The Temple and its purpose has been an integral part of the gospel of Jesus Christ since the days of the ancient prophets of the Old Testament. Indeed Moses was commanded to build a tabernacle so that He could dwell among the congregation of Israelites as He lead them to their promised land.
Exodus 25:8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
The Lord also instructed Solomon to build a temple–a house of the Lord, which was completed about 1,000 BC and stood until it was destroyed by fire during the Babylonian conquest approx. 600 BC. It was rebuilt thereafter under Cyrus, who allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem and later under Darius roughly 500 BC.
Ezra 1:2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
The temple at Jerusalem was central to the life of the Jews where sacred ordinances were performed for the benefit of man. Jesus Christ spent time as well teaching therein as did His apostles.
Luke 19:47 And he taught daily in the temple…
Acts 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
Not long after Jesus ascended into heaven, the temple was destroyed again by the Romans in 70 AD. His apostles had all, except for John, been killed because of their faith. Temple ordinances and the authority to perform them had become lost, but would not be lost forever. Isaiah prophesied that the temple would return in the last days.
Isaiah 2:2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and 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.
Like the temple at Jerusalem, which was built on Mount Moriah, thus being called the mountain of the Lord’s house, a temple was built in the top of the mountains after the latter-day saints were killed, persecuted and driven from state to state until they migrated to what is now the state of Utah, settling in the Salt Lake Valley along the Wasatch Mountains. This range spans 220 miles from Mt. Nebo on the south end near Nephi all the way to the craggy Sheep Rock point in Soda Springs, Idaho on the north end. Since then many temples have been built along this western range of the Rocky Mountains as well all around the globe among all nations as the Lord intended:
Mark 11: 17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer?
Today in the temple, the Lord communes with those who, with a broken heart and contrite spirit, come unto Him. The ordinances therein, being ceremonial, are merely the “endowments” or the “gifts” that we are given, which prepare us for the actual event, which is returning to His presence. He does this just as He did with the Israelite congregation who followed Moses through the wilderness who abode His laws–prerequisites for such divine blessings.
Some ordinances include baptism for those who have died without the gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives–
1 Corinthians 15:29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
–Because He died for everyone, not only those who believe in His name or know Him. A loving God is no respector of persons and esteems all of us equally. For this reason, Jesus Christ preached to those souls who went to prison rather than paradise after He was crucified.
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
Like the the apostles of old, who taught in the temple, so are we taught in our temples today and prepared to return to a loving Father in Heaven. One of the most important ordinances that only happen in the temple are being sealed to our families for time and all eternity. It was in a temple that I was sealed to my wife, Lori, for time and all eternity and not just until death do we part. The gospel of Jesus Christ was designed to bring us all back to our Father’s kingdom to dwell with Him throughout eternity. It has been a great blessing to watch the temple being built the last couple years. The Brigham City Temple will be dedicated to the Lord’s work tomorrow, September 23, 2012. It will be open on Tuesday, September 25th for its first session. I have reserved a morning session and I look forward to communing with the Lord therein and very often after that.
My parents visited very recently and the day before they flew back to Texas, we had a small window of opportunity to do a quick photo shoot. It was still relatively early in the morning and I hoped it wouldn’t be too dark and overcast. It was a bit darker than I had hoped, but the cloudy overcast made quite a beautiful backdrop for the pictures we took that morning: