Temple Preparation

“Temple Preparation,” Eternal Marriage Student Manual (2003), 314–10


Selected Teachings

Temple Worthiness

President Howard W. Hunter

“I also invite the Latter-day Saints to look to the temple of the Lord as the great symbol of your membership. It is the deepest desire of my heart to have every member of the Church worthy to enter the temple. It would please the Lord if every adult member would be worthy of—and carry—a current temple recommend. The things that we must do and not do to be worthy of a temple recommend are the very things that ensure we will be happy as individuals and as families” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 8; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 8).

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“These unique and wonderful buildings, and the ordinances administered therein, represent the ultimate in our worship. These ordinances become the most profound expressions of our theology. I urge our people everywhere, with all of the persuasiveness of which I am capable, to live worthy to hold a temple recommend, to secure one and regard it as a precious asset, and to make a greater effort to go to the house of the Lord and partake of the spirit and the blessings to be had therein. I am satisfied that every man or woman who goes to the temple in a spirit of sincerity and faith leaves the house of the Lord a better man or woman. There is need for constant improvement in all of our lives. There is need occasionally to leave the noise and the tumult of the world and step within the walls of a sacred house of God, there to feel His spirit in an environment of holiness and peace” (in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1995, 72; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 53).

Covenants and Obligations

President Joseph Fielding Smith

“If a person violates a covenant, whether it be of baptism, ordination, marriage or anything else, the Spirit withdraws the stamp of approval, and the blessings will not be received” (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:45).

Elder James E. Talmage

“The ordinances of the endowment embody certain obligations on the part of the individual, such as covenant and promise to observe the law of strict virtue and chastity, to be charitable, benevolent, tolerant and pure; to devote both talent and material means to the spread of truth and the uplifting of the race; to maintain devotion to the cause of truth; and to seek in every way to contribute to the great preparation that the earth may be made ready to receive her King,—the Lord Jesus Christ. With the taking of each covenant and the assuming of each obligation a promised blessing is pronounced, contingent upon the faithful observance of the conditions” (House of the Lord, 84).

Symbolism of the Temple

President Hugh B. Brown

“Here we will not only lay aside the clothing of the street, but the thoughts of the street, and will try not only to clothe our bodies in clean white linen but our minds in purity of thought” (Continuing the Quest, 38).

Elder John A. Widtsoe

“We live in a world of symbols. No man or woman can come out of the temple endowed as he should be, unless he has seen, beyond the symbol, the mighty realities for which the symbols stand” (“Temple Worship,” 62).

Purpose of the Endowment

The Prophet Joseph Smith

“You need an endowment, brethren, in order that you may be prepared and able to overcome all things” (History of the Church, 2:309).

President Brigham Young

“Let me give you a definition in brief. Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, … and gain your eternal exaltation” (Discourses of Brigham Young, 416).

President Joseph Fielding Smith

“It is a wonderful thing to come into the Church, but you cannot receive an exaltation until you have made covenants in the house of the Lord and received the keys and authorities that are there bestowed and which cannot be given in any other place on the earth today” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:253).

Elder John A. Widtsoe

“The temple endowment relates the story of man’s eternal journey; sets forth the conditions upon which progress in the eternal journey depends; requires covenants or agreements of those participating, to accept and use the laws of progress; gives tests by which our willingness and fitness for righteousness may be known, and finally points out the ultimate destiny of those who love truth and live by it” (Program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 178).

Understanding the Endowment

Elder John A. Widtsoe

“The endowment which was given by revelation can best be understood by revelation; and to those who seek most vigorously, with pure hearts, will the revelation be greatest” (“Temple Worship,” 63).

Elder Harold B. Lee

“When you enter a holy temple, you are by that course gaining fellowship with the Saints in God’s eternal kingdom, where time is no more. In the temples of your God you are endowed not with a rich legacy of worldly treasure, but with a wealth of eternal riches that are above price.

