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April 7th, 2012
08:48 AM ET

Taking a rare tour of a Mormon temple

By Eric Marrapodi and Brian Todd, CNN

Kansas City, Missouri (CNN) – Elder William Walker slipped white booties over his black wing-tip shoes and instructed his guests to do the same as he led them into the newest Mormon temple in the world.

This day was the first chance the public had to see inside the sacred space for the area’s 49,000 Mormons, and it was also one of the last.

On May 6, when Thomas S. Monson, the head of the 14 million member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, dedicates this temple, the doors will close forever to the public. The church said it expects as many as 100,000 visitors in Kansas City before the temple will be closed to the public.

After that, only temple-recommended Mormons will be able to walk through the heavy wooden and stained-glass doors.

“This is a sacred space, set apart place for only those who are devout followers of the faith,” Walker said.

For Mormons, temples serve as places of contemplation, instruction and worship experiences, like weddings and posthumous baptisms.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

The 67-year-old Walker is the executive director of the Temple Department, and he is the point man for the church’s 137 temples.

Walker is a top official in the LDS church as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and he reports directly to Monson. The Canadian-born hockey fanatic has been a lifelong member of the church. He graduated from Brigham Young University, served a Mormon mission to Japan and spent time in the private sector working in securities and investment banking before being called to serve the church full-time in 2002.

Kansas City’s temple is the latest to open. The church has announced it will build 29 temples across five continents. Construction is under way in Paris and Rome, and temples are planned for Peru and South Africa.

“We’re building temples where the church is grown and have a concentration of members,” he said.

Outside the new Mormon temple in Kansas City, Missouri.

Inside the temple the required first stop is the Recommend Desk. After the dedication, only Mormons who have a recommend card are able to enter and participate in worship. The personalized cards are given by local church leaders to adherents who profess to be living in accordance with church teachings.

As he explained the process, Walker reached into his wallet, pushed his Utah driver’s license aside and pulled out his recommend card, which was endorsed by Monson, his bishop. Walker said his credit-card-sized recommend card, like all others, is only good for two years.

CNN was invited by church officials to tour the temple with Walker before its dedication. The church denied CNN's request to film inside the space, saying it was against church policy. The LDS church provided still images after the tour, which accurately depicted key parts of the temple. In a rare move, CNN was permitted to film inside the front of the temple at the Recommend Desk, but no farther.

"It's not about secret. It's about sacred,” Walker said after the tour, making what the church sees as a key distinction. “We feel that it's a very sacred and special place and therefore it is reserved for those worship functions and those ordinances that take place in the temple. It's not about secret."

Walker said the policy is not unlike that for Shinto shrines in Japan, where he served his mission.

But it's a thin line between sacred and secret. Public tours of the temple are only available when they are first built or undergo massive renovations. After that, outsiders and Mormons who are not temple recommended are kept out, even from wedding ceremonies.

In the sealing room, where eternal weddings take place, Walker points out the altar at the center of the room. The bride and groom kneel facing each other and the officiant stands off to the side. The room is richly decorated with Swarovski crystal chandeliers and massive gilded mirrors on either side of the room, and Walker raves about the design on the white carpet, carefully explaining how local artisans cut the meticulous pattern by hand.

Despite the grand size of the building, each room is small: This is the biggest of the three sealing rooms, and its capacity is just 49 people.

Guests are welcome at Sunday worship at one of the church’s 18,000 meeting houses, Walker is quick to note. The temple, he observes, “is a sacred, special place that’s unique. There are only 137 of these temples in all the world.”

The temple also contains a gleaming baptismal font. Though it’s a point of pride for Mormons, it has been controversial elsewhere. A church ceremony called “proxy baptisms” by Mormons includes posthumous baptisms of Jews, some of whom have protested the practice.

The baptismal font at the newest Mormon temple.

However, in Mormon doctrine, baptism is essential for salvation. While converts to the faith are baptized in services at local wards, the weekly meeting place for services open to the public, proxy baptisms take place only in the temple and in private.

The proxy baptisms are supposed to be for Mormons’ ancestors who were not of the faith. Walker said the baptism serves as an invitation to accept Mormonism as an avenue into heaven.

Explainer: How and why do Mormons baptize the dead?

At the temple, Walker took his visitors through the process as it is supposed to work.

The font rests on 12 oxen, which he said represent the tribes of Israel.

