Temples Bring Mormons Closer to Christ
Latter-day Saints believe that temples are God’s houses. They believe that the spirit of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, are more powerfully present in temples than anywhere else on the earth. Because of this, Mormons desire to go to the temples to draw closer to God, their Heavenly Father, and their Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. They believe this increased closeness can be achieved through two means: 1) experiencing the peaceful quiet and beauty of being inside the temple, and 2) renewing their temple covenants through participating in temple ordinances.
An Atmosphere of Peace
Latter-day Saints believe that every physical aspect of the temple — its architecture, its materials, its colors — should foster reverence and peace. Temple interiors are predominantly white with accents of natural colors, like gold, blue, brown and green. They are filled with simple yet beautiful furnishings of the highest quality. Temples are crafted with the finest materials the world has to offer. Temples are also filled with light from beautiful chandeliers and natural light from understated stained-glass windows. Each temple is different, and most temples subtly reflect the land and culture where they are located, often incorporating local wood and stone.
All of this is designed to give God the best of what we have as we build temples as offerings to Him. It’s also designed to invite His spirit to dwell in these holy houses. Latter-day Saints who attend the temple spend time sitting in its sacred rooms, meditating, praying and clearing their minds of the cares and worries of everyday life. They go to receive personal revelation from God about how to deal with their problems and challenges. They go to seek peace as they think about Jesus Christ — His Atonement and Resurrection, as well as his characteristics of love, selflessness, loyalty and devotion. They ponder ways they can strive to become more like Him.
A Place to Make and Remember Covenants
Covenants, or two-way promises between Latter-day Saints and God, are another way Mormons draw closer to the Lord Jesus Christ in the temple. Mormons covenant to do things like live chaste, virtuous lives, devote their time and resources to serving in the church and take upon them the name of Jesus Christ to be called His followers. Many of these covenants are made in the temple through ordinances, physical ceremonies that signify spiritual promises. Baptism, the first ordinance of the gospel of Jesus Christ, is performed outside of the temple for living church members, but baptisms for deceased ancestors who did not have an opportunity to accept the gospel in their earthly lives, are performed inside the temple. Endowment ceremonies, where more covenants are made, are performed for the living and on behalf of the dead inside the temple, as are sealings, wherein married couples and their children are established as divine family units for eternity, not just until death.
These ordinances and the covenants they signify define how Latter-day Saints live their everyday lives. As Latter-day Saints attend the temple, first to make covenants with God for themselves and later to make covenants as proxies for the dead, they are strengthened in their efforts to live by those promises — to be honest and chaste, to devote their lives and resources to the service of God, to devote themselves to their eternal families and to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Each time they attend the temple and perform ordinances on behalf of the dead, they are reminded of the covenants they have made for their own lives, and they are strengthened by God in their efforts to live those covenants.
Although all mortal beings are imperfect, including Latter-day Saints who are worthy to attend the temple, temple attendance empowers people to better themselves, little by little, by emulating the Savior. The more Mormons attend the temple, the better their understanding will be of the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, the act Christ performed of taking upon Himself the sins of the world. Jesus Christ atoned for our sins so that we may be made whole again if we repent. Jesus Christ also took upon himself the pains and sorrows, both physical and emotional, of all mankind, so that we may find comfort through His grace in times of trial. Temple attendance gives light and understanding to the complexities of repentance and healing. It gives individuals greater access to the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.