“[W]henever the Lord has had a people on earth, from the days of Adam to the present moment, he has always commanded them to build temples so that they could be taught how to gain eternal life, and so that all of the ordinances of salvation and exaltation could be performed for and on their behalf. (Bruce R. McConkie, Mortal Messiah, 1:100)

Temple Defined

(D&C 97:12-17; Ezekiel 43:1-12; D&C 124:27-41)

01 – a temple..., is a scale-model of the universe. The first mention of the word templum is by Varro, for whom it designates a building specially designed for interpreting signs in the heavens— a sort of observatory where one gets one's bearings on the universe. The root tem in Greek and Latin denotes a ‘cutting’ or intersection of two lines at right angles, ‘the point where the cardo and decumanus cross,’ hence where the four regions come together, every temple being carefully oriented to express ‘the idea of pre-established harmony between a celestial and a terrestrial image.’ Varro himself says that there are three temples, one in heaven, one on earth, and one beneath the earth.” (Hugh Nibley; Truman G. Madsen, The Temple in Antiquity, pg. 22-23)

The association with the mountain concept was due to the belief that a mountain was believed to be the first solid structure to emerge from the waters of chaos that covered the earth at the time of the creation (Genesis 1:1-10). Some Jews have taught that the temple mount in Jerusalem was the very first mountain to emerge from these waters, and they therefore looked upon it as the center or navel of the earth. They have taught that this very sacred place was marked by an object called the ‘Foundation Stone.’

02 – “Just as the navel is found at the center of a human being, so the land of Israel is found at the center of the world. Jerusalem is at the center of the land of Israel, and the Temple is at the center of Jerusalem, the Holy of Holies is at the center of the Temple, the Ark is at the center of the Holy of Holies, and the Foundation Stone is in front of the Ark, which spot is the foundation of the world.” (Truman G. Madsen, The Temple in Antiquity, pg. 65)

1.  Waters of the Firmament;

2.  Storehouses of Snow;

3.  Storehouses of Hail;

4.  Chambers of Wind;

5.  Firmament;

6.  Sluice;

7.  Pillars of the Sky;

8.  Pillars of the Earth;

9.  Fountains of the Deep;

10. Navel of the Earth;

11. Waters under the Earth;

12. Rivers of the Nether World

(Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, 1:70)

Therefore, a number of symbolic ideas are associated with the word ‘temple’ including:

1. The temple is considered the most holy space on the earth.

2. The temple is equated with a mountain, above the plane of the earth and close to the heavens.

3. The temple is the center point where the four cardinal directions join together.

4. The temple is considered a foundation or place of solitude.

5. The temple is an area where individual can take their bearings on their place in the universe.

03 – The house of the Lord is functional. Every element in the design, decoration, atmosphere, and program of the temple contributes to its function, which is to teach. The temple teaches of Christ. It teaches of his ordinances. It is filled with his Spirit.” (Spencer W. Kimball, TSWK, pg. 534-35; Dedication of the Remodeled Arizona Temple, April 15, 1975)

04 – We live in a world of symbols. No man or woman can come out of the temple endowed as he should be, unless he has seen, beyond the symbol, the mighty realities for which the symbols stand.

To the man or woman who goes through the temple, with open eyes, heeding the symbols and the covenants, and making a steady, continuous effort to understand the full meaning, God speaks his word, and revelations come. The endowment is so richly symbolic that only a fool would attempt to describe it; it is so packed full of revelations to those who exercise their strength to seek and see, that no human words can explain or make clear the possibilities that reside in the temple service. The endowment which was given by revelation can best be understood by revelation; and to those who seek most vigorously, with pure hearts, will the revelation be greatest. (John A. Widtsoe, Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, April 1921, Temple Worship, pg. 62-63)

05 – What is a temple? It is a house of the Lord; a house of Deity that is built on earth; a house prepared by the saints as a dwelling place for the Most High, in the most literal sense of the word; a house where a personal God personally comes. It is a holy sanctuary, set apart from the world, wherein the saints of God prepare to meet their Lord; where the pure in heart shall see God, according to the promises....

