Monday, April 20, 2009

The Temple

Imagine taking a peek into Heaven. Everyone there is wearing modest white clothing, they are kind and pleasant and united in their worship and their service to others. It is peaceful and beautiful. This is my experience every time I go to the temple. The buildings are beautiful and the spirit of the Lord is felt there. I truly feel like I can leave my worldly troubles behind and for a few moments, enjoy the comfort of Heaven.

What happens in the temple?
Because we consider the temples ordinances so sacred, we only talk about them in the temple. This makes it a little hard to describe and easy for those who don't understand to fill in the blanks with their own imaginings. Please trust me when I say that I have been to the temple and there is nothing said or done there that I wouldn't be comfortable sharing except for the need to guard it's sacredness. There is much beauty and symbolism in the ceremonies and the covenants we make regard our willingness to serve God and obey his commandments. We go to the temple to learn and to perform sacred ordinances which prepare us to return to the presence of God. I was married in the temple and am sealed to my family for eternity. (picture) These ordinances have been performed in holy temples (or other authorized places) throughout history since the time of Adam. We believe that God is unchanging and that the requirements he makes of his children are the same today as they have always been. After Christ made it possible for the gospel to be preached to the dead in the spirit world, these ordinances began to be performed in behalf of those who did not have the opportunity to learn the gospel and receive these ordinances, such as baptism, while they were alive. These people are free to choose whether or not they wish to accept the ordinances, we simply make the choice available to them. (We do not believe that ordinances save us, but that they are required for salvation--a topic for another day.) For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. 1 Pet. 4: 6

Who gets to go to the temple?
Before a temple is dedicated to the work of the Lord, there is an open house where anyone may take a tour of the temple. I know some of you were able to attend the open house for the Newport Beach temple. After the dedication, only those who are qualified and prepared for temple worship may participate. The intent is not to exclude anyone, but to ensure that those who enter are prepared. Everyone who goes must meet the same requirements and all are welcomed and encouraged to do so. These requirements include a testimony of the gospel and obedience to the commandments of God (perfection is obviously not a requirement, but we must be sincere in our efforts).

The Temple Garment
Some of you have expressed curiosity about the underclothing that is worn by those who receive the temple endowment. The temple garment is simple, white, underclothing that we wear as a constant reminder of the covenants that we made in the temple. We consider it sacred.

Temple Attendance
There are currently 129 temples in the world and many more are being built in an effort to make temple blessings easily available to everyone who wishes to receive them. The first visit we receive the ordinances for ourselves and on subsequent visits we perform them as a service on behalf of deceased persons. We attend the temple as often as we can depending on our circumstances. Temples are open on a daily basis. No one keeps track of how often you go; temple service is motivated by love for God and his children and a desire to serve them. Peace, knowledge, and joy are the benefits of temple attendance. I am grateful for this piece of Heaven on earth.


  1. I have a difficult time with this part of Mormonism. How can a person make a decision about something if they are not given the entire picture? How can I say that I have a testimony of something if I do not know exactly what I have a testimony of? This makes no sense to me. What could be more sacred than Jesus dying on the cross? There is nothing, to me, that could ever be more sacred than that. God does not hide parts of the gospel from us. What purpose would that serve. The "sacredness" of the temple only causes confusion. God is not the author of confusion.
    I do not understand the difference between ordinances saving us and being required for salvation. What is the difference? Either way that you look at it, the Mormon church teaches that there are requirements, other than confessing that Jesus is your Savior and that He died on the cross for your sins, for salvation. This is a gospel based on works and religious rituals. Not one that is based on Faith alone.

  2. Yes, you are absolutely right, I believe that we must do what God asks us to do and repent when we fall short of his expectations for us. I understand that most trinitarians reject the idea that you can confess Christ then do whatever you want. I'm still trying to understand how good works fit into mainstream trinitarian doctrine. For the Latter-day Saints, to have faith in Christ is to have the courage and confidence to follow him and do his bidding. He has made us free to choose, and every choice we make either moves us closer to him or further away. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves, we rely completely on Christ. On the other hand, Christ will not force salvation upon us. The path to him is obedience and it is through commandments and ordinances that he tutors us in his ways and molds us into faithful disciples. More on this later though.

    As to having a testimony of the gospel...that is a fair question. If you don't know everything, how can you believe it? For most Latter-day Saints it is not an issue though. We believe that we live in the time of the restitution of all things spoken of by Peter and that this restitution includes prophets, temple worship, revelation, other things that were part of the ancient church. I believe that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, and that the gospel taught in this church is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is an easy thing then to accept on faith those things that I do not yet know or understand. Having been to the temple, I now know from experience that it is the work of the Lord that is done there.

    I did not mean to imply that the temple is more sacred than the Atonement of Christ. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is singular in it's sacredness and importance and all other parts of the gospel are but appendages to it. Nothing in the temple is secret. It is available to everyone who has the desire and is prepared to go. The Lord has asked us to guard the sacredness of the temple ordinances and I trust his wisdom.