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Citations on the Temple

The following are sections out of Bill McKeever’s book In their Own Words: A Collection of Mormon Quotations. The full book of 400 pages is available at Mormonism Research Ministry or

Standard Works

“And this I know, because the Lord hath said he dwelleth not in
unholy temples, but in the hearts of the righteous doth he dwell”
(The Book of Mormon, Alma 34:36).

2nd President Brigham Young

“It is absolutely necessary that the Saints should receive the further
ordinances of the house of God before this short existence
shall come to a close, that they may be prepared and fully able to
pass all the sentinels leading into the celestial kingdom and into
the presence of God” (Brigham Young, Teachings of Presidents of the
Church: Brigham Young, 1997, p. 303).

4th President Wilford Woodruff

“The Lord holds us responsible for going to and building Temples,
that we may attend therein to the ordinances necessary for
the salvation of the dead” (Wilford Woodruff, September 12,
1875, Journal of Discourses 18:114).

“If we do not do what is required of us in this thing [temple work
for the dead], we are under condemnation. If we do attend to this,
then when we come to meet our friends in the celestial kingdom,
they will say, ‘You have been our saviors, because you had power
to do it. You have attended to these ordinances that God has required’”
(Wilford Woodruff, Teachings of Presidents of the Church:
Wilford Woodruff, 2004, p. 192. Brackets mine).

10th President Joseph Fielding Smith

“If you want salvation in the fullest, that is exaltation in the kingdom
of God, … you have got to go into the temple of the Lord
and receive these holy ordinances which belong to that house,
which cannot be had elsewhere. No man shall receive the fullness
of eternity, of exaltation alone; no woman shall receive that blessing
alone; but man and wife, when they receive the sealing power
in the temple of the Lord, shall pass on to exaltation, and shall
continue and become like the Lord. And that is the destiny of
men, that is what the Lord desires for His children” (Joseph Fielding
Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith,
2013, p. 221. Ellipsis in original).

11th President Harold B. Lee

“In doing this vicarious work for the dead by those of us who are
saviors on Mount Zion, the Lord wants it to be done as nearly as
possible by those who are without blemish. Just as he wanted the
animal sacrifice to be of animals without blemish, he wants us to
come here pure and clean and worthy to do the work, the vicarious
work, as saviors on Mount Zion” (Harold B. Lee, Teachings of
Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 2000, p. 105).

“If Satan and his hosts can persuade you to take the broad highway
of worldly marriage that ends with death, he has defeated you
in your opportunity for the highest degree of eternal happiness
through marriage and increase throughout eternity. It should now
be clear to your reasoning why the Lord declared that in order
to obtain the highest degree in the Celestial glory, a person must
enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. If he
does not, he cannot obtain it. (Doc. and Cov. 131:1–3.) Those who
make themselves worthy and enter into the new and everlasting
covenant of marriage in the temple for time and all eternity will be
laying the first cornerstone for an eternal family home in the celestial
kingdom that will last forever. Their reward is to have ‘glory
added upon their heads forever and forever’ (see Abraham 3:26)”
(Harold B. Lee, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee,
2000, p. 111).

13th President Ezra Taft Benson

“It is not sufficient for a husband and wife to be sealed in the
temple to guarantee their exaltation—if they are faithful—they
must also be eternally linked with their progenitors and see that
the work is done for those ancestors. ‘They without us,’ said the
Apostle Paul, ‘cannot be made perfect—neither can we without
our dead be made perfect’ (D&C 128:15). Our members must
therefore understand that they have an individual responsibility
to see that they are linked to their progenitors—or, as sacred
scripture designates, our ‘fathers’” (Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of
Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson, 2014, p. 173).

15th President Gordon B. Hinckley

“We have been criticized for the cost of these structures, 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 abode of Deity
and, as Brigham Young stated, are to stand through the Millennium”
(Gordon B. Hinckley, “This Peaceful House of God,” Ensign
(Conference Edition), May 1993, p. 74).

“Brigham Young made a very significant statement on one occasion…
He predicted that the time would come when we would
return and build here [in Nauvoo] and elsewhere many temples.
The ordinances of the temple are a fundamental part of our religious
worship, our theology, and without them we cannot give
people all that we think they are worthy of having. And so we have
been going forward with a temple-building program… As the
Church grows, this work will go on. It is necessary. It is important.
And it is something our people desire, wish for, long for, pray for,
and it means a great deal to them” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Temple
ordinances are fundamental,” Church News, October 4, 2003, p. 2.
Ellipses and brackets in original).

