I know every situation is different …but generally speaking- is the interview process the same across the board? Or is there something different the first time your interviewed for your temple recommend? Basically, Is there a difference between the initial interview process and renewal process.?
Thank you for your questions.
The answer to your question regarding differences in interview process is both yes and no. While overwhelmingly similar, there are some slight differences in the process. Some of these differences simply stem from the type of temple recommend you are being interviewed for, either a standard or a limited-use recommend.
For example, who gives the interview and the quantity of interviews required does vary:
1. Limited-use temple recommends are done at the Ward or Branch Level. Here a Bishop or one of his counselors may conduct this interview. At the Branch level only a Branch President may conduct temple recommend interviews. Branch counselors do not. This type of recommend requires only (1) interview.
2. Temple recommends (not limited-use) are done at the Ward/Branch Level and then also at the Stake Level, meaning there are (2) interviews involved. At the Stake level, first time temple recommends are conducted by the Stake President where as renewals are typically done by a Stake Presidency Counselor. In addition, there are times when Mission Presidents also issue temple recommends but this far less common.
Each temple recommend interview entails the same standard questions. Temple recommend interviews are comprised of 15 formal questions. Limited-use recommends only contain 13 of the 15 questions. The fifteen questions for a temple recommend are located on the Church’s website and are as follows:
Do you have faith in and a testimony of God, the Eternal Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost?
Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and of His role as your Savior and Redeemer?
Do you have a testimony of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
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 authorized to exercise all priesthood keys?Do you sustain the 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 leaders of the Church?
The Lord has said that all things are to be “done in cleanliness” before Him (Doctrine and Covenants 42:41).Do you strive for moral cleanliness in your thoughts and behavior?Do you obey the law of chastity?
Do you follow the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ in your private and public behavior with members of your family and others?
Do you support or promote any teachings, practices, or doctrine contrary to those of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
Do you strive to keep the Sabbath day holy, both at home and at church; attend your meetings; prepare for and worthily partake of the sacrament; and live your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?
Do you strive to be honest in all that you do?
Are you a full-tithe payer?For new members seeking a limited-use recommend: Are you willing to obey the commandment to pay tithing?
Do you understand and obey the Word of Wisdom?
Do you have any financial or other obligations to a former spouse or to children?
If yes, are you current in meeting those obligations?
Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple, including wearing the temple garment as instructed in the endowment?
Are there serious sins in your life that need to be resolved with priesthood authorities as part of your repentance?
Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord’s house and participate in temple ordinances?
These questions are the same for each interview, be it a first time or a renewal interview. The Church shares the follow regarding questions 12 & 13 (highlighted in red):
Questions 12 and 13 are omitted when youth are interviewed for a limited-use recommend.
So Rachel, while there are some differences, the ‘formal’ part of the temple recommend interview should feel very similar.
What informal questions and pleasantries are exchanged both before and after the formal portion will vary based on the individual interviewer and the interviewee. The Spirit has the right and authority to guide each interview, prompting priesthood leaders to occasionally ask personal questions about our employment, family, callings, general welfare, etc. Out of concern and love, priesthood leaders will often take advantage of the interview time to conduct a general wellness check, though this is not part of the formal temple recommend process.
I share this insight simply because there are members who, at times, are confused as to what constitutes the formal or informal part of the recommend process. I hope this helps shed some light on our questions Rachel.
Thank you again,