The Kiev Mormon Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths, the “Mormon Church”) recently received first place for the best religious building construction for 2010. It is the first Mormon temple constructed “in the former Soviet Union.” The Kiev temple was announced back in 1998 just a few weeks after the dedication of the first Ukrainian meetinghouse.
Latter-day Saint temples are different from regular church meetinghouses. Temples are literally Houses of the Lord. They are places where Mormons go to make sacred promises or covenants with Jesus Christ. They promise to follow Jesus Christ and live a life of virtue and service to Jesus Christ. Latter-day Saints also bring names to temples to perform ordinances such as baptisms and sealings that unite families in an eternal relationship, in behalf of their ancestors who have passed away. It is a place of love, peace, and holiness for those who attend.
For the full report, please visit the official Mormon news website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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Learn more about why Mormons build temples at the official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Temples are houses of the Lord where sacred ordinances are performed. Learn more about what goes on in Mormon temples.
If you are not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the Mormon Church) and have had a Latter-day Saint friend get married in a Mormon temple, you may be wondering what the big deal is and why anyone would choose to get married in a place where so many of their friends and family could not attend the wedding. After all, a person’s wedding is one of the biggest days of their life. Why wouldn’t they want all of their loved ones to be there and to be a part of it? Understanding a little bit about the Mormon doctrine of eternal families should help resolve this question.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a unique doctrine from other Christian denominations: eternal families. While many people believe that they will be with their loved ones again after they die, it is not part of their church’s doctrine. In fact, many people are shocked when they learn that their church teaches that a marriage ends at death. The phrases “Till death do you part” and “For as long as you both shall live” have perhaps become so much a part of what we expect to hear at weddings, that we no longer think about what they mean. The person performing the wedding has no authority to extend the marriage relationship (and thus, the family relationship) beyond the bounds of this world.
However, Mormon doctrine teaches that families can be together forever; that marriages can be for eternity. Such a marriage can be performed in only one place, however: Mormon temples. God has given the power to certain men to perform marriages (called sealings in Mormon doctrine) which bind a couple together forever. Such a blessing requires a great deal of commitment, however. Attending Mormon temples requires a high standard of living in the first place, but once a person receives temple ordinances for themselves, they promise to live even higher standards. When being sealed, a couple promises to support each other for eternity. This is a very different perspective than a marriage which lasts only in this lifetime. Being sealed to someone requires a great deal of sacrifice, as does any marriage, but when a couple is sealed, they have already made certain covenants with God. With these promises made to God first, and to spouse second, an eternal marriage begins on a completely different plane than a civil marriage.
The eternal nature of the commitment in a Mormon temple wedding is infinitely more powerful than those of a civil marriage. This is why it is so important to those who understand the true nature of the temple sealing to not settle for anything less. Of course family and friends are important, but it is more important to have the best possible start to your life together.
The Mormon wedding ceremony itself is quite short. It takes place in a sealing room of the temple. The couple kneels across from each other at an altar. There are two large mirrors hanging parallel to each other over the altar, casting infinite reflections. These reflections are symbolic of the eternal nature of this couple’s relationship. An exchange of rings is not part of the ceremony, but if a couple lives in a culture where rings are traditionally exchanged, they can do this quietly after the ceremony is complete. The couple can invite whomever they wish to attend, as long as guests are temple worthy themselves.
Everything else is very traditional, or can be as traditional as the couple wishes it to be. The bride can wear a dress of her choosing, as long as it is modest. Couples often have large receptions afterwards for family and friends, especially for those who were unable to attend the wedding ceremony. A temple sealing is one of the most beautiful, spiritual events of a lifetime, and is worth whatever sacrifice is necessary to get there. The blessings which come from this union are so beautiful and strengthening to a new marriage.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly referred to today as the Mormon Church, was founded on April 6, 1830, by a man named Joseph Smith. The roots of the church began 10 years earlier, however, when Joseph Smith, as a young man of 14, prayed to know which of all the many Christian denominations he should join. A religious revival around 1820 resulted in many denominations condemning each other, and Joseph was confused by their differing interpretations of scriptures in the Bible. During his own study, he came across James 1:5, which reads, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Joseph decided to heed this counsel, and he prayed. In answer to his prayer, he received a marvellous vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Son. They told Joseph that the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ had been lost from the earth, but it would be restored.
