Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which church is frequently misnamed the “Mormon Church”) are one of the important elements in God’s Plan of Salvation. They are so important that there are forms of sacred worship that can only done in the temple. Temples are considered the most holy place on earth, and only the home can be compared to them in sanctity. Temples are a holy sanctuary where the Spirit of the Lord can be strongly felt—for they are literally the House of the Lord.
There are many examples in the scriptures that describe temples’ significance. For example, during their wanderings and travels in the wilderness, the Israelites, under the leadership of Moses and under the direction of God, built a portable temple known as the Tabernacle. God Himself gave them details on what standards His holy sanctuary should meet, including its materials and design. “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it” (Exodus 25:8–9). After its construction, the Tabernacle became the dwelling place of the Lord, where He gave His people, the Israelites, instructions and where sacred ordinances were performed in which ordinances were intended to bless the Israelites in their tribulations.
The New Testament also tells us of the significance of the temple. In the Gospel of Matthew, the record shows Jesus being brought to the temple as a baby and being presented to the people as the Savior of the world. “And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34–35).
The Savior often taught in the holy temple and He has been the greatest example of how people should view the importance of the temple in their lives. “And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him” (Luke 19:45–48). The members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”) view the temple as the place of most sacred worship and follow the commandments of the Lord regarding it.
In the latter days, God commanded His children to once again commence the building of holy temples as part of the restoration of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The first Mormon temple was dedicated to the Lord on March 27, 1836, and is known as the Kirtland Temple. Today there are around 135 temples currently in operations to bless the lives of the children of God.
Mormon beliefs focus on the power and righteous influence of the temple and the knowledge that temples bring Latter-day Saints closer to Christ. That is why there are many Mormon temples built all over the world. The temple helps the members of the Church to understand the purpose of earthly existence as a mere fraction of the Plan of Salvation (God’s plan for His children) which provides hope that all the unfairness and trials of life are just temporal. The temple also provides many blessings and rich experiences for qualified Latter-day Saints, as they often testify of. In the temple, Mormons learn more about Jesus Christ and His infinite love for all people, and that salvation can only come through Him. “And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent” (Mosiah 3:17).
Roy Patrick is currently working as a Call Center Agent in the Philippines. He served a full-time mission in San Francisco, CA. His family is one of the pioneers of the LDS Church in Panay Island, Philippines.
Temple Square is a thirty-five-acre plot located in the center of Salt Lake City, Utah. It was no accident that the city was built around Temple Square. When members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the Mormon Church) arrived in 1847, Brigham Young wanted the Saints to put the focus of their lives on the temple. He set aside a plot of land for the temple built the city up with the temple at its center. Today, Salt Lake City roads are built on a grid system with Temple Square at the center. From there, roads branch out as 100 N, 100 S, 100 W, and 100 E.
The fourteen buildings which are housed on Temple Square today include the:
- North Visitor Center
- South Visitor Center
- Assembly Hall
- Beehive House
- Lion House
- Joseph Smith Memorial Building
- Relief Society Building
- Church History Library
- Church History Museum
- Church Office Building
- Conference Center
- Family History Library
- and, of course, the Salt Lake Temple.
The Tabernacle, completed in 1867, was home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for scores of years, and served as the location of the LDS Church’s General Conferences for more than 130 years. The North Visitor Center houses a replica of Bertel Thorvaldsen’s sculpture the Christus, and the South Visitor Center has many interactive displays about Jesus Christ and the history of the LDS Church. The Joseph Smith Memorial Building (the remodelled Hotel Utah) is home to two restaurants, several Church offices, special-event rooms, a theater (used for Church-made informational and inspirational films), and a distribution center for Church materials. The Family History Library contains the world’s largest collection of genealogical records, which is available for public use, as well as the Museum of Church History and Art.
The Conference Center, completed in 2000, seats 21,000 (compared to the 6,000 seating capacity of the Tabernacle), and is used for General Conferences as well as high-quality community performances such as plays, concerts, and lectures.
The new Church History Library, which opened in June 2009, used special design and construction to qualify for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratings. This building houses a unique collection of journals, artifacts, photographs, and other records which pertain to the history of the Latter-day Saints and the Mormon Church.
Temple Square is a popular tourist attraction and with 5 million annual visitors, is more visited than either the Grand Cany0n or Yellowstone National Parks. In 2009, Forbes listed Temple Square as the 16th-most visited attraction in the United States.
Temple Square is now even its own geographical mission in the Mormon Church, with missionaries from 51 countries speaking 30 different languages to greet guests and share with them more about the Mormon Church. This is due to the wide variety of attractions for different interests as well as its beauty. The grounds at Temple Square are breathtaking. The landscaping is beautiful, and the Christmas lights and programs at Temple Square are legendary.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearses in the Tabernacle every Thursday, and these rehearsals are generally open to the public. All museums and centers on Temple Square are open free to the public.
See Temple Square in a virtual 3-D tour!