Why are only some Mormons allowed into temples? Is there something secret going on in Mormon temples? What goes on in Mormon temples?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has more than 100 operating temples around the world. Visitors are welcome to visit the temple grounds at all of these temples and attend open houses prior to dedication. However, only baptized members who are qualified and prepared are allowed to enter a temple after it is dedicated.
In temples, Church members participate in ordinances designed to unite their families together forever and help them return to God. In the temple, members:
- Learn eternal truths.
- Receive sacred ordinances, including those that bind husband and wife together for eternity, as well as join children and parents (Malachi 4:5-6).
- Provide ordinances such as baptism for those who have died without the opportunity to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:29; 1 Peter 4:6)
We want everyone to be able to enter the Temple and feel of the sweet and beautifully peaceful aroma and spirit there. A Temple is a holy and sacred place. Unlike regular church buildings which are also sacred, Temples are specially reserved as places to be separate from worldly influences. Therefore, only those who are living such a life may enter, so as to preserve the Temple's sacredness. But we want everyone to qualify so that they may enter and feel of that spirit. It isn't hard to qualify, but it does take some effort. All that is required is for one to live a Christlike life with a heart that only desires to do good. Show more
Matthew Gundersen answered...
That's like asking why can only some people enter your house. Your home is not just another building, it's a private, sacred place for only your family and close friends. You wouldn't let a complete stranger enter your home without your permission. Temples are God's place of residence. Everyone is invited, but only those who keep His comandments and live rightously can enter the temple. Nothing that goes on in the temple is secret, just like nothing that goes on in your house is secret. The special ordinances performed in temples are sacred. That means that they are so special and personal that to talk about them outside the temple makes them not sacred anymore; God will not be mocked. In the temple, one very special ordinance is to be married or sealed to your family forever and another allows us to be baptized for those who died without the oppertunity to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. Show more
Recently I taught a Sunday School lesson about the Apostle Paul who was cast into jail because of being falsely accused of taking non-jews into the holy parts of the ancient temple. The penalty for doing so was death. It caused me to think of the sacredness of the temple, and that people throughout history have gone through a preparation process in order to approach God through temple worship. In our time, both members of the church and non-members who have not prepared are turned away from the sacred parts of the temple not because of secrets, but rather due to the sacred nature of the temple and the preparation required to go there. Anyone can go to the temple, given they prepare themselves and demonstrate that preparation in a visit with those responsible for qualifying persons for entrance to the temple. I love the peace that comes from being in the temple, having prepared myself to approach the Lord in His house. I feel His Spirit there. I am grateful that others who are there have prepared themselves in the same way. Anyone who wants to know more about the nature of the temples can ask any missionary what it takes to qualify to go there. My personal experience and witness is that it is worth qualifying oneself and experiencing the beauty and peace that is constantly there. Show more
Keith Proctor answered...
