Update: On November 22, 2021, the Church sent a letter to local leaders explaining the new process for temple recommends, and also dubbed what were formerly “limited-use” recommends “recommends for proxy baptisms and confirmations,” a fittingly longer, less succinct name in our new era of turning away from quick-use terminology and acronyms.
We are accustomed to receiving little news nuggets from the Church Newsroom, but in this case, it’s the final pages of November’s issue of the Liahona that contains some interesting changes to how temple recommends are issued.
Beginning October 25, leaders in “selected stakes” have been allowed to issue temple recommends—except those for living ordinances (i.e. your own endowment, sealing, etc.)—using Leader and Clerk Resources, our beloved LCR. Not only can leaders print the recommends from LCR, they can even apply a digital signature to it. Leaders can still physically sign a printed recommend if they choose.
The guidance notes that digital signatures are the “most secure method” for issuing temple recommends, and that doing so is the preferred method. While the pilot is reserved for the unnamed “selected stakes,” the Church hopes all units will use LCR for temple recommends by December 13, 2021.
Pivoting to digitally derived temple recommends is a seemingly inevitable step in our paperless, clouded, gilded age, although some might argue that the Church has already missed the most important window to implement this change, when the entire Church ceased all public activities and temple recommend renewals were often handled via a Zoom chat, followed by the mailing of the physical recommend bath and forth from local leaders to candidates, and then on to stake leaders and back. Any advancement is good, but one can imagine how much more helpful this capability would have been 18 months ago.
Lastly, the guidance indicates that, similar to other outdated phrases like “investigator” and “less-active member,” the term “limited-use recommend” will no longer be used for recommends that allow unendowed members to participate in proxy baptisms and confirmations. The Church did not indicate if it will introduce a new term to distinguish between two types of recommends, one of which truly does have limited use, but a shift in terminology makes sense as a nice way not to inadvertently denigrate our brothers and sisters who are still doing important work, regardless of endowment status.