When the Lord comes from heaven to the earth, as he does more frequently than is supposed, where does he make his visitations? Those whom he visits know the answer; he comes to one of his houses. Whenever the Great Jehovah visits his people, he comes, suddenly as it were, to his temple. If he has occasion to come when he has no house on earth, his visit is made on a mountain, in a grove, in a wilderness area, or at some location apart from the tumults and contentions of carnal men; and in that event the place of his appearance becomes a temporary temple, a site used by him in place of the house his people would normally have prepared.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mortal Messiah, 1:98-99)

06 – Why have temples? They are built by the tithing and sacrifice of the Lord’s people; they are dedicated and given to him; they become his earthly houses; in them the mysteries of the kingdom are revealed; in them the pure in heart see God; in them men are sealed up unto eternal life-all to the end that man may become as his Maker, and live and reign forever in the heavenly Jerusalem, as part of the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn, where God and Christ are the judge of all. Of temples the Lord says: ‘Therein are the keys of the holy priesthood ordained, that you may receive honor and glory.’ In them, he says, his saints shall receive washing, anointing, baptisms, revelation, oracles, conversations, statutes, judgment, endowments, and sealings. In them are held solemn assemblies. In them the fulness of the priesthood is received and the patriarchal order conferred upon men. In them the family unit is made eternal. Because of them life eternal is available. With temples men can be exalted; without them there is no exaltation.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mortal Messiah, 1:99)

Foundational Teachings and Events associated with the temple must include:

1. The Rites of Purification or Initiation

2. The Endowing of an Individual or Investiture

3. The Viewing a Ritual Drama

4. The Cutting of Covenants and Attended Blessings and Cursings

5. The Reveling of Names and Signs and Tokens

6. The Presentation of Prayer

7. The Crossing of a Barrier

Temples of All Types

HEAVENLY TEMPLE - (Revelation 4-5; Revelation 14:15, 17; Revelation 15:5-8; Revelation 21:1-21)


EDEN - (Moses 2-4; D&C 20:19Alma 12:21-34; Alma 42:2-10; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; 2 Nephi 9:9)

       07 – “The events associated with the Garden of Eden make it the archetype of our temples.  Here Adam received the priesthood, here Adam and Eve walked and talked with God; here our first parents were eternally married by God himself; here they learned of the tree of good and evil and of the tree of life; here they were taught the law of sacrifice and clothed in garments of skins; and from here they ventured into the lone and dreary world that they and their posterity might prove themselves worthy to return again to that divine presence.”  (Joseph F. McConkie, Gospel Symbolism, pg. 258)

THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM - (Facimiles 1,2,3)

BETHEL - (Genesis 28:10-22)

PENIEL - (Genesis 32:24-32)

SINAI (Horeb) - (Exodus 3-4; Exodus 19) [Appendix]

TABERNACLE - (Exodus 25-30; D&C 124:38) [Appendix]

08 – “If they had been sanctified and holy, the children of Israel would not have travelled one year with Moses before they would have received their endowments and the Melchizedek Priesthood. But they could not receive them, and never did. Moses left them, and they did not receive the fulness of that Priesthood. After they came to the land of Canaan, they never would have desired a king, had they been holy. The Lord told Moses that he would show himself to the people; but they begged Moses to plead with the Lord not to do so.” (Brigham Young, JD, 6:101)

09 – “Whenever any individual or any selected groups in Israel qualified for more light and greater blessings than were found in the law of Moses, the Lord gave them the law of Christ in its fulness.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mortal Messiah, 1:60)

SOLOMAN’S TEMPLE [‘Second Temple’ or Zerubbabel (515BC); Temple of Herod (16BC-63AD)] (1 Kings 6-9) [Appendix]

10 – “It is true that Solomon built a Temple for the purpose of Giving Endowments but from what we Can learn of the History of that time they gave vary few if any Endowments.” (Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 7:316)


SERMON ON THE MOUNT - (Matthew 5-7; 3 Nephi 12-14) [Appendix]


PAUL AND THE 3RD HEAVEN - (2 Corinthians 12:2-4)


11 – “Let us recall that Lehi and his people who left Jerusalem in the very last days of Solomon's temple were zealous in erecting altars of sacrifice and building temples of their own. It has often been claimed that the Book of Mormon cannot contain the ‘fullness of the gospel,’ since it does not have temple ordinances. As a matter of fact they are everywhere in the book if we know where to look for them, and the dozen or so discourses on the Atonement in the Book of Mormon are replete with temple imagery.” (Hugh Nibley, Approaching Zion, pg. 566)

SERMON OF JACOB - (Jacob 1-7)




12 – There have been times when temple ordinances have been administered in places other than in temples. Before the Nauvoo Temple was built, baptisms for the dead were performed in the Mississippi River for a limited time. The temple endowment has also been administered outside the temple both in Nauvoo and in Great Salt Lake City while a temple was waiting to be built. (Joseph Smith, HC, 6:319)