In the Temple we are taught some pretty powerful truths about who we are, where we came from, and why we are here. It's not the kind of experience you can just walk into and get. There is significant spiritual preparation and learning needed first. It's better to be prepared and enjoy the fullness of the experience than to rush into it too quickly and end up confused. The ordinances in the temple also require that you prepare yourself to have a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and God the Father. The best way to prepare for the Temple ordinances is to begin living their teachings consistently before entering the Temple. This is your way of showing Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father that you love them, obey them, and are ready for additional light and knowledge. Without this preparation, any ordinance of the Gospel would be an empty set of rituals. The Temple, in its fullest sense, prepares men and women to return and live with God as His sons and daughters. Anyone in the world can experience the power and beauty of the Temple, but a wise Heavenly Father has set out certain guidelines for their personal preparation first. Those who love Jesus Christ and walk in His ways will find in the Temple a power beyond their comprehension and a closeness to God not possible anywhere else in the world. Show more
Nothing is a secret inside the temple. The temple is the Lord's house. Like our own homes, nothing secret goes on inside them but we don't want just anyone coming in. Things happen in our homes that are sometimes more personal and private, but nothing that is secret. It's just something that is personal to us. In the temple we learn eternal truths. Those who are have spiritually prepared and are worthy with a current temple recommend are those who are allowed to enter. You do not feed a new born baby steak. He needs to grow and develop in order to eat the steak. If he eats it before he is ready it is harmful to him and may even result in his death. Just like entering the temple. If we are given spiritual instruction before we are prepared to receive it, it may be spiritually harmful to us. In Luke 12:48 is says, "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required." When we are given these truths and how to live them we are held responsible for them. If we know them and are unable to live them, it is harmful to ourselves. We strive to be married inside the temple because our families be together forever, even after death. Show more
Very sacred things happen in our temples, and it is because of the sacred nature of what happens that only certain people are allowed to enter the temple. This way we can keep what goes on in the temple sacred and special. We strive to live righteous lives so that when we go to the temple we can feel our Heavenly Fathers love for us and grow and learn in our faith of Jesus Christ. In the temple we receive and provide ordinances for ourselves and for those who have died so that we can return to live with our Father in Heaven as eternal families. Show more
Only some Mormons are allowed to go into temples because of the sacredness of the temples. Those who are living worthily and honestly are allowed to enter the temple. The temple is the "House of the Lord" and we esteem it with such respect that we make sure those who are in the temple are worthy to participate. We don't talk about the specifics of the temple because they are so sacred and we want to keep it that way. In the temple we can be bound as eternal families, learn more about our purpose here on earth, and baptize those who did not get the opportunity while they were living. It is a place where we would love everyone one day to be worthy to enter. Show more
There are many different things that happen inside a Mormon Temple. It's a place where members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) make sacred two way promises with God called Covenants. These covenants aren't secret, they're sacred, and so we don't talk about them outside of the temple out of respect for them. Members also go to the temple to be married for time and all eternity. Not just "until death do you part" but even after death. We also perform ordinances such as baptism for people who have died without receiving the opportunity to be baptized. A worthy member is baptized in the place of the deceased. The temple is a sacred place where the spirit of the Lord is and so one must be worthy to enter. So even members of the church must have a special recommend in order to enter. Show more
Michael "Hawkeye" Rader answered...
Russell M. Nelson said "teachings of the Temple are beautifully simple, and simply beautiful." As one who has set foot in those Holy Houses, I can say that is true. I sure love going to the Temple- it brings me so close to my family. Everything about the Temple and what is taught in there is centered around families benefitting the most from the life and mission of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Experiences in the Temple are often too sacred to discuss outside of the House of the Lord, so members often will say how wonderful their time was when they were there, but they will spare you the details because it's not SECRET, it's SACRED. The best way for anyone to learn is through experience- the Saviour understood this well. He didn't say "look where I'm going," He said, "come, follow me." And as I go to the Temple, and come unto Him, I invite you not just to see me go to the Temple, I invite you to prepare well and come with me. Only members of the Church who have accepted baptism and lived true to that commitment are ready for such a spiritual experience, but it's well worth the preparation! Show more
I used to play in a Balinese Gamelan ensemble here in Washington, DC on weeknights and had some of my friends ask me this question. First, I pointed out that anyone can go into the temple during the open house to see what it is like. After it is dedicated, it becomes holy ground and you have to make yourself clean or holy to go in. I told them that EVERYONE can go to the temple, as long as they are wiling to go through that process of becoming clean. I reminded them that you can't just waltz in to the White House either (much to the chagrin of many tourists here). You have to go through a background check that takes 6 weeks and that is just to get into the East Wing, the West Wing requires a job and security clearance. Our protectiveness of the temple is not a sign of secrecy, it is more a manifestation of how special and important the the building and its rituals are. And I hope people don't get intimidated by the word "ritual", everyone who has gone through a school graduation has experienced a ritual. It just means that we are participating in life-changing experiences that turn our hearts to God, our families and our fellow men. The real difference is that we believe that process of making devotional promises to God in a sacred place is necessary for our salvation. That is why we encourage everyone to join with us and make their way to the temple. Show more