For years, people have asked themselves where did I come from? Is there life after death? Do family relationships exist beyond the grave?
The answers to these questions are not found in the wisdom of men. They are found only in the revealed word of God. Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are sacred structures in which these and other eternal questions are answered.
The Mormon Church has built temples all over the world. They are different from regular meetinghouses because they have a unique purpose and function. Mormon temples are dedicated buildings where saving ordinances are performed.
President Gordon B. Hinckley teaches that the practice of designating certain buildings for special ordinances is not new. "This was the practice in ancient Israel, where the people worshipped regularly in the synagogues. Their more sacred place was, first, the tabernacle in the wilderness with its Holy of Holies, and then a succession of temples, where special ordinances were performed and where only those who met the required qualifications could participate in these ordinances."
Today, just as in Moses’ time, only members who are living certain standards are allowed to enter Mormon temples after they are dedicated. Temples are not secret, they are sacred. The ordinances performed within temples are sacred. Mormon temples are considered houses of God and in order to maintain the sacred, reverent atmosphere only those who are worthy can enter. Temples of the Mormon church are "a sanctuary similar to a monasteryâ€”or perhaps an ashram or kiva, depending on one’s traditionâ€”where adherents focus undivided attention on attaining spiritual insight." The work that goes on in these buildings sets forth Godâ€™s eternal purposes with reference to man, who is Godâ€™s child and creation. Mormon temple work is concerned with families, "with each of us as members of Godâ€™s eternal family and with each of us as members of earthlyfamilies."
It is within Mormon temples that the eternal nature of marriage and family relationships is understood and established. "The married state is regarded as sacred, sanctified, and holy in all temple procedure; and within the House of the Lord the woman is the equal and the help-meet of the man." Both men and women are promised divine blessings. Men and women who are married in Mormon temples are sealed together for time and all eternity. This sealing blessing provides the assurance that the family relationship "will continue in eternity, provided they live worthy of that blessing."
God has also made allowance for those who have died to receive the blessings of the temple. Members stand as proxy for deceased relatives and friends during Mormon temple ordinances. President Hinckley teaches that, "In the spirit world these same individuals are then free to accept or reject those earthly ordinances performed for them." Because of the necessity of eternal ordinances, even for those who are deceased, Mormons search out their ancestors and are earnestly involved in family history work.
Mormon temples are unique because they are houses of instruction, covenants, and promises. In the temple members are given promises of God’s everlasting blessings. Within temples members can commune with God and reflect on his Son. In the temples members "set aside [their] own selfishness and serve for those who cannot serve themselves. Here, under the true priesthood power of God, [they] are bound together in the most sacred of all human relationshipsâ€”as husbands and wives, as children and parents, as families under a sealing that time cannot destroy and death cannot disrupt."
For more information about Mormon temples visit the sites below:
LDS Temples – Mormon Temples – Salt Lake Temple
Teachings About Mormon Temples
USATODAY.com – Mormons open temple doors to share beliefs
Temple (Mormonism) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Manhattan Mormon Temple New York City.com : Arts & Attractions …
Mormanity: Mormon Temples and "Secrecy"
Mormon Temple Ordinances – ReligionFacts.com