“For verily this generation shall not all pass away until [a temple] shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house.1”
Temples. I Love the temples of the Church. They are such beautiful places to go, to bask in the peace that is found inside, where nothing of the world outside can come in. At the moment, there are 144 temples in operation around the world, so that worthy members of the Church can go and worship the Lord and learn more about Him. There are several more that should be dedicated this year, including a temple in Rome.
Temples are sacred places for adoration, where only worthy members of the Church can enter. It is not like our regular meetinghouses where anyone, including nonmembers can enter. The Temple is reserved for sacred ordinances that can be done only in the temple.
When a member of the Church goes through the temple for the first time, they do the ordinances for themselves. These ordinances are varied, but the most beautiful are the marriages that are performed there. When a marriage is performed in the temple, we believe that that marriage is bound not only until death do us part, but also beyond the grave and for all eternity.2
In Malachi, we read “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.3” One of the main reasons that the LDS Church is so interested in genealogy is so that we might be a means for our ancestors to receive those blessings that come from being members of the Church. In my article on the Spirit World, I spoke of how the gospel is preached to those who didn’t have the chance to hear it when they were alive. In the temple, we act as proxies for our ancestors, giving them the chance to be baptized and sealed in the temple. Of course, they will have the choice of accepting these ordinances or not – they are not forced to accept. For those who might feel that this is a flight of fantasy of the LDS Church, I would invite you to read 1Corinthians 15:29.
Because of problems related to these ordinances being performed for the dead, the Church now allows this ordinance to be performed only if the member presenting the names is a direct descendant or has permission from the closest living relative, if the person being presented was born within the last one hundred ten years.
1Doctrine and Covenants 84:5
2See Matthew 16:19
The temples shown are: (counter-clockwise) The San Diego, CA Temple, the London England Temple, The Los Angeles CA Temple, The Rome Italy Temple, The Bern, Switzerland Temple