Personal worthiness

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Part of the series on the

Miracle of Forgiveness
1 Nephi 3:7
2 Nephi 25:23
Moroni 10:32
Merit, earning, and worthiness
Personal worthiness

Have I done all I can do? Am I living all the commandments? Have I paid restitution to the fullest extent possible? Am I worthy enough for sacrament, for the nearness and leading of the Spirit, for the temple, and for the Celestial Kingdom?

Worthiness is defined in Mormonism as: "To be personally righteous and to stand approved in the sight of God and his appointed leaders."[1] It usually refers to temple worthiness, and is "determined solely on the basis of personal righteousness."[2]



  • Worthiness, by Elaine S. Dalton (Windows Media Video)


[edit] Worthiness, earning, and merit

Proving one's worthiness of a spiritual blessing, earning it, and meriting it are essentially synonymous.

Elder L. Tom Perry, “That Spirit Which Leadeth to Do Good”, Ensign, May 1997, p.68 I bear witness of the power and comfort the gift of the Holy Ghost is to those who live worthy of it. What a reassurance it is for us to know that we are not left alone to find the course that we must follow to merit the eternal blessings of our Father in Heaven.

Elder Robert D. Hales, Hear the Prophet’s Voice and Obey, Ensign, May 1995, p.15 They taught us the importance of being kind to one another, obeying the commandments, and how to receive a fulness of joy and merit eternal life. They have pleaded with us to live more Christlike lives, to emulate the Savior in all we do, and to qualify ourselves to be worthy of the saving and exalting blessings available only in the holy temples of the Lord.

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, April 1923, Third Day—Morning Session, p.137 (also: Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie, 2:, p.27) Not all of his children are worthy of celestial glory, and many are forced to suffer his wrath because of their transgressions, and this causes the Father and the whole heavens to have sorrow and to weep. The Lord works in accordance with natural law. Man must be redeemed according to law and his reward must be based on the law of justice. Because of this the Lord will not give unto men that which they do not merit, but shall reward all men according to their works.

See related page: Quotes on merit, earning, and worthiness

[edit] All men here have proved worthiness in the premortal existence

We have "kept our first estate", and are considered the "noble and great ones". [1]

[edit] A chief purpose of life: proving one's personal worthiness

"The most important thing in all this world is that I know that I existed in the preexistence as a spirit child of my Heavenly Father; that I am here in mortality as part of his great plan for me in order that I may prove my worthiness to him by constantly making the proper choices between good and evil; and that if I prove myself worthy I will return to his presence." - Rex D. Pinegar[3]
"The divine plan required the creation of the earth so that we could be granted the privilege of coming here to obtain a physical body and be able to prove ourselves worthy to return to God's presence." -Joseph Fielding McConkie, Answers: Straightforward Answers To Tough Gospel Questions [2]
"His desire, purpose, and glory is to have you return to Him pure and undefiled, having proven yourselves worthy of an eternity of joy in His presence... [H]e knows that only those who are worthy will be able to live with him." -For the Strength of Youth [4]

"While many are called of God to receive His blessings, comparatively few become worthy of them" [3].

"Rather than frustrating the purpose of life, mortality, with its accompanying death of the flesh, provides the necessary probation for man to prove his worthiness of exaltation." - J. Keith Melville, BYU Studies[5]
"This is the great examination, the great test of the ages. The elements around us and the very materials of which our bodies are made are organized primarily to prove our worthiness or unworthiness of promotion. Answering our immortal and implacable ambition to progress, our eternal Father said, 'We will take of these materials and make an earth whereon these may dwell, and we will prove them herewith to see if they will do all things the Lord shall command them. And they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads forever and ever.' " (Improvement Era 1928)
See also: Purpose of life

[edit] A prerequisite

[edit] For baptism

"The personal standards of worthiness to be baptized into this Church are plain: 'All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.' " -James E. Faust, "Born Again" [4]

[edit] For sacrament

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[edit] For nearness and leading of the Spirit

"Its reward is the freeing of the soul, a nearness to divinity, a worthiness for the companionship of the Spirit." [5]
"You are assured of the help of God in fulfilling your worthy decisions. You qualify to be led by the Spirit, to choose the correct path." [6]
"[T]he 'gift' of the Holy Ghost is the privilege of enjoying His constant companionship if God’s commandments are followed. It is given after baptism to members of the Church by a priesthood holder who puts his hands on the head of the baptized person and blesses him or her to 'receive the Holy Ghost.' " [7]
"If you and I will ask, seek, and knock, always keeping ourselves worthy to learn from the Spirit, then the gates of the spiritual reservoir will open to us and the living water will flow." - David A. Bednar[7]

