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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The Mormon cult is a repulsive, immoral, disgusting, bigoted organization that spreads hate against others. And Mormon beliefs are laughable. And if they can spend tens of millions of dollars on hate campaigns, why can't they pay taxes? Why are taxpayers subsidizing government services to this pathetic, faux "religion?" The sooner this cult is brought down, the better off the country will be.
Clearly, "every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ" is "cultish."
I hope that when our judgement comes at the feet of our Savior Jesus Christ you are there with me. You are someone who doesn't follow the Commandments of Love Thy Neighbor As Thy Self and is full of hate. I will glady be judged with you !
Oh look, Mitt Romney's built another Space Ship....
Planet Kolob here we come.
Right back where we started from...
Lets strap the dog on top the spaceship!
Mormons got nooo sense of humor...
Why do real Christians reject the Mormon church? Diapers planet Kolob multiple wives Mountain Meadows Massacre Mark Hofmann golden tablets salamanders posthumous baptisms. did I leave anything out? Saying Mormons are Christians is blasphemous. To vote for Mitt Romney would be a sin. And alot of us believe it!!
Yup, sums it up nice and neat!
Deuteronomy 18:20 spells the conundrum out quite clearly.
"Every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ" is taught in the temple and a mark on the "magic underwear" that you so enjoy mocking. That DOES make them Disciples of Christ PER the bible. You aren't required to like it, but that doesn't change the facts.
Like the existence of planet kolob?
Like Jesus came to life in 1825?
Like the stink in your magic undies?
Mormons don't believe in a "planet Kolob." Clearly you have never read "the Pearl of Great Price." I am ex-mormon, you are delusional, biologixco.
According to the LDS faith, Jesus didn't "come to life in 1825." They do though believe that "every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ" and that's the reason for the "magic undies" that you so love to comment about.
Well that is exactly what you would expect a jack Mormon to say. So, why are you unquestionably believing everything from someone that does not believe in that religion? You don't think that their views may be a little biased against their former religion.
You should really get your facts from a practicing, faithful Mormon.
And since when is it wrong to be different?
"most Americans will be appalled". OK. That is their choice. but if my history is correct, many people were apalled at another preacher because of his different beliefs. His name was Jesus Christ. Just because people are appalled at what a religion teaches, assuming they have the correct information and context about the doctrine, doesn't mean it is false doctrine.
Really, you compare the lds joke to jesus? seriously? are you kidding?
You are a fool! Go drink more Kool-aid and eat some jello.
Thank you Ahh Hah for your words. My recurring thought is simply that the critics and faithless will be shown the truth on the other side of the veil... and if I'm there, I will have to draw deeply on humility so as not to say, "Oh ye of little faith, you could have enriched your lives so much, with an open mind and heart." I guess I won't need to, they'll be face to face with our Savior and the truth will then be known to them.
Dont construe my insidious questioning as "hating" mormons.
Your churches secretive cult like practices that have MITT ROMNEY as a high priest make us question your religion and the veracity thereof. mormons are generally good folk that just went blindly down the wrong path. The danger is the church elders like MITT ROMNEY that are poised to take over the Presidency of the United States. Americans should be concerned and have a RIGHT to be concerned! We need to know MORE about mormonism so we can make our minds up for ourselves.
You are delusional regarding Mormons and clearly don't have your facts straight. I am ex-temple attending and ex-mormon. Go away and let the grown ups, with facts, discuss this topic.
Haw haw...You WISH I would go away.
But Im gonna be on you like stink in those magical undies!
I'm curious as to why you would post when you clearly aren't even versed in the Mormon religion. As an Ex-temple attending ex-mormon, it is quite obvious to me that you are woefully ignorant regarding doctrine....seriously, you suck and it's obvious....you are making MAJOR flaws. So, are you Baptist? Usually only Baptists are that stupid about mormonism. If you are ex-mormon you are just stupid and likely never even read anything.
Im an American voter that is concerned that MITT ROMNEY is close to being POTUS.
We juz wanna know more about these secretive mormons. If you are an EX mormon, tell us more about the magic undies and planet kolob!
