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.”
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If Paul were here today, what church would he belong to? Paul actually answered that question in 1 Corinthians, " 10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, abut Crispus and Gaius;
15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name."
It is pretty obvious that Paul would not approve of the Lutheran church, or the Methodist, or the Baptist or any of the evangelical churches of the day. He said himself that he would only belong to the Church of Jesus Christ, and if he were alive today, he would belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Days. You can learn more at mormon.org.
Nay I say to Abinadi. Anything of structuredness made by the hands of mankind are not of Gods Kingdom Domains. To acknowledge such as being a Truth is but an offensive lie to God and His Brethrens. The Gospel or Truth is that, :Our Bodies are God's True Buildings. They were and are and will ever be the Kingdom's Domains of the Godly. For one to think or say otherwise is a blasphemous lie!
Pipedreamer, your ignorance is showing!
Abinadi,,,, why persecute me in spirit but not of my Word which are Truths?
This is from a non-Mormon, non-Christian, non-believer of all religions:: You don't have to believe, understand or accept their religion. Tolerance, however, is what allows you to believe what you want, so pay it forward.
Mary, thank you. I'm a Mormon, and I'm not asking anybody to accept my doctrine or my beliefs. It's amazing and appalling to me how many people out there aren't willing to consider me a human being rather than an object of scorn.
Mary, you should read the Book of Mormon! There is a guy in there just like you! You could learn a lot! 4 "And he also testified unto the people that all mankind should be saved at the last day, and that they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had created all men, and had also redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life.
5 And it came to pass that he did teach these things so much that many did believe on his words, even so many that they began to support him and give him money. (Book of Mormon, Alma, Chapter 1)"
It is easier to explain in simpler words....
In the Book of Mormon it is taught there were two additional Hebrew tribes; Nephites and Lamanites that "Sailed the seas" to what is now New York" blah, blah, blah.
One tribe turned EVIL and became dark skinned.... now acknowledged as "American Indians".
It was the "Angel Moroni" who led Joseph Smith in the early 1820's to the infamous "Golden Plates"
And that, in short is the start of The Church of LDS.
and if one is curious ... I am an Agnostic.
Bush destroyed my country.
Don't worry the mormons (no capital letters because it does not deserve any) are here.
mitt the moron oops mormon will save us.
He the chosen by the reverend joseph to save us all!
What a bunch of lies that cult pushes!
@Just Sayin. Why, thank-you so much for that blessing! I presume you are of one of the Protestant churches. You did not answer my question. Where is your authority to preach the word of God? You know, none of the protestant churches could possibly be the true church because they all apostatized from the Catholic church and can claim no authority (Isn't that why we call them protestants?) Christ founded his church on priesthood authority. Hebrews 5 says, " 4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee." Aaron was ordained to the priesthood by Moses, the prophet, and Moses received the priesthood from his father in law, Jethro. John 15:16 says: "16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit," Christ never intended that minsters and pastors run helter skelter preaching whatever they please and taking priesthood authority "unto themselves". He intended that his church be run by revelation administered by a prophet. Only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the organization of the original church and is administered by a prophet of God. It is the only church today that is administered by verifiable priesthood authority with most churches not even bothering with authority at all!
Blah, blah blah. How funny you are to think people care what you are saying.
You seem to care. Otherwise, why would you comment?
He comments because he disagrees with your foolish religious deceptions.
Reliigions are a crutch for the feeble minded.
Listen all you nitwits because I'm only going to say this once. God did not write any instructions for us to follow. Jesus did not write any instructions for us to follow. All the instructions that rule the lives of you sheeple have been written by Man for certain Men to wield power over their Fellow Man. Wake up and live you life as a free-willed individual before it's too late.
You still did not answer my question. If you are Christ's true church, then where is your foundation of apostles and prophets? Where is your priesthood authority?
Why I am a Mormon. Because Joseph Smith was a true prophet. False prophets are always alone when they have their "visions". That is because it never happened, to put it nicely. Joseph Smith had witnesses to everything he said. Witnesses are central to the gospel. Paul said, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." Here is the testimony of the 3 witnesses to the Book of Mormon as set forth in the introduction to the Book of Mormon:
"Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvelous in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.
That is the difference between Joseph Smith and the false prophets – JOSEPH SMITH HAD WITNESSES!
We are also ent itled to a witness as individuals that we not be deceived. In the Book of Mormon, God gave the following promise to every one who will read the Book of Mormon with si ncerity and faith:
" 4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sin cere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."
Some of you may have gotten a witness as you read these words. The Lord's sheep know his voice and the truth will have a familiar ring to them. I want to say that I have received that witness and I know of a surety that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. You can get more information at mormon.org.
joe was a con artist, a liar and a tool!
your cult is based on a failure of a human being who pushed his lies on weak minded masses.
brigham young or "Bring them Young" was also a band wagon hopping liar and fool.
You need a serious reality check to get back into the 21st century. Your cult is a 2 pant suit wearing lying bunch of silly predators! Have a beer and take off your undergarments and live a little!
Wanna see the truth about morons oooops.....I mean mormons?
Watch SouthPark on youtube.
Pretty much nails the whole joke in a cartoon....but to sum it up....
DUMB, DA DUMB, DUMB DUMB!!!!!
Mormonism is not a religion it's a cult. It is a blight on the name of Christianity. We can only hope that they realize their error before it is too late. God Bless Everyone! Have a wonderful Easter, for our Lord and Savior has risen.
