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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. N&W 1000

    IF you want the REALLY interesting stuff about LDS, get the Journal of Discourses set. Although not considered official church doctrine, they contain tens of thousands of words from Brigham Young, Smith, Pratt, etc...

    This is where the really whacked out, crazy LDS stuff is found.

    April 7, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Jason

      Or you could just read the King James Version of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price for official LDS scriptural canon. These can all be accessed for free at lds.org.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • N&W 1000

      You may, but Mormons are very honest to tell you that the bible is corrupted and mistranslated-so why bother?

      As for the other stuff, they have been changed so much and sanitized, to find the truth you have to go to the originals or the JoD.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      actually, to find the truth, throw the bible in the trash and pick up a science book. in fact, pick up any basic high school science text book. now read the introduction. congratulations, you now have more useful knowledge than offered in the entirety of the bible.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • gloria

      the lds religion is a cult, plain and simple!!!!

      April 7, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  2. food

    So this is where the money goes? I would have thought the indoor swimming pool would have been much much bigger. But I guess the leaders of the church pocketed to much money to pay for a full size pool this time.

    April 7, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      and that's how you can tell they are definitely just another christian organization.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Dandini

      Always people are jumping to conclusions without all of the facts... the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints build about one new chapel somewhere in the world each week... and provide materials and supplies for the members to use... to teach and learn about Christ... and the almost 29,000 congregations, led by voluntary and unpaid leaders around the world... and they also provide millions of dollars and tens of thousands of hours of service to those in need or are suffering from disaster around the world... and, yes, from time to time they build a temple and dedicate it unto the Lord...

      April 8, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  3. N&W 1000

    The Book of Mormon condemns polygamy, yet Joseph Smith was a prolific adulterer.

    The Book of Mormon teaches that God is a spirit being, with no body; yet Smith taught god had a bod of flesh and bones.

    April 7, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Jason

      This post is factually incorrect/incomplete on so many levels.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • N&W 1000

      Ok, then, cite for me even one verse from the BOM that teaches your view of god...just one verse.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Loggan44

      Actually...I think you might be getting the book of Mormon confused with the word of wisdom. The Mormon church has the Book of Mormon and then the Prophet gives people the word of wisdom. In the early part of the century the church outlawed polygamy. Polygamy wasn't originally for people to have extra wives. It was for women who had lost their husbands to be cared for. And if you read the Holy Bible, there was this guy named Jesus who was of the flesh and of the blood. Jesus, as part of the holy trinity, is God, therefore your points are based on misinformation I think.

      Wierd a Buddhist had to explain this though. lol

      April 7, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • N&W 1000

      Appreciate it, but no.

      LDS teaches that god the father, their Elohim, is a man, with a body of flesh and bones. They recognize Jesus as a man, separate from Elohim.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      lies, loggan. it was always to get extra punani. to take care of wives who had lost their husbands, lol. that's how the guys with 7 wives justify it. ridiculous.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • sailorman3

      The Book of Mormon and indeed the mormon doctrine was altered to remove polygamy from their releigon so that they could be admiitted into the US. This is why the Romeney clan went to Mexico. Kinda like flip-floping to conform to the situation.
      Smith made many prophecys in the name of God that didn't prove true, and the Bible tells us that if this happens then the prophet is false. Therefore it is a false religion.
      My Great great Grand mother was one of the last survivers of the wagan train as her parents were converts from England.
      I was born in Salt Lake City and lived there for 15 years. And No I'm not a member now.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • LinSea

      Your claims are inaccurate. You have taken a few verses and passages out of context. Go back and study more carefully.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  4. The Alpha and the Omega-3

    Is a world without religion REALLY that scary to some people? I'm sure we can find better explanations for our problems than "she listened to a talking snake". I agree with the previous post about what we actually could be accomplishing with all of the energy being wasted on splitting dogmatic hairs.

    April 7, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      No God, know peace.

      when the last cult finally becomes a mythology, there will be significantly less reasons for people to murder one another. religions cultivate divine hatred toward anyone who is not in their specific cult. religion is poisonous.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • edwardo

      @Bootyfunk – finally! A sane person. I thought everyone had drank the kool-aid.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  5. N&W 1000

    Mormonism and it's Temple of Doom. Nothing that happens there is scriptural, from the bible.

