3D Printed San Diego Latter-day Saint temple. Source: LDS.org
3D Printed San Diego Latter-day Saint temple. Source: LDS.org

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes referred to as the “Mormons”) is a Christian denomination that builds temples similar in purpose to those built in the Old Testament.

“Throughout history, God has commanded His people to build temples. Temples are literally houses of the Lord. They are holy places of worship where individuals make sacred promises with God… Regardless of the place or time period, temples are the most sacred place on earth- a place where earth and heaven meet and where we feel close to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.”

In Latter-day Saint temples, several distinct activities take place all pertaining to the belief that families are fundamental to our spiritual nature. The greatest of these is the “sealing” of families together as eternal units. This means that marriages performed in LDS temples are not only in effect “until death do you part” but beyond death into the life hereafter (Matthew 16:19). Children born within these marriages are automatically sealed to their parents “for time and all eternity”. Children from other circumstances may also be sealed to parents by blood, adoption or marriage. Latter-Day Saints believe that the blessings promised to individuals in the temple are not guaranteed unconditionally but depend on their faithfulness to God’s commandments.

After a temple is built or renovated, the church invites the public to tour the building and learn about its operations. “When the open house period is over, the temple is closed to the public, and several meetings are held to dedicate the temple to the Lord... After being dedicated, temples are open for use by Church members... In order to enter the temple, Church members must (1) be at least 12 years of age, (2) be a member for at least one year, and (3) have a current temple recommend,” which is received after interviewing with ecclesiastical leaders “to determine if the member has a testimony of the Church, keeps the commandments, supports Church leaders, obeys the Word of Wisdom (health standard), pays tithing, and is honest.”

Worthy church members who have received, and maintain, a valid “temple recommend” can return to the temple as often as they are able. It is a place of peace and meditation, of contemplation and learning, a place for working for others’ benefit.

The definition of “holy” is something that is set apart for a sacred purpose. On the exterior of every temple are the words, “Holiness to the Lord”, meaning that the building and all those who enter it are set apart for God’s sacred purposes. Inside temples, people change their clothes to wear all white to symbolize the equality of each one. Beautiful art helps direct one’s mind to contemplate the life and mission of Jesus Christ. In this peaceful setting, it becomes easier to tune out the distractions of everyday life, express gratitude for God’s blessings and receive insights to one’s problems.