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What Aspects of the Temple Can Latter-day Saints Talk About?

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Not Sure What to Talk About

For the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the temple is one of our highest and holiest places. But we’ve all had that moment in Sunday School or at home when a conversation comes up about the temple and we hesitate. Maybe we have questions or concerns. Maybe a family member or a friend wants to talk about the ordinances. We hesitate because we just aren’t sure what we can talk about. We want to respect the temple and its teaching, but unfortunately, this over-abundance of caution can cause us to miss out on understanding the temple and its covenants.

Anthony Sweat, author, bishop, and associate professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University worries that some members aren’t getting all they can out of the temple. On an episode of the Leading Saints podcast Sweat said, “We have almost created a disservice for a few generations of people who maybe aren’t grasping the doctrinal purposes of the endowment as well as they possibly could. And therefore aren’t pulling the power from it that they possibly can.”

Brigham City Utah Temple – Courtesy of churchofjesuschrist.org

What Can We Talk About?

This can be a tricky subject to navigate. As with several other subjects in the Church, there are no official guidelines for what we can and can’t talk about, outside of those things we covenant not to repeat. But Brother Sweat has a few simple steps to use when considering what to talk about when it comes to the temple.

The first is to consider what information has been covered by Church leaders or presented in official Church publications or on Church websites. In recent years, several Apostles and General Authorities have discussed the importance of temples and covenants in General Conference. The Church also has an entire page of its website dedicated to the temple. There you can find preparatory materials for attending the temple, information and videos about temple clothes and garments, and an overview of the endowment ceremony. This includes teaching about the covenants made in the endowment, which include:

  • Law of Obedience, which includes striving to keep God’s commandments.
  • Law of Sacrifice, which means doing all we can to support the Lord’s work and repenting with a broken heart and contrite spirit.
  • Law of the Gospel, which is the higher law that He taught while He was on the earth.
  • Law of Chastity, which means that we have sexual relations only with the person to whom we are legally and lawfully wedded according to God’s law.
  • Law of Consecration, which means dedicating our time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed us to building up Jesus Christ’s Church on the earth.

All of this information is posted on the site and available for public consumption. This is important to know because then we know we can talk about it at home and in our church meetings.

What Should We Not Talk About?

The second of Brother Sweat’s guidelines to use when considering what to talk about when it comes to the temple is to consider what we are asked during the endowment or by Church leaders not to discuss outside of the temple. On the Commonly Asked Questions page of churchofjesuschrist.org, it specifies that some of the wording used in the covenants and ordinances should only be discussed in temples.

Beyond that, there isn’t a lot of advice on what we shouldn’t talk about from the temple. The best guide, as in all things, is to follow the Spirit. When discussing the temple and its ordinances and covenants, pay attention to his influence. But also be aware of past traditions; we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about the temple just because we have never talked about the temple.

Salt Lake City Utah Temple – Courtesy of churchofjesuschrist.org

Pearl of Great Price

Not long after the Conference Center was completed, Elder Boyd K. Packer admonished the audience of the April 2000 conference to remember that even though the building was beautiful, its true beauty was in its purpose. He shared this short parable: “A merchant man seeking precious jewels found at last the perfect pearl. He had the finest craftsman carve a superb jewel box and line it with blue velvet. He put his pearl of great price on display so others could share his treasure. He watched as people came to see it. Soon he turned away in sorrow. It was the box they admired, not the pearl.”

When it comes to the temple, I am afraid that instead of admiring the box, we shut it, afraid that the pearl might get damaged. But then we can’t see the pearl. We can’t discuss its beauty and understand it. The same goes for the temple and its purpose. To understand the covenants, we need to share and study them. And we can do that while still maintaining the sacredness of the temple.

Consider your own knowledge of the temple. How well do you understand the covenants of the temple? Have you studied the resources the Church has to offer? Here is a list of resources you can you to better understand what you can and can’t discuss in the temple:

I invite you to study these resources and increase your knowledge of the temple. When you come to understand the temple better, you will be blessed in countless ways.

Join the Discussion!
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Tyler Nelson
Tyler Nelsonhttps://anchor.fm/tyler-brian-nelson
After serving a mission to Samara, Russia, Tyler graduated from Utah Valley University with a degree in Creative Writing. Tyler is the author of Away From The Sun, a short collection of his written works. He lives in Provo with his drop-dead gorgeous wife, enjoys playing basketball, playing the banjo, studying history, and collecting Pokemon cards. Follow Tyler on Instagram @therealtylerbnelson

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