    IS this where they proxy baptized Hitler?

    April 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      sowwy, Hitler was a Catholic. get your facts straight. Nazi belt buckles read "God is with us."

      April 7, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • N&W 1000

      Perhaps he was Catholic, but, no matter.

      LDS proxy baptized Hitler. True story.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      hocus pocus rituals that have no meaning.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • edwardo

      @Bootyfunk – right again! Catholics ignore the fact that Hitler was a Xtian, and the Vatican used to throw bday parties for him! They pretend it never happened. That's why Hitler hated Jews, as he believed they killed Jesus.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  6. Lars Babaganoosh

    Mormon girls give great head. I'm not even joking. My first girlfriend ever was Mormon and she rocked my ballz. Five years later so did her younger sister. I don't know what that faith does to chicks but they are wild. Repressed something or other.

    April 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • edwardo

      Thanks for sharing that with us... NOT!!!

      April 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Jason

      You are a disgrace.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Lars Babaganoosh

      Jason is a Mormon who can't handle the fact that some of his "sisters" are out there getting more action than he ever will.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  7. PhilaVarsity

    If God revealed to me new Scripture that expanded upon the Book of Mormon and I began an new faith and gathered followers and did good deeds etc. could I just say to the LDS. Look, "we're Mormons... just like you". Do you think they would accept that or would they push back like actual Christians have done with LDS? What do you think?

    April 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Jason

      If one's definition of "Mormon" was one belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there would be push-back. If one's definition of "Mormon" was one who believed in the book of Mormon, there wouldn't be push back.

      If one's definition of Christian is belonging to a church that traces belief in God to the Nicene creed (written over 300 AD), then there is rightfully push-back.

      if one's definition of Christian is one who believes Jesus Christ to be God and the Son of God, the only means of salvation.... and one who believes in loving others as Jesus taught was a sign of all true disciples of Christ... then there shouldn't be push-back.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • N&W 1000

      LDS redefines all the terms, be careful. To them, god is a man of flesh and bone, who became god. This is taught nowhere in either the Bible or the book of Mormon.

      There is not one verse, not one, in the BOM, that teaches that god is a man of flesh and bones.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • edwardo

      Just invent any kind of religion. Believe me, these sheep will follow you. They'll believe anything! Talking snakes, sun rotating around the earth.. ANYTHING!

      April 7, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Jason

      N&W: Jesus is God. Jesus was resurrected. His disciples testified that he has a body of flesh and bones. This is good enough for me.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • N&W 1000

      Jason, not talking about Jesus, talking about God the Father, your Elohim, I believe...

      Of course Christ had a body, he was born a human being, but the Father was not, never was, and is not a man.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • edwardo

      @Jason – you sure require very little proof of something, to base your whole life upon it. Actually there is no proof, not eve a little proof. Invisible unicorns are just as likely to exist as your god.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      @edwardo

      did you know unicorns are in the bible? that right. also satyrs, dragons and c.ockatrice too! derp! how can anyone believe this dribble....?

      April 7, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Jason

      N&W, does the Bible not teach us that if you have seen Jesus, you HAVE seen the Father? Does Jesus not also say in the Bible that He does not do anything save he has first seen the Father do it?

      April 7, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      too bad no one has seen jesus or the "father". hard to see things that don't exist...

      April 7, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • edwardo

      @Bootyfunk – Glad you said that. I'm going to Google it. I heard those creatures were in that book. It's hard to believe that adults would actually take this book seriously. It's baffling, isn't it ??

      April 7, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  8. Bootyfunk

    uh oh, CNN had a typo. the article was supposed to be called:

    Taking a Rare Tour of a Moron Temple

    April 7, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • PhilaVarsity

      not that funny, or original

      April 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      not original, but definitely funny. and more accurate.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • david esmay

      That would be moroni's, I didn't know they had a Disney attraction in Kansas.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  9. lauren

    no.... the church has ORDERED there to be no further baptisms by proxy for Jews out of respect for their requests not to... get the facts right.

    April 7, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  10. PhilaVarsity

    If Mormons are "Christians... just like you" why do we need to be told that. The Holy Spirit would make that known to us and we would feel the truth in that statement. However, that is not the message we receive from the Holy Spirit and we know it not to be true. Be happy with your faith, revel in it, serve your God and reap your rewards later just dont try to squeeze Mormonism into Christianity between Methodists and Prebyterians in the alphabetical listing of actual Christian faiths. Thank you.

