Quotes on Temples

See also: D&C 130:10;  D&C 137:10; Malachi 4:5-6

Let us be a temple-attending and a temple-loving people.  Let us hasten to the temple as frequently as time and means and personal circumstances allow.  Let us go not only for our kindred dead, but let us also go for the personal blessing of temple worship, for the sanctity and safety which is provided within those hallowed and consecrated walls.  The temple is a place of beauty, it is a place of revelation, it is a place of peace.  It is the house of the Lord.  It is holy unto the Lord.  It should be holy unto us. — Statement by President Howard W. Hunter to the news media on June 6 after being set apart as the new prophet on June 5, 1994.  Text is in the Church News, 6/11/94.

In speaking of what will happen during the Millennium, President Brigham Young said:  “To accomplish this work there will have to be not only one temple, but thousands of them, and thousands and tens of thousands of men and women will go into those temples and officiate for people who have lived as far back as the Lord shall reveal.”  (Journal of Discourses 3:372.)  Just think – there are going to be thousands of temples and tens of thousands of people going to them, it will give you a little idea of what the Lord has in store for these spirits who have to have their temple work done. — Elder LeGrand Richards, Ensign, November 1974, p. 54

We have been criticized for the cost of [our temples], a cost which results from the exceptional quality of the workmanship and the materials that go into them.  Those who criticize do not understand that these houses are dedicated as the above of Deity and, as Brigham Young stated, are to stand through the Millennium.

To me it is significant that the Salt Lake Temple, built in pioneer times, is the largest we have ever built regardless of our circumstances.  Our architects say that it contains 253,000 square feet.  By comparison, the beautiful Los Angeles Temple contains 190,000.  The Washington Temple, which is seen by hundreds of thousands who drive the Beltway, contains 160,000.  I think that our people have never in all of our history undertaken nor completed a building of such magnitude, complexity of design, and artistic excellence as the structure we today honor on the centennial of its dedication. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, May 1993, p. 74

Sometimes in the peace of lovely temples, the serious problems of life find their solutions.  [At times] pure knowledge flows to us there under the influence of the Spirit. It is well also that we keep in mind that it is all one great program on both sides of the veil and it is not too important whether we serve here or over there, as long as we serve with all our heart, might, mind, and strength.  (President Ezra Taft Benson) — President Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, May 1993, p. 5

“To the man or woman who goes through the temple, with open eyes, heeding the symbols and the covenants, and making a steady, continuous effort to understand the full meaning, God speaks his word, and revelations come.  The endowment is so richly symbolic that only a fool would attempt to describe it; it is so packed full of revelations to those who exercise their strength to seek and see, that no human words can explain or make clear the possibilities that reside in the temple service.  The endowment which was given by revelation can best be understood by revelation; and to those who seek most vigorously, with pure hearts, will the revelation be greatest.  I believe that the busy person on the farm, in the shop, in the office, or in the household, who has his worries and troubles, can solve his problems better and more quickly in the house of the Lord than anywhere else. . . . At the most unexpected moments . . . will come to him, as a revelation, the solution of the problems that vex his life.  That is the gift that comes to those who enter the temple properly, because it is a place where revelations may be expected.”  (John A. Widtsoe, Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Apr. 1921, pp. 63-64.) Relief Society Personal Study Guide 3, p. 95


Manti Temple: Ground was broken and the temple site was dedicated April 25, 1877, by President Brigham Young.  Early that morning President Young had asked Warren S. Snow to go with him to the temple hill.  In the words of Brother Snow:  “We two were alone; President Young took me to a spot where the temple was to stand; we went to the southeast corner, and President Young said: ‘Here is the spot where the Prophet Moroni stood and dedicated this piece of land for a temple site, and that is the reason why the location is made here, and we can’t move it from this spot.'”

When we dedicated the temple at Manti, many of the brethren and sisters saw the presence of spiritual beings, discernible only to the inward eye.  The Prophets Joseph, Hyrum, Brigham, and various other apostles that have gone, were seen, and not only this, but the ears of many of the faithful were touched, and they heard the music of the heavenly choir.  (Franklin D. Richards) — Ensign, January 1972, p. 33

Temples are the most sacred places of worship on earth where sacred ordinances are performed – ordinances which pertain to salvation and exaltation in the kingdom of God.  Each one is literally a house of the Lord – a place where He and His spirit may dwell, where He may come or send others to confer priesthood blessings and to give revelation to His people. — Elder David B. Haight, Ensign, November 1990, p. 59


The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead.  (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 6:313.)  This doctrine was the burden of the scriptures.  Those Saints who neglect it in behalf of their deceased relatives, do it at the peril of their own salvation. — President Howard W. Hunter, Ensign, March 1995, p. 64

We have a work to do just as important in its sphere as the Savior’s work was in its sphere.  Our fathers cannot be made perfect without us; we cannot be made perfect without them.  They have done their work and now sleep.  We are now called upon to do ours; which is to be the greatest work man ever performed on the earth.  (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 406) — President Howard W. Hunter, Ensign, March 1995, p. 64

We who live in this day are those whom God appointed before birth to be his representatives on earth in this dispensation.  We are of the house of Israel.  In our hands lie the sacred powers of being saviors on Mount Zion in the latter days.

With regard to temple and family history work, I have one overriding message:  This work must hasten.  The work waiting to be done is staggering and escapes human comprehension.  Last year we performed proxy temple endowments for about five and a half million persons, but during that year about fifty million persons died. — President Howard W. Hunter, Ensign, March 1995, p. 64

We cannot be made perfect without our progenitors, neither can they be perfected without us, and they are as much dependent upon us as we are dependent upon them.  We can build temples, they cannot; it is not their province to administer in them at present, but it is ours, and we are called upon to do so.  They are interested in our welfare, they are our fathers, we are their children; they are laboring there, we here, for our mutual salvation and exaltation in the kingdom of God. — President John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 17:374

It would be the deepest desire of my heart to have every member of  the Church be temple worthy.  I would hope that every adult member would be worthy of – and carry – a current temple recommend, even if proximity to a temple does not allow immediate or frequent use of it.  Let us be a temple-attending and a temple-loving people.  Let us hasten to the temple as frequently as time and means and personal circumstances allow. — President Howard W. Hunter, Press Conference statement the day after being sustained as President of the Church, Ensign, July 1994, p. 5

The ordinances of the temple, the endowment and sealings, pertain to exaltation in the celestial kingdom, where the sons and daughters are.  The sons and daughters are not outside in some other kingdom.  The sons and daughters go into the house, belong to the household, have access to the home. “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” [John 14:2.] Sons and daughters have access to the home where he dwells, and you cannot receive that access until you go to the temple.  Why?  Because you must receive certain key words as well as make covenants by which you are able to enter.  If you try to get into the house, and the door is locked, how are you going to enter, if you haven’t your key? You get your key in the temple, which will admit you.

I picked up a key on the street one day, and took it home, and it opened every door in my house.  You cannot find a key on the street, for that key is never lost that will open the door that enters into our Father’s mansions.  You have got to go where the key is given. And each can obtain the key, if you will; but after receiving it, you may lose it, by having it taken away from you again unless you abide by the agreement which you entered into when you went to the house of the Lord. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 2:40-41

We need to be prepared mentally and spiritually [to go to the temple].  Because the ordinances and covenants of the temple are sacred, we are under absolute obligation not to discuss outside the temple that which occurs in the temple.  Sacred matters deserve sacred consideration. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Prepare for Blessings of the Temple,” Ensign, March 2002, p. 20

In this house of learning, we are taught in the Lord’s way.  His ways are not our ways.  We should not be surprised if teaching techniques differ from those employed in educational pursuits more familiar to us.  Temple ordinances and covenants have been an integral part of the gospel since the days of Adam and Eve.  Anciently, symbols were used to teach profound truths, and this method of instruction is used in the temple today.

It is necessary, therefore, that we ponder the symbols presented in the temple and see the mighty realities for which each symbol stands.  “The temple ordinances are so imbued with symbolic meaning as to provide a lifetime of productive contemplation and learning.” — Richard G. Scott, “Receive the Temple Blessings,” Ensign, May 1999, 27.

