As history dictates, temples have been built through the command of the Lord throughout time. The Mormon Church has listened to the Lord's command and has heeded His call to build Mormon Temples. As of this writing, there are currently 122 operating temples with 5 under construction and 5 that have been announced.
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly referred to as the Mormons, temples are considered the "House of the Lord". It is a sacred building where only worthy members of the Church can enter. There is no secret to the Mormon Temples; it is a place that is sacred to members wherein they can enter and learn more about the purpose of life and make covenants to serve Jesus Christ and their fellow man.1 The covenants that are made in the temple make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.2
The main purpose of the temple is to participate in religious ceremonies that are necessary for exaltation into the celestial kingdom; those being ordinances for the deceased and the living and eternal marriage.
When worthy members of the Mormon Church enter the temple, they are expected to treat the temple with the utmost respect and reverence. All members wear white clothing indicating that we are all equal in the sight of the Lord and which is symbolic of purity and reverence.
The Mormon Temple should not be referred to as a cathedral or great hall or even a Church. A Mormon Church has Sunday worship, social and recreational activities in which any person may attend. Whereas, the temple has many rooms designed to accommodate the functions that take place there, such as marriages, baptisms and instructional sessions and is only for those who are worthy to attend.
Members of the community are able to enter the temple before it is dedicated. When a temple is completed, there is an open house, which last for several days, in which the general public can enter. Information is provided to explain the different functions and ceremonies performed in the temple and questions can be asked and answered by those that volunteer. After the open house is completed, the temple is closed for cleaning and the temple is dedicated to the Lord and then opened for worth church members to attend.
Members of the Mormon Church must be worthy to enter the temple. Each member must have two interviews, one with a member of the bishopric and the other with a member of the stake presidency. (Bishop: members of the Church are organized geographically into congregations which are called wards and which are presided over by a bishop or 'father of the ward'. Stake president: geographic area where there are 5 to 12 wards in a stake. Each stake is presided over by a stake president). Interviews are between the bishop, stake president and the person wishing to attend the temple. Questions are asked of his worthiness; this is an opportunity to reevaluate the habits and patterns a member is taking in his life. Once a member has received his temple recommend he does not have it for life. He must be interviewed every two years to discuss his worthiness.
Mormon temples are places of peace and reverence. It is a time to put away the cares of the world and those things that are of great concern. It is a time to ponder and pray and to open the mind and to let the Lord help in solving the issues in life. It is a time to feel the Lord's love and to allow him to guide and strengthen you.1
1 "True to the Faith", a gospel reference, pg 170-172