First Presidency

“Why is it that we are so anxious to build temples? It is that we
may attend to ordinances necessary for the salvation of the living
and the dead, that we may be baptized for our ancestors who
died without having the privilege of hearing and obeying the Gospel”
(George Q. Cannon, December 3, 1871, Journal of Discourses

“We have built temples for the purpose of redeeming our dead;
performing for them those sacred ordinances which are necessary,
as the Scriptures inform us, to salvation” (Abraham H. Cannon,
January 6, 1895, Collected Discourses, 4:203).

“There is no greater opportunity for that invitation than in the
temples of the Church. There the Lord can offer the ordinances
of salvation to our ancestors who could not receive them in
life. They look down upon you with love and hope. The Lord has
promised that they will have the opportunity to come into His
kingdom (see D&C 137:7-8) and He has planted a love for them
in your heart” (Henry B. Eyring, “Family and Friends Forever,”
Ensign, December 2013, p. 5).


“Joseph Smith received the temple endowment and its ritual, as
all else that he promulgated, by revelation from God” (John A.
Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, p. 113).

“In Biblical times sacred ordinances were administered in holy
edifices for the spiritual salvation of ancient Israel. The buildings
thus used were not synagogues, nor any other ordinary places of
worship. They were specially constructed for this particular purpose.…
Following the pattern of Biblical days, the Lord again in
our day has provided these ordinances for all who will believe,
and directs that temples be built in which to perform those sacred
rites” (Mark E. Petersen, Why Mormons Build Temples, p. 3. Ellipsis

“All of these ordinances of exaltation are performed in the temples
for both the living and the dead. Their essential portions
have been the same in all dispensations when the fulness of the
sealing power has been exercised by the Lord’s prophets (D&C
124:28-41.) They were given in modern times to the Prophet Joseph
Smith by revelation, many things connected with them being
translated by the Prophet from the papyrus on which the Book
of Abraham was recorded” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine,
1966, p. 779).

“With temples men can be exalted; without them there is no exaltation”
(Bruce R. McConkie, The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem
to Calvary 1:99).

“Ordinances and covenants become our credentials for admission
into his presence. To worthily receive them is the quest of a lifetime;
to keep them thereafter is the challenge of mortality” (Boyd
Packer, Conference Reports April 1987, p. 27. See also Ensign (Conference
Edition), May 1987, p. 24).

“Temple ordinances, covenants, endowments and sealings enable
individuals to be reconciled with the Lord and families to be
sealed beyond the veil of death. Obedience to temple covenants
qualifies us for eternal life – the greatest gift of God to man” (Russell
M. Nelson, “Eternal life comes from obedience to temple ordinances,”
Church News, April 7, 2001, p. 10).

“His hope for us is eternal life. We qualify for it by obedience to
covenants and ordinances of the temple – for ourselves, our families,
and our ancestors. We cannot be made perfect without them.
We cannot wish our way into the presence of God. We are to obey
the laws upon which those blessings are predicated” (Russell M.
Nelson, “Now is the time to prepare,” Ensign (Conference Edition),
May 2005, p. 18. Italics in original).

“The greatest of all the blessings of the priesthood are bestowed
in holy temples of the Lord. Fidelity to covenants made there will
qualify you and your family for the blessings of eternal life” (Russell
M. Nelson, “Face the Future with Faith,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), May 2011, p. 36).

“The temple blessings are as essential for each of us as our baptism.
For this reason, we are to prepare ourselves that we may be
clean to enter into the temple of God” (Robert D. Hales, “Temples
are essential to eternal plan of happiness,” Church News, November
19, 2005, p. 5).

“If you are now ready to receive the ordinances of the temple,
prepare carefully for that crowning event. Before entering the
temple, you will be interviewed by your bishop and stake president
for your temple recommend. Be honest and candid with them.
That interview is not a test to be passed but an important step to
confirm that you have the maturity and spirituality to receive the
supernal ordinances and make and keep the edifying covenants
offered in the house of the Lord. Personal worthiness is an essential
requirement to enjoy the blessings of the temple. Anyone foolish
enough to enter the temple unworthily will receive condemnation”
(Richard G. Scott, “Receive the Temple Blessings,” Ensign
(Conference Edition), May 1999, p. 25).

