_Guy in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    Frankly, I’ve been trying to have as little face time with my bishop as possible lately; because we are returning to in-person 2nd hour meetings and I’ve just assumed he’s swamped putting out fires, starting callings that have gone vacant, and handling priesthood ordinations or things like that.  My TR isn’t expiring anytime soon—but if it were, I’d probably put it off a couple of months (with the temples being closed anyways and all) unless or until my bishop announced “no, guys, really, I do have time for this—please come get your recommend renewed”.
  11. Haha
    NeedleinA reacted to Vort in Great new business plan! Need a little help with Step 2.   
    I'll give 25% to the person who can make this a reality. I'm generous like that.
     

  12. Thanks
    NeedleinA reacted to estradling75 in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    I do not have any additional insights to why members might choose to not renew recommend...
    However I do have a really  really good reason for those that are questioning why they should have a recommend if they can't use it.
    Learning/relearning/reinforcing humility.  God gives command we are under covenant to obey the commands.  There is no only if I understand/agree with it exception clause.  One the biggest acts of Faith is following a command we do not understand/agree with.
    Yes it can absolutely suck to be asked to take things on Faith, but that is exactly the test of this life...  And as a test it is understandable that we struggle with it, it wouldn't be a test otherwise
  13. Like
    NeedleinA got a reaction from Vort in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    I won't pretend to speak for other stakes elsewhere, but I know for our stake presidency/leadership the concern is thankfully pastoral in nature.
    We all are very open about the fact that numbers/stats are only small tools/indicators to help get us to the real goals BUT they are not the goals. In this case: temple attendance, saving ordinances, service to those who have passed on and ultimately exaltation are the real focus.
    We can't get to step 2 (the temple) without step 1 (recommend). If we can't get to step 2 (covid), we can at least strive for step 1 in the meantime.

    It reminds me of stories where members of the Church in eastern block countries, post WW2, would save their tithing in jars, etc. even though they had no one to give it to. They saved it up in the hopes that someday they could actually turn it in. While they were limited in their ability, they still did the best they could at that particular time in those particular circumstances.
  14. Thanks
    NeedleinA reacted to Fether in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    One additional thought.
    Everybody is lazy. But even a lazy person will get off his butt and run out of his house if it caught on fire. The issue isn’t and never is laziness. The issue is what people see as important.
     
    I forgot to turn off the printer in my room and there was a full blue glow. It was mildly annoying, but I didn’t think it was worth the effort of getting out of bed to turn it off so I slept with it on. Now, had the main light in my room been on, I absolutely would have gotten up to turn it off. 
     
    Likewise, Many see the request of keeping a current temple recommend during a pandemic as unimportant so they won’t be getting up to do that unless someone can provide a solid explanation. Me, and many like me agree, but have a testimony in simply following the prophet, even on small things like this so they choose to do it anyway.
  15. Thanks
    NeedleinA reacted to MrShorty in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    You specifically asked my opinion. Here are a few thoughts rattling around in my head.
    The cynic in me has trouble see anything but "statistics" motivating the search for a new initiative. There's a bishop and/or stake president who is being asked in interviews with his priesthood leader about the "low" statistics, and he is uncomfortable being asked those questions, so he wants to find a way to raise the numbers to alleviate the pressure being put on him. My point being, look deep inside for what is motivating this kind of thing (in a time when temple attendance has been difficult or impossible or is only just barely available again). Before coming up with a new initiative, make sure that the real motivation is truly pastoral. If the motivation is administrative/statistical, work within yourselves as leadership until the motivation becomes purely pastoral.
    Along those lines, I sometimes wonder if one of the best things bishops and stake presidents could do is to learn how to "separate themselves" from their ward. Somehow be able to say to the priesthood leader, "these statistics represent real individuals, and each one has either chosen to have a TR or not, and I am not going to be responsible for each individual's choices (whether to take credit for them having a TR or feel guilty for them not having a TR)." I know it is more complicated than that, but it too often seems that the immediate motivation for something like this is making a report look better rather than true pastoral interest in individuals.
    I agree with @LDSGator that some of this is trying to identify why people aren't renewing recommends. Pardon the brief tangent, but one of the interesting things I got out of David Ostler's Bridges was the disconnect between leadership and members. Ostler asked leaders why people went through faith crises and also asked people self-identifying as experiencing a faith crisis, and the reasons differed -- substantially in some cases. I expect the same dynamic might be at play with TR renewals.  Local leaders need to be able to approach their congregants and understand why they aren't renewing their TRs. Maybe (emphasis on maybe), that will inspire some kind of initiative that can help people renew their TR. Or maybe it will identify some other need (unrelated to TRs) that the ward/stake/branch needs, and put the TR statistic on hold.
    Somewhere in the search for reasons, be ready for some difficult reasons. Some like @Jane_Doe may have bad interview experiences from the past or real discomfort with some of the TR questions. Are leaders ready to sit with people in their discomfort and minister to them?
    I also agree with @Fether that having a current TR is not really the end goal here. The end goal is helping people have a good relationship with God and Christ and the Church. Having a current TR may be an easily measured numeric placeholder for that much more difficult to measure aspect. IMO, honestly focus pastorally on individuals' relationship to God, Christ, and the Church, and TR renewals will naturally follow. In the event the statistics don't, the focus is still on the right end goal.
    Those are my thoughts. Probably worth about what you paid for them.
  16. Thanks
    NeedleinA reacted to LDSGator in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    Oh, your posts on this thread are perfect, you are doing everything right by encouraging dialogue. More importantly, you are actually listening to all of us. 
     
