The Central Role of the
Temple and its Ordinances
Reading Assignments for the course
REL 480 - Church Organization and Leadership
Prof.  Marcus H. Martins, Ph.D.


General Handbook (2020 Edition)

     chapter 1 - God’s Plan and Your Role in the Work of Salvation and Exaltation

     chapter 27 - Temple Ordinances for the Living: Preparation for the Endowment

     chapter 38 item 38.4 - Sealing Policies

     Chapter 38 item 38.5 - Temple Clothing
Author Title

Pres. Russell M. Nelson
Elder David A. Bednar
Elder Ronald A. Rasband
Purposes and Symbols of Temples:

Two Apostles Lead a Virtual Tour of the Rome Italy Temple  (official video - 2019)
Pres. Russell M. NelsonClosing Remarks (includes revised temple recommend questions) (2019)
Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley Keeping the Temple Holy
Pres. Boyd K. PackerOrdinances (1980)
Elder Carlos Asay The Temple Garment: An Outward Expression of an Inner Commitment
Prophet Joseph Smith



Pres. Brigham Young

Pres. Young, Smith, Kimball,
& Elder Widtsoe

Pres. Ezra Taft Benson

Pres. Russell M. Nelson

Pres. George Q. Cannon

The Purpose of Building Temples

The Role of Temples in the Organization of the Church

Admission into Heaven Requires Preparation

Exaltation Requires Preparation

Synthesis of the Endowment

Blessings of the Endowment

Women's Access to the Priesthood

Warning Against Lack of Preparation for the Endowment

Jay M. Todd, editor In His Holy House (pictures of the Salt Lake Temple prior to 21st century renovation)
Dr. Marcus H. MartinsVideo:  Formalizing Relationships Through Priesthood Authority (2021)

Seals and the Sealing by the Holy Spirit of Promise (2017)

Marriage & Eternal Marriage: The Analogy of the Concrete Slab (PDF)   HTML (2015)

Video: Why Aspire to an Eternal Marriage? (2020)

Video: Remarks on Sealings (2020)
Dr. Marcus H. MartinsReadings on Temples and Ordinances (unofficial handout - PDF)
Questions for Review  

The Prophet Joseph Smith
The Purpose of Building Temples
History of the Church, 5:423-424

The main object 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; for there are certain ordinances and principles that, when they are taught and practiced, must be done in a place or house built for that purpose. ... It is for the same purpose that God gathers together His people in the last days, to build unto the Lord a house to prepare them for the ordinances and endowments, washings and anointings. …

It was the design of the councils of heaven before the world was, that the principles and laws of the priesthood should be predicated upon the gathering of the people in every age of the world. … Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles.

If a man gets a fullness of the priesthood of God, he has to get it in the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord. … All men who become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ will have to receive the fulness of the ordinances of his kingdom; and those who will not receive all the ordinances will come short of the fullness of that glory, if they do not lose the whole.

The Prophet Joseph Smith
The Role of Temples in the Organization of the Church
History of the Church, 4:603

The Church is not fully organized, in its proper order, and cannot be, until the Temple is completed, where places will be provided for the administration of the ordinances of the Priesthood.

The Prophet Joseph Smith
Admission into Heaven Requires Preparation
Teachings, p. 51; History of the Church, 6:184

So dissimilar are the governments of men, and ... their laws, from the government and laws of heaven, that a man ... could ... journey to this [country] without first learning the laws of governments; … [The] foreigner can come to this country without knowing a syllable of its laws, or even subscribing to obey them after he arrives. ...

[But] the conditions of God's kingdom are such, that all who are made partakers of that glory, are under the necessity of learning something respecting it previous to their entering into it. … [It] is necessary for men to receive an understanding concerning the laws of the heavenly kingdom, before they are permitted to enter it ...

[The] nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and ... arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment: he must have been instructed in the government and laws of that kingdom by proper degrees, until his mind is capable in some measure of comprehending the propriety, justice, equality, and consistency of the same. ...

The question is frequently asked, 'Can we not be saved without going through with all those ordinances, etc?'  I would answer, No, not the fullness of salvation.  Jesus said, 'There are many mansions in my Father's house and I will go and prepare a place for you' … and any person who is exalted to the highest mansion has to abide a celestial law, and the whole law too.

President Brigham Young
Exaltation Requires Preparation
Discourses, p.95

Some might suppose that it would be a great blessing to be taken and carried directly into heaven and there set down, but in reality that would be no blessing to such persons; they could not reap a full reward, could not enjoy the glory of the kingdom, and could not comprehend and abide the light thereof, but it would be to them a hell intolerable and I suppose would consume them much quicker than would hell fire. It would be no blessing to you to be carried into the celestial kingdom, and obliged to stay therein, unless you were prepared to dwell there.

