Logan Temple (by Matthew brown)
Mormon temples (temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) are special buildings dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ. Worthy members of the Mormon Church may enter them to receive sacred ordinances and make special covenants with God. Mormons believe that these ordinances and covenants are necessary for the salvation of individuals, as important as the ordinance of baptism. However, these special ordinances need to be performed in the temples of the Lord.
Mormons also go to the temple to learn more about the plan of salvation and about Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. In Mormon temples we can gain a better understanding of our purpose in
this life and of our relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus. In the Mormon temples we are taught about our premortal life, the meaning of the life on this earth, and what awaits us after death.
Temple Ordinances Seal Families Together Forever
All temple ordinances are performed by the power of the Melchizedek priesthood. Through this power, ordinances performed on earth are sealed, or bound, in heaven. The Savior taught his Apostles, “Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven” (Matthew 16:19; see also Doctrine and Covenants 132:7).
Only in the Mormon temple can people be sealed together forever as families. Marriage in the temple joins a man and woman as husband and wife eternally, if they honor their covenants. Baptism and all other ordinances prepare us for this sacred event.
When a man and woman are married in the Mormon temple, their children also become part of their eternal family. Couples who have been married civilly can receive these blessings by preparing themselves and their children to go to the temple and be sealed to each other.
Our Ancestors Need Our Help
The atonement of Jesus Christ assures each of us that we will be resurrected and live forever. But if we are to live forever with our families in Heavenly Father’s presence, we must do all that the Savior commands us to do. This includes being baptized in His Church and receiving the ordinances of the temple.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), have each been baptized by one having the proper priesthood authority. Each of them may also go to the Mormon temple to receive the saving priesthood ordinances performed there. But many of God’s children have not had these same opportunities. They lived at a time when, or a place where, the gospel was not available to them.
Heavenly Father wants all of his children to return and live with him. For those who died without baptism or the temple ordinances, he has provided a way for this to happen. He has asked members of His Church to perform ordinances for their ancestors in the temples. Temple work is a form of missionary work, since the dead have the agency to accept or reject temple ordinances performed for them.
Mormons (Latter-day Saints) are encouraged to participate in family history activities. Through these activities we learn about our ancestors so that we can perform ordinances for them. Family history involves three basic steps:
1. Identify our ancestors.
2. Find out which ancestors need temple ordinances performed.
3. Make certain that the ordinances are performed for them.
Many Mormon church buildings have family history consultants and even family history research facilities with consultants who can answer questions and direct us to the resources we need. If a ward does not have a family history consultant, the bishop or branch president can provide direction.
Read about baptism for the dead – Countless people have died without knowing Christ or what Mormons see as the restored, complete gospel, the only true gospel on earth. For the sake of these countless people, the Lord also revealed to Joseph Smith the doctrine of baptism for the dead.
Read about Mormon marriages (or eternal marriage) – In Mormon belief, families are meant to be together forever. Indeed, in the Mormon temples, marriage is far more than “until death do we part” – the man and the woman are sealed together forever. If they’re faithful to each other and keep the promises they make, in the marriage, to each other and to God, the marriage will last beyond this life and on into the eternities.
Read about the Mormon endowment – In an endowment, members are taught, perform sacred rituals, and make covenants, or promises, with the Lord. To participate in an endowment, one must be a worthy, prepared, and adult member of the Church.