Ordained an Elder vs. Temple Endowment question


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This may seem like a silly question, but it's the source of a years-long family feud, and I'd really like to know the answer. Sorry, it's a little long. 

My brother was made an elder when he was 18. He never received his temple endowment, but remained active while he was struggling with whether or not he could serve a mission in spite of some mental health issues. He decided to stay home, but held several callings, including home teacher, primary teacher, and working with the scouts. Then he fell in love with a non-member. He moved in with her. They had a child together. He was put on probation by his bishop. He stopped going to church. After five years, he and his girlfriend finally got married. When his son was 7, mom started asking him about letting her grandchild be baptized. He thought about it, started going to church again, let our dad baptize his son. The new bishop felt that my brother had fixed his mistake. Once he'd been active for a certain amount of time, the bishop told him he was once again a member in good standing, and could take the sacrament.  He happily substituted in the nursery (weird, right?). He was waiting for his wife to be baptized so they could get their temple endowments together. 

Then, my youngest brother was blessing his son in church. They asked all our family's elders to come up. My brother joined in the circle to give my nephew a name and a blessing. I didn't think a thing of it, but after Sacrament meeting, my father was very unhappy. Still in the church foyer, he berated my brother, quietly, for half an hour for joining in the circle when he wasn't worthy. My brother took the tongue-lashing, went home, and never went to church again. It's been 13 years. 

I know it won't change anything, but I need to know who's right. My brother was an elder. He wasn't giving the blessing. He'd stood in the circle years before as a new elder when we'd blessed my oldest son. So is there a requirement to have a temple endowment before participating in this type of ordinance? Does your priesthood authority expire if you don't get your endowment within a certain amount of time? Can you be an elder who exercises his priesthood authority without going to the temple? My dad was ward clerk at the time. Might he have known something I don't know? 

Thanks for your help and thoughtful consideration. You have no idea how much an answer would mean to me. My brother is my best friend and it kills me to see him so resentful towards the church.

Edited by SynjynXandria
typo
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I know of a man personally that was an Elder.  In good standing, active in the Church but for some reason had never received his endowments.  Yet he blessed each of his children as they were born.  

But I also know my brother-in-law didn't stand in a circle once because he couldn't get his temple recommend renewed at the time.  (tithing)

So it's a really good question as to what the actual policy is.

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Hmm . . .that is weird why you dad would have been so upset.  I honestly don't understand.  Your brother was an Elder (i.e. holds the Melchizedek Priesthood) and can thus participate in and be the voice in any normal priesthood functions (blessings, namings, baptisms, etc.).

Endowment and utilizing the Melchizedek Priesthood are separate things. One must be a MP holder to receive their endowment, but one doesn't need their endowment to officiate in MP ordinances that do not involve temple ordinances i.e. stuff like blessings, namings, baptisms, etc.

The only thing that would disqualify someone from participating who held the MP would be worthiness issues."In conformity with this revelation, only worthy men who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood may participate in naming and blessing children." https://www.lds.org/manual/family-guidebook/priesthood-ordinances-and-blessings?lang=eng

Now sometimes, what wards will do is to allow someone who is not worthy to hold the microphone for the blessing, they aren't a part of the circle but they help.

So in my mind one of two things occurred.  Either you dad for some reason thought your brother was still unworthy or he was wrong.  If your brother was still unworthy then your dad would have just cause to be upset.  So the question is what did your dad know?  He was ward clerk, did he have some information that lead him to believe your brother was unworthy?  

I believe that formal probation is annotated on your membership record and then removed once the probation is lifted.  Is it possible that your dad honestly thought your brother was still under formal probation and your brother honestly thought he was good to go? But then again worthiness is between the individual, the Lord and the Bishop.  

I don't see how your dad would enter into this, unless he knew that your brother was lying about being worthy???

I just can't see any other way to reconcile the differences-your dad had/has to know that as long as one has repented and is worthy to take the sacrament then one can participate in priesthood blessings.

Edited by yjacket
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As long as you're temple worthy, it doesn't technically matter whether you've been to the temple or not--if you're an ordained elder you may participate in any MP ordinances that are done outside of the temple.