I live in Utah and love it here....now if the morons oooops I mean mormons could all just go somewhere else it would be perfect!
non-mormons do not listen like or want anything to do with your cult here....please leave!
It is too bad a religious group can ruin it for everyone who does not see things their way. I have friends who live there and agree it great once you get away from the religious aspects of the state. It is too bad they ruin it for everyone else.
Unfortunitly they think the church is the state, it is pretty pathetic.
Go to airport if you really want pathetic! Look at all the toe head "missionaries" leaving with their brain washed mentality and their book or mormon. SO FUNNY!
You could move, but please do me a favor, and stay out of Georgia too.
It isn't a "rare view" of the inside of a temple. Before a temple is dedicated or re-dedicated, they are open to the public.
And after they are "dedicated", they are home of occult practices. Satan is alive and well in these "temples".
planet Kolob? Magical underwear? What MORE dont we know about?
Inquiring minds wanna know!
Clearly their belief that "every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ" is occultic...fyi, it's taught in the temple and it represents a marking on "magical garments." Do you consider it "occultic" to wear a cross, crucifix, yarmulke? They are all symbolic to remind you of your belief.
biologixco Regarding Kolob, if you are going to spout about it, you may want to get your facts straight. Sheesh, to this ex-mormon, you sound like a M O R O N. FYI the Catholics believe that the priest says a prayer and bread becomes the actual flesh of Jesus and the congregation then goes and commits cannibalism.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon), I can vouch for what goes on inside our Temples after they are dedicated. There is nothing that could be referred to as "cutlism". It is a holy place where we learn of God and covenant to keep His commandments. Those who have recommends are by no means "perfect", but we try very hard to do the right things and to love and help others. Please, take a look at our Church's sweet Easter message: http://easter.imamormon.org/
Basing your religion on a made up story of civilizations in North America that never existed is a good start to a cult. There is NO proof that Lamanites and Nephites ever existed...ZERO non-LDS scholars believe the Book of Mormon to be historically accurate. Even the Smithsonian has said as much. You are probably a nice person Gwen, but you are being lied to.
Your lack of edcuation shows Joseph Smith. If you read MesoAmerica and the Book of Mormon is this the Place there is plenty of evidence.
Joe Smith, ALL religions are based on made up stories. Are active mormons, good, kind, and nice people? Yes, then that's all I care about.
While visiting family in utah, the wife left her purse in a Kohl's for 1/2 hour. When she went back, it was still there.
I am ex-temple attending ex-mormon.
Thanks for making my point JC. The author of the "book", John L. Lund, is a...wait for it...MORMON! More Mormons writing about how the BOM is true. Unheard of! You guys are the best entertainment there is...THANKS!
OK, somebody check me on this, but I THINK "realitycheck" just agreed that the Book of Mormon is made up (see his post above). Wow, I have to give him credit for that. Happy Easter everyone!
I am agnostic. The Book of Mormon, all of the Books of the Bible, the Koran are all equally made up. And? The Mormon belief is no more weird than any other religion. They do tend to be nicer and more helpful though.
My next door neighbor is a jack Mormon. And he will tell you very honestly that alot of his devout Mormon friends are not very happy about Mitt Romney's run for the White House. Why? Because The LDS have flown under the radar for a long time. They realize if the media starts to closely examine some of the practices of the church, most Americans will be appalled. That explains the commercials on TV begging people to look at Mormons as being "normal." Even my neighbor will concede that calling the LDS Christian is a stretch. The next few months will be interesting.
You are full of crap. I am an ex-temple attending mormon and the church isn't any more weird than any other Christian church. The Catholics believe that the priest says a prayer and the bread becomes the literal flesh of Jesus. One can't get much weirder than that.
If Mormons don't want Mitt Romney, it's because they don't like his politics.
I love the mormon response to truthful statements..."you are full of crap". Yikes, you lds' are so brainwashed.
Why NOT go to mormon.org?
Why NOT go to scientology.org?
Why NOT go to Jonestown in July?
Why not jump off a cliff to see if I can fly?
The danger is present and clear. a mormon president is a danger to America!
Shout it from the highest Utah mountain...
