Mormon temples (temples belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) are sacred places of worship. Once a Mormon temple has been dedicated (set apart for the practicing of ordinances), only worthy Latter-day Saints (members of the Mormon Church) are permitted to enter. However, before a temple is dedicated, a period of a few weeks is generally set aside for members of the community to walk through the temple on short tours.
Open house tours require reservations and free tickets, simply to manage the number of people going through at any given time. Even though temples are not yet dedicated at the time people are going through, they are still special buildings which command respect and reverence. Those going through should be nicely dressed. The Mormon standard of “Sunday dress” is generally understood to mean white shirt, tie, and slacks for men and modest dresses or skirts and blouses for women. If an individual does not have this clothing available, he or she should still be nicely groomed and wearing the best that he or she has available. They should treat the building and others with respect while going through and should speak in quiet, respectful voices.
During an open house tour, guests are able to see all major rooms where Mormon ordinances are performed. These include the baptistry, the sealing room(s), the endowment room(s), etc. This allows members of the public to see that there are no suspicious, cultish rites performed. They can see that the rooms are beautiful and are made of fine materials, because temples are houses of the Lord, and He deserves the best.
The Boston Temple open house was held from August 29–September 23, 2000. It was dedicated on October 1, 2000, by then-Mormon prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley. The only time an already dedicated temple would have a second open house is if it went under major renovations. Then it would have a second open house, prior to its re-dedication.
For up-to-date LDS News regarding Mormon temple construction, open houses, and groundbreakings visit the newsroom.
Lies permeate or infect various media points about Mormon worship. Many are perpetrated by disaffected Mormons, and the first photos attempting to distort and convey falsehood about the temple were shared by the same, disgruntled ex-Mormons, attempting in vain to bribe Church officials. Their response showed total disinterest in anything so acquired. We, as Mormons, have nothing to hide.
The temple is sacred–just as baptism and prayer and private communions with the Lord are sacred–most sacred. The temple ordinances are not to be trifled with and shared indiscriminately outside of the temple, but they are available to all who want to come unto Christ through baptism into His Church–the re-established Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Talmage’s concise, open statements about the nature of the Mormon temple endowment are helpful to friends of other faiths seeking to understand more of what Mormons learn and do in these Houses of the Lord that dot the earth.
The Mormon Temple Endowment, as administered in modern temples, comprises instruction relating to the significance and sequence of past dispensations, and the importance of the present as the greatest and grandest era in human history. This course of instruction includes a recital of the most prominent events of the creative period, the condition of our first parents in the Garden of Eden, their disobedience and consequent expulsion from that blissful abode, their condition in the lone and dreary world when doomed to live by labor and sweat, the plan of redemption by which the great transgression may be atoned, the period of the great apostasy, the restoration of the Gospel with all its ancient powers and privileges, the absolute and indispensable condition of personal purity and devotion to the right in present life, and a strict compliance with Gospel requirements.
As will be shown, the temples erected by the Latter-day Saints provide for the giving of these instructions in separate rooms, each devoted to a particular part of the course; and by this provision it is possible to have several classes under instruction at one time.
The Mormon doctrine contained in the ordinances of the endowment embody certain obligations on the part of the individual, such as covenant and promise to observe the law of strict virtue and chastity; to be charitable, benevolent, tolerant and pure; to devote both talent and material means to the spread of truth and the uplifting of the race; to maintain devotion to the cause of truth; and to seek in every way to contribute to the great preparation that the earth may be made ready to receive her King,—the Lord Jesus Christ. With the taking of each covenant and the assuming of each obligation a promised blessing is pronounced, contingent upon the faithful observance of the conditions.
No jot, iota, or tittle of the temple rites is otherwise than uplifting and sanctifying. In every detail the endowment ceremony contributes to covenants of morality of life, consecration of person to high ideals, devotion to truth, patriotism to nation, and allegiance to God. The blessings of the House of the Lord are restricted to no privileged class; every member of the Church may have admission to the temple with the right to participate in the ordinances thereof, if he comes duly accredited as of worthy life and conduct (James Talmage, House of the Lord).
Enlightened by the Mormon Endowment
I attended the Mount Timpanogos Temple last night to serve as proxy for an ancestor in an endowment session. Receiving the instruction in the endowment film is much like the experience of reading the scriptures in the sense that new thoughts arise and take form in our minds and hearts as we engage in the Word and in the inspired temple instruction each time we visit them. Last night, I pondered the Creation account. How vast was the project and yet how simply it was stated, and how orderly it was executed. The Spirit, through the retelling, bore witness to me that God is not overwhelmed in His work, and since He is not, I ought not be either for I can rely on His power and magnificence — his ability to bring things into existence to serve the greatest good for all.
