You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘LDS Temples’ tag.

picture of templeOne of the distinguishing features of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) is the temple. The buildings are magnificent and mysterious not only for people who aren’t of the Mormon faith (they are not allowed to enter the temples after the temples are dedicated), but also for members of the faith.

As members we are instructed not to share the signs and parts of the ritual that we participate in the endowment portion of the temples and so from that perspective it makes it even more mysterious. Since we are not allowed to share that information, people who haven’t been to the temple yet often feel confused when they do go because the experience is very symbolic and different than what one usually sees in the regular church services.

I read a recent article by S Michael Wilcox entitled “10 Ways to get more from your Temple Experience“. The following paragraph from the article accurately describes my feelings when I went to the temple for the first time:

Most of us have a vivid memory of the first time we went to the temple to receive our endowments. I was a newly called missionary and had traveled to the Los Angeles Temple. I did not know what to expect. Although some aspects of my own endowment were wonderfully edifying to me, much of it was confusing. I left bewildered and a little frightened. I have since discovered that my experience was not unique. I have also discovered why my first experience was not all what I had anticipated. At the time, I did not understand the manner in which the Lord teaches His children in His house. Had I understood, my anxiety and confusion would have disappeared, even though my comprehension level might have remained the same.

Since the first time I went through the temple, I have been back many times and over the years have become more comfortable with it. There are a number of things that we participate in during what is called the “endowment session” that include signs we make with our hands, clothing we wear, covenants we make, prayers we say, and then passing through the veil of the temple.

When I was reading in the Bible recently about Jesus with his chief apostles when he was transfigured, the phrase “endued with power” in Luke 24:49 stood out to me. When I searched for that scripture from an LDS point of view, I found an interesting blog called “LDS Temple Endowment“. The article I read was interesting and shares from their perspective why the LDS temple endowment is Biblical.

What was even more interesting to me was a link to an essay published at BYU studies over 30 years ago called “Catholic Liturgy and the Mormon Temple“. It is a 35 page essay that shares various rites in the early Christian church that are very similar to the temple rites found in Mormon temples today. Additionally, it shares pictures of some Catholic cathedrals that have very similar altars and veils that are found in LDS temple endowment rooms.

The reason why this is particularly interesting for me is because as LDS, we believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints includes ordinances that are not found anymore in any other Christian church today. We believe it is a restoration of the original Christian church that existed right after Jesus established his Church.

Here are some of the interesting things that stood out to me:

1. In the early church there were rituals where both members of the church and non members could participate. There were also rites that only members could participate in.

2. The rites included were for both male and female and they were divided into two groups upon entering

3. There were white garments and robes placed on those participating in the rites

4. In the very early days, there was a distinguishing between the church and temple. Later on, the two merged into one.

5. Some of the churches and cathedrals still have a veil and an altar. People who participated in the rites passed through the veil and someone on the other side represented the Lord and only their hand was allowed to show to help pull the people through the veil.

6. Part of the wardrobe for men included a cap with a string that attached to their robe. Also, women wore veils.

7. There is a part of the ritual that includes people putting names on the altar and those participating praying for the names on the altar.

8. During the ceremony there is a portion of members of the group repeating words from the priest leading the rite with them standing up and sitting down (this is similar to what I’ve seen as I have participated during Catholic mass).

9. There were washings and anointing that took place where oil was placed on various parts of the body of the individual and a prayer was said that included the following words:

I sign your forehead I sign your eyes so that they may see the glory of god. I sign your ears so that you may hear the voice of the lord. I sign your nostrils so that you may breathe the fragrance of Christ. I sign your lips so that you may speak the words of life. I sign your heart so that you may believe in the holy trinity. I sign your shoulders so that you may bear the yoke of Christ’s service in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy ghost so that you may live forever and ever

After that prayer is said, the person is endowed with new white garments because the person is considered reborn.

10. People were given a new name. This new name was typically a Saint’s name.

Although the rites are not identical, there are enough similarities that it is very interesting to me.
Those of you who have been through an LDS temple, will probably relate to a lot of the things that are brought up in the essay as well as the points I brought up. I found it to be very interesting how many similarities there were. I also found it very interesting that Joseph Smith put together the LDS temple endowment without having a very strong understanding of the Catholic church or the history of the early church (as far as I can tell) because it was predominately Protestant where he was raised and lived for most of this lifetime.

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Recently I was fortunate to have been able to attend a Mormon temple wedding in both Sacramento, California and in American Fork, Utah.  Just in case you haven’t seen either of the temples, here are some pictures:

Sacramento Mormon Temple

Mt Timpanogos Mormon Temple (in American Fork, Utah)

As you notice, the outside of the temples are white and the buildings are elegant.  When you get closer to the temples, there are the words “Holiness to the Lord” inscribed on them as you enter.

Once you enter into the temple, there are temple workers who are dressed in white.  The white signifies purity and cleanliness that is only found through following and accepting Jesus into one’s life.

The temple workers will then ask you for your Mormon temple recommend, which all Mormons receive if they are living a virtuous life and trying to follow Jesus.

