a house of covenants and a place of revelation
"Let us be a temple-loving people. Let us hasten to the temple as frequently as time and means allow. Let us go not only for our kindred dead, but let us also go for the personal blessing of temple worship, for the sanctity which is provided within those hallowed and consecrated walls. The temple is a place of beauty, it is a place of revelation, it is a place of peace. It is the house of the Lord. It is holy unto the Lord. It should be holy unto us."
Preparing for temple marriage is one of the most important thing we as YW can do. Here's some things to you can do to help you stay on the path that will lead to the temple and to the Lord.
Q. What can a young woman expect when she goes to the temple for the first time?
A. Ordinance workers will provide love, support and assistance. Sisters will be at the side of a young woman every minute if she needs help. "You should also know that when you go to the temple for the first time, you will not be left unattended. Temple officiators, receptionists, and others assigned to labor therein will assist you to make your temple experience a beautiful and meaningful one."
Q. Can my family or friends go through the ceremony with me?
A. A young woman going to the temple for the first time may be accompanied by her mother, sister, teacher or friend if the person has a valid temple recommend. This woman will be called her "escort." Other worthy family members or friends may also accompany her.
Q. What will I need to take to the temple?
A. Only two things are essential. One is a current temple recommend (a new one is needed every 2 years) signed by the bishop and a member of the stake presidency. The other is a set of temple garments. Often a temple will have a distribution center close by, but young women can check with the ward Relief Society president to learn where to buy garments.
Q. What clothing should be worn to the temple?
A. A young woman should wear modest clothing to the temple. It should be Sunday best. After receiving the endowment, a young woman's wardrobe should be modest, whether worn to the temple or not. Pants are not appropriate for women to wear to the temple.
Q. Will I need special temple clothing?
A. In the temple, those receiving endowments wear special white clothing. All necessary clothing is available to rent at the temple, or the clothing can be purchased. A young woman should discuss the matter with her bishop before going to the temple. Elder Hugh B. Brown said, "Here we will not only lay aside the clothing of the street, but the thoughts of the street, and will try not only to clothe our bodies in clean white linen but our minds in purity of thought. May we profit by the spoken word and what is more lasting and more impressive, receiving instruction from the spirit."
Q. Why does everyone wear the same kind of clothing in the temple?
A. John A. Widtsoe said, "In the temple all are dressed alike in white. White is the symbol of purity. No unclearn person has the right to enter God's house. Besides, the uniform dress symbolizes that before God our Father in heaven, all men are equal. The beggar and the banker, the learned and the unlearned, the prince and the pauper sit side by side in the temple and are of equal importance if they live righteously before the Lord God, the Father of their spirits. It is spiritual fitness and understanding that one receives in the temple. All such have an equal place before the Lord."
Q. After a person is endowed, should she wear the temple garment throughout her life?
A. Members receive the temple garment in the endowment and wear it afterwards all their lives. They should not alter or lay aside the garment so they can wear immodest fashions. President Joseph F. Smith said, "The Lord has given us garments of the hold priesthood...and yet there are those of us who mutilate them, in order that we may follow the foolish, vain and...indecent practices of the world. In order that such people may imitate the fashions, they will not hesitate to mutilate that which should be held sacred....Let us have the moral courage to stand against the opinions of fashion and especially where fashion compels us to break a covenant and so commit a grievous sin."
An excellent article to read would be Elder Carlos E. Assay's "The Temple Garment: An Outward Expression of an Inward Commitment." It can be found on www.lds.org
Q. Can a married female member go to the temple for her own endowment without her husband? Can a single female member receive her own endowment?
A. A wife whose husband is not endowed may be given a recommend to receive her own endowment if she is worthy and if the bishop receives the written consent of her husband. The bishop and stake president should be satisifed that the responsibility the woman assumes with the endowment will not impair the harmony of her marriage. An unmarried member may receive her own endowment if she is preparing to serve a mission; or if she is sufficiently mature to understand and keep the covenants made in the temple, she may receive approval from her bishop. In general, it is preferred that a young woman wait for marriage or a mission before receiving her endowment.
Q. Can my fiance be with me the first time I go through the temple?
A. It is normally allowed if the fiance holds a current temple recommend, but usually it can only be done up to seven days before the sealing is to take place. If you chose to receive your endowment several weeks before your sealing, it is generally recommended you do not go with your future spouse. Counsel with your bishop on the matter.
Q. Why is the temple endowment so secret?
A. There is a difference between secret and sacred. Anyone can know what is said in the temple, as long as they are worthy to enter into it. Because it is sacred, details are not discussed outside the temple. ElRay L. Christians said, "The ordinances of the temple are so sacred that they are not open to the view of the public. They are available only to those who qualify through righteous living. They are performed in places dedicated especially for this purpose. Their sacred nature is such that discussion in detail outside the temple is inappropriate. Many blessings come to those who receive and respect these sacred ordinances which are so necessary for exaltation. Participation in temple work provides dynamic, vivid, useful instruction in gospel principles, and the temple is a place for contemplation and prayer. The temple is a sanctuary from the world, a bit of heaven on earth, and one should continue to live worthily so that he can go to the temple often and renew his covenants."
Another excellent resource to read before attending the temple is "The Holy Temple" by Boyd K. Packer. Your bishop can give you a booklet adapted from the book.