ANYBODY BUT MITTENS ROMNEY IN 2012!
Why not star your own religion! It could be the church of morons
Hey biologixco...you mean you don't think the "Whilte Horse" prophecy of the lds "church" should be realized and the mormons run the USA as a theocracy? C'mon man, you're no fun ;)
biologixco, you really need a new hobby, what is this like the 1,000th comment you have made on this article? The world is really a great place to get out and see, just step away from the keyboard...seriously.
Someone has to be the sentinel.
Once they learn about mormon cult practices, do you think they will EVER vote MITT ROMNEY?
post 100, 10000, 100000.
Ill post as often as I want
biologixco, I am ex-mormon and was temple attending. You are delusional...just thought you ought to know.
Once MITT ROMNEY is soundly turned away this november, then you can go back to your 10 wives and magic underwear and I will leave you alone. Until then. America wants to shed a lil sunlight on mormon practices. And THANK YOU CNN for allowing me to do so. God Bless America!
3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
4. 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.
11. 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." – 3rd, 4th, and 11th Article of Faith of the LDS Church
7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
7:4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
As you read these comments, take note of where the anger, vitrol statements are coming from. You will notice that they are not coming from members of the LDS church or Mormon church as they are called. The majority are coming from those who profess to know Christ and yet fail to live up to his name and this is a shame. Oh the hypocrisy!
12:33 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
So true are the words of Gandhi –
"“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
Is it any wonder why many have lost their faith and belief in a living God?
Joseph Smith was a false prophet.
MITT ROMNEY is the NEW FALSE PROPHET
But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.
Fits Joseph Smith pretty well huh?
The last law in the temple is the "law of consecration." It requires the Mormons to
...consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.
A couple of terms need explanation. The "Kingdom of God on the earth" and "Zion" mean, to Mormons, not just their church, but ultimately the theocracy that will replace the non-religious civil government. They believe, of course, that Christ will come to run this government, using faithful Mormons as administrators.
If mormons have nothing to hide, let the lds church post its temple ceremonies. The "sacred" excuse don't fly in the internet age.
dkinabq, You and I both know that what we mormons consider sacred is not considered by others to be so. And you are well aware that in this age of internet technology you can get a lot of great information, as well as misleading information.
That being said, if you really want insight into what we believe, go to the source. Here is a link to the church's website which discusses the subject matter you mentioned:
This is not hidden or secret information, it is available for anyone to read.
I must have missed the part in the bible where Jesus talked about "recommend" cards.
No wonder these guys are so good at multi level marketing.
Sometimes I wonder what Jesus would think if ever were to come back and see all these temples and churches – by all faiths – that are built in his honor. How would the leaders of those faiths explain how they spent money on buildings – again, something Jesus never commanded or asked for – with all the poor people suffering and going hungry?
Phil, unfortunately you have missed the understanding of temples historically. In the days of Christ could anyone just walk in the temple? No, there were parts of the temple that were considered so sacred that only the HIgh Priest was allowed to enter and so forth. Do a bit more research, and not from a source that has an agenda, look for historical research.
You also probably missed the part in which people will even rob stuff from the inside of a church.
@ namueros: Indeed, in the days up to the time of Christ not everyone could walk in the temple in Jerusalem. However, you stopped short in your history search. When Jesus gave his life on the cross the curtain in the temple separating the Holy of Hollies from the rest of the temple broke in half from top to bottom. From then on, anyone can go directly in the presence of God. All are equal, no more high priests and the like.
nitro, I appreciate your comments. You are correct Mark 15:37-38 –
37And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.
38And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.
The symbolism of the rent veil for Mormons is not that it does away with the need for temple ordinances, but that it is symbolic of Christ overcoming death through resurrection. Ordinances are still important, for example the need for baptism.
It's well established that Mormonism is rooted in occult practices so the LDS church would naturally not want to advertise that. DUH.
Sounds like your the devil!
Sounds like your are the devil!
Well, isn't this great..."Jesus Christ" and I finally get to meet since we really didn't as earlier advertised when I wrote the BOM.
p.s. – you might want learn how to spell if you're going to try to pass yourself off as Jesus. HE knows how to spell.
