How to Tour a Latter-Day Saint Temple

Temples are often some of the most beautiful buildings in any city, and many people would like to visit them to see what they are like inside.

So, can anyone visit a temple? Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints are open to the public right after being built or renovated for all to come and visit. After those brief public open houses, the inside of the temple is only open to members of the church who choose to meet certain qualifications. The temple grounds, however, are always open to the public and many temples have visitors centers on the grounds so that the public can more about our temples.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Some people inaccurately refer to our temples as “Mormon Temples” but the correct name of the church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We don’t call ourselves the “Mormon Church” because we like to put the focus of our church on the Savior Jesus Christ. Mormon was simply one of the prophets in The Book of Mormon who testified of Jesus Christ.

How to Visit a Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ

There are three ways for you to visit one of our temples: (1) You can always go to the temple and simply walk the grounds and admire the beautiful landscaping and the exterior of the building, (2) You can attend a temple open house when one occurs and you’ll be given a free tour of the temple, or (3) You can go to a temple with a visitor center and learn much more about the temples and see many pictures of the inside.

Option 1: How to visit the temple grounds

Temples are usually built on a lot with a park-like setting and beautiful landscaping. The public is invited to go to the temple grounds and spend time there reflecting on the beauty of the surroundings, and consider how that beauty is symbolic of heaven.

First, simply find a temple you’d like to go to. You can find a complete list of our temples here. You’ll also see the hours the temple is open, but generally, temple grounds are open on Tuesday through Sunday (though some are closed on Sunday). They generally open very early in the morning and close around 9:30PM or so. Next, just go! There are usually many people wandering the temple grounds and admiring it, so you’ll fit right in.

If you feel a little uncomfortable just showing up, request a visit or chat with some of our missionaries. They would be THRILLED to meet you there and walk you around the temple grounds and tell you what it’s all about. Missionary visits are free (of course) and there’s no obligation.

Option 2: Attend a Temple Open House

When a temple is newly built, we love to invite as many people from the community to attend as possible. During the open house period, there will often be tens of thousands of people who go through the building for a free tour.

On a tour, you’ll not only get to see the outside of the building up close, but the tour guide will take you through every room in the building and tell you what it’s all about.

To see a list of current and upcoming open houses at our temples, click here.

Open houses don’t happen every day. The open house period is right after a temple is built for about a month, and then again there are open houses only about every 10 years when a temple is renovated and later reopened. So an open house is a pretty special event and definitely not to be missed.

Option 3: Go to a Temple with a Visitor Center

Many of our temples have visitors centers on the temple grounds. The visitors center is usually a small building on the temple grounds separate from the main temple building. In it, you’ll find large pictures and models of the inside of the temple, videos explaining what is done in temples, and friendly people happy to answer your questions.

Visits to our visitors centers are always free and the public is always welcome to come right in. A list of temple visitors centers is available here

What Happens Inside Temples?

The temple is the most sacred place on earth to Latter-Day Saints. It is where we make promises to Heavenly Father to deepen our relationship with Him, and where we learn more of Heavenly Father’s purpose for our lives.

The Church of Jesus Christ has many thousands of church buildings in nearly every country in the world. Our church buildings are where we go each week for worship services, to pray, and to help and support one another. Our church services involve studying the scriptures, praying, and singing hymns.

Our temples are different than our normal church buildings. There are only 160 temples around the world compared to the many thousands of church buildings.

In temples, we perform sacred rites. You are certainly familiar with a baptism. A person who wishes to dedicate themselves to God is brought into the water and submersed in order to symbolize the start of a new life. Jesus Christ was baptized in the river Jordan. We also conduct baptisms in our temples today.

There are other sacred rites we also perform in our temples. Marriage is a second one. When a man and a woman wish to marry, they go to the temple, kneel at an alter facing one another, and a person with authority from God pronounces them husband and wife. A key difference for us is that we believe temple marriages performed with authority from God, will seal a husband and a wife and their children together as one for all eternity. It is not until death do they part.

We also make further promises to follow God in other temple rites. In these ceremonies, we promise to obey God’s commandments, are taught lessons about the creation of the Earth and God’s purpose for our lives, and how one day we will return to live with God in Heaven.

One unique aspect of our temples is that we also perform these sacred ceremonies for our deceased ancestors. For example, Jesus Christ taught “Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he CANNOT enter into the kingdom of God.” Essentially, one can’t go to Heaven who is not baptized.

Could that mean that an innocent child who dies before being baptized will be rejected from God’s love? Certainly not. However, God’s word must be fulfilled. He does so through the work we do in temples.

For example, if my great-grandfather died without receiving baptism, I could go to the temple and be baptized in his name. This then gives the choice to my late great-grandfather to accept that baptism and live with God in the afterlife.

This important belief is central to God’s plan for us. It gives every child of God the ability to be saved, to make choices of their own free will, and for families to be brought together again.

Jim Harmer

I own an online company where I create websites which are read by millions of people. I'm a non-practicing lawyer, husband and a father of three little kiddos. My faith in Christ is the most important aspect of my life, and this blog is where I get to share my beliefs. The rest of the time, I'm riding dirt bikes or traveling the world taking pictures. I live in Star, Idaho where I attend my local congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Each month, over 30,000 people come to this site to learn about the basic beliefs of my religion, and it's my privilege to share about it. The opinions expressed on this website are not necessarily those of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as this blog is not an official source of church information. However, every effort is put into providing accurate information in support of the church.

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