After showing the recommend, we were then led to the sealing room where the Mormon temple wedding takes place.  A typical sealing room, as shown in the picture below,  has an altar in the middle of the room with chairs surrounding the altar for the guests.  There are also two chairs at either side of the altar for the witness couple (typically the couple is both the bride and the groom’s parents) to witness the wedding.

Mormon Temple Sealing Room

We’ve had many discussions over the years on this blog about the various ways God speaks to us through His Spirit.  I must say that God spoke to me in a very powerful, yet simple way at both of these Mormon temple weddings.

In both situations, I felt the power of God’s Spirit upon entering the temple.  It was a feeling of complete purity and peace that washed over me.

After we were all seated, the bride and groom then entered, followed by the Mormon Temple Sealer, or in other words, the person performing the wedding.

As seen in most religious weddings, the Mormon Temple Sealer gives advice to the couple.  Usually, the advice is good and centered around how to keep the Lord as the center of the relationship.

Additional advice that I found very insightful at these weddings included the following:

  1.  Tell each other that you love each other every day
  2. Tell each other why you love each other
  3. Never give the same reason twice as to why you love each other
  4. Never speak evil of the Lord’s anointed can mean not to speak evil of each other

After giving insightful words and sharing testimony, the Mormon Temple sealer then has the couple kneels across the altar and grasp hands.  He then performs the wedding and seals them as husband and wife for all eternity together with the Lord.

It is a beautiful thing to witness and the Holy Spirit is very strong.  I recommend a temple marriage to anyone!

I read this article in Meridian Magazine and thought it was very appropriate to share.  This brother in LA has every right to retaliate, but chooses a Christ-like approach to dealing with opposition.

To read the article click here.

I came across some interesting sites the other day and thought I’d share them for people to see.  These stats are rather old (9 years), but they are interesting nonetheless.

The first site shows information on the various divorce rates amoung various Christian denomonations and other groups.  The interesting thing is that athiests have the lowest rate at 21%.  You can view this site at this link: Baptists Most Likely to Divorce.

Now, you’ll notice on that report that although Baptists are the most likely to divorce, Mormons have a 24% divorce rate, which is only 2% lower. 

However, there is one exception: Mormon Temple marriages.  Those Mormons that Marry in the Temple have only a 6% divorce rate.  You can view this information at this site: In Era of Divorce, Mormon Temple Weddings Are Built to Last.  You will notice that this article gives reasons of why the divorce rate for temple marriages is significantly lower.  This list includes the following reasons:

  1. They Date within their Faith 
  2. They Make Sure they’re Committed to their Faith
  3. They get their Lives Squared Away before Marriage (that’s why I was 30 before I was married! : )
  4. They Make the Wedding Ceremony Sacred
  5. They Marry for Eternity
  6. They Believe the Family that Prays together Stays together
  7. They Get Help when they have a Problem
  8. They Believe Children Create a Happy Marriage
  9. They have Family Home Evening every Monday Night
  10. The LDS church and active members discourage divorce.

I would have to agree with these statements.  The Mormon marriages I’ve seen work apply all of these aspects to their marriages.  Those marriages that are unhappy or that fail are not applying these to their marriage.

Do you have any experiences with these suggestions that support these claims?  I’m sure the readers would love to hear!

The first time I went through the temple it really freaked me out.  What people wore and what they did and what they said, etc.  It made me wonder what all the hype is growing up in the church and wanting to prepare for the temple. 

I didn’t start feeling the Spirit or trying to put forth effort to understand the temple until 8 years later when one of my newly converted friends wanted to go on a regular basis.  I started going and slowly I started feeling a little more humble, a little softer-hearted. 

A couple years later, my wife was called as a temple worker.  I still had some great hesitation with going to the temple and sacrificing so much time (5 hrs.) to work there.  In the begining I went because I was supporting her, but soon the Spirit kept nudging me and prompting me over the course of a year that I needed to be a worker too.  I resisted until I couldn’t resist the promptings anymore.   The interview with the temple president was scheduled and I became a temple worker. 

For the past year or so as I’ve gone with my wife, I have had many occasions where the Spirit is so strong and I feel so pure in the temple.  After becoming a worker, recently I’ve started to see things symbolically in a way that is amazing along with feeling the sweetness of the Spirit as well.  Virtually everything in the temple points us to Christ’s atonement. 

I don’t understand a lot about why we do certain things in the temple or even why it is necessary.  All I know is that the more I go the more spiritual and closer to Jesus I feel. 

Since I feel my testimony of the temple and it’s importance growing, my new favorite blog is: http://www.templestudy.com/.  I like the insights given about temples and the many references to temples that are found throughout the scriptures.

Critics say there isn’t a need for temples and after Jesus’ death they were done away with.  Those who say that are probably those who say that God can’t speak to man or reveal truths or doctrines.  They are wrong.  God speaks to us in ways I’ve never felt before as I’ve been in the temple.

I invite everyone to visit that blog and learn about temples.  For those of you who may have not been through the temple, some of the information on the templestudy website may not be understood.  You can also visit another temple website: http://www.mormon-temple-ceremony.com/ for basic information on the temples.

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