Mormon temples help in the mission of the Mormon Church to perfect the saints—help all be the best that they can be by coming unto the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. They are a peaceful sanctuary, and they offer sacred ordinances.
Mormon temples are dedicated as places set apart from the world, where the Holy Ghost, the Lord’s messenger, can have a strong effect on the hearts and minds of those who enter. Members of the Mormon Church who maintain certain standards of conduct and have strong faith in Jesus Christ are permitted to enter temples. This concept was expressed quite clearly by James Faust, a member of the Mormon Church’s First Presidency:
“The days our lives will be greatly blessed as we frequent the temples to learn the transcending spiritual relations we have with Deity. We need to try harder to be found standing in holy places.” [James E. Faust, “Standing in Holy Places,” Ensign (May 2005), 67.]
To those who are worthy and ready, the temple is a “holy place” where the Spirit of the Lord can freely dwell. In this way Mormon temples serve as a sanctuary to those who attend them, providing a place that is holy and has been set aside as a house of the Lord. They are places for prayer, meditation, and revelation.
Mormon temples help to perfect the saints by offering ordinances, which are ritualistic ceremonies performed with the purpose of establishing covenants between individual Church members and God.
Ordinances not only remind us of sacred events or of our relationship to God, but are a sign of covenants we make with the Lord. Mormons often describe a covenant as a two-way promise. When Mormons are baptized they make a covenant with the Lord to strive to follow the example of Christ and repent of their sins. In answer to our faithful efforts, the Lord promises us forgiveness, sanctification, and increased strength to combat future temptation. This is possible because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and the Holy Ghost’s influence.
Inside the Mormon temple, there are basically two ordinances performed for the members of the Mormon church. The first is known as the temple endowment, and the second as the sealing ordinance, key to a celestial marriage. While the former is designed to benefit individuals, the latter is designed to create eternal families. These ordinances are very sacred and holy, so faithful Mormons do not discuss their details outside of the temple, even with each other.
Mormon temples are provided so that ordinances are not only done for the living, but also on behalf of the dead. There are billions of people who have lived on this earth without ever hearing the name Jesus Christ, or coming to understand the sacrifice He made for them. Such individuals nonetheless need the ordinances that will allow them the same kind of forgiveness, sanctification, and progression that saints enjoy during their lives. Mormons believe that in the spirit world, where departed individuals await the resurrection, the gospel is preached like it is on earth, allowing people to prepare for the ordinances that are being performed for them in holy temples.
Mormon temples truly are a place of sacred beauty. They provide strength and refuge for saints who need a break from the mundane world. They are open to all who will allow the Holy Ghost to prompt them to embrace the true gospel of Christ, and prepare themselves to worthily enter.