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Memphis Tennessee Temple

“The presence of the temple in the community will spark the Spirit of Christ in hundreds of people,”1 promised Elder Gordon T. Watts of the Seventy at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Memphis Tennessee temple.

Travel time has been reduced from days to hours as Mormon temples have been built closer and closer, now some members will have less than an hour to drive. The Memphis Tennessee temple will serve more than 20,000 members in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri.

The prophet Joseph Smith sent the first missionary to the Memphis area Wilford Woodruff, who later became the 4th president of the Mormon Church in 1835. Many people joined the church, but left as the Saints migrated west because of local persecution. Presence of the church was small and in 1934 only about 130 members worshipped in Memphis. Since then the church as grown significantly warranting not only numerous meeting houses but a temple as well.

Mormon temples are sacred to the members of the Mormon Church. At the groundbreaking ceremony of the Memphis Tennessee temple Elder Watts, of the Seventy listed six blessings associated with temples.

  • The temple stands as a "landmark of strength, hope and holiness" to members.
  • It enhances and promotes Christian ideals like "love, honor, respect, and the sanctity of marriage."
  • The temple is "a reminder of the important work of salvation that will take place within its walls."
  • Members are reminded, "that we must be constantly aware of our personal actions and thoughts."
  • "The temple [stands] as a firm foundation that will encourage and entice the rising generation of young people to pattern their lives after that of the Savior."
  • The "presence of the temple in the community [sparks] the Spirit of Christ in hundreds of people." 2

Elder Watts also commented on the ancestors of the members of the Mormon Church saying, " I can imagine that many of your ancestors who may have been waiting for years, are shouting for joy at the possibility that they may now receive the sacred, saving ordinances that you can give them."

Members of the Mormon Church believe that it is only within the walls of a Mormon temple that people, both living and dead, can receive the ordinances necessary to receive eternal life with God.

Those who are living go to the temple to receive their personal endowment, which consists of making sacred covenants, or promises, between God and themselves. Members are also married within temples. Temple marriages are performed by men holding the priesthood, or power of God, which allows them to bind marriages for not only this life but for the life after as well.

God has made allowance for those who have died to receive the necessary saving ordinances through the blessings of the temple. After members have received their personal endowment they can act as proxy for their ancestors and others who have died to receive their own endowments. Members also act as proxy so families that have died can be sealed together. Thus creating a family chain that extends for generations.

Youth, as young as 12, have the opportunity to be baptized in proxy for those who did not have the chance to receive the necessary ordinance while living. Only baptisms for the dead are performed within temples and baptisms for living members are done in local meetinghouses.

On April 23, 2000, President James E. Faust dedicated the Memphis Tennessee Temple. During the dedicatory prayer he echoed the prayers of many of the members in the area when he said, "Now Father, we thank Thee for this temple. It is an answer to our prayers. It will enrich the lives of countless thousands who will here seek blessings for themselves and stand as proxies in behalf of those who have passed beyond. May hearts leap with joy, and may smiles of satisfaction come to the faces of all who labor herein as they carry forward Thy work of salvation and exaltation."

For more information about Mormon temples visit the sites below:

LDS (Mormon) Temple resources  

LDS Temples - Mormon Temples - Salt Lake Temple 

Temple (Mormonism) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

BBC - Religion & Ethics - Mormon Temples

Manhattan Mormon Temple New York City.com : Arts & Attractions ...

Mormon Temple: Information From Answers.com

Mormanity: Mormon Temples and "Secrecy"

Mormon Temple Ordinances - ReligionFacts.com  

(1) News of the Church,” Ensign, Apr. 1999, 74

(2) Church News, 23 January 1999.

(3) "Memphis dedicatory prayer: 'A sanctuary loved by the Saints,'" Church News 29 Apr. 2000: 11.

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