Adherents change into white gowns he jokingly referred to as "jumpsuits," provided by the temple. A male priest leads the proxy into the waist-high water, gives the blessing and the name of the ancestor, then the proxy is lowered into the water, fully immersed, then brought up to the surface. The desk next to the font has a small monitor and a light. That person's job is to record the act for the church's central database.

When the temple begins operation, Walker said, this is a scene that will play out “hundreds of times a day.”

But some Mormons have used the church’s extensive genealogy database to baptize others who are not Mormon ancestors, such as the murdered Jewish reporter Daniel Pearl and holocaust victims like Anne Frank. It’s a practice that has outraged Jewish leaders.

“When people violate the church policy of doing baptisms for those who our leaders have said we’re not going to do that, they’re acting on their own in contradiction of church policy,” he said. “We’re unhappy about that. We love our Jewish friends. We don’t want to offend them or anyone else by our religious practices.”

“We’re sorry. We live by our word and when we say we’re going to do something, we’re going to try and do it,” Walker said.

He promised disciplinary action.

“We’re now tracking those who’ve done this contrary to church policy and we’re going to shut down their access to the church’s database, Family Search, so they can’t do this.”

He acknowledges interest in proxy baptisms, and other Mormon practices, has spiked thanks to Mormon Mitt Romney’s run for president.

While the church takes no position on party politics nor allows its officials to endorse candidates, Walker can see some good coming out of Romney's run for the White House.

“I think it’s perfectly understandable people who are considering him would want to know more about the church he espouses,” he said. “In many ways it may be a good thing that people will want to know more. Maybe some of the old ideas about the church that have persisted in American culture can change.”

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.


soundoff (4,366 Responses)
  1. Justin

    I am glad to see such a nice place for the crazies of the world have a nice place to get together. I still think the scientologist hold the record for being the dumbest religion after all they did give tom cruise a so called god status....I mean really the guy hasnt even made a decent film in the last decade, if your going to make someone a god go with someone more stable like charlie sheen, after all he has tiger blood in his veins how more god like can you get!!!

    April 7, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Accuracy

      Justin, please list the other crazies of the world. Let's start with the countries you've travelled to. What groups are in the "crazies" category you've mentioned?

      April 7, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • gman

      WHAT KIND OF A PERSON GOES AROUND TEARING DOWN ANOTHER PERSON'S RELIGION? ARE THEY TEARING DOWN YOUR FREEDOM IN SOME WAY? THAN WHO CARES?

      April 7, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  2. Beverly

    I was raised in the Mormon church and have been in them many times doing baptisms for the dead and being sealed to my family after I was adopted. But as an adult I chose not to be a Mormon. Even though I am and my also non-Mormon husband are Christians, we weren't allowed to attend my brother's or my two sisters' weddings in the temples where they were married. I just find it really sad that the Mormon church's doctrine stands for voluntarily and intentionally creating divisions in families like that. I won't ever see any of my siblings married because they would be punished by the church (by having to wait a year for their temple marriage) if they chose to have a civil ceremony that I would be able to attend.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • thes33k3r

      You took a step in the right direction........

      April 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • TJeff1776

      It is, of course, a "Mormon" wedding and if you are not a Mormon- then why would you even want to attend ???

      April 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Beverly

      @TJeff1776 Do you only attend weddings of people who are the same religion as you? Or did you not read what I said? These are my siblings, why WOULDN'T I want to attend their weddings?

      April 7, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Thomas

      Really? So you're telling me that you are upset just because a religion is exercising it's right to worship how they will. I probably couldn't just walk into a Jewish Temple and participate in their rituals. Yes, it's family and you can have a secular wedding and all can attend; but why PUSH your animosity on the LDS faith just do to some prescribed set of standards they have set for themselves and their faith. It's called respect. It's also called tolerance. Feel free to acquire these attributes.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • DemoMan

      What I find odd is the Mormon religion probably does more missionary work than most. However it seems you cannot enter their temples. Most churches welcome visitors into their services. "We want you as a member but you cannot come in without a card". Am I understanding this correctly?

      April 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Beverly

      @DemoMan - Yes, you understand it correctly.

      @Thomas - I'm not angry about this, I'm extremely sad. I'm very respectful and tolerant of my family's beliefs. I understand them very well, because I was raised in them as well. That doesn't stop me from experiencing sadness at the effects of their belief's (which are dictated to them by the Mormon church) on our family relationships. I've never demanded to attend. What is sad is that they choose to have ceremonies like weddings in their temples that aren't open to all family of the bride and groom.

