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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.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Content Partner • Faith Now • TV-The Situation Room

soundoff (4,366 Responses)
  1. CSX

    Stephened was stoned to death explaining you do not need a temple. A believer is a temple of the Holy Spirit.

    April 7, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • chinaconqueryoueasy

      hahahaha..you caught up in semantic..your pastor do no work and live in big house..like all fat and lazy american wish they could do..hahaha..joe smith big charlatan too..mormon bishop biggest fool..he work own job and get no pay for being clergy..mormon machine self driven by many fool..they pay most amount out of all american redneck fool..that why they have million dollar building..hahaha.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  2. chinaconqueryoueasy

    hahaha..american focus on rerigion..get caught up in wasteful debate..hahaha..chinese focus on owning your fat, lazy, icanhazchesseburger eating azz..american too stupid to see what rest of world figure out hundred years ago..american think that they chosen people..waste time in useless arguing..politician play you all against each other..easy for china to take over when mormon and baptist try eliminate each other..hahahaha

    April 7, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • YeahOk

      We have lots of nu.clear bom.bs.

      Hahahahahaha!!

      April 7, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • chinaconqueryoueasy

      hahaha..you such fool you easily tricked by inflammatory rhetoric..hahaha. get in religious war and you use nuclear bomb on utah then texas then all of redneck america..hahaha..drop this collosal waste of time and wake up tools!!

      April 7, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • YeahOk

      I guess you come to American websites to tell us how bad we are since you are not allowed to speak your mind in your country. How's that working out for you?

      April 7, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • chinaconqueryoueasy

      yeahok..you have amply proven your gullibility..I agree that the US can destroy every major city in the world within sixty seconds..you SHOULD be worried about the MENTALITY that might trigger this..

      April 8, 2012 at 1:00 am |
  3. faithful lds

    I don't care about all the negative comments people posted about the LDS church. But I truly believe in it's teachings and am a better person today.

    The Articles of Faith
    of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

    We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

    We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.

    We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

    We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

    We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.

    We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.

    We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

    We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

    We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

    We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

    We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

    We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

    April 7, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      you believe in keeping g.a.y.s from marrying and a bunch of other evil c.rap. sowwy, you're not as good as you think you are.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Roberto

      "admonition of Paul!!!!???!!!" Holy freaking butter nuts, dude. Have you EVER read anything but the Book of Mormon and the Bible? Something tells me that one needs to educate one's-self.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • chinaconqueryoueasy

      Roberto..hahaha..you argue like your own bible indisputable fact..hahaha..all rerigious debate waste of time..all of it garbage..what collossal waste of resources and time..hahaha..efficiency of chinese waste you soon..hahaha..get education and make something useful..hahaha..american redneck tool for smart church leader and politician.. hahaha

      April 7, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • YeahOk

      @chinaconqueryoueasy
      "all rerigious debate waste of time..all of it garbage."

      And yet here you are, debating about how this is a waste of time. Pot, meet kettle.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • jokes on you

      @ Roberto
      Have you ever read anything in your life? Get an education!

      April 8, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • larper2

      You also believe that you will become a god. You wear holy underwear in LDS. You believe that an Jesus visited North America. There were Golden tablets which make up the morman bible. LDS is racist. There are too many points to show the errors of your way.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • tempguest

      @larper2
      There are too many points of error about you. So I won't waste my time.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Edward

      Bootyfunk - Like it or not Homers will die off in time. Their life style is designed to shorten their lives anyway. And since they can't reproduce without significant assistance then hopefully they will always just be a genetic error that corrects itself at death. Flamers are the ultimate Darwin Award Winners.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:47 am |
  4. Roberto

    Hmmmmm. Reading all of these responses makes me want to pour another glass of wine. And then, pet my dog, kiss my wife, tell my daughter she's lovely and that we're proud of her, and then go to bed and wake up on Easter Sunday and NOT worry that we all three of us (along with our dog and two cats) are going to burn in Hell for Eternity for not attending some church service...Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Church of Christ, Church of God, Pentecostal, etc., etc., (ad infinitum, with great deliberation). To paraphrase Karl Marx: "Religion is the opium of the masses." But, hey, if it makes you feel good and better, confident and saved above all others in this world, 'go ahead on, bubba'. You've got my blessing. Oh, yes. Don't forget to pray for us. If you don't, you're liable to burn in Eternal Hell.

