What parts of the Temple can I talk about outside the Temple? (Done)
In the Temple, we make specific covenants not to reveal certain things. Because of this, many member feel uncomfortable discussing any aspect of the Temple at all. Though there is a fine line, I believe we have sometimes been too reluctant, to the extent that many people go unprepared.
Because of [the Temple's] sacredness we are sometimes reluctant to say anything about the Temple to our children and grandchildren. As a consequence, many do not develop a real desire to go to the Temple, or when they go there, they do so without much background to prepare them for the obligations and covenants they enter into.
-President Benson. “What I Hope You Will Teach Your Children about the Temple.” Ensign, August (1985): 6-10
We should always “remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit;” D&C 63:64
While we make reference to washings and anointings, sealings and endowments, we do not discuss the details.
-Elder Packer, The Holy Temple, 29. (Emphasis added.)
A good rule of thumb is that we are on safe ground when we quote official and public sources of the Church. We may follow the example of General Authorities and the prophets of the scriptures, in that what they have taught or spoken publicly is allowable, IF the setting is appropriate. The context of our discussion should determine how much we say though, again, certain thing are always off-limits for discussion outside the Temple because of the covenant we make not to discuss them.
Ask yourself these questions of setting, intent, and appropriateness.
- Is the conversation public or private?
- Is our discussion for worldly or spiritual purposes?
- Is it to help someone prepare for or understand the Temple?
- Is it with a humble person seeking an answer or a hostile person on a message board seeking debate?
- Does the Spirit attend our conversation? – “Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit.”-D&C 63:64
- Or is our conversation contentious? “He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.” -3 Nephi 11:29
- Are we treating the Temple ordinances or related things lightly? “Trifle not with sacred things.” -D&C 6:12
President Hinckley has also given some guidance on this topic.
I remind you of the absolute obligation to not discuss outside the temple that which occurs within the temple. Sacred matters deserve sacred consideration. We are under obligation, binding and serious, to not use temple language or speak of temple matters outside. I first went to the temple fifty-seven years ago. It was different from any other experience I had had in the Church. A young man of my association went about the same time. Thereafter, he was wont to use phrases from the language of the temple in a frivolous way. It was offensive. It was a betrayal of a sacred trust. I have watched him through the years. Once faithful, he has drifted from all Church activity and forsaken the faith of his fathers. I think that much of what has happened to him began with that small irreverential thing that he did in trivializing language which is not trivial.
Please, brethren, do not discuss outside of the temple that which occurs in the temple. While there, you are at liberty to do so. If you have questions, you may speak with the temple president or one of his counselors. But when you leave the doors of the House of the Lord, be true to a sacred trust to speak not of that which is holy and sanctified. Said the Lord, “Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit.” (D&C 63:64.) And again, “Trifle not with sacred things.” (D&C 6:12.)
-President (at the time First Counselor) Hinckley, “Keeping the Temple Holy,” Ensign, (May 1990): 49ff.