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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. t-bird

    49,000 people, what is that, about 10 families?

    April 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • biologixco

      tee hee 10 families and alot of magical underwear!

      April 9, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • natali

      @biologixco

      For someone as obsessed with other people's underwear as you are, CNN.com does not seem to be a right place for you. Try playboy/girl whichever one applies.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • biologixco

      Yes, but we want to know about the MAGIC undies.
      The ones you people are so secretive about.
      You know, the ones with the Masonic symbols on them to ward off the evil spirits.

      April 10, 2012 at 12:46 am |
  2. Rob

    Mormonism is a "religion" invented by a charlatan, Joseph Smith. The secretive nature of this group/cult, and the fact that they keep their places of worship off limits to the public should be a red flag warning to everyone. Know of another major religion where their places of worship aren't open to the public? Remember this so-called religion has magic underwear, and has for years attempted to co-opt others religious beliefs by secret baptisms of the dead. Scary. I think it's nice that they don't drink or smoke (right), but that is irrelevant.

    April 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • biologixco

      What IS relevent is that their HIGH PRIEST MITT ROMNEY is just a whisker away from POTUS.
      Can you imagine the HIGH PRIEST OF A CULT becoming President of our great nation?
      NEVER!!!

      April 9, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Doug from Mexico City

      Hi, Rob, I am guessing your post was intended to make people wary about my religion. Our meetinghouses (over 18 thousand buildings in the world) are indeed open to all worshipers. Temples are sacred edifices for marriages, proxy baptisms and provide a wonderful refuge for prayer and reflection. It is so sad- so very sad- that others feel it is necessary to run down members of my faith. We are taught in the Church to respect all religions, and to be caring and kind... to be watchful about judging others. Please take a look at any number of websites to learn more: http://www.lds.org, http://www.mormon.org or go to Mormon Messages on YouTube. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has an incredible message for everyone. Listen to recordings of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (dubbed America's Choir by President Reagan) to hear some truly uplifting music centering on the Savior. What an elaborate trick it would be for 14 million Church members to all be in on a hoax- pretending to be Christians. Or, could it be you've been misled over the years by people who thrive on hate. Talk to a member of the Church, or better yet, to some missionaries, who have all given of their own funds to spend two years or more in the Lord's service. God bless.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Alfred E Neuman

      Doug, what do you have to say about your founder and his criminal history?

      April 9, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • heguido

      Criminal history? Joseph Smith was cowardly murdered while waiting for a trial, after been found innocent many times before of the treachous false denounces of his enemies. If you consider that a 'criminal history' also Peter, Paul, Steven, and even Jesus had 'problems with the justice'. Luckily, there's God's Justice, and there we will all meet and recieve what we deserve according to our deeds.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • pastmorm

      Oh Doug, what a tender little testimony.
      Now back to reality.
      Jospeh Smith married a 14 year old while he was already married to many other women.
      Joseph Smith had a history of boot-legging and along with his father and brother Hyrum, had spent time in jail BEFORE his god and angel came to him to give him his golden plates (look it up on his county records).
      You believe you will become a god, just like you believe there are many gods ruling many planets. That is not monotheism, ergo, it's not Christianity.
      If you have so many church buildings, why do you need so many temples that (after they are dedicated) secret (not sacred) rituals are performed? Do we need a president running our country that can't tell us what he's doing by orders of a church made of men?
      Again, nice testimony, but save it for next Sunday please.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  3. Richard Conn Henry

    Why can't we just be content with God, and forget Jesus, and Mormon, and all the rest. Surely God towers above these pip-squeeks?

    April 9, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • biologixco

      Yes, BUT consider
      Deuteronomy 18:20-22
      20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”
      21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  4. gregory21

    The morman church is just like the catholic church. Just keep giving your money.

    April 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  5. marc

    give mormons a chance thier religion was invinted only one hundred fifty years ago. another two thousand years and it may become believable.

    April 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • biologixco

      they are working on building a bigger brainwashing machine...

      April 9, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      There are more Mormons in Mexico and South America than the United States...what does that tell you. Their focus is the ignorant 3rd world

      April 9, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Snow

      same strategy christians used with their missionaries 16th century... no difference

      April 9, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      But they were true Christians...not frauds.
      Amen

      April 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls.

      Anyone pushing christianity, or any religion for that matter, is a fraud trying to suck innocents into a cult.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Snow

      Ah the "True scotsman fallacy" rears its head..

