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What Mormons Should (and Shouldn't) Say About What Happens Inside Temples

Occasionally we may wonder what we can or cannot say about the ordinances of the temple. Because they are so dear and important, we want to share them with those we love. But what is okay to share and what should we hold sacred?

The following is an excerpt from S. Michael Wilcox's House of Glory: Finding Personal Meaning in the Temple, where he discusses how talking about the temple can bless others as long as we speak of it in the right time at the right place.

[When preparing to enter the temple,] we are told to pray for understanding. How often do we kneel before or after temple attendance and beseech the Lord to teach us some edifying truth from the endowment?

The Lord is willing to teach if we will ask. We must allow Him, however, to use His own wisdom about when and how to reveal a certain truth. Sometimes He will speak directly to our minds. Sometimes the answer will come in the scriptures. Insight might be presented to us by a spouse, a mother, or a father during a quiet conversation in the celestial room.

These conversations are completely appropriate and may be the means by which the Lord will answer our prayers for understanding. Occasionally we wonder what we can or cannot say about the ordinances of the temple.

Outside the temple, we must use extreme care, speaking only of those things that are in the scriptures or in the official publications of the Church. Even then, we must let this counsel be our guide: "Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit; and in this there is no condemnation" (D&C 63:64).

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Inside the temple, among those who are worthy of the ordinances, we may, again with the constraint of the Spirit, teach one another, particularly those in our own families.

Some things we do not speak of even within temple walls, but these things are few and obvious. In the context of temple learning, the Lord instructs us in the following words: "As all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom" (D&C 88:118). Remember, the temple is called "a place of instruction for all those who are called to the work of the ministry in all their several calling and offices; that they may be perfected in the understanding of their ministry, in theory, in principle, and in doctrine" (D&C 97:13-14).

Ideally, the Spirit, using the symbols and the atmosphere of the temple, teaches each person according to his or her needs and in response to the person's individual prayers. But the Spirit can also teach through the words and insights of others.

On occasion, Jesus' disciples did not understand the deeper meaning of his parables or figurative language. In private, they would ask Him the interpretation of these teachings. He rarely refused to explain. His disciples were weak but desirous of learning. We must not be afraid to ask for clarification from the Lord or from each other. When we have insight, it is appropriate, especially within our families, under the guidance of the Spirit, to teach and explain as did the Savior.

"Young people and sometimes older people," said Elder John A. Widtsoe, "Will question this or that thing about the temple service. 'Is this or that necessary?' "Is this or that thing reasonable?' 'Why should I do this or that?' Even though such questions should be needless, it is best to answer them, especially if they are asked by those who are untrained and inexperienced and therefore unable to think clearly for themselves" (Temple Worship, pg. 59-60).

While we are learning to clearly receive instruction through the Holy Ghost, let us, without anxiety, "teach one another words of wisdom" inasmuch as we have wisdom to impart and the Spirit so directs. This sharing may be the Lord's answer to someone's prayers.

Within a family, this sharing of insight can be very uniting. As a teacher in the Church Educational System, I have shared many touching teaching moments with hungry students, but none have been as sweet as when I have sat quietly in the celestial room with my wife, my sisters, my children, or my parents answering questions to the best of my insight and receiving their insights in return. Many of my prayers about the temple have been answered in this manner. In doing this, we must always be careful to respond to the Spirit and never limit the meaning of the temple to our own thoughts. A world of meaning can be discovered if our minds remain open.

Lead image from Getty Images.

Get more from your temple experience with S. Michael Wilcox's House of Glory: Finding Personal Meaning in the Temple.

Image titleS. Michael Wilcox identifies the blessing that temple work brings to our everyday lives. He discusses the temple as a house of learning where we can understand the most powerful principles of the gospel and receive inspiration for our families and ourselves. He explains how the temple is a house of refuge where we can escape the trials and troubles of the world. He defines the phrase “house of order” and talks about how the temple as a house of glory, describing the wonderful experiences that come to those who serve there, and especially to those who labor for their kindred dead.