Hymn text by Frank I. Kooyman, 1880-1963. View the full text of this hymn.


LDS temples dot the earth, with nearly 150 of them across the globe in 46 countries and six continents. Each has its own unique architecture, drawing from local culture, but no matter what they look like, each is beautiful. They are the houses of the Lord, and they are built to be worthy offerings to Him.

How beautiful thy temples, Lord!
Each one a sacred shrine,
Where faithful Saints, with one accord,
Engage in work divine.

Certainly the craftsmanship and attention to detail used in building these temples makes them beautiful, but they are noteworthy as much for what happens on their inside as much as for their outward appearance. Members gather to receive ordinances crucial for their eternal progression, but also to receive those ordinances on behalf of their ancestors who have since passed on, giving them the opportunity to accept those ordinances that they did not have the chance to receive during their lifetimes.

How beautiful some aid to give
To dear ones we call dead,
But who indeed as spirits live;
They’ve only gone ahead.

God could have devised any number of ways to allow those who died without receiving saving ordinances a chance to accept them in the hereafter. He chose, in His wisdom, a method that involves our direct participation. This not only gives us an incentive to return to the temple often, gaining a fuller understanding of the ordinances of the temple and opportunities to spend time in the Lord’s house, but it also helps us to forge and strengthen bonds with our ancestors. We seek out those who went before us and give them the chance to accept gospel ordinances, should they want to. They can seek us out too, prodding and inspiring us to perform the work here on earth that they cannot do in the spirit world. The hearts of the fathers are turned to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, as Malachi foretold.

How beautiful its faith and hope;
All mankind it would save,
Including in its aim and scope
The souls beyond the grave.

The Lord desires the salvation of every person, whether male or female, bond or free, living or dead. Each is precious to Him, and each deserves an equal opportunity to come unto Him. No one is punished for not having heard the gospel. He loves all of us, and the fact that He has prepared a way for each of us to partake of the gospel, and particularly one that allows us to help each other on that path, serves as evidence of that fact.

How beautiful thy promise, Lord,
That we may grow in truth,
And live, exalted by thy word,
In endless, glorious youth.

The external beauty of the temples reminds us of the beauty we find within. We remember that inside the temple, we can receive power from on high. We can be sealed together as families forever. We can receive those ordinances on behalf of our deceased ancestors, allowing them to partake of those same blessings. There’s an awful lot of beauty in the temple, both inside and out, and that’s because there’s an awful lot of beauty in the Father’s plan for us.

Image credit: Quetzaltenango Guatemala LDS (Mormon) Temple, flickr user Fersandh.


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