|london, england temple|
Today, we can find many temples all across the world. The Prambanan temple in Central Java, the famed Taj Mahal and Lotus temples of India, and the Wat Rong Khun temple of Thailand. All of these beautiful structures share a common purpose – to serve as house of worship for religious followers. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we also have many temples throughout the world. Today I would like to focus on five reasons why we, as Latter-Day Saints, have temples.
1. It is a commandment from God
“From the days of the Old Testament, the Lord has commanded His people to build temples-sacred structures where He could teach, guide, and bless them.” The Lord commanded the Israelites to build a portable temple to travel with them while in the wilderness – the tabernacle. Exodus 25:8-9 “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.” Other temples found in the Old Testament include the Temple of Solomon and the Temple of Zerubbabel, where the righteous went to perform sacred ordinances.
When Christ was on the earth, the only remaining temple was the temple of Herod. Christ was often found in this temple teaching and learning during his ministry. We first hear of this in JST Luke 2:46 “And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, and they were hearing him, and asking him questions.”
After Christ's ministry, there were no temples on the earth until the church was restored here in the latter days. When the saints were living in Kirtland, the Lord commanded the Saints to build a temple. In D&C 95:8, 11, the Lord says “I gave unto you a commandment that you should build a house, in the which house I design to endow those who I have chosen with power from on high...It is my will that you should build a house. If you keep my commandments you shall have power to build it.”
“Throughout history, the Lord has commanded His people to build temples. Temples are literally houses of the Lord. They are holy places of worship where individuals make sacred promises with God.”
2. To make covenants
In the temple, we perform ordinances that will allow us to live in the presence of God.
“Through the power of [the] priesthood . . . , husband and wife may be sealed, or married for eternity; children may be sealed to their parents for eternity; thus the family is made eternal.”
—Joseph Fielding Smith
Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, February 1995
“In the temples, members of the Church who make themselves eligible can participate in the most exalted of the redeeming ordinances that have been revealed to mankind.”
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
“The only place on earth where we can receive the fulness of the blessings of the priesthood is in the holy temple. That is the only place where, through holy ordinances, we can receive that which will qualify us for exaltation in the celestial kingdom.” – Harold B. Lee
3. Serve the dead
Church members in Nauvoo found great comfort in baptisms for the dead and the promise of eternal families. One of these members was a sister named Sally Randall. When her 14-year-old son George died, she sent the sad news to family members. Soon thereafter, she learned about baptism for the dead. Again she wrote to her relatives, this time with newfound peace and assurance:
“[George’s] father has been baptized for him and what a glorious thing it is that we believe and receive the fulness of the gospel as it is preached now and can be baptized for all of our dead friends and save them as far back as we can get any knowledge of them. I want you [to] write me the given names of all of our connections that are dead as far back as grandfather’s and grandmother’s at any rate. I intend to do what I can to save my friends. … I expect you will think this is strange doctrine but you will find it to be true.”
The Prophet Joseph Smith declared: “The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead. … :What is the object of [the coming of Elijah]? or how is it to be fulfilled? The keys are to be delivered, the spirit of Elijah is to come, the Gospel to be established, the Saints of God gathered, Zion built up, and the Saints to come up as saviors on Mount Zion [see Obadiah 1:21].
“But how are they to become saviors on Mount Zion? By building their temples … and going forth and receiving all the ordinances … in behalf of all their progenitors who are dead … ; and herein is the chain that binds the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, which fulfills the mission of Elijah”
D&C 128: 15 – And now, my dearly beloved brethren and sisters, let me assure you that these are principles in relation to the dead and the living that cannot be lightly passed over, as pertaining to our salvation. For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation, as Paul says concerning the fathers—that they without us cannot be made perfect—neither can we without our dead be made perfect.
4. To learn and gain broader perspective
Boyd K. Packer: “Sometimes our minds are so beset with problems, and there are so many things clamoring for attention at once that we just cannot think clearly and see clearly. At the temple the dust of distraction seems to settle out, the fog and the haze seem to lift, and we can ‘see’ things that we were not able to see before and find a way through our troubles that we had not previously known.
“The Lord will bless us as we attend to the sacred ordinance work of the temples. Blessings there will not be limited to our temple service. We will be blessed in all of our affairs”
5. To be closer to our Heavenly Father
“I think there is no place in the world where I feel closer to the Lord than in one of His holy temples.”
—President Thomas S. Monson
Old Testament temple – Exodus 40:34-45 “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”
Elder Oaks at the October 8th groundbreaking of the Payson, Utah temple said: “This temple will be His house. Here will be exercised the ordinances of His holy priesthood. This is His work, His plan. This is His Church. The ultimate purpose of this temple is the exaltation of the children of God.”