    Perhaps the people who only say that the temple is “not for them” and say no more lack the confidence needed to further express themselves? Maybe they don’t feel like they'll be heard? I don’t know, I freely admit I can’t read their minds. 
     
    Again, I think you are doing everything right. We could all learn much from this thread, and from you. 
  17. Like
    NeedleinA got a reaction from LDSGator in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    I believe I'm tracking the sentiment here, I think. 
    Since my sphere of stewardship does not offer me the chance to ask the actual members in stake their reasons for not renewing their recommends, asking here acts as a great second place sounding board.

    Taking your pizza analogy, we have plenty of customers who come to the restaurant but no one is ordering pizza combo #1. When we have been asking people 'why not?', we are only hearing back that it is 'not for them' but nothing beyond that. What exact part is not for them? The mushrooms, anchovies, the what?
    You are correct, it is hard to try and help individuals address their certain concern(s) if we can't figure out the concern to begin with.
    One more check mark as to why I appreciate everyone here offering up their thoughts. With varying degrees of Church activity from participants here and the anonymity it helps to drill down to some possible specifics.
     
  18. Like
    NeedleinA got a reaction from LDSGator in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    I believe I'm tracking the sentiment here, I think. 
    Since my sphere of stewardship does not offer me the chance to ask the actual members in stake their reasons for not renewing their recommends, asking here acts as a great second place sounding board.

    Taking your pizza analogy, we have plenty of customers who come to the restaurant but no one is ordering pizza combo #1. When we have been asking people 'why not?', we are only hearing back that it is 'not for them' but nothing beyond that. What exact part is not for them? The mushrooms, anchovies, the what?
    You are correct, it is hard to try and help individuals address their certain concern(s) if we can't figure out the concern to begin with.
    One more check mark as to why I appreciate everyone here offering up their thoughts. With varying degrees of Church activity from participants here and the anonymity it helps to drill down to some possible specifics.
     
  19. Love
    NeedleinA reacted to Manners Matter in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    One other thought re: encouragement - Acknowledge that there are legit reasons for not attending the temple (ie health - which is not always visible, shared; distance, etc) but having a current recommend is an indication of your willingness even though circumstances may prevent it.
    Also, share quote/s about keeping it current and point out this is one way to 'follow the prophet'/'if by my own voice or voice of my servant it is the same'.
  20. Thanks
    NeedleinA reacted to NeuroTypical in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    I'm a fan of keeping a temple recommend, whether you can/will use it or not.  Checking in with priesthood leaders every 2 years on stuff this fundamentally important, has numerous advantages.  And most bishops I've run across, all have a list of important heart-changing moments that have come about while interviewing someone.
    One to add: Some folks occasionally think that attending the temple simply isn't in the cards for whatever reason they think is good, and they don't want to argue the point at the interview.  Sometimes interviewers take the opportunity to try to get the member to commit to a certain number of visits over the next year.  Puts some folks in the awkward position of either refusing to commit, or lying with a weak "I'll try my best" that they are pretty sure won't happen.  So they just avoid the whole thing altogether.  I guess it's a combination of c. and e.
  21. Thanks
    NeedleinA reacted to LDSGator in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    a. Not a priority to even attend the temple, so why do I need a recommend for a place I'm not interested in attending and serving in.
    b. Avoid recommend interviews since they are not living the standards to enter the temple anyways.  
    c. Recommend holds no spiritual value by itself
    d. Lack of time for interview
    e. Avoid the experience/wait/rush/privacy of the interview itself
    This list is good. I think people don’t go to the temple just due to a lack of desire. It’s also really, really hard for people to admit they don’t like the temple experience, so perhaps that has something to do with it? 
     