The teachings of the temple are beautifully simple and simply beautiful.  They are understood by the humble, yet they can excite the intellect of the brightest minds. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Prepare for Blessings of the Temple,” Ensign, March 2002, p. 20-21

I recommend that members going to the temple for the first time read selected paragraphs under the following listings in the Bible Dictionary: Anoint, Atonement, Christ, Covenant, Fall of Adam, Sacrifices, Temple. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “Prepare for Blessings of the Temple,” Ensign, March 2002, p. 21

As we come unto Christ and journey to higher ground, we will desire to spend more time in His temples, because the temples represent higher ground, sacred ground. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Journey to Higher Ground,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 16

We will not finish our work until we have saved ourselves, and then not until we shall have saved all depending upon us; for we are to become saviors upon Mt. Zion, as well as Christ.  We are called to this mission.  The dead are not perfect without us, neither are we without them. — Joseph Smith

I think that vicarious work for the dead more nearly approaches the vicarious sacrifice of the Savior Himself than any other work of which I know.  It is given with love, without hope of compensation, or repayment or anything of the kind.  What a glorious principle. — “Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, January 1998, p. 73

The vicarious service to the dead is the most unselfish service of any that I know of in this life, where no one comes with any expectation of thanks for the work which he or she does.  Every time you come to the temple, you will be a better man or woman when you leave then you were when you came.  I believe that with all my heart.  Redouble your efforts and your faithfulness in going to the temple . . . and the Lord will bless you, and you will be happier.  (Regional Conference, Oahu, Hawaii, 23 Jan. 2000). — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, March 2001, p. 65

Temples are sacred for the closest communion between the Lord and those receiving the highest and most sacred ordinances of the holy priesthood.  It is in the temple that things of the earth are joined with the things of heaven.  In a letter written by Paul to the Saints at Ephesus, he made a very significant statement about the day in which we live, that there would be a gathering of all things in Christ that are on earth and in heaven:

“Having made known unto us the mystery of his will . . . That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth” (Eph. 1:9-10).

The doctrine that all creation will ultimately be united in Christ is the major theme of Paul’s epistle.  The things of earth will become one with the things of heaven.  The great family of God will be united through the saving ordinances of the gospel.  Vicarious work for the dead and ordinances for the living are the purposes of temples. — President Howard W. Hunter, “The Great Symbol of Our Membership,” Ensign, October 1994, p. 2

God is looking upon us, and has called us to be saviors upon Mount Zion.  And what does a savior mean?  It means a person who saves somebody.  Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison; and he was a savior to that people.  When he came to atone for the sins of the world, he was a savior, was he not?  Yes.  And we are told in the revelations that saviors should stand upon Mount Zion; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.  Would we be saviors if we did not save somebody?  I think not.  Could we save anyone if we did not build temples?  No, we could not; for God would not accept our offerings and sacrifices.  Then we came here to be saviors on Mount Zion, and the kingdom is to be the Lord’s.

Then what shall we do?  We will build temples.  And what then?  Administer in them, when we get them done.  Do we know how?  Yes, we do, for God has told us how.  And whom shall we save?  Our fathers and mothers, our uncles and our aunts, our grandfathers and our grandmothers, and we will look after the interest of all we can trace; we will still go to work, after we have settled individual matters and attended to our family affairs and a few little things among us. . . . Then after we get through with our own affairs, what next?  There are myriads who have died without a knowledge of the gospel, that God and Jesus and the ancient patriarchs and prophets and men of God were interested in as they are in us, and whom we are informed shall have the opportunity of receiving the gospel if they had it not on this earth. — President John Taylor, August 28, 1881; see Journal of Discourses 22:308

The temple ordinances are so imbued with symbolic meaning as to provide a lifetime of productive contemplation and learning.  Ponder each word and activity in the temple.  Study how they interrelate.  As you ponder the significance of those matters, think of them in light of your relationship to the Savior and His to our Father in Heaven.  Contemplate how the understanding you receive enhances your earth life by giving proper emphasis on things which are critically important.

Arrange to participate for deceased ancestors in the sealing and other ordinances as well as the endowment.  I find it helpful when receiving ordinances for another, to try and relate to that person specifically.  I think of him and pray that he will accept the ordinance and benefit from it.  Do these things with a prayer in your heart that the Holy Spirit will enhance your understanding and enrich your life.  Those worthy prayers will be answered. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “Receive the Temple Blessings,” Ensign, May 1999, p. 27

There are many tasks to be performed in temple and family history work.  We should encourage our members to make prayerful selection of the things they can do in their individual circumstances and in view of their current Church callings. . . .

There are family organizations to be formed, family projects to be planned, hearts to be touched, prayers to be offered, doctrines to be learned, children to be taught, living and dead relatives to be identified, recommends to be obtained, temples to be visited, covenants to be made, and ordinances to be received. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Family History: ‘In Wisdom and in Order,'” Ensign, June 1989, p. 8

As we ponder the importance of our ancestral responsibilities, we also need to be reminded of the Lord’s vast ministry.  I quote from President Joseph F. Smith:  “Jesus had not finished his work when his body was slain, neither did he finish it after his resurrection from the dead; although he had accomplished the purpose for which he then came to the earth, he had not fulfilled all his work.  And when will he?  Not until he has redeemed and saved every son and daughter of our father Adam that have been or ever will be born upon this earth to the end of time. . . . That is his mission.  We will not finish our work until we have saved ourselves, and then not until we shall have saved all depending upon us; for we are to become saviors upon Mount Zion, as well as Christ.  We are called to this mission.  The dead are not perfect without us, neither are we without them.”  (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 442.) — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “A New Harvest Time,” Ensign, May 1998, p. 36

Several years ago, Elder Howard W. Hunter said: “Does it seem reasonable that persons who have lived upon the earth and died without the opportunity of baptism should be deprived throughout eternity?  Is there anything unreasonable about the living performing the baptisms for the dead?  Perhaps the greatest example of vicarious work for the dead is the Master himself.  He gave his life as a vicarious atonement, that all who die shall live again and have life everlasting.  He did for us what we could not do for ourselves. In a similar way we can perform ordinances for those who did not have the opportunity to do them in lifetime.”

President Hunter’s classic statement emphasizes the importance of temple work for our own families and helps us to understand the Old Testament prophecy that “saviours shall come up on mount Zion.”  (Obad. 1:21.)  This exalting service for others unseen is one of the most noble acts of human kindness. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, “The Spirit of Elijah,” Ensign, November 1994, pp. 84-85

Early in this dispensation, our forefathers were blessed with the opportunity of sacrificing mightily to build temples.  They offered generously of their meager financial means as well as the fruits of their physical labor.  As temples were completed in Kirtland and later in Nauvoo, the sacrifice of the Saints was great.  They were blessed as they responded.  After the migration of the Saints to the tops of the mountains, temples began to appear in a number of locations in the West.  Each temple project represented great sacrifice.  Divinely promised blessings awaited those who availed themselves of the opportunity to participate in building temples.