Mormonism is the 4th largest church in North America and one of the fastest growing religions in the world. Anyone who says it is a cult is ignorant, backward and uninformed!
RELIGION is not REAL it's ALL A CULT. It is a blight on the name of rational, compassionate thinking. We can only hope that THE RELIGIOUS realize their error before it is too late. May the Easter Bunny bring everyone golden eggs! Have a wonderful Sunday and hug your kids for trying to find the secret door into Heaven is a fool's errand.
You are as the pharisees, hypocrite! You claim to be a christian and you judge your fellow men?? You call the mormon church a cult? Why don't you educate yourself first about it from first source, not from a third source, before you make a judgment. The church is not called the mormon church. It's called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And just from the name Christ is the head of the church.
People that have to throw stones at others windows are people that need to be educated. How terrible is it that people have to think about whether Morman undergarments are edible or not. Your mind is in a dark place midnitejax. Because I know that my Lord and Jesus would extend their hands and offer you everlasting life, I offer to all of you that think you need to make terrible ugly remarks about this Church to go their meeting places all over the world today and see for yourselves what a loving Church we have.
Like the "rev joe" I like the cherry flavored ones...especially on the young ones!
Ol' Joe was a pervert and a con man....Nice religion you got there...you weak minded, insecure fools!
How silly are you? Of course the silly underwear is edible! Why else would you guys wear it?
yep you have meeting places all over the world. But like maggots, I know they are all over the world too but I don't feel the need to check them out. You have a cult that may be expanding (There are lots of weak minded fools everywhere) but do not think an educated smart person wants anything to do with your cult. Drink your kool-aid and shut up. You are weak and foolish to think anything good about the moron church.
ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:
Money wasted as Mormonism will go extinct like all religions because of its/their absurdity.. It is time to replace all religions with a few rules like "Do No Harm" and convert all houses of "worthless worship" to recreation facilities and parks.
Some of these absurdities:
THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS AS THEY CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD –>
Joe Smith had his Moroni. (that statue on top of Mormon temples).
"Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."
Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;
Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tinkerbell" got around).
Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented.
The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.
Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.
And as a good student, you have read the reiterations of the "fems" (flaws, errors, muck and stench) of religion. Therefore the seeds have been planted in rich soil. Go therefore and preach the truth to all nations, reiterating as you go amongst the lost, bred, born and brainwashed souls of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as Rational Thinking makes its triumphant return all because of you!!!!
In the end we shall see who possessed rational thinking. By the looks of your babel, it certainly won't be you. God bless, and have a wonderful Easter.
Jesus was jewish, if there was a Jesus. All writings happened 80 years after his supposed crucifiction, a lifetime!
Anything NEW, is man interpreted, so there is no NEW!
The greatest story ever told! True or fiction?
Prayer is delusional.
The Mormon Church...AKA the Pyramid scheme!!
Get rid of the church database! They should not have any information, regarding any of the holocaust victims names, or any other information pertaining to the same!
If i rember corectly God destroied every high class gaudy tempel ever built over time.
@ lame your wearing your magical underware to tight...Oh dont forget you magical knee pad!
Where are the CNN censors when it comes to vile comments directed towards Mormons and Mormonism?
Desribe vile? Inquiring minds want to know. Vile meaning facts you cant stand to hear. Or vile as in all facts not listed by bringhum young are lies?
come on people hate rants like midnite
Calling an entire group of decent people "rats" and "maggots" is pretty vile. Anybody who comes into the conversation with that mindset does not have an "inquiring mind." There is not a single other religion or group of people on earth, with the exception of terrorists whose goal is to kill us all, about which such things can be said. Why is vocal hatred of Mormons acceptable?
Mormons are like rats..........they multiply just like them..............
Prayer changes things .
Once again, how does that work for amputees?
Prayer changes things,
Prayer doesn’t not; you are so full of crap and lies. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.
An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.
The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs! . . .. ..
Why I am a mormon. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is based on the teachings of Christ and the New Testament. Christ founded his church on apostles and prophets. Ephesians 2 states: "19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;"
Apostles and prophets are absolutely essential because they hold the keys to the priesthood. If the apostles all die, the authority is lost along with revelation; we no longer know the mind and will of God and Christ is no longer the "chief cornerstone". False teachers and priests arise and we are "carried about with every wind of doctrine". Paul taught in Ephesians 4: "11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"
Without apostles and prophets we cannot come to a "unity of the faith" nor be perfected in Christ. Without a prophet who speaks authoritatively the will of God, only confusion can reign as people argue what God meant and uninspired men tamper with the holy scriptures!
Christ taught in John 15: "16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you." Christ intended that he, himself, would be at the head of his church through revelation. That is why a man must be chosen of God through revelation to represent him and to preach his holy word – a thing that protestant churches totally lack because they apostatized from the Catholic church and which the catholic church cannot claim either because the first pope was a bishop, not an apostle, and to this day can claim no authority from living apostles.
Mormons are not Christians and nothing about the founding of Mormonism had anything to do with the Bible, It was always the book of Mormon. God bless
What was wrong with the Old Testament?? Out with the old and in with the New Testament? How convenient? If i don't like something in a bible i can just change it and call it the Neo New Testament? You gotta love these religious kooks!!
I wonder if the Mormon women wear magic underwear too? If so, do they make them edible too?
They do... but no, they don't....
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.