Joseph immediately received persecution when he spoke to local spiritual leaders about his experience. He was told roughly that the heavens were closed. The heavens were not closed then, nor are they now, as Joseph knew and continued to learn. Over the course of ten years, Joseph continued to receive divine instruction. He was led to an ancient record written on brass plates. He translated this record by the power of God. This book was published in 1830 as the Book of Mormon. This book of scripture is a spiritual record of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas, who were led to the new land by the hand of God. It is a second testament that Jesus is the Christ and visited the American continent after His resurrection.
Missionary work has been a part of Mormon doctrine since its foundation. Early Church leaders went to Canada, England, and Europe and soon travelled to other far countries. Converts were encouraged to gather to Zion in the United States. What started as a church of six members has today grown to a worldwide church membership of more than 14 million. Now, however, members are encouraged to build the kingdom of God where they stand. There are now more members outside of the United States than inside it. Life has never been easy for the Latter-day Saints, however. They were pushed from New York to Ohio, then to Missouri, then to Illinois. Finally, the Saints fled the organized United States and settled in the Utah Territory. Even here, though, they were pursued.
Joseph Smith received many revelations from God. He restored, through the power of God, many precious truths which had been removed from the scriptures over nearly two millennia. He would often go to the Lord in prayer after reading in the Bible or while translating the Book of Mormon to gain clarification on certain doctrine. During one of these times, when Joseph asked about the practice of polygamy anciently, the Lord told him that it was only lawful when He commanded it. After some time, the Lord did command it. However, it was only a few members of the Church who were called to live this law. The Lord commanded the practice to cease in 1890, and it no plural marriages have been sanctioned by the Mormon Church since then. There were some break off groups more than one hundred years ago who chose to continue practicing this law. They are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, though some claim to be Mormon. No person practicing plural marriage can be a member of the LDS Church. (More on polygamy.)
Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were martyred at Carthage Jail on June 27, 1844. After this, the Saints were led by Brigham Young to the Salt Lake Valley, as Joseph had instructed Brigham to do. The first group of Saints arrived in the valley in 1847, and all new members of the Church continued to gather there for several decades.
Since this time, the LDS Church has grown to fill the earth. A living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, leads the Church today as its sixteenth president. Mormon doctrine teaches that he is the mouthpiece of the Lord. Jesus Christ is the leader of the LDS Church and reveals His will through His prophets today, just as He did anciently (Amos 3:7). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint has a world-class humanitarian aid program, a welfare program, education programs, and incredible organization. Mormon clergy are lay clergy, meaning they are not paid; they volunteer their time to serve when called by God. This means that a man could be called to serve as bishop in his congregation (or ward) and after his time is fulfilled could be called to be in charge of cleaning the meetinghouse. This is not seen as a demotion in the Church. Rather, all members recognize whatever call comes, comes from God. There is no demeaning service in God’s kingdom, and each job is important. These callings are opportunities to grow and learn and to serve others.
The Mormon Church continues to build temples in unparallelled numbers. More than 150 now dot the earth in countries everywhere, and more are announced every year. Temples are vital to the eternal salvation of God’s children. Learn more about the purpose of LDS temples as you visit this website.
Seth Adam Smith shared this entry after late Mormon President Gordon B. Hinckley visited Vladivostok, Russia, while Seth was serving as a Mormon missionary (representative of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) on July 31, 2005.
