Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Mormon Temple Tour Posts

Welcome to the Virtual Tour of a Mormon Temple.

Open houses and dedications of temples for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been in the news lately. The most reported about was the one in Kansas City, but others are planned for the public to visit. This includes Manaus Brazil, Brigham City Utah, and a rededication in Atlanta Georgia. Once a short period of time has passed, only members in good standing with a recommend from a Mormon leader are allowed inside. It is a rare opportunity that relatively few people can attend.

Started in the early temple building days of the church, public tours have become traditional for any finished building project. Mass media has made it possible for even more people to experience a temple tour. It may not be the same, but pictures and text can be combined for those who can't physically enter one to get an idea of what a temple is like.  Some are surprised there isn't a large cathedral like space, but smaller rooms. Each has a specific purpose to help the members learn by the Holy Spirit and draw closer to the Lord. This virtual tour is to increase understanding and opportunity for those who would like to know more about an LDS Temple.

Entering the House of the Lord

A Covenant People

The Sacred Space

Family is Eternal

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mormon Temple Tour: Family is Eternal

Having finished the washing, anointing, and given the endowment there remains one important ceremony to be done in this life. Men and women must be sealed together as husband and wife, forming a family unit that will last the eternities. In a revelation to Joseph Smith it was revealed, echoing 1 Tim 4:3, "And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man. Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation; And that it might be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation before the world was made." (Doctrine and Covenants 49:15-17). Marriage was at first considered a temporal condition blessed by God to continue human life. Later, the importance of the bond between husband and wife was revealed to be far more important than a single lifetime.

Recorded in Doc. and Cov. 131:1-4 is a teaching of Joseph Smith about the eternal nature of marriage. It is a necessary part of what is known as "Exaltation" in the Mormon doctrine of Salvation. He stated, "In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase." Soon after this teaching, Joseph Smith pondered how Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and Solomon were allowed to have so many wives and concubines. In the controversial revelation of Doc. and Cov. 132,  he was answered that they were under contract obligation to marry them; with any additional marriage past the first not approved or commanded by God to be considered adultery. As for at least the first marriage it reads, "Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world. Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory."

Vancouver British Columbia Temple - Sealing Room
As with all holy and eternal ceremonies, marriages or more properly "sealing" are done inside temples. There are rooms set apart for men and women to be made husband and wife, binding them together as a family unit. Not only that, but children both natural and adopted can be sealed to parents. It is a fundamental belief that we are all spiritual (in the sense of relatedness and not necessarily moral equivalence) Sons and Daughters of Heavenly Parents. The temple sealing is the reestablishment of that relationship while it also creates new and more glorious promises.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mormon Temple Tour: The Sacred Space

The temple is symbolic; and though symbols represent something, they are not the thing. All activity in its walls are in preparation for spiritual rejuvenation and the final judgement. For instance, when saluting a flag the person doesn't show importance to that flag, but the values of the represented nation. Its a gesture that in and of itself is worthless. If someone is memorizing the symbols, but not internalizing the message, then it won’t help in the end. The covenants made and the living of them in faith by enduring to the end of mortality is what matters.

At the time Jesus Christ hung on the cross, it is reported that the temple veil in Jerusalem was torn from top to bottom. The three reports have some differences in the account, but each ties the death of Jesus in with the event. Mark places the event (Mark 15:38) between Jesus dying and a centurion noticing his passing with astonishment. Luke thinks of it (Luke 23:45) as part of a bad omen for the living right before Jesus gives up his life. Matthew shares with both of them (Matthew 27:51), but adds his own importance to the torn curtain. He describes how bodies of the Saints came out of graves and showed themselves to others still alive. The message seemed to be in all these accounts that the line between this world and the next would no longer be restricted to a priestly few. The Atonement of Jesus Christ had opened contact for both men and woman to the Holy. It is this passage from the mortal to the immortal and blessed state of rest that the final room represents in the endowment. It is a place where the Holy Spirit can be felt the strongest.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mormon Temple Tour: A Covenant People

Upon almost all temples, save a few, stands the statue of a wingless angel blowing a trumpet. Some have mistook it to be the Angel Gabriel who had visited Daniel to interpret dreams and later to others announcing the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ as a heavenly messenger. Functioning in similar capacity, the figure is of the Angel Moroni. Mormons believe he gave directions where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint's founding prophet Joseph Smith could recover golden plates to translate by the power of God. From this translation came The Book of Mormon scripture where Mormons get their nickname.

He also represents the restoration of the Gospel in these the latter days. In him is often interpreted the angel in Revelations 14:1-6 who was seen to, "fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters."

The angel is calling out all of the House of Israel and an ensign to the nations to come together.  Temples are gathering place where the work of the Lord  can bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children. Those who enter are stepping inside holy ground where covenants are made and endowments bestowed between mortals and God. President Thomas S. Monson said, "temples are more than stone and mortar. They are filled with faith and fasting. They are built of trials and testimonies. They are sanctified by sacrifice and service."  Those who enter must do so with reverence for the holy and sacred.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Mormon Temple Tour: Entering the House of the Lord

From early in the founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, temples have been built for special services. The first one was in Kirtland, Ohio where heavenly messengers delivered the keys of Eternity. The second one was Nauvoo, Illinois, finished after the death of the first Mormon prophet Joseph Smith. It burned to the ground soon after the Mormons were chased out of the United States (rebuilt in 2002). The famous quote of Brigham Young once he reached Utah, "This is the place," designated where now stands the Salt Lake Temple. Slowly at first, but with increased frequency, Mormon Temples have been constructed wherever the population and needs require these holy houses of worship.


Salt Lake City

Mount Timpanogos

What is an LDS Temple? Unlike the churches where Mormons gather each Sunday for worship, "The temple is the house of the Lord. The basis for every temple ordinance and covenant…is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Every activity, every lesson, all we do in the Church, point to the Lord and His holy house." (Elder Russell M. Nelson of the LDS Quorum of the Twelve). It is a place where families of the Earth are united for all of eternity in righteousness, "Temple. One other word is equal in importance to a Latter-day Saint. Home. Put the words holy temple and home together, and you have described the house of the Lord!" (Elder Boyd K. Packer).