What Are LDS (Mormon) Temples?

Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are sacred structures in which eternal questions are answered.

— President Gordon B. Hinckley

Mormon Temples

Temples are the houses of God on earth, holy places where we seek guidance and peace and become closer to our Father in Heaven.

Watch this short 2-minute video for a brief overview:

Why We Build Temples

Beginning with the days of the Old Testament and throughout history, the Lord has commanded His people to build temples. They are holy places of worship where individuals make sacred and special covenants, or promises, with God. Worthy members are taught, guided, and blessed through their worship in the temple.

In recent history, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been building temples since the 1830s. Today, there are over 150 operating temples throughout the world. Regardless of the place or period in history, temples are the most sacred place on earth — a place where heaven and earth meet and where we can feel close to Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father.

Families Can Be Forever

Members of the Church believe that each person born on earth lived in heaven first as a spirit. There they dwelt with God, our Heavenly Father. Each one of us comes to earth to gain a physical body and to be tested by this mortal experience. By following and obeying the principles of the gospel here on earth, we may return to the presence of God, where we can live forever with our families.

The Latter-day Saint teaching that family relationships on earth may continue after death is unique among Christian beliefs. In order to endure beyond mortality, marriages must take place in a temple. Couples who join the Church after they are already married may have their marriages “sealed” in identical ceremonies, and their children may be sealed to them. So temples are not places of regular congregational or Sunday worship. They are built specifically for “eternal marriages” and other individual and family-centered ceremonies. However, if temple promises are to remain in effect, a husband and wife must love and be faithful to each other throughout their marriage and continue to follow the teachings and commandments of Jesus Christ and the Gospel throughout their lives.

Temples and Genealogy

Temples also have another distinct purpose beyond sealing living families for eternity. Throughout history, millions of people have lived and died without the opportunity to embrace temple marriage and other ordinances. Therefore, temple ceremonies can be performed by living proxies on behalf of those who have passed on. Commonly, members of the Church stand in for their own deceased ancestors in these ceremonies, including baptisms and sealings for husbands and wives, parents and children. Members believe that all temple work is effective only if it is willingly accepted by each deceased individual in heaven.

Temple worship is an essential aspect of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is a source of renewal and inner peace — a peace that gives meaning to life, and strengthens the commitment to love and serve others.

Each temple stands as a beacon to the world, an expression of our testimony that God, our Eternal Father, lives, that He desires to bless us and, indeed, to bless His sons and daughters of all generations. Each of our temples is an expression of our testimony that life beyond the grave is as real and as certain as is our life here on earth.

— President Thomas S. Monson