The “Sacred, Not Secret” Mormon Temple Experience

Mormon’s don’t like to talk about the temple because it’s weird

Jeffrey Hughes
10 min readMar 26, 2019


There’s a lot of secrecy about what happens inside Mormon temples. This secrecy is self-imposed, as Mormons are specifically instructed during the endowment to not discuss what happens inside the temple after they leave.

This leads to a lot of speculation about what the Mormons are hiding. Is it sex?

My personal favorite is the rumor that Mormons go to the temple to play a special kind of basketball where you first strip naked and spread oil all over yourself.

Sounds fun, right?

This kind of speculation is natural because people only keep secrets about things that would get them into trouble. Things like crime, abuse, or illicit sex.

Today, the temple rituals are relatively innocuous, but they didn’t start off that way. They have been changed and sanitized over time. And the history of these changes to temple ceremonies reveals a more complicated past within Mormonism. A past that church leaders may prefer stays forgotten.

The Nice Stuff in Mormon Temples

You see, there are 5 rituals (or ordinances) that Mormons believe you have to participate in to achieve the highest level of salvation in heaven — a state which is called “exaltation.”

They are:

  1. Baptism
  2. Confirmation
  3. Receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood
  4. Initiatory/Endowment
  5. Sealing

The requirement for receiving the Melchizedek priesthood is waived for women because they are not given the priesthood.

Let’s talk briefly about each of the 5 saving ordinances.

These ordinances are also called covenants, meaning a list of promises that you and God make to each other.

When you are baptized you covenant to keep all of God’s commandments. Special emphasis is placed on faith and repentance. God forgives your sins.

When you are confirmed, you receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. This isn’t a covenant but is the second half…



Jeffrey Hughes

Slaying codependency and winning my own heart