    April 7, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • lauren

      so mormons aren't christian?... they worship christ...... hence christians?... weirdos for arguing about it....

      April 7, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Jason

      "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" is the proper name of the church. Yes, we are Christians. No, we do not believe in a post-Nicene definition of God. Yes, we do belief in the God of the Bible. There are many interpretations of the Bible. Yes, we do believe Jesus is God and yes, we do believe only through Him is salvation.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      different christian denominations are just different factions of the same cult. mormons mostly believe the same non-sense as any other christian cult, catholics, lutherans, baptists, etc. it's only the details that are different. you are all equally brain-washed.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • david esmay

      They took one hoax and expanded the hoax. So we are to believe that the angel moroni appeared to an unemployed dowser/mystic in upstate NY, gave him 9 golden plates that no one ever saw, peered into a hat and found out that the garden of eden was in Missouri? Complete Bovine Scatology.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • N&W 1000

      WHICH Jesus do Mormons worship?

      The half brother of Lucifer, a created being, whose death did NOT atone for certain sins like adultery and murder?

      OR, the Jesus of the Bible-God in the flesh, sinless, un-created, eternal, etc...?

      Which Jesus are you talking about?

      April 7, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      N&W, does it matter? they're both made up.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Jake

      Mormons are NOT Christians. They believe Jesus lived with the Indians here in America and believe all of this came from a crazy man who could read magic stones. They also believe in magic underwear. Mormonism is a CULT and a scary one at that. I was pulled into it and I'm luck and thankful to God that I was pulled out of the Mormon cult.
      They are NOT Christians, anyone who believes otherwise needs to read what they really believe. It's scary!

      April 7, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      chrisitans believe in christ. they have the same bible as you, plus one more book. you may not like it, but they are christians. not your kind of christian, but still christians. it's so funny that cult members argue with each other like that, lol.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • mormonsarechristian

      If Conservative Christians would do their own research, instead of accepting the biased views of their preachers, they would realize Mormons’ theology is based on New Testament Christianity, not the preachers' Fourth Century Creeds. For example, the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) views on Baptism, Lay Ministry, the Trinity, Theosis, Grace vs. Works, the Divinity of Jesus Christ are closer to Early Christianity than any other denomination. And Mormons’ teenagers have been judged to “top the charts” in Christian Characteristics by a UNC-Chapel Hill study. Read about it here:

      http://MormonsAreChristian.blogspot.com/

      According to a 2012 Pew Forum poll of members of the Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) 98 percent said they believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and 97 percent say their church is a Christian religion. Mormons have a better understanding of Christianity than any other denomination, according to a 2010 Pew Forum poll:

      http://www.pewforum.org/Other-Beliefs-and-Practices/U-S-Religious-Knowledge-Survey.aspx

      11 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence (including several presidents) were non-Trinitarian Christians. Those who now insist on their narrow Trinitarian and salvation-only- by-grace definition of Christianity for candidates for public office are doing our Republic an injustice.

      April 8, 2012 at 2:08 am |
  11. Pipe-Dreamer

    God is God. Who among us can deny Him and His role in Creationism and His Sons roles in establishing creations upon Creationisms' Domains of Earthliness?

    April 7, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • YeahOk

      Me! Me! I can!!

      April 7, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Use your brain

      And your evidence for god and creation is...? Let me guess, the "infallible" words of itinerant goat herders who wouldn't pass my son's kindergarden class.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      me too. your imaginary friend in the sky is a figment of your limited imagination.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      YeahOk

      On what grounds can you deny God's role in Creationism,,,,, Tell me and others of you claim(s).

      April 7, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      On what grounds can you prove there is any such being?