“The temple ceremonies are designed by a wise Heavenly Father who has revealed them to us in these last days as a guide and a protection throughout our lives, that you and I might not fail to merit exaltation in the celestial kingdom where God and Christ dwell” (“Enter a Holy Temple,” Improvement Era, June 1967, 144).

Elder Carlos E. Asay

“A few years ago, in a seminar for new temple presidents and matrons, Elder James E. Faust, then of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, told about his being called to serve as a General Authority. He was asked only one question by President Harold B. Lee: ‘Do you wear the garments properly?’ to which he answered in the affirmative. He then asked if President Lee wasn’t going to ask him about his worthiness. President Lee replied that he didn’t need to, for he had learned from experience that how one wears the garment is the expression of how the individual feels about the Church and everything that relates to it. It is a measure of one’s worthiness and devotion to the gospel.

“There are some who would welcome a detailed dress code answering every conceivable question about the wearing of the temple garment. They would have priesthood leaders legislate lengths, specify conditions of when and how it should and should not be worn, and impose penalties upon those who missed the mark by a fraction of an inch. Such individuals would have Church members strain at a thread and omit the weightier matters of the gospel of Jesus Christ (see Matt. 23:23–26).

“Most Latter-day Saints, however, rejoice over the moral agency extended them by a loving Father in Heaven. They prize highly the trust placed in them by the Lord and Church leaders—a trust implied in this statement made by the Prophet Joseph Smith: ‘I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.’ [As quoted by John Taylor, Millennial Star, 15 Nov. 1851, 339.]” (“The Temple Garment: ‘An Outward Expression of an Inward Commitment,’” Ensign, Aug. 1997, 19).

Arrangements for a Temple Marriage

Latter-day Saints are taught the importance of being married in the temple. There, the marriage of a bride and groom is sealed for eternity.

There are several details that must be attended to before you can be married in the temple. Some have to do with the laws of the Church and some with civil laws of the land. Since temples are located in many different countries, legal requirements differ.

If you are considering marriage in a certain temple, you should contact that temple and request the necessary information. For temple addresses, please ask your bishop. He should have a copy of the “All Temple Schedule” for the current year.

Listed below are some of the arrangements you should consider.

Laws of the Land

Serological Tests

Some areas require you to get blood tests to obtain a marriage license.

Marriage License

If civil law recognizes a temple marriage, you will need a marriage license valid in the civil jurisdiction in which the temple is located.

In the United States and Canada you must take to the temple a legal license that permits you to marry. This license can be obtained in the country or state/province in which the temple is located. In some locations you might have to establish residency before a license can be granted.

Consent

Depending on your age, you may need to have your parents with you to give written consent in order to obtain a marriage license.

Waiting Period

Some governmental entities require a waiting period between the date you apply for your license and the date that you may receive it.

Civil Ceremony Preceding Temple Sealing

Temple marriages in some countries are recognized by the law of the land. Laws in many other countries, however, require persons desiring to be sealed in these temples to be married civilly first.

Church Procedures

Witnesses

Two male members of the Church who have current temple recommends will serve as witnesses to your marriage. You may select your own witnesses, who will sign your marriage papers at the temple, or the temple will provide witnesses.

Temple Marriage Recommend

When going to the temple to receive your endowment or to be sealed in marriage, you must have two recommends: the temple recommend and the recommend for living ordinances. The first part you will use to return to the temple to do work for the dead. The latter part is the recommend for your endowment, marriage, or sealing. It includes information from your membership record, such as your parents’ names, your baptismal date, and your endowment date if you have been endowed previously. It must also indicate that you have come to the temple to be married.

Announcements and Invitations

Do not mail announcements or invitations until your temple marriage recommend is obtained to avoid possible embarrassment if the recommend is denied for any reason. Be aware that follow-up interviews may be scheduled as you near the date of your marriage.

Less than a Year

A person may not receive a temple recommend until one full year has passed following baptism and confirmation. If a couple is civilly married and then decides that they wish to be sealed in the temple, they must wait one year from the date of their civil marriage to be sealed. This restriction applies only to those people who could have been married in the temple initially but chose not to do so.