Ever notice how Kochroches scurry when you pull back the curtain and let the sunlight in?
Jesus has logged into the blog!
Looks like our buddy JC can also (kind of) copy and paste. Advanced thinking for someone who blindly follows a "church" that tells him EXACTLY how to live, worships Joe Smith, and forgets about God most of the time. Awesome!
The "challenge" for kids, yes billygoated young folks should be the main responsibilities of parental concerns and not by people just wanting to justifiably voice about their ideas regarding Godly Principles.
What if your kid read Dianetics and was about to get sucked into the evil scientology cult?
Would you just look the other way and let their soul and lives be consumed by a false contrived idea?
The same applies to mormonism and their push for MITT ROMNEY to be POTUS.
Its a clear danger to America.
Pipe-Dreamer: you really need to stop drinking whatever Kool-Aid you're drinking and come back to reality... You are not a building, nor are you a son of God. Mormonism = Bigotry.
Like I said earlier, God is God. He cannot be "dethroned" no matter how ones bellies about in their swaddling verses of tincturabilities. Peace be upon those searching for it. "May" God ever be upon His Throne of Righteousness and may the people of the Godly ever make the pittances toward worship a challenge not to be outdone by idiotic scoffers who are beguilers of bigotrous means.
If you said it earlier, why must you repeat it again?
If anyone wants to make fun...look at all religions....they all say some pretty silly things....Islam...whatever....but the holy ghost? Virgin Mary? Resurection? Come on! They are all stories with a value model.....they are all basic stories to bring together the masses.....not one is better than the other. ALL RELIGIONS HAVE KILLED (not sure of mormons)....ALL RELIGIONS HAVE DONE WRONG.....Just be a good person and leave religion at home.
mormonism is NOT a religion. Its a cult like scientology
I am not Mormon. But I have know several and I have to say they have the most family friendly values of any religion I have ever met. As far as Temples not being all inclusive, most "big" religions have areas in thier places of worship that are forbidden to lay people, women, nonmembers. The biggest difference I see with the LDS Church is they open the doors to their Temples to anyone until the dedication of the Temple. How many other religions do this?
mormonism is NOT a religion. It is more like scientology and their ilk.
MITT ROMNEY IS THE HIGH PRIEST of this CULT!
Beware the mormons.
One whisker away from the Presidency!
What do Joseph Smith, L Ron Hubbard and Mohammed all have in common?
They all headed up a CULT!
Joseph Smith: False prophet of mormons
L Ron Hubbard: False prophet of Scientology
Mohammed: The false prophet of islam...
And what religion is not a cult? Jesus is not a false prophet? huh? This whole thing is silly...especially the baptism jacuzzi......All religion is off the deep end. Basic values do not need this religious pomp.
Google: "planet kolob mormon"
These ideas of mormonism are wayyy out there.
Once people figure out that mormonism is NOT a religion, its a cult,
they will figure out something verrry interesting.
Dont lump them in with major religions.
Sound like you the bigot.
Sound like you are the bigot.
From your hatred I wonder if you a coachroach!
OK JC, you're losing all credibility with your incredible lack of ability to form a sentence in English, nor spell words. Have fun at "temple" with today with your special panties.
What happens if you leave "tracks" in your magical undies?
Do they throw you into a fiery godless pit in Salt Lake City?
Does Tide get it out?
Do you bang rocks on them in the river to make them pure again?
America wants to know!
Does MITT wear the magical underwear?
you buy new ones. i checked for bacon strips in mine this morning
You get to clean them
God lets things built by His Sons alone. We are the Buildings built by the Sons of God and such will always be Truth no matter how the Timeline plays out for mankinds' traversing the elements be they Celestial or be they Terrestrially originated and eventually returned to and toward.
blah blah blah.
go back to planet kolob
biologixco, I can now see that you don't even know about the church, but instead rumors since you didn't get that factoid correct. Bwahahaha, get meds dude. You are delusional about Mormons. Clearly their belief that "every knee shall bow and tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ" is clearly heretical...fyi, it's taught in the temple.
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.