    April 7, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Michael

      Ironically, Mormons don't believe that *anyone* burns in hell for eternity.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      well said. christians always think atheists are miserable because we don't have an invisible friend in the sky. lol.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      @Michael
      seems other mormons do believe in hell:
      http://www.whatdomormonsbelieve.com/2009/04/what-do-mormons-believe-about-hell/

      April 7, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
  5. Emily

    So many negative and argumentative comments! Sad!

    Anyway...

    As a member of the LDS church I really appreciate the authors' objective approach, especially on this subject. Temples truly are meant as a sacred place to come closer to God. I am grateful for the respect they give instead of subtly, or obviously, twisting things to look weird or secret.

    Thank you!

    April 7, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • TownC

      I agree. There needs to be more respect between people of differing views.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      so you meet someone that says his pinkie toe is god and should be worshiped by all. that deserves respect? crazy views like that deserve respect? i disagree. and anytime someone puts forth a criticism of christianity, they cry they are being disrespected. we are just holding your feet to the fire. you are taught bad ethics and we are going to point it out. basically, if your book didn't say things like kill g.a.y.s, we wouldn't have much ammo, would we?

      April 7, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • CraigW

      @Emily. I agree. All this over our church revealing a new temple. I'm wondering what the comments would be if a new football stadium was just opened?

      April 7, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • CraigW

      @BootyFunk Believe what you want. Don't put me down for what I believe. Looking over all the comments on these pages, it looks to be you as the one who is so negative. if you believe in your pinky toe.. I'm not going to criticize you for it. I'm sorry I wont be showing up to your service, I have my own beliefs.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  6. Mohammad A Dar

    Hindu word drive from Latin word hindered, negative, Hun for great, Han, to be in greatness, hind, to be negative to both of them, hinduism, way of negativity, hindu's hind, deny truth absolute 360* in their hindu Judaism, criminal self center ism, secularism to hind, fool humanity, nothing but hindu filthy animals in form of human,

    April 7, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  7. Pipe-Dreamer

    Bootyfunk wrote on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 10:48 pm, sayin, "i urge you not to waste time praying at all. go out and do something with your life instead. you'll be a better person for it. for instance, i volunteer one sunday a month with a project that feeds the homeless. a much better way to help people than going to cult meetings or praying to invisible friends for help."

    Last year I use to go once a week to the local church and help unload the trucks bringing food for the needy. Don't exactly know why I stopped,,,, Too lazy perhaps? Thank you for turning me around! I will once again go to the local church and help out! It's on Wednesday mornings. If I'm online after this coming Wednesday, ask me if I helped out,,,

    I spend most of my nights playing on a pool league and tourneys 3 nights a week. I'm not too bad a player,,,, keeps me out of trouble,,,,LoL! Monday nights are league play and Tuesdays. Thursdays and Fridays are Tourney nights. I'll never go back to the "local" AA meetings at the same church I use to help out. They are nothing but a bunch of hippocrits! I have remained sober for over two years and counting with no help from AA.

    April 7, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      and every minute you spend praying could be spend actually helping someone instead, because prayer does nothing. i have no doubt you have volunteered at charities. but the underlying reason for christian charities is recruitment. some of the money given to christian charities goes to printing "believe in god" pamphlets. the money could be used to actually help someone instead. see the point? cause it looks like you've been missing it...

      April 7, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Bootyfunk

      I have not "missed the point" regarding pamphlets vs the needy. What irks me nore is the grandness of many churches and all the money they so lavishly spend in upkeep when considering the plights of the very needy and socially forlorn.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      we definitely agree there. churches take in all kinds of money and then usually spend it on themselves, saving little for those in need - supposedly the reason for the charitable givings in the first place.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  8. moorenlv

    April 7, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  9. b4bigbang

    Bob: "Last time I checked, atheists never executed people who didn't share the same opinion."

    One of the things Communist dictatorships do when they take over is to persecute the other belief systems. Since Marxism condemns religion and pushes atheism, the result is millions of dead people, murdered by the state in the name of godless Communism.
    Proven fact of history.

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

      believers and non-believers alike have done horrible things, fact. the difference is there is no divine book telling atheists to murder innocent people. gods nor people should be worshiped.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      I believe the book on the left-wing side of mass-murderers is called Das Capital (religion is opiate for the masses, etc, etc) and the book on the right-wing side of mass murderers is Mein Kampf(sp?), so there's your books.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      mein kampf was written by a christian. das capital was written by an atheist. both those nut jobs killed innocent people. but where does das capital say it is the divine duty to murder people? mein kampf does. the bible does. i'm a Humanist, an atheistic ethical system. atheism itself has nothing to do with ethics, only saying there is no god. humanists don't believe in worshiping cults of personality either.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Bootyfunk,,,, "gods nor people should be worshiped"

      As a race we adore and idolize and worship many things be they humans or Godliness or even liquids and weeds.For anyone of marriage to not worship or adore their spouse and their children would be a costly mistake. The worshipping of a singular God seems to me to put the brakes on polytheisms of so long ago. Nowdays it is which Monotheism is the correct one to worship and/or adore.

