Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints declare that a temple is literally a house of the Lord.
Each temple is a holy sanctuary in which sacred ceremonies and ordinances of the gospel are performed by and for the living
and also in behalf of the dead.
The Church builds temples all over the world.
You may have seen one in your community.
They are beautiful, holy houses of the Lord.
We build temples so our faithful members can visit often and receive the most sacred ordinances of our faith.
Before our temples are dedicated for their sacred purpose, the public is invited to see the beauty of the temple and learn about the commitments we make there with God.
I invite you now to see inside one of our temples.
Welcome to the Washington DC Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
This temple was originally built in 1974,
and we're pleased to share it with you after a marvelous renovation.
I’m Gary Stevenson, and this is my wife, Lisa, and with us are Dale Renlund and his wife, Ruth.
Elder Renlund and I are members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of our Church.
A temple is a special place where we come to worship God, our Heavenly Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ.
A temple is the most sacred place of worship in our Church,
and we're delighted that you would join us for a tour.
Jesus Christ is the central focus of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and our temples.
We regard the temples as the house of the Lord.
As you enter the temple, you will notice the beautiful paintings and other artwork that turn our hearts and thoughts toward Jesus Christ and His teachings.
Before a temple is dedicated, all are invited to visit it.
Once a temple is dedicated, entrance is reserved for members of the Church who wish to participate in the sacred ceremonies called “ordinances.” In the foyer of the temple, members of the Church are welcomed by volunteers. Here, members present a small card called the “temple recommend.” The recommend indicates that the member and his or her local Church leaders affirm that the member is prepared to enter the temple and participate in sacred ceremonies.
This is the baptistry of the temple.
The baptismal font rests on the backs of 12 oxen that represent the 12 tribes of Israel. We learn from the Bible that Jesus was baptized.
He taught, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, He cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”
As we think about all the people who've lived on the Earth.
We realize many of them never had the opportunity to learn about Jesus Christ or His teachings.
We might ask, what is God’s plan for them?
How can they follow Jesus’s example and be baptized?
God is our Heavenly Father and remembers all His children.
Life continues after death and in the temple we can be baptized in behalf of our ancestors who've passed away.
This baptismal font is reserved for those proxy baptisms.
Church members as young as 11 years old may be baptized as proxy for deceased individuals.
This is a gift offered in love to those individuals.
We believe that those who have died are aware of this offering and can accept or reject a baptism that has been performed for them.
People who are living are not baptized for themselves in the temple.
They're baptized in baptismal fonts found in many of our local meeting houses where we worship on Sundays.
In the temple, all participants change out of their daily clothes to simple white clothing in a dressing room like this.
This creates a sense of unity and inclusion
and reminds us that we’re all children of God and are equal before Him.
This area is what is referred to as the initiatory area of the temple.
It is initiatory because it is the first part of the ordinance known as the endowment. This ceremony follows the pattern we find in the Bible when Aaron and his sons were anointed and blessed.
In the initiatory, members learn of specific blessings that God has prepared for those who love Him and keep His commandments.
This is one of the instruction rooms of the temple where members continue the endowment ordinance. The word “endowment” means “gift.”
The endowment is a gift from God to bless His children. In the endowment,
members learn about God’s plan for happiness, including the gift of Jesus Christ and the atoning sacrifice He made for us.
Members learn where we come from before this life, our purpose on earth, and how we can qualify to return to live with God again. During the endowment,
we're invited to make solemn promises with God.
We call these promises covenants.
We covenant to keep the commandments of God,
follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, live morally clean and honorable lives, and serve others with compassion and love.
In return, Heavenly Father promises that those who remain faithful to their covenants will grow up in the Lord and receive a fullness of the Holy Ghost and be endowed with power from on high.
As part of the endowment,
some participants are invited to gather in a circle around the altar.
A prayer is then offered, expressing gratitude and requesting blessings from God.
This is the celestial room.
No ordinances or ceremonies are performed in this room.
Rather, we can spend time in private prayer, reflection,
or personal worship as we seek to draw closer to God and feel His love for us. The celestial room represents heaven where Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, live.
This room reminds us that we lived in heaven with God before this life
and that we can return and live with Him again after this life.
In this beautiful room, women prepare to be sealed to their husbands for time and all eternity.
Every woman who comes to the temple is a beloved daughter of our Heavenly Father, with a divine nature and an eternal destiny.
This special room is a place where all women, regardless of their economic, cultural, or social standing,
can contemplate the promises they make and the blessings they receive in connection with their sealing.
We’re in the sealing room of the temple.
The word “sealing” can be equated to a marriage that is forever binding or permanently put together.
At this altar, a man and a woman take each other by the hand and by the authority of the holy priesthood power, they are sealed as husband and wife.
And if they're faithful to the covenants that they made,
then the marriage lasts not just “till death do they part,”
but for all of eternity. This great power connects all generations as children and parents can also be sealed together as families for eternity.
When I am in this room, I remember what it was like on the day that I was sealed to Gary. I remember the love and the joy that we felt and the hopes and the dreams we had for our future.
Sometimes when life's challenges try to disrupt our happiness,
I reflect on how I felt the day we were sealed.
I find strength and encouragement in the promise of eternal families.
Families are important to God.
We are in this together, and we can be family, not just in this life, but forever.
Worship in the temple took place in Christ’s day;
worship in temples takes place today.
There were 12 Apostles on the earth in Christ’s Day;
There are 12 Apostles on earth today with the same authority.
As one of His Apostles, it’s a joy for me to testify of the living reality of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I know He lives. Because He was crucified and resurrected, breaking the bands of death,
life is different for everyone who has lived or will live on the earth.
Jesus Christ bids all of us to come unto Him.
We do this by making covenants with Him.
I witness that Jesus Christ stands with open arms, hoping and willing to heal, forgive, cleanse, strengthen, and sanctify us. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
All that we have shown you today in the temple,
the house of the Lord, is centered on Jesus Christ and His infinite Atonement.
I add my solemn witness of Jesus Christ and of His role as our Savior
and Redeemer, and I do so in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. Amen.