The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church, is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Mormons (Latter-day Saints) believe that everything we do in the Church was done in the gospel before, in both Old and New Testament times. The restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ included everything He taught: faith, repentance, priesthood authority, and the temple are some of the restored principles. Latter-day Saints believe that the temple and the ordinances performed therein are part of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament records three temples: the Tabernacle in the wilderness, the Temple of Solomon, and the Temple of Zerubbabel. The main purpose of these temples was for the people to offer sacrifices, and for the Lord to communicate with His people. (See Exodus 29:42-43; 33:9-11). Even before Moses built the tabernacle, though, the Lord’s people were offering sacrifices, beginning with Adam.
In Genesis 4, Adam’s sons Cain and Abel both offer sacrifices to the Lord. Abel “brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering” (Genesis 4:4). Noah and Abraham both offered sacrifices to the Lord. (See Genesis 8:20; 22:13).
Both the Tabernacle in the wilderness and the Temple of Solomon were constructed to perform the ordinances connected with the Law of Moses, and the people went there to offer blood sacrifices in similitude of Jesus Christ’s great and last sacrifice. The offering of sacrifices continued through the time that Jesus was on the earth. Read more
In 2011 fire destroyed an iconic and historical building of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (often mistakenly called the Mormon Church). In Provo, Utah, the Latter-day Saint Tabernacle was taken by a fire caused by a lighting technician who mistakenly set a 300-watt light fixture on a wooden speaker box in the attic of the tabernacle.
The loss was felt keenly by the community:
“We’re all really devastated,” said Provo Mayor John R. Curtis. “Everyone in Provo has significant memories of concerts, plays, church meetings. It’s an extremely vital part of my community. It’s really a fabric of the community.”
Scott Trotter, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, called the fire “tragic.”
The building not only serves our members and the community, but is a reminder of the pioneering spirit that built Utah. The damage appears severe, and until we make a structural assessment, we won’t know whether this historic treasure can be saved.
Tabernacles are larger than the tens of thousands of regular Mormon meetinghouses (or chapels) where Latter-day Saints meet weekly for Sunday services. They also differ from temples, which are sacred buildings reserved for faithful Latter-day Saints to worship and perform sacred ordinances. Tabernacles are typically used today for meetings with several congregations combined.
Historically, tabernacles have ranged from simple log cabins (Kanesville, Iowa, constructed in 1847) or adobe (mud brick) buildings (the first tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah, 1852) to classically inspired temple-like structures (Bountiful, Utah, 1857–63), picturesque Victorian halls (Bear Lake, Idaho, 1884–89, and Provo, Utah, 1883–96), and buildings that hark back to the American colonies (Boise, Idaho, 1924–25). The last tabernacle built by the Church was the Ogden Tabernacle. Of steel and concrete, it features modern international architecture (1952–56).
Good news came to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on October 1, 2011, when church leaders announced that the damaged tabernacle would be re-built into a temple called Provo City Center Temple. The Church broke ground May 12, 2012, and the temple is currently under construction.
Temples serve as the only place where ceremonies such as baptism and eternal marriage can be performed in behalf of those who have died — a practice that Latter-day Saints believe was followed in New Testament times but that later was lost. Temples point Latter-day Saints to Jesus Christ and their eventual life with Him, their Heavenly Father, and their family members on the condition of faithfulness to Christ’s teachings.
Temples are not regular places of Sunday worship for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are quite different from the thousands of regular chapels or meetinghouses all over the world that are used for Sunday services.
Anyone, regardless of religion, may enter a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse and attend services. However, because of the sacredness of temples as “houses of the Lord,” only members of the Church who are in good standing are allowed to enter the temples. A member must be observing the basic principles of the faith and attest to that fact to his or her local leaders once every two years in order to enter a Mormon temple.
Since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held a groundbreaking for the new temple, crews have reinforced the interior walls of the tabernacle with rebar and concrete. Now the site is being excavated for what will become a basement in the new temple.
The existing Provo Utah Temple is located approximately two miles northeast of the new temple, close to the church’s Missionary Training Center and the Brigham Young University campus. It is generally considered to be one of the most heavily used temples in the Church. The new temple, along with another temple currently under construction in Payson, will relieve some of the operational pressure on the 40-year-old Provo Temple.
“There is definitely increased enthusiasm for downtown with this announcement. A lot of interest has been piqued from developers and retail outlets wanting to be associated with the temple,” said Nathan Murray with the Provo City Economic Development Office.