      April 7, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Prove your claim, just sayin. You state that I don't know what you do or don't do. Can the same not be said of you? You have no clue what I do. Or what I believe. You're a moron who lives and breathes to post here.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • YeahOk

      Because you, and all other religious believers, have zero proof that any of your claims are true.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      sounds like you need to take some basic science classes. the world is 6k years old? that has been proven false by a number of scientific disciplines. you really think there were never any such thing as dinosaurs and that "god" just magicked up their bones to test us? if you believe that, go get a frontal lobotomy - you're not using your brain anyway.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • YeahOk

      @Bootyfunk

      You know, even if science is 100% wrong about everything, there is still zero proof of a god. Your bible is NOT proof.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Use your brain,,,,,,,,,

      Just like a humanist to turn the table and yet, "Is not all Celestialness a Creation?" Answer please if you will,,,,

      Also, "Are we not created by anomolies of uncertainess in views of today's sciences?" Is all you have to show for Creations creations just theories of random perspectives of quantum physics whereupon stands the crux of your staunchy rebuttlas?

      April 7, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      absolutely, YeahOK. there are many, many reasons not to believe. creationism is probably the most ridiculous though.

      plus they haven't been touched by his noodley appendage. all hail the one and only Flying Spaghetti Monster. now that's a delicious deity!

      April 7, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • YeahOk

      @Pipe-Dreamer

      All you have a book that says some magic man said abracadabra?

      April 7, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Just like a humanist to turn the table and yet, "Is not all Celestialness a Creation?" Answer please if you will,,,,

      define celestialness. more magic? you have zero proof of your claims that the world is 6k years old. yet there is mountains of evidence to the contrary. please produce evidence and don't fall back on "Goddidit". i repeat, use your brain.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      @pipe-dreamer
      i challenge you to show how Humanism doesn't have a superior ethical system to that offered by christianity. christianity supports all sorts of disgusting "moral" behaviors, like killing g.a.y.s, disobedient wives and children, anyone who works on the sabbath (so kill everyone who works at the mall or a restaurant on the weekend), etc. the bible is one of the most heinous and disgusting books ever written. so compare Humanism and christianity on ethical behavior, i dare you.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Can't get a date on Saturday night, huh, PD? Poor little you.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • YeahOk

      @Pipe-Dreamer

      "Is all you have to show for Creations creations just theories of random perspectives of quantum physics whereupon stands the crux of your staunchy rebuttlas?"

      I'll throw all that out. Every science, every quantum physics, every evolution theory, everything. Now, where is YOUR proof.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Bootyfunk,,,,,

      Imaginary friend in the sky you boast? I know not of such an imaginary friend! God is above this allness we call Creation and from the outward dimensions of outer space places He sits there from afar off while His Sons and Daughters remain ever vigilant to their creations upon every celestially created Earthiness. We are God's buildings and whether one truly believes this is so, so be it. I care little to dawdle away with mere humanists who care only to jousts of embitterments!

      Your humanist-based science is still stuck on there being but a single universe amid the Cosmos when there is with certainty unmeasurable amounts of universes within the Celestial Cosmos!

      April 7, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i one thing all your claims lack is proof. evidence. look the word up.

      "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." - Carl Sagan

      you are making the most extraordinary claim of all, that there is a god. but you provide no evidence.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • YeahOk

      @Pipe-Dreamer

      You have nothing more than claims from your magic book. Zero proof.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • david esmay

      Count me in the denial column.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
  12. YeahOk

    j@ust sayin
    "Do you know what condolences are?"

    Yes, it's an offer of support, and I offer my support to *another repentant sinner" since prayer ruined his sensibility to reason and believe in reality.

    April 7, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      just sayin is a moron.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • YeahOk

      Com'n, no reason to be mean to the reality challenged.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • just sayin

      Hate is the only emotion Tom, Tom has. Without the ability to lie and hate ole Tom would have nothing to say. God bless

      April 7, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • juanmoretime

      Made up religion of "seer stones" and "golden plates", sorry but there is only one bible and your "book of mormon" is a fake. Definetly not christian. They had to renounce poligamy, so Utah could become a state. They considered blacks, as children of the devil.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  13. Diana

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXsoCAln5fk&w=640&h=390]

    April 7, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Zakuska

      In Response to the Shaw McCranky video posted earlier by Diana. Apparently Shawn and Diana are blissfully unaware of the history and contraversy behind the issue.

      1) How can someone be "convicted" of a misdemeanor & "fraud" In a pre-trial hearing?

      April 26, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  14. blursd

    I don't really see how this "rare" ... the LDS Church holds an open house before the dedication of every temple, and there are hundreds of temples spread across the planet. I remember going through the San Diego Temple open house ... they were over 200,000 visitors, spanning four months. And that was JUST the San Diego Temple ...