“Then one night last May, I was awakened by those two little girls from the other side of the veil. Though I did not see or hear them with my physical senses, I felt their presence. Spiritually, I heard their pleadings. Their message was brief and clear: ‘Brother Nelson, we are not sealed to anyone! Can you help us?’ Soon thereafter, I learned that their mother had passed away, but their father and younger brother were still alive” (Russell M. Nelson, “The Price of Priesthood Power,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 2016, p. 66).

“In fact, historical evidence shows that in addition to the two seer stones known as ‘interpreters,’ Joseph Smith used at least one other seer stone in translating the Book of Mormon, often placing it into a hat in order to block out light. According to Joseph’s contemporaries, he did this in order to better view the words on the stone” (Richard E. Turley, Jr., Robin S. Jensen, and Mark Ashurst-McGee, “Joseph the Seer,” Ensign, October 2015, p. 51).


“Temple ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation
of the world are for the salvation and exaltation of God’s children.
It is important that the saving ordinances not be altered or
changed, because all of those who will be exalted, from the first
man, Adam, to the last, must be saved on the same principles”
(Royden G. Derrick, Temples in the Last Days, p. 36).

“As temple work progresses, some members wonder if the ordinances
can be changed or adjusted. These ordinances have been
provided by revelation, and are in the hands of the First Presidency.
Thus, the temple is protected from tampering” (W. Grant
Bangerter, “Temple work blesses living,” Church News, January 16,
1982, p. 10).

“Temples are patterned after Solomon’s temple and honor the
Lord and express our gratitude” (Seventy Kent R. Richards, Director
of the LDS Church’s Temple Department, Payson LDS Temple:
A Special Edition of the Daily Herald, April 2015, p. 14).

“In order to receive the Spirit, you must enter the temple clean
and pure, free from any unforgiven transgressions. If the adversary
could succeed in any way to overcome you, it would be to
keep you from the temple or to entice you to go there unworthily”
(Kent F. Richards, “Preparing to Enter the House of the Lord,”
Ensign, July 2015, p. 18).

Church Manuals

“Testify to class members that if they will partake of the Lord’s
spiritual water and bread, sustain his chosen leaders, and obey his
commandments, he will invite them to his holy mountain—the
temple. There they can meet with him, receive his laws, behold his
glory, and go forth inspired to be more like him” (Old Testament
Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, 2001, p. 67).

“1. Temple Recommend. Obtain a temple recommend. Be sure to
carry your recommend with you to the temple, since only those
with valid recommends may enter. As you live worthily, the recommend
will allow you to enter any temple of the Church as often as
you wish during the next two years. To renew your temple recommend,
you must be interviewed by a member of your bishopric or
your branch president and a member of your stake presidency or
the mission president” (Endowed from On High: Temple Preparation
Seminary Teacher’s Manual, 2003, p. 28. Italics in original).

“Temples are literally houses of the Lord. They are holy places
of worship where the Lord may visit. Only the home can compare
with temples in sacredness. Throughout history, the Lord has
commanded His people to build temples. Today the Church is
heeding the Lord’s call to build temples all over the world, making
temple blessings more available for a great number of our
Heavenly Father’s children” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference,
2004, p. 170).

“To enter the temple, you must be worthy. You certify your worthiness
in two interviews—one with a member of your bishopric or
your branch president and another with a member of your stake
presidency or the mission president. Your priesthood leaders will
keep these interviews private and confidential. In each of the interviews,
the priesthood leader will ask you about your personal
conduct and worthiness. You will be asked about your testimony of
Heavenly Father and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and you will
be asked whether you support the general and local leaders of the
Church. You will be asked to confirm that you are morally clean
and that you keep the Word of Wisdom, pay a full tithe, live in
harmony with the teachings of the Church, and do not maintain
any affiliation or sympathy with apostate groups. If you give acceptable
answers to the questions in the interviews and if you and
your priesthood leaders are satisfied that you are worthy to enter
the temple, you will receive a temple recommend. You and your
priesthood leaders will sign the recommend, which will allow you
to enter the temple for the next two years, as long as you remain
worthy” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference, 2004, p. 172).

“Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are
special buildings dedicated to the Lord. Worthy Church members
may go there to receive sacred ordinances and make covenants
with God. Like baptism, these ordinances and covenants are necessary
for our salvation. They must be performed in the temples of
the Lord. We also go to the temple to learn more about Heavenly
Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. We gain a better understanding
of our purpose in life and our relationship with Heavenly Father
and Jesus Christ. We are taught about our premortal existence,
the meaning of earth life, and life after death” (Gospel Principles,
2009, pp. 233-235).

“Only in the temple can we be sealed together forever as families.
Marriage in the temple joins a man and woman as husband and
wife eternally if they honor their covenants. Baptism and all other
ordinances prepare us for this sacred event. When a man and
woman are married in the temple, their children who are born
thereafter also become part of their eternal family” (Gospel Principles,
2009, p. 235).

“Persons who are presumed dead because they are missing in action
(for example, in times of war), lost at sea, declared legally
dead, or who disappeared under circumstances where death is
apparent but no body was ever recovered may have their temple
ordinances performed after 10 years have passed since the time of
presumed death. In all other cases of missing persons, the temple
ordinances may not be performed until after 110 years have passed
from the time of a person’s birth (an assumption that if the person
was missing but alive, he or she would have died within 110 years)”
(Introduction to Family History Religion 261, 2012, p. 62).

“If a woman was legally married more than once (such as after the
death of a husband), you may have a sealing ordinance performed
for her and each husband. This will avoid the situation of having
to make judgments for which we are not qualified. Remember, if
an ordinance is performed on earth, it does not become binding
until accepted in the spirit world by the worthy person for whom
the ordinance was performed” (Introduction to Family History Religion
261, 2012, p. 62).

“You must provide at least the given name or the surname or
your ancestor, the person’s gender, a locality for a qualifying
event (such as birth, christening, marriage, death, or burial), and
enough additional information to uniquely identify the person.
Additional information may include dates, localities, and relationships
of other family members. Remember that in order for temple
ordinances to be performed, individuals must be deceased for
at least one year, and if that individual was born within the last 95
years, permission from the closest living relative must be obtained
before temple ordinances are to be performed” (Introduction to
Family History Religion 261, 2012, p. 30).

Other Sources

“‘The temple is a very sacred place, and we hold it in special reverence,’
said Tuttle. ‘But we also tell everybody “anyone is welcome
to come to the temple if they meet the requirements. …” So it’s
not closed to Mormons, or closed to non-Mormons, but it’s closed
to just people who are not prepared to enter therein’” (Boyd
Tuttle (Palmyra Pageant cast member), “Mormon Pageant Unites
Hundreds,” August 8, 2007,
Story?id=3459111&page=2. Retrieved May 2, 2011).

“While some members will claim that Mormon temples are ‘sacred
not secret,’ Bushman said that ‘temples are secret, plain and simple,’
noting that even members ‘don’t speak to each other about
it.’” (Richard L. Bushman, “Seek understanding, not converts,
Bushman urges Mormons,” Deseret News, March 6, 2008).
“There is no better place to learn principles of fairness than within
the temple, where everyone is equal and all thoughts are directed
toward eternal progression” (Gifford Nielsen, “Fairness means
having integrity,” Church News, December 27, 2008, p. 6).

“The Latter-day Saints also see the reconstruction of a temple in
Jerusalem as one of the signs of the times of the Second Coming
of the Savior. Whether it will be built by the Church or the Jews
or the Jews under the direction of the Church or will later come
under the direction of the Church after the Jews are converted
to Christ is unclear (Do you know of any studies clarifying this?).
What is clear is that the saving ordinances of the restored gospel
of Jesus Christ will be performed therein at some point, under the
authority of the priesthood of God, as they are performed currently
in 125 temples around the world” (“Rebuilding the Temple
in Jerusalem,” Temple Study: Sustaining and Defending the LDS
Faith website,
Boldface in original. Retrieved
November 10, 2009).

“In God’s plan of salvation, the temple is essential to our eternal
happiness because we perform sacred ceremonies and ordinances
of salvation there. The Bible Dictionary tells us that the temple
is the holiest place of worship on earth and is “a place where the
Lord may come” (Koichi Aoyagi, “Prophetic Counsel and Temple
Blessings,” Ensign, January 2015, p. 67).

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