[edit] For priesthood ordination

[edit] For priesthood duties

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[edit] For missionary work

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"If someone officiating in this sacred ordinance is unworthy to participate, and this is known to anyone present, their participation is a serious distraction to that person. Young men, if any of you is unworthy, talk to your bishop without delay. Obtain his direction on what you should do to qualify yourself to participate in your priesthood duties worthily and appropriately." [9]
"If you would like to serve, contact your priesthood leaders to see if you are worthy and able. They are the ones who determine your worthiness to receive a missionary call from the Prophet." [10]
"Prospective missionaries must establish worthiness. We want to be sure our boys are going to be totally true to the covenants they have made when they go in the mission home. ... [If] he admits that he has had sexual life with girl friends, would you just say, "Now, of course, it wouldn't be possible for you to go on a mission now, would it? Now, if you will just get really busy, if you are really repentant and can prove it to us that you are really repentant, maybe a little later we would give it consideration." I wouldn't ever promise them that in [any set period]. I'll let you go. Just say, when you have proved yourself then we will take a look at it again." - Spencer W. Kimball[8]

[edit] For readmittance into membership

"If an application from a former transgressor is approved by the Presidency, one of the General Authorities is assigned to interview that person to determine his or her present worthiness and readiness to receive back those priesthood and temple blessings which he or she possessed before excommunication occurred." [11]

[edit] Temple worthiness

"Recommends should be issued only to those who are worthy and faithful. A sufficient time should elapse after baptism to prove worthiness." - James R. Clark[9]
"One of my concerns is that not enough of our people are making the efforts to get a temple recommend, which becomes a symbol of their worthiness and the righteousness of their desires." [12]
"Temple worthiness affords a great spiritual protection even for sisters who do not have regular access to the blessings of the temple. In His infinite wisdom, the Lord requires worthy brethren to wear the mantle of the priesthood in order to enter the temple, but He permits the sisters to enter solely by virtue of their personal worthiness." -James E. Faust, "What It Means to Be a Daughter of God"
"Blessed be the priesthood leader who conscientiously interviews each candidate for priesthood office and receives from that candidate a report of prior honorable service, an affirmation of personal purity and worthiness, and a confirmation of magnified effort and future intent to willingly bear and fulfill the great responsibility of priesthood office." -Ray H. Wood, "Made Like unto the Son of God" [13]

[edit] Celestial worthiness

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[edit] Worthiness interviews

"I realized, however, that there's more to an interview than just making the appointment and answering the questions. I had to be prepared and feel worthy. I wanted to be able to tell my bishop and stake president that without a doubt I felt worthy to attend the temple. How does one go about getting a feeling of worthiness? I felt like I had been living a good life, and I was striving to keep the commandments and follow the counsel of my Church leaders. But I had to be sure I was forgiven of my sins and could therefore worthily enter the temple. In contemplating all these things I decided to set aside a day for fasting and prayer." [16]

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[edit] Quotes

[edit] Notes

  2. Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 851
  3. Rex D. Pinegar, "Become Rich toward God", Ensign, January 1974, p.32
  4. "This pamphlet summarizes standards from the writings and teachings of Church leaders and from scriptures. The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have reviewed, accepted, and endorsed this pamphlet, which is printed at their request and with their approval for the information, guidance, and blessings of the youth of the Church." Available here:
  5. J. Keith Melville, "The Reflections of Brigham Young on the Nature of Man and the State", BYU Studies, vol. 4 (1961-1962), Num. 3 and 4 - Spring and Summer 1962, p.256
  6. Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols., 2:, p.365
  7. "Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve. From a BYU fireside for young adults on February 4, 2007. Available online [url=,7341,395,00.html]here[/url].
  8. Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball, p.561
  9. James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-75), 5:, p.111
  10. James E. Faust, “Some Great Thing”, Ensign, November 2001, p.46
  11. J. Keith Melville, "Joseph Smith, the Constitution, and Individual Liberties", BYU Studies, vol. 28 (1988), Number 2 - Spring 1988, p.67
  12. Hartman Rector, Jr., and Connie Rector, No More Strangers, 4 vols., 1:, p.127

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