      April 9, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  6. le2earth

    Mormons building a "temple" in Rome? NO!!!!! GET OUT OF ROME!

    April 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  7. biologixco

    Thanks for this forum, CNN!
    This could be the only window Americans see inside this secretive society.
    Americans need to know about mormonism, planet kolob, magical underwear etc etc.
    And how its all related to MITT ROMNEY.
    And thanks for not overmoderating it.
    Awesome!

    April 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  8. Jon

    From reading a couple of comments on this article, It's easy to see the uniformed, highly emotional morons are out in full force today.

    April 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • biologixco

      Go put your tin foil hat on and sit in the corner until you are ready to make a contribution.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Pat F

      From reading this response list, it is easy to see that the left LOVES religious bigotry almost as much as it loves welfare!

      April 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • biologixco

      Dear Pat: Those that constantly follow to the right tend to walk in circles. Confucious say.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Pat F

      Well, it is nice to know that Biologixco is an equal opportunity religious bigot – he insults both Mormons and Confuscians now.

      Let me guess – you also hate Catholics and Jews too, am I right???? How about – wait for it – Christian Scientists? The Amish? Menonnites? Or is it just anyone who has a different belief system?

      The reality is that you are nothing but an Obammie hack – probably David Axelgrease.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • biologixco

      PAT F>>>Rebublican troll alert!
      David Axelgrease? Rebublicans vacillate between dry humor...and no humor at all.

      April 10, 2012 at 12:50 am |
  9. TMF64

    Anyone that believes that Mormon's can properly separate church and state obviously haven't been to Utah.

    April 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • jeff

      anyone who believes any religion can or is willing to completely sever church from state hasn't been to anywhere. This isn't a mormon specific shortcoming. all religions have (but are not entirely composed of) those afflicted with the need to allow their specific beliefs to influence laws and try to make everyone live according to their chosen way of life.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things . .

    April 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Jesus

      `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!,. ,

      April 9, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  11. biologixco

    Load the dog atop the car
    Planet Kolob ain't too far.
    Poor little pooch atop the roof
    Thats why mormons are so aloof!
    Like my little ROMNEY spoof?
    ANYBODY BUT ROMNEY 2012!

    April 9, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • biologixco

      Let's all sing it together. Feel the mormon love...

      April 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • biologixco

      *snif* I don't feel the love, man.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • heguido

      Now you are replying to yourself... C'mon!

      I just wanted to thank you. Your far-fetched claims about LDS doctrines only but help us to teach the people our true beliefs.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
      • biologixco

        You believe what you want to believe, bub. Ive heard it takes extensive work to reverse brainwashing. But we know there was a reason Joseph Smith and his followers were booted out of Missouri and Illinois. You seem to see history as you see fit.

        April 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • biologixco

      Shhhh! Has that pesky biologixco gone away yet?

      April 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • ckurth

      Obviously an Obummer fan! What a toad. I would rather have a man as Preident that actually know what it takes to meet a payroll instead of some loser that thinks the government should run your life. Go find some Muslim songs and you and Obummer can have a singalong.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
      • biologixco

        Im not necesarily for Obama. Im merely saying that the LDS mormons are trying to put one of their high priests MITT ROMNEY into the POTUS position. Can you imagine a HIGH PRIEST from a cult could become President of the Unitede States? Get a grip dude. Obama got BinLaden and saved us from the Bush Depression. He's a NATIONAL HERO!
        ANYONE BUT MITTTENS ROMNEY 2012!

        April 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Stan

      Yeah, there was a reason the Mormons were booted out of Missouri, including several of my ancestors. This might shock you. Missouri was a slave state and those pesky Mormons were anti slavery. That didn't seem to go over very well. In fact my great grandfather was beaten for trying to vote, and no he wasn't black. He just opposed slavery. It seems when there is a hot issue like that, which side you are on can be a big problem.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  12. heguido

    Why "rare tour"? Every temple dedication is preceded by an "open house"!

    BTW, nice picture of Elder Walker, CNN... he must be so thankful to your photographer.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Because "there are only 137 of these temples in all the world," I'm guessing.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  13. biologixco

    How many LDS monitors are there here monitoring this public blog?
    C'mon now, step out from behind the curtain and raise your hand!
    Just dont put a boogeyman kolob hex on me.
    woo hoo

    April 9, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Keith

      Have you ever had a Psych Evaluation? You seem a bit delusional the way you sound on here.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Any Christian worth their salt knows Mormons are going to burn in th elake of fire forever.
      Amen

      April 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • heguido

      Hey, dude... Over 100 comments... Get a life!

