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).

On each Temple will be the engraved words:

Before anyone can enter an LDS Temple, other than before the dedication, a person must be a baptized Mormon and in good moral and religious standing. They must meet with the Bishop and Stake President, local leaders in the church, to have an interview to determine spiritual preparation and worthiness. When found worthy of Temple attendance, a small card called a "recommend" is given that allows access to any one of the holy structures. Elder Robert D. Hales explains:

What are the standards for recommend holders? The Psalmist reminds us:
“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
“He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart.”
Worthiness to hold a temple recommend gives us the strength to keep our temple covenants. How do we personally gain that strength? We strive to obtain a testimony of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, the reality of the Atonement, and the truthfulness of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Restoration. We sustain our leaders, treat our families with kindness, stand as a witness of the Lord’s true Church, attend our Church meetings, honor our covenants, fulfill parental obligations, and live a virtuous life. You may say that sounds like just being a faithful Latter-day Saint! You are right. The standard for temple recommend holders is not too high for us to achieve. It is simply to faithfully live the gospel and follow the prophets.
The first step inside an LDS Temple will be to show the recommend at a desk to those who are charged to protect the sanctity of the Lord's holy sanctuary. Here is an example from the Vancouver British Columbia Temple from the official website that all interior pictures will originate.

Beyond this is a waiting room where those dressed in Sunday best who will be going in or just finishing sit until ready for whatever they will do next.

The final step before temple activity participation is to dress out of regular clothing and into white. Elder Russell M. Nelson explains the significant:
In the temple, all are dressed in spotless white. “The symbolic purity of white likewise reminds us that God is to have a pure people.” Age, nationality, language—even position in the Church—are of secondary significance. I have attended many endowment sessions when the President of the Church participated. Every man in the room was accorded the same high regard that was extended to the President. All sit side by side and are considered equal in the eyes of the Lord. Through a democracy of dress, temple attendance reminds us that “God is no respecter of persons.”
 Part II will continue with discussion of endowment rooms for ordinances and covenants.

1 comment:

graceforgrace said...


I apprieciate the scriptural references as they pertain to the temple and why we have recommends, etc.