I went to thesaurus.com and looked up the word worthy. Below the synonyms was a list called “opposite of worthy” (antonyms). This is that list:

  • bad
  • deceptive
  • dishonest
  • evil
  • false
  • fraudulent
  • hateful
  • poor
  • unreliable
  • untrustworthy
  • unworthy
  • valueless
  • worthless
  • immoral
  • sinful
  • vile
  • worst
  • dishonorable
  • disreputable
  • unrespected

When a person in the Mormon Church is told they a not worthy to bless the Sacrament, participate in a baptism, or go to the temple, how do you think this makes them feel? Which of the above words applied to 16- year-old me when my bishop said I was unworthy to pass bless the sacrament due to the length of my hair? Was I vile, valueless, disreputable? Or was I just a smart ass kid that liked to wear his hair long?

Every private organization can set the rules for who can participate, with the church being no exception. They have every right to decide who can enter their temples, bless the sacrament, or speak in their meetings. Similarly, the state of California where I can live has the right to decide who can drive a car, and the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) can decide who can fly an airplane. The FAA won’t let me fly an airplane, not because I’m not worthy, but because I am not qualified. I have not passed their test that checks my qualifications. I did pass the test and am qualified to drive a car.

What if the church used the word “qualify” for the temple? Would that work? That way when non-member parents of the bride are sitting outside waiting for their daughter to emerge through the grand doors with hew new husband, they are not fraudulent, untrustworthy, or immoral, they are simply not qualified to enter the temple.

What are your thoughts on the word worthy as used by the church? Are there places where it applies? Do we as a church misuse it?