“Commonly Asked Questions,” Ensign, October 2010
In the temple we are taught, we make covenants, and we are promised blessings. We receive ordinances that enable us to live in the presence of God.
One ordinance we receive in the temple is the endowment. The word endowment means “gift” or “bestowal.” As part of this ordinance, we are taught about the purpose of life, the mission and Atonement of Jesus Christ, and Heavenly Father’s plan for His children. We gain a glimpse of what it will be like to live in His presence as we feel the peaceful atmosphere of the temple.
Another temple ordinance is the sealing ordinance, in which husbands and wives are sealed to each other and children are sealed to their parents in eternal families. This means that if we are faithful to our covenants, our family relationships will continue for eternity.
In addition to receiving these ordinances for ourselves, we can receive them for our deceased ancestors. In this way, people who died without receiving essential ordinances such as baptism and confirmation, the endowment, and sealing have the opportunity to accept these ordinances.
The temple is a peaceful, sacred place, set apart from the cares and turmoil of the world. All areas of the temple are beautifully and carefully maintained to preserve a spirit of reverence. Because it is the Lord’s house, and because of the sacred work performed there, in the temple we can feel the Spirit abundantly and feel close to the Lord. There we can receive personal revelation and spiritual strength to help us overcome our trials. This is part of the reason we are encouraged to attend the temple regularly.
Wear modest Sunday dress when you attend the temple. Avoid extremes in dress and grooming, just as you would in a sacrament meeting. You show reverence and respect for the Lord and His house and invite the Spirit by being clean and presentable.
In the temple there are private dressing rooms where you change out of your Sunday clothing and put on white clothing. This change of clothing serves as a reminder that you are temporarily leaving the world behind and entering a holy place. White clothing symbolizes purity, and the fact that all are dressed alike in the temple creates a sense of unity and equality.
Most likely you will receive your endowment shortly before you serve a full-time mission or before you are married in the temple. Single members in their late teens or early twenties who have not received a mission call and are not engaged to be married in the temple are generally not recommended to receive their own endowment.
New members wait at least one year after their baptism and confirmation before receiving their endowment.
Receiving your own endowment is an important matter. Discuss it with your bishop. Pray and ponder to know when you are ready.
You can talk about what the interior of the temple looks like, and you can freely share the feelings you have in the temple. However, temple covenants and ordinances, including the words used, are too sacred to be discussed in detail outside the temple. By avoiding discussion of these sacred things outside the temple, we protect them from mocking, ridicule, or disrespect. Do not be casual when talking about your experiences in the temple.
During His earthly ministry, the Savior often taught in parables to represent eternal truths symbolically. He has directed that we be taught in a similar way in the temple. There is symbolism in the temple ordinances and covenants, their presentation, the physical setting, and the clothing worn. If you ponder the meaning of these symbols with the guidance of the Holy Ghost, they can help you recognize truth, learn about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and grow spiritually.
This can be a tender subject. Since the temple is the house of the Lord, dedicated to Him, those who enter must hold a current temple recommend, which certifies that they are living by the standards He has set. However, those who do not have a current temple recommend are welcome on temple grounds, and most temples have a room where they can wait while family members are being sealed. A couple with family members who cannot enter the temple may invite their bishop or another Church member to stay with them in the waiting room.
A couple may also arrange with their bishop to hold a special meeting afterward for relatives and friends who do not have a recommend. This meeting provides an opportunity for them to feel included and to learn about eternal marriage. Although no ceremony is performed and no vows are exchanged, rings may be exchanged at such a meeting.
You can prepare by attending the temple regularly to participate in baptisms for the dead, by participating in a temple preparation seminar organized by your bishop, and by studying the scriptures and the articles in this booklet.
You can also prepare by living the Lord’s standards of temple worthiness. Nurture your testimony of God the Father and of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel. Obey the Word of Wisdom and the law of chastity. Sustain your Church leaders, pay a full tithing, and attend your Church meetings. Be honest in your dealings with others, and ensure that your family life is in harmony with the teachings of the Church. Keep your baptismal covenants so that you will be ready to receive the higher covenants of the temple.