      April 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Keith

      What about Mormons will make them burn? I would like to hear why you think they will all burn?

      April 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Keith,
      "What about Mormons will make them burn? I would like to hear why you think they will all burn?"

      I think it is the body fat that usually burns, although skin and other tissues are somewhat flammable.... oh you mean figuratively... nevermind.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • biologixco

      Keith Keith Keith, look past your church indoctrination.
      Think for yourself!

      April 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • toby

      biologixco, do you have any idea how foolish you sound? Just because you can spew rhetoric from second-rate anti-Mormon pamphlets and websites (produced, by the way, by pastors worried about losing their congregations, i.e. their livelihood) doesn't mean you know anything about the LDS Church. A recent Pew study determined that those who claim to know the most about Mormonism actually know the least. Your statements make clear that you know a little about a few things, but your ignorance is astonishing and your bigotry is disturbing.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
      • biologixco

        Toby, what I do know is that I have studied the bible in Latin and Sanskrit. There was no Joseph Smith, no Kolob and no mystical magical undies. The book of mormon is blasphemy to Christianity.

        April 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Nonimus

      btw, I was joking. no one will burn in any "hell." Just clarifying.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Mormonism is a false belief created by a con-artist = burning in the lake of fire forever.
      Amen

      April 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • toby

      So what's "love your neighbor" in Latin and Sanskrit?

      April 9, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
      • biologixco

        Latin: Proximos ama sicut teipsum
        And sorry, but I dont have a Sanskrit keyboard hooked up to give the other translation

        April 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • toby

      Thanks biologixco. I love you too! :)

      April 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
      • biologixco

        Glad you feel the love. I dont hate anyone. Only their blasphemous beliefs.

        April 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @biologixco,
      Ever wonder how many gods you blaspheme by believing in the one god you do?

      April 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
      • biologixco

        Never pondered the thought...

        April 9, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • fred

      Nonimus
      I know you’re just poken but, there cannot be but one God. Even the Christian religion gets around this by having God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit being one God under a Trinity. I would hope even atheists and agnostics would agree in that if there was a God there could only be one God.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
      • biologixco

        Not only one God, but only one WORD of God.
        That makes the book of mormon blasphemous.
        Think about it.

        April 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • fred

      biologixco
      My Kudos to LDS for the focus they put on helping families. It is a very tight system that our own Gov should consider instead of the mess we see from social services.
      Ok, so the LDS has added a bunch of man made stuff to the Bible. This is what has happened to the Church of Christ since Paul and Peter set up the first ministries. If the fundimentals are sound then those that truly seek Christ will find the eternal life.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @fred,
      "I would hope even atheists and agnostics would agree in that if there was a God there could only be one God."
      Interesting point. Why is only one God possible?

      April 9, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
      • biologixco

        Other gods are possible and existed in the minds of Romans and other ancient peoples like the Egyptians.
        But if you are Christian, you believe that there is only one God, because the Bible tells us so. There is only ONE God and only one WORD of God: The BIBLE. Not the quran, not the book of mormon, The Bible.
        Isaiah 45:14 Surely, God is with you, and there is none else, No other God."
        1 Corinthians 8:4 "there is no God but one"
        Isaiah 46:9 I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me"

        April 9, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • fred

      Nonimus
      Christ referred to God in the singular as did the old Hebrew text. Most religions based upon the God of Abraham refer to a singular God.
      Logically if we do not accept Biblical accounts and God is total perfection then God could not differentiate between himself which takes away the all knowing aspect of God. Imperfection is required for all knowing gods.
      Mathematically we could have two identical sets assuming the sets had limits or boundaries. God has no limits or boundaries the sets would overlap completely and there would only be one set.
      Eternally if there is no beginning or end then the first cause would always be the same as they would loop into one another and again there could be no separation.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @fred,
      Sorry I missed this the other day.

      You seem to be making a lot of as.sumptions about what a god is, e.g. perfect, all-knowing, eternal, etc.
      Given all your presumptions, perhaps a singular god is necessary but that doesn't exclude multiple mortal, limited, imperfect gods.

