Mormon TempleTo understand why Mormon beliefs dictate that Mormons should build temples is to understand what purpose temples fulfill. Mormon temples are houses of God–they are places of peace and holiness, sanctuaries from the outside world. In temples Latter-day Saints learn the Plan of Salvation, which answers eternal questions: Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? Can I see loved ones again after death?  Temples are essential to understanding this life and what we must do to achieve eternal life with God. This is the fundamental reason why Mormons build temples.God has always commanded his people to build temples. The people of Moses had a portable temple that they called the tabernacle; another well-known temple in the scriptures is King Solomon’s temple. With the restoration of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith, God again asked his people to build temples. In temples today, just as in temples of the Bible, sacred covenants and ordinances are made with God.These ordinances are essential to eternal salvation and must be performed in order. The order they must be performed in are baptism, confirmation (receiving the Holy Ghost), priesthood ordination (for men), washing and anointing, endowment, and sealing. This order is very important. In a revelation  received by Joseph Smith, which can now be found in the Doctrine and Covenants, it says, “You may think this order of things to be very particular; but let me tell you that it is only to answer the will of God, by conforming to the ordinance and preparation that the Lord ordained and prepared before the foundation of the world, for the salvation of the dead who should die without a knowledge of the gospel.”1Millions of people have died without the knowledge of the gospel, Mormon belief teaches that God is a God of love, and that He would not want these people to be punished, when they would have received the gospel if they had had the opportunity to hear it. This is why so much Mormon genealogy work is done within the Church and why attending the temple is so important.Salt Lake Mormon TempleFor a person who is alive, baptism, confirmation, and priesthood ordination can all be done outside of the temple. The other ordinances must be performed in the temple. For those who have died, all of these ordinances are performed in the temple. It is important to note that ordinances performed for the dead are done by living people standing in as proxies, and that the person who has died does not have to accept the ordinances. Performing these ordinances simply gives them the opportunity to accept them if they want to. Of these important ordinances, especially the ordinance of sealing a family together for eternity, President Gordon B. Hinckley has said,

“With us there is no building as sacred as a dedicated house of God. Only in Latter-day Saint temples are preserved in an indissoluble union for all eternity the precious associations of mortality. Among many things of a doctrinal nature that distinguish this Church from all others is the work that occurs in the house of the Lord under divine priesthood authority. Every temple throughout the world stands as a visible monument to the faith of this people in the certainty of immortality and the continuation of sacred bonds in that immortal realm.”2

More about Mormon Temples…

Other Links:

1 Section 128:5. Doctrine and Covenants

2 Hinckley, Gordon B. Temple Groundbreaking, Sacramento California, Aug. 22, 2004

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