At the heart of temple work is the belief in immortality for each of God’s children. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints go to the temple to participate in ordinances and make covenants vicariously for individuals who have died. Their faithful conviction is that these ordinances and covenants will enable the deceased to be exalted in Heavenly Father’s kingdom.
Gordon B. Hinckley, past president of the Church of Jesus Christ, said that the “millions of dollars spent in constructing and maintaining temples would be of no avail without such conviction, nor would the countless hours of service performed within their walls.”
Temple work, or ordinances and covenants performed in temples, include baptism by immersion in water, the bestowal of the gift of the Holy Ghost, priesthood ordination for men, washing and anointing, endowment of obligations and blessings, and sealing to family.
- These are beautiful experiences for those who participate in them in behalf of their own welfare. But it is because their consequences are eternal that they are unique among all religious ordinances.
- A temple is a house of God, and he is Everlasting. It was he who required that special houses be built in which to administer these eternal ordinances. There is no adequate substitute on all the face of the earth.
- What a remarkable and wonderful thing it is that those who are living may administer the blessings of earthly ordinances in behalf of those who have gone beyond and who lived without an opportunity to hear the gospel or accept it. There is no compulsion on the other side to accept on the part of him or her for whom the ordinance is performed. But there is a compulsion laid upon us by Him who provided the plan, to extend the opportunity to those who have left this life. The work so performed is both remarkable and singular. It is a great work of love, freely performed and freely offered.