Mormon temples are sacred places meant for worship and reception of saving ordinances, in the Mormon mind.
D&C 124: 37 And again, verily I say unto you, how shall your washings be acceptable unto me, except ye perform them in a house which you have built to my name? 38 For, for this cause I commanded Moses that he should build a tabernacle, that they should bear it with them in the wilderness, and to build a house in the land of promise, that those ordinances might be revealed which had been hid from before the world was. 39 Therefore, verily I say unto you, that your anointings, and your washings, and your baptisms for the dead, and your solemn assemblies, and your memorials for your sacrifices by the sons of Levi, and for your oracles in your most holy places wherein you receive conversations, and your statutes and judgments, for the beginning of the revelations and foundation of Zion, and for the glory, honor, and endowment of all her municipals, are ordained by the ordinance of my holy house, which my people are always commanded to build unto my holy name. 40 And verily I say unto you, let this house be built unto my name, that I may reveal mine ordinances therein unto my people; 41 For I deign to reveal unto my church things which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world, things that pertain to the dispensation of the fulness of times.
So what do we find in these temples? Are they consistent with the Bible? Are the centered on God and Jesus?
This is not the original Nauvoo temple, which was destroyed by fire and tornado. It is built the same, though, and Joseph Smith was heavily involved in its design.
There was a myth long believed about Masonry, which is that it ultimately could be traced back to the Temple of Solomon. This myth, however, has proven unsubstantiated and false, used as a claim to legitimacy. In reality, Masonry is a later creation. Is reasons for creation were not bad, and much of its history has not been bad, though it has had its shady moments.
In fact, one of these shady moments found its way into the Book of Mormon. A murder took place during the time that Joseph Smith was writing the Book of Mormon, and was done by the Masons to a man who was going to publish the secrets of Freemasonry. This murder sparked general outrage and anti-Masonic sentiment, which found its way into the Book of Mormon in the form of the Gidianton robbers, who parallel the Masons in many respects, such as in "secret signs and combination," which the Book of Mormon condemns.
Helaman 6:22 And it came to pass that they did have their signs, yea, their secret signs, and their secret words; and this that they might distinguish a brother who had entered into the covenant, that whatsoever wickedness his brother should do he should not be injured by his brother, nor by those who did belong to his band, who had taken this covenant. 26 Now behold, those secret oaths and covenants did not come forth unto Gadianton from the records which were delivered unto Helaman; but behold, they were put into the heart of Gadianton by that same being who did entice our first parents to partake of the forbidden fruit— 27 Yea, that same being who did plot with Cain, that if he would murder his brother Abel it should not be known unto the world. And he did plot with Cain and his followers from that time forth.
Considering the injunction again secret signs and oaths, its interesting that Joseph Smith later joined Masonry--with its secret signs and oaths--and incorporated its signs, tokens, rituals, oaths, and symbols into the temple and the rituals performed within the temple. And considering that the symbols, rituals, etc. do not trace back to the Temple of Solomon, it is quite difficult to argue that these are inspired symbols and rituals that line up with Biblical teachings. They are not based on the Bible, on Jesus, or on revelation, but from a man's experience with a man-made organization.
Perhaps even more evident of the lack of Biblical truth found in the temple is the use of things like the statue of the Angel Moroni on the top of every temple, along with all the symbolism within the temple that point to forever families and exaltation rather than to Jesus.
It is profoundly condemning, in my eyes at least, that they are willing to put a golden statue of a man on top of their temples, as well as all sorts of Masonic symbols, some of which have since become associated with the Satanic and pagan, but they are not willing to put up crosses or much else that is obvious tribute to Jesus alone. At best, it is un-Biblical. At worst, it is idolatrous. To claim that these are God's House when they are so obviously based on the imaginings of a man is wrong.
Furthermore, we can compare the Mormon temples to Solomon's temple. If they really are the houses of God, then they should fall in line with the Old Testament mandates for the tabernacle, which later became the temple, and should have the same uses. But again, the Mormon temples fail this test. The appearance is far different. The Old Testament gives much detail on how the tabernacle is to be laid out, and on how the later temple was built on the same pattern.
Where are the sacrifices, the incense burning, and all the other requirements for the tabernacle to be found in the Mormon temples? If they are even there, their use or meaning has been altered. Where are the celestial marriages, the ordinances for the dead, the secret handshakes and names, in the Old Testament? There are not there, because they were not needed, and still are not. Even temples are not needed anymore.
Acts 17:24 The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.
1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
This is yet another reason I cannot accept the Mormon claim to be Christian. To tell me that I must go to a building adorned with un-Biblical symbolism derived from a man-made (although not necessarily bad) organization, and therein perform rituals derived from the same organization, in order to be "worthy" and have a chance at "exaltation," is not anywhere to be found in the Bible and is an insult to what the temple was in the Old Testament and what Jesus did in the New Testament.