      Isn't the only requirement for a god that it be supernatural, i.e. outside/transcending this physical universe. All the other stuff is the Abrahamic aspect of God that is being added on.

      April 12, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • fred

      Nonimus
      We don’t know why we exist so we fill the blind spot just as the eye fills a blind spot so we can proceed with a normal life. That vast unknown be it the initial cause or force behind the big bang is always there because we cannot know what we don’t know. God is as good as any other term to describe that which man cannot comprehend yet makes great attempts to do so. Over time we can see the evolution of that thought which for many has the Hebrew God in the beginning. Yes, as defined there can be only one Hebrew God and the Hebrew God does about the best job filling in the blanks spots. That Hebrew God does such a good that many other religions are based off that God so that we can proceed with life. The history of gods although having great supernatural strength all fall short of the Hebrew God and Saul of Tarsus did a great job taking them all down to size as man made in his writings.
      How can we know absent historic writings that God is singular? How can we know what we do not know? Simply because the universe began from one big bang and life sprang from one organic protein and there is only one Nonimus does not necessarily mean God is singular. Christians use the trinity to wrap 3 in one. Our unknown blind spot then could still be singular and include why we exist, purpose of life and death. Given that purpose is dependent on why we exist there is just one unknown and that would be why we exist.
      If the only reason for God is an explanation for why we exist then if there is no God there is no reason for existence. I think science has explained away the need for all other gods (thunder, fertility etc) except one and that is our reason for existence. We are only aware of this one existence. Right?

      April 12, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @fred,
      Interesting...
      It seems to me that you have made a progression of unfounded generalizations to get from 'we don't know everything' to 'a single God explains it best.' (paraphrased, obviously)

      "God is as good as any other term to describe that which man cannot comprehend yet makes great attempts to do so."
      I disagree. "God" is not a good term, in this case, at all, namely because it invokes agency, or intelligence, which has not been determined to be necessary, not to mention that it is a "loaded" or "emotional" word with all sorts of connotations attached, and the as.sumption that man "cannot comprehend" some things.
      '[The] unknown' seems, to me, to be the best term for the unknown.

      "Yes, as defined there can be only one Hebrew God and the Hebrew God does about the best job filling in the blanks spots."
      If by, "as defined" you mean "as defined by the Bible," then sure, God is singular and all encompassing, but why use that definition? Isn't that like saying, according to my definition, of the best possible ice cream flavor being chocolate, the flavor of chocolate bets fits the role? Unsurprisingly, according to the 'Hebrew God' definition of god, the 'Hebrew God' fits the role better than any other god.

      "Given that purpose is dependent on why we exist there is just one unknown and that would be why we exist."
      How exactly did we get from "we cannot know what we don’t know" to "there is just one unknown?" Surely you don't claim to know the extent of all we don't know, because then you would by definition "know what we don't know," correct?

      "If the only reason for God is an explanation for why we exist then if there is no God there is no reason for existence."
      Actually, I think it just means there is no God-given reason for existence; there are many self-given reasons and there may be many explanations for why we exist that have nothing to do with God. However, 'we don't know' currently.
      In addition, even if there is no "reason for existence," that does not negate existence.

      (For clarification, if by "reason" you mean 'intellectual', 'metaphysical', 'purposeful', or 'existential' reason, i.e. raison d'etre, then that does not negate existence. But, if by "reason," you mean a description or explanation of how we came to exist, then I would agree that there must be one, even if we don't know what it is, yet.)

      whew... sorry for the long-winded response.

      April 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • fred

      Nonimus
      Rejecting the notion of God on the basis God cannot be proven is inconsistent with knowing there must be a reason that cannot be proven. This is the blind spot the mind fills in for us to rationalize our position in time and space. The mind does not naturally operate against itself always seeking to justify. Some fill in that blank spot with belief in God you fill in that blank spot with a delusion that an answer is on its way. If this were not the case you would be living your life in a manner that the mind would know could lead to eternal damnation. You cannot put your hand on a hot burner unless you justify it will be fine. You believe the answer is forthcoming that will vindicate your unbelief. Do we (believer / non believer) not both need blind faith to live out what we believe?

      April 14, 2012 at 12:36 am |
  14. biologixco

    If MITT ROMNEY subscribes to this magical underwear, prays to planet Kolob and straps his dog to the top of his car, its RELEVENT! Its relevent simply because this man could become our President. Americans have a right to know about his religious practices and how they might affect his decisions as POTUS. Its obvious that mormons wanna keep this a secret, but thats EXACTLY what makes the LDS a CULT!