      Like I made mention of earlier, I am a God-fearing man of Christian moralities and I am not associated with any religious oganization because I have issues with their standings. Christ's dying upon the cross at Calvary may well have been the only way of redemption for God and mankind alike. The keys to our ongoing generations is now up to us to tend with and God may well never again set foot upon our celestialness abode, this place we call our Earth.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i disagree with you. love your spouse with all your heart, but worship? no. do not worship your spouse. that's terrible advice. yes, people these days seems to worship all sorts of things, from movie stars to name brand products. but that's not really worship, is it? i think you should look the word "worship" up. it's not healthy to worship anyone.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • NI

      Now hold on just a minute. Stalin killed people because he was a communist, not because he was an atheist. The two are not synonymous. Stalin gets defined by what he did believe - communism - and not by what he didn't believe (the existence of gods). Stalin also didn't believe in unicorns, the man in the moon, or astrology.

      Find me someone who killed people because he was an atheist and nothing more than an atheist, and then you'll have a point. Not atheist plus communist, just atheist.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      @NI

      well said.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
  10. pastmorm

    Original caption to the photo in this article with the funny looking git grinning: "Come unto me and give me your money and I promise you that I will make you a god if you join my church and obey the words of our leaders without question! Gods! You'll be Gods!!!"
    Sound crazy? Look it up. Mormons believe they will be gods. They believe that there is even an heavenly mother right now with God!

    April 7, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      not any crazier than the belief in a god. it's all made up. it's hilarious. people that believe in the tooth fairy arguing with people who believe in santa claus.

      "can you believe they think some guy in a red suit comes down the chimney to deliver presents to every deserving child in the world, all in one night?!? they're crazy! now let's go pay homage to the great easter bunny, may you find many colored eggs this high holy day! oh and don't forget the holy peeps!"

      lol.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Cortney

      Why would that be such a radical idea that there be a heavenly mother or in other words families in heaven? Also why is it so outlandish to think that we can become like the being after who's image we have been created? Regardless of the accuracy of those ideas I don't understand why you would find either to be proposterous.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      why, courtney? because you have no proof, no evidence. zero. zip. there is a god/goddess that expects you to believe in him/her but he/she has provided no proof?

      April 7, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Cortney

      Proof is in the eye of the beholder. Ask yourself just exactly what proof would your require to actually believe? If you are given proof to the point that you are forced to believe then the whole point of being here to begin with is lost.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      proof is in the eye of the beholder? lol, are you serious? i'll remember that when i'm a juror at a murder trial. "i don't need to see any evidence, i can just look at someone and tell if they're guilty." i'm sure you see nothing wrong with that. and your logic is flawed. by giving us proof of his existence would force us to believe in him? yikes, bad line of thinking. it's an excuse for your side not being able to prove a single word you say. christians hate facts.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Cortney

      What facts are you talking about? By your line of thinking there is no proof in either direction. Funny you would take our conversation about god and religion and turn into a conversation about criminal evidence. Evidence does not equal proof, it merely leads one to a conclusion. I have no problem with facts, but you haven't presented any. All I've seen on this board is bunch of predetermined ideas and heresay. I'm not trying to be contensious but I feel I must speek up when the things being said about my religion are completely without merit.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      by my line of thinking there is no proof in either direction? what are you even trying to say? seriously, i don't see what you mean. please explain.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      what would i need to see for proof of a diety? any number of things. any of the so called miracles in the bible would suffice.

      the bible says the earth is flat. we have proof it is not. this disproves the legitimacy of the bible being the perfect word of god. do you believe the earth is flat? the bible says it is. how do you reconcile that "fact" being wrong?

      April 7, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • Cortney

      Mormons believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. I'm not familiar with the passage that says the world is flat, I'm pretty sure thats a misinterpretation or a mistranslation. Because the Bible has been translated so many times and manipulated by controlling parties is precisely why we have the Book of Mormon – to confirm the Bible's truth's and dispell it's inaccuracies. I'm not sure which prophecies you're refering to as not having come to pass. The Bible however contains prophecies that cover the time from the creation of the earth to it's eventual destruction (or renewal in mormon theology) and even beyond. It would stand to reason then that there are prophecies that have not yet come to pass.

