What blessings can one expect for submitting names to have temple work done?

What blessings can one expect for submitting names to have temple work done?

Question

 

Dear Gramps,

What blessings can a person expect from submitting extended/distant family names for temple proxy work?  Thanks for your kind help as always.

Robert

 

Answer

 

Dear Robert,

Our departed dead have need of the saving ordinances every bit as much as we the living do. The blessings for them in receiving the vicarious ordinances equal our own, for they are now judged “according to men in the flesh” (1 Peter 4:6, D&C 138:33-34). It is a joy and exaltation that I would not want to deny anyone, even if they are but a name and dates to me. Indeed, it can be compared to missionary work in the sense that those who have accepted the gospel and ordinance you make available to them hold you in a place of remembrance and gratitude. For many who engage in this work, the joy of the deceased initiate is freely shared with those who participated in the red letter events (see D&C 18:15-16).

Many of the blessings for the living from this work for the dead come directly from the stated purposes of the work. Both Joseph Smith and Paul taught that we without them cannot be saved (Hebrews 11:40 and D&C 128:15). Brigham expanded this doctrine by teaching that we need a chain that takes us all the way back to Adam. “When the ordinances are carried out in the temples that will be erected, [children] will be sealed to their [parents], and those who have slept, clear up to Father Adam. … [Then] we shall form a perfect chain from Father Adam down to the closing up scene.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, chapter 41). So the blessing for doing this work for distant family is that we are linking ourselves to Adam, the first Patriarch. Without this link, we cannot be saved. Another related principle is the one clearly expressed by Jacob about the obligation of those who have the opportunity to provide salvation to another. They must labor to remove the blood of their generation from their garments (Jacob 1:19). We who can submit names of long-dead relations have a similar charge to discharge our duty. Indeed, Joseph even goes so far as to state that “Those Saints who neglect [temple work] in behalf of their deceased relatives, do it at the peril of their own salvation” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 471–72).

One final area of blessings doesn’t really relate to the dead at all. I have spoken with a genealogy neophyte who shared with me how her perspective of history has changed since doing her family history. The industrial revolution has a name and a face for her. The American Civil War becomes a lot more personal, tragic, and humorous when you learn the stories of your blood relations. Learning that family members found a way to start new business during the Great Depression (after being told there’s no work) has inspired a friend of mine to take courage during tough economic times. Additionally, my experience with the “spirit of Elijah” is that not only does it turn the hearts of (living) children to the (dead) fathers, but it also turns the hearts of cousins and aunts and uncles. The Internet and FamilySearch.org has made it incredibly easy to contact and build relationships with relatives that live far off. Family that would normally not correspond do so to confirm names, locations, and dates, coordinating the work on shared branches. From this comes a closer relationship. How marvelous is this work!

For more stories on the contagious joy of family history and temple work, see Elder Scott’s talk,  The Joy of Redeeming the Dead  (October 2012 conference).

 

Gramps

 

 

Was the work done in the original Nauvoo Temple the same that is done today?

Was the work done in the original Nauvoo Temple the same that is done today?

Question

 

Gramps,

I have been wondering about the temple work that was done in the Nauvoo Temple when Brigham Young was working around the clock to get the work done before the Saints left Nauvoo. How is it similar or different than the work we do today?

Rod

 

Answer

 

Rod,

The “temple work” that was done by the Saints in Nauvoo entailed baptism for the dead, the initiatory ordinances of washing and anointing, the endowment, celestial marriage, and (on occasion) the administration of special temple blessings–in short, the same work that goes on in modern temples of the Church today.  The only substantive difference, from what I understand, is that endowments for the dead were not performed in the Nauvoo Temple; because the Saints’ primary focus at that time was on getting their own endowments prior to the trek west.

Over time, the form of a few of the ceremonies has changed a bit.  For example, some sources tell us that the Nauvoo endowment took nearly six hours to administer and could be interrupted by meal breaks.  In modern times, the presentation of the endowment has been streamlined so that it takes less than two hours.  Joseph Smith himself seems to have recognized that some degree of flexibility could be advisable.  In setting up the upper floor of his Red Brick Store for the presentation of the endowment, Smith told Brigham Young:  “Brother Brigham, this is not arranged right, but we have done the best we could under the circumstances in which we are placed, and I want you to take this matter in hand and organize and systematize all these ceremonies.”  “St. George Temple:  One Hundred Years of Service”, March 1977 Ensign.  President Young did precisely that when the Endowment House was built in 1852; and he continued to tinker with the precise form of the ceremony throughout his life.  His successors, who also hold the keys to the sealing power, have continued on occasion to implement changes–with, we can safely presume, divine authorization.

