What is a Temple?
Why Latter-day Saints Build Temples
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been building temples since the 1830s. Latter-day Saint temples are considered houses of God, a place of holiness and peace separate from the preoccupations of the world. They provide a place where Church members make formal promises and commitments to God. They are also the place where the highest sacraments of the faith occur — the marriage of couples and the “sealing” of families for eternity.
Learn more about why Latter-day Saints build temples:
Families Can Be Forever
The Latter-day Saint teaching that family relationships on earth continue after death is distinctive among Christian faiths. To last beyond mortality, marriages must take place in a temple. Couples who join the Church after they are already married may also have their marriages “sealed” in identical ceremonies, and their children may be sealed to them. Thus, Latter-day Saint (sometimes called “Mormon”) temples are not places of regular Sunday or congregational worship. They are built specifically for these “eternal marriages” and other individual and family-centered ceremonies. For the promises of the temple to remain in effect, a husband and wife must love and be faithful to each other throughout their marriage and continue to follow a course of Christian service and commitment throughout their lives.
We’re members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Latter-day Saints for short. We’re your neighbors, friends, and family members—a community of believers trying to be a little better each day with Jesus Christ’s help.
On February 27, 2020, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following renderings that show the planned completion of the temple. Click here to view the full gallery of interior renderings.
History of the D.C. Temple
On a serene 57.4-acre hilltop in Kensington, Maryland, the Washington D.C. Temple creates an impressive sight for travelers along the Capital Beltway. The 16th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serves Church members in the District of Columbia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, and New Jersey.
The Washington D.C. Temple was the first Latter-day Saint temple to be built on the East Coast of the United States. When the temple was completed in 1974, it served all Latter-day Saints living east of the Mississippi and some Latter-day Saints in South America and Canada. At 160,000 square feet, it is the third-largest temple in the world. It contains instruction rooms and sealing rooms, where marriages are performed.
On March 3, 2018, the Washington D.C. Temple closed for an extensive renovation. The building received considerable upgrades to its mechanical system and the finishes and furnishings were refreshed. There were also changes made to the landscaping and a small addition to the exterior to enclose a new elevator system and stairs.
The project was completed in 2020, and because of COVID-19, the open house was delayed until 2022.
Adjacent to the temple, the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center provides the opportunity for visitors to learn more about temples and the Church’s teachings. The Visitors’ Center has been closed during COVID but will open when the temple is rededicated after June 19, 2022.
1 In “To Build a Temple,” Ensign, Aug. 1974, 16.
2 “President Kimball Dedicates Temple,” Ensign, Feb. 1975, 81.
Announced: November 15, 1968
Dedicated: November 19-22, 1974 by then-Church President
Spencer W. Kimball
Building Size: 160,000 square feet
Height: 288 feet (the tallest
Latter-day Saint temple in the world)
Property Size: 52 acres
Closed for Renovation:
March 3, 2018
Contractor: Okland Construction
Reopening: June 19, 2022