      April 8, 2012 at 12:18 am |
  11. Dandy

    Yo Mormon dudes.. How are you making the world a better place with these closed off buildings? More than a bit selfserving.
    Organized religion rots the brain. How much tax you gonna pay on that building ... oh none? So you want me to pay your taxes for you?? Stick it where the sun don't shine brother...

    April 7, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • /sigh

      I bet most tax payers even payed for a majority of the construction of the building as well.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Michael

      The main thing accomplished in Mormon temples is strengthening the commitment of people who attend to be honest, moral people. For spouses to care for each other and their children, to give to the sick and the needy, and to learn an appreciation for the beauty of the world and the universe.

      Regardless of how you feel about Mormon theology, when the rubber hits to road, it's the little daily decisions that people make that influence the world for good or ill. Whether they love their children or not. Whether they're good citizens or not. Whether they work hard in their jobs or not. If the Mormons in your neighborhood are, on the whole, making the world a better place, you can attribute much of that to their temple worship.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • zek

      AMEN brother!!! ;-)

      April 7, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      yeah, tell that to the g.a.y community. mormons sponsored prop 8 in california to keep g.a.y couples that are in love from marrying. yeah, really making the world a better place there... keeping couples that love each other apart, not recognizing their love in society - good things for sure. brain-washing people and feeding them ignorant information does a disservice to humanity. mormons, like most christians, are taught prejudicial biases that can't be argued with - for they are the law of god. but that's making the world a better place?

      April 7, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  12. /sigh

    I wonder how much money these "recommended" people have.

    April 7, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • /sigh

      or should i say have to "donate"

      April 7, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Cortney

      Why do so many people criticise something that they know relatively little about. If you really are curious you can go to Mormon.org and schedule a meeting with a couple of missionares who are living off money they saved as teenagers and are serving of their own volition. Most mormons live very modestly. How much money do you make and are forced to donate? It's probably very comparable with most mormons.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • JDC

      10% of our income. And it's worth it.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  13. pastmorm

    It is disturbing that the mormons believe they will become gods after this life if they live a "perfect" life. That's megalomania by psychological standards.
    Look up the 13 year old that Joseph Smith married with the promise to her and her family of eternal salvation if she obeyed him. It's a religion based on pedophilia.

    April 7, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      it's disturbing that anyone throws logic and reason out the window and believes in divine dogma instead.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
  14. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 7, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • CraigW

      I feel better about my faith in God being my creator while on this earth rather than living in denial and disbelief and then finding out that there is a God to answer to when my time is done here on earth.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • YeahOk

      No proof. Next.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Bob

      Last time I checked, atheists never executed people who didn't share the same opinion.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • /sigh

      There are more than 21 forms of religion in the world, GL picking the "right" one according to your belief system lol

      April 7, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • YeahOk

      @CraigW
      "I feel better about my faith in God being my creator while on this earth rather than living in denial and disbelief and then finding out that there is a God to answer to when my time is done here on earth."

      So you believe because you're worried about the possibility of having to answer to someone when you are dead? You don't require proof?

      How do you know you believe in the right god and following the right rules? Would really suck to believe in the wrong one wouldn't it? Just gambling on one and hoping for the best?

      April 7, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • CraigW

      Bob, just curious where you are coming from?

      April 7, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • YeahOk

      @Bob
      "Last time I checked, atheists never executed people who didn't share the same opinion."

      I don't know about that one Bob.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • just sayin

      For atheist executioners check out Joe Stalin. 24 million murdered not counting war dead. Atheists have murdered more people in the last 100 years than were killed in all previous centuries.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • CraigW

      YeakOk. I'm not worried.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Responderone

      Bob,

      Last time I checked, the total number of human beings murdered by atheist for not sharing their belief was over 100 million. Of course, that total only includes Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Kim.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • /sigh

      @justsaying, those wars where not over religion idiot.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • /sigh

      respond- same to you those where wars over resources not over religion, such as the spanish inquesition.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • YeahOk

      "Atheists have murdered more people in the last 100 years than were killed in all previous centuries."

      just sayin's god murdered the entire planet, yes, everything, every human, animal, and plant except for those on Noah's ark.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • CraigW

      @/sigh There was a person called Hitler who murdered millions of Jews, Jehovas Witness, and Christians.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • YeahOk

      So are you Christians trying to claim that Christianity is sooooo much better cause you didn't murder AS many people? Is that your argument?