While the forms of these rituals may occasionally change, the blessings and eternal significance of temple worship and the temple’s role as a place where the heavens and the earth come together remain unchanged.  Temple worship serves to orient the worshiper as to his or her place in the Lord’s plan of salvation and to reinforce the key role that Jesus Christ serves in that plan.

 

Gramps

 

 

How do I ask non member relatives for permission to do temple work?

How do I ask non member relatives for permission to do temple work?

Question

 

Gramps,

How do I ask my very staunch Catholic, born again Baptists, and non believer relatives for permission to do temple work?   Can I take cousin Billy’s name to the temple?  Can I baptize your dead dad to be a Mormon?  Your family needs to be sealed and I’ll do it?   Without these ordinances Aunt Ruth will not go to heaven?  Most members just do it without asking, but that permission box requires honestly. My bishop and temple president couldn’t offer suggestions.  Any ideas on how to ask permission?

Gail

 

Answer

 

Gail,

How about, “Can I do Aunt Ruth’s temple work?” When they ask what that is, tell them it is baptism and some other similar covenants. If needed, you can assure them that you’re not “making” Aunt Ruth a Mormon, but merely providing her with the option of accepting something if she wants it. They may say no. If so, then Aunt Ruth will just have to wait. But they may say yes, in which case you’re golden.

Some of the things you say seem to indicate misapprehensions (or cynicism) on your part. I would urge you to rethink those aspects. Also, in my experience, it is untrue that “most members just do [temple ordinances] without asking [permission of the next-of-kin].” But in any case, I think you are right to be honest in this and procure such permission before doing the ordinances.

 

Gramps

 

 

Can I receive my temple endowments at the age of 19?

Can I receive my temple endowments at the age of 19?

Question

Hello Gramps,

I’d like to ask about the temple ordinance. I have heard that there have been recent changes about receiving temple endowments. I heard that I could get it sooner. I’m only 19, and probably not going on a mission or getting married soon. But I really feel like I should get my endowment. I feel ready. I would like to receive its blessings. I study a lot to prepare myself, but I’m still not sure if I should go. Thanks for your answer.

Monika

 

Answer

Dear Monika,

I commend you for your righteous desire to attend the temple.  There are many choices you could make in your life right now that would not be so pleasing to the Lord.  I’m sure He is pleased with your desire to live righteously.

As you know, typically people attend the temple for the first time before going on a mission or getting married. One of the reasons for this is that we make covenants in the temple.  Taking these covenants upon oneself is a serious matter, and thus every effort is made to be certain someone is ready before attending the temple.

Still, I believe that it is left to the discretion of the Bishop and the Stake President to make the final decision about when a person is likely to go.  So I suggest you counsel with your Bishop.  I suspect that he will ask you to wait, but there is no harm in sitting down and discussing the topic with him.

You might also find these words from Pres. Packer’s talk, “Holy Temple” useful.

“The ordinances and ceremonies of the temple are simple. They are beautiful. They are sacred. They are kept confidential lest they be given to those who are unprepared. Curiosity is not a preparation. Deep interest itself is not a preparation. Preparation for the ordinances includes preliminary steps: faith, repentance, baptism, confirmation, worthiness, a maturity and dignity worthy of one who comes invited as a guest into the house of the Lord.”

The Holy Temple

Keep following the Lord Monika, and He will bless you.

 

Gramps

Is Mormon underwear magic?

Is Mormon underwear magic?

Question

Gramps,

I am not a Mormon, but a Born Again Christian faithfully attending a Protestant church.  I have recently been involved in a study in which we examined other religions of the world, and spent two sessions on Mormons and the LDS.  (I assume they are the same thing)  His representation of what he called ‘Magic Underwear’ did not adequately explain its meaning or relevance in your relationship with Jesus Christ. Could you please clarify a bit for me? Thank you

Tab

 

Answer

Dear Tab,

You are correct that Mormons and LDS are the same. The Church’s full name, as designated by the Lord Himself, is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The members of the Church are thus properly referred to as saints, or Latter-day Saints. Given the novelty of our additional, modern scripture (The Book of Mormon), those not of our faith have given to calling us Mormons which has long since lost any bite to it, so it is also acceptable. I appreciate that you acknowledge individual Christian discipleship among our adherents. That same Christ-focus is institutionalized throughout the Church of Jesus Christ, as is evident in the name and the weekly services.

You will not often hear a Latter-day Saint talking about the religious clothing that we wear. For one thing, it is sacred, and we do not like to see things we hold dear mocked, even if we know that mockers and scorners are generally ignorant of spiritual things. For another thing, these clothes function fully as underwear and, presidential examples notwithstanding, underclothes are an odd topic of conversation. But since you’ve asked so respectfully, and because other readers need to be prepared to answer such questions when they turn up (at the gym, in the military, visiting a doctor, or when dressing the dead for instance) I will share with you a little about this.