«Good morning! Good morning, everyone! I am so happy to be here. I’m sorry we didn’t get here yesterday. We had trouble. I’m so sorry you had to spend the night. I am grateful to Sister Putilina for the translation. I am absolutely lost at once when on your Russian language. I envy President Neuenschwander. He is the only General Authority who speaks Russian—so we have to keep sending him back. We want to see if Sister Neuenschwander can speak Russian now. We are now beginning a long journey. This is the first stop in many ways. Tomorrow we will be in Korea. It is now 50 years since the gospel was introduced there. Fifty years ago I would have wondered at a congregation this large. Now there are thousands and thousands of saints there. I believe that the day will come that we will have thousands upon thousands of saints here also (D&C 1:38). You are the pioneers. I admire you so much. Years from now we will look back at Vladivostok and wonder again at such a large congregation as we did in Korea. Be strong, be faithful, be true. Live the gospel and establish the work in this great and beautiful place. People ask me about our missionaries. I say do all the good you can. In the church we say, bring all the good that you have and see if we can add to it. We have so much to offer, so much the world does not know about. The world is still bound by the Nicene Creed. I don’t understand it. Joseph Smith, the first prophet in this dispensation, cleared up these questions. He saw God. He heard him speak. He saw His Son, Jesus Christ (JSH 1:11-20). There is no question. We have a perfect knowledge of the nature of God. We can give all the understanding of God. «And this is life eternal that we might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent» (John 17:3). These are marvelous, wondrous gifts to the world. We are all children of God. It doesn’t matter about our nationality. It doesn’t matter where we were born. It doesn’t matter about our hair color or our skin color, nor the slant of our eyes. He is our Father. I know, we know, you know that he hears and answers our prayers. I can testify to that. You can testify to that. The Book of Mormon is a witness to this. The scriptures say, «in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established» (2 Corinthians 13:1). We have the Bible, now where is the second witness? The Bible and the Book of Mormon together are a witness of these words (Moroni 9:3-5). We have been blessed with the goodness that the Melchchizedek Priesthood is restored. You and I can speak in the name of the Lord. We are the only ones who have the sacred privilege to work in the name of God. Declare this gospel of righteousness and peace. Declare it to the world. A few years ago I had a conversation with Ariel Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel. We were talking about the continuing war and I asked him if there was ever a time of peace and would there ever be peace again. «Yes,» he said. «When we remember that we are all children of Adam and Eve.» He then said, «Let me tell you a story. There were three men together: a Jewish Rabbi, a Muslim and a Christian. They were asked ‘How do you know when a new day has come?’ The Muslim said, ‘I look to the east and see two trees; when I can distinguish between the fig tree and the olive tree then I know a new day has come.’ The Christian said, ‘I look to the east and see two animals; when I can distinguish between the goat and the sheep then I know a new day has come.’ The Rabbi said, ‘I look to the east and see two people. When I see a woman she is my sister. When I see a man he is my brother. Then I know a new day has come.’» We are all brothers and sisters; we are to honor one another. To you beautiful sisters who sang to us: I thank you. I wrote the words of that song and I have heard it on many occasions, but never before has it touched my heart so much as it did today. God bless you. I can’t stay long; we have more appointments to keep around the world. Soon we will be in Nigeria where we will dedicate a new temple. There will be a congregation of blacks, all of them—blacks, brothers and sisters; and we will love them just as we love you. I pray you will be blessed in every way. Live the gospel. The Lord can’t bless you unless you live the gospel. I love you dearly. I love you so much. I will never forget you. I bless you that you will have food on the table. I bless you that you will have clothes to wear. I bless you that you will have shelter over your heads. Live in peace and harmony with husbands honoring wives, with wives honoring husbands. Love your children. I know that God lives. He sees and answers prayers. I have seen miracles, many miracles, miracles even as recent as yesterday. Jesus Christ is our Savior; He gave His life for us. I leave my love and prayers with you. God be with you till we meet again. Thank you, thank you very much. I see missionaries here. Be thankful for them. Be kind to them. They put up with so much of the world. We live in a worlds of problems, filth and immorality. Rise above the filth. Stand taller and walk as the Lord would have you walk. I wish we had time to shake all of your hands but there are too many of you. I will shake hands with the front row. I will always remember you. How do you say ‘goodbye’ in Russian? Dasvedannya? Dasvedannya.»
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) strive to be a giving people. Our outreach extends to those of all faiths who are in urgent need of elevation from poverty, famine, natural disasters, and education. Through its humanitarian service division, called Latter-day Saint Charities, the Church often works with local government and other agencies, such as the International Red Cross and the Catholic Relief Services. We believe in the Savior’s mission of «doing good» to all, and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donate tithes (ten percent of their income) and fast offerings to the building of the kingdom and to the helping of those in need globally.
For example, in 1985 when thousands were dying from famine in Africa, Church members in America fasted for two meals and contributed the money to the relief effort that they would have spent for their own food. In less than two weeks, millions of dollars were given to provide food and supplies to the starving people of Ethiopia. According to the International Red Cross, this was the largest single contribution to the famine relief effort by any organization in the world.
In 1993, the Church sent more than 16 tons of humanitarian aid supplies to Russia, the Ukraine and the Baltic States. During this same time, over 233 tons of food, mostly produced at Church farms, were sent to Kenya to feed drought victims and Somalian refugees. The Church also contributed hundreds of textbooks to China for use by that country’s university students.