A new short video by the LDS Church about what temples mean to Mormons.
Some of you may have noticed that I changed the homepage at TempleStudy.com. It now links directly to a full-page video presentation of the immensely well-done professional film Between Heaven and Earth, which I wrote about a while ago. Previously, the video was broken apart into 5 parts (given YouTube’s 10 minute limit), but I have strung them together now into a playlist that will play directly through the whole video. I thought it would be appropriate to post this given all the press the temple has received over the past week. Now, those arriving at TempleStudy.com (the highest trafficked page on this website) will first be presented with the movie, which I believe is an excellent introduction to LDS temples and ancient temple history.
I don’t know how long I’ll keep it like this, or if I’ll make it permanent. Let me know what you think.
The late Krister Stendahl (1921-2008), who was a Swedish theologian, New Testament scholar, and a Professor and Dean of Divinity at Harvard University, once addressed the press about one of the Mormon temples that was being built nearby, and spoke about three important rules for religious understanding. These rules have since been recognized for their tremendous insight and application in interfaith dialogue and learning. They are:
- When you are trying to understand another religion, you should ask the adherents of that religion and not its enemies.
- Don’t compare your “best” to their “worst.”
- Leave room for “holy envy.” In other words, recognize those aspects of other religious traditions that you admire and wish could be reflected in your own.
I think there is great truth embedded in these principles, and we have the opportunity to exercise them every day. In fact, we use them often here on TempleStudy.com to compare the similarities and differences of Mormon temples with other religious traditions and sacred worship practices.
Below is a short new video which succinctly explains what Mormon temples mean to the Latter-day Saints, from the Latter-day Saint perspective. Hopefully those that are inquisitive about the Church will be able to learn, from us, what the temple means when investigating and evaluating LDS temple worship.
A more comprehensive video of 44 minutes, of which this is only a snippet, is also available to watch, entitled “Between Heaven and Earth,” which includes commentary and interviews from a number of scholars and theologians, both LDS and from other faiths.
(June 23, 1910 – January 27, 2008)
The most remarkable temple builder who has ever lived passed away this evening at the age of 97 – the Prophet of God on earth, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and our beloved friend and exemplar, Gordon Bitner Hinckley.
In the 165 years before he was called to the office of president and prophet of the Church 47 temples to God were erected on the earth. During President Hinckley’s 13 years as God’s anointed servant, 77 temples were built up to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 124 temples are now operating around the world, with another 13 temples under construction or announced, nearly tripling the number that existed previously. From an average of constructing a temple every 3.5 years, President Hinckley produced a near 21 fold increase in the rate to every 2 months! In the year 2000 alone, 34 temples were dedicated and given the exalted and holy status of the House of the Lord. During his lifetime he dedicated 85 temples, more than any other man who has ever lived. We might even say that President Hinckley has done more, save Jesus and Joseph Smith only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it, by extending the saving blessings and ordinances of the temple to countless millions of God’s children around the world (see D&C 135:3). Other members believe similarly.
Many prophets and apostles, ancient and modern, have envisioned this day and prophesied of the inspired and prophetic work of President Hinckley:
Elder Bruce R. McConkie –
We expect to see the day when temples will dot the earth, each one a house of the Lord; each one built in the mountains of the lord; each one a sacred sanctuary to which Israel and the Gentiles shall gather to receive the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Perhaps they will number in the hundreds, or even in the thousands, before the Lord returns. [Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1982), 277.]
President Brigham Young –
To accomplish this work there will have to be not only one temple but thousands of them, and thousands and tens of thousands of men and women will go into those temples and officiate for people who have lived as far back as the Lord shall reveal. [JD 3:372]
Even Isaiah of old foretold this time, and likely saw the ministry of President Hinckley,
Enlarge the place of thy tent, and . . . stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations . . . (Isaiah 54:2)
Elder Merrill J. Bateman has explained Isaiah’s scripture thus,
I suddenly realized that the phrase “the curtains of thine habitations” refers to temples, to houses of the Lord. In looking at the last days, Isaiah saw that a key feature of Church growth would be the building of temples. Temples will spread across the earth. (The Dawn of a New Millenium, Jan. 11, 2000)
Many others have also prophesied of the time when temples would “dot the earth.” President Hinckley saw that era and gave us the realization of that prophecy and vision. Glory be to God for the inspired work of this remarkable man of God! Indeed, we thank thee, O God, for a prophet!
Said the prophet,
I believe that no member of the Church has received the ultimate which this Church has to give until he or she has received his or her temple blessings in the house of the Lord. Accordingly, we are doing all that we know how to do to expedite the construction of these sacred buildings and make the blessings received therein more generally available. . . . We are determined, brethren, to take the temples to the people and afford them every opportunity for the very precious blessings that come of temple worship. (Some Thoughts on Temples, Retention of Converts, and Missionary Service, Oct. 1997)
Let it be known to all nations, kindreds, tongues and people that Gordon B. Hinckley was a chosen prophet of God, that he spoke the word of the Lord, and was a first hand witness of the Savior Jesus Christ! He was God’s prophet, seer, and revelator on the earth. He set in motion the accelerated building up of the most sacred spaces on earth, the holy temples of the Lord, in the most spectacular way this world has ever seen, and in them the saints have worshiped God and performed saving gospel ordinances in and to His name. The world will forever remember the legacy of our beloved prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley!
Hear the testimony of the prophet of God.