As many of you probably have figured out, I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as a Mormon.
Further, you've probably found reference on my blog at some point or another about temples. To me, temple worship is a very sacred, holy, uplifting, strengthening and significant part of my religion and spirituality. I'm also getting married in a temple for time and all eternity. Sometimes it is hard for friends and family who are not Mormon to understand why Mormons have temples, why they attend them, and why they are not open to every John or Jane Doe on the street. I recently read this from one of the most inspiring men in my life, Gordon B. Hinckley, the President of our Church for over a decade and a great man of faith.
I encourage you to read his words in an effort to find some understanding regarding something so important and special to me and most people of the LDS faith.
Why These Temples? (part one)
Temples are places where our questions about life receive the answers of eternity
Was there ever a man or woman who, in a time of quiet introspection, has not pondered the solemn mysteries of life?
Has he or she not asked, “Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? What is my relationship to my Maker? Will death rob me of the treasured associations of life? What of my family? Will there be another existence after this, and, if so, will we know one another there?”
The answers to these questions are not found in the wisdom of the world. They are found only in the revealed word of God. Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are sacred structures in which these and other eternal questions are answered. Each is dedicated as a house of the Lord, a place of holiness and peace set apart from the world. There truths are taught and ordinances are performed that bring knowledge of things eternal and motivate the participants to live with an understanding of our divine inheritance as children of God and an awareness of our potential as eternal beings.
The designation of certain buildings for special ordinances, as distinguished from regular places of worship, is not new. This was the practice in ancient Israel, where the people worshipped regularly in the synagogues. Their more sacred place was, first, the tabernacle in the wilderness with its Holy of Holies, and then a succession of temples, where special ordinances were performed and where only those who met the required qualifications could participate in these ordinances.
So it is today. Prior to the dedication of a temple, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints invites the public to go through the building and inspect its various facilities. But when it is dedicated it becomes the house of the Lord, vested with a character so sacred that only members of the Church in good standing are permitted to enter. It is not a matter of secrecy. It is a matter of sanctity.
(stay tuned for parts 2 and 3)