“What Do We Do in the Temple?” Liahona, July 2018
The temple is a sacred place where we can draw closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. In the temple, we are taught important truths, participate in priesthood ordinances (sacred ceremonies), and make covenants (sacred promises) with God that prepare us to return to His presence.
We can receive temple ordinances for ourselves as well as for our ancestors. For example, youth can participate in baptisms in behalf of their ancestors and others who didn’t have the chance to be baptized by proper authority when they were alive. For adults, other temple ordinances include the endowment and sealings (such as temple marriage).
Baptism and confirmation are essential to the salvation of every accountable person who has lived on earth (see John 3:5). However, many people have died without having the opportunity of hearing the gospel or receiving these ordinances. Through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, a way has been prepared for everyone to receive these blessings. In temples, worthy members of the Church can perform baptisms in behalf of those who have died. In the spirit world, the gospel is preached (see D&C 138), and those who hear it can choose to accept it and the ordinances performed in their behalf.
The word endowment means “gift.” The temple endowment is a gift from God whereby He gives special blessings to you, including “power from on high” (D&C 95:8).
When you joined the Church, you received two ordinances—baptism and confirmation. The temple endowment is also received in two parts. First, you receive the initiatory ordinance, where you are symbolically and modestly “washed” clean and receive special blessings regarding your divine heritage and eternal potential. In the second part, you receive the remainder of your endowment as you learn more about the plan of salvation, including the Creation, our purpose on earth, and the mission and Atonement of Jesus Christ.
During the endowment, we make solemn promises to obey God, follow Jesus Christ, be morally chaste, and help build the kingdom of God. If we keep our covenants, we have the promise of receiving all of God‘s eternal blessings.
Families are central to God’s plan for our happiness. Uniting families forever is the crowning blessing available in the temple through the sealing authority of the priesthood—the same authority Jesus told His Apostles about (see Matthew 16:19). Temple sealings enable husbands and wives and children and parents to be together forever through their faithfulness to their covenants.