Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are eligible to attend its temples may notice new adjustments to the temple endowment ceremony.
While those who attend the temple are asked to not share information about the sacred ordinances outside of the temple, social media was buzzing with news of changes, with most simply encouraging temple-worthy members to attend soon and experience the differences first-hand.
On Wednesday, the First Presidency of the church issued the following statement:
"Whenever the Lord has had a people on the earth who will obey His word, they have been commanded to build temples. Scriptures document patterns of temple worship from the times of Adam and Eve, Moses, Solomon, Nephi, and others. With the restoration of the gospel in these latter days, temple worship has also been restored to bless the lives of people across the world and on the other side of the veil as well. Over these many centuries, details associated with temple work have been adjusted periodically, including language, methods of construction, communication, and record-keeping. Prophets have taught that there will be no end to such adjustments as directed by the Lord to His servants. A dedicated temple is the most holy of any place of worship on the earth. Its ordinances are sacred and are not discussed outside a holy temple."
Church officials did not make public details of what exact changes would be made.
The temple endowment is held in highest regard among members of the LDS Church and is respected as a sacred ceremony during which covenants and promises are made by the individual receiving the endowment.
While the purpose of temples have never changed, from time to time, there have been adjustments to the endowment ceremony. New multi-media productions have replaced old ones and most temples that used live actors to portray Biblical individuals in the ceremony have changed to using filmed presentations. The duration of the endowment ceremony has varied in length based on film presentation runtime and other elements of the ceremony.
"Temples point Latter-day Saints to Jesus Christ and their eventual life with Him, their Heavenly Father and their family members on the condition of faithfulness to Christ’s teachings," according to church topical information.
According to mormonnewsroom.org, "The sacredness of the temple anciently can be seen in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, Moses had the children of Israel carry with them the Tabernacle (a large, portable temple) as they wandered in the wilderness. King Solomon built and dedicated the great temple that was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. It was rebuilt and later substantially expanded, but again destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70."
It continues, "In a modern-day revelation, Joseph Smith received direction to build a temple in Kirtland, Ohio (dedicated in 1836). Later he was instructed to build a temple in Nauvoo, Illinois (1846). So important were temples to early Church members that within days after arriving in Salt Lake Valley, Brigham Young selected the site of the Salt Lake Temple."
There are more than 200 temples throughout the world either in operation, under construction or announced.
For those seeking information about the temple, visit https://www.lds.org/topics to view a video about temples.