The season of opportunity that awaits us today, in temple service, is different from that of the past.  We are not expected to pound nails, carve stone, mill lumber, pour concrete, or physically participate in the construction of temples.  We are, however, extended a marvelous opportunity to faithfully pay our tithes so temple construction and the work of the Lord may go forward.  We are also challenged to be worthy to offer ourselves in the service of providing sacred saving ordinances for those who have preceded us.  Very simply stated, the great opportunity of Latter-day Saint families is to see that the lights of our temples burn early and late in the day.  Perhaps we could create the need for them to burn all night as they do presently on weekends in several temples. — Elder H. David Burton, “A Season of Opportunity,” Ensign, November 1998, p. 11


The element of selfishness crowds I upon us constantly.  We need to overcome it, and there is no better way than to go to the house of the Lord and there serve in a vicarious relationship in behalf of those who are beyond the veil of death.  What a remarkable thing this is.  In most cases, we do not know those for whom we work.  We expect no thanks.  We have no assurance that they will accept that which we offer.  But we go, and in that process we attain to a state that comes of no other effort.  We literally become saviors on Mount Zion.  What does this mean?  Just as our Redeemer gave His life as a vicarious sacrifice for all men, and in so doing became our Savior, even so we, in a small measure, when we engage in proxy work in the temple, become as saviors to those on the other side who have no means of advancing unless something is done on their behalf by those on earth. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Closing Remarks,” Ensign, November 2004, p. 105


The Spirit of Elijah, Malachi 4:5-6 

Now the word “turn” here should be translated “bind” or “seal.”  But what is the object of this important mission, or how is it to be fulfilled?  The keys are to be delivered, the spirit of Elijah is to come, the gospel to be established, the Saints of God gathered, Zion built up, and the Saints to come up as saviors on Mount Zion.  But how are they to become saviors on Mount Zion?  By building their temples, erecting their baptismal fonts, and going forth and receiving all the ordinances, baptisms, confirmations, washings, anointings, ordinations, and sealing powers upon our heads in behalf of all our progenitors who are dead, and redeem them that they may come forth in the first resurrection and be exalted to thrones of glory with us.  And herein is the chain that binds the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, which fulfills the mission of Elijah. . . . The Saints have none too much time to save and redeem their dead and gather together their living relatives that they may be saved also, before the earth will be smitten and the consumption decreed falls upon the world.  And I would advise all the Saints to go to with their might and gather together all their living relatives to this place, that they may be sealed and saved, that they may be prepared against the day that the destroying angel goes forth.  And if the whole Church should go to with all their might to save their dead, seal their posterity, gather their living friends, and spend none of their time in behalf of the world, they would hardly get through before night would come, when no man could work. . . . The question is frequently asked, “Can we not be saved without going through with all these ordinances?”  I would answer, “No, not the fulness of salvation.” — Joseph Smith, Discourse of 21 January 1844, recorded by Wilford Woodruff; Words of Joseph Smith, pp. 318-19

The spirit, power, and calling of Elijah is that ye have power to hold the keys of the revelations, ordinances, oracles, powers, and endowments of the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and of the kingdom of God on the earth, and to receive, obtain, and perform all the ordinances belonging to the kingdom of God, even unto the sealing of the hearts of the fathers unto the children and the hearts of the children unto the fathers, even those who are in heaven.  Now what I am after is the knowledge of God, and I take my own course to obtain it.  What are we to understand by this in the last days?  In the days of Noah, God destroyed the world by a flood and has promised to destroy it by fire in the last days. But before it takes place, Elijah should first come and turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and so forth.  Now comes the point.  What is this office and work of Elijah?  It is one of the greatest and most important subjects that God has revealed.  He should send Elijah to seal the children to the fathers and fathers to the children.  Now was this merely confined to the living, to settle difficulties with families on earth?  By no means; it was a far greater work. Elijah, what would you do if you were here? Would you confine your work to the living alone?  No.

I would refer you to the scriptures where the subject is manifest: “Without us they could not be made perfect” [Heb. 11:40], nor we without them, the fathers without the children nor the children without the fathers. I wish you to understand this subject, for it is important, and if you will receive it, this is the spirit of Elijah: that we redeem our dead and connect ourselves with our fathers, which are in heaven, and seal up our dead to come forth in the first resurrection.  And here we want the power of Elijah to seal those who dwell on earth to those which dwell in heaven.  This is the power of Elijah and the keys of the kingdom of Jehovah.  Let us suppose a case. Suppose the great God who dwells in heaven should reveal himself to [a man] here by the opening heavens and tell him, “I offer up a decree that whatsoever you seal on earth with your decree I will seal it in heaven.” You have power then. Can it be taken off?  No.  Then what you seal on earth by the keys of Elijah is sealed in heaven, and this is the power of Elijah.  And this is the difference between the spirit and power of Elias and Elijah, for while the spirit of Elias is a forerunner, the power of Elijah is sufficient to make our calling and election sure. . . .

Again, the doctrine or sealing power of Elijah is as follows: If you have power to seal on earth and in heaven, then we should be crafty.  The first thing you do [is] go and seal on earth your sons and daughters unto yourself, and yourself unto your fathers in eternal glory, and go ahead and not go back.  But use a little craftiness and seal all you can.  And when you get to heaven, tell your father that what you seal on earth should be sealed in heaven. I will walk through the gate of heaven and claim what I seal and those that follow me and my counsel. . . . Elias is a forerunner to prepare the way, and the spirit and power of Elijah is to come after-holding the keys of power, building the temple to the capstone, placing the seals of the Melchizedek Priesthood upon the house of Israel, and making all things ready.  Then Messiah comes to his temple, which is last of all.  Messiah is above the spirit and power of Elijah, for he made the world and was that spiritual rock unto Moses in the wilderness.  Elijah was to come and prepare the way and build up the kingdom before the coming of the great day of the Lord, although the spirit of Elias might begin it. — Joseph Smith, Discourse of 10 March 1844, recorded by Wilford Woodruff; Words of Joseph Smith, pp. 329-30, 331-32

It would take 3,000 temples, working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 1,000 years to do all the temple work for all the inhabitants of the earth, and that is if no one else is born from this point on. — President Menlo Smith, St. Louis, MO Temple, about 1995; reported by Rand Packer, BYU Education Week 2007

As we touch the temple, the temple will touch us. — President Thomas S. Monson

From Adam to the time of Jesus, ordinances were performed in temples for the living only.  After Jesus opened the way for the gospel to be preached in the world of spirits, ceremonial work for the dead, as well as for the living, has been done in temples on earth by faithful members of the Church.  Building and properly using a temple is one of the marks of the true Church in any dispensation, and is especially so in the present day. — “Temple,” Bible Dictionary, p. 781

I hope that everyone gets to the temple on a regular basis.  I hope your children over 12 years of age have the opportunity of going to the temple to be baptized for the dead.  If we are a temple-going people, we will be a better people, we will be better fathers and husbands, we will be better wives and mothers.  I know your lives are busy.  I know that you have much to do.  But I make you a promise that if you will go to the house of the Lord, you will be blessed, life with be better for you. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, July 1997, p. 73; Ensign, October 2009, p. 15

Temples will bless all who attend them and who sacrifice for their completion.  The light of Christ will shine on all – even those who have gone beyond. – President Thomas S. Monson, “For I Was Blind, But Now I See,” Ensign, May 1999, p. 56; also Ensign, October 2009, p. 57

When the Lord comes from heaven to the earth, as he does more frequently than is supposed, where does he make his visitations?  Those whom he visits know the answer; he comes to one of his houses.  Whenever the Great Jehovah visits his people, he comes, suddenly as it were, to his temple.  If he has occasion to come when he has no house on earth, his visit is made on a mountain, in a grove, in a wilderness area, or at some location apart from the tumults and contentions of carnal men; and in that event the place of his appearance becomes a temporary temple, a site used by him in place of the house his people would normally have prepared. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, The Mortal Messiah, Vol. I, pp. 65-66

 . . . even if our circumstances do not allow us to attend regularly, we should hold a temple recommend.  President Howard W. Hunter said: “It would please the Lord if every adult member would be worthy of – and carry – a current temple recommend.  The things that we must do and not do to be worthy of a temple recommend are the very things that ensure we will be happy as individuals and as families.” — President Howard W. Hunter, Ensign, November 1994, p. 8

Temples are an unyielding witness that goodness will prevail.  President George Q. Cannon (1827–1901), First Counselor in the First Presidency, once said, “Every foundation stone that is laid for a Temple, and every Temple completed . . .  lessens the power of Satan on the earth, and increases the power of God and Godliness.”  (George Q. Cannon, in “The Logan Temple,” Millennial Star, Nov. 12, 1877, 743.) — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Temple Blessings,” Ensign, August 2010, p. 4

We do not attend the temple for ourselves only, however.  Each time we enter these sacred edifices, we play a role in the hallowed, redemptive work of salvation made available to all of God’s children as a result of the Atonement of the Only Begotten of the Father.  This is a selfless and holy service and one that allows us as mortals to participate in the glorious work of becoming saviors on Mount Zion. — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Temple Blessings,” Ensign, August 2010, p. 4