      April 7, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      and Hitler was a catholic. he did murder other christians, as is the christian way. by the way, he murdered atheists too.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • CraigW

      @YeahOK I'm just talking about my faith, and what I believe in. I'm not saying anything about being better than you; just how my thoughts and beliefs are different. I am human and do not know exactly what the truth is when it comes to the Universe. Everyone has their own choices to make in life. I myself have my choices to make, and having faith in God is my choice.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • YeahOk

      @CraigW
      " I am human and do not know exactly what the truth is when it comes to the Universe. Everyone has their own choices to make in life. I myself have my choices to make, and having faith in God is my choice."

      I can respect that. I do not know what the truth is either. What I have a problem with is those that claim to know the absolute truth, then can't provide proof. Peace.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  15. b4bigbang

    Pilgrim... the baptisimal font in the temples today are patterned after that anciently in the temple of Solomon... you might want to go back and read your Bible... complete with description of the basin of water being on the backs of twelve oxen, etc..... pretty interesting stuff.

    How is it that a cross on the church is considered idolitrous by the Mormons but oxen figures in the church isn't?

    April 7, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Jason

      I'm not aware of any church doctrine that says anything about a cross being on a church being idolatrous. I have the greatest respect for fellow Christians and the meaning of the cross for them.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      @Jason: Another Mormon posted earlier that the reason the Mormon temples dont have crosses is because the M church considers it idolitrous.
      If that's not the reason, then what is?

      April 7, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Jason

      I'm not sure that any official reason has ever been given... However, a common explanation within the church is that the cross was the instrument of Jesus' death.... the explanation goes that we want to focus on his resurrection and life instead. A different way of viewing it, but I have no disrespect for those who have a cross, etc. I know to many, this also has the deepest symbolic meaning (and is actually quite meaningful to myself as well). My daughter sometimes wears a cross... I have no problems with that (My family has been in the church for several generations).

      April 7, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Jason

      I'm not aware of any official canonical explanation. However, my general understanding is that Latter-day Saints sometimes feel focusing on the cross (the instrument of Christ's death) can sometimes take away from focusing on his resurrection and the fact that he is living now.

      I personally have no problems with the symbolism of the cross, and in fact as a Latter-day Saint, it carries deep symbolic meaning to myself as well (his sacrifice). I guess there are many ways to remember Christ. Perhaps the most important is how willing we are to "bear the crosses" that come into our own lives.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Alan

      Did you know that Catholics used oxen figures in their fonts hundreds of years ago? You won't find them today, but this one dates to the 1600's. They are described in the bible, fyi.

      This one is found in the Bartholomew Cathedral in Europe.

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/hamblinofjerusalem/5972498539/lightbox/

      April 7, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
  16. Dot8

    Our government should close down all of the fake religious churches/temples and tax the real ones.

    April 7, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • YeahOk

      There are real ones?

      April 7, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      no such thing as a real one. but i don't like the idea of forcing them to close. they have the right to be ignorant and believe in fairy tales. but definitely tax them. the religious get a free ride because they're in a nutty cult?

      April 7, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      @Dot8 and Bootyfunk: I don't think u would want religious orgs to be taxed, unless u r wanting an actual official religious political party with Representatives and Senators in our Congress.
      That's the way it works folks.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      actually, i do want that. nothing would make christianity go away faster than to have to answer the hard questions. look at rick santorum. how well is he doing? and he constantly talks about god - which turns off all but the super loonies. so yes, tax religions and let them enter the political arena. and watch them get laughed out the door for their irrelevance. women are second class citizens, g.a.y.s should be put to death, etc. yeah, that's really working out for the religious candidates so far, eh?

      April 7, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Thanx 4 the info jason – no disrespect intended, just curious.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  17. guest920

    To BodyFunk:

    You're a disgrace to humanity.

    April 7, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      proof?

      April 7, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      atheists are generally more educated than christians. atheists have a lower divorce rate than christians. athesists go to prison less than christians. these are all per/capita stats, too. so how are christians better people again?

      April 7, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      except for mormons, atheists have more knowlege of the bible too. lol, atheists know more about chistians' guidebook than christians do. also a fact. lol.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      @Bootyfunk: And after the right-wing fringe is laughed out of Congress, u r still stuck with a powerful faction of moderate denominations in Congress.
      I dont think your fantasy would pan out the way u want it to in a real-world situation.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i do. after the super religious nuts are gone, the moderates would become the new super religious nuts.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  18. Saint_John

    IIRC, mormons believe and strive to become gods themselves. IIRC, according to christian mythology, satan was the highest ranking angel in heaven until he made the same mistake. Jesus!

