In temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, instructions and ordinances detailing our Father in Heaven’s plan of salvation are provided. Also detailed is the commitment required by followers of the Lord to obtain the blessings promised to the faithful.
In the Salt Lake Temple, these instructions and ordinances are given in different areas of the building. Baptisms are performed in the baptistry. The endowment is given in rooms painted to represent the Creation, the Garden of Eden, this world, and terrestrial conditions. The celestial room, with its beautiful furnishings, suggests the noble and exalted conditions awaiting the faithful. There are more than a dozen sealing rooms for ordinances of marriage and of sealing children to parents. The Salt Lake Temple also has council rooms for the presiding priesthood quorums of the Lord’s church, and a large assembly room for meetings.
The creation room. (© LDS.)
The baptistry. (© LDS.) In the words of President David O. McKay, temples show the “step-by-step ascent into the eternal presence.” Through temple instruction, we receive an overview of the Christlike life.
The garden room. (© LDS.)
The lower grand hallway. (© LDS.) Temple instructions and ordinances are for the spiritual-minded, for mature disciples of the Lord “who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command” (D&C 97:8).
The upper grand hallway (© LDS.)
The terrestrial room. (© LDS.) The temple is an ideal place for us to worship through quiet service, renewal, meditation, and prayer. When we enter the Lord’s holy house and center our thoughts on serving others, our own understandings are often clarified, and solutions to personal problems are often revealed. The Lord has described his house as “a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” (D&C 88:119).
The celestial room. (© LDS.)
One of the temple sealing rooms. (© LDS.) As did ancient Israelites, we Latter-day Saints regard temples as places set apart, places to which we may go to draw close to God. Temple sites are revered as sacred ground. The spiritual atmosphere found in temples is further nurtured by the character of those who enter therein and by the nature of the instruction and ordinances presented.
The council room of the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles. (© LDS.)
The council room of the Twelve Apostles. (© LDS.)
The council room of the Presidency of the Seventy. (© LDS.)
Another of the temple sealing rooms. (© LDS.)
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The main assembly room. (© LDS.) Latter-day Saints see in the completeness and wholeness of the temple sure evidence of divine revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ to the Prophet Joseph Smith, through whom temple instructions and ordinances were restored in these latter days: “I will show unto my servant Joseph all things pertaining to this house, and the priesthood thereof” (D&C 124:42).
In the temple, truths are taught and covenants made by individual members, both on their own behalf and as proxies on behalf of others who have died and who have the choice in the spirit world to accept or reject this vicarious temple service. After receiving temple instruction and ordinances for themselves, Church members are encouraged to return often to reexperience the same ordinances in behalf of deceased persons.
Wrote the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things, and that say unto Zion: Behold, thy God reigneth! As the dews of Carmel, so shall the knowledge of God descend upon them! …
“Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness; and let us present in his holy temple … a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation” (D&C 128:19, 24).
[photos] Photography by Welden Andersen; copyright by the Corporation of the President, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; no reproduction authorized or permitted.