I think this is one of the most common questions I've been asked about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons): Why can't I go in the Temple?
The truth is, you can. There are a couple of ways.
1. There is an open house before each LDS Temple is dedicated. During this time, the Temple is open to the general public for tours. A brief explanation is given for what happens inside the Temple during your tour. If you want to find out about a Temple near you, check out the following website: http://temples.lds.org. This site has an index of all the LDS Temples and includes announcements for new Temples.
2. All members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have the opportunity to receive a Temple Recommend. Once one holds a Temple Recommend, he or she may enter any Mormon Temple in the world. To obtain a Temple Recommend, one has an interview with his or her Bishop (the leader of the congregation) and with his or her Stake President. During this interview, one is asked if they are living the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the best of their ability. One is also asked if he or she is living the Word of Wisdom (law of health which includes abstaining from alcohol, coffee, tea, and illegal drugs), living the law of Chastity (sexual relations only within the bonds of marriage), and is paying a full tithe (10% of one's gross income). If one is keeping the commandments to the best of their ability, one can receive a Temple recommend.
If you are interesting in learning more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you can email me for a missionary referral, or visit one of the following websites: http://JesusChrist.lds.org or http://www.mormon.org.
3. Some Temples have Visitor Centers where one can see pictures of the interior of the Temple and learn what occurs inside. I can think of three Temples off the top of my head that have Visitor Centers: the Washington DC Temple, the Los Angeles Temple, and the Salt Lake Temple. One of the Salt Lake Temple Visitor Centers (there are 2) has a scale model of the Salt Lake Temple with the side cut out so one can see what the rooms look like inside. It's actually really neat. We went there during our recent trip to Utah and I took 2 short videos of it. I've put those at the bottom of this blog entry for your viewing pleasure.
4. Finally, the following website has some information about Mormon Temples: http://temples.lds.org. There is a short video which talks about what happens inside the Temple as well as some photos and announcements.
Regarding what happens inside Temples, I will answer that in my next blog post.