ISSUES OF FAITH: What’s the difference between a church and a temple?

ONE OF THE distinctive faith traditions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are temples.

Many have asked me what the difference is between a temple and a church.

There are churches locally, like the one here in Port Angeles, where anyone is welcome to come Sundays and worship. It even says on the front of the building, “Visitors Welcome.” Services are at 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.

In these sacrament meetings, a priest blesses the sacrament and it is passed to the congregation. It’s what some faiths might call communion. On other days, churches are used for youth activities, service projects and other gatherings. But temples are different.

Temples are the holiest places of worship. Members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ consider temples to be houses of the Lord.

Temples are places where individuals can go to make sacred promises with God. One feels a special spirit at the temple.

Even the grounds outside the temple bring tranquility. As one enters the temple, phones are turned off.

As you set foot in the house of the Lord, you feel God’s peace and escape the noise from the outside world. There is reverence. It’s not secretive, but sacred. You are there to focus on Jesus Christ; the Lamb of God; the Son of the Eternal Father; the Savior of the world.

Sacred places like temples aren’t a new thing.

Moses was told to “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”

Solomon built a magnificent temple. Jesus taught in the temple in Jerusalem.

In Washington, there are three temples.

They are located in Seattle, Spokane and Richland. Additionally, there is one under construction in Moses Lake, and another just announced in October, which will be built somewhere near Tacoma. Members who live on the Olympic Peninsula were very excited by the news of having a temple a little closer.

After a temple is constructed or after a renovation, and before it is dedicated, there is an open house for the public. The Washington, D.C., temple recently had over 300,000 visitors to its open house before it was rededicated after extensive renovations.

The Seattle Temple was dedicated on Nov. 17, 1980, by Spencer W. Kimball, who was at that time president of the Church.

In the dedicatory prayer, he said, “Bless this temple that it may be a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of glory, a house of eternal marriage, a house of sealings, and Thy house, the House of God.”

Marriages in temples are not just for life. In temples and through the Priesthood, couples are sealed together for eternity.

In Matthew 16:19, Jesus Christ tells the Apostle Peter: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

The Church teaches that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children. Families are forever and as children of our Heavenly Father, we are part of His family.

Recently, Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said, “I promise that increased time in the temple will bless your life in ways nothing else can.”

In a world of instant messages, emails, texts, constant breaking news and dozens of apps pinging and trying to get our every waking minute’s attention, I find it revitalizing to take a break and find a quiet place in the temple to ponder my purpose in life.

It keeps me grounded as I remember my blessings, and pray seeking direction in a world that can be troubling.

Temples are a blessing in my life and they are an immense part of my faith.


Issues of Faith is a rotating column by religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. Bishop Jason Bringhurst is the leader of the Mount Pleasant Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Port Angeles. His email is

More in Life

“Against all Odds: Abandonment to Olympian, A Tribute to Joe Rantz” by Catherine Bilyard is one of 41 quilts on display in Sequim Museum & Arts through the end of March as part of the “Inspiration/Exploration” exhibit. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Joe Rantz quilt highlighted at Sequim museum

Tribute among 41 pieces in show

Sunday program set for OUUF

Joseph Bednarik will present “Sex and the Dictionary” at… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: Cut away what holds growth back

IT’S FEBRUARY AND time to begin pruning the vineyards in Eastern Washington… Continue reading

Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News

A perch on the bowsprit affords these spectators a wide open view of competing boats in a previous year's regatta on Port Townsend Bay.
Shipwrights’ Regatta set for Saturday

The sailboat racing season opens Saturday with the Port… Continue reading

Mason bee lecture scheduled

Carrie Morlag will discuss raising mason bees at 10 a.m.… Continue reading

Work to learn in Sequim Saturday

John Hassel will demonstrate how to prune roses at 1… Continue reading

Geology lecture set Saturday

Brian Sherrod will present “High-resolution dating of a multi-fault… Continue reading

Wool spinning demonstration set

Dean Hyden will demonstrate the use of a spinning… Continue reading

Red, Set, Go! Heart Luncheon set for Friday

The Olympic Medical Center Foundation will host the 16th-annual… Continue reading

A GROWING CONCERN: Get to the the root of pruning problems

VALENTINES DAY IS here and gone, and the too-good weather just keeps… Continue reading

OUUF program scheduled in Port Angeles

Phoenix Bell-Shelton Biggs will present “Singing of Honor and… Continue reading

The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith.
Unity in Port Townsend planning for weekend services

The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith will present “A Path of… Continue reading