About Mormon temples
What is a Mormon temple?
Mormons have two different types of buildings that they use in their worship of Jesus Christ. The most common is a church, where anyone is welcome to attend any of the meetings. Churches are used for regular Sunday worship and meetings are held at various times throughout the world. The second building is the temple. These are not used for Sunday services, so you will not find someone giving a sermon there. They serve an entirely different purpose and are closed on Sundays.
To latter-day saints temples are considered houses of God and places of holiness. They are held as one of the most sacred places on earth. They are a quite and peaceful refuge from the world. At a temple dedication, they are dedicated to Christ. Only members who have a current temple recommend are allowed into the temple.
Within the temple members make promises to God "to observe the law of strict virtue and chastity, to be charitable, benevolent, tolerant and pure; to devote both talent and material means to the spread of truth and the uplifting of the race; to maintain devotion to the cause of truth; and to seek in every way to contribute to the great preparation that the earth may be made ready to receive her King—the Lord Jesus Christ. With the taking of each covenant and the assuming of each obligation a promised blessing is pronounced, contingent upon the faithful observance of the conditions."
Latter-day Saints learn about the creation of the earth, the plan that God has for his children, and about the atonement of Christ. They learn of "man’s eternal journey from the dim beginning towards his possible glorious destiny."
Latter-day Saints believe that the same ordinances and covenants of the temple have been on the earth several times throughout history. It is believed that the tabernacle recorded in the Old Testament served a similar function to this, in addition to its charge to contain the Ark of the Covenant. Only personal ordinances were done until the resurrection of Christ. Once Christ was crucified He taught the spirits that were in prison. At this point the required ordinances could then be done for them. These ordinances for the dead are done in the temple.
As the people of each dispensation fell away from the gospel, these covenants were changed, altered or lost from the earth. Latter-day Saints believe that these sacred ordinances have been restored to the earth in the last days, and that they will be here until the second coming of Christ.
For more information on temples
Here are some in-depth resources for more information on LDS temples.
General information about the temples:
Historical information about the temples:
- ldschurchtemples.com: This is an independent site that has some great history on the temples. Each temple is well recorded.
About the ordinances and covenants that happen in the temple:
- mormon.org FAQ: What are Mormon Temples used for? Members discuss temples in their own words.
- lds.org: Why Latter-day Saints Build Temples
- Encyclopedia of Mormonism: Ordinances Ordinances performed in the LDS church in general. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism is not considered official doctrine by the LDS church.
- Encyclopedia of Mormonism: Temple Ordinances A very specific and detailed description of the ordinances performed in the temple. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism is not considered official doctrine by the LDS church.
- evidencesofmormon.org: What happens inside a Mormon temple? This is an independent site. As a matter of fact, this is this website!
- As found in the Bible and Book of Mormon: Covenants as found in the LDS Guide to the Scriptures study aid.
Viewing the inside of a Mormon temple:
- mormontemples.org: Multimedia site This site regularly shows the interior photos of temples. The featured list is the easiest way to see the interior of the newest temples. There is also a search feature.
Viewing the outside of a Mormon temple:
- mormontemples.org: Multimedia site This site regularly shows the exterior photos of temples.
- lds.org: Media library The media library is a resource on lds.org that has exterior temple pictures.
- ldschurchtemples.com: This is an independent site that has photos of the exterior of the temples.
A video tour of the temple a Mormon temple:
Why Mormons build temples: