"Each [temple] stands as a beacon to the world, an expression of our testimony that God, our Eternal Father, lives, that He desires to bless us and, indeed, to bless His sons and daughters of all generations."Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
A Sacred Place
For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as Latter-day Saints or Mormons), the temple is the most sacred place of worship on earth—it is the house of the Lord. It is a place set apart from the rest of the world where members seek to draw closer to God.
The scriptures record that God has blessed His children in temples and in other holy places since the earliest days of the world. Modern temples have purposes similar to those of biblical temples—they are places of peace, learning, and inspiration. They are also where sacred ceremonies, called ordinances, take place. Through temple ordinances, members feel closer to God as they covenant to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The phrases “Holiness to the Lord” and “The House of the Lord” are found near the entrance of every temple and remind us that each is a sacred place.
Inscription (Payson Utah Temple): Temples are sacred places of worship set apart from the rest of the world.
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ
Everything in the temple leads us to God, who is our Father in Heaven, and His Son, Jesus Christ, who is the Savior of the world. In the temple, Church members learn more about the teachings of Jesus and how to follow His perfect example. Latter-day Saints believe that life’s greatest blessings are made possible only through Jesus Christ, who extends His love and grace to all people. His infinite Atonement and glorious Resurrection offer hope in a challenging world.
Entrance to the Temple
A free public open house is held after each temple is built or renovated. During that time, people of all ages and faiths are welcome to enter and tour the temple.
Foyer (Sapporo Japan Temple): Faithful Latter-day Saints find peace and inspiration through service in the temple.
Once dedicated, entrance into the temple is reserved for members of the Church who have committed to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and are ready to participate in further sacred ordinances. Members are greeted at this desk in the entrance foyer, where they present a small card called a recommend. The recommend card is issued by their local church leader certifying that they are prepared to enter the temple.
Recommend desk (San Salvador El Salvador Temple): Members of the Church are greeted here as they enter the temple.
Church members who enter the temple go to dressing rooms to change from their everyday clothes into white clothing before participating in temple services. This change of clothing serves as a reminder that patrons are temporarily leaving the world behind and entering a holy place. White clothing symbolizes purity, while being dressed alike in the temple creates a sense of unity and equality.
Endowment Room: Life Has A Purpose
At one time or another, most people have wondered about the purpose of life. Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where will we go after this life is over? In temples, Church members learn more about God’s loving plan for the happiness of His children.
One of the sacred ceremonies performed in temples is the Endowment ordinance. Through this ordinance, participants are reminded that our life on earth is part of an eternal journey—a journey that began before we were born, when we lived with our loving Father in Heaven as His spirit children. We came here to receive a body, gain experience, and learn to follow God’s plan for our happiness. The role of Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of all God’s children is central to the Endowment ordinance.
Participants also make sacred promises with the Lord, called covenants. These covenants include obeying God, following Jesus Christ, being morally pure, and dedicating their time and talents to the Lord's service. These commitments become guiding principles in their everyday lives. Honoring these sacred covenants brings greater peace, joy, and blessings in this life as they strive to return to live with God forever.
Instruction room, also called Endowment room (Payson Utah Temple): In temples, Church members learn more about God’s loving plan for the happiness of His children.
Celestial Room: A Glimpse Into Heaven
At the conclusion of the Endowment ordinance, participants enter the Celestial room. There are no ceremonies performed in this room. Rather, it is a place of quiet peace, prayer, and reflection meant to symbolize heaven, where we may live forever with our family in the presence of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Celestial room (Manaus Brazil Temple): This room symbolizes the peace and joy of the kingdom of God, where families can live together forever with our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Sealing Room: Families Can Continue Forever
Families are central to God’s plan for our happiness. In the temple, families can be united forever as husband and wife together with their children. The scriptures call the authority to unite families forever the sealing power. This is the same authority that Jesus gave the Apostle Peter to declare blessings on earth that will continue in heaven.
In a sealing room, a bride and groom kneel together at an altar to be sealed for this life and for eternity. This ordinance is also sometimes referred to as “temple marriage” or “eternal marriage.” Children born or adopted into these eternal marriages can also be sealed to their families forever.
Knowing that our families can be together after death brings greater meaning to life. It encourages us to be honorable and faithful. It also brings peace as we face trials; even the suffering or death of loved ones. The promise of eternal life with our families helps us to understand God’s love for all people.
Sealing room (Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple): Through God’s priesthood authority, a husband, a wife, and their children can be united for this life and forever.
Baptistry: Blessings for Ancestors
Jesus Christ demonstrated His commitment to obey all of God’s commandments when He was baptized. Jesus further taught that baptism is required to enter the kingdom of God. But what about people who die without being baptized? What hope do they have of returning to God’s presence? God has provided a way for them to also receive all His blessings.
In the temple, baptisms and other essential ordinances are performed by the living on behalf of those who have died without the opportunity. Such ordinances extend the saving grace of Jesus Christ to all people. This service for others is offered in love—and because Latter-day Saints believe that life continues after death, they also believe that those who have died are aware of the ordinances and can choose whether to accept them.
Through family history research, Latter-day Saints seek out their ancestors and bring their names to the temple to perform ordinances on their behalf. Other ordinances such as receiving the endowment and being sealed as families are also performed in the temple on behalf of those who have died.
Baptistry (Phoenix Arizona Temple): Ordinances such as baptism are performed on behalf of ancestors who died without receiving them. Baptisms for the living are not performed in the temple but in local meetinghouses. The baptismal font rests on the backs of 12 oxen, following a tradition that dates back to Solomon’s Temple recorded in the Old Testament.