KIRTLAND TEMPLE - (D&C 109-110) [Appendix]

NAUVOO TEMPLE - (D&C 124) [Appendix]

Temples to Dot the Earth

13 – “This entire continent is the land of Zion, and the time will come when there will be temples established over every portion of the land, and we will go into these temples and work for our kindred dead night and day, that the work of the Lord may be speedily accomplished, that Jesus may come and present the kingdom to His Father.” (Lorenzo Snow, Millennial Star, 61:546, May 8, 1899)

14 – “The day will come when there will be hundreds of temples all over this world, when there will not be a soul in the world, probably, who is more than a thousand miles away; and for a one-time experience in all one’s life [temple marriage], a thousand miles is not far to go.  It wouldn’t be far to crawl if one knew what he was getting and what he was missing if he didn’t go.” (Spencer W. Kimball, BYU Speeches 1973, pg. 268-269)

15 – “Accordingly, I take this opportunity to announce to the entire Church a program to construct some 30 smaller temples immediately. They will be in Europe, in Asia, in Australia and Fiji, in Mexico and Central and South America and Africa, as well as in the United States and Canada. They will have all the necessary facilities to provide the ordinances of the Lord’s house.

This will be a tremendous undertaking. Nothing even approaching it has ever been tried before.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, May 1998, pg. 87)

The Temples of Today

Ancient Times



All Men and Women

High Priest

Any Holder of Melchizedek Priesthood


Any and All Tribes

1 Day a Year

6/7 Days a Week-52 Weeks a Year

1 Place (Temple)

Any of the 122 Temples of the Day


16 – “What was the object of gathering the Jews, or the people of God in any age of the world?...

The main object was to build unto the Lord a house whereby He could reveal unto His people the ordinances of His house and the glories of His kingdom, and teach the people the way of salvation; for there are certain ordinances and principles that, when they are taught and practiced, must be done in a place or house built for that purpose.

It was the design of the councils of heaven before the world was, that the principles and laws of the priesthood should be predicated upon the gathering of the people in every age of the world. Jesus did everything to gather the people, and they would not be gathered, and He therefore poured out curses upon them. [Matthew 23:37-39] Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles.

It is for the same purpose that God gathers together His people in the last days, to build unto the Lord a house to prepare them for the ordinances and endowments, washings and anointings, etc. One of the ordinances of the house of the Lord is baptism for the dead. . . .

If a man gets a fullness of the priesthood of God, he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord.” (Joseph Smith, HC 5:423-424)

17 – “We have now finished this temple, and some people inquire, what is it for?  For many things:  that our sealings and ordinances may be performed in a manner that will be acceptable before God and the holy angels; that whatsoever is bound on the earth is bound in the heavens; that there may be a connecting link between the living and the dead,...that there may be a royal priesthood, a holy people, a pure people, a virtuous people on the earth to officiate and operate in the interests of the living and the dead; ...that they may be prepared to operate with the priesthood in the heavens in the redemption of the inhabitants of this world from the days of Adam unto the present time.... That we may thus be acquainted with earthly and heavenly things, in accordance with everlasting laws that have existed in the heavens and on the earth from the beginning; and that all those great and eternal principles by which the worlds are governed may be comprehended by us.” (John Taylor, JD, 25:185)

18 – “Every time a temple is dedicated to the Lord the darkness pushes farther back, prison doors are opened, and light comes into the world.” (Spencer W. Kimball, TSWK, pg. 534)

Temple - Symbol of Our Membership

(Isaiah 4:5-6)

19 – “I… invite the members of the Church to establish the temple of the Lord as the great symbol of their membership and the supernal setting for their most sacred covenants. It would be the deepest desire of my heart to have every member of the Church temple worthy. I would hope that every adult member would be worthy of—and carry—a current temple recommend, even if proximity to a temple does not allow immediate or frequent use of it.

Let us be a temple-attending and a temple-loving people. Let us hasten to the temple as frequently as time and means and personal circumstances allow. Let us go not only for our kindred dead, but let us also go for the personal blessing of temple worship, for the sanctity and safety which is provided within those hallowed and consecrated walls. The temple is a place of beauty, it is a place of revelation, it is a place of peace. It is the house of the Lord. It is holy unto the Lord. It should be holy unto us.” (Howard W. Hunter, Ensign, July 1994, pg. 5)

20 – “The joy I receive is more than just being in the temple.  The temple is in me!” (Lance B. Wickman, Ensign, November 1994, pg. 82)





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