Families are the central unit of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As members of His restored Church, we believe that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that gospel principles are best taught and applied within the walls of the home. When a family is centered on the teachings of Jesus Christ, I have seen that mothers and fathers have an increased ability to raise their children in an environment of love and support.
So, how do temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fit into this? Well, there are two special events that take place in temples that are crucial for the family. One event that members participate in is called “baptisms for the dead.” We can find evidence for this practice in the New Testament. In 1 Corinthians 15:29, St. Paul taught: “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?” Within temples, members have the opportunity to perform baptisms on behalf of their ancestors who died without a knowledge of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. This special event is only performed in temples. However, it does not mean that these deceased ancestors are obligated to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We believe all people have agency, or the ability to choose for themselves. All people who have passed away and have had their baptism done for them in the temple have the ability to accept or reject that their baptism has been done on their behalf.
Another important event that takes place in temples is something called “a sealing ordinance.” What does this mean exactly? Well, essentially it means that Latter-day Saints believe in eternal marriage. When a wife and husband are “sealed” in the temple they make a promise with God that will unite them and their family for all time and eternity. We believe that we can be with our families in this life and stay with them forever in the next life.
Families were created so that we can learn about and worship our Heavenly Father together in a safe space. Our families bless us here on earth as we are able to grow our relationships and enjoy spending time together, however, these blessings can continue to expand as we perform sacred ordinances in the temple that will make our families eternal.