The restoration of this landmark is attracting a lot of people who want to see history in the making as the pioneer-era tabernacle is transformed into what Latter-day Saints believe is a “house of the Lord.”
The project is expected to be finished sometime in 2015. That’s when the Provo City Center Temple will be formally dedicated.
In the process of building this temple, the old tabernacle had to be lifted onto stilts to construct a basement–
This article was written by Livi Whitaker, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Livi is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormon”). She is a Communications Specialist at an Insurance Brokerage firm in Boise, ID. Professional experience include writing – based positions at the United Nations and AARP, Media Services, Inc. She is an avid blogger at thebrightbit.com and sensiblystyled.com, a modest fashion blog. Livi Whitaker is a freelance writer and authors the positive blog for all things lovely, www.thebrightbit.com.
Elizabeth Smart married her Scottish fiancé, Matthew Gilmour, last Saturday (February 18, 2012) in a private ceremony in the Laie, Hawaii temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes misnamed the “Mormon Church” by the media). Elizabeth and Matthew, who are both Mormons, chose the Hawaii Mormon Temple because of the time Elizabeth spent on Oahu with her family recovering from her 9-month kidnapping ordeal as a young teen. Elizabeth, who was only 14 years old at the time, was abducted from her home at knife-point and forced into a polygamous “marriage” by Brian David Mitchell, a deranged man who raped Elizabeth repeatedly during the time he held her prisoner. After being rescued and reunited with her family, Elizabeth spent several months in Hawaii with them, and it has become a special place to her that she wanted to share with her new husband.
A Wedding for Time and for All Eternity
It is a wonderful thing to see Elizabeth’s amazing recovery from her horrifying ordeal crowned by such a beautiful moment as her wedding. Elizabeth and Matthew met while they were both Mormon missionaries in Paris, France. Although missionaries do not date, after their missions the two of them began seeing each other and fell in love. Because of their Mormon faith, Elizabeth and Matthew wanted to be married in the temple. In Mormon temples, faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have qualified by keeping God’s commandments make covenants, or promises, with God. One of the blessings they receive in return is that a couple who remain faithful to each other and to God can be married not just for this life, but for time and for all eternity. Their marriage will endure forever.
When they arrive at the temple on their wedding day, a bride and groom are taken to special rooms to prepare for their wedding. The bride’s room is one of the most lovely in the temple. There, escorted by her mother or another female family member or friend, the bride dresses in her wedding gown and adds finishing touches to her hair and makeup. The groom likewise changes from his street clothes to all white. After they are ready, the bride and groom are often escorted to the Celestial Room, which is the central room of the temple, designed to remind those who are there of the highest heaven. The bride and groom spend a few moments together in this beautiful room to gather their thoughts prior to the ceremony.
Meanwhile, the wedding guests arrive at the temple. Only adult members of the Church who qualify can enter the temple proper, so other guests and young people remain in the temple waiting rooms until the ceremony is over. The guests who will witness the ceremony are escorted to a room where they remove their street shoes, just as Moses removed his shoes when he approached the burning bush. Then, dressed in their Sunday best and stockinged feet, they are shown to the room where the wedding will take place.
The room inside the temple where weddings occur is called a “sealing room.” This room features an altar in the center, covered by a lacy altar cloth. Chairs are distributed in one or two rows along opposite side walls. Above the chairs are mirrors, which reflect the image of the beautiful chandelier hanging over the altar back and forth until it fades into the distance. Along a third wall is a bench where the bride and groom will sit; opposite the bench at the head of the altar are three chairs. One is for the “sealer,” who has priesthood authority to perform the ceremony, and the other are for each of the two witnesses, who are usually the fathers of the bride and groom.
A temple wedding is a form of “sealing,” which binds in heaven that which is bound on earth. It is the authority to perform a sealing as well as a civil and religious ceremony that sets a temple wedding apart from one held outside the temple. Jesus bestowed the sealing power upon Peter during His mortal ministry:
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:9).
The authority to perform sealings, which was lost during the period of apostasy following the deaths of the early apostles, was restored to the earth and bestowed upon Joseph Smith by the prophet Elijah, who visited the Kirtland Temple of the Church in 1836 for this purpose (see The Doctrine and Covenants section 110). Since that time, the priesthood authority to perform sealings has been passed down to certain men, known as sealers, who have the specific assignment of performing ceremonies binding husbands and wives, parents and children in Mormon temples throughout the world.