    After the French Revolution many citizens simply stopped going to church even after they reopened under Napoleon. Perhaps it’s the same thing here on a smaller scale? People got into the habit of not going during Covid and just don’t want to resume. 
     
    If you want to know why people no longer go, you have to ask them. Asking active LDS why people don’t go to church or the temple sounds very odd to me. If I open a pizza place and it fails, a wise person asks the customers who didn’t like it how it can change so it does not happen again or stops happening. A fool sticks his head in the sand, makes things up than acts shocked when his next pizza place fails. Again, same sort of thing.
  22. Thanks
    NeedleinA reacted to Carborendum in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    Our stake is apparently an exceptional stake in this regard.  The Houston Temple President said of our stake that if just three other stakes had the temple attendance that our stake has, then we'd have to build a new temple.  Do the math.  That means that one stake is doing about 1/5 to 1/4 of the temple work for the entire temple area.  (Pre--COVID, of course).
    Today, though, some people are taking the attitude of "why bother?"  Without temples readily available, what would be the reason to have one anyway?  Now, I fear that with temples gradually opening, those same people fell into a habit of thinking "why bother?" and will still choose not to have one.
    The big problem I see in my current ward is that they don't emphasize it enough.  They talk about it in bishopric meetings.  They ask how to encourage it in other leadership meetings.  Then they do absolutely nothing to keep it in our minds.
    No talks in sacrament. No special Sunday School classes on the topic. No special events. No messages for ministering families. When it comes to leadership encouraging something, the leaders need to do more than what they are asking of others.  If I want you to go to level 1 (have a current recommend) then I need to be at level 7 for you to finally see why it is so important.
    For us, at least, it starts from the top down.  They talk the talk.  But they don't walk the walk (at least, not to level 7).
  23. Thanks
    NeedleinA reacted to Manners Matter in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    As far as encouragement - people respond to being inspired, not told. I've read/heard a couple things in recent years that helped me see the bigger picture/different perspective which in turn led to having a better view of the importance of keeping it current regardless of proximity/ability to attend. Unfortunately, my memory is vague but one was along the lines of 'if you're anxious to experience the Millennium, the temple will be a big part of that so you may as well adjust your attitude now and give temple/fam hist a higher priority and show that you're ready to participate during that incredible time period. (this could be worded better but that's a rough idea)
    Also, a reminder that the things we're asked to do are for our benefit.
  24. Like
    NeedleinA reacted to Manners Matter in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    A couple things that came to my mind of why there might be hesitancy:
    ~ Sometimes people really aren't aware it has lapsed and a call from the exec sec is what it takes. (not everyone lives close enough to a temple to attend on a regular basis so don't notice the exp date)
    ~ Shallow but - knowing that the bishop you don't jive with (putting it nicely) will be released soon and/or you'll be moving so just wait to avoid said bishop.
    ~ Less than pleasant experiences in the past (ie along the lines of guilt/grilled - 'why haven't you come sooner'; 'when was the last time you attended the temple').
  25. Like
    NeedleinA got a reaction from NeuroTypical in Encouraging Temple recommend renewals?   
    Thank you for the variety of answers thus far. 
    If I were to try and summarize the reasons given so it appears to be:

    a. Not a priority to even attend the temple, so why do I need a recommend for a place I'm not interested in attending and serving in.
    b. Avoid recommend interviews since they are not living the standards to enter the temple anyways.  
    c. Recommend holds no spiritual value by itself
    d. Lack of time for interview
    e. Avoid the experience/wait/rush/privacy of the interview itself