I thought, further, about my own life, organizing my own little world of influence and my family’s, and applied the principles I gleaned to that shaping. How can I teach my children effectively to discern light from darkness in all of its subtleties and potential effects; how can I better evaluate my days, each creative period of my life, and account to the Lord so that I can receive more light for the morrows. Sometimes we plan to the point of crowding out His plan. How do we maintain the balance and let His Spirit continue to fill our sails as we set forth each day, and yet exercise our own agency and given talents and powers to create of our own initiative, relying on His help? I pondered the balancing, the application, the truths. I received personal revelation in the House of the Lord to this end. I love Mormon temples. I know them to be truly what Mormons attest they are: Houses of Our Savior, where His Spirit, presence, influence flow as we serve and engage in His ordinance work–the work of bringing others to Him through baptism, confirmation, washings and anointings and marriage sealings. We encourage you to visit one prior to its being dedicated, when such an opportunity presents.
Uniting Families Forever
I came across the following photo and statement of faith regarding Mormon temples by a visually-impaired Mormon educator (member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and published author on the subject of temple history,expressing so simply his gratitude for his eternal union with his family, after having been sealed in the Los Angeles Mormon Temple.
The Los Angeles Temple is the second largest Mormon temple, after the Salt Lake Temple, and was dedicated to the Lord–as each temple is through sacred prayer offered by a member of The First Presidency (the Prophet, or one of His two counselors)–in 1956.
Brother Cowan taught at BYU’s Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. While there, he was especially interested in visiting the site of Solomon’s and Herod’s Temples and studying more about them from materials available only in Israel.
I don’t know when I first became interested in temples. I can remember going to the Salt Lake Temple at an early age to perform baptisms for the dead. Growing up in Los Angeles, I went on annual temple excursions to either St. George or Mesa with a group of young people from our stake. Not only did we have the opportunity to perform temple service, but these trips also allowed me to associate with other youths who shared my interests and values. We all eagerly anticipated the completion of our own temple in Southern California. It was under construction when I left for my Spanish-speaking mission to Texas and New Mexico. I returned home from that mission just in time to attend the temple’s dedication. I have enjoyed attending several recent temple dedications including those carried by satellite. Still, my feelings about the temple are strengthened most by my regular participation in the sacred ordinances in the Lord’s House. I look forward to expanding my knowledge about temples and hope to have the opportunity of actually visiting more of the temples which now are truly dotting the earth. I am grateful that I married Dawn Houghton in the Los Angeles Temple, so that our marriage is for eternity and that we can look forward to being with our six children and our 22 grandchildren forever.
To Brother Cowan’s assurance of the divinity of temple work, I add my own for you, dear friend of another faith. I know that all Mormon temples are equal in the service they provide, in the healing they extend, in the opportunity each one of us has who would prepare themselves for the richest blessings of God’s love and instruction in His holy houses upon the earth. They are what Mormons purport them to be–namely, sacred edifices built to the Lord’s specifications through revelation, and to His ends–the salvation of souls and their eternal union and reunion with Him in the eternities.
The words of the prophets and apostles bear exacting witness of the temple and its functions, with which we close this post and open up discussion for those who would ask questions or seek more knowledge concerning these things:
Surely these temples are unique among all buildings. They are houses of instruction. They are places of covenants and promises. At their altars we [and anyone who would like to become a member and so qualify to enter] kneel before God our Creator and are given promise of His everlasting blessings. In the sanctity of their appointments we commune with Him and reflect on His Son, our Savior and Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, who served as proxy for each of us in a vicarious sacrifice in our behalf. Here we set aside our own selfishness and serve for those who cannot serve themselves. Here, under the true priesthood power of God, we are bound together in the most sacred of all human relationships—as husbands and wives, as children and parents, as families under a sealing that time cannot destroy and death cannot disrupt.
Who, who has ever loved, has not thought about the possibility of life after life without their companion. God has provided a way for those unions to continue, and that binding occurs in Mormon temples, temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I recall my first experience in a Mormon temple. I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (became a Mormon), in 1980, after a long quest to understand my life’s purpose and mission. About a year later, on a beautiful spring day, I attended the Washington, D.C. temple — its castle-like beauty strikingly noticeable from the DC Beltway — prior to serving an 18-month mission to Germany. I’m not sure if the cherry blossoms in the area were quite in bloom, but I remember hoping they would be. While there’s much to absorb on a first visit to the Lord’s house, and much I had yet to learn, I remember and treasure the profound feelings of joy I had in being among friends dressed in white when I entered the chapel prior to entering what is known as the endowment room (place of instruction and revelation).