A Mormon Temple Wedding Ceremony
The wedding guests wait in complete silence for the bride and groom to arrive. Mormons believe that the temple is the House of the Lord, and the most sacred place on the earth. Any conversation is kept to a whisper. The quiet atmosphere allows all those present to feel the presence of God, and to contemplate the great blessing which is about to be bestowed. The parents of the bride and groom arrive quietly and are seated, with the mothers sitting next to the bench where the bride and groom will be and the fathers sitting in the witness chairs. Then, the bride and groom enter and are seated next to each other on the bench.
Like most weddings, Mormon weddings begin with the sealer offering words of counsel to the bride and groom. In addition, he explains the nature of the wedding ceremony, and reviews the promises they will make to God along with the blessings God is promising them. He invites the bride and groom to kneel at the altar. The sealer then performs the ceremony. Afterwards, the bride and groom may kiss and exchange rings if they desire. Wedding guests are invited to congratulate the bride and groom quietly as they leave the sealing room.
One unique feature of a Mormon temple wedding in today’s world is that the bride and groom have had no sexual relations before the wedding. Only those who refrain from sexual activity outside of marriage are allowed to be married in the temple. It is thus certain that Elizabeth Smart and Matthew Gilmour did not move the time of their wedding ahead for any reason other than that they wanted it to be a private, personal day, sheltered from invasive media attention. A day when a couple makes such a sacred covenant with God and with another person should be one of the crowning days of their lives, and it appears that Elizabeth Smart’s special day lived up to her hopes. May all her dreams continue to come true.
At the 181st semi-annual general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held in October 2011, Prophet Thomas S. Monson announced the construction of a new Mormon temple in Star Valley, Wyoming. The prophet joked that he would personally dedicate the new temple, because the fishing is good nearby. This will be the first temple to be built in Wyoming.
Mormons in Wyoming had previously attended the temple in Rexburg, Idaho. The journey was considerably more difficult during the winter.
Mormon pioneers in the first westward party in 1847 made their way through Wyoming, stopping at Fort Laramie to repair their wagons. They followed the Oregon Trail along the Platte River to Fort Bridger
The pioneers used rafts and a boat to ferry themselves and their belongings across the Platte River. Nine men stayed behind to continue the profitable ferry, which found business from Oregon-bound travelers.
In Wyoming, the pioneers met Jim Bridger, who gave an optimistic opinion of the Great Basin area. Most pioneer companies traveled through Wyoming without incident; however, the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies of 1857 started later in the year and became trapped in the winter snows. Approximately 200 of the 1,075 in the companies died. Others were saved by Utah rescue parties.
In 1877, Church members settled the Star Valley area, and the following year, Church President Brigham Young dedicated the spot as a gathering place for members. In 1992, Wyoming Latter-day Saints erected three monuments in memory of the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies. Later, the Church purchased land at the mouth of Sweetwater Canyon where 21 pioneers died in one night. These sites were dedicated by Church President Gordon B. Hinckley.
There are over 63,000 Latter-day Saints in the state of Wyoming in 154 congregations.
In June 2012 the location for the new Star Valley Wyoming Mormon Temple was announced. The new temple will be constructed east of U.S. Highway 89 on the Haderlie Farm property south of Afton.
For information and Mormon news about the other temples that have just been announced visit the newsroom of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Inadvertently called by friends of other faiths as the “Mormon Church”)
In October 2011 at the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Prophet Thomas S. Monson announced the construction of a second temple in Colombia. The first is in Bogota. The new temple will be in Barranquilla, Colombia, which is located in northern Colombia, near the Caribbean Sea. Located on the delta of the Magdalena River, the city serves as a port for river and maritime transportation within Colombia.
The first LDS Missionaries arrived in Colombia in 1966. Five years later, 27 congregations were established in 10 cities. Today, Church membership is nearly nineteen times that of 20 years ago. Colombia has 172,534 members of the Church in 272 congregations, and four missions.
LDS.org has a separate website for Colombia (in Spanish), which you can access by clicking here.
For information and Mormon news about the other temples that have just been announced visit the newsroom of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Inadvertently called by friends of other faiths as the “Mormon Church”)
At the 181st general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Prophet Thomas S. Monson announced the construction of a new temple in Fort Collins, Colorado. This will be Colorado’s second temple. Fort Collins is about 57 miles north of Denver. There are approximately 140,000 Mormons in Colorado.
The Fort Collins Colorado Temple is expected to serve members living in northern Colorado, southern Wyoming, and western Nebraska who currently travel to attend the Denver Colorado Temple and the Billings Montana Temple.
