Have you ever seen a temple of the Church of Jesus Christ? These edifices are distinct from chapels - more traditional buildings where we worship each Sunday. Only worthy members of the church are permitted to enter the temple. However, when a new temple is built, it is open temporarily for the public to view it.
Such an opportunity is coming for the temple in Richmond, VA (pictured above.) From March 25th - April 15th the temple is open to the general public for tours. The temple is located at 10915 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen VA 23060. (To book your tour, click here.)
Everyone is invited to come and see what makes these buildings unique and why they are so sacred to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Here is a short summary of Latter-day Saint temples and why they are important:
While some may view temple worship as something mysterious. In reality, temples are places of learning where members participate in ordinances and make covenants with their Father in Heaven. The symbolism and manner of worship are considered sacred to members of the church.
Entering the Holy Temple - Leaving the World Behind
When members go to the temple, they dress in their best clothing. After entering the temple, members place their clothes in a locker and dress in all white. This transition creates a feeling of oneness and equality with all other worshipers in the temple. It represents a desire to leave the concerns and preoccupations of the world behind and focus on the divine. It also symbolizes the member's desire to live a pure life.
Rendering of the Lobby of the Richmond Temple
Those who enter the temple perform ordinances that enable them to return and live with their Father in Heaven. They commit to serve others, live a chaste life, and follow the teachings of the Savior. The teachings and doctrine taught in the church culminate in our temple worship. They point toward the Savior Jesus Christ and teach us how to live more like Him.
Rendering of the Celestial Room of the Richmond Temple
Work for Ancestors
After a member has performed sacred ordinances and made covenants that pertain to themselves, they can enter the temple again and perform those same ordinances standing as proxy for loved ones, ancestors, or others who have passed away. We believe God's love extends to all man, woman, and child who has lived on the earth.
Understanding the staggering expanse of the task, the church endeavors to offer these ordinances to all of God's children who are living, who have lived, or who will yet live.
Worshiping in the Temple
So what is it like to worship in a temple? It is a feeling of sublime peace. There is a closeness to the divine that is unlike any other form of worship. It is a place that feels as if there is a conduit from heaven to your heart. It is a feeling we yearn for all to one day experience.