As the landscape of the world continues to become beautified with these sacred buildings consecrated to the Lord, it is my prayer that we will do our part in bringing heaven closer to earth by being worthy to hold a temple recommend and using it.  As we do so, righteousness will surely increase not only in our lives and homes but in our communities and throughout the world. — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Temple Blessings,” Ensign, August 2010, p. 5

I think that vicarious work for the dead more nearly approaches the vicarious sacrifice of the Savior Himself than any other work of which I know.  It is given with love, without hope of compensation, or repayment or anything of the kind. What a glorious principle. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, January 1998, p. 73; quoted in D. Todd Christofferson, “Why Do We Baptize for the Dead?” New Era, March 2009, p. 25

No work is more of a protection to this Church than temple work and the genealogical research which supports it.  No work is more spiritually refining.  No work we do gives us more power.  No work requires a higher standard of righteousness.  Our labors in the temple cover us with a shield and a protection, both individually and as a people. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, “The Holy Temple,” Ensign, February 1995, p. 36

The genealogical society has spent years of time collecting [family history] information, and others spend years of time going into the House of the Lord to be baptized for those who are dead, to have husbands and wives and children sealed to one another, to unite the family as our Heavenly Father has instructed that we should do.  It would be well if each of us would ask himself the question:  What am I doing about it?  Am I doing my part?  Our Heavenly Father told the people through Joseph Smith that, unless we performed the work for our dead, we would lose our own blessings, and we would be cut off, and one of the very last things that the Prophet tried to do was to complete a temple in which the people could go and perform work for their dead.  That is how important it is. It has to be done by someone.  (“The Tenth Temple,” Improvement Era, Oct. 1945, 562.) Teachings of Presidents of the Church, George Albert Smith, p. 85

Many people do not understand the seriousness and the sacredness of life; they do not understand the sacredness of eternal marriage.  There are some of our people who have no interest in their genealogy.  They care nothing about their forebears; at least you would think so by the way they behave.  They do not go into the temple to do work for their dead. . . .            

 . . . After we have been to the House of the Lord for our own blessings, let us think of our responsibility to our forebears.  What will be your reception when you go on the other side?  Will you be the one they will reach out to and bless throughout the ages of eternity, or will you be like the brother who was selfishly working out his problems here and letting those who could not help themselves go on without his help?  (“The Tenth Temple,” Improvement Era, Oct. 1945, 562.) Teachings of Presidents of the Church, George Albert Smith, p. 86

The day is coming soon when no one will need to die without a temple marriage. . . . The day will come when there will be hundreds of temples all over the world, when there will not be one soul in the world, probably, who is more than a thousand miles away; and for a one-time experience in all one’s life, a thousand miles is not far to go.  It wouldn’t be far to crawl if one knew what he was getting and what he was missing if he didn’t go. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Marriage is Honorable,” BYU Speeches, 1973, p. 269

Our message is so imperative, when you stop to think that the salvation, the eternal salvation of the world, rests upon the shoulders of this Church.  When all is said and done, if the world is going to be saved, we have to do it.   There is no escaping from that.  No other people in the history of the world have received the kind of mandate that we have received.  We are responsible for all who have lived upon the earth.  That involves our family history and temple work.  We are responsible for all who now live upon the earth, and that involves our missionary work.  And we are going to be responsible for all who will yet live upon the earth. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Church News, 3 July 1999, p. 3

Please, brethren, do not discuss outside of the temple that which occurs in the temple.  While there, you are at liberty to do so.  If you have questions, you may speak with the temple president or one of his counselors.  But when you leave the doors of the House of the Lord, be true to a sacred trust to speak not of that which is holy and sanctified.

Said the Lord, “Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit.”  (D&C 63:64.)  And again, “Trifle not with sacred things.”  (D&C 6:12.) — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “King the Temple Holy,” Ensign, May 1990, p. 49

Come to the temple and place your burdens before the Lord and you’ll be filled with a new spirit and confidence in the future.  Trust in the Lord, and if you do He’ll hold you and cradle you and lead you step by step along that pathway that leads to the celestial kingdom of God. — President Thomas S. Monson, San Diego Temple Dedication, 45th House of the Lord Dedicated

The time is coming when those who do not obey the Lord will be separated from those who do.  Our safest insurance is to continue to be worthy of admission to His holy house.  How blessed we are to have temples available.  The greatest gift you could give to the Lord at this or any other time of year is to keep yourself unspotted from the world, worthy to attend His holy house.  His gift to you will be the peace and security of knowing that you are worthy to meet Him, whenever that time shall come. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, BYU Devotional

As we participate in the ordinances of the temple, we receive a gift from our Heavenly Father.  We also learn about our natural capacities.  We receive power – and Heavenly Father increases our abilities.  We are reminded of the role of Jesus Christ in our lives. We are reminded that through His atoning sacrifice we can cleanse and purify ourselves and prepare ourselves to enter back into His presence. — Elder Neil J. Anderson, “Responding to the Savior’s Invitation: ‘Come,’” BYU Devotional, May 08, 2007

The statement that the Prophet borrowed the temple idea from some of the several secret societies is the purest rubbish and nonsense.   All that one needs to do is to read the Church history and to note the time when the Prophet first mentions the endowment and hints of the coming revelations concerning temple work, to make it quite impossible to believe that any secret order suggested the temple endowment as taught by the  Prophet Joseph Smith. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, “Fundamentals of Temple Doctrine,” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 13 (June 1922), pp. 129-35

I hope you use the temple constantly because you will gain the blessings that are there that you cannot gain anywhere else on the face of the whole earth.  The temple stands as a monument for all to see.  It stands as a statement that we as a people believe in the immortality of the human soul.  Everything that occurs in the temple is of an uplifting and ennobling kind, and it speaks of life here and of life beyond the grave.  It speaks of the importance of the individual as a child of God.  It speaks of the importance of the family as the creation of the Almighty.  It speaks of the eternity of the marriage relationship.  It speaks of going on to a greater glory.  It is a place of light, a place of peace, a place of love where we deal with the things of eternity. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Taipei Temple Fireside, Taipei, Taiwan, 1996

We go to the temple to make covenants, but we go home to keep the covenants that we have made.  The home is the testing ground.  The home is the place where we learn to be more Christlike.  The home is the place where we learn to overcome selfishness and give ourselves in service to others. I hope you will not think it simplistic to suggest that it is the “little things” like family prayer and family home evening that are important.  Little things like a father helping his children say their  nightly prayers and telling them a bedtime story instead of watching TV. Little things like making time in the family schedule for reading the scriptures.  Little things like a husband being big enough to say, “Sweetheart, I’m sorry.  I should not have said that. I’m going to do better.” Or a mother saying to a child, “I’m sorry I became angry.  Please forgive me.”  Yes, it is the little things that we do each day and each week that make the difference.

By keeping the temple covenants, all of God’s children may be exalted.  I say again that we go to the temple to make the covenants, but we go home to keep those covenants.  — Elder J. Ballard Washburn, “The Temple Is a Family Affair,” Ensign, May 1995, p. 11

The crowning temple ordinance is available only to a man and a woman when they are sealed together, forming an eternal family unit.  It is by virtue of this and all other priesthood ordinances that the families of the earth shall be blessed  (see Abraham 2:11). This sealing ordinance is so central to the Lord’s purposes that He has promised to the faithful who are not sealed in this life through no fault of their own this blessing in the life to come.  No other doctrine in all of religion better confirms God’s commensurate love for both His sons and His daughters.” — Elder Craig A. Cardon, “Moving Closer to Him,” Ensign, November 2006, pp. 94-95

The Prophet Joseph said the main object of the gathering of the Jews, or the people of God in any age of the world “was to build unto the Lord a house whereby He could reveal unto His people the ordinances of His house and the glories of His kingdom, and teach the people the way of salvation.” Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 307-8

I would hope that we might go to the house of the Lord a little more frequently. . . .  In this noisy, bustling, competitive world, what a privilege it is to have a sacred house where we may experience the sanctifying influence of the Spirit of the Lord. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Closing Remarks,” Ensign, November 2004, 104-5

What is the significance of the words of the Prophet Joseph that we will “build temples to the Most High”?  Why were all of these temples built at such cost and sacrifice? Why are they still being built at an ever-increasing pace?  It is because the deepest questions of our existence are answered in the temple.  These answers tell us where we came from, why we are here, where we may go, and how we may cope with the matter of death.  This life makes no logical sense unless we think in terms of the eternities.  The transcendent blessings of life and eternity are received within the sacred walls of the temple.  The Savior’s supernal gift to mankind gave us the opportunity for eternal life, but eternal life without our loved ones would be bleak.