The temple is expected to be about 24,000 to 28,000 square feet and similar to the Newport Beach California Temple. On July 8, 2011, the location for the future temple was announced as the southeast corner of the intersection at Trilby Road and Timberline Road. A large LDS chapel is across the street from this location.
Progress and Updates
In November 2011 a city planning board recommended land for the proposed LDS temple be annexed into the city and rezoned, a move that will allow plans for the temple to advance.
Opponents said the area is not suitable for a temple because it is surrounded by a subdivision with a fire station, day-care center, church, farmland and a nature preserve.
The city council is expected to make a final decision soon. If it approves the recommendation, the church would submit a development plan. City planners then would address residents’ concerns over things like traffic and wildlife impacts.
In mid-November 2011 the city of Fort Collins annexed the 17-acre property for the building of the temple.  A second vote is pending on the zoning change necessary. Once the final vote is made, church officials are expected to file a detailed request to build the temple.
A new temple for Meridian, Idaho, was announced at General Conference by Mormon Prophet Thomas S. Monson on April 2, 2011. It will be the fifth temple to be built in the state of Idaho. Meridian is the third largest city in the state and is located about eleven miles west of Boise. There are more than 400,000 Latter-day Saints in Idaho.
The new temple in Meridian will decrease the load on the Boise Temple, which is filled to overflowing at some times. The Meridian-Nampa area is experiencing fast growth and the creation of new wards and stakes.
The new temple will be constructed at 7345 North Linder Road, a few blocks north of the intersection of North Linder Road and Chinden Blvd.
The Mormon Temple is a holy place set apart from the outside world, whereas the Mormon meeting houses are utilized for weekday activities and Sunday worship services. In the Temple, sacred ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are performed.
Because the Mormon Temple is a unique place, only the finest materials and craftsmanship are used in its construction. After the temple is dedicated, Church members wear white clothing while inside to symbolize purity, cleanliness, and the setting aside of the things of the world.
In the Mormon Temple, families can be united in the most sacred of all human relationships; as husband and wife and as children and parents. Through priesthood authority from God, marriages are performed that can endure throughout this life and for all eternity. To share these blessings with our ancestors, Mormons perform temple ordinances in their behalf. This is why members of the Mormon Church are so interested in genealogical research. Members research to seek and identify ancestors so that the temple ordinances are performed in their behalf, and so that families can be together forever.
Those who enter the Mormon Temple can find the peaceful serenity the Savior promised his followers in the New Testament: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.”1
The Mormon Church in Hong Kong has changed drastically since the first Mormon missionariesMormon missionaries preaching the Gospel.2 President of the Mormon Church, Gordon B. Hinckley, announced that there would be a Mormon Temple in Hong Kong in 1992. However, finding a place in which to build would be the obstacle. President Hinckley considered numerous temple sites, but was unsatisfied with all. “We looked at one after another…I became very discouraged; the sites were so tiny in some respects and the cost of real estate was so high, many millions of dollars for a little piece of ground.” He recalled retiring to bed and awoke with an impression to have the temple built on the site of the mission home and chapel.
Because of the situation of Hong Kong city, the Mormon Temple had to be ‘built up’ instead of ’spreading out’ to build. It is the scarcity of space in that crowded land that contributes to the unique design of the Hong Kong Temple. This six-story building is designed to house, not only the Mormon Temple, but also a chapel, mission offices, and living quarters for the temple president and several missionaries.3
The dedication of the Hong Kong Mormon Temple took place on May 26, 1996. Many that attended the Temple Open House were impressed that amid the traffic and confusion of such a busy city, and wherein lives one-fourth of the inhabitants of the earth, there is such peace and tranquility found so easily inside the Mormon Temple.
The Hong Kong Temple serves Mormon members from parts of India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Guam, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Cambodia, Micronesia, Majuro, and Indonesia. Missionaries arrived to preach the Gospel in 1853. In the 1850’s the missionary effort was unproductive, and the Church made little progress. It was not until 1950, a century later, when eight missionaries were sent back in to Hong Kong to teach. However, they were taken out of the country and relocated because of the Korean War. Missionaries were sent back in to Hong Kong in 1955 and by 1960, there were 91 full-time foreign and 12 full-time local missionaries.
2 Cornwall Street
Phone: (852) 2339-8100
To learn more about Mormon Temples please visit the following websites:
Temple (Mormonism) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Manhattan Mormon Temple New York City.com : Arts & Attractions …
To Learn the basics of Mormon Beliefs, visit Mormon.org.
To Learn about Jesus Christ in Mormonism, go to JesusChrist.lds.org.
See also, Mormon News.