      And yes, they could choose to have a secular wedding. But afterward they would have to wait a full year to be married in the temple. They would be constantly questioned and discriminated against by their own church members for that choice. And according to their beliefs, if one of them died in that year, they would not be together for eternity. That sounds like punishment to me.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Nathan

      Me and my wife were married in a Mormon Temple and had several family members that weren't able to attend including my wife's mother. So we simply had a separate "ring ceremony" right before our reception. You should understand what they did was what they believe and respect that.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Beverly

      @Nathan - Obviously I understand that is what they believe. And I respect their beliefs. What I'm saying is that it is sad that the Mormon church has made decisions that cause these situations. My family goes along with it because they are told to do so. It's the telling that is sad.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Beverly

      @ Nathan - Additionally, as a Mormon, instead of just saying "Deal with it" which is essentially what you just did, you should consider the why of these rules. Why do they exist? And is it possible that the damage that they cause people and families and the terrible impression that they give potentially worse than whatever good might come of private, closed ceremonies?

      April 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Brandon

      “Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39 NASB)

      April 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • bobby

      @DemoMan – No you don't understand correctly. You didn't read the article close enough. There are 139 Mormon temples throughout the world where sacred ordinances are performed (such as marriage and baptism – that is what I read) and over 18,000 church buildings where worship services occur every Sunday. I am sick of the lies people put up on these boards about the this particular religion. All the Mormons I know are good people.

      April 7, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Accuracy

      I missed my sister's wedding because I lived in a foreign country at the time and it was not possible to return for the wedding. My brother missed my wedding due to his travels. The three of us are really close, and always have been. I missed my grandmother's funeral because I lived seven states away and couldn't break away from school. I love her very much, even to this day, and I don't feel like I'm less close because I missed it.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Kenny Merriken

      Beverly, I did not know this practice of Mormonism that excludes you from your siblings' Mormon weddings. How sad. :(
      If you get a chance, Beverly, ask Mitt Romney if Jesus Christ is God. Then listen to his PCSR (Politically Correct Sidestep Response) to a question that only needs the one word answer of "Yes". (John 8:58. Mark 2:7 and more Bible verses)

      April 7, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Rocinante

      @DemoMan: I think you may find an answer to your question if you study the difference between simply obeying the laws of God and having a Covenant with God. Most Mormons who go to church on a regular basis also follow the teachings and rules that allow them to hold a recommend to enter the temple. You can do this too.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • reality check

      Beverly, I feel your pain. My nephew just announced his engagement and they will be marrying in Jordan River. They thought the "ring ceremony" would satisfy people like me, unable to enter the temple. Unfortunately, Governor Boggs of Missouri and his delightful Extermination Order closed the temple for most. It wasn't always that way.

      And yes, if you entered a synagogue, you very much would be welcome....even if there is an armed cop there because of threats due to those that hate for hate sake.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • dkinabq

      If the couple getting married in the temple has younger brothers or sisters, they will not be allowed to witness the temple marriage either. What is their sin? Being a child? I've known 4 & 5 year olds that have been ring bearers and flower girls in weddings.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Discovega

      Before you go spouting off at the month....learn a little history from the old testament and you will realize how much god prevents people from doing certain things, wearing certain clothes, enter certain buildings...you are using reasoning from living in today's progressive world and not understanding that god never changes or moves and is not progressive in his political views...if you can't comprehend why mormons do what they do, go study the old testament and you will come away with a better understanding and appreciation.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • DPCA

      I too was married in a civil marriage first so my mother could attend. Then married in the temple a year later. It is something I chose to do and I do not regret it.

