When Mormons want to participate in the temple ordinances, they first meet with a local leader to receive a small card known as a “temple recommend.”
What is a temple recommend?
A temple recommend is a small piece of paper that has an individual’s name, birthdate and other basic information. It is signed by two local leaders, a bishop and stake president, which signifies that the member has met with each of them.
When members arrive at the Mormon temple, they are met by a friendly individual inside the doors of the temple. This individual looks at the individual’s recommend and welcomes the person to the temple.
Why is a Mormon temple recommend required?
Some of the most special ordinances of the Mormon religion take place in the temple. Just as with ordinances in nearly every major religion, certain preparation is required to participate in these ordinances. The temple recommend simply represents that the individual has completed that preparation.
What preparation is required?
First, an individual must be baptized as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Second, when you meet with the local leaders, they ask a series of straightforward questions. These questions very simply confirm whether the individual is striving to keep the commandments of God. Mormons do not meet with these leaders each time they want to attend the temple; rather, a temple recommend lasts for approximately two years. After two years, the individual will meet with the local leaders to receive an updated temple recommend.
The Lord, and His leaders on the earth, want everybody to experience and participate in the temple ordinances. Gordon B. Hinckley, the president of the LDS Church from 1995-2008, said:
The fact is that the opportunity to come into the temple and partake of its blessings is open to all who will accept the gospel and be baptized into the Church. They are expected to come clean in thought, clean in body, and clean in dress to enter the temple of God.