Mormon Temples are Spiritual Hospitals for Individuals and Families

Family History is Not Just a Hobby for LDS Members

Buenos Aires Argentina Temple at dawn. Photo courtesy of © 2012 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Good health practices and remedies for physical illness are necessities in this world. Some would even make medical care a right, if not just an obligation.

Your spiritual health is as important as your physical health and perhaps more so. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS/Mormons) contains the guidance and truth necessary for you to reach your spiritual potential. Temples and family history are a crucial part of this. The covenants we make and the ordinances we perform in temples are crucial for our spiritual health.

Temples are Spiritual Hospitals

Like earthly hospitals, temples provides us with knowledge and tools to help heal us of our spiritual maladies and prevent spiritual wounds from festering. They help enable our spiritual growth, both individually and collectively. Temples serve both restorative and preventative purposes.

Temple ordinances can spiritually bind us together as families for eternity. They are the crucial step in helping ourselves and others reach our full spiritual potential. Naturally, the more time we devote to these spiritual purposes, the better off we will be because helping ourselves and others produces a joy like no other.

What Is Our Spiritual Potential?

Heavenly Father has told us that our eternal welfare is His first and only priority. Like any earthly parent, He wants the best for us. The best is becoming like Him and returning to live with Him in Celestial glory after we die.

With this in mind, Heavenly Father prepared this earth for us and enabled Jesus Christ to serve as our savior. We are here to learn and to work.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ enables us to return and live with our Heavenly Father once more. Eternal life is Heavenly Father's and Jesus Christ's gift to us through grace.

We know heaven has three tiers. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ reside in the highest tier. To live in the highest tier with them depends on what we do in mortality for ourselves and for others, especially our families.

What Steps Should We Take to Ensure We Reach This Potential?

The beginning steps to reach our full spiritual potential involve accepting the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and joining ourselves to His church:

  1. Faith in Jesus Christ
  2. Repentance
  3. Baptism by immersion
  4. Confirmation and the Gift of the Holy Ghost

Anyone eight years old can take these steps. They constitute promises we make to Heavenly Father and to ourselves. We take these steps and have these ordinances performed before we can go to a temple and complete our spiritual work

Later steps for ensuring our spiritual welfare can only take place in temples. Temples are special buildings dedicated to the Lord and His work. We must do the following in temples for ourselves and others, by proxy:

  1. Make crucial promises and covenants
  2. Be married and/or sealed to a spouse of the opposite gender for eternity

Until we die, we must do all we can to keep our promises. This includes living our lives as Jesus would. He is our example. Mormons generally refer to this as enduring to the end.

How Do We Help Others Reach Their Spiritual Potential?

Many people currently live on the earth. Many more have lived on the earth and died. Few of them have had the opportunity to make and keep covenants in a temple or otherwise.

We help enable others who have already died to take the steps we have taken in mortality. This process starts through genealogy, more commonly called family history in LDS parlance.

Family History Work is Combined With Temple Work

Family history is not just a hobby for LDS members. It is both a responsibility and an obligation. It involves the following:

  1. Constructing records of our ancestors by doing genealogy and research
  2. Determining if our ancestors have been able to take these steps by proxy
  3. Making certain our ancestors' temple work is done for them by proxy

Identifying our ancestors may include pouring through family records, census records and other materials. Indexing names from records and organizing them for easy searching is something everyone can do to assist in genealogy work for themselves and others.

People who have already died cannot do this work for themselves. We do it all for them by proxy in temples. Doing this gives them the choice in the next life to accept or reject this vicarious work. We hope they accept it.

We know we can live together as families in the next life, but only if the work that binds families together eternally has been done. We go to temples to accomplish this.

How Should Knowing All of This Change My Life?

It should make you take these steps for yourself.

It should make you want to help your ancestors and others take these steps as well.

It should make you want to help others take these steps themselves and also help them help their own ancestors.

Next: Spirit Life is the Next Phase After Mortal Life