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LDS Temples 101: a guide to understanding us Mormon folk and our love of the Temple

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"5 days until I receive my endowments and I get sealed to my parents. Holy hurry up batman!"

When I posted this on Facebook, I received a lot of questions, because my friends didn't know what I was talking about. That's when I realized, I'm totally posting in "Mormon-Speak". 

Because I want everyone to share in my excitement, I've decided to break it down, and try and explain what all the hoopidy-doo is about!

When I get my endowments, I'll be making my first trip ever to the Temple. See, us Mormon folk have two main buildings that we use. We have our "meeting houses" which is the building we go to every Sunday for our church service (just like all the other Christians out there). Anyone and everyone can go to this building! It also is where we do our activities like sports, fellowshipping events, etc. 

The second building that we use is the Temple. Temples are special and sacred places, just like the Temples back in the old days of Christianity - Temple of Moses, Solomon's Temple, etc (here are some scripture references to Temples if this stuff interests you). The differences between Temples and our Meetinghouses are that anyone and everyone can go inside the Meetinghouses, and anyone and everyone can also go inside the Temple when they are a worthy member.

LDS.org gives a great definition of Temples:
Temples are literally houses of the Lord. They are holy places of worship where individuals make sacred covenants with God. Because making covenants with God is such a solemn responsibility, individuals cannot enter the temple to receive their endowments or be sealed in marriage for eternity until they have fully prepared themselves and been members of the Church for at least a year. Throughout history, the Lord has commanded His people to build temples. The Church is working to build temples all over the world to make temple blessings more available for a greater number of Heavenly Father's children.

To become a worthy member of the Church who can enter Temples, you have to prepare by: Believing in Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ & the Holy Ghost, cultivating a testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the restored gospel, sustaining and following the living prophet, qualifying for a temple recommend by: paying tithing, being morally clean, being honest, keeping the Word of Wisdom, and living in harmony with the teachings of the Church, giving time, talents and means to help build the Lord's kingdom, and participating in family history work. (read more here)

Temples are sacred. 

Because of their sacredness, a lot of people think that The Church of Latter Day Saints are a secretive bunch. This is because the Church members don't really talk a lot about what goes on inside the Temple. 
There's a reason behind that, and it's not that we're trying to be secretive. The best explanation that I've ever heard is this: There are sacred things in this world, moments that are shared between people that aren't talked about to everyone because they are sacred between those people. I like to think of it as those late night talks you have with your spouse. Those talks are intimate and special to me and my husband and I don't share them with others. In the Temple, sacred ordinances are performed and because they are special and sacred to the individual receiving those blessings, we don't talk about them outside of the temple.

The first reason I'm going to the Temple is to receive my endowment. An endowment is defined as "a special spiritual blessing given to worthy and faithful members of the Church in the temple". It is a series of covenants that we make with Heavenly Father. And like all covenants with Him, we receive blessings in return for keeping those covenants.

The second reason I'm going is to be sealed to my parents. We believe that families can be together forever, and that this blessing is gained through a sealing. When a couple is married in the Temple, they are sealed for time and all eternity. When children are born to that couple, the children are automatically sealed to their parents. 

 My mother was not a member of the Church when my parents were married, and they only recently got sealed to each other. At the time, I wasn't worthy to enter the Temple, but now that I am, I'll be sealed to my parents. This way, when we all decide to take the big dirt nap, our spirits will reconvene up by the pearly gates and we'll all get to hang again forever. Or something like that anyway.

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If you want more information about what happens inside an LDS temple, check out this a great talk. 

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guest post by Jonna

 
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