Why does God command His people to build temples?
The Garden of Eden was a sacred place where the Father and the Son directly taught Adam and Eve. Anciently, prophets were commanded to go to mountains to have sacred temple experiences. Throughout the scriptures, we see God giving Moses, King Solomon, the Nephites, and even Joseph Smith exacting instructions about how to build temples.
Temples have been a part of God’s church since the beginning.
President Boyd K. Packer declared, “The ultimate purpose of every teaching, every activity in the Church is that parents and their children are happy at home, sealed in an eternal marriage, and linked to their generations.”
President Russell M. Nelson similarly taught that, “To make this goal possible, our Heavenly Father has restored priesthood keys…so that essential ordinances in His plan can be performed by proper authority.”
Where are those essential ordinances performed? In holy temples.
“The Family: A Proclamation to the World” reaffirms teachings that God has given since the foundation of the world that marriage and family are “central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”
The children of Israel were not yet ready to make all of the covenants the Lord wanted to make available to them (see JST Exodus 34:1-2). Instead, they were able to make covenants relating to their own salvation. President Nelson has taught, however, that, “While salvation is an individual matter, exaltation is a family matter.”
The children of Israel were given a set of preparatory laws designed to point them to Christ, an act that would one day allow the people to receive the fulness of the gospel. As we learn of the ancient tabernacle, we similarly have the opportunity to remember all that Christ has done in atoning for us, organizing His church, and giving us holy temples so that our families can be sealed together forever, linked to our generations, and ultimately linked to our Heavenly Father.