I’m a Mormon, so I hold a temple recommend and attend the temple when I can.
A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attends an LDS Meetinghouse (or equivalent) every Sunday for regular services, like taking the Sacrament; and for social events outside of religious services. Anyone may attend services at these buildings,* even those who are not members. Temples, on the other hand, are special. They are sacred.
Temples have a more specific purpose. They are places specially set apart for sacred service and ceremonies. They are designated by the Lord and dedicated to His purposes. Temples are the only places where some priesthood ordinances are authorized to be performed. These sacred ceremonies lift and inspire participants as they make commitments to follow the teachings and example of Jesus Christ.Churchofjesuschrist.org, “Why Latter-day Saints Build Temples“
The work done in the temple is for eternal purposes: receiving one’s endowment, sealing a couple and/or their family together forever, baptizing oneself on behalf of those who died before being able to be baptized (and receive the Holy Ghost), and performing an endowment or sealing for those who are no longer living and did not have that chance in life.
This work is necessary for our progression in life and in life after death.
The ordinances and covenants of the temple are not merely important to our exaltation—they are essential. President [Boyd K.] Packer …explained, “Ordinances and covenants become our credentials for admission into [God’s] presence. To worthily receive them is the quest of a lifetime; to keep them thereafter is the challenge of mortality” (Boyd K. Packer, “Covenants,” Ensign, May 1987). Faithfully obeying covenants made with God is the most important goal we can pursue in this life. In the words of President Russell M. Nelson, “The greatest compliment that can be earned here in this life is to be known as a covenant keeper. The rewards for a covenant keeper will be realized both here and hereafter” (Russell M. Nelson, “Covenants,” Ensign, Nov. 2011).Churchofjesuschrist.org, “Why Ordinances and Covenants Matter“
Because these sacred practices come after initial steps like baptism, a faithful member may only attend an LDS temple after receiving a temple recommend: a pass signed by that member’s bishop or counselor, then that member’s stake president or stake counselor. Those men only sign the recommend if the member answers specific questions in a satisfactory manner:
- Do you have faith in and a testimony of God, the Eternal Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost?
- Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and of His role as your Savior and Redeemer?
- Do you have a testimony of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
- Do you sustain the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the prophet, seer, and revelator and as the only person on the earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local leaders of the Church?
- The Lord has said that all things are to be “done in cleanliness” before Him (Doctrine and Covenants 42:41). Do you strive for moral cleanliness in your thoughts and behavior? Do you obey the law of chastity?
- Do you follow the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ in your private and public behavior with members of your family and others?
- Do you support or promote any teachings, practices, or doctrine contrary to those of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
- Do you strive to keep the Sabbath day holy, both at home and at church; attend your meetings; prepare for and worthily partake of the sacrament; and live your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?
- Do you strive to be honest in all that you do?
- Are you a full-tithe payer?
- Do you understand and obey the Word of Wisdom?
- Do you have any financial or other obligations to a former spouse or to children? If yes, are you current in meeting those obligations?
- Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple, including wearing the temple garment as instructed in the endowment?
- Are there serious sins in your life that need to be resolved with priesthood authorities as part of your repentance?
- Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord’s house and participate in temple ordinances?
–Ensign Magazine, “Church Updates Temple Recommend Interview Questions,” January, 2020
Besides attending the temple for completing sacred ordinances, a member may go for a break from the world and to receive personal revelation.
As of initially posting this, “The Church of Jesus Christ currently has 168 operating temples and another 68 announced, 41 under construction and five undergoing renovation” (LDS Newsroom, “The Church of Jesus Christ Will Build 18 New Houses of the Lord“). They span from Utah to Ukraine to Australia to Argentina.
©2022 Chel Owens
*so long as the person isn’t breaking local laws on noxious or inappropriate behavior.
We Mormons are officially members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are to drop any name but that. Since many recognize the nickname of ‘Mormon’ and it works with the alliteration so well, however, I will use the term.
My other note is that I will keep to official doctrinal practices. I will add my own application of them, especially in response to comments.
My final note is that I LOVE discussing anything I write. Don’t be rude, obviously, but any and all queries or responses are welcome.
My final note beyond the final note is that I do not seek to convert anyone. I am motivated by forming connections, answering curiosity, and straightening pictures. So, you’re safe.