It’s difficult to talk about something you don’t understand, and there’s a lot we can’t understand about the temple until we are able to go there ourselves. Outside the temple we are careful in how we discuss temple ordinances because they are sacred. However, we can still talk about the blessings and purposes of the temple. We can tell our friends that in the temple, members learn eternal truths, receive sacred ordinances for themselves, and perform these ordinances on behalf of their ancestors and others who are deceased.
The more you know about temples, the better prepared you will be to answer your friends’ questions. To learn more, talk to your parents or Church leaders. You and your friends can also read the special issue of the Ensign on temples (October 2010) and find answers at Mormon.org under “Temples” in Frequently Asked Questions.
You can also share how you feel about the temple. If you have been in the temple to do baptisms or have been on the temple grounds, you can tell your friends about the feeling of peace you had while there.
If your friends ask why the temple isn’t open to everyone, you can explain that because of the sacred work that goes on in the temple, only those who are spiritually prepared and have a valid temple recommend can enter. Before new temples are dedicated, an open house allows people in the community to tour the temple and learn more about it. After the temple is dedicated, anyone can tour the grounds. If possible, invite your friend to a temple open house or to visit the temple grounds with you.
I would tell my friends what the temple represents for me: happiness, strength, sacrifice, and eternal families. I would explain how to stay worthy. If they can see that I live my life with the temple as one of my most important goals, they will feel the power of the temple. Everyone can see the outward beauty of the temple, but by living my life the right way, I can show my friends the hope and happiness that going inside the temple brings.
Emma R., 18, Utah, USA
Tell your friends all you know—as long as it is appropriate. Tell them we don’t discuss some things about the temple because they are sacred. If they ask something you don’t know, tell them honestly that you don’t know. And if they want to know more, invite them to church and tell them that God blesses those who keep His commandments with more spiritual knowledge. We believe in learning spiritual things line upon line, precept upon precept.
Carmela B., 18, Philippines
To answer my friends’ questions, I first pray to Heavenly Father about what to say. It may take a lot of patience, but it is worth waiting for the Spirit to prompt you in what to say. Second, go to church and to the temple baptistry to receive more spiritual knowledge. When my friend asked questions about the temple, I told her that baptisms are done for our deceased ancestors who didn’t have a chance to be part of the gospel while they were alive. Then in heaven they have the choice to accept or reject the ordinance.
Lydia P., 13, Florida, USA
When friends ask me about the temple, I say that it is the house of the Lord, where we can do special ordinances that keep us close to our Heavenly Father and make it possible for us to return to Him. I also ask my friends if they would like to meet with the missionaries to learn more. If they say no, I write down their questions and ask the missionaries myself. Then I let my friends know what I found out. This way I get to learn more about the temple too.
Kimmie H., 13, Montana, USA
I love to read books that show temples from around the world. When I had a friend ask me about temples, I knew that my explanation wasn’t enough to help her understand. So I brought my books on temples and showed her what the temple is, the purpose of the temple, and how thankful we are to visit the temple. I decided to invite her to church on Sunday, where the missionaries and Sunday School teachers could help her learn more.
Jessica A., 18, Indonesia
Search for answers. Read the scriptures and ask Sunday School teachers. Questions can always be answered; all you have to do is look. Pray about it! When I have questions about the temple, I ask my parents. They are easy to talk to and are willing to help.
Bryson B., 18, Utah, USA
If we try to go to the temple as often as we can, we are able to connect with our Heavenly Father better. That means that we can pray to Him about our friends’ questions. If we don’t know that much about the temple, it means we need to study more. Each time before going to the temple, study and pray about what you should think about while at the temple. We can then answer questions like “What is the feeling you have at the temple?”
Sara T., 14, Idaho, USA