5 Why’s about Mormon Temples

By: Jenny Pate //

Mormon temples. You’ve probably seen them around town. They’re Iconic.  Detailed.  Ornate.  But they can also be confusing and even controversial.

This post is my attempt to turn confusing into “Oh, I get it,” and controversial into “NBD.”

To do so, I’ll be using the “5 Whys” approach (literally the first time I’ve used anything from STATS 373).

We start with a “problem.”  Your Mormon college roommate is getting married, and you (being a non-Mormon) are invited to enjoy the chicken salad, éclairs and dancing at the wedding reception, but not invited to the actual ceremony.

Why #1:  Why are you not invited to the ceremony?

Most Mormons choose to be married in Mormon temples.  To go inside a temple, a person has to be a practicing Mormon with a temple recommend.

Why #2:  Why the Recommend?

It’s sort of a walk-before-you-run concept.  Before you can take differential equations, you have to pass calculus.  Before going to the temple, you should attend church and make commitments.  Once you and your Bishop (he’s like a Priest) decide you are ready to run, you can receive a recommend.  This often coincides with going on an LDS mission or getting married.

Why #3:  Why “run?”  Isn’t church enough?

Going to the temple gives Mormons a chance to make eternal commitments and to feel closer to God.  This is done through various ceremonies (like being married).

Why #4:  Why are those ceremonies secret?

Going to the temple is a form of worship.  You learn.  You ask questions.  You pray.  It’s all very important, personal, and sacred.  Our society tends to make light of personal things (or auto-tune them and put them on YouTube) so Mormons keep these experiences to themselves.

Why #5:  Why do you personally go to the temple?

For me, living in Texas, going to the temple takes 4 hours out of my day (with the driving, and the traffic, and the toll-road I keep getting tickets on), but I go anyway because after spending time in a building designed and dedicated to make people feel closer to their God and their families, I actually do.  I feel closer.  And nicer.  And more inspired about life, work and career.  I’m also less inclined to swear at the toll road.   So I keep going and learning and not swearing.

What other “Whys?” do you have about Temples? Send them to normonquestions@gmail.com.


Add yours
  1. 3

    not getting to see your own brother’s wedding is a BIG deal. I stil don’t get it. It’s still unfair and all the answers still sound like total bullshit. It doesn’t matterwhat you say. I will never each a place where it is “NBD”

    • 4

      Hey Luman. Believe it or not, I can empathize with your feelings. As an active Mormon who hasn’t received my temple endowment yet, I’ve felt similar feelings of frustration at not being able to witness any of my four siblings wedding ceremonies. I know I probably come at it from a different place than you do, but I think I get a little bit of what you feel. I’ve been thinking of writing a post to address that topic specifically, and after your comment, I am newly motivated to do so. I hope you don’t mind me reaching out to you once I’ve written it — maybe it will help both of us. Not that it’s EVER going to be “NBD,” but at least to come to a better understanding of why the LDS church treats temple ceremonies the way they do. Thanks for your comment and hopefully we’ll talk in the future.

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