Temple Worship

3 tips to make visiting a temple open house extra special for your kids

George Neville, 4, and Hazel Neville, 2, of Medford, Oregon, look at the fountain outside the St. George Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the last day of public tours Saturday, November 11, 2023, in St. George, Utah.
George Neville, 4, and Hazel Neville, 2, of Medford, Oregon, look at the fountain outside the St. George Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the last day of public tours Saturday, November 11, 2023, in St. George, Utah.
Nick Adams, for the Deseret News

If there is one thing I will remember President Nelson for, it is the dizzying pace at which he has accelerated temple work.

And with more new temples, there are more opportunities for children and families to learn about the temple together, particularly through attending open houses. Here are a few ideas to help your kids get the most out of their open house visit.

1. Watch the Progress

When it makes sense, visit the temple grounds as a temple is being built. Repetition helps kids especially, and taking time to watch the construction, talk about it, and look forward to the open house can make it that much more exciting when they go inside.

If you don't live close enough to the temples being built to drive by them, you can still follow their progress through photos shared by others on churchofjesuschristtemples.org.

2. Review and Prepare

Before you take your children to an open house, review the purpose of temples. What rooms are inside? What do you do there, and why? Why is it special to get to see everything before it's dedicated? What does dedicated mean?

You could show your children photos of the baptistry or confirmation rooms and connect them to the experiences of a friend or relative who was recently baptized. Or you might want to check out the resources on the Church’s temple website and watch this special Friend to Friend event that was all about temples.

You can also prepare your kids for what will happen procedurally and how to behave. For instance, you can talk about the white shoe covers that will go over your shoes at the entrance or explain why you won’t take pictures while inside.

In addition to reviewing the process of going through an open house, our family also tries to prepare spiritually. Just as when we are getting ready to go to church, there are simple ways to make the moments leading up to an open house special. For example, we like to change into our Sunday clothes and listen to calm music on our way there.

3. Take Your Time

Part of the excitement of visiting an open house is not only seeing the sacred rooms but also appreciating the art and nature of the surrounding area. As Elder Gerrit W. Gong said during the groundbreaking for the Taylorsville Temple on October 31, 2020: “That’s a great thing about this church. We have great diversity, but we have unity in the faith, unity in the house of the Lord.”

While walking through the open house, help your children notice unique details like illustrations of the local nature and landscape and the intricate window and mural designs.

You can also observe and acknowledge the people serving at the open house. Whether they are cleaning away fingerprints left by little hands, playing music to bring the Spirit while people wait, or just showing you where to go, talk about how they are sharing their testimonies through their actions and reminding you the temple is a sacred place even before its dedication.

When possible, pause and point things out to your children. We like to count or point out the pictures of Christ that we see or identify a piece of art representing a scripture story we recently read together.

Some temples have more open spaces to step out of the moving line and observe things more closely, but even slowing your steps as you pass a particular picture or art piece can allow your children to ask questions about what they are seeing. For instance, our family has enjoyed taking an extra minute to stand by the baptistries and observe the different styles of oxen that hold up the font while we discuss their significance. We also like to look in the mirrors of the sealing rooms as we talk about our own sealing.

No matter how often we have the opportunity to attend a temple open house, as we are intentional about preparing our children and sharing our testimonies, our temple open house experience—or experiences—can be milestones in our family’s spiritual path.

The Holy Invitation

You may feel a little intimidated when you’re preparing to enter the temple for the first time. Fortunately, this book can help. It offers answers about the endowment by providing a frame for you to understand the purposes and procedures of its ordinances. Explore the temple endowment from three different vantage points: the why, the what, and the how, so that when you go to the temple—whether for the first time or the hundredth—you can more fully absorb the learning and truth the Lord has in store for you. The Lord has extended to each one of us a holy invitation: an invitation to enter His house, to learn of Him and His ways, and to prepare to return to His presence and receive a fullness of His exalting blessings. Learn how you can accept the invitation the Lord has extended to you personally and find profound meaning in the sacred temple endowment.

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