      Blaming the church for their policies which were put in place before you became a member is a bit odd don;t you think. People who choose not to be a member cannot enter the temple to witness the marriage sealing ceremony. The ceremony is not grand and large by any means. It is not meant to be that way. The ceremony is sacred and spiritual not a public event.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • DD

      Beverly, My nephew whom I was so close to all his life converted to LDS, went on a mission to ARgentina for 2 years, graduated from BYU, etc. Ever since he has treated his birth family, his mother included, we are all Christians, as if he was better than us. I truly believe he thinks he is better than us "gentiles". Is this the message Jesus has for us? No, of course not, But Mormons do think they are superior. People, did you know they believe in 3 levels of Heaven? I felt so sorry for my grand-neice, who is 7. She told me she is not going to the 1st level of heaven because she said a bad word. The LDS is a brainwashing cult. But if Romney is my only choice to get Obama out then I will have to vote for him.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Steve

      DD,

      As a Mormon, I'm sorry you would feel that way....that any other Mormon is putting themselves above you and your importance to your Heavenly Father. That's not the way Jesus would treat you. There are three main kingdoms we believe in, but I wouldn't pretend to start placing any of my friends or relatives in any of those levels. That's not for me to judge...and while we are in this mortal life, there are plenty of opportunities to learn and grow.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • conrad

      Even not being Mormon this doesn't seem bad or weird to me at all. It's about the same as not inviting your crazy neighbor over for Christmas dinner. It is their sacred space and they want to ensure visitors respect and uphold the peace and the importance they give it. They don't want a bunch of loud-mouthed born-again, and atheist guests of the wedding party arguing about the merits of the religion and ceremonies while they are in progress. 90% of the people commenting on this article would scoff in the middle of a baptism. Can't be a surprise they don't want you there.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Rod

      Wow! There are so many misconceptions on this thread I don't even know where to begin. No the LDS Church does NOT remodel the Temple after the open house. That statement is absolutely false. After the open house it is then dedicated to the Lord. The temple is not the same thing as a synagogue. ( I hope I spelled that right) They are the equivalent of a meetinghouse. Entry to the temple has ALWAYS been restricted. The only exception I can think of is the Kirtland Temple. I don't really understand what purpose that temple served by it is not the same as the rest of them. Even in the Tabernacle that the Children of Israel carried around only permitted certain people to enter. In the inner court it was restricted even further.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Holly in CA

      If you would take a look at this situation from your sister's point of view...Mormon marriages in temples are about much more than whether or not family members can attend. They are about binding a couple or family together for eternity. A civil ceremony compared to a temple sealing has little significance. It is always heartbreaking for a couple to not have family members in the temple to witness their marriage ceremony, but it would be more heartbreaking for them to be married outside the temple, even with all family members present, and miss out on that sacred sealing ordinance.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Scott

      I had a Mormon neighbor that worked in a casino. He and his wife could not marry in the temple until after he retired. (Perhaps policies have changed now).

      April 11, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Dcsouthgw

      It sounds exclusionary, but it isn't. It is a natural law of action and consequence. If you want to go, you do what is required of someone to enter. It has nothing to do with belittling or punishing anyone. Besides, the temple isn't a place you go to attend a ceremony. It is a place where you go to commune with God. The ceremony you are missing is for the couple only and anyone else attending is superfluous. If you went, you would be out of place there...you would know it and everyone around you would too. If you want to go to the temple, do it because there is something there that you need, not just for a special moment.

      May 18, 2012 at 5:31 am |
  3. Mark

    There are only two real religions. One is Budhism and the other is the Orthodox Christianity. The rest is all fakery.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Robert

      You are in error. There is the Faith , in Spirit and Truth. God's Naturally bestowed Grace, Mercy, and Forgiveness, and The Holy Spirit to Guide Us.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • thes33k3r

      They cannot both be true. At least you've winnowed it down to only two. Only two more to go........

      April 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • JC

      Mark you have solved over half of mankind's problems right there! You are so intelligent! If only we all could be as enlightened as you! Say hi to Jesus for me while you know so much!

      April 7, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Mark

      There are only two real religions. One is Budhism and the other is the Orthodox Christianity. The rest is all fakery. The reason I say this, is because when you go to a Budhdhist temple, you just feel otherwordly energy inside it. You can't explain it until you feel it for yourself. Same as when I went to that Jerusalem Orthodox church and the Greek monasteries on Mount Athos. Something you don't feel in any Baptist church, Mormon or Catholic church. There is a difference between otherwordly presence and an average regular building. When you visit the real holly buildings and sites, you just know there is God. I also went to mosques, even Mecca. When I was in Jerusalem I went to Jewish sites. I was in Vatican. Its just empty feeling in those others for some reason.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • brunette_barbie_SC

      OMG what a joke! There is only 1 true religion. Why would God create so many to confuse mankind? He didn't. Mankind created all the religions except 1 which is the gospel of Jesus Christ restored to the earth today aka Mormonism. Think about this, if Mormonism was wrong, do you think it would have millions of members worldwide in every nation? Do you think God would let some blasphemous religion become so successful – no! Here's the challenge, you pray to God and you ask him if Mormonism is true. If you have a sincere heart about it, you will know the answer for yourself – i challenge you to do it. If you don't, it doesn't hurt you but only shows you're scared to know you're wrong??!!!!