Synthesis of the Endowment
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.4, Title: Temple Ordinances

President Brigham Young:

Let me give you a definition in brief. Your endowment is to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord... to enable you to walk back into the presence of the Father, passing the angels who stand as sentinels, being enabled to give the key words, the signs and tokens, pertaining to the Holy Priesthood, and to gain your exaltation. (Discourses, p.416)

Elder John A. Widtsoe:

The Temple endowment relates the story of man's eternal journey; sets forth the conditions upon which progress in the eternal journey depends; requires covenants or agreements of those participating, to accept and use the laws of progress; gives tests by which our willingness and fitness for righteousness may be known, and finally points out the ultimate destiny of those who love truth and live by it. (Priesthood and Church Government, p.333)

The Prophet Joseph Smith:

[The endowment involves a series of symbolic] washings, anointings, endowments and the communication of keys pertaining to the Aaronic and ... to the highest order of the Melchizedek Priesthood, setting forth the order pertaining to the Ancient of Days, and all those plans and principles by which any one is enabled to secure the fullness of those blessings which have been prepared for the Church of the Firstborn, and come up and abide in the presence of the Eloheim in the eternal worlds. ... [Spiritual things] to be received only by the spiritual minded ... knowing assuredly that all these things referred to ... are always governed by the principle of revelation. (Teachings, p. 237)

President Heber C. Kimball:

All the ordinances are signs of things in the heavens. Everything we see here is typical of what will be hereafter. (Address to My Children, unpublished)

Elder John A. Widtsoe:

[The Endowment increases one's spiritual power, based in part] on enlarged knowledge and intelligence--a power from on high, of a quality with God's own power" (Encyclopedia)

President Ezra Taft Benson
Blessings of the Endowment
Teachings, p.254

[Let] me say something to all who can worthily go to the house of the Lord. When you attend the temple and perform the ordinances that pertain to the house of the Lord, certain blessings will come to you: You will receive the spirit of Elijah, which will turn your hearts to your spouse, to your children, and to your forebears. You will love your family with a deeper love than you have loved before.

You will be endowed with power from on high as the Lord has promised. You will receive the key of the knowledge of God (see D&C 84:19). You will learn how you can be like Him. Even the power of godliness will be manifest to you (see D&C 84:20)

President Russell M. Nelson
Women's Access to the Priesthood
Conference Report, Women's Session - October 2018

More regular time in the temple will allow the Lord to teach you how to draw upon His priesthood power with which you have been endowed in His temple.

For those of you who don’t live near a temple, I invite you to study prayerfully about temples in the scriptures and in the words of living prophets.

Seek to know more, to understand more, to feel more about temples than you ever have before.

President George Q. Cannon
Warning Against Lack of Preparation for the Endowment
Collected Discourses, Vol.4, January 14, 1894

I believe that our endowments are too easily obtained. Men and women go to the Temple who do not understand or value the precious blessings that are bestowed upon them ... These blessings become so common that many people do not value them or know how to use them.

When the Prophet Joseph first communicated that the Lord had revealed to him the keys of the endowments, I can remember the great desire there was on every hand to understand something about them. ...

[The] whole people were moved with desire to complete the Temple, in order that they might receive these great blessings therein. They were valued beyond price. A man that could go in and get his endowments was looked upon as though he had received some extraordinary blessing--something akin to that which the angels received--and it was estimated and valued in that way.

How is it now? There is a complete indifference, it may be said, in relation to it. Young people go there stupid, with no particular desire only to get married, without realizing the character of the obligations that they take upon themselves, or the covenants that they make, and the promises involved in the taking of these covenants. The result is, hundreds among us go to the House of the Lord and receive these blessings and come away without having any particular impression made upon them. I think that this is deplorable.

When men have gifts and blessings bestowed upon them and they do not value them, they become a cause of condemnation rather than blessing. It seems to me that there should be exceeding great care taken in this respect. ...

This Priesthood that the Lord has restored is a far more important thing than even the most advanced of us can appreciate at the present time. We who bear this Priesthood act in God's stead in the midst of the people; we are the representatives of God--the ambassadors, so to speak, of the Savior, who has given us this Priesthood; and the duties of this calling are most important, because they affect the salvation of the children of men.

Questions for Review:

1. What is necessary to have the Church "... fully organized, in its proper order ..."? (The Prophet Joseph Smith)

2. Would it be a wonderful blessing if one could be taken immediately to the celestial kingdom? (Pres. Brigham Young)

3. What is the Temple Endowment? (Prophet Joseph Smith; in "Synthesis of the Endowment")

4. What is one of the blessings of the Endowment? (Elder John A. Widtsoe; in "Synthesis of the Endowment" #2)

5. According to Pres. Russell M. Nelson, how can women learn how to draw on priesthood power? (Pres. Russell M. Nelson)

6. What three objectives did Pres. Nelson outline for one's study about temples?
(Pres. Russell M. Nelson)

7. What happens when people do not value the gifts and blessings bestowed upon them? (Pres. George Q. Cannon)

This web page was published only as a support for classroom discussion.
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