The "Mormons" are a temple building people. Temples are today located throughout the world. LDS temples are sacred buildings wherein ordinances are performed for both the living and the dead. These ordinances are not intended to be "secret" to the extent that non-members and members who are not worthy are forbidden to know of them. The ordinances performed in temples are "sacred". So sacred that even members who regularly attend the temple never discuss what goes on inside the temple, except when they are there, participating in those sacred ordinances. To those who erroniously think that "Mormons" build temples as a place where they may go and do things of secret combinations to the exclusion of of all other of God's children, I say in sincere humility, that is not correct. No Latter-Day Saint who holds dear the teachings of the Church would ever say anything else. Truly, there can be no greater desire of those who belong to this "missionary oriented" gospel than that all of God's children have access to and participate often in the work done in the "House of the Lord", the temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
One of the Lord's chosen servants, James E. Talmage, has written:
"Among the numerous sects and churches of the present day, the Latter-day Saints are distinguished as builders of Temples. In this respect they resemble Israel of olden time. It is not surprising that great and wide-spread interest is manifest respecting this peculiarity of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, nor that questions are continually arising as to the purpose and motive behind this great labor, and the nature of the ordinances administered in these modern Houses of the Lord."
A Pre-view of the Subject
"Both by derivation and common usage the term "temple," in its literal application, is of restricted and specific meaning. The essential idea of a temple is and ever has been that of a place specially set apart for service regarded as sacred, and of real or assumed sanctity; in a more restricted sense, a temple is a building constructed for and exclusively devoted to sacred rites and ceremonies."
"The Latin Templum was the equivalent of the Hebrew Beth Elohim, and signified the abode of Deity; hence, as associated with Divine worship, it meant literally the HOUSE OF THE LORD."
Modern Temple Ordinances
"A more detailed consideration of modern temple service now claims our attention. The ceremonial work comprises:
1. Baptism, specifically Baptism for the Dead.
2. Ordination and associated Endowments in the Priesthood.
3. Marriage Ceremonies.
4. Other Sealing Ordinances.
As will be understood from what has been already written, each of these ceremonies or ordinances may be performed either for the living, present in person, or for the dead who are represented each by an individual living proxy. The living are but few compared with the dead; and it follows of necessity that the ordinance-work for the departed exceeds by a great preponderance that done for the living. The temples of today are maintained largely for the benefit and salvation of the uncounted dead."
Talmage, James E. The House of the Lord: Adapted From the Original
Text of James E. Talmage. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, 1979.
This information is but a small introduction to what LDS temples are and why they are built. I would invite you to visit this site: Why These Temples? A message from a prophet of God, Gordon B. Hinckley.
You are also cordially invited to visit the:Official LDS Page
Contained on this page, and the links I have placed to other pages like it, will be pictures of some of my favorite temples in "Applet" form. The lake effect is created and shows each temple as though it was resting on the banks of a glimmering lake. I hope you enjoy them.
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The Salt Lake Temple was not the first temple constructed in the latter days. It is, however, the first of the temples still standing to be built in the last dispensation, or the fullness of times before the second coming of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Salt Lake Temple, begun in 1853 and dedicated in 1893. The granite structure, topped by a gilded copper statue of the angel Moroni on the east-central spire, in the heart of Temple Square. In the foreground is the Seagull Monument. Courtesy Utah State Historical Society.
The Salt Lake Temple, from initial work to the dedicatory prayer,
took forty years to the day to complete.
by Elder Marion D. Hanks
SITE SELECTION. Several days after the LDS pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley in July 1847, Brigham Young planted his walking stick at a certain point while traversing the ground with some associates and exclaimed, "Here we will build the temple of our God" (Gates, p. 104).
CONSTRUCTION. Construction on the temple began on February 14, 1853, with Brigham Young turning the first shovelful of dirt in ground-breaking ceremonies. That April 6, the cornerstones were laid, following the pattern established for temples by Joseph Smith (cf. TPJS, p. 183). By this date, Truman O. Angell and William Ward, architect and assistant, had completed plans for the foundation and part of the basement, and Brigham Young had approved them. Sandstone from nearby Red Butte Canyon provided the basic material for the foundation and footings. The great walls of the building were to be granite from a vast mountain deposit in Little Cottonwood canyon about twenty miles away.
The foundation was completed in 1855, and some granite blocks were assembled on the site. Then, in 1858, under threat of an approaching U.S. army unit (see Utah Expedition), the Saints evacuated Salt Lake City and temporarily moved southward. They buried the foundation of the temple, leaving the appearance of a plowed field.
Work on the temple was not resumed for several years. Some deterioration of the foundation was discovered when it was reexcavated, and replacements were made with stone of the best quality. The exterior walls from the ground up, eight feet thick at ground level and six feet thick at the top, were painstakingly prepared and fitted from solid granite.
Transporting the granite from the mountain quarry proved to be a severe challenge. The builders tried using a wooden railroad spur, a canal, special roads, and even a uniquely constructed wagon. Although it was less than forty miles, a round trip required four days. The arrival of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 and the later laying of a spur into the canyon for mining purposes resolved the transportation problem.
As many as 150 men worked on the temple at any given time. During the forty years from the beginning to the end of the project, they also completed the construction of the great domed Tabernacle, the Assembly Hall, the Temple Annex, and a 15-foot-high wall that, a century and a half later, still sequesters Temple Square from the city that surrounds it.
COMPLETION AND DEDICATION. The capstone was laid April 6, 1892, one year before the dedication, amidst a tremendous spiritual outpouring of appreciation and anticipation. After the large spherical capstone was put in place, the people unanimously adopted a resolution to complete and dedicate the building one year from that date. That afternoon, the 12-foot-high gold-leafed copper statue representing the angel Moroni was placed on the central eastern spire, anchored through the capstone with huge weights suspended into the tower below.
The temple was completed within the year, and the dedication was held on the appointed date—April 6, 1893—forty years after Brigham Young laid the cornerstone. More than 2,250 people crowded the large Assembly Room on the fourth floor of the temple for the first of twenty-three dedicatory sessions that continued over almost three weeks. Many reported having spiritual experiences at the dedications. President Wilford Woodruff offered the dedicatory prayer, and the hosanna shout and original inspirational music were rendered (see Dedications). The sacred celebration was concluded with the singing of a special hymn saluting the sentiments of the people: the Hosanna Anthem.
(Photo being updated, please return soon)
Workers cut slabs of granite in Little Cottonwood Canyon about twenty
miles southeast of Salt Lake City, for use in building the Salt Lake
Temple. In the early years, the granite was moved to the temple site by
ox team, a four-day journey, and after twenty years, by railroad.
Stereoscopic image. Photographer: C.W. Carter.
Copyright © 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company
UNIQUE FUNCTIONS. Notwithstanding the increasing availability of temples nearer to them offering the same religious experience, many members of the Church still travel long distances to receive their individual Endowment in the Salt Lake Temple or to be married or sealed as families in the same building in which parents or perhaps grandparents or other family members were married long ago.
This temple is also unique among LDS temples in that the highest
quorums of the priesthood meet there.
The First Presidency , the The Quorum of The Twelve Apostles , and the Presidents of the Seventy gather separately as quorums weekly, and the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve also meet conjointly. All General Authorities meet there monthly.
It is also, as already noted, architecturally and artistically unique and is the most widely known and recognized building in the Church.
(See Teachings About Temples home page; Daily Living home page; Church History home page; 1878 - 1898 home page)
Idaho Falls Temple
Las Vegas Temple
Los Angeles Temple
San Diego Temple
From Official Church Policy, The First Presidency of the LDS Church, The Family: A Proclamation to the World
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