      April 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Accuracy

      Mark, explain to me how the good Muslims I've met over the years are part of a fakery tradition? And the same for Jews. I await your response.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • B(iraq) Hussein Osama

      the best religion is the one whose adherents
      – don't consume intoxicants
      – don't gamble or indulge in games of chance
      – eat good food and indulge in healthy exercise
      – treat women with respect and dignity
      – marry and take responsibility of raising babies
      – speak the truth and deal with honesty

      creating the kind of personality you want to be around.
      the kind of person you want to hire to work for you.
      responsible, respectful, dependable.

      mumbo jumbo about God and what happens after death or does or does nt or Man-Gods or Donkey-Gods or God is Speaking to Me or Yes-God or No-God or whatever, these things at the end of the day, mean nothing.

      April 8, 2012 at 6:24 am |
    • david esmay

      @mark, it's all fakery, science is the antidote to the poison of religion. @brunette barbie, hoaxes are followed by millions all the time, it's pablum for the hard of thinking. Free yourself from mental slavery.

      April 8, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • reality check

      Mark, they are all fakery...fyi they are mutually exclusive, just like the "christian jews," aka pretend jew-wannabes.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  4. GenericMan

    Luckily for most of you, we scale what is considered crazy by a range which the median is hard to fall below.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  5. Bill the Cat

    http://www.mrm.org/temple-tour

    Midway through my first tour, we entered the men’s locker room area. An elderly male guide gave a short one-minute talk while we were gathered just outside the locker area. As I walked over to the cubicles that housed the various lockers, I noticed the words “Initiatory room” printed on the wall just outside the door well.

    Spotting the wife of our guide, I pointed to the room and asked her, “What happens in this room?” She looked at me and, in a stuttering voice, whispered, “Oh, there are just more lockers back there.” Wanting to give the lady another chance to get it right, I asked again, “Are you sure? It says ‘initiatory room’?” “Yes,” she replied with a new confidence. “There’s nothing more than lockers there.”

    Me: “What is the initiatory room?”

    Lee: “This is a place where a person is cleansed so he can go through the rest of the temple.”

    Me: “On my tour the guide made it appear that this was just a room with more lockers.”

    Lee: “Well, that’s not true.”

    Me: “Why did she not tell the truth?”

    Lee: “I wouldn’t put it that way. Perhaps she felt put on the spot and didn’t know how to answer.”

    Me: “I’m not sure I understand. She must have known what this room was.”

    Lee: “It might have been an honest mistake.”

    April 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Brandon

      yes, basically lockers and a couple rooms that look like changing rooms. She was right, however there is a ceremony there that is basically a ritual cleansing. Like they did in Jesus day, a ceremonial washing.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Martin

      Brandon, that's where someone washes their genitals, Right? Very creepy.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • reality check

      No Martin, nobody washes their "genitals" there. As an ex-temple attending ex-mormon, I did initiatory work and it was connected to the locker room for ease. And yes, it's just a ritual anointing that takes perhaps 30 seconds.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • conrad

      As if they owe you an explanation ...

      April 9, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  6. Rob

    Not really a hard hitting story at all. I expected better. Why didn't you ask about how the Mormon temple practices suggest that people need to learn several handshakes to get into heaven? That folks prior to 1990 had to pantomime having their throats slashed, being disemboweled, etc before revealing what goes on inside? Why didn't you ask how come the entire ceremony is extremely similar to the freemason rituals, which Joseph Smith (the Mormon church founder) was a member of? Or how the entire Book of Mormon can be disproven by DNA and archaeological evidence? It also may have been a good time to ask about the $5 billion shopping mall this "religion" just built in Utah.

    Again, I expected better. Not a PR piece, but something more substantial.

    April 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • pharmerj

      Do you know where the Masons got the ideas for their "sacred not secret" temples? Masons originate from the people who helped build the Temple of Solomon – widely understood to be a very "sacred" place from scripture. They took the rituals that they saw in the temple they were building and included them into their own. What comes around goes around?

