We believe that temples are literally houses of God. We build temples to worship Him and to make sacred covenants with Him that we cannot do anywhere else on earth. These covenants bring us closer to God, and we promise to serve Him. The temple is also where families are sealed together forever. We really do believe that family ties can, will, and do exist beyond death and into the eternities, and the temple is where a family can be sealed to each other not just for life, but for eternity. The temple truly is a place of love and beauty, peace, comfort, and strength.
If you're interested, here are two videos that explain why Mormons build temples and the importance of temples:
Why Mormons Build Temples: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-x_-TQivCx8
Blessings of the Temple: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLXYxmaHWQs&feature=channel
I hope the links work. If not, you can check out mormon.org or Mormon Messages, and learn more about temples and other doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And if you have any questions, please e-mail me/talk to me. I'm more than happy to answer any questions.
And now without further ado, the rest of my blog post:
Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to the London Temple. Ever since I knew I was going to Cambridge, going to the London Temple was on my high-priority checklist. So when the Cambridge Relief Society said they were planning a temple trip, I decided to jump at the chance.
There were only four BYU girls who went--Beth, Jen, Natalie, and myself. However, the Relief Society only heard word that Beth was going, so the Relief Society first counselor showed up with a very small car (I wish I knew what kind it was, but I didn't check). All I know is that it was built to comfortably hold four people, and there were already two women in the front seat and four of us.
So we crammed ourselves into the back seat: Jen by the right window seat, then me, then Beth . . . and then Natalie laying on Beth's lap in a fetal position. It was quite the ride. Luckily, we only had to drive for about 15-20 minutes to get to the Relief Society President's home, where she had a bigger minivan to transport all of us. Still, it was quite the way to start our temple trip! (Oh, and it was just marvelous to listen to the English sisters' conversations. They were hilarious.)
The trip from Cambridge to the London Temple took about 2-and-a-half hours. Because the temple is about 20 miles out of London, there was A LOT of traffic we had to deal with. It made me so grateful that I live so close to a temple. To multiple temples! Last year at BYU, it took me about 10 minutes to walk to the Provo Temple. And at home, it takes me about 15 minutes to drive to the Mount Timpanogos Temple. It made me extremely grateful for the proximity I have to the temples, and I know that I mustn't take that for granted. And I'm also grateful that I was able to sacrifice my Saturday to be able to be at the London Temple.
When we got to the temple, I was struck by its beauty. Then again, I'm always struck by the beauty and magnificance of temples. I am constantly aware of how I am standing on holy ground; it's awe-inspiring. I was also thinking about how "English" the London Temple is. It just fits England. It's elegant, simple, beautiful, and magnificent, all rolled into one. And that's how I feel England is.
We had a picnic on the grounds, which are extensive and very, very beautiful. We enjoyed wandering around the grounds and taking pictures. The grounds felt very Alice in Wonderland-esque . . . there was even a rabbit that appeared now and again. And just being on the grounds of the temple was so peaceful. I could feel peace comfort me, strengthen me, and lift my spirits. PicnicWe split up after our picnic lunch. Jen and Beth went with the Relief Society sisters (they had a temple session to go to), so Natalie and I wandered the grounds for a bit. But we decided that we really wanted to at least see the baptismal font. We had brought our temple recommends, so we went to the main desk and asked if we could go down to the baptistry. The temple workers were so kind (they always are), and they showed us to the baptistry. (Side note: In our Church, we do baptisms for the dead in the temple. See 1st Corinthians 15:29. They're proxy baptisms--so we perform the baptism for the dead person by standing in for them, so to speak. But, we also believe that the dead have a choice. They don't have to accept the work we do for them; there's always that agency.)
When we got to the baptistry, the temple workers there seemed like they didn't want to let us go do baptisms, or even see the font. But, they asked us where we were from and when we said BYU, they were a lot more willing to let us do the baptisms. And so we were able to do it. I was so glad we were. Apparently, we shouldn't have been able to do baptisms at all. They don't usually take walk-ins, and it's really hard to even get an appointment at the London Temple baptistry. I feel extremely blessed that Natalie and I were able to perform those baptisms, and that the Lord provided a way for us to do it.
After that, we started walking around the temple grounds again, and we ran into two of the guys from BYU: Jason and Tanner. Dr. Kerry's wife was also with them. It was fun to see them. We talked for awhile, and Sister Kerry said that we take pictures by the "Marriage Bridge." Just for fun. You know how the Salt Lake Temple has its "Wedding Pedestal"? Well, the London Temple has its Marriage Bridge. And when you've got two guys and two girls at the London Temple, you just have to take a picture on it. I mean, come on. Perfect photo-op.
Look at the happy couples! ;)
We walked around the grounds after that. Again. You never get tired of walking around them. They are SO gorgeous.
I am just very, very grateful that I had this opportunity to attend the London Temple. I know that temples are the house of the Lord, and that we can grow closer to God and to His Son, Jesus Christ as we attend the temple. We have temples to point us to Christ. And I think it's incredible that we live in a time where temples really are dotting the earth. It's amazing to see the "little stone" filling the whole earth.