Latter-day Saints who have received ordinances in the temple wear special clothing we simply refer to as “garments”. For anyone dressing modestly, the garment will not be noticeable to acquaintances. One of our modern apostles, Boyd K. Packer, has written about the garment to prepare members to worship in the temple. “The garment represents sacred covenants. It fosters modesty and becomes a shield and a protection to the wearer” (Boyd K. Packer, The Holy Temple, p. 75-79). The notion that the garment “becomes a shield and a protection” is where outsiders have taken to calling it “magic underwear”. We do not view it as such, and Packer even goes on to explain.

“The garment, covering the body, is a visual and tactile reminder of these covenants. For many Church members the garment has formed a barrier of protection when the wearer has been faced with temptation. Among other things it symbolizes our deep respect for the laws of God — among them the moral standard” (ibid.)

In this way, the garment is not unlike a wedding band in today’s culture. For many, it serves as a reminder of the vows made when married. It is a tactile reminder, visible to self and others, of those vows. Many members will compare garments to clerical clothing worn by those of other faiths officiating in their churches. And since those who serve in The Church of Jesus Christ also hold other full-time jobs we are dressed in both attires, prepared to serve God and our fellow man.

 

 

Gramps

Can those in legal same sex marriages obtain a temple recommend?

Can those in legal same sex marriages obtain a temple recommend?

Question

Dear Gramps,

I read in a previous answer and it was mentioned in Sunday School today that members who are attracted to the same sex but remain chaste and don’t act on their urges, the same as heterosexuals, can hold a temple recommend. What about members that marry their partner in a state that has legalized same sex marriage? Given that they remained chaste until they were married can they still keep a temple recommend?

Kristin

 

Answer

Dear Kristin,

The law of chastity is simply that a man is not to have sexual relations except with his wife; and that a woman is not to have sexual relations except with her husband. With this understanding, homosexuals and heterosexuals can both worthily obtain temple recommends so long as they live this law. A few months ago The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gave instructions to bishops for the particular case you mentioned – whether it is sufficient to be lawfully wedded by the laws of the land.

Changes in the civil law do not, indeed cannot, change the moral law that God has established. God expects us to uphold and keep His commandments regardless of divergent opinions or trends in society. His law of chastity is clear: sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully wedded as husband and wife. We urge you to review and teach Church members the doctrine contained in ‘The Family: A Proclamation to the World.’

Consistent with our fundamental beliefs, Church officers will not employ their ecclesiastical authority to perform marriages between two people of the same sex, and the Church does not permit its meetinghouses or other properties to be used for ceremonies, receptions, or other activities associated with same-sex marriages.

Besides the principle in The Family Proclamation linked above, this also comes out from a distinction that the Church continues to make clear:

The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.” (MormonsAndGays.org)

There is no disciplinary action taken for same-sex attraction. There is no loss of temple recommend in such cases, nor disfellowship. Should the person choose homosexual actions then it comes with consequences. The Church recognizes such as sin. Marrying a partner of the same sex clearly falls under homosexual action, and any sexual relations had under that condition are against the law of chastity as far as God and the Church are concerned, opinions of the State and culture notwithstanding.

Even so, everyone deserves a baseline of respect, regardless of how his/her sins may differ from yours. As such, the Church reminds us that “ all visitors are welcome to our chapels and premises” to worship with us and participate in our activities. What’s more, we should still be civil and friendly whether attraction is same-or opposite-sex; whether such attraction is acted on or not; whether married or not. The Church “affirm[s] that those who avail themselves of laws or court rulings authorizing same-sex marriage should not be treated disrespectfully” (Church Instructs Leaders on Same-sex Marriage).

Gramps

What happens if there is a medical emergency in the temple?

What happens if there is a medical emergency in the temple?

Question

Gramps,

How  do Emergency Services personnel  gain access to an individual needing aid it they are inside one of our Temples and cannot be moved to the foyer ? I did an inquiry search but found no answers available.

Gib

 

Answer

Gib,

Excellent question and one I’m sure many have wondered.

Since I don’t have access to a Temple President Handbook, I can only go by my own understanding.

In the case of a medical emergency, emergency personnel are allowed access to the temple.  If able to do so, the person would be moved to the foyer or as close to the entrance of the temple as possible.

If unable to move, temple personnel would move temple patrons to another room to allow medical personnel the space and access to the person needing medical attention.

It would be illogical to think that just because medical responders don’t have a temple recommend that we wouldn’t allow them in to save the life of a temple patron.

My recommendation is, if needing more information, contact the temple closest to you and inquire of them their policy on this.

Gramps

Are there times that it’s okay to take a day off from wearing temple garments?

Are there times that it’s okay to take a day off from wearing temple garments?

