I have 3 married children and 11 grandchildren. All are active in the LDS Church. All 3 children were married in the temple, and between the 3 and their spouses, 4 have been on missions. One of my sons teaches early morning seminary in Virginia. I am not active and have serious doubts.
The dilemma for me, as a “Jack” Mormon, is church ordinances. When my kids were growing up, their grandfathers performed them, with me just participating in the circles. My father-in-law was never very happy about this arrangement, but he went along. My father was always very gracious. When my sons were getting ready to go on their missions, my mother and father agreed to take them through the temple. When my children married, I missed the temple wedding ceremonies. The only ceremony where I was the voice was when I dedicated my father’s grave.
Now, I have a dilemma with my grandchildren. There are blessings, confirmations, and ordinations. I participate in the circles, but should I?
I was recently traveling with a colleague (who is also a Stake President) and I asked him whether it is appropriate for me as a “Jack” Mormon to participate in the circles . . . something that I have been doing. His answer surprised me, he said “No.” My colleague is quite liberal in his politics, so I was expecting a different answer. I guess he is not very liberal in his ecclesiastical responsibilities.
My colleague indicated that you should at least be active to participate, and he implied a temple recommend would be best. He said he could quote chapter and verse from the bishop’s manual. Nobody has ever asked me my church status or hinted that I should not participate. I suspect that my family members would be disappointed if I didn’t.
Five of my grandchildren live in Virginia, and I’ve tried to be at all their church ordinances (I live in Utah). For me, it is an important family activity and I want to be supportive. I will probably continue to participate unless officially instructed otherwise.
According to the website lds.org, all that is required for a baby blessing, confirmation, or grave dedication is for the participant to have the Melchizedek Priesthood, which I nominally have. For an ordination, one must be “authorized by the presiding authority.”