What Are Temples?
Temples are holy places of worship where we come closer to God.
Temples are literally houses of the Lord. They are places where individuals can go to make sacred promises with God, feel His spirit, and escape from the hectic demands of day-to-day life.
Why do Latter-Day Saints have temples?
Temples have been around for a long time. Moses had a tabernacle, Solomon built a beautiful temple, and Jesus taught at the temple in Jerusalem. Today, temples are built all over the world. In over 140 temples worldwide, faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints find opportunities for peaceful reflection and for learning more about God’s plan of happiness. Inside temples, couples can be married for eternity, not just “’til death do you part.” Members of the Church can also perform baptisms and other ordinances for their loved ones who died without receiving these blessings.
The blessings of the temple
Because each temple is the House of the Lord, we can feel a special closeness to God when we visit. This feeling can provide hope when we have challenges and direction when we need guidance in our lives. The temple is also where we can receive the greatest blessings God has to offer us, including the opportunity to live with our families forever, even after we die. We can also honor and serve our deceased loved ones by providing these blessings to them as we act on their behalf.
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Temples are different than meetinghouses
Members of the Church worship in meetinghouses around the world, and visitors are always welcome to participate. These buildings might include a neighborhood chapel or even a rented space in a city building. In any case, these meetinghouses are where members of the Church gather together regularly for Sunday worship services and weekly activities.
Jesus taught that baptism is required to enter the kingdom of heaven. But what about people who die without being baptized or even knowing about Jesus? How can they also be saved?
Thankfully, God is loving and has provided a way for everyone to receive all of His blessings—even after death. In the temple, baptisms and other essential ordinances are performed on behalf of those who have died without the opportunity. The apostle Paul spoke of baptism for the dead in the Bible (1 Corinthians 15:29), and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continue that same practice in temples today.
Here’s how it works: Latter-day Saints study family history to discover names of people who have died without being baptized. They are then baptized on behalf of those ancestors in the temple. This service for others is offered in love, and because life continues after death, those who have died are aware of the ordinances and can choose whether or not to accept them.
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Families are central to God’s plan for our happiness, and marriage is meant to last beyond “’til death do you part.” In the temple, husband and wife are united forever. This marriage ceremony is called a temple sealing because the couple is joined together for this life and for eternity. The bride and groom promise to honor and love one another completely and commit to follow the teachings and example of Jesus. In turn, they are promised that their marriage and their family will endure into the next life.
After a temple is built or renovated, there is a public open house. During this open house, everyone is welcome to enter and tour the temple. Once dedicated, the public is still invited to enjoy the beautiful grounds or visitors’ center, but entrance into the temple is reserved for faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who wish to participate in the ceremonies.
These ceremonies include learning more about God’s plan for our happiness and making solemn promises to follow Jesus Christ. It’s important that all who enter the temple are ready to make those sacred vows.
Keep in mind, temples are different from our neighborhood meetinghouses. There are thousands of local meetinghouses around the world where members of the Church go for Sunday worship services. These buildings are also gathering places for various weekday activities and events. All visitors are welcome inside these meetinghouses and are invited to worship with us.
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