 A basic eternal truth of this Church is that families may, if they are worthy, have an eternal relationship; for us it would not be heaven without our parents, our grandparents, our eternal companions, our children, and our posterity.  This union of families comes through the sealing power exercised within the hallowed walls of the temples under authorized priesthood authority. — President James E. Faust, General Conference, April 1997

Even though everyone may discover what goes on in the temple, and many have already revealed it, the important thing is that I do not reveal these things; they must remain sacred to me.  I must preserve a zone of sanctity which cannot be violated whether or not anyone else in the room has the remotest idea what the situation really is. . . . No matter what happens, it will, then, always remain secret: only I know exactly the weight and force of the covenants I have made – I and the Lord with whom I have made them – unless I choose to reveal them.  If I do not, then they are secret and sacred no matter what others may say or do.  Anyone who would reveal these things has not understood them, and therefore that person has not given them away.  You cannot reveal what you do not know! — Hugh Nibley, The Temple and the Cosmos, p. 64

In quiet moments when you think about it, you recognize what is critically important in life and what isn’t.  Be wise and don’t let good things crowd out those that are essential. What are the essential ones?  They are related to doctrine.  They are centered in ordinances and embrace critical covenants. Those ordinances are baptism and confirmation into His Church and kingdom on earth.  For men they include worthy ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood and honoring and using it in service to others.  For each adult man and woman, they entail all of the ordinances of the temple, including one’s own personal endowment.  They embody the sealing ordinance of the temple where a man and wife are bound so that through obedience they can live together for time and all eternity.  When faithful, the children born to that union or later sealed to their parents are joined in love and rejoicing throughout all eternity.  To receive all of the blessings of His atoning sacrifice, we are only asked to be obedient to His commandments and to receive all of these essential ordinances.  The Atonement will not only help us overcome our transgressions and mistakes, but in His time, it will resolve all inequities of life – those things that are unfair which are the consequences of circumstance or others’ acts and not our own decisions. — Elder Richard G. Scott, General Conference, April 1997

Let love become the lodestar of our lives.  Surely we are a blessed people.  We are blessed with the good things of earth, and we are blessed with the precious things of heaven.  The holy priesthood is among us; its powers extend beyond the veil of death.  In the sacred houses which we call temples, there is opportunity to do for others that which they cannot do for themselves.  As surely as Christ offered Himself a vicarious sacrifice for all mankind, so we can engage in vicarious service in behalf of some of mankind, thus affording them the opportunity to move forward on the road of immortality and eternal life. Great is this work of love which goes on in these holy houses.  Legion are the men and women who, with total unselfishness, labor day and night in this work which speaks of divinity. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Let Love Be the Lodestar of Your Life,” Ensign, May 1989, p. 65

The First Presidency has issued an invitation to all the members of the Church:

“Where time and circumstances permit, members are encouraged to replace some leisure activities with temple service.  All of the ordinances which take place in the house of the Lord become expressions of our belief in that fundamental and basic doctrine of the immortality of the human soul.  As we redouble our efforts and our faithfulness in going to the temple, the Lord will bless us”  (First Presidency letter, March 11, 2003).

I encourage you with every capacity that I possess to receive all of the ordinances for salvation and do all you can to have the other members of your family receive those ordinances before departing this earth.  You can progress much more rapidly here on earth with your mortal body in this environment of good and evil than you will as a spirit in the spirit world.  Compared to the length of a normal life, it doesn’t take much time to receive all of the ordinances essential to exaltation.  It does take diligence, understanding, and obedience.  It does require you to do all within your capacity to qualify for those ordinances and to receive as many as you are able.  Where, for reasons beyond your control, you are not able to receive them all, live worthily and do not disqualify yourself through neglect, indifference, or unworthiness.  The Lord will make it possible for you to receive all of the blessings He has promised in His time and place. — Elder Richard G. Scott, General Conference, April 1997

Just as our Redeemer gave His life as a vicarious sacrifice for all men, and in so doing became our Savior, even so we, in a small measure, when we engage in proxy work in the temple, become as saviors to those on the other side who have no means of advancing unless something is done in their behalf by those on earth. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Closing Remarks,” Ensign, November 2004, p. 105

Temple work . . . gives a wonderful opportunity for keeping alive our spiritual knowledge and strength. . . . The mighty perspective of eternity is unraveled before us in the holy temples; we see time from its infinite beginning to its endless end; and the drama of eternal life is unfolded before us.  Then I see more clearly my place amidst the things of the universe, my place among the purposes of God; I am better able to place myself where I belong, and I am better able to value and to weigh, to separate and to organize the common, ordinary duties of my life so that the little things shall not oppress me or take away my vision of the greater things that God has given us — Elder John A. Widtsoe

As the pioneers had the larger vision in their daily challenge for survival, so also we need to have a greater vision and understanding of our eternal destiny.  Our challenges are more subtle but equally hard. Maintaining our spiritual strength is also a daily challenge.  The greatest source of that spiritual strength comes, as it did in their time, from our temples.

I urge all who have not yet received these greatest of all blessings within the walls of the temple to do whatever may be necessary to qualify to receive them.  To those who have received these blessings, I invite you to prepare yourselves to savor again the experience of being within the sacred premises of the holy temples of God and have the visions of life eternal open again to your hearts, minds, and souls. — President James E. Faust, “Eternity Lies before Us,” Ensign, May 1997, p. 20

The best things are always worth finishing.  “Know ye not that ye are a temple of God?”  (1 Corinthians 3:16.)  Most assuredly we are.  As long and laborious as the effort may seem, we must keep shaping and setting the stones that will make our accomplishments “a grand and imposing spectacle.”  We must take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow, dream dreams and see visions, work toward their realization, wait patiently when we have no other choice, lean on our sword and rest a while, but get up and fight again.  Perhaps we will not see the full meaning of our effort in our own lifetime.  But our children will, or our children’s children will, until finally we, with all of them can give the Hosanna Shout.

God loves each of us and Jesus of Nazareth, his Only Begotten Son, came to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5) – bringing a divine form of worker’s compensation to those keep tugging those granite boulders into place.  We are laying the foundation of a great work – our own inestimable future. — Elder Jeffrey R Holland, “However Long and Hard the Road,” BYU Devotional, January 18, 1983

The ideals of faith, hope, and charity are most evident in the holy temples.  There we learn the purpose of life, strengthen our commitment as disciples of Christ by entering into sacred covenants with Him, and seal our families together for eternity across generations.  Receiving our own endowment in a temple and returning frequently to perform sacred ordinances for our kindred dead increases our faith, strengthens our hope, and deepens our charity.  We receive our own endowment with faith and hope that we will understand the Lord’s plan for His children, will recognize the divine potential within each of us as children of our Heavenly Father, and will be faithful to the end in keeping the covenants we make.  Performing temple ordinances for the dead is a manifestation of charity, offering essential blessings to those who have preceded us, blessings that were not available to them during their mortal lives.  We have the privilege of doing for them what they are unable to do for themselves. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Cultivating Divine Attributes,” Ensign, November 1998, p. 27

We learn by revelation from the Prophet Joseph Smith that “these . . . principles in relation to the dead and the living . . . cannot be lightly passed over, as pertaining to our salvation.  For their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation. . . .

“For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect.”  (D&C 128:15, 18; see also Heb. 11:39-40.)

It would be difficult for one to find stronger language on a requirement to receive exaltation in the celestial kingdom.

Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had received the Melchizedek Priesthood under the hands of Peter, James, and John; however, it was necessary for the prophet Elijah to restore special keys, “in order that all the ordinances may be attended to in righteousness.” (History of the Church, 4:211.)  Thus, the sealing powers and ordinances necessary for the dead as well as the living were to be restored.  This was accomplished by Elijah’s visit to Joseph and Oliver on April 3, 1836, in the Kirtland Temple. — Elder David B. Haight, “Temples and Work Therein,” Ensign, November 1990, pp. 59-60

At April conference 1894, President Wilford Woodruff announced this revelation:  “We want the Latter-day Saints from this time to trace their genealogies as far as they can, and to be sealed to their fathers and mothers.  Have children sealed to their parents, and run this chain through as far as you can get it. . . . This is the will of the Lord to his people. — President Wilford Woodruff, General Conference, April 1894

All of our efforts in proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the Saints, and redeeming the dead lead to the holy temple.  This is because the temple ordinances are absolutely crucial; we cannot return to God’s presence without them.  I encourage everyone to worthily attend the temple or to work toward the day when you can enter that holy house to receive your ordinances and covenants. — President Howard W. Hunter, “Follow the Son of God,” Ensign, November 1994, p. 87

A temple recommend is one of the highest accolades we may receive.  To  use it regularly permits us to participate in the choicest gifts within the keeping of the Church. Those who attend feel a special spirit there.  Peace comes.  I know that their service there assists a  departed one to gain exaltation.  And I know that they in turn qualify  for blessings from the other side of the veil.  And I know that blessings will follow you home from the temple. — Elder A. Theodore Tuttle, “The First and the Last Words,” Ensign, May 1982, p. 65

As I come to you at the closing moments of this conference, I would like to take you back now to just one incident, and I am sorry that I can tell you only a part of it because of the limitations of some things contained therein.  It was just before the dedication of the Los Angeles Temple.  We were all preparing for that great occasion.  It was something new in my life, when along about three or four o’clock in the morning, I enjoyed an experience that I think was not a dream, but it must have been a vision.  It seemed that I was witnessing a great spiritual gathering, where men and women were standing up, two or three at a time, and speaking in tongues.  The spirit was so unusual.  I seemed to have heard the voice of President David O. McKay say, “If you want to love God, you have to learn to love and serve the people.  That is the way you show your love for God.” — President Harold B. Lee, “Stand Ye in Holy Places,” Ensign, July 1973, p. 121

The dedication of the Kirtland Temple in March of 1836 represented the  greatest spiritual outpouring in modern Church history.  Joseph wrote  that, shortly after the dedicatory prayer was offered, “Frederick G. Williams arose and testified that [during the prayer] an angel entered  the window and took his seat between Father Smith and himself. David Whitmer also saw angels in the house.”

Later, “Brother George A. Smith arose and began to prophesy, when a  noise was heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, which filled  the Temple, and all the congregation simultaneously arose, being moved  upon by an invisible power; many began to speak in tongues and  prophesy; . . and I beheld that the Temple was filled with angels. . . . The people of the neighborhood came running together (hearing an  unusual sound within, and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting upon the Temple,) and were astonished at what was taking place.”

Of one of the concluding meetings, Joseph wrote, “The Savior made his  appearance to some, while angels ministered to others, and it was a Pentecost and an endowment indeed, long to be remembered, for the sound shall go forth from this place into all the world, and  occurrences of this day shall be handed down upon the pages of sacred  history, to all generations.”  (History of the Church, 2:427-3) — Elder Bruce C. Hafen, “When Do the Angels Come?” Ensign, April 1992, p. 12

Revelation is not imposed upon a person; it must be drawn to us by faith, seeking and working. . . . To the man or woman who goes through the temple, with open eyes, heeding the symbols and the covenants, and making a steady, continuous effort to understand the full meaning, God speaks his word, and revelations come. The endowment which was given by revelation can best be understood by revelation; and to those who seek most vigorously, with pure hearts, will the revelation be greatest. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, “Temple Worship,” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, April 1921, p. 63

Now, by virtue of the sacred priesthood in me vested . . . I promise you that, with increased attendance in the temples of our God, you shall receive increased personal revelation to bless your lives as you bless those who have died. — President Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1987, p. 85


The temple is a great school.  It is a house of learning.  In the temples the atmosphere is maintained so that it is ideal for instruction on matters that are deeply spiritual.  The temple ceremony will not be understood at first experience.  It will be partly understood.  Return again and again and again.  Return to learn.  Things that have troubled you or things that have been puzzling or things that have been mysterious will become known to you.  Many of them will be the quiet, personal things that you really cannot explain to anyone else.  But to you they are things known.  So look toward the temple.  Point your children toward the temple.  From the days of their infancy, direct their attention to it, and begin their preparation for the day when they may enter the holy temple. Meantime, be teachable yourself, be reverent. Drink deeply from the teachings – the symbolic, deeply spiritual teachings – available only in the temple. — Elder Boyd K. Packer, Holy Temple, pp. 6-8

I believe that time will come when every ordinance of the Gospel will be imitated in some form or another by the world and this should be a testimony to every soul that Mormonism is from God. . . . I think that sooner or later the evil one will try to imitate everything in the Church of God.  I sometimes think I can see into the future and see many denominations accepting parts of the revealed truth and trying to imitate perhaps one or more of the ordinances of the true Church, and I believe the world will have to ultimately acknowledge that Mormonism, as they call it, is exactly the same as the Church that Christ placed upon the earth, and that it is from God. — Reed Smoot, Conference Report, April 1901, p. 5

Temples are the very center of the spiritual strength of the Church.  We should expect that the adversary will try to interfere with us as a church and with us individually as we seek to participate in this sacred and inspired work.  Temple work brings so much resistance because it is the source of so much spiritual power to the Latter-day Saints and to the entire Church. — President Boyd K. Packer, “The Holy Temple,” Ensign, February 1995, 36

Heavenly Father, when thy people shall not have the opportunity of entering this holy house to offer their supplications unto thee, and they are oppressed and in trouble, surrounded by difficulties or assailed by temptation, and shall turn their faces towards this thy holy house and ask thee for deliverance, for help, for thy power to be extended in their behalf, we beseech thee to look down from thy holy habitation in mercy and tender compassion upon them, and listen to their cries. — President Wilford Woodruff in the Salt Lake Temple dedicatory prayer, House of the Lord, p. 142)


The keys of this great power of binding and sealing, referred to by the Prophet Joseph Smith, are with us.  That power breaks down the barriers of the grave.  By it both the living and the dead are made to stand before the Lord as if there were no such thing as mortal time.  Moreover, the dead are made equal with the living.  Glorious thought!  Do we not see that God is no respecter of persons?  The man who lived upon earth in a time when the light of the Gospel had been extinguished, and who therefore lived in ignorance of the Gospel, will not be consigned to endless misery because he did not accept an opportunity that never came to him, but the mercy and justice of God will reach out to that man and he will have the, opportunity in the other life.  Therein is the virtue and force of the binding and sealing power.  It reaches into the spirit world to every soul, no matter how humble or obscure that soul has been on earth.  The light of the Gospel will break in upon him, and there will be a time in the other life for repentance and reformation.  Then shall the people of the earth go forth in the temples of God and do a vicarious work for those behind the veil, as the Savior of the world has done a vicarious work for us all.  We will taste of the fruits of His great work in our salvation; so will the dead receive the good fruits of our work in their behalf in the temples of God. — Elder Rudger Clawson, Conference Report, October 1900

Strangers come into our midst, and they gaze upon the Temple.  In many instances they say it is a magnificent building, a great accomplishment to have been commenced in the early days of the settlement of this country and to have been carried on at such vast expense until finally completed.  It certainly was a great accomplishment.  But, my brethren and sisters, the value of that building is not in its outward appearance, not in the expense that has been put in it, not in the beauty of its architecture, nor in the richness of its furnishings.  The value of that Temple is in the ordinances which are performed therein for the living and the dead. — Elder Rudger Clawson, Conference Report, October 1900

Salvation could not come to this world without the mediation of Jesus Christ.  How shall God come to the rescue of the generations?  He will send Elijah the prophet.  The law revealed to Moses in Horeb never was revealed to the children of Israel as a nation.  Elijah shall reveal the covenants to seal the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers.  The anointing and sealing is to be called, elected, and the election made sure.