OP's brother was in the right, until he got offended and left the church; and now he's unfortunately in the wrong.

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4 hours ago, SynjynXandria said:

... but after Sacrament meeting, my father was very unhappy. Still in the church foyer, he berated my brother, quietly, for half an hour for joining in the circle when he wasn't worthy.

... My dad was ward clerk at the time. Might he have known something I don't know? 

My question was what your father actually said.  Why did he think your brother was not worthy?  You didn't say that the tongue lashing had anything to do with the endowed status of your brother.

Edited by Guest
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I once had this question.  I was going to bless my baby girl, and had serious legitimate issues with one family member who wanted to stand in the circle.  I brought it up with my bishop, who asked me to remember that there's no such thing as a sin-free priesthood holder.  He acknowledged that my issues with him were totally legitimate, and he asked me to think for a moment about people who might have legitimate issues with me.  He told me the worthiness of this family member to exercise his priesthood was between him, his bishop, and the Lord.  It made much sense.

Now, all these years later, the family is all pretty permanently split apart.  Things only got worse, not better.  But honestly, I'm grateful I didn't make a stink about this family member, and just welcomed him into the circle.  All the impacted lives would only be harder, not better, had I made a stink.

Dads are all about stewardship, but in this case, sounds like your dad tried to grab some stewardship he didn't have.  It's not dad's call on whether one of his adult children are worthy to exercise their priesthood or not.  Dad should have voiced his concerns to his child's bishop and then left it at that.  

Something to tell your bitter brother - God gives some pretty flawed and sinful people the priesthood.  Learning to forgive is a worthy process that blesses lives, whether person being forgiven "deserves it" or not.

Edited by NeuroTypical
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2 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

remember that there's no such thing as a sin-free priesthood holder.  He acknowledged that my issues with him were totally legitimate, and he asked me to think for a moment about people who might have legitimate issues with me.  He told me the worthiness of this family member to exercise his priesthood was between him, his bishop, and the Lord.

Amen.

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@SynjynXandria

I feel like what the father did was wrong, regardless of if he was worthy or not. Him being doesn't effect the the power, it doesn't contaminate the blessing or anything. 

I feel like any lashing out in any circumstance (unless in dire defense of yourself or another) is wrong.

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I believe the whole "stewardship" question is one that we will probably debate for a while without certain conclusion.  When does a father's stewardship over his children end?  And to what extent?

I think we need to understand that this isn't necessarily a gospel issue.  It's a family dynamics issue.  Yes, the environment and context may be one of spiritual things.  But the actual tongue lashing was really a question of family dynamics laid upon the background/context of something potentially spiritual.

From that perspective, I think what the father did was unwise and unkind.  I also think the son showed some signs of weakness in that he let these actions of his father determine his own eternal destiny.  What was wrong?  What was right?  I don't think we know enough to determine that since we weren't there and don't understand the family dynamics or the personalities of the individuals involved.  But when we see the results we do, I'd say it's safe to say neither party was completely right.

Edited by Guest
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@Just_A_Guy I guess that might be the heart of the issue. I've struggled with blaming my father for driving my brother from the church. I was at his son's baptism. His Bishop gushed about how well my brother was doing, what a joy it was to have his kind spirit in their ward. Just a few months before, he'd born his testimony while visiting our home ward (his former ward for 20 years), and he literally had the congregation in tears with his powerful story of returning to the church. As I mentioned, my brother has mental health issues. He's prone to bouts of severe depression, suicidal thoughts, and severe anxiety. My father knew this and CRUSHED him anyway. It goes so much beyond him simply feeling offended. In that moment, he didn't feel LOVED, and maybe never has again. I have no doubt my brother thought it was okay to stand in the circle. I guess I'm just trying to see things from my father's perspective. It's such a stupid little thing that's representative of a much greater problem in our family. And yes, my father thought my brother wasn't worthy. He was always hung up on having a grandchild born out of wedlock. Anyway, thank you all. I appreciate your input. I've carefully read every word of every comment and will consider them deeply. I've begun to realize this episode has secretly damaged my own testimony, as the doubt feeds on the areas where I am spiritually the weakest. Time to bow my head and ponder....

