Why Latter-Day Saints Build Temples
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been building temples since the 1830s. Latter-day Saint temples are considered houses of God, a place of holiness and peace separate from the preoccupations of the world. They provide a place where Church members make formal promises and commitments to God. They are also the place where the highest sacraments of the faith occur — the marriage of couples and the “sealing” of families for eternity.
In this video, a senior leader of the Church discusses the purpose of temples.
Families Can Be Forever
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that each human born on earth lived first as a spirit in heaven with God, our Heavenly Father. Each one of us comes to earth to be tested through the mortal experience. By following the principles of the gospel here on earth, each of us may return to the presence of God, where we will live eternally with our families.
The Latter-day Saint teaching that family relationships on earth continue after death is distinctive among Christian faiths. To last beyond mortality, marriages must take place in a temple. Couples who join the Church after they are already married may also have their marriages "sealed" in identical ceremonies, and their children may be sealed to them. Thus, Latter-day Saint (sometimes called "Mormon") temples are not places of regular Sunday or congregational worship. They are built specifically for these "eternal marriages" and other individual and family-centered ceremonies. For the promises of the temple to remain in effect, a husband and wife must love and be faithful to each other throughout their marriage and continue to follow a course of Christian service and commitment throughout their lives.
Temples and Genealogy
Temples also have another major purpose beyond uniting living families for eternity. For millions of people who lived and died throughout history without the opportunity to embrace such temple marriages, temple ceremonies can be performed by living proxies in their behalf. Commonly, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stand in for their own deceased ancestors in these ceremonies, including baptisms and sealings for husbands and wives, parents and children. In Latter-day Saint belief, all temple work is effective only if it is willingly accepted in heaven by each deceased individual.