Mormons believe that immediately following water baptism, a person receives the "gift of the Holy Ghost" through the laying on of hands by the ordained male members of the LDS Melchizedek Priesthood. Mormons call this ordinance "Holy Ghost confirmation." Mormonism emphasizes that although people may occasionally and temporarily feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives, not until they are officially confirmed by the authority of the LDS priesthood through the laying on of hands are they able to experience the constant indwelling companionship and advocacy of the Holy Spirit.
But the idea that a person can receive the indwelling advocacy, ever-present assurance, and sustaining power of the Holy Spirit only through the ordained laying on of hands by the Mormon priesthood is foreign to the teaching of the Bible, as the apostle Paul indicates in Ephesians 1:13: "In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit."
Salvation Temple Ordinances
Besides the saving ordinances of water baptism and Holy Spirit confirmation, Mormonism also requires individuals to experience detailed temple ordinances to earn eternal exaltation into gods. As one Mormon writer states, "The temple opens the gate to us to be equal with God." This is how Mormons view their temples:
Temples are literally houses of the Lord. They are holy places of worship where individuals make sacred covenants with God. Because making covenants with God is such a solemn responsibility, individuals cannot enter the temple to receive their endowments or be sealed in marriage for eternity until they have fully prepared themselves and been members of the Church for at least a year. Throughout history, the Lord has commanded His people to build temples. The Church is working to build temples all over the world to make temple blessings more available for a greater number of Heavenly Father's children.
Through the temple ordinances, a Mormon takes one huge step forward in obtaining entrance into the highest level of the Celestial heaven. At strong odds with Christianity, LDS temple ordinances have no support in the Bible. These LDS temple ordinances are totally based on and configured by modern Mormon revelations, and are an esoteric tradition that Mormons believe is an integral part of the restored gospel of the Latter-day Saints.
No Temples in New Testament Christianity
Before we explore the saving ordinances of the Mormon temple, it is important to clarify that the Christian church has never constructed exclusive and private temples for secret rituals, sacraments, or worship. In fact, the Bible is clear that Christian people-the body of Christ-are now God's true temple under the covenant of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Under the new covenant, the Holy Spirit dwells in God's people, and not in special physical temple buildings made with human hands. The apostle Paul makes this obvious: "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?" (1 Cor. 3:16); "For we are the temple of the living God" (2 Cor. 6:16). It is very far-fetched and completely unwarranted for Mormons to suggest that temples were used by the New Testament church, and that they needed to be restored back to the earth.
Jesus emphatically stated in John 4:21-23 that his true newcovenant followers will worship God in spirit and truth, and no longer need temples as seen in the Old Testament:
Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will wor ship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him."
Jesus' words came to pass during his crucifixion when the temple veil was ripped from top to bottom (see Matt. 27:50-51), signifying that there is now free access to God through the blood of Christ and that Christ alone is our High Priest and only Mediator before God. Physical temples are irrelevant and unnecessary for holy Christian living, and are totally foreign to all New Testament teaching. This is how the writer of Hebrews 10:19-21 says it:
Therefore, brothers, . . . we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and . . . we have a great priest over the house of God.
If this is the case, then where did Mormons get the idea of building and using temples for sacred and secretive rituals not found in the Bible? Although Joseph Smith adopted the use of a temple from the Old Testament, there is solid evidence that he borrowed the practice of using secret rituals from the Masons or Freemasons. We know that Joseph Smith became a practicing Mason in March 1842, and quickly progressed to the high position of Master Mason. The Masons considered their lodges to be temples, and many of their secret rituals, signs, and symbols are reflected in the temple practices of Mormonism today.