Mormon Church Temples
One of the main characteristics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) is the work performed in the Church’s holy temples. This work sets apart the Mormon Church from every other religion on the face of the earth.
“The temple is a place of instruction where profound truths pertaining to the Kingdom of God are unfolded. It is a place of peace where minds can be centered upon things of the spirit and the worries of the world can be laid aside. In the temple we take covenants to obey the laws of God, and promises are made to us, conditioned always on our faithfulness, which extend into eternity” (The Priesthood and You, Melchizedek Priesthood Lessons—1966, Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1966, p. 293).
In Mormon temples faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints perform ordinances essential to the their salvation and exaltation and enter into covenants with the Lord. The temple has been likened to a school where mortals learn about sacred and eternal things. The temple can be considered as a presentation, in figurative terms, of the pattern and journey of life on earth. This pattern is found in the Plan of Salvation. In the Mormon temple, holy truths are taught and solemn covenants are made not only by individual members in their own behalf, but also in behalf of others who have died.
Work for the dead has precedence in the ancient Church. Paul said, “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if >the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead”? (1 Corinthians 15:29). This may seem to some like an imposition, but it’s important to remember that this service in favor of people who already left this earth can be compared to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Christ offered His sacrifice for all, even for those who will reject His offer. Similarly, those who have died, have always the choice in the spirit world to accept or reject the work performed in their behalf in the temple.
The work performed in Mormon Temples centers on the family and the prospect of creating family ties that can last into the eternities. This type of commitment necessitates priesthood authority bestowed and validated by God Himself, so that covenants made on earth are binding in heaven:
And verily, verily, I say unto you, that whatsoever you seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever you bind on earth, in my name and by my word, saith the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you remit on earth shall be remitted eternally in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you retain on earth shall be retained in heaven (Doctrine and Covenants 132:46).
The ordinances performed in Holy Temples, and the teachings therein, have been received from the Lord through direct revelation to His holy prophets. The doings in the temple are pure and innocent and uplifting. The temple is a sacred place, not a secret place. Before they are dedicated to the work of the Lord, Mormon temples are opened to the public, so people can see what temples look like. After temples are dedicated to the work of the Lord, not even all Mormons qualify to enter. They must live lives of worthiness and receive ecclesiastical approval in the form of a “Temple Recommend.”