Temples are literally houses of the Lord. They are holy places of worship where individuals make sacred covenants with God. Because making covenants with God is such a solemn responsibility, individuals cannot enter the temple to receive their endowments or be sealed in marriage for eternity until they have fully prepared themselves and been members of the Church for at least a year. Throughout history, the Lord has commanded His people to build temples. The Church is working to build temples all over the world to make temple blessings more available for a greater number of Heavenly Father’s children.
Temples are places of learning. Their principal purpose is to provide ordinances necessary for the children of God to enable them to return to dwell with Him. Temple ordinances lead to the greatest blessings available through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Everything in the Church—the meetings and activities, the missionary efforts, the lessons taught and the hymns—all lead to the work done in holy temples.
One ordinance received in the temple is called the endowment. The word endowment means “gift,” and the temple endowment truly is a gift from God. The ordinance consists of a series of instructions and includes covenants to live righteously and follow the requirements of the gospel. The endowment focuses on the Savior, His role in Heavenly Father’s plan, and the personal commitment of each member to follow Him.
Another temple ordinance is celestial marriage. In this ordinance husband and wife are sealed to one another for eternity. A sealing performed in the temple continues forever if the husband and wife are faithful to the covenants they make.
Children born to parents who have been sealed in the temple are born in the covenant. These children automatically become part of an eternal family. Children who are not born in the covenant can also become part of an eternal family once their natural or adoptive parents have been sealed to one another. The ordinance of sealing children to parents is performed in the temple.
People who have died without these essential gospel ordinances may receive those ordinances through the work done in temples. Acting in behalf of ancestors and others who have died, Church members are baptized and confirmed, receive the endowment, and participate in the sealings of husband to wife and children to parents.
Those who enter the temple must be worthy, which means that they keep the commandments and are prepared to make and keep sacred temple covenants. In two interviews—one with a member of a bishopric or a branch president and another with a member of a stake presidency or a mission president—Church members certify their worthiness to enter the temple. In these interviews, the priesthood leader asks about the individual’s personal conduct and worthiness. Those who are worthy receive a temple recommend, which allows them to enter the temple.
When individuals go to the temple, they should wear their best clothing, as they do when they attend church. When they are inside the temple, they exchange their clothing for the white clothing of the temple. This change of clothing takes place in a dressing room, where each person uses a locker and a private dressing space. In the temple, modesty is carefully maintained.
As individuals put their clothing in the locker, they can leave all their worldly distractions behind. Dressed in white, they can feel a oneness and a sense of equality with others in the temple, for everyone around them is similarly dressed.
Once people are endowed, they have the blessing of wearing the temple garment throughout their lives. They are obligated to wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment. Those who have been endowed in the temple must remember that the blessings that are related to this sacred privilege depend on their worthiness and their faithfulness in keeping temple covenants.
The garment provides a constant reminder of the covenants made in the temple. The garment should be treated with respect at all times. It should not be exposed to the view of those who do not understand its significance, and it should not be adjusted to accommodate different styles of clothing. When worn properly, the garment provides protection against temptation and evil. Wearing the garment is an outward expression of an inward commitment to follow the Savior.
In addition to being a place where sacred priesthood ordinances are performed, the temple is a place of peace and revelation. It is a place where spiritual guidance can be received for crucial decisions or concerns.
The Lord blesses those who attend to the sacred ordinance work in the temple. And the blessings He gives will not be limited to the time spent in the temple. Those who do temple work will be blessed in all aspects of their lives. Their labors in the temple will strengthen them and refine them spiritually.
Joseph Smith’s Teachings about Priesthood, Temple, and Women (Gospel Topics Essay)
Pam Mueller, “Twelfth-Birthday Tradition Brings Peace and Family Closeness,” Ensign, March 2017
Carlisa Cramer, “Find, Take, Teach: Join the Temple Challenge,” Ensign, February 2017
Mireille Rouffet, “I Set Out to Find a Temple,” Ensign, February 2017
Alex Masterson, “The Next Level,” Friend, January 2017
Jane McBride Choate, “Halloween Choice,” Friend, October 2016
“Special Issue: Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Ensign, October 2010
“Planning Your Temple Wedding,” Liahona, October 2004
“Temples Bless Families,” Liahona, July 2004
Jan U. Pinborough, “Building Temples, Building Lives,” Ensign, October 2000
“‘Hosannah!’ Church to Have 150 Operating Temples,” Church News
“Sacrifices to Attend Temples Help to Sanctify Members,” Church News
“Temples,” Lesson Helps for Teaching Children