“In the temples all are dressed alike in white. White is the symbol of purity. … Besides, the uniform dress symbolizes that before God our Father in heaven, all men are equal. The beggar and the banker, the learned and the unlearned, the prince and the pauper sit side by side in the temple and are of equal importance if they live righteously before the Lord God, the Father of their spirits. It is spiritual fitness and understanding that one receives in the temple. All such have an equal place before the Lord” (John A. Widtsoe, “Looking toward the Temple,” Ensign, Jan. 1972, p. 58).
I remember the reverence and order I felt and observed in the Lord’s house and knew it to be His House. That testimony or witness of faith has only exponentially increased over the years.
Mormons who attend the temple for the first time receive washing and anointing ordinances — symbolic of inner cleansing and providing blessings of forgiveness and renewal — as were performed in Old Testament days and as are recorded in Exodus, followed by ordinances of instruction and covenant-making (commitments to obey God’s laws, with attendant blessings) known as the endowment. I remember sitting in the celestial room — a magnificent room in the temple full of light, arrayed with beauty and often a chandelier reflecting its glimmer in mirrored walls of the room — into which temple attenders go after completing their endowment — or instruction and covenant-making service. There one feels the love of the Lord and has time to reflect and sense things eternal in a profound way.
Since that time, I’ve gone to the House of the Lord consistently, and learned more and more about who I am, who He is, and how to best conduct my life and daily walk. Our conception of God affects our entire universe and way of navigating this life; it influences every significant decision and ultimately affects our destiny. In large measure, our culture has diluted that conception of God. I think of a young girl who told a reporter that the best image she could think of to represent God was a blurry image “because no one has a clear conception of Him.” Well, Mormons do. God has revealed Himself in our day. And I think the temple is a place where we come to see Him even more clearly, and where the doctrines revealed about Him in our day (that He has a glorified perfected body, that He is literally Our Father, the Father of our Spirits) bear on our thinking and feeling in a particularly impactful way. The temple, in this and other senses, is a sacred place, a House of the Lord, where our paradigms can shift through the Spirit of truth, where we can reframe our thinking in ways that allow us to see more of God’s perspective and purposes, and to focus with more of a laser vision on what’s really important in our lives. I’ve felt it to be a haven from the world, a place of security, a place of learning, a place of light and peace, a place of order and purity, a place of purpose. It’s a place where our conception of God is shaped and where our conception of life is molded.
I bear my own statement of faith that in the temples of the Lord Jesus Christ — Mormon temples — problems find their solutions more readily as the spirit of service and revelation is pure and profound. Things settle. Baggage seems to be dropped off outside the doors and burdens are made lighter after serving there. The to-do’s that remain on the schedule seem to get done more fluidly, or drop off the list as superfluous, as we exit the House of the Lord. Ways are hedged up that need to be hedged up; solutions are found; more people are served as we leave temple doors more empowered to do God’s will and to influence others. Truly, it’s a miracle place and a place where parts of eternity are mirrored.
We hope you’ll take the opportunity to visit a temple visitor’s center near you or in your travels, and/or a temple open house for a new Mormon temple built in your area. We’d be happy to respond to any sincere questions you may have about Mormon temples or Mormon beliefs. And do stop by again to visit us and share your thoughts.
One of the main characteristics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) is the work performed in the Church’s holy temples. This work sets apart the Mormon Church from every other religion on the face of the earth.
“The temple is a place of instruction where profound truths pertaining to the Kingdom of God are unfolded. It is a place of peace where minds can be centered upon things of the spirit and the worries of the world can be laid aside. In the temple we take covenants to obey the laws of God, and promises are made to us, conditioned always on our faithfulness, which extend into eternity”
Usually, when the Mormon Church announces plans to build a new temple, there is initial push-back from the community. Traffic concerns, the height of the steeple, land use, must always be addressed. But in every case, after a temple is built, it becomes a blessing to the community and the area. Part of this is that a temple is the House of God, and His spirit radiates outward from the edifice, blessing all who come near it.
The Boston Massachusetts Temple was the 100th temple built by the Mormon Church. It stands at 86 Frontage Road, Belmont, Massachusetts, United States. It is finished in Olympia white granite, and is a classic-modern, single spire design. The temple is 69,000 square feet, with four endowment rooms and four sealing rooms. (To learn what these rooms are used for, go to the article,
The temple is a striking landmark along the Concord Turnpike. One can feel the spirit of God even in the beautifully landscaped grounds. The public are invited to sojourn there to meditate. Walkways meander among the trees.
The Boston Temple was the first to be built in New England. Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee President Mitt Romney (who is also Mormon) escorted U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy through the Boston Massachusetts Temple during the VIP open house. The temple was then opened to the public for tours before its dedication as the Lord’s House.