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10 hours ago, SynjynXandria said:

So is there a requirement to have a temple endowment before participating in this type of ordinance?

Not currently. I do not know about 13 years ago, but it seems the bishop permitted it. I think that if the father questioned it, he should have discussed the matter with the bishop first. That might have allowed him time to think twice about confronting his son about it.

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He doesn't need to be endowed, but he should be temple worthy, although unless you are disfellowshipped, and explicitly told you can't participate, it's between you and God as to your worthiness.  I suppose the father and the bishop might have a say, but if the bishop didn't disfellowship you, I see nothing wrong.  Ultimately it's the bishop's call, not the father's.  Dad screwed up, big time.

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On 6/19/2017 at 3:44 AM, SynjynXandria said:

This may seem like a silly question, but it's the source of a years-long family feud, and I'd really like to know the answer. Sorry, it's a little long. 

My brother was made an elder when he was 18. He never received his temple endowment, but remained active while he was struggling with whether or not he could serve a mission in spite of some mental health issues. He decided to stay home, but held several callings, including home teacher, primary teacher, and working with the scouts. Then he fell in love with a non-member. He moved in with her. They had a child together. He was put on probation by his bishop. He stopped going to church. After five years, he and his girlfriend finally got married. When his son was 7, mom started asking him about letting her grandchild be baptized. He thought about it, started going to church again, let our dad baptize his son. The new bishop felt that my brother had fixed his mistake. Once he'd been active for a certain amount of time, the bishop told him he was once again a member in good standing, and could take the sacrament.  He happily substituted in the nursery (weird, right?). He was waiting for his wife to be baptized so they could get their temple endowments together. 

Then, my youngest brother was blessing his son in church. They asked all our family's elders to come up. My brother joined in the circle to give my nephew a name and a blessing. I didn't think a thing of it, but after Sacrament meeting, my father was very unhappy. Still in the church foyer, he berated my brother, quietly, for half an hour for joining in the circle when he wasn't worthy. My brother took the tongue-lashing, went home, and never went to church again. It's been 13 years. 

I know it won't change anything, but I need to know who's right. My brother was an elder. He wasn't giving the blessing. He'd stood in the circle years before as a new elder when we'd blessed my oldest son. So is there a requirement to have a temple endowment before participating in this type of ordinance? Does your priesthood authority expire if you don't get your endowment within a certain amount of time? Can you be an elder who exercises his priesthood authority without going to the temple? My dad was ward clerk at the time. Might he have known something I don't know? 

Thanks for your help and thoughtful consideration. You have no idea how much an answer would mean to me. My brother is my best friend and it kills me to see him so resentful towards the church.

I would suggest that your brother was more worthy to stand in the circle than the father. The most damaging thing a person can do is to tell another they arent good enough, worthy, etc. Often times, those who say these things do such because they are not close to the spirit in their heart. What should have happened is for the father to hug and congradulate the son and bringing tears of joy to his eyes.

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Point of order...temple worthiness is not required to participate in ordinances outside of the temple. That goes for witnessing, standing in a circle, or acting as voice.

The only requirement telativevto worthiness is that the presiding authority (either bishop or stake president) authorize the priesthood holder to participate in whatever fashion is deemed appropriate (in some circumstances, priesthood holders who are not worthy to act as voice may still be authorized to witness or stand in a circle).

When traveling, a temple recommend may be accepted as evidence of good standing and tacit authorization to perform an ordinance to an unfamiliar bishop. But bishops also make use of Recommends to Perform an Ordinance to communicate to other bishops that a member is worthy to participate and/or perform an ordinance if a temple recommend has not or cannot be issued.

The only thing a priesthood holder requires is authorization from the presiding authority.

 

correction

by Handbook 2 20.1.2, temple worthiness is required to act as vice when confirming, conferring Melchizedek priesthood, ordaining to offices in the Melchizedek priesthood, or setting apart to callings. 

Otherwise, my original statement is accurate.

Edited by MarginOfError
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