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Temples

Encyclopedia of Mormonism: Latter-Day Saint Temple Worship and Activity

Performing ordinances and seeking the will of the Lord in the temple are a sacred and meaningful form of worship in Latter-day Saint religious life. In the temple, holy truths are taught and solemn covenants are made in the name of Jesus Christ, both by the individual members on their own behalf and as proxies on behalf of others who have died (the latter have the choice in the spirit world to accept or reject such vicarious service). 

Obedience to temple covenants and reverence in doing temple ordinances give peace in this world and the promise of eternal life in the world to come.

There are special areas inside each temple for the various ordinances. A large baptismal font supported on the backs of twelve sculpted oxen (cf. 1 Kgs. 7:25) is used for baptism for the dead. In other areas are cubicles in which individuals are ritually washed and anointed before endowments can be performed. In the older temples, larger rooms are decorated to represent the Creation, the Garden of Eden, this world, and the Terrestrial Kingdom, and in such Endowment rooms, participants watch and hear figurative presentations in which scenes are acted out, depicting by whom and why the earth was created and how one may come to dwell again in God's presence. The participants make covenants and receive promises and blessings. This is known as receiving one's Endowment. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that this Endowment was necessary to empower one "to overcome all things" (TPJS, p. 91). A veil symbolically divides the terrestrial room from the celestial room, which suggests through furnishings and decor the peace, beauty, and glory of the highest degree of heaven. Also in the temple are smaller sealing rooms, where temple marriages and sealings are solemnized for the living and vicariously for the dead. A temple may also have an upper room where solemn assemblies can be convened.

Doctrine and Covenants 109:8 – 16

8  Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;

9  That your incomings may be in the name of the Lord, that your outgoings may be in the name of the Lord, that all your salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with uplifted hands unto the Most High—

10  And now, Holy Father, we ask thee to assist us, thy people, with thy grace, in calling our solemn assembly, that it may be done to thine honor and to thy divine acceptance;

11  And in a manner that we may be found worthy, in thy sight, to secure a fulfilment of the promises which thou hast made unto us, thy people, in the revelations given unto us;

12  That thy glory may rest down upon thy people, and upon this thy house, which we now dedicate to thee, that it may be sanctified and consecrated to be holy, and that thy holy presence may be continually in this house;

13  And that all people who shall enter upon the threshold of the Lord's house may feel thy power, and feel constrained to acknowledge that thou hast sanctified it, and that it is thy house, a place of thy holiness.

14  And do thou grant, Holy Father, that all those who shall worship in this house may be taught words of wisdom out of the best books, and that they may seek learning even by study, and also by faith, as thou hast said;

15  And that they may grow up in thee, and receive a fulness of the Holy Ghost, and be organized according to thy laws, and be prepared to obtain every needful thing;

16  And that this house may be a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of glory and of God, even thy house;  Doctrine and Covenants 109:8 – 16

2 Nephi 5:16

16 And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon’s temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine. 2 Nephi 5:16

3 Nephi 11:1

1 And now it came to pass that there were a great multitude gathered together, of the people of Nephi, round about the temple which was in the land Bountiful; and they were marveling and wondering one with another, and were showing one to another the great and marvelous change which had taken place. 3 Nephi 11:1