I have a family member who served a mission several years ago. She stills believes in the church but since marrying a non member she doesn’t attend church anymore, pay tithing or really participate in any type of church activity accept for the occasional visiting teacher that comes by once every few years. Her husband smokes and drinks but as far as I know she still doesn’t approve. My question is should she or is she still allowed to wear her garments? She doesn’t have a current recommend and told me that she just has her friend buy them for her. I was surprised to hear this and wanted to say something but wasn’t sure if this was wrong or not. Thanks for your help,
Confused and Curious
Dear Confused and Curious,
This is a great question. This question can be more difficult also especially when it involves a family members who has made a personal decision to not live up to their temple covenants. The Temple covenant is a personal covenant we have made between us and the Lord. The temple covenant contains promises for those who honor their covenants faithfully and warnings if we do not.
The Bishop and Stake President, if they esteem the life of an endowed member unfit to wear garments they do have the authority to request the individual to no longer wear garments. This is definitely the case if a member has been part of a disciplinary council. If a member has not been invited to a disciplinary council then it is subject to the Bishop and Stake President as to whether or not they invite the member to remove their garments. Although, I have heard a few Bishops and Stake Presidents say I would rather see them wearing garments, if by wearing garments it keeps them from committing other sins.
However, typically, unless a disciplinary council has resulted the Bishop or Stake President shouldn’t even have to worry about an invitation to remove garments, because clothes naturally wear out. When garments wear out, the person who is no longer honoring their covenants should not be able to purchase them.
The reason is that garments are to be purchased and worn by those who are “worthy” endowed members. If a person is not worthy, doesn’t have a current temple recommend, than no one should be purchasing any garments for them. They must first reconcile their differences with the Lord and the Bishop, obtain a recommend and purchase the garments themselves.
Note, some G.A.s, Stake Presidents, and Bishops have been using a term lately, “Is the member worthy enough.” This is decided by the presiding Bishop of the ward, or the Stake President within the area. However, a friend should not be purchasing any garments for another friend, unless they know they are active members who carry a current temple recommend.
As members we have been placed under strict covenant that we do not break our own covenant, and by purchasing garments for an unworthy member I would have to wonder, is this honoring the covenant we have made with the Lord in the Temple?
If a person is asked to remove garments this can be a very tricky situation. Remember, a Bishop or Stake President can only invite a church member to remove their garments. They can not force them. Thus, we even have excommunicated members, or disfellowshipped members who still wear garments, even though they have been invited to remove them.
As for me personally, I would truly feel sorry for a person who is buying garments for other persons who are not living up to their covenants. We should only be buying garments for our spouse, or children, and that is if they are still living at home and living or honoring the covenants they have made in the temple. No one should be purchasing garments for friends, especially if they are not living up to their covenants.
As what you should do, sometimes it is important that you let the Bishop know someone is purchasing garments for someone else, and let the presiding authority deal with it as they see fit.