[quote=Jerusha]So, it is not analogous to confession, forgiveness of sin is not involved, it is just to determine if you are living your life in a worhty enough manner to merit temple participation?
How strong are teachings about forgiveness of sin? Is there a distinction between consciously deciding to turn away from virtuous behavior, and behavior that may be considered wrong, but is more due to psychological problems?? In other words, is there a continuum of guilt or culpability?
You are right, the list of questions is just to determine temple worthiness. You are interviewed by your Bishop and the Stake President and then if you say(some may lie) you are doing the things that make you worthy to enter the Temple you are given a recommend(like a license) It is good for one year and has to be renewed every year.
The teachings are continuous about forgiveness and the atonement. Each Sunday we take the Sacrament to remind us of the sacrifice Jesus made for us, and if we are sinning we should not take the sacrament. Some people are more thoughtful and serious about taking the Sacrament than others, but it is a renewal of the covenant of baptism, and therefore partaking means you are recommitting to following the commandments of God.
If you commit a very serious sin, as adultry, abortion, etc. You are supposed to go to your Bishop and confess, then you may be called before a Bishop's court and disfellowshipped for a year, or if you have no remorse and have not repented sufficiently, or if you hold a high office, etc(it depends on your knowledge of what you did and the extent of the sin)you are excommunicated from the church. If at a later date you repent and make ammends for your sin, you may ask for rebaptism and come back to the church, and work your way back to Temple recommend etc. Excommunication is finalized by the Prophet.
Many people just leave the church rather than go through the process, because they do not have faith and do not care about the steps of repentance. Unless they confess, nothing happens to them, they just go on their merry way, but they will not escape the judgement day. So when someone sins very seriously and continues to sin without repentence, they are not really escaping punishment. It is just in this life they are escaping, God will judge them more harshly in the future.
My own ex-husband did not pay child support for the 20 years I was raising our 6 children alone. In this last few years he has had a temple recommend and I have wondered, but I did not say anything to report him. It is between him and God. I am not his judge. It was difficult to forgive him for some things, and I was bitter, but after a lot of prayer and asking God to help me forgive, I finally was able to let it go. I realized that some of the sins I had committed were very serious also, and I would be heartbroken if I were not forgiven. It gave me peace after all those years of anger. Everyone can be forgiven if they repent, and that is the secret. Many do not and will not repent, they continue to commit the sin without remorse, and unless they come to Jesus Christ with a broken heart and contrite spirit, He cannot forgive. They have to ask for forgiveness.
Of course mental capabilities enter into the decision of whether to excommunicate or disfellowship. Also, marital situations, such as split religions contribute, each case is individual and judged according to the circumstances. Hope this answers the question somewhat…BJ