A temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) is a building dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ as His house. It’s a place where sacred ordinances or required rites for salvation and eternal life take place. It is a holy edifice, a place of peace and a refuge from the world, where the Lord’s Spirit dwells and where His people are armed with power as they serve, receive instruction, and make and keep sacred covenants, for themselves and their departed ancestors.
Personal Response by Andrew C. Skinner
Latter-day Saint or Mormon temples are holy edifices or buildings wherein the most sacred ordinances, rites, and ceremonies are performed that pertain to full and complete salvation in the Kingdom of God, usually referred to as exaltation. Because Latter-day Saints believe that life continues after this mortal existence, and that all men and women deserve and need to participate in these saving ordinances instituted by God, members of the Mormon Church who have participated in these ordinances for their own salvation are encouraged to return to the temple often to act as proxies for ancestors who have passed on.
Latter-day Saints have always been a temple-building people because they believe that God has always commanded his people in every period of time to build temples (D&C 124:39). Therefore, Latter-day Saints see a connection to and continuity between their Mormon temples and ancient Israelite and Jewish temples (Solomon’s, Zerubbabel’s and Herod’s temples). The first Mormon temple built after the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830 was in Kirtland, Ohio (D&C 109) dedicated in 1836.
Latter-day Saints believe that authorized, dedicated temples are literally the house or home of the Lord, places on earth where he may actually come and dwell. Therefore, the same degree of purity and sanctity required of the ancient Israelites to enter their most sacred of all structures, as described in Ezekiel 44:9, is required of Latter-day Saints today. Temples are different from chapels, wherein weekday instructional meetings occur and Sabbath-day worship services are conducted. All people are welcome to enter these buildings. However temples possess the highest degree of holiness wherein the highest form of worship takes place and where only members who are certified in worthiness may enter.
Entrance into any temple, once it has been dedicated by priesthood leaders for its full and intended use, requires a recommend-a certificate of worthiness issued by a member’s Bishop or local ecclesiastical leader.
Because Latter-day Saint or Mormon temples represent the highest in our worship, special ordinances and ceremonies are performed that pertain to the exaltation of the human family. In the temple, members receive instruction on the Lord’s plan of salvation, the stages of humankind’s eternal existence, and ordinances which seal together husbands, wives, and children as eternal families. The power to bind and seal on earth, as well as in heaven, was possessed by Old Testament prophets, Elijah being one of the most dramatic examples (1 Kings 18). The power to bind and seal was given to Peter in New Testament times (Matthew 16:19), and that same power is vested in Prophets and apostles today. Thus Mormon temples are constructed for the same purpose as this earth was created-to foster marriage and family life and link families together for eternity (D&C 2; 49:15-17). Knowledge of and participation in these sealing ordinances provide a great blessing of security, comfort, and peace to those who attend the temple.The temple is a place of peace and purity because no unclean or impure thing is allowed to enter (D&C 97:15-16). As a result, members may enjoy special, sacred experiences in temples.
In the temple, Church members gain added insight into the nature of our Father in Heaven and his Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ, including an understanding of the infinite love they possess for each of us, and the infinite power and knowledge they desire to pass on to us. In the temple, worshipers get their bearings on the universe so to speak. The temple is a place on earth where God and humans come together.