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The Temple Q&A

This past Saturday, I was able to go to the temple and do baptisms with my ward.  I haven't been to the temple since I was about 14, and I was so excited to be able to go with my brothers and friends.  I think temples are some of the most beautiful buildings on Earth, and I love the feeling I get when I am there;  even if I'm just hanging out or reading a book on the grounds.

{Las Vegas, NV  We moved to Las Vegas just before this temple was built.  We went to the Open House when I was 6 years old.}

Prior to going, I had a lot of questions from my co-workers about the temple.  "How can all of the Mormons in Las Vegas fit into one building for church? What happens at the temple?  Why are you going?  My friend got married and his parent's couldn't go to the wedding cause it was in the temple, what's the deal?"

So I thought I'd take a quick second and explain a little about what goes on in the temple.

{Salt Lake City, UT This is where my parents were married}


I have already been baptized.  I was baptized when I was eight years old in a regular old church.  Latter Day Saints (Mormons) don't baptize babies.  We know that baptism is and essential step for salvation, but we believe that all little children are sinless in the sight of God.  By the age of eight, a child is old enough to know the difference from right and wrong.  Because of this discernment, we baptize children at the age of 8.  I have many friends who ask me "but you have to baptize babies because of the fall of Adam."  In our church, we believe that man "will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression."  The fall of Adam was essential to Heavenly Father's plan, and so we don't view it as a "sin," but instead a "transgression."  We don't believe that all mankind are damned to Hell because of it either.  If Bob kills someone, should John be held accountable?  No.  Same goes for Adam.

{St. George, UT This is where my Grandparent's got married.}

We are also baptized to become official members of the church, to have our sins washed away, and receive the Holy Ghost as a constant companion.  At baptism we also make covenants with Heavenly Father, like we promise to always remember him, and strive to live the way Jesus did.  Sometimes though, people choose not to accept the Gospel, or they are not able to be baptized in this lifetime.  Billions of people have lived and died on this planet and never even had the opportunity to hear the name Jesus Christ.  Because of this, they couldn't performed the ordinances necessary for salvation in this life.  Once they died, they couldn't perform their work on the other side, because they don't have bodies to do it!  Just imagine trying to baptize a spirit... water and ghost don't really mix.  So church members will perform "baptisms for the dead."  No, we don't go around baptizing corpses, that would be weird, and gross, and I'm fairly certain it's illegal in all 50 states.  We baptize "by proxy," meaning a living person does the work in the name of the dead person.  In the New Testament, during Paul's time, baptisms were performed for the dead (1 Cor 15:29), and our church continues that practice.

We also are not just being baptized for people who don't want to be baptized.  They aren't "on the other side" kicking and screaming, begging for us not to do it.  That would be so rude!  While doing genealogy work, someone may find the name of a relative who did not have an ordinance done while they were living.  They can take that name to the temple, and someone will do the work for them.  One of the greatest gifts God gave us is our agency.  That doesn't go away when we die.  The deceased family members will have the option to accept the gospel in the Spirit world, or not.  If they accept, their saving ordinances have been done, so they have the keys necessary to continue their progression and life is dandy.  If they choose not to accept the Gospel, then the work was still done, and the church member at least got to swim (not really) in a warm font.

So when I went to the temple on Saturday, this is what I did.

{Albuquerque, NM  This temple was dedicated when my Grandparents still lived in Albuquerque, so we were able to go through and see it.  As a service project, I helped clear the ground, picking up garbage and nails around the temple for the landscape!}


It is a goal of every Mormon to get married in the temple.  Not only is it free, but sacred ordinances are performed to seal a man and woman together for all eternity, not just "til death do they part."  Once this happens, all children born to this couple will automatically be sealed to them as well creating an eternal family.  If a couple doesn't get married in the temple, however, they can always go at a later date, when they are able, and be sealed to each other, and to their children.  Marriages, or sealings, can also be done by proxy.  Once both the husband and wife have both passed on, a close family member can take their names to the temple and be sealed, in the name of the couple for time and all eternity.

{San Diego, CA}

Why Can't Everyone Go?

The temple is literally, as it has been throughout history, the "House of the Lord" (1 Kings 6:1, 37). The primary purpose of the temple is to provide a place where sacred ordinances needed for eternal life can be preformed. Because of its sacred nature, attendance in the temple is limited to Mormons, who are baptized, who obey God's commandments and therefore are worthy to enter.  There is literally an interview process that occurs with your Bishop, with very strict questions in order to determine who is worthy to go inside the temple.  We have very strict standards that must be adhered to if someone desires to go inside.

{Hong Kong, China}

Non-Mormons and visitors are welcome to visit the temple grounds or Visitor's Centers at all of the more than 100 temples across the world, and attend open houses prior to dedication. However, only baptized members who are qualified and prepared are allowed to enter a temple after it is dedicated.  This is why many non-members can not attend the marriage ceremony of friends and relatives inside the temple.  However, many couples choose to have a separate ring ceremony for everyone to witness.

{Mesa, AZ This temple has one of the best Visitor's Centers around.  Plus, they're always have really good movies playing, as well as yearly pageants}

What's the Difference Between Church and the Temple?

Churches are public places of worship.  Anyone and everyone is welcome to go inside for Sunday meetings, or other social gatherings inside.  They are often used for ward activities, basketball games, and wedding receptions.  As mentioned above, the temple is different.  It is holy, certain sacred ordinances are performed there, and only certain people may go in.
{Melbourne, Australia}
There is often confusion about temples, and the "top secret" or "weird" stuff that goes on in them.  The work that goes on inside is not really a secret its just holy, and we hold it sacred.  Most of the works center around bringing families together.

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