“I know that God lives. I know that Jesus Christ lives,” said John Taylor, my predecessor, “for I have seen him.”  I bear this testimony to you brethren in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Strengthening the Family – the Basic Unit of the Church,” Ensign, May 1978, p. 45

I would say to you, my brethren and sisters, do not forget your dead, because you owe them this much effort to do something for them.  They lived in a day when the Gospel was not upon the earth; they certainly have a claim upon us and I am prompted to say that if we refuse to recognize our obligation to do the work for our dead the Lord will reject us as a Church, because you know that souls are very precious unto him and we cannot afford to neglect this matter. — Elder Rudger Clawson, Conference Report, October 1900

In the ordinances of the temple, the foundations of the eternal family are sealed in place.

The Church has the responsibility – and the authority – to preserve and protect the family as the foundation of society.  The pattern for family life, instituted from before the foundation of the world, provides for children to be born to and nurtured by a father and mother who are husband and wife, lawfully married.  Parenthood is a sacred obligation and privilege, with children welcomed as a “heritage of the Lord” (Ps. 127:3).
A worried society now begins to see that the disintegration of the family brings upon the world the calamities foretold by the prophets.  The world’s councils and deliberations will succeed only when they define the family as the Lord has revealed it to be.  “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it” (Ps. 127:1).

As we become more removed from the lifestyle of the world, the Church becomes more the welcome refuge for hundreds of thousands who come each year and say, “Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isa. 2:3). — President Howard W. Hunter, Conference Report, October 1994

Temples are the very center of the spiritual strength of the Church.  We should expect that the adversary will try to interfere with us as a church and with us individually as we seek to participate in this sacred and inspired work.  Temple work brings so much resistance because it is the source of so much spiritual power to the Latter-day Saints and to the entire Church. — President Boyd K. Packer, “The Holy Temple,” Ensign, February 1995, p. 36

I trust that we all seek to win the power that flows out of the temples of the Lord, by giving some of our time and means to genealogy and temple work.  Thereby strength will come to us, for the temples are places of revelation.  They are the places around which the Saints have always gathered and will do so, more and more, in the days to come. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, Conference Report, April 1948

What I am trying to teach is that when we keep the temple covenants we have made and when we live righteously in order to maintain the blessings promised by those ordinances, then come what may, we have no reason to worry or to feel despondent. — Elder Richard G. Scott, Ensign, April 2009

Notwithstanding all that may be said in relation to the work in the temple, you know, my brethren and sisters, that when you go to the House of the Lord and receive the ordinances there administered, they are all calculated to make you better men and women, better fathers and mothers; and everything that is done in those houses is for salvation.  The testimony of all who go there is that it makes them feel better prepared to battle with life.  They become better fathers and mothers, and better citizens of the United States or of any other country.  I can testify to this, and thousands that are before me, who have been through the house of the Lord could bear me out in this testimony, if called upon.  There is nothing done there in any manner that has a tendency in the least to harm any individual, but everything that is done is for the best good and salvation of the people. — Elder John R. Winder, Conference Report, October 1904, p. 97

A wonderful work is being accomplished in our temples in favor of the spirits in prison.  I believe, strongly too, that when the gospel is preached to the spirits in prison, the success attending that preaching will be far greater than that attending the preaching of our elders in this life. Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 98

The day is coming soon when no one will need to die without a temple marriage. . . . The day will come when there will hundreds of temples all over the world, when there will not be one soul in the world, probably, who is more than a thousand miles away; and for a one-time experience in all one’s life, a thousand miles is not far to go.  It wouldn’t be far to crawl if one knew what he was getting and what he was missing if he didn’t go. — President Spencer W. Kimball, “Marriage is Honorable,” BYU Speeches, 1973, p. 269

Say the word temple.  Say it quietly and reverently.  Say it over and over again. Temple.

Temple.  Temple.  Add the word holy.  Holy Temple.  Say it as though it were capitalized, no matter where it appears in the sentence. Temple.  One other word is equal in importance to a Latter-day Saint.  Home.  Put the words holy temple and home together, and you have described the house of the Lord! — Elder Boyd K. Packer, Conference Report, April 1993

We unavoidably stand in so many unholy places and are subjected to so much that is vulgar, profane, and destructive of the Spirit of the Lord that I encourage our Saints all over the world, wherever possible, to strive to stand more often in holy places.  Our most holy places are our sacred temples. . . . We must strive for holiness by being “an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).  In this way we can maintain and strengthen our own individual relationship with our God. — President James E. Faust, “Standing in Holy Places,” Ensign, May 2005, p. 62

[The Lord] has trusted you by letting you hear the gospel in your lifetime, giving you the chance to accept the obligation to offer it to those of your ancestors who did not have your priceless opportunity.  Think of the gratitude He has for those who pay the price in work and faith to find the names of their ancestors and who love them and Him enough to offer them eternal life in families, the greatest of all the gifts of God.  He offered them an infinite sacrifice.  He will love and appreciate those who paid whatever price they could to allow their ancestors to choose His offer of eternal life. — President Henry B. Eyring, “Hearts Bound Together,” Ensign, May 2005, p. 79

Elijah came and Elias came, acting in the power and authority of the Almighty, and gave once again their keys, powers, prerogatives, and rights to mortal men on earth – praise God for this glorious thing!  Once again on earth there are people who can bind on earth and have it sealed everlastingly in the heavens.  We have the power to perform a marriage, and we can do it so that the man and the woman become husband and wife here and now and – if they keep the covenant there and then made – they will remain husband and wife in the spirit world and will come up in glory and dominion with kingdoms and exaltation in the resurrection, being husband and wife and having eternal life.  And it operates thus because in this church, and in this church only, the Lord Almighty has given the sealing power.  That is our potential; that is within our possible realm of achievement. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, BYU Fireside, November 1977

The faithful conform to the will of God when complying with the gospel plan of ordinances:  “Now, what is the gospel of which we speak?  It is the power of God unto salvation; it is the code of laws and commandments which help us to become perfect, and the ordinances which constitute the entrance requirements.  The ordinances begin with baptism by immersion by proper authority for the remission of sins and for entrance into the earthly kingdom of God.  It is followed by the reception of the Holy Ghost, which is promised to every person who qualifies.  The priesthood is given, which opens further doors; the endowment is an indispensable feature in preparation for eternal life;  and then, the sealing in the holy temple of a man and a woman for an eternal relationship.  These are indispensable!  No one can ever reach the heights of exaltation and eternal life without all of them. Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 502

I testify that it is not sufficient to be baptized and then live an acceptable life, avoiding major transgressions.  The Lord has decreed that the additional ordinances and covenants that I have mentioned must be received for exaltation and eternal life.  Being worthy of temple ordinances means that you will choose to do what many in the world are not willing to do.  You will keep the Sabbath day holy, exercise faith through the payment of tithing and fast offerings, consistently participate in Church worship, give service, and show love and appreciation for your family by helping each member of it.  After you have received all of the temple ordinances, you will continue to grow by keeping the covenants made and faithfully “endur[ing] to the end.” — Elder Richard G. Scott, General Conference, April 1997

Every temple, large or small, has its beautiful celestial room.  This room was created to represent the celestial kingdom. . . . It is our privilege, unique and exclusive, while dressed in white, to sit at the conclusion of our ordinance work in the beautiful celestial room and ponder, meditate, and silently pray. Here we can reflect on the great goodness of the Lord to us.  Here we can reflect on the great plan of happiness which our Father has outlined for His children. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Closing Remarks,” Ensign, November 2004, p. 105

Sister Susa Young Gates . . . once asked her father [Brigham Young] how it would ever be possible to accomplish the great amount of temple work that must be done, if all are given a full opportunity for exaltation.  He told her there would be many inventors of labor-saving devices, so that our daily duties could be performed in a short time, leaving us more and more time for temple work.  The inventions have come, and are still coming, but many simply divert the time gained to other channels, and not for the purpose intended by the Lord. — Archibald F. Bennett, Improvement Era, October 1952, p. 720

