Tuesday, April 27, 2010

LDS Writer Blogfest: Temples

These, as you may have guessed, are a few of my wedding pictures. Honey Bear and I will celebrate our sixth anniversary in about a week, on May 7. I remember a lot of things about that day--how heavy my dress felt, and how my cheeks hurt from smiling so much, and how deliriously happy I was--but the thing I want to talk about is that big building in the background, the Salt Lake Temple, and a few other details about my faith.

The Mormon Writer Blogfest is a one-day-only event (I promise), and includes several other Mormon writers around the blogosphere. If you’ve ever had a question about the Mormon Church, today’s your day to get an answer:)

First, a few points of clarification. The Mormon Church, as it is often called, is actually something of a misnomer. Its actual name is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sort of a mouthful, I know). The nickname comes from our belief in the Book of Mormon, but I digress.

There are currently 130 temples in operation around the world, including the Manhattan New York, London England, and Sydney Australia Temples. Twenty-two more are under construction or have been announced. (Here’s the complete list.)

To enter a temple, you must be a faithful member of the Church (although anyone may tour a temple during its open house). Within a temple, members perform five ordinances, all of which are associated with specific covenants, or promises with God: baptism and confirmation, initiatory and endowment, and sealing. The first time you go to the temple, you perform these ordinances for yourself. On every subsequent visit, you perform these ordinances on behalf of a deceased ancestor (which is why Mormons are so interested in family history).

Baptism and confirmation Actually, a person may be baptized in any body of water deep enough to fully immerse him or her, so the baptisms and confirmations we perform in the temple are all on behalf of deceased relatives. Members as young as twelve may participate in these ordinances.

Initiatory and endowment I’m not going to say much about these ordinances, because much of what they entail is too sacred to discuss anywhere but in the temple. Boyd K. Packer, current president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (one of the Church’s governing bodies), described it this way: “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.”

Sealing The sealing power, which seals husbands to wives and parents to children, both on earth and in heaven, is the same power that the Savior gave to Peter in Matthew 16:19. When we talk about eternal marriage, or being married for time and all eternity, this is what we mean. Children born within such a marriage are automatically sealed to their parents, but children born before their parents’ sealing, or children adopted by an already-sealed couple, can be sealed to their parents after the fact. (And the same is true for deceased people.)

For instance. My parents were married in the Salt Lake Temple in December of 1973. A little more than ten years later, they adopted me as an infant. Once the adoption was finalized, I was sealed to them (in the same temple, coincidentally). And four years after that, after my sister was born and her adoption finalized, she was sealed to us as well.

Well, I think that about covers the basics. If you’d like more information, either about temples or any other Church-related topic, check out the Church’s official websites: mormon.org, which is geared more toward people of other faiths, and lds.org, which is more member-oriented. And don’t miss the other Mormon Writer Blogfest posts:

The Book of Mormon and missionary work with Kayeleen Hamblin
Faith in Jesus Christ with Myrna Foster
Families with Charity Bradford
Family history with Laura D
Joseph Smith with Annette Lyon
Restoration of Jesus Christ’s church with Kelly Bryson
Stories from the Book of Mormon with Kathi Oram Peterson

Finally, if you have a specific question, feel free to leave it in the comments. I can’t answer every question (one, because I’m not that smart, and two, because some things are too sacred to discuss outside the temple, as I mentioned before), but if I can, I’d love to.

Thanks for reading.


Matthew Rush said...

Hi Krista I'm not a Mormon, but I do respect other people's faith and I find this quite interesting.

One of my closest friend's is a Jehovah's Witness and he gets a little annoyed that people always assume that Mormons and JWs are of the same exact faith. I know there are probably a few similarities but basically this is not true.

Any ideas about why that is such a common misconception?

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

To Matthew: I think a lot of it has to do with our missionary efforts. Both of our faiths go door to door to share what we believe. Most people have had missionaries from one or the other church come to their door.

There are similarities between the Mormon Church and pretty much every other church out there. One of our leaders said that our goal is not to take away the faith that you have but to see if we can add something meaningful to it.

Krista, feel free to add or subtract from this as you see fit.

Myrna Foster said...

Thanks for sharing this, Krista! It's fun to see your wedding pictures. Have you ever posted a picture of you on here before?

Krista V. said...

Matthew, ditto what Kayeleen said. Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses both do active missionary work, so they're often confused. You can tell them apart by the name tags (Mormons have them, Jehovah's Witnesses usually don't), and the age of the missionaries (Mormon missionaries are usually younger, in the 19- to 24-year-old range, and Jehovah's Witnesses are usually a little older).

Kayeleen, thanks for the tag-team:)

Myrna, yep, this is the first time I've put my own picture on the blog. (I've been meaning to include one in my profile for a while, but my crop jobs all look stupid.) And the big bonus is getting a picture of Honey Bear, too:)

Charity Bradford said...

What a great idea to open it for questions, I should have done that.

Love your pictures!

Helena said...

Lovely photos!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Great photos! I loved your explanation of what goes on within the temple walls. Thank you for arranging this blogfest. It's been a wonderful experience.

Krista V. said...

It's never too late, Charity:)

Thanks, Helena! And thanks for stopping by.

Kathi, it's been a great experience for me, too.

Shannon said...

Thank you for sharing a little bit about your faith and your life. It was interesting to read. :)

Annette Lyon said...

Great, simple explanation--and happy upcoming anniversary!

We celebrated out 16th (Logan Temple) last week.

Krista V. said...

I'm glad you found it interesting, Shannon. And hopefully you found it informational, too, as that was my intent:)

Annette, it's definitely anniversary season, isn't it? :) Kelly Bryson over at Book Readress celebrated her anniversary last week, too.

Holly said...

Your wedding photos are lovely. It's nice to see your face (and you are just like I pictured, serious and nice) and Honey Bear, too. Thanks for sharing your faith with all of us.

Krista V. said...

Aw, thanks, Holly. (It's good to know I look serious and nice:) ) And you are welcome.

Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

Great post. I will have to ask you about your adoption experience sometime. My husband and I are just about to go to court (next week!!!) to finalize our adoption of our little baby boy. So exciting!

Krista V. said...

Oh, Kathryn, that's FANTASTIC! Congratulations! And I'd love to chat anytime.

Anonymous said...

Great post, hun. That day is still the happiest day of my life :)

Honey Bear

Krista V. said...

Ditto, Honey Bear;) (<--You get a wink:) )

Michelle said...


Thanks for pulling this together! We linked to it today on Mormon Women: Who We Are.

Krista V. said...

Michelle, thank you so much for the shout-out! It looks great.

Esther Vanderlaan said...

Beautiful pictures!!

Krista V. said...

Thank you, Esther. And thanks for wandering over from Amy's blog:)