The angel Moroni statue was installed atop the temple on September 21, 2001. The statue was a cast copy of sculptures adorning other temples, the original designed by Cyrus E. Dallin. Two other temples received Angel Moroni statues upon their spires on the same date, in a tri-temple setting honoring the 178th anniversary of the first appearance of Moroni to the Prophet Joseph Smith. (The other two temples participating in the setting were the Nauvoo Illinois Temple and the The Hague Netherlands Temple.)
In 1843 there were fourteen small branches of Latter-day Saints in Boston. The first missionaries had begun preaching there some eleven years before. Missionary work there slowed down after the martyrdom of Prophet Joseph Smith in 1844, when many Latter-day Saints joined the exodus west to Utah. The Boston area was re-opened to Mormon missionaries in 1893, and by 1894, there were 96 members. A decade later, much controversy surrounded the election of Mormon, Reed Smoot to the U.S. Senate. Police kept Mormon missionaries from openly proselyting in Boston.
By 1930 membership reached nearly 360. Some of these members were former Mormon missionaries studying at Harvard. “Cambridge, Massachusetts, became the headquarters for the New England States Mission. A Church building was dedicated in the area in 1962.” 
Mormons (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) worship both in chapels (also called “meetinghouses”) and temples. Chapels are for Sunday worship. A Mormon meetinghouse will contain the chapel, plus classrooms, kitchen, multipurpose rooms, and a cultural hall. Artwork depicting the life of Christ may be found in classrooms and in hallways, but otherwise, Mormon meetinghouses are very plain. There is no statuary or other artwork in Mormon chapels. Mormons use no icons in their worship.
Mormons go to church on Sundays for three hours, during which they participate in several types of meetings. The first lasts for one hour and ten minutes and is called “Sacrament Meeting.” True to its title, the most important part of this meeting, which takes place in the chapel, is the partaking of the Sacrament, the emblems of the body and blood of Christ. By partaking of the Sacrament worthily, Mormons promise to remember Christ, to keep His commandments, and to take upon themselves His name. In return, Christ promises that His spirit will always be with the honest supplicant. The rest of the meeting includes prayers, the singing of hymns, and sermons delivered by various members who have been assigned to speak to the congregation. After Sacrament Meeting, there are classes for various age groups.
Mormon temples are something else entirely. The gift of the Holy Ghost,” entitling worthy members to personal revelation. Temples are the houses of the Lord; as in antiquity, they are places where the Lord can enter. These are holy, pure, dedicated edifices that act as connection points between heaven and earth. Some people who are not members of the Church complain that Mormon temple worship is secretive and therefore must be evil. This notion is false. Since temples are houses of God, they must not be defiled or used for unholy purposes. Only the righteous may enter. Therefore, not even all Mormons are able to enter Mormon temples. Worthiness is determined in an interview with one’s bishop (the leader of one’s congregation). Also, Mormons do not discuss the temple ritual outside the temple, not even with other Mormons who have attended the temple.is led by prophets through revelation directly from Jesus Christ. Lay members also have the “
To be worthy to enter a temple, a Mormon must have a sincere “testimony” (belief/knowledge) that Jesus is the Christ and that God lives. The person must keep the strict health laws of the Church, and pay a full tithe. If single, the person must be chaste; if married, he or she must be faithful. There must be nothing amiss in the person’s family life, and he or she must be honest in business and social relationships. The person must have repented of past transgressions, and must be actively engaged in attending church services and serving in the Church. Mormons invite all to live these standards and enter the temples of God.
Temples are usually open Tuesdays through Saturdays from early in the morning until late at night, and patrons can enter the temple whenever they are able. Many “higher” ordinances are performed in Mormon temples. They are often performed for the dead. Work for the dead is unique to Mormonism right now, but it was practiced in the early Christian church, too.
God judges us on our motives, intentions, feelings, and works. However, we are only held responsible for what we know. A person who has never heard of Jesus Christ is not held accountable for keeping Christ’s commandments. Nor can he be left behind in his progress towards eternal life, because he has never had access to saving ordinances, such as baptism. When we die, our bodies stay in the ground, but our spirits advance to a place called the Spirit World. In the Spirit World, we still have the same personalities and free will that we had on earth. There, those who have never heard the gospel of Christ will have that opportunity. However, without bodies, they cannot participate in saving ordinances. We mortals perform those ordinances by proxy in temples. The dead may accept them or reject them as they will. Late Mormon Prophet Joseph F. Smith experienced a vision of Christ organizing missionary work in the Spirit World. To read the account, see Doctrine and Covenants, Section 138.