I wish many times that the veil were lifted off the face of the Latter-day Saints.  I wish we could see and know the things of God as they do who are laboring for the salvation of the human family who are in the spirit world; for if this were so, this whole people, with very few, if any, exceptions, would lose all interest in the riches of the world, and instead thereof their whole desires and labors would be directed to redeem their dead. Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 152

There are some members who engage in temple work but fail to do family history research on their own family lines.  Although they perform a divine service in assisting others, they lose a blessing by not seeking their own kindred dead as divinely directed by latter-day prophets. . . . I have learned that those who engage in family history research and then perform the temple ordinance work for those whose names they have found will know the additional joy of receiving both halves of the blessing. — President Howard W. Hunter, Ensign, 1995

We have made covenants, solemn, sacred, holy covenants, pledging ourselves before gods and angels.  We are under covenant to live the law of obedience.  We are under covenant to live the law of sacrifice.  We are under covenant to live the law of consecration.  It is our privilege to consecrate our time, talents, and means to build up his kingdom.  We are called upon to sacrifice, in one degree or another, for the furtherance of his work.  Obedience is essential to salvation; so, also, is service; and so, also, are consecration and sacrifice. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “Obedience, Consecration, and Sacrifice,” Ensign, May 1975, p. 50

There, brethren and sisters, I have just briefly previewed the ordinances in the Temple of God.  You will make covenants.  There are certain things which belong to the Priesthood, signs and tokens that belong to the priesthood, which will emphasize the importance of the covenants you make. . . .

Finally, in conclusion I am going to say:  Are you willing to keep your word?  Will you keep your promise made this day?  Are you a man, or a woman of honor?  Will you keep your promise?  There are men in the world who are not given the responsibility which you have this morning, who prize their word of honor more than they prize their signed note.

Today you make promises with uplifted hand, and I pray God that you will have power to keep them.  Go through the House of God today seeing the spiritual significance of the ordinances, that you may not come out disappointed, but filled with a desire and determination to walk uprightly before God, and thus merit His divine inspiration, not only while you are on your mission where you will need it – oh, how you will need it – but all through life when you come back to make a success of your vocation in your own life – that you may “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, that all these things may be added unto you.” — President David O. McKay, an address on the Temple ceremony given 25 September 1941, at 8:30am, Salt Lake Temple Annex; Manuscript in BYU Library Collections

It is our duty . . . to be mindful of those children of our Father who have preceded us in death without a knowledge of the gospel, and to open the door of salvation to them in our temples, where we also have obligations to perform. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant, p. 56

Brothers and sisters, temples are holy; temples are sacred places for learning about and entering into eternal covenants; temples are places of peace and of revelation. Temples are eternal links: between heaven and earth; between past, present, and future; between the living and the dead; between time and eternity; between husbands and wives, parents and children; and between men and women with Christ.  It is in the House of the Lord that things of the earth are joined with the things of heaven. — Elder David A. Bednar, BYU-Idaho Devotional, 31 August 2004

What do you suppose the fathers would say if they could speak from the dead?  Would they not say, “We have lain here thousands of years, here in this prison house, waiting for this dispensation to come?  Here we are, bound and fettered, in the association of those who are filthy?”  What would they whisper in our ears?  Why, if they had the power the very thunders of heaven would be in our ears, if we could but realize the importance of the work we are engaged in.  All the angels in heaven are looking at this little handful of people, and stimulating them to the salvation of the human family.  So also are the devils in hell looking at this people, too, and trying to overthrow us, and the people are still shaking hands with the servants of the devil, instead of sanctifying themselves and calling upon the Lord and doing the work which he has commanded us and put into our hands to do.  When I think upon this subject, I want the tongues of seven thunders to wake up the people. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 8:304

Suppose we are ready to go into the temples of God to officiate for our fathers and grandfathers – for our ancestors back for hundreds of years, who are all looking to see what their children are doing upon the earth.  The Lord says, I have sent the keys of Elijah the Prophet – I have imparted that doctrine to turn the hearts of the fathers.  Now, all you children, are you looking to the salvation of your fathers?  Are you seeking diligently to redeem those that have died without the Gospel, inasmuch as they sought the Lord Almighty to obtain promises for you?  For our fathers did obtain promises that their seed should not be forgotten.  O ye children of the fathers, look at these things.  You are to enter into the temples of the Lord and officiate for your forefathers. Discourses of Brigham Young, 408

We are trying to save the living and the dead.  The living can have their choice, the dead have not.  Millions of them died without the Gospel, without the Priesthood, and without the opportunities that we enjoy.  We shall go forth in the name of Israel’s God and attend to the ordinances for them.  And through the Millennium, the thousand years that the people will love and serve God, we will build temples and officiate therein for those who have slept for hundreds and thousands of years – those who would have received the truth if they had had the opportunity; and we will bring them up, and form the chain entire, back to Adam. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 14:97

We build temples because there is not a house on the face of the whole earth that has been reared to God’s name which will in any wise compare with his character, and that he can consistently call his house.  There are places on the earth where the Lord can come and dwell, if he pleases.  They may be found on the tops of high mountains, or in some cavern or places where sinful man has never marked the soil with his polluted feet. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 394

If we are faithful enough to go back and build that great temple which Joseph has written about, and should the Lord acknowledge the labor of his servants, then watch, for you will see somebody whom you have seen before, and many of you will see him whom you have not seen before, but you will know him as soon as you see him. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 3:372

I am satisfied that when persons go into these temples, they do not [leave] without feeling better and with a determination in their minds to do a little better than they have done.  That is the feeling we want the Saints to get. . . . Be faithful, brethren and sisters, and persevering; come to the temple and do your work there, and you will enjoy yourselves, and be better prepared to resist the unpleasantnesses of the world. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow, p. 144

Now, the gates of hell would have prevailed against the Lord’s work if there hadn’t been given the ordinances pertaining to the salvation of those who are dead.  During those periods when the priesthood to perform the saving ordinances of the gospel was not upon the earth, there were millions who lived, many of whom were faithful souls.  If there hadn’t been a way by which the saving ordinances of the gospel could be performed for those who thus died without the knowledge of the gospel, the gates of hell would have prevailed against our Father’s plan of salvation. The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, p. 570

I testify that if you have a temple recommend, are living worthy of that recommend, and are keeping your covenants, then you are indeed on the strait and narrow way that leads to exaltation.  If you die in that condition, then you will be, as Elder M. Russell Ballard incisively, bluntly, and succinctly put it, “safely dead with your testimony burning brightly.” — Elder F. Burton Howard, Ensign, May 1996, p. 27

I urge our people everywhere, with all of the persuasiveness of which I am capable, to live worthy to hold a temple recommend, to secure one and regard it as a precious asset, and to make a greater effort to go to the House of the Lord and partake of the spirit and the blessings to be had therein. — President Gordon B. Hinckley

The Lord will bless us as we attend to the sacred ordinance work of the temples. Blessings there will not be limited to our temple service.  We will be blessed in all our affairs.  We will be eligible to have the Lord take an interest in all our affairs, both spiritual and temporal. . . . Our labors in the temple cover us with a shield and a protection, both individually and as a people. — President Boyd K. Packer, The Holy Temple, pp. 182, 265 

When we go to the temple because we want to go and not because it is an obligation; when we go with an attitude of worship and a reverence for God and for His son Jesus Christ, and with gratitude for the Savior’s sacrifice; when we spend sufficient time to leave the cares of the world outside, wonderful things happen which cannot be described.  The Spirit of the Lord distills upon one’s soul in these holy houses, truly the most sacred places on earth.  A new perception comes into focus of who we are, of what this life is really about, of the opportunities of eternal life, and of our relationship with the Savior. — Bishop Victor L. Brown, General Conference, October 1989

President Brigham Young has said that during the millennium those on the other side will work hand in hand with those in mortality and will furnish the names of the dead which we are unable to obtain through our research, and thus every soul that is entitled to these blessings shall be ferreted out and his work done for him. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 2, p.120