In the LDS temple recommend interview, Question 7 reads: “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?” This question came into public consciousness this past week when, in the wake of the midterm elections, an LDS bishop from southern California celebrated on his blog the rise of a new Republican majority in the U.S. Senate, which also meant the demotion of LDS senator Harry Reid from his position as majority leader. In his exultation, this bishop suggested that Reid is “not a man of serious religious faith,” for if he were, as a Mormon he’d not be able to be a leader in a political party that had in its platform support for the ERA, a woman’s right to choose whether or not to continue a pregnancy, and same-sex marriage–all stances this bishop feels are out of alignment with core Mormon teachings and values. For these reasons, this bishop suggested he’d disqualify Reid from receiving a temple recommend based upon Question 7. LDS Public Affairs was quick to suggest that in writing what he did, this bishop was in error. Spokesperson Dale Jones: “Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are, of course, entitled to express their own political opinions. However, publishing such views while using a title of a church officer, even if only as a leader of a local congregation as in this case, is entirely inappropriate.”
In this episode, Claudia Bushman, Jeralee Renshaw, and Devery Anderson join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon for a discussion of Question 7. What do we know of its origins and the intent behind it? Should it be applied to specific things such as one’s political opinions or support for various governmental policies? In their own lives, how do they as panelists approach Question 7–and, even more so, the temple recommend process as a whole? How disclosing are they about the various nuances of their own beliefs and practice? Do they believe the intent of temple recommend interviews is “worthiness,” or might there be better framings for what this process is all about?
We hope you will listen and then share in the comments section below your own experiences with and reflections on Question 7 and temple recommend process!
Mark Paredes, “Good Riddance to Harry Reid, Mormon Senate Leader,” Jewish Journal blog, 5 November 2014
Peggy Fletcher Stack, “Harry Reid Not a Worthy Mormon? LDS Church, Dems Cry Foul,” Salt Lake Tribune, 7 November 2014