Temples are one of the things that set apart The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from other Christian religions. Since the Prophet Joseph Smith was first directed to build a temple the Mormons have been a temple building people. These sacred and beautiful buildings can be found all over the world from Nigeria to Peru, with 123 in operation and 11 under construction as of September 2006.


Fifty-four of the temples have been built since the year 2000. President Gordon B. Hinckley explains why the Mormons are building so many temples saying that the people "need nearby temples—small, beautiful, serviceable temples." It is within these temples that the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is received. "The endowment in the temple is a necessary and sacred blessing as essential for the members of the Church as baptism. Thereafter comes the sealing of wives to their husbands and of children to their parents. Without these blessings there is no fullness of the gospel."2


Within Mormon temples ordinances are performed for the living and by proxy in behalf of the dead. These ordinances include baptism, endowment, and sealings.


Baptism is required to enter the gates of heaven, but many have died without having an opportunity to be baptized. Within temples baptisms for the dead are performed in behalf of deceased persons. Mormon belief states that those who are dead are being taught the gospel and have the choice to reject or accept both the message and the baptism.


Another ordinance performed within temples is that of the endowment. It is performed for both the living and then for future visits in behalf of the dead. The endowment is a series of instructions and covenants that are made between a person and God.

Of the temple endowment President Brigham Young taught, "Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels." 3


Marriages are also performed within temples. Couples who are worthy can be married for not only time but also eternity. This special sealing marriage binds couples and their children together and assures that if faithful the family bond will remain after death. For this reason Mormons are anxiously engaged in family history work; trying to uncover the names of their deceased ancestors in order to create an unbreakable family chain.


Temples are special buildings dedicated to the Lord. For this reason only those who are worthy members of the Mormon Church are allowed to enter a temple. Before a temple is dedicated it is open to the public and non-members are encouraged to walk through the temple and ask questions. The ordinances performed within temples are considered sacred and therefore members are asked to not speak of them outside the temple. "They are kept confidential lest they be given to those who are unprepared." 4


As well as a sacred building where ordinances are performed Mormon temples are “a place of instruction for all those who are called to the work of the ministry … that they may be perfected in [their] understanding … in all things pertaining to the kingdom of God on the earth." 5



(1) Gordon B. Hinckley, “New Temples to Provide ‘Crowning Blessings’ of the Gospel,” Ensign, May 1998, 87

(2) Elder Bangerter. "What Temples Are For." May 1982. Ensign.

(3) Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young (1997), 302.

(4) Boyd K. Packer, The Holy Temple [booklet, 1982], 2.

(5) D&C 97:12-14