A Visit to the Temple
The very first visit to the temple for most young adult LDS people to receive their own endowments is when they are being prepared to go on their LDS missions, or when they are getting married.
Those who have not yet gone through the temple (as missionaries preparing to go on a mission) have to first attend a Temple Preparation Seminar.
[A Mormon term, “going through the temple” means to receive their own endowment in preparation for exaltation (i.e. godhood).]
Even before attending this preparation class they are expected to have a basic understanding of the requirements for temple-worthiness, which means that they need to be full tithe payers (pay minimum of 10% of their gross income to the LDS Church); they must keep the Sabbath Day holy (in Mormonism the Sabbath is Sunday, not Saturday, the 7th day); they must “keep the Word of Wisdom (i.e. obey the dietary laws of the Church – D&C 89); they must keep the law of chastity (be morally clean). There are other requirements, but these are the “big ones” that they have been taught from early childhood on to obey and to keep.
After they have completed their Temple Preparation Seminar, and before they can go through a temple, they must pass the temple-recommend-interviews by their bishop and stake president, and receive their “Temple Recommend” card.
During these preparation classes the secrecy of the temple is stressed. They are told that they will not be allowed to talk about temple ordinances with anyone outside of the temples.
Topics that will be covered in these preparation classes also include “pre-mortal life”, “the fall”, ”reason for mortal life”, ”kingdoms of glory” and afore mentioned ”moral cleanliness”, “tithing”, “Word of Wisdom” and “the Sabbath Day”. They will be taught that the symbols learned in the temple are reminders of what they represent, i.e. that the symbols teach “abstract truths” otherwise hard to remember or understand. The garment that they will receive in the washing and anointing room in the temple is a symbol also, and it represents covenants they will make there, and it will be a constant reminder of these covenants, and it must be worn next to their skin 24/7 the rest of their lives. They are told that the garment will protect them from evil.
They will be taught that temple work has existed since ancient times. (They will refer to Moses’ Tabernacle, Solomon’s Temple, Herod’s Temple and Nephite Temples, saying that the same ordinances as in modern day LDS temples were performed anciently.) They will be taught that in the temple they will receive saving ordinances of the priesthood, accompanied with covenants.
They must keep them sacred (i.e. secret) and they will be told that all ordinances are performed by the power of the priesthood, and that these ordinances are essential to exaltation (godhood). They will emphasize feelings. (Good feelings represent truthfulness of the temple rituals, and, of course, truthfulness of the LDS Church.) They will be reminded that the temple ordinances assure that “families are forever”, and that going to a temple often is their opportunity to do work for the dead, who did not receive these ordinances while they were alive.
[About the work for the dead: LDS youth does only baptism for the dead. Adult members, who have received their own endowments, do the rest of the necessary temple work – i.e. initiatory ordinances, followed by the rest of the endowment ceremonies, marriage sealing and sealing of children to parents.]