I am a child of God with infinite worth just like you are. I'm also a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
What Is a Temple?
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consider temples to be sacred spaces that are literally houses of the Lord. If you ever take a close look at the outside of one of these temples, you will notice that it is inscribed with the words "Holiness to the Lord" and "The House of the Lord."
These sacred buildings are dedicated (or set apart) for the Lord's work and provide a place of purity where worthy members of the church are able to perform sacred priesthood ordinances and make sacred covenants (promises) with the Lord that are valid throughout the eternities.
This quiet setting away from the noise and distractions of the world also provides an ideal environment for prayer, worship, communing with the Lord, and seeking personal revelation.
There is a quick overview of the ordinances performed in the temple below, or if you want more details including a guided tour of the inside of a temple, I highly recommend watching this quick video.
Virtual Tour of the Rome, Italy Temple (including a description of what happens inside)
What Ordinances Are Performed In the Temple?
Below are examples of ordinances performed in temples. All of the ordinances performed in the temple are focused on Jesus Christ and returning to the presence of God some day.
- Baptisms for the dead-Jesus Christ taught in John 3:3-5 that baptism is an essential saving ordinance and that none can enter the kingdom of God without it. Because God loves all of his children and wants them all to return to Him, He has provided a way for those who do not receive the gospel during their mortal existence to have the opportunity to receive the gospel in the spirit world and hence have the opportunity to live with Him again in his kingdom. In 1 Corinthians 15:29, the apostle Paul taught that the reason we are baptized for the dead is because like Christ, the dead will be resurrected and live again. Baptisms for the dead are done by the living in proxy of deceased family members. This does not force anyone to accept the ordinance of baptism. Those in the spirit world who the baptism is performed for are able to choose whether they want to accept or decline the ordinance that has been performed in their behalf.
- The Endowment-An endowment is a gift, and the endowment received in the temple is specifically a sacred gift from God. Part of the endowment ceremony is an opportunity to make covenants (or promises) such as covenanting to more fully dedicate our lives to God by keeping his commandments, living lives of purity and chastity with no sexual relations outside of marriage, and more fully dedicating ourselves to doing his will. There are many gifts received in the endowment ceremony, such as a greater abundance of knowledge regarding God's eternal plan for us. Those who receive the endowment also feel increased power to follow Christ, to serve Him and the people around them, and to withstand temptations they may face in their daily lives. The endowment ceremony teaches and reminds participants of God's eternal love for all of His Children and His desire to bless all of his children in mortality as well as throughout eternity.
- Sealings-A sealing performed in the temple is comparable to a marriage outside the temple with a few key differences. First, a sealing in the temple is a three way covenant made between the bride, the groom, and God. As the bride and groom covenant to a life of fidelity to each other and dedication to God, God covenants with them that their family will be one of an eternal nature rather than the standard "to death do us part" marriage that occurs outside of the temple. Sealings are able to be performed as the initial marriage ceremony, or after a civil marriage ceremony. There is also a ceremony that seals children to their parents if their parents were not sealed to each other before the children were born. The reason that sealings allow family relationships to continue on throughout the eternities is that they are performed through God's sacred priesthood power. The sealing power is only used within the walls of the holy temple.
Who Can Enter the Temple?
There is a short time period between when a temple is built and when it is dedicated that the general public is able to tour the temple during an "open house."
Once the temple has been dedicated, it is only open to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have been interviewed by local church leaders and found worthy to enter. The standards that determine worthiness to enter the temple include striving to keep God's commandments, striving to live a Christ-like lifestyle, and having a testimony of Jesus Christ and his restored gospel.
Do You Have More Questions?
This article is meant to be a brief summary of what goes on in temples, but if you have more questions about temples or about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ComeuntoChrist.org is a great resource that can answer a lot of your questions. If you decide you want further information, that website can also help you get in contact with some representatives from the church that would be happy to talk with you and answer your questions.
© 2020 Rebecca Young