The Temple Scroll: how the temple makes us holy

On the ASOR blog, Hannah K Harrington, Chair of the Department of Biblical and Theological Studies at Patten University. discusses the Temple Scroll from the Dead Sea Scrolls.  The scroll discusses the 2nd Temple (built by Nehemiah).

The Temple Scroll has the temple’s dimensions at approximately the size of the city of Jerusalem, saying that the outer court of the temple comprised at least the city itself.  She notes from other concepts that the power and holiness of the temple even reached out further to all of Israel’s cities, as the people had to live the laws of purification throughout the land.

While one had to be holy to enter into the temple, the temple also had the power to emanate holiness out to all the people, placing them in God’s presence, even if indirectly.

For Latter-day Saints, we can appreciate this concept, as our local chapels are often the place where we discuss the blessings of modern temples, bishops interview members for worthiness, and we partake of the Sacrament to renew covenants of holiness.  In our homes, many LDS have a photo of a temple(s) to focus the family on the House of God.  The temple’s holiness, then, emanates out to our homes and chapels, making us more holy and prepared to be in the presence of God, whether in the temple itself, or in another holy place sanctified by the power of the temple.


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About rameumptom

Gerald (Rameumptom) Smith is a student of the gospel. Joining the Church of Jesus Christ when he was 16, he served a mission in Santa Cruz Bolivia (1978=1980). He is married to Ramona, has 3 stepchildren and 7 grandchildren. Retired Air Force (Aim High!). He has been on the Internet since 1986 when only colleges and military were online. Gerald has defended the gospel since the 1980s, and was on the first Latter-Day Saint email lists, including the late Bill Hamblin's Morm-Ant. Gerald has worked with FairMormon, More Good Foundation, LDS.Net and other pro-LDS online groups. He has blogged on the scriptures for over a decade at his site: Joel's Monastery ( He has the following degrees: AAS Computer Management, BS Resource Mgmt, MA Teaching/History. Gerald was the leader for the Tuskegee Alabama group, prior to it becoming a branch. He opened the door for missionary work to African Americans in Montgomery Alabama in the 1980s. He's served in two bishoprics, stake clerk, high council, HP group leader and several other callings over the years. While on his mission, he served as a counselor in a branch Relief Society presidency.

8 thoughts on “The Temple Scroll: how the temple makes us holy

  1. The Indianapolis temple (actually located in the town of Carmel, to the North) groundbreaking is to occur later this month.

    Our bishop mentioned something akin to what you stated, “the temple also ha[s] the power to emanate holiness out to all the people, placing them in God’s presence, even if indirectly.”

    The temple radiates some form of spiritual goodness upon the geographical area.

  2. I will be watching the groundbreaking from the Plainfield chapel on the west side of Indianapolis. It will be nice to have a temple here, less than an hour drive away from home.

  3. Thanks for this. I think that having the proximity of the Temple and the availability of Temple blessings always in our thoughts is what leads to an increased desire to be worthy of the blessings that Temple attendance bestows. I don’t know that simply by virtue of being close to a Temple a person will automatically become a more spiritual peerson.

  4. tmb: I think it’s a very subtle and nebulous kind of thing. I have no idea of the mechanics of how it might work. Whether spiritual goodness “particles” literally escape out of the temple (or whether it is more of a “wave” of a certain frequency) or whether some of the adversary’s minions literally move out of the surrounding area, or what, I dunno.

    My personal belief: As more temple work has been done for more deceased persons, there are then more good spirits or angels available to do the work of the Lord. That is, Mr and Mrs X, who died 250 years ago without the gospel, who later accepted it in the spirit word, and who finally got all their temple ordinances performed for them on February 15, 2012, in temple Y, and have since taken whatever training classes necessary…

    Well, Mr. and Mrs. X are now available to be “temple workers” or whatever is now needed, in the spirit world, and are now assigned to be attached to the new Indianapolis (Carmel) temple.

    Mr. and Mrs. X may be assigned to work in the temple, assisting other spirits of deceased people learn, understand, and do what is necessary on that side of the veil when the proxy ordinances are performed on this side of the veil.

    Mr. and Mrs. X may be assigned to work among the living in the surroundings of the Indianapolis Temple. Those surroundings may likely include the whole city and nearby cities, not just the temple grounds.

    So whatever it is that angels and ministering spirits do, there is more work for them in Indianapolis now, so I personally believe that there are more of them here about, doing whatever it is they do, which by definition would be “good stuff.”

  5. Bookslinger: fair enough. I can buy into that. I just like to be cautious when people start suggesting that people automatically become more righteous when they’re around the temple, as this seems somewhat contrary to the principle of agency. I have no problem accepting the way you frame it, however.

  6. I’m not sure exactly how it works, except via the workings of the Spirit, but temples do tend to send the power of light out from them. Anyone who lives in the neighborhood of a temple, can usually note how it affects the area in a positive way.
    The Washington DC temple is so impressive that it is one of the sites noted in the Washington monument from one of its windows. There are signs on the highways warning of an impressive scene coming up, because so many people are amazed at it rising up from the ground, it has caused traffic accidents. Many drive into the area just to see it up close.

    I’ve heard good comments about many of the temples I’ve attended.

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