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  1. A good way to explain the temple to others who have not been endowed (whether they are LDS members or not) is to ask them to think about the ordinances of Baptism and of the Sacrament. They seem rather ordinary only because they are more readily visible anywhere — all are welcome and invited to view and/or participate in these ordinances. They are good examples of how God teaches with symbols, and we can readily discuss them. In baptism, the burial of the natural man and the rebirth of the new creature in Christ. The symbolic washing away of sins, etc. And the sacrament, symbolically partaking of the flesh and blood of Christ and take upon us His name and become One with him. Then ask them to consider — what if you’d never seen or heard of these ordinances before? Would it be strange to witness them and learn what they mean? But since you do know about baptism and the sacrament, you know there is nothing in them to be worried about. I then explain that there are additional, similar ordinances in the Temple, but no “stranger” or requiring more concern than those of baptism and the sacrament. They are physical in the same way as are these 2 previously mentioned ordinances are, and they have levels of symbolic meaning, just as baptism and the sacrament do, and we learn more about them as we attend and ponder them in the Temple and other study. And I also tell them that much of what is taught there is a way to come back to Heavenly Father and that much is found in Genesis and other creation accounts in Moses and Abraham, and just direct them to other scriptures to study. I think there are good, simple ways that we can talk about the temple and still keep it in the “milk” category, but not be too mysterious and hush-hush about it.

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