Purpose of Mormon Temples

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The Mormon Church is known for building temples. They are beautiful structures that are used for sacred ordinances and are considered to be "the gateways to heaven."1 Only worthy members may enter Mormon temples after they are dedicated. But why do the Mormons build temples?A Commandment of the LordBuilding temples is a commandment from the Lord. The Lord told the prophet Joseph Smith, "And verily I say unto you, let this house (temple) be built unto my name, that I may reveal mine ordinances therein unto my people; For I deign to reveal unto my church things which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world, things that pertain to the dispensation of the fulness of times." 2 From the earliest days of the Mormon Church Mormon temples have been built at extreme personal sacrifice. "According to Elder John A. Widtsoe, the cost of [the Kirtland temple], using the measuring rod of the widow’s mite – what they had proportional to what they gave – cost more per capita than any building in American religious history." 3After the dedication of the Nauvoo temple the Saints were only allowed to use it for six weeks before they were forced out by the mobs. As soon as the Saints arrived in Utah they began building temples. The most famous Mormon temple located in Salt Lake City took forty years to build. Since that time over 130 Mormon temples have been built on every continent except Antarctica, with more being constructed every year. A House of the LordThe Kirtland Temple was built that "that the Son of Man might have a place to manifest himself to his people."4 All latter-day temples are considered to be houses of the Lord. Because of this Mormon temples are kept sacred and a recommend is required to enter. Sanctification of the LivingMormon temples are “a place of instruction for all those who are called to the work of the ministry … that they may be perfected in [their] understanding … in all things pertaining to the kingdom of God on the earth.” 5Within Mormon temples sacred ordinances are performed that are required to gain eternal life with God. These ordinances include endowments and marriage sealings. "The endowment in the temple is a necessary and sacred blessing as essential for the members of the Church as baptism. Thereafter come the sealings of wives to their husbands and of children to their parents. Without these blessings there is no fullness of the gospel." 6The power of the priesthood, which is God’s power, is used to administer the ordinances in Mormon temples. It is the power of the priesthood, which assures the eternal nature of the ordinances. Redemption of the DeadPresident Joseph F. Smith had a vision wherein he saw Christ sending missionaries to "carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.” 7 Since the gospel of Christ is being preached to men a way had to be prepared for them to receive the necessary ordinances to receive eternal life, including baptism, endowments, and sealings. The way provided was through Mormon temples. Within Mormon temples members "do the necessary work for those who did not have the opportunity to accept the gospel in life. Doing work for others is accomplished in two steps: first, by family history research to ascertain our progenitors; and second, by performing the temple ordinances to give them the same opportunities afforded to the living." 8 Receive Guidance from the Lord Mormon temples are holy, reverent, and peaceful buildings where members of the LDS Church can go to commune with God. Although members can receive answers to prayers at any time it is often easier inside Mormon temples because outside influences are not present. President Benson said, "Sometimes in the peace of lovely temples, the serious problems of life find their solutions. [At times] pure knowledge flows to us there under the influence of the Spirit.” 9For more information about Mormon temples visit the sites below: LDS (Mormon) Temple resources Teachings About Mormon Temples USATODAY.com – Mormons open temple doors to share beliefs Temple (Mormonism) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia BBC – Religion & Ethics – Mormon Temples Manhattan Mormon Temple New York City.com : Arts & Attractions …Mormon Temple: Information From Answers.com History of Mormon Temples (1) Benson, Ezra Taft. “Temple Memories,” address given at Denver Colorado Temple dedication, 25 Oct. 1986. (2) Doctrine and Covenants 124:40-41 (3) Madsen, Truman G. "The Temple and the Atonement." Abridged from a lecture delivered in Saratoga, California, October 16, 1994 (4) Doctrine and Covenants 109:5 (5) D&C 97:13-14 (6) William Grant Bangerter, “What Temples Are For,” Ensign, May 1982, 71 (7) D&C 138:30 (8) Howard W. Hunter, “A Temple-Motivated People,” Ensign, Feb. 1995, 2 (9) “Temple Memories."