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Gospel Q&A: What Happens If Someone Needs Medical Assistance in the Temple?

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Gospel Q&A is a series from LDS Daily that strives to answer important gospel questions from readers. Today, we answer the question, “What happens if someone needs medical assistance in the temple? Are EMS people allowed to enter? Is the patient carried to the waiting room to meet them? Taken outside?”

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I’m going to be honest—I love to talk about the inner workings of the temple! I get a bit giddy about it because I think it’s important that everyone feels comfortable and safe in the Lord’s house. The more you understand how things work, the better prepared you are to have a good experience.

I’ve served as an ordinance worker in the temple for over nine years now and have held multiple leadership callings. My understanding of what occurs in an emergency is based on my own personal experience and training. There may be more official answers that I’m unaware of, but I believe my understanding of policies and procedures is common across most temples around the world.

Emergency response in the temple depends upon the severity of the illness or injury.

There are many people who come to the temple and start feeling sick. In these cases, they often just leave on their own accord without major incident. In an endowment session, the worker can help escort the patron to a water fountain or a locker room if needed. I had a case where a couple needed to leave an endowment session halfway through because the husband wasn’t feeling well. I simply took their temple names so they could be placed back into the ordinance circulation and they left the temple.

In all other cases where a temple patron is not able to move from where they are for any reason, temple security is called. Each altar in the temple has emergency buttons on them. Each ordinance station in the temple, such as the initiatory area or up at the veil corridor, has telephones and pagers. Should a patron fall, faint, vomit, injure themselves, or become incapacitated, the security team on hand is immediately alerted and trained to provide medical assistance. They also are in contact with the local authorities. In quite a few cases I’ve experienced, the security team was able to treat the patron to the point where they were able to leave the temple without further assistance.

However, it is my understanding that outside personnel may enter the temple in case of an emergency. At the Provo City Center Temple, matrons have often told me that “the living patron takes priority over the dead one.” Our main goal as workers is to ensure our patrons have a safe and spiritually-enriching experience. If someone has a broken arm or has a heart attack, the life of that person takes precedence over everything else.

Each temple also has a first aid room. In our temple, it includes a cot, locked cabinets with necessary supplies, crutches, wheelchairs, and anything else the security team needs. It just so happens that this room is near one of the underground exits where a large ambulance could easily get access without going up and down stairs. Patrons can be brought to the room to recuperate or receive further treatment.

It’s also important to remember that every situation is different. Though it is indirectly related, we are trained not to worry about ceremonial clothing in the case of an evacuation. Temple patrons and workers are asked to leave the building in full ceremonial attire for their own safety. I believe this principle relates to other emergency situations. What clothing is removed or where other patrons are will be dependent upon the specific situation at hand.

No matter what occurs, I am confident in the procedures of the temple to care for patrons and ensure they receive excellent help in times of need.

Disclaimer: While all of our answers will use scriptures and/or words of modern prophets, we do not represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We don’t believe any of our answers are comprehensive.

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Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

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