    April 7, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Hey bootyfunk, i dunno about their divorce rate (havent checked), but all the other demographic kudos u r giving to atheists can also be applied to Jews.
      Are u saying that the atheists are competing with the Jews to become the 'people of God'?

      April 7, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      yeah, that's not an illogical leap, lol. yes, atheists are competing to become children of a god they don't believe in. did you read what you wrote before you hit the post button? this is the kind of religious "logic" offered by christianity. lol.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Bootyfunk: Your fantasy is getting more complicated as it unfolds. Now youv predicted the moderates somehow becoming fundamentalists, and then u have them losing so many votes that they're laughed out of Congress.
      Not to rain on your fantasy, but a significant percentage of Congress is voted in every 4 – 6 yrs by Bible-belters with no end in sight, lol!

      April 7, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  19. Jason

    Ericreleasedorothy:

    What is your definition of a Christian?

    April 7, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • ericreleasedorothy

      There is one God and only one God. He is personal and knowable. He manifests Himself in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

      Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh, born of a virgin, without sin, and the chosen Messiah who will one day set up his kingdom on earth.

      Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, was buried, rose again from the dead, ascended back to heaven, and will one day return to this earth again.

      Salvation from sin, death, and hell is by God's grace, based on the work of Jesus Christ alone. It is received by faith apart from any human performance or merit.

      Eternal life is a gift of God and nothing can separate the believer from the love of God.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      religion is determined by geography. if you were born in a non-christian country, you wouldn't be a christian. so it just depends which belief system you are brain-washed by. ALL religions are cults. when a cult is accepted by a society, it's called a religion. when no one practices a religion and they run out of cult members, it's called a mythology. christianity makes no more sense and offers no more truth than the other cults that have come before it.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Jason

      "There is one God and only one God. He is personal and knowable."

      Agree

      "He manifests Himself in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."

      Agree but I intereprest these passages differently in the Bible. Many Christians view God similar to water, for a rough analogy.... steam, liquid, ice... three different forms of the same substance. I view God being one a bit differently. A very rough analogy would be you and I having the same computer program.... it is one program, even if it is loaded onto different computers. Jesus is just as the Father is. They are one. The Father and Son and Holy Ghost are indeed one God. However, I believe them to be three separate individuals. I think the Baptism of Jesus demonstrates this quite nicely (Jesus in Water, voice of Father from Heaven, Holy Ghost descending as a dove). I think the stoning of Stephen in the NT also demonstrates this. He saw Jesus on the right hand of God.

      "Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh, born of a virgin, without sin, and the chosen Messiah who will one day set up his kingdom on earth."

      Agree

      "Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, was buried, rose again from the dead, ascended back to heaven, and will one day return to this earth again."

      Agree

      "Salvation from sin, death, and hell is by God's grace, based on the work of Jesus Christ alone."

      Agree

      "It is received by faith apart from any human performance or merit."

      Agree... though our definitions of faith likely differ. If one isn't actively trying to follow Christ, I believe that person does not possess true faith. Faith without works is dead.

      "Eternal life is a gift of God and nothing can separate the believer from the love of God."

      Agree

      I think in most matters we agree. It seems we disagree somewhat on how we define God and on how we define faith. However, I believe I have given reasonable Biblical interpretations backing up what I believe... even if this differs from your interpretations.

      I know Jesus is my Savior. I know I am absolutely saved by His Grace.

      Thank you for sharing what you believe the definition of a Christian to be.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • ericreleasedorothy

      Jason – No worries.

      I think those slight disagreements are what make the differences in Christians – Baptists, Lutherans, Pentecostal, etc. Overall though, those are what I feel the key tenants that define Christianity.

      April 7, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      No Bootyfunk, just tongue-in-cheek humour hitting you on the head......

      April 7, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  20. J

    Man, these peeps are crazy but they GET MONEY! If not for my dark skin I could get down with that. Oh well, I don't think I could get over the no caffiene thing. Or the magic undies. Brothers don't wear tighty whities anymore!

    April 7, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • ignorancenotbliss

      And don't wear jock straps either.

      April 7, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Michael

      LOL. The good news is, Mormons drink caffeine (just not coffee or tea.) And, as published by the church, the temple garments are cut like boxers. Come on over, there's plenty of room (so to speak...) :-)

      April 7, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
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About this blog

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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.