      Coincidence that they have found their way back into a "sacred" Christian place of worship?

      April 7, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • JC

      I'd like more info on your DNA and archeology insight.

      -Indiana Jones

      April 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • John Williams

      pharmerj: That is a myth. Masonry originates around the 13th century among European building guilds. The Solomon stuff is just mythology invented to make the rituals seem more mystical. Do a little homework before you swallow easily debunked myths.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • pharmerj

      John Williams: Speaking of debunking:

      "Masons are well-informed from their own private and interior records, that the building of Solomon's Temple is an important era, from whence they derive many mysteries of their art." Dr. William Dodd

      Granted Dr. Dodd wasn't the most trustworthy source, him and many others talk of the ceremonies being very similar to what describes some of the rituals seen in the Temple of Solomon. That goes for both Freemasons and Mormons.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Blake

      On a lighter note, it is a pretty sweet mall. Its a lovely day so the roof will be retracted and the fountains will be flowing. Come one, come all.

      April 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  7. Tim C

    Scientology without the aliens...oh, but with magic underwear!

    April 7, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Steve

      Sorry to disappoint, but the Mormons believe Jesus was a space alien.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Brandon

      Well Steve, we was and alien born on Earth...I wonder if the Romans had natural-born citizen clause, lol.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  8. Uncle Eccoli

    Maybe it's just PR shine, maybe not, but this William Walker seems eminently reasonable to me. I find their religion a little odd, but so what? If they just want to get along, I say grand. Gotta stop posthumously baptizing those who'd find it objectionable, though.

    April 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  9. mase22

    I love this article and I think open houses of Mormon Temples are a wonderful way to show the world what we believe in and how we worship. I invite all to open your hearts and plan to attend an open house for yourselves. I know that these temples are a place where all who are living in accordance to the commandments of God can feel and become closer to Him.

    April 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  10. mb2010a

    So, God has another really nice house...this one even has an indoor pool. Not much of a "tour: now was it.

    April 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Accuracy

      mb2010a, are you "mocking" or criticising the ritual of baptism by immersion? I wonder if you can explain? Do you believe in God?

      April 7, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  11. Margo Arnesen

    Ok, says CNN took a lot of still photos. WHERE ARE THEY?????? Even the headline is misleading!

    April 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Accuracy

      I couldn't find the photos, either. Why are they focused only on baptism? space constraints? I'd like to see the rest of the tour.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  12. walkthtalk2

    Fake Religion.

    April 7, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Tyler

      Many said the same about Christ.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • thes33k3r

      Good oxymoron.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Accuracy

      walkthtalk2, what are other fakereligions? what are some of the truereligions you would choose to promote? I would be interested in your response. Especially to see if you condemn religions both in and out of the Christian experience.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • ImAProudMormonBelieveIt

      "Fake Religion"??..Seriously?? By how you have inexperience in this particular subject, ill say to shut up:)

      April 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  13. DoesNotMatter

    Interesting.. how we humans create these giantic structures and then we start believing those structures have some power in them.

    April 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • humanone

      It's very much like Wall Street and Washington DC... temples to money and ideas.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Jerry

      You're right. See John 4; 21 through 26

      April 7, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • conrad

      As all things it has the power we give it. Just like the military and money. It is up to us. We create the world we live in. Disco's have power too, just a different kind. If they want a sacred space ... so what?

      April 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  14. Schadenfreudean Psychologist

    Tour, Schmour. I want see where they keep the magic under-panties!

    April 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • DemoMan

      You ask a very sofa king great question. According to a Mormon friend only those who meet a high holy standard are allowed to wear the magic panties. Then when you have achieved this magic standard the panties must be purchased from the company store. If they do not come directly from the church they are not magic.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Steve

      I'd like to see Marie Osmond in those panties. Orrin Hatch, not so much.

      April 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • natehunt

      They don't think they are magical. The only people who think they are magical are ignorant bigoted hicks. Calling them magical panties is just as stupid and bigoted as calling yamakas magic caps, crucifixes magic necklaces, or Muslims' prayer rugs magic carpets.

      April 7, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Schadenfreudean Psychologist

      For natehunt...