    April 7, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • ikaties

      Yes, and if you look at the population of the San Diego area, you will see why there were more visitors. The San Diego temple also serves members in Northern Mexico. I really think it is irrelevant to compare the turn out for the Kansas City Temple vs. the San Diego.

      It is nice to have one so close so that the long drives to St. Louis or Omaha NE can be avoided. Of course, we are still welcome to visit those, but is nice to have a temple so close.

      April 8, 2012 at 1:59 am |
  15. Chris F

    Thanks for your great responses guys It's good to see everyone isn't trolling on this site (except for everyone calling us a cult). I spent two years of my life serving the Lord in France (I'm 21 and I just got back a few months ago). I feel confident when I say that all of the doctrines of the Mormon church are found in the Bible in some context or stated quite explicitly. It all comes down to interpretation, which many claim never happens as the doctrines were decided by post-Christ era scholars years ago. Anyone who reads the Bible is free to interpret it's words as they may, the Holy Ghost is what will confirm the truth of what you're reading to you. That why there are many Theology majors today that still persist in atheism. I'm sorry that you guys left the church, but I'm happy that you understand that everyone has the right to freedom of religion and don't feel persecuted as such. We believe that we are all literal sons and daughters of God, Christ included. Christ serves as God of this world under the direction of the Father and the Holy Ghost is witness of this truth. Christ accepted our pains and suffering to save us from a difficult world and to allow us to return to our Father in Heaven once again. Satan wished to destroy the plan so he was cast out of Heaven as you can read in Revelations 22: 16. Revelations and Isaiah are great sources for unadulterated truth that many have trouble understanding and usually skip over. This is one of the reasons we believe a living prophet is so important for the world today. He is nothing more than a man, but with him we can better understand God and our relationship with him. I love my savior Jesus Christ with all my heart and I'm sure that those who search sincerely will see this and understand why those of the LDS faith believe whole heatedly we are Christian in every way

    April 7, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • just sayin

      The LDS Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible. Mormons are not Christians. God bless

      April 7, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Sue

      Why does your omnipotent creature need so much "service"?

      You'd think he wasn't able to fend for himself, nor even to exist.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Mastodonrocks

      Go polish your special glasses.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Dave

      Chris – believe what you will. If you don't believe in the Trinity then you really don't believe what mainstream Christans believe in. Mormons are not Christians, no matter how many times they tap their ruby slippers together and wish that they were.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Chris F

      Thanks for the response Dave. You made a very important distinction. We are not "mainstream Christians" and do not look to be. The trinity is exactly one of the doctrines we don't believe in. It's our belief that doctrines such as the Holy Trinity are not supported by the Bible. We look to accounts like every version of Christ's baptism to confirm this. I'm not looking to bash at all as I have never had any good experiences with bashing but I just don't understand why people associate "mainstream Christianity" with Christianity. Those within the "mainstream Christian" group have such varying values it's very disingenuous to call Mormons non-Christians when we have the same base (Christ and the Bible) at heart. That's what I think.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • juanmoretime

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but mormonism is a cult, Jesus did not come to the native americans (elamites you call them), for if he did, they would have been practicing christians, when Columbus arrived. The so called "golden plates" were written in "reformed egyptian"? That language never existed.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • not chosen

      Read the book "Children of God" by Vardis Fisher for an inside view of the history of the church by a mormon Phd., who later became a non-believer. Just my "educated' opinion. Oh, I lived in Salt lake in the 70's.....great address system, but the mormons owned the media, the local, county, and state government, the court system, the banks, most businesses and the newspapers. Met some nice people who were part of the flock. I felt like an outsider though, and mormons can be very cliquish to non-believers.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • Chris F

      Juan, please read the Book of Mormon before you comment on it. You'll find that the Christian civilization in the Americas was completely destroyed 400 years after the coming of Christ. "Reformed Egyptian" is what happens when you're separated from the middle-east for 2000 years...

      April 7, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • david esmay

      Huge waste of your time, you could have been chasing unicorns.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Chris F

      Sorry, I meant 1000. Same difference haha.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Ethan Vockner

      Chris, do you believe in magic?

