Temples are literally houses of the Lord. They are holy places of worship where the Lord may visit. Only the home can compare with temples in sacredness.
Throughout history, the Lord has commanded His people to build temples. Today the Church is heeding the Lord’s call to build temples all over the world, making temple blessings more available for a great number of our Heavenly Father’s children.
The principal purpose of temples is to provide the ordinances necessary for our exaltation in the celestial kingdom. Temple ordinances lead to the greatest blessings available through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. All we do in the Church—our meetings and activities, our missionary efforts, the lessons we teach and the hymns we sing—should point us to the Savior and the work we do in holy temples.
One ordinance we receive in the temple is the endowment. The word endowment means “gift,” and the temple endowment truly is a gift from God. The ordinance consists of a series of instructions and includes covenants we make to live righteously and comply with the requirements of the gospel. The endowment helps us focus on the Savior, His role in our Heavenly Father’s plan, and our commitment to follow Him.
Another temple ordinance is celestial marriage, in which husband and wife are sealed to one another for eternity. A sealing performed in the temple continues forever if the husband and wife are faithful to the covenants they make.
Children born to parents who have been sealed in the temple are born in the covenant. These children automatically become part of an eternal family. Children who are not born in the covenant can also become part of an eternal family once their natural or adoptive parents have been sealed to one another. The ordinance of sealing children to parents is performed in the temple.
If you have received temple ordinances, always remember the covenants you have made. Return to the temple as often as you can. If you are a father or mother, teach your children the significance of the temple. Help them prepare themselves to be worthy to enter the temple.
If you have not yet received temple ordinances, begin preparing yourself now. As circumstances allow, attend the temple to participate in baptisms and confirmations for the dead.
People who have died without essential gospel ordinances may receive those ordinances through the work done in temples. You may do this work in behalf of your ancestors and others who have died. Acting for them, you can be baptized and confirmed, receive the endowment, and participate in the sealings of husband to wife and children to parents.
You should actively search for the records of your deceased ancestors so temple work can be performed for them.
For more information about temple work for the dead and family history work, see “Family History Work and Genealogy,” pages 61–64.
To enter the temple, you must be worthy. You certify your worthiness in two interviews—one with a member of your bishopric or your branch president and another with a member of your stake presidency or the mission president. Your priesthood leaders will keep these interviews private and confidential. In each of the interviews, the priesthood leader will ask you about your personal conduct and worthiness. You will be asked about your testimony of Heavenly Father and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and you will be asked whether you support the general and local leaders of the Church. You will be asked to confirm that you are morally clean and that you keep the Word of Wisdom, pay a full tithe, live in harmony with the teachings of the Church, and do not maintain any affiliation or sympathy with apostate groups.
If you give acceptable answers to the questions in the interviews and if you and your priesthood leaders are satisfied that you are worthy to enter the temple, you will receive a temple recommend. You and your priesthood leaders will sign the recommend, which will allow you to enter the temple for the next two years, as long as you remain worthy.
Temple recommend interviews offer a great opportunity for you to examine your worthiness and the pattern of your life. If anything is amiss in your life, arrange to speak with your bishop or branch president well in advance of your temple recommend interview. He will be able to help you prepare yourself to be worthy of a temple recommend.
When you go to the temple, you should wear your best clothing, as you do when you attend church. When you are inside the temple, you exchange your clothing for the white clothing of the temple. This change of clothing takes place in a dressing room, where you use a locker and a private dressing space. In the temple, modesty is carefully maintained.
As you put your clothing in the locker, you can leave all your worldly distractions behind. Dressed in white, you can feel a oneness and a sense of equality with others in the temple, for everyone around you is similarly dressed.
Once you are endowed, you have the blessing of wearing the temple garment throughout your life. You are obligated to wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment. Remember that the blessings that are related to this sacred privilege depend on your worthiness and your faithfulness in keeping temple covenants.
The garment provides a constant reminder of the covenants you have made in the temple. You should treat it with respect at all times. You should not expose it to the view of those who do not understand its significance, and you should not adjust it to accommodate different styles of clothing. When you wear it properly, it provides protection against temptation and evil. Wearing the garment is an outward expression of an inward commitment to follow the Savior.
In addition to being a place where sacred priesthood ordinances are performed, the temple is a place of peace and revelation. When you are troubled or when crucial decisions weigh heavily on your mind, you may take your cares to the temple. There you can receive spiritual guidance.
Sometimes you may feel that you cannot think clearly because your mind is so burdened with problems and the many things clamoring for attention. In the temple, the dust of these distractions can settle, the fog and haze can lift, and you can understand things that you have not understood before. You can find new ways to deal with the challenges you face.
The Lord will bless you as you attend to the sacred ordinance work in the temple. And the blessings He gives you will not be limited to your time in the temple. He will bless you in all aspects of your life. Your labors in the temple will strengthen you and refine you spiritually.