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Feb 6th 2007

Mormon Temples

This article was recently submitted to all-encompassingly for publication. It is one of a series of informational posts intended to address common misconceptions about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. –Admin

The Mormon temple is a place of worship. They are dedicated to the Lord and are peaceful places of holiness. Within the temple, members of the Mormon Church learn about the purpose of life, make covenants with the Lord, and participate in ceremonies that are necessary for eternal life with Heavenly Father.

In Hebrew, the word for temple was Beth Elohim, which means House of the Lord. Throughout the ages, many people have constructed temples. The Romans and Greeks built temples to their mythical gods and goddesses. Those who worshiped idols built sanctuaries for the idols. Even in these buildings, there were areas of the temple where only the priests could enter. Temples have never been places where the ordinary public meets. In ancient times, temples were also built to the true and living God. Immediately following the Jewsí escape from bondage in Egypt, they were asked by God to prepare a place where God’s presence could abide and where His will could be made known. They built the tabernacle, which was like a mobile temple.

Once the Jews stopped their wandering in the wilderness, the tabernacle served as the temple for many years; until Solomon became king. God then directed Solomon to build a temple. Work began on the temple and it was completed within seven and a half years. Like Mormon temples today, the temple of Solomon was dedicated to God. Sadly the temple was desecrated and destroyed. For a long time there was no temple on the earth. Then, the Jews were able to return to Jerusalem where they built the Temple of Zerubbabel. The temple was accepted by the Lord. Just before the birth of Christ, Herod decided to reconstruct the temple. After its reconstruction was completed, it was called the Temple of Herod. This was the last temple constructed by God’s people in ancient times. It wasn’t until Christ’s Church was reestablished through the Prophet Joseph Smith in the nineteenth century that temples were once again built.

James E. Talmage, an Apostle of the Mormon Church, has said, “It is a significant fact that this church, true to the distinction it affirmsóthat of being the Church of the living God as its name proclaimsóbegan in the very early days of its history to provide for the erection of a temple (see D&C 36:8; 42:36; 133:2). The Church was organized on the sixth of April, A.D. 1830; and, in July of the year following, a revelation was received designating the site of a future temple near Independence, Missouri. On the first day of June 1833, in a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord directed the immediate building of a holy house in which He promised to endow His chosen servants with power and authority (see D&C 95). The people responded to the call with willingness and devotion. In spite of dire poverty and in the face of unrelenting persecution, the work was carried to completion, and, in March 1836, the first temple of modern times was dedicated at Kirtland, Ohio (see D&C 109). The dedicatory services were marked by divine manifestations comparable to those attending the offering of the first temple of olden times, and on later occasions heavenly beings appeared within the sacred precincts with revelations of the divine will to man. In that place the Lord Jesus was again seen and heard (see D&C 110:1-10).”

The Mormons were forced to leave Ohio and abandon their temple because of persecution, but everywhere they went, plans were made to build temples. In Nauvoo, Illinois, a second temple was built, but the Mormons were again forced to leave just after the temple was completed. In 1847, the Mormon pioneers entered Utah. Almost immediately, a site was chosen for the building of a temple and building began. That temple still stands and is known as the Salt Lake Temple. Members of the Mormon Church regard temple building and attendance as a sacred duty. It is only in temples that man can gain knowledge and make covenants that will provide a way to gain exaltation.

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One Response to “Mormon Temples”

  1. Great Article for non-LDS people to learn about our temples!