      April 7, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Curtis

      Dang Chris, I wish there was Another Testament of Jesus Christ to help clarify all the apostate confusion out there. It would be nice to know that Christ was still in communication to his children (through Prophets) like He was in ancient days. You know if the world had anything like that, you would thing all followers of Christ would jump at the chance to learn everything they could about their Savior. Bummer that stuff just isn't out there.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  16. peter corbett

    Did they get to see the place where elders "induct" virgins???

    April 7, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • blursd

      That has to be one of the most absurd and ludicrous statements I've ever heard ... Nice to see there are still plenty of blissfuly ignorant bigots out there.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Sue

      You must have had earplugs on in the temple.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 7, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • YeahOk

      Things prayer changes... Nadda.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • another repentant sinner

      Prayer changed my life.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • YeahOk

      "Prayer changed my life."

      Sorry to hear that. My condolences.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Mastodonrocks

      Good to see your keyboard is still working and your still typing that same one line over and over and over. Prayer is for fools.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • just sayin

      Do you know what condolences are? God bless

      April 7, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • YeahOk

      @just sayin
      "Do you know what condolences are?"

      Yes, it's an offer of support, and I offer my support to *another repentant sinner" since prayer ruined his sensibility to reason and believe in reality.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • another repentant sinner

      I would rather have Jesus in prayer than all your support. I have gained everything.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • david esmay

      How's it working for amputees?

      April 7, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      For everyone

      April 7, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  18. koga

    Religion is the single biggest piece of crap that has ever come about. Imagine the wonders we would have if the resources wasted on religious trapments were instead used for the betterment of all people equally.

    April 7, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Sue

      Bump up koga's comment.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Jason

      Religion brought us the 10 commandments... which was the basis of early English law... which was later the basis for much of American Law. The printing press was invented to publish the Bible... Think what you will about the existence of God, religion has helped bring civilization many great advancements.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • edwardo

      @Jason – it has brought us the Crusades, Salem Witch Trials, countless wars, untold hatred.. It is a curse. I'd rather would have lived without the printing press, than live with the horrors religions has brought upon us.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • david esmay

      I second that motion.
      "I cannot imagine a God, who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own– a God in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear, or ridiculous egotism." Albert Einstein

      April 7, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • ikaties

      The most religious people I know are atheists! You guys spend 80% of your time devoted to discounting and disproving religious practice. Wouldn't this be a better world if you spent even 50% of your time making the world a better place by being a kind human being?

      April 8, 2012 at 2:03 am |
  19. Eric

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

    OK. How, exactly, do you baptize someone posthumously? Is it just me, or does that sound like it would be really creepy?

    April 7, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Steve-In-MA

      They just baptize whoever is in the baptismal pool "in place of your great-great-aunt Ethel" and then your aunt has the option to accept the Mormon baptism or reject it as she sees fit in the after-life. That's the theory, anyway. It sounds funky to me, but I'm not a Mormon.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Postal

      Um...did you read the article? It kind of explained it in detail...

      April 7, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  20. PhilaVarsity

    Please stop call yourselves Christians. It's an insult to us. We would not care one bit about what you do if you would stop trying to force "We're Christians... just like you" down our throats. It's really not too much to ask considering the major differences in our religions (and don't tell me I should focus on the similarities).

    April 7, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Fred

      You're one of those born agains who debates whether Catholics or Adventists are Christian. Who gave you the right to tell others what their beliefs mean to them? You're a Trinitarian Christian. Others are non-Trinitarian Christians. Get over it, bigot.

      April 7, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Sue

      There are No True Scotsmen...

      April 7, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Curtis

      Please stop calling yourselve a Christian. It's an insult to all the rest of us.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • LinSea

      I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I absoutely and completely believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe that he came to Earth and because of His love for all mankind He willingly suffered for our sins, died on the cross, and rose again from the tomb so that so that every person who lives and has faith in Him can be forgiven of their sins and live eternally with God. I try to follow His example of obeying God's commandments and helping others. This is why I consider myself a Christian.

      I don't think anyone is trying to "force" any notion that LDS beliefs are "just like you" down anybody's throat. I fully recognize that there are differences, and I respect that. It is your perogative to worship how you choose and according to your conscience. Every denomination has its differences. But even though I also have differences in my beliefs from historical Christianity, EVERYTHING I do believe revolves around Jesus Christ and His love, grace, and sacrifice. He is completely at the center of my beliefs and faith.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:25 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.