Question

Hi Gramps

In the country I live, we have to marry civilly before we can be sealed in a temple. I’ve been to several LDS weddings over the past few years where the bride has clearly not been wearing her garments under her wedding dress even though she has been endowed. I always thought it wasn’t acceptable for anyone to take off their garments except in obvious situations. Am I mistaken?  Is it ok just for a ‘one-off’ like a wedding day?

John

 

Answer

Hi John,

I’d suggest that you stop looking for the underwear of another man’s wife (smile)…but it does become fairly obvious with some of today’s trends in wedding dresses. So…we’ll just let that go, shall we?

We remove the garment when it is appropriate to do so. We are specifically counselled to not remove it when we do not need to.

The temple prep teachers manual states:

“Church members who have been clothed with the garment in the temple have made a covenant to wear it throughout their lives. This has been interpreted to mean that it is worn as underclothing both day and night. …

The fundamental principle ought to be to wear the garment and not to find occasions to remove it. … When the garment must be removed, … it should be restored as soon as possible.

“The principles of modesty and keeping the body appropriately covered are implicit in the covenant and should govern the nature of all clothing worn. Endowed members of the Church wear the garment as a reminder of the sacred covenants they have made with the Lord and also as a protection against temptation and evil. How it is worn is an outward expression of an inward commitment to follow the Savior (First Presidency letter, 10 Oct. 1988).”

And we may also read from the Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple booklet:

“The wearing of such a garment does not prevent members from dressing in the fashionable clothing generally worn in the nations of the world. Only clothing that is immodest or extreme in style would be incompatible with wearing the garment. Any member of the Church, whether he or she has been to the temple or not, would in proper spirit want to avoid extreme or revealing fashions.”

My read on this: There is no one-off. When one should not wear the garment, such as when swimming or bathing, one does not. Otherwise, one should.

We should approach our garment wearing with an attitude that looks for reasons to wear it, and to treat it as the privilege it is, rather than looking for an excuse (even a one-off excuse) not to wear it, such as to look more stylish or sexy at a wedding. To me that thinking is contrary to the privilege it is to wear the garment.

Gramps

Can those with tattoos do temple ordinances?

Can those with tattoos do temple ordinances?

Question

Gramps,

I have many good friends who have tattoos and they are non-members, but I know that some of them would like to join the church, they are really great people and I have always had that concern because once I heard a member of the church who had said that people with tattoos cannot do temple ordinances, and those words have been sorrounding my mind since that moment, I really would like to know that, I think is not fair to judge someone by their mistakes in the past when they hadn’t had knowledge.

Mel

 

Answer

Mel,

In receiving your question my immediate thoughts went to a young lady by the name of Al Carroway aka “The Tattooed Mormon.”   She is a convert of 4 years (5 in August).  She and her husband currently are temple workers at the Jordan River Temple.  She is the perfect example of how one can have tattoos, convert and become a member of the church and do ordinance work in the temple.

I contacted her this morning and she was only too happy to share with me some insights on this via her blog and a YouTube video.

So I hope you don’t mind if I just share those with you and let her testimony and experiences answer your questions.

There is a great article on her blog “Morrmons and Tattoos” where she answers some of the same questions that you are asking.

While she has many YouTube videos discussing her conversion and faith, she recommended this one where she discusses her testimony, the temple and the blessings she has received from going.

I hope these help to answer your questions.  Her own personal experiences with this shows that those with tattoos can become members of the church and can enjoy the blessings of the temple.

Gramps

Why can we not kneel to pray in the temple?

Why can we not kneel to pray in the temple?

Question

Gramps,

Why can we not kneel to pray in the temple?

Patty

 

Answer

Dear Patty,

You can kneel in the temple, but it should be done at an altar designed for this purpose. They generally have a short padded “stoop” for you to rest your knees on. The stoop is also at a slight incline to facilitate easy kneeling and rising. The altar itself is set to a height conducive to resting your elbows so that you can enjoy a comfortable kneeling posture.

Sometimes during our quiet ponderings in the Celestial room, we feel prompted to pray and wish to do so in a manner most reverent. In my senior years, I’ve come to realize that if I intend to humble myself to the ground, I must also have a contingency plan to raise myself back up! (In my youth I thought my grandma was cheating by not kneeling for family prayers. Now she has nothing but my sympathy.) The longer I remain grounded, the greater my discomfort becomes – and I’m in good health! As I look around the temple, I find that it is largely staffed by retired seniors, and I wonder how many would be able to assist me back up, or if I would have to wait for the kind sister to shuffle hastily and reverently to fetch two or three brethren to come assist me, without toppling themselves. As the discomfort intensifies on my knees (if I’m not prone yet) my prayer equally intensifies but shifts from one of gratitude to desperation!

So, dear Patty, as much as I would love to kneel to pray in the temple, I think it’s simply a practical policy to encourage those attending to pray seated or standing and reserve the kneeling for those areas that have been built to accommodate it.

Gramps

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