Monday, October 5, 2009

Why Mormons Build Temples

Salt Lake Temple by the Ancestry Insider FamilySearch sponsor, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held its semi-annual world-wide conference this past weekend. While the Church has prepared a glossy video message to explain to non-Mormons why the Church builds temples, some may wish to compare the internal messaging given by Church president and prophet, Thomas S. Monson, to members during the conference. Said Monson,

We continue to build temples. We desire that as many members as possible have an opportunity to attend the temple without traveling inordinate distances. Worldwide, 83% of our members live within 200 miles of a temple. That percentage will continue to increase as we construct new temples around the world.

Currently, there are 130 temples in operation with 16 announced or under construction.

This morning I’m pleased to announce five additional temples for which sites are being acquired and which in coming months and years will be built in the following locations:

  • Brigham City, Utah,
  • ConcepciĆ³n, Chile,
  • Fortaleza, Brazil,
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and
  • Sapporo, Japan.

Millions of ordinances are performed in the temples each year on behalf of our deceased loved ones. May we continue to be faithful in performing such ordinances for those who are unable to do so for themselves. I love the words of President Joseph F. Smith as he spoke of temple service and of the spirit world beyond mortality.1

Said he,

“Through our efforts in their behalf their chains of bondage will fall from them, and the darkness surrounding them will clear away, that light may shine upon them and they shall hear in the spirit world of the work that has been done for them by their [people] here, and will rejoice with you in your performance of these duties.”2

For more information about the five new temples, see the official news release of the Church.



     1. Thomas S. Monson, 179th Semiannual General Conference, 3 October 2009, morning session; archived online at,5239,23-1-1117,00.html.

     2. Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939), 469-70.

1 comment:

  1. After reading your excellent article on Why Mormons build temples, it has given me reason to pause and reflect on the whys and wherefores here at the Howell Michigan Ward Family History Center. We have been a non-member volunteers here since the day they opened in Sept. of 1990. We have a large group of patrons who regularly use the facility, sadly out of 400+ patrons, only 14 are church members, a mere 3.5%, much lower than the 15% national usage by church members. Which begs the question, with Salt Lake building all these Temples to do ordinance work, why are so few Mormons participating? They seem to have absolutely no interest in genealogy and have yet to figure out that without the research end of it, there can be no ordinance work done. Those in charge don’t seem to encourage their congregations to do any research or ordinance work, and from my understanding it is one of the three most important parts of their religious beliefs.

    The second problem is the myth that everything is on line, when in fact less than 2% of all researchable data is on line. Which makes Libraries, Archives, Courthouses and especially all the Family History Centers with their access to all that is held at Salt Lake all the more valuable since they hold the other over 98% of available data.

    It is especially troublesome here in Howell, where the building is shared by two wards, from the towns of Howell, the founding congregation, established in 1968 which had grown so large that in 1998 it was split into two wards creating the Brighton Ward.

    The root of the problem is space. Ever since they hard wooded the cultural hall, no one wants to use it for classes as they did the past because the floor is noisy. So now they want the space the Family History Center has occupied for these past 20 years. If you can even imagine it, they want to move our approx. 532 sq. ft. facility into a 12’ x 16’ space (a mere 192 sq. ft.). We are currently housing 2,582 indefinite films and 2,486 microfiche, as well as 826 books, all of which are indexed on computer. The Livingston Genealogy Society also holds their meetings here at the church.

    After all these years we still have pretty much all the same librarians, people who are devoted to helping new and experience researchers alike, with a one on one approach. We take as much pleasure in climbing the family trees of others as we do in researching our own. Even our patrons help each other.

    My question would be: Is Howell/Brighton the only one that is threatening the very existence of it’s very successful Family History Center or is this attitude previlant in other Mormon congregations across the country as well?

    Bob & Dianne Brenner
    non-member Librarians


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