Sacred Spires


Modern-day prophets bear testimony of the importance of temples.

Joseph Smith (1805–44)

“The main object was to build unto the Lord a house whereby He could reveal unto His people the ordinances of His house and the glories of His kingdom, and teach the people the way of salvation; for there are certain ordinances and principles that, when they are taught and practiced, must be done in a place or house built for that purpose” (History of the Church, 5:423).

Brigham Young (1801–77)

“We are trying to save the living and the dead. The living can have their choice, the dead have not. Millions of them died without the Gospel, without the Priesthood, and without the opportunities that we enjoy. We shall go forth in the name of Israel’s God and attend to the ordinances for them. … We will build temples and officiate therein for those … who would have received the truth if they had had the opportunity” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1954], 404).

John Taylor (1808–87)

“We have now finished this temple, and some people inquire, what is it for? For many things: that our sealings and ordinances may be performed in a manner that will be acceptable before God and the holy angels; that whatsoever is bound on the earth according to the laws of the eternal priesthood shall be bound in the heavens; that there may be a connecting link between the living and the dead” (in Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Latter-day Prophets Speak [1948], 134).

Wilford Woodruff (1807–98)

“We have blessings which have never been given to any other generation since the days of Jesus Christ and the Apostles. … You hold the keys of the destiny of your fathers, your mothers, your progenitors, from generation to generation; you hold the keys of their salvation. God has put that power into your hands” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1897, 47).

Lorenzo Snow (1814–1901)

“We feel when we go into these temples that we enjoy the Spirit of the Lord more fully than in any other place. They are the Lord’s buildings, and His most important work is carried on within their walls” (The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, ed. Clyde J. Williams [1984], 96).

Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918)

“We hope to see the day when we shall have temples built in the various parts of the land where they are needed for the convenience of the people: for we realize that one of the greatest responsibilities that rest upon the people of God today is that … they may be joined together fitly in the bond of the New and Everlasting covenant from generation to generation” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1902, 3).

Heber J. Grant (1856–1945)

“One of the great works in this Gospel of salvation, devolving upon us as Saints, is to labor in the temples of God for the salvation of our dead” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1913, 87).

George Albert Smith (1870–1951)

“Each of [the temples] has been built to one great eternal purpose: to serve as a House of the Lord, to provide a place sacred and suitable for the performing of holy ordinances that bind on earth as in heaven—ordinances for the dead and for the living that assure those who receive them and who are faithful to their covenants, the possession and association of their families, worlds without end, and exaltation with them in the celestial kingdom of our Father” (“The Tenth Temple,” Improvement Era, Oct. 1945, 561).

David O. McKay (1873–1970)

“Temples are built for the performance of sacred ordinances—not secret, but sacred. A temple is not a public house of worship. It is erected for special purposes” (The Teachings of David O. McKay, comp. Mary Jane Woodger [2004], 180).

Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972)

“Marriage for eternity can be performed only in the temples. It cannot be performed anywhere else. Authority by which such marriages are solemnized must be vested in the one who performs the ordinances, by virtue of appointment by the one who holds the keys” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:73–74).

Harold B. Lee (1899–1973)

“In these temples, as in all others, Saints receive sacred ordinances and additional gifts and blessings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Young people go for baptismal work for the dead, and their parents go to perform the essential endowment work. Attendance at the temple can always be a great spiritual experience” (“Your Light to Be a Standard unto the Nations,” Ensign, Aug. 1973, 4).

Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985)

“Having in mind the importance of temple work, wouldn’t it be wonderful if every Latter-day Saint home had in the bedroom of each boy and each girl, or on the mantle of the living room, a fairly good-sized picture of a temple which would help them recall, frequently, the purpose of these beautiful edifices” (“The Things of Eternity—Stand We in Jeopardy?” Ensign, Jan. 1977, 7).

Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994)

“I hope you would teach this truth about the temple to your children and your grandchildren. Go to the temple—our Father’s house—to receive the blessings of your fathers that you may be entitled to the highest blessings of the priesthood” (“What I Hope You Will Teach Your Children about the Temple,” Ensign, Aug. 1985, 10).

Howard W. Hunter (1907–95)

“Truly, the Lord desires that His people be a temple-motivated people. It would be the deepest desire of my heart to have every member of the Church be temple worthy. I would hope that every adult member would be worthy of—and carry—a current temple recommend, even if proximity to a temple does not allow immediate or frequent use of it” (“The Great Symbol of Our Membership,” Ensign, Oct. 1994, 5).

Gordon B. Hinckley (1910– )

“A temple is a house of God, and he is Everlasting. It was he who required that special houses be built in which to administer these eternal ordinances. There is no adequate substitute on all the face of the earth” (“Temples and Temple Work,” Ensign, Feb. 1982, 4).

[photo] Bountiful Utah Temple by Jonas Otsuji

[photo] Salt Lake Temple by Alan Yorgason

[photo] St. George Utah Temple by Jonas Otsuji

[photo] Nuku‘alofa Tonga Temple by William Floyd Holdman

[illustration] Courtesy Community of Christ Archives

[photo] Idaho Falls Idaho Temple by Steve Tregeagle

[photo] Washington D.C. Temple by Jonas Otsuji

[photo] Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple by Jonas Otsuji

[photo] Nauvoo Illinois Temple by Welden C. Andersen

[photo] Provo Utah Temple by Jonas Otsuji