      From Wikipedia: A temple garment (also referred to as garments, or Mormon underwear)[1] is a type of underwear worn by members of some denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement, after they have taken part in the Endowment ceremony. Garments are worn both day and night and are required for any previously endowed adult to enter a temple.[2] The undergarments are viewed as a symbolic reminder of the covenants made in temple ceremonies, and are viewed as EITHER A SYMBOLIC OR LITERAL SOURCE OF PROTECTION from the evils of the world. (my capitalization)

      P.S. The above certainly sounds like magic to me.

      April 8, 2012 at 7:06 am |
    • reality check

      What is with the obsession with underwear by non-mormons? Mormon underwear has markings on it. Those markings are reminders. Here is one such reminder: "every knee shall bow every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ." Wow, what horrific cultism!!! Yes, that was sarcasm.

      The protection urban legend came about because Joe Smith and his brother, took off their garments before they went to jail. They didn't want people mocking the garments, especially after death since Joe Smith had said, "I am going like a lamb to slaughter." He knew he was going to die there. Well, the mob came and there was a shoot out. Joe Smith and his brother Hyrum died. A third man, his name currently escapes me, had refused to remove his garments aka magic underwear. He lived. And so, the urban legend began. The garments aren't doctrinally thought to offer physical protection, even if people claim such.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Lyman Wight

      Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come….But they made light of it, and went their ways…Then saith he to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage….’ So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found…
      And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, ‘Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness.’ ….For many are called, but few are chosen.”

      Yuck it up all you want. But don't blame the Mormons if you end up in outer darkness.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  15. mb2010a

    The Catholics are just pea-green with envy...

    April 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  16. Chad

    Lucian (circa 120-after 180) Greek writer and rhetorician.
    "The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account..."

    Thallus (AD 52,)
    "On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun."

    Tacitus (A.D. c.55-A.D. c.117, Roman historian)
    "Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular."

    The Talmud
    "On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, "He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Any one who can say anything in his favor, let him come forward and plead on his behalf." But since nothing was brought forward in his favor he was hanged on the eve of the Passover!"

    Pliny the Younger governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor. AD 112.
    "They (the Christians) were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food but food of an ordinary and innocent kind."

    Flavius Josephus (AD 37?-101?)
    "Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done."

    April 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • The Flamingo Kid

      Do you really think anyone is going to read your lengthy post? Most people aren't even reading the actual article, let alone someone's rants.

      April 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Spence

      Chad - Don't you have a single original thought? Cutting and pasting is nice, but you didn't say anything. You just repeated what other people have said (maybe).

      April 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • RAY

      They all err—Moslems, Jews,
      Christians, and Zoroastrians:
      Humanity follows two world-wide sects:
      One, man intelligent without religion,
      The second, religious without intellect.
      Al-Ma'arri

      April 7, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Rod

      Your point is?

      April 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  17. Open

    I've no problem with theirs, or any Christian religion. The basics are the same; love and serve. Freedom of religion is a right in this country. Most Mormons I know are good, hard working people who just believe something I don't. Why be mean to them?

    April 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Jesus

      Being nice don't get you into heaven. Jesus asked Peter who do you say that iam? The answer to that question determines your soul, and in order to say he is god and believe that in your heart you must first be born again and that's not baptism, not works but a birth that comes from god. Mormonism is a cult and will send many to eternal separation from god.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Lyden

      PaLEAS! ...talk about someone who is brain washed!

      April 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Accuracy

      Open, you seem like an entirely reasonable person. I bet you have friends from all parts of the world. If more were like you, the world would be more peaceful, productive. I wish we could all get along.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  18. Bob Lewis

    I don't care how many nice people buy into this hogwash. It's. A. Cult.

    April 7, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Christianity is another name of hindu Mithrasim, pagan savior ism.

      April 7, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Mel

      It has none of the traits of a cult, never has.

      April 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • John

      you are a d.umb b.astard

      April 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • ScienceSoma

      How is this hogwash any different from any other religious mythological hogwash? The idea that a god made a blood sacrifice of his human son, then turned him into a zombie to prove he was god and this is the best way to save mankind from a nature he created them with in illiterate Bronze Age Palestine is pretty far fetched, and yet, here we have well over 1 billion people celebrating it tomorrow. If we allow people to believe this lunacy without too much fanfare, the least we can do is allow others the right to ideas that are equally as ridiculous.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Bill the Cat

      Mohammad, Christianity did NOT borrow from Mithraism. All of the crap lists from Price, Acharya S, and the other dolts are fabrications that hold no support from REAL Mithraic scholars like Ulansey.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • brunette_barbie_SC

      you're wrong, honey! We as Mormons choose to follow, we are not forced against our will??!! Think you just want to do what feels good and have no one tell you you're wrong. Also do you think God would let a member of a cult be the future president of our nation – don't think so. Go get another hobby like body building, golf, baseball, chess or something worthwhile instead of criticizing others – criticizing only shows you are jealous, or have some other repressed hate you can't control – a very weak character trait if I could say the least

      April 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • SloppyD

      Yeah, but it's the true cult!