Time and Date

Couples should coordinate their wedding plans with the temple to make certain it will be open on the day and at the time they have chosen. Your bishop will have a schedule.

Endowment and Sealing

Couples who plan to be sealed must first receive their endowments. You can receive your endowment on the day of the sealing or before.

You should plan to spend three to four hours for your own endowment. The sealing, including the counsel given by the person who officiates, will take another forty-five minutes. When you are being endowed or sealed, you should be at the temple one hour before the session or sealing is scheduled.

Temple Clothing

Special white clothing is worn in the temple. You may rent it at the temple or take your own with you.

Wedding Dresses

Brides may wear their wedding dresses in the temple to be sealed. Dresses must be white, without heavy ornamentation, have long sleeves and a modest neckline, have all sheer material lined, and the train must be removable or be able to be pinned or hooked up out of the way. If there is any question about appropriateness, take the dress or fabric and pattern to the temple for approval. Brides may wear their wedding dresses during the endowment session but must remove the trains for the session. They may not wear gowns with long dress pants in the temple. Many temples have beautiful white dresses for those who might need one for their special occasion. Check with individual temples for availability.

Storage of Wedding Dress

Wedding gowns may be delivered to most temples before the sealing. The gowns will be taken to a bride’s dressing room and held for you.

Number of Guests

Because the sealing rooms vary in size, you should inform the temple (when you make reservations) how many guests you expect to attend your sealing. Only persons who have received their own endowment and have current temple recommends may attend the sealing. Most temples are not able to accommodate large groups. Therefore, invitations should be limited to family members and close friends.

Inform Guests of Time and Clothing Requirements

If you are receiving your endowment on your wedding day, you may want some guests to participate in an endowment session with you. Other guests may have time only to attend your sealing. In either case, you must inform these guests when they should arrive at the temple. Double-check this information with the temple.

Guests should be counseled to dress as they would to attend a sacrament meeting. Tuxedos or other formal wear is not appropriate. All guests must have current temple recommends.

Officiator

The temple presidency and other temple sealers are officially set apart to perform temple marriages. Because the General Authorities have heavy schedules, the Church members have been asked not to request them to perform marriages.

Language

Most temples have sessions in multiple languages. Check with the temple president to verify that your endowment and marriage will be in the language of your choice.

Taking Pictures on Temple Grounds

Cameras are not permitted inside the temple. After the sealing, pictures of the bride and groom can be taken on the temple grounds. Therefore, your photographer is not required to have a temple recommend.

Other Information

Each temple will supply you or your bishop with all the necessary information to plan your temple marriage. You can always telephone the temple (ask for the marriage clerk) or write to the temple president if you have questions.

Summary Checklist

Mark when completed:

  • Contact temple to be married in and request necessary information. Date

  • Reserve date and time for your marriage with the temple. Date Time

  • Make sure the number of invited guests is not larger than the reserved temple room.

  • Indicate in your temple reservation the language you wish the ceremony to be conducted in.

  • Inform invited guests of the temple’s clothing requirements.

  • If not already endowed, reserve a date and time for own endowment. Date Time

  • Invite those you wish to accompany you to be endowed, and inform them of the date and time.

  • Obtain blood tests, if necessary.

  • Date N/A

  • Marriage license

  • Residency required? Yes No

  • Consent required? Yes No

  • Waiting period required? Yes No

  • Civil ceremony required to precede temple sealing? Yes No If yes, date, time, by whom? Arranged

  • Arrange for witnesses for the temple ceremony.

  • Have temple recommend with recommend for endowment and/or marriage. Date

  • If married civilly, by our own choice, we have waited one year. N/A

  • Temple garments. If not previously endowed, we have talked with our bishops about the purpose of garments. Date Garments purchased

  • Wedding dress: white long sleeves modest high neckline sheer materials lined

  • If desired, I will rent a white dress at the temple. Checked with temple for availability. N/A