Talking to God gave me the idea to conduct a temple recommend interview with myself. First I’ll answer them as my former self then as my present self.
1) Do you have faith in and a testimony of God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost?
Mormon Me: Yes. To myself: At least I’m pretty sure. I hope that counts. I mean I’ve never seen them, but maybe if I’m really righteous…
Awakened Me: No. I can’t see any reason to believe in God. If he does exist, he seems pretty truant. I never sensed anyone at the other end of all those prayers that I offered. In retrospect it seems like I was on my own the whole time. So, no I don’t believe in the Father, Son, or Holy Ghost.
2) Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Christ and of His role as Savior and Redeemer?
Mormon Me: Yes. I’ve never really felt forgiven for anything, but I hope that if I go to the temple enough and do everything that’s expected of me I’ll be forgiven.
Awakened Me: No. Jesus seems like he was a great guy (if he isn’t just a myth). He had some interesting teachings, a lot like other moral teachers that came before him, but his followers took things too far. The Son of God? Seems like a religious power grab to me. Even if I could believe that he was God’s only begotten, why should I believe in him rather than the other messiahs of his time?
Oh, what was it that I need to be saved from again?
3) Do you have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these the latter days?
Mormon Me: Yes. Kind of, anyway. I haven’t made my mind up about Joseph Smith. He’s a hairbreadth from being just like all those cult leaders. Asking to marry someone else’s wife? That’s got “cult leader” all over it. But I guess he did a lot of good. The Book of Mormon and the Church are good, so he must have been alright.
Awakened Me: No. I haven’t made my mind up about Joseph Smith, though. He did some pretty awful things in his life and I don’t believe that he was called by a non-existent God. But did he really believe in his own calling or was he a charlatan? Did he start as a charlatan and start to believe his own lies? I just don’t know. He had some pretty innovative ideas about religion and I respect his willingness to go against the popular ideas of the day, but he was no prophet.
4) Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?
Mormon Me: Yes. I hope he doesn’t bring up home teaching.
Awakened Me: No. Why do you keep asking me these questions? It seems pretty obvious that I don’t believe in any of this, so why continue? Oh well, if you insist.
I think its too bad that they claim to be infallible. It’s even worse that people believe them. They’ve made a lot of mistakes and most of what they say just comes down to opinion. And what happened to all of those revelations? It seems like no one since Joseph Smith is willing to speak in the name of the Lord, on official record at least. The current leadership is more like the board of a corporation than prophets, seers, and revelators. Where’s all the new holy scripture?
5) Do you live the law of chastity?
Mormon Me: Yes. I wish that I felt forgiven for all that stuff I confessed before.
Awakened Me: Isn’t that a pretty personal question?! Who died and left you in charge of my sex life? Oh right, Him. I guess that makes something resembling sense.
No… Yes. Are you counting masturbation? Really?! I’d like some scriptural backup for that because I think that’s a bit too extreme. Seems like the church bought into all that masturbatory insanity nonsense.
6) Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church?
Mormon Me: No.
Awakened Me: No, though I’m not actively following its teachings.
7) Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
Mormon Me: No.
Awakened Me: Yes. Some of them are even in the LDS church. The more I think about it, it would seem pretty difficult to do any of your missionary work without affiliating with someone whose practices are contrary to the Church’s teachings. You really should get out more often. There are some really nice people out there who disagree with some things the church teaches. Didn’t Jesus affiliate with some pretty vulgar people?
8 ) Do you strive to keep the covenants you have made, to attend your sacrament and other meetings, and to keep your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?
Mormon Me: Yes. Strive being the operative word.
Awakened Me: No, not really. I don’t really care about covenants that I’ve made with a non-entity or obeying his commandments. All the same, I don’t think you would notice much difference between how I live my life and yours. My lifestyle hasn’t changed much since I left the church.
9) Are you honest in your dealings with your fellowmen?
Mormon Me: Yes. Well mostly. I guess I could work harder at my job. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m giving an honest effort. Wait, does that mean I just lied about lying? Best to just keep quiet. What would it look like if I didn’t get a temple recommend?
Awakened Me: Not perfectly, no. But I feel a lot more honest now that I can talk about all of my doubts. I used to avoid investigating my doubts in case it might contradict the Church’s teachings. Truth and I weren’t on the best of terms. Now I do my best to find it even when it contradicts what I already believe. So, yes, I’m more honest than I was when I was Mormon.
10) Are you a full-tithe payer?
Mormon Me: Yes. Phew! At least there’s one question that I can answer without any reservation. I’ve been paying on the gross since I knew how to count my pennies.
Awakened Me: Not intentionally, no. What do you do with all that money anyway? Your church takes in a lot, but I don’t see as much coming back out. When was the last time you had an outside auditor look at your books? Don’t you think all those people giving you money deserve to know where it’s going? What do you have to hide?
11) Do your keep the Word of Wisdom?
Mormon Me: Yes.
Awakened Me: Mostly. I’ve heard green tea is pretty good for your health. You like Chai? You do know that’s made with black tea, right? Yeah, no. It’s tea. Um, maybe I should be asking the questions here.
Do you use meat sparingly, only in times of winter and famine? I see. Do you use mild barley drinks? Yeah that’s beer. Why not? It’s right there in D&C 89:17.
12) Do you have financial or other obligations to a former spouse or children?
Mormon Me: No. Another easy one.
Awakened Me: No.
13)Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple?
Do you wear the garment both night and day as instructed in the endowment and in accordance with the covenant you made in the temple?
Mormon Me: Yes. I hope God isn’t too strict about that laughter thing.
Awakened Me: Let’s see if I can remember all of them. No. No. No. Yes. No. Yes. Yes. Yes. No. Yes. Oh and assuming that there’s a covenant with that last sign and token, yes. I keep some of those covenants just because it would seem disrespectful to divulge someone’s sacred secrets.
And no, I don’t wear the garment anymore. Why do you think God would insist on keeping husbands and wives from feeling intimate skin to skin contact while they sleep? I never noticed before how much intimacy I was missing.
14) Have there been any sins or misdeeds in your life that should have been resolved with priesthood authorities but have not been?
Mormon Me: No. Not this time, thank goodness.
Awakened Me: I haven’t done anything against the priesthood holders of the LDS church, so I don’t know of anything I need to work out with them personally.
15) Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord’s house and participate in temple ordinances?
Mormon Me: Yes, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Awakened Me: Do I meet your criteria for entrance? No. Do I feel unworthy of entering? No. Would I go if you let me? Probably not. It would feel like crashing someone’s party and pissing in their pool.
Now that that’s over, have you seen The Matrix? It’s pretty thought provoking. Better than a lot of the scriptures.…
[temple recommend interview questions courtesy lds-mormon.com]