With President Gordon B. Hinckley's announcement of the Church's intent to construct more than 30 small temples immediately, the Church embarks on a temple-building program "on a scale the like of which we have never seen before." This program--which President Hinckley says will bring the total number of temples to "100 by the end of this century"--makes it possible for Saints throughout the world to enjoy the "crowning blessings" of the gospel. (See Ensign, May 1998, 87-88.)
The following statements from members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explain the importance of temples and temple work.
President Gordon B. Hinckley: "These are important and vital days in the work of the Lord. ... We are living in one of the most significant and important epochs in the history of the Church and in the history of God's work among his people. We are living in the greatest era of temple building ever witnessed" ("Rejoice in This Great Era of Temple Building," Ensign, November 1985, 54).
"Each temple built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stands as an expression of the testimony of this people that God our Eternal Father lives, that He has a plan for the blessing of His sons and daughters of all generations, that His Beloved Son, Jesus the Christ, ... is the Savior and Redeemer of the world, whose atoning sacrifice makes possible the fulfillment of that plan in the eternal life of each who accepts and lives the gospel. Every temple, be it large or small, old or new, is an expression of our testimony that life beyond the grave is as real and certain as is mortality. ... Every ordinance performed in these sacred houses is everlasting in its consequences" ("This Peaceful House of God," Ensign, May 1993, 74).
A Place for Priesthood Keys
President Boyd K. Packer: "Much of the teaching relating to the deeper spiritual things in the Church, particularly in the temple, is symbolic. We use the word keys in a symbolic way. Here the keys of priesthood authority represent the limits of the power extended from beyond the veil to mortal man to act in the name of God upon the earth. The words seal and keys and priesthood are closely linked together. ...
"... Those keys belong to the President of the Church--to the prophet, seer, and revelator. That sacred sealing power is with the Church now. Nothing is regarded with more sacred contemplation by those who know the significance of this authority. Nothing is more closely held" ("The Holy Temple," Tambuli, June 1992, 22).
A Place for Making Covenants
Elder Henry B. Eyring: "The Latter-day Saints are a covenant people. From the day of baptism through the spiritual milestones of our lives, we make promises with God and He makes promises with us. He always keeps His promises offered through His authorized servants, but it is the crucial test of our lives to see if we will make and keep our covenants with Him" ("Witnesses for God," Ensign, November 1996, 30).
Elder L. Tom Perry: "Following the acceptance of the first four principles of the gospel and a reasonable time in proving ourselves by conducting our lives in harmony with its teachings, it is then possible to enter the Lord's temple and receive the endowment. ...
"After receiving your own endowment, you may be united with your companion and sealed in marriage for time and eternity. ...
"How glorious are the Lord's teachings to his children that there can be eternal family associations with grandparents, parents, children, and grandchildren in one eternal family organization" ("Let Us Go Up to the House of God," Ensign, May 1982, 54, 59).
Elder Robert D. Hales: "An eternal bond doesn't just happen as a result of sealing covenants we make in the temple. How we conduct ourselves in this life will determine what we will be in all the eternities to come. To receive the blessings of the sealing that our Heavenly Father has given to us, we have to keep the commandments and conduct ourselves in such a way that our families will want to live with us in the eternities. The family relationships we have here on this earth are important, but they are much more important for their effect on our families for generations in mortality and throughout all eternity" ("The Eternal Family," Ensign, November 1996, 65).
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: "We have that most reassuring of all final promises: The power which binds us together in righteousness is greater than any force-- any force--that might try to separate us. That is the power of covenant theology and the power of priesthood ordinances. That is the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ" ("Things We Have Learned--Together," Ensign, June 1986, 32).
Elder M. Russell Ballard: "All adult members of the Church should strive to become worthy to receive the ordinances of the temple. They should identify their ancestors and perform the sacred temple ordinances for them.
"... Making and keeping sacred covenants in the house of the Lord is ... the ultimate, satisfying spiritual feast of the gospel of Jesus Christ in mortality; it has eternal consequences" ("Feasting at the Lord's Table," Ensign, May 1996, 81-82).
A Place for Sanctifying Service
President Thomas S. Monson: "Though temporary obstacles to family research may seem insurmountable, frequently, in a miraculous way, there shall appear before us a clear pathway through a field of turbulence. ...
