Mormon Temple Ceremony
The Mormon temple ceremony is a beautiful, sacred rite or ritual, designed by Jesus Christ, to further His children's spiritual progress and to empower them along the mortal pathway back to Him and our Heavenly Home. No wonder, then, that disenfranchised or disqualified Ex-Mormons would disparage it and bring others to erroneous conclusions, as they discuss bits and pieces of its instruction in deliberately misleading ways.
Mormons, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, worship the Savior in truth and light. Their doctrines are His; their books of scripture are His; their founder is He. Others have been instruments in His hands in restoring Christ's original authority and power to the earth — prophets and apostles in our day — but all of them, as they attest themselves, have been followers of Jesus Christ, inspired to share His revealed teachings. These teachings were restored over time, after Joseph Smith's personal encounter with and instruction from the Savior of the World Himself, and our Eternal Father in Heaven. The Mormon temple ceremony or the temple endowment, as contained in the gospel of Jesus Christ, again, represents the Savior's will and His very method of teaching His worthy, seeking children about the plan of salvation. It is His way of empowering each of us who will enter, with increased proportions of His Spirit, love, and vision.
In the words of one apostle of the Lord, David B. Haight,
- Saints of all ages have had temples in one form or another. There is evidence that temple worship was customary from Adam to Noah and that after the Flood the holy priesthood was continued; therefore, we have every reason to believe the ordinances of the temple were available to those entitled to receive them ("Personal Temple Worship," Ensign, May 1993, p.4).
In the Mormon temple ceremony, "initiatories" or symbolic cleansing rites occur, wherein the Mormon temple patron will receive an anointing or refreshing of soul in ordinances that prepare them for greater endowments, instructions, and covenant-making opportunities with God. Since these cleansing and anointing rites are symbolic, a drop of water or drop of oil represent the more elaborate temple preparations of the ancient church.
The Mormon endowment itself, also known as the Mormon temple ceremony, lasts about an hour-and-a-half and is held in a lovely room with auditorium-type seating dedicated to that purpose in the temple. Each temple patron changes into white clothing upon arrival at the temple, a sign of purity, and then takes a seat in a particular session, eager to learn and to make or renew covenants (promises to God in exchange for blessings from Him), or to extend that covenant-making opportunity to those who have passed through this life and also need the instruction and blessings of the Mormon temple ceremony (more accurately, the blessings of the gospel and the temple ceremony of The Church of Jesus Christ). Patrons watch a film or see a live presentation that gives a panoramic vision of the purpose of life — from life before birth to mortality, the Creation and our creation, the Garden experience, the Fall, the atonement, and the prospects for eternal life.
With each step along the mortal symbolic journey presented, members willingly take upon themselves covenants to obey the Savior and Father, and to live higher laws, including tithing and consecration, chastity and decency. Each law has commensurate spiritual blessings connected with it, that endow Mormon disciples of Christ in their daily walk and enable them in their work to build the kingdom of God. In the Mormon temple ceremony, everything is peaceful and calm. Everyone listens and learns at their own level, as the presentation is symbolic. Each signals their own acceptation of the respective covenants. Just as the Savior ministered one by one, individually, so are covenants made individually in the endowment. Each person's exaltation--or ability to live with God in the life after this--is dependent on their respective faithfulness. No one can keep covenants for someone else, nor are they accountable for someone else's covenant-decisions. All who are faithful to those covenants receive the promised blessings of the Mormon temple endowment, and experience a marked ability to move through life's challenges, increased hope, peace, direction, power, and fortitude in everyday living. These temples and the Mormon temple ceremonies within them — one of a number of ordinances performed in these sanctuaries) dot the earth and enlarge souls of those who attend and communities in which they exist. From them, flow the healing powers of the atonement of Jesus Christ.
False Claims About the Mormon Temple Ceremony
Mormons are often astounded to hear some of the blatant lies and flagrant claims circulated from Ex-Mormons or those who, typically because of their own mismanaged lives, have left The Church of Jesus Christ. Though they have left it, they often can't leave it alone, said one leader aptly. Why would that be, if it were not the truth? Who else continually seeks to antagonize a Church to which they belonged. Typically, someone leaves and leaves it alone. Not so with Christ's true Church. The adversary has an army here.
False Claim 1: Satan talks to the audience in these films: The adversary plays a part in our existence. He wanted the easy road to redemption and failed to get his way; he's been miserable since and wants our misery. Christ wants our joy. This juxtaposition is shown in the scriptures and played out within the Mormon temple ceremony, so that the understanding of the Savior's plan over Lucifer's is clear and compelling, and Lucifer's strategy revealed. To say "Satan talks to the audience" is to deliberately and misconstrue all that takes place in the Mormon temple ceremony. His temptation of Adam and Eve is portrayed, as is the fact that those who willfully rebel against Christ are in Satan's power.
False Claim 2: Women do unsavory things in the temple: Books and TV sitcoms and other propaganda speak of illicit activities in temples. This is offensive, putrid, and totally false. This is a holy house, where the law of chastity is extolled and in which one cannot even enter if there is anything but pure fidelity in marriage and chastity outside of marriage.
False Claim 3: Are there aliens or UFOs in the temple? Who knows where this originated... The answer: It's ludicrous.
Invitation to Attend
Mormon temples are the most beautiful places on earth, save our own sacred dwelling places at home, however humble those may be. They are truly sanctuaries where the Lord Jesus Christ manifests His will, His plan and purpose for each of us, where He endows us with spiritual riches beyond compare, and where He affords us the privilege of covenanting with Him, that we might make the ultimate ascent to His presence, and help Him as 'saviors on Mount Zion,' bringing others with us along the way. We invite you to visit a temple near you.