      April 7, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Accuracy

      Bob, what religion or faith experience do you adhere to?

      April 7, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • reality check

      Bob Lewis: “I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one less god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” —Stephen F Roberts

      April 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  19. George Bush

    Mormons are the nicest cult members. I don't hate them 1 bit, but the church is a total scam to take their money and free labor.

    April 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Dustin

      George, thanks for the kind words about member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who give their labor and 10% of their income freely. The labor and money support things like disaster relief, assistance to the poor and needy, and building more temples and churches where its members can find truth and happiness. I hope you have a great Easter.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      They are hindu in hindrance of truth absolute 360* by belief in split of truth absolute 360 between two men, man god and proest as man god, Truthsolute 360* ab is un divide able and Quantum Physics bares witness to it.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • natehunt

      Hahahahahaha You don't even know what you are talking about.. How about you tell us what the word "cult" means and how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is one?

      April 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  20. Michael

    Really? Just as Elder Romney is about to represent the Republican Party? Is the secretive Mormon Religion so crass as to believe Americans can't see past this deception? Your faith excludes women, Blacks, Gays, and minorities. Yours is the type that extorts closeted gays in Hollywood for the sake of building your coffers. Yours is the religion that costs American tax payers millions in defense of polyogmy and hundreds of children (Waco, Texas), yet has the audicity to "defend" marriage. Really? You want me, a Gay, Latino American male to visit your temple? Really?

    April 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Spence

      Michael - You don't have a clue what you are talking about. Polygamy is not practiced by Mormons. Waco had nothing to do with Mormonism either. And come to think of it, I don't think Mormon's want you hanging around their children.

      April 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Mike

      I think you are pretty misinformed on what the Mormon church actually is. If you associate the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with those in Waco, you obviously haven't met many Mormons in your life.

      April 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • John

      mike you can add uneducated retard to your list of adjectives describing you

      April 7, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Jesus

      5minute YouTube video will change your life ( watch out for those who lead you astray- John piper)

      April 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • worldpeace

      Your rant makes no sense. I think i've heard 8 year old rants make more sense. you've just spewed so many things about mormons that is not true, but I can tell, you truly think they are. Makes me wonder who brainwashes people like you. How do you just go off whatever you hear or read in a book? why? Go investigate yourself. And don't go to those polygamy colonies and delcare that all you know...that's Bull Sh**...those people are not of the mormon church...they, like a lot of religions branched themselves out to what they wanted it to be.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Dallas

      You got it wrong, Michael. Mormons have nothing to do with the people in Waco.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Morman means, self centered, secular in hindrance, denier of truth absolute 360*, a hindu, otherwise word known to humanity is , A pig.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • SloppyD

      You composed that rebuttal and thought it was coherent enough to post? Really? You make comparisons to the Waco fiasco and have connected non-existent dots in your widdle mind? Really?? Your spell check didn't catch "audicity"? Really??? I ain't too bothered by gay latino males, but I, admittedly, do look down my nose at the, shall we say, "less than brainy."

      As a crazy, brainwashed Mormon (but not one of the real nice ones), I am amused by your unfocused outrage. The next time someone questions my critical thinking skills (because of course no Mormon could have any), I will fondly think of you. Good day, sir!

      April 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • kriste

      gladys knight will be very interested in knowing this considering she is a member in good standing . . . . /sarc. I actually feel sorry for you – you sure know how to hate and promulagate lies.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • TSM

      Michael, I think you're confusing the Mormon religion with the Muslim religion. It's the Muslim religion that doesn't like women, or gays, or Christians, or Jews, or Mormons. I don't think they even like dogs.

      April 7, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Discovega

      People may have thought you were stupied before, but you have now opened your mouth and removed all doubt. Get educated before you utter something next time.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.