"... The Prophet Joseph Smith declared: All that we do for our own salvation must be done for the salvation of our dear ones, because salvation is the same for all.
"We must not be weary in well doing. Should we feel our contribution in this sacred work is small or insignificant, we remember that `the worth of souls is great in the sight of God' [D&C 18:10]. ... When we perform our work with abiding faith, we will qualify for the desired blessings" ("Stumbling Blocks, Faith, and Miracles," Liahona, June 1996, 20-21).
Elder Russell M. Nelson: "Following His crucifixion, Jesus ministered in the spirit world, setting in motion missionary work among those who had died without hearing the gospel [see 1 Pet. 4-6; D&C 138:10-37]. Baptism for these souls would logically be expected. ...
"From the days of Adam to the meridian of time, temple ordinances were performed for the living only. Ordinances for the dead had to await the Atonement and postmortal ministry of the Savior [see D&C 138:18-37]" ("The Spirit of Elijah," Ensign, November 1994, 84-85).
Elder Richard G. Scott: "Resolve to bless the lives of those who are dependent upon you--and in so doing, bless your own life profoundly.
"... I promise you the Lord will bless you in your efforts, for this is His work, and He will guide your prayerful efforts to bring the ordinances and covenants to your ancestors.
"... Through our efforts in holy temples here on earth using the authority delegated by the Savior, our progenitors receive the saving ordinances that allow them to enjoy eternal happiness" ("Redemption: The Harvest of Love," Ensign, November 1990, 7).
Elder Dallin H. Oaks: "There are many tasks to be performed in temple and family history work. We should encourage our members to make prayerful selection of the things they can do in their individual circumstances and in view of their current Church callings. ...
"There are family organizations to be formed, family projects to be planned, hearts to be touched, prayers to be offered, doctrines to be learned, children to be taught, living and dead relatives to be identified, recommends to be obtained, temples to be visited, covenants to be made, and ordinances to be received" ("In Wisdom and Order," Tambuli, December 1989, 23).
A Place for Personal Blessings
President James E. Faust: "We believe in the gift of healing. To me, this gift extends to the healing of both the body and the spirit. The Spirit speaks peace to the soul. ...
"The Lord has provided many avenues by which we may receive this healing influence. I am grateful that the Lord has restored temple work to the earth. ... Our temples provide a sanctuary where we may go to lay aside many of the anxieties of the world. Our temples are places of peace and tranquillity. In these hallowed sanctuaries God `healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.' (Ps. 147:3.)" ("Spiritual Healing," Ensign, May 1992, 7).
Elder David B. Haight: "A temple is a place in which those whom He has chosen are endowed with power from on high--a power which enables us to use our gifts and capabilities with greater intelligence and increased effectiveness in order to bring to pass our Heavenly Father's purposes in our own lives and the lives of those we love. ...
"Come to the temples worthily and regularly. Not only do you bless those who are deceased, but you may freely partake of the promised personal revelation that may bless your life with power, knowledge, light, beauty, and truth from on high, which will guide you and your posterity to eternal life" ("Come to the House of the Lord," Ensign, May 1992, 15-16).
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin: "The House of the Lord is a place where we can escape from the mundane and see our lives in an eternal perspective. We can ponder instructions and covenants that help us understand more clearly the plan of salvation and the infinite love of our Heavenly Father for his children. We can ponder our relationship to God, the Eternal Father, and his Son, Jesus Christ. ...
"Regular temple work can provide spiritual strength. It can be an anchor in daily life, a source of guidance, protection, security, peace, and revelation" ("Seeking the Good," Ensign, May 1992, 88).
Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "If we will keep our covenants, the covenants will keep us spiritually safe" (" `Overcome ... Even As I Also Overcame,' " Ensign, May 1987, 71).
"Let the winds and the storms beat and pound upon ... faithful Saints; they will overcome the world--not vice versa. Let others falter; these will not! Let others pout and doubt; these will not! Let some noisily mock the temple; these will quietly flock to the temple, to do the work of Him whose house it is!" (" `Shine As Lights in the World,' " Ensign, May 1983, 11).