    April 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Keith

      I can't believe how ignorant you're being. You really think all LDS will vote for Mitt Romney? You should stop making comments being you have no clue what you're talking about. You're attacking a faith that you have not learned anything about. The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints does so much good for people every where. It doesn't matter if people are LDS or not. They have helped many with rent, food, and helped people come closer to Christ. Many they help each and every week are not member's of the LDS church.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
      • biologixco

        You are clueless. This is the EXACT reason why the LDS is running all those "Im a Mormon" television commercials. You folks are the only religion that has to use tv commercials sell itself. The more people learn about Mittens Romney and the LDS, the more likely someone else will be prez.

        April 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @biologixco,
      What do you call those half-hour long televised 'services' on Sundays, if not commercials?

      April 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • biologixco

      Which one?
      "Meet the Press" or "Face the Nation" or "NASCAR live"
      Thats the only 3 shows I watch on sunday.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • power4things

      "Keith" belongs to the Church of the Poison Kool-aid, and he thinks you're MEAN. One of the ways Mormons pretend to be Christians to fool the world. Yes, real Christian Churches are open to everybody, 24/7. No need to open your wallet wide for that "recommended" card ...

      April 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @biologixco,
      NASCAR? And you're calling LDS a cult, that's rich. : )

      April 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • biologixco

      Got a smile outa you didnt I?

      April 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • auteur55

      Mormons have been serving in higher office for years without having to be grilled about church beliefs. Let me ask those here who feel being a Mormon disqualifies you or will heavily influence you as President. Did you have these same concerns about Harry Reid?

      April 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
      • biologixco

        You bet. Orrin Hatch too. But how can Americans let a HIGH PRIEST of a CULT become President of the United States? Too powerful a position to let them get ANYWHERE near it.

        April 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @auteur55,
      Here are only two aspects that might be considered. 1) How much do they really believe in what they claim to be their religion, e.g. Genesis literalist or science, prayer or medicine, etc.? 2) How rational is their professed religion, or perhaps I should say how close to rational is their professed religion, e.g. Heaven's Gate or Budhism, Scientology or Catholicism, etc.?

      Reid being a Democrat is less likely to be fanatical about his religion, not that I'm a fan of Reid. In addition, LDS in some sense is just Chirstianity with some extra silliness added. Therefore, in Romney, compared to other candidates you have to factor in the potential for more fanaticism in a religion that in potentially more distant from the rational world. Those two factors may be pertenant to someone's decision.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  15. Keith

    biologixco : Mormon Temples are open to the public before they're dedicated. The church opens it up for all to tour and see what they look like on the inside. This is a great opportunity if you have ever wanted to see the inside of a temple:-) I would also add that the Church does not tell it's members to vote for any one candidate. biologixco I'm afraid where ever you have received your facts about the LDS church is not very credible and reliable. I will pray for you though that your heart will be soften as you sound very hateful and that is very heart breaking.

    April 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • biologixco

      MY CHURCH IS ALWAYS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
      No secret society here. No magic undies, no planet kolob and THE BIBLE, NOT THE BOOK OF MORMON is HIS word.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Keith

      biologixco : I'm afraid you don't understand the difference between an temple and a Church. . . Our church's are always open to anyone and everyone. In the Bible what does it say about clean and unclean things entering the temple?

      April 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • biologixco

      So you are saying you have a two tier system.
      Churches for the peasants?
      Temples for the Special (recommended) ones?
      Sounds prejudiced to me.
      What about KOLOB, the MAGIC UNDIES and the other HOKUM blasphemic ideas? eh?

      April 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • knows the morman truth

      @keith–one reason you will burn...Mormans believe that instead of in three godheads (Father Son and Holy Ghost). The true bible says that the three (Father Son and Holy Spirt) are one.

      BTW, @Keith, which planet do you get? True Momans believe that they will be raised to be the head of a celestrial body and that they get to choose those who will "serve" them...that is the reason behind having your marriages sealed in a temple.

      If you guys are so open, why do you need a special credit card to get in? Even the evil Mason's dont require that...:)

      April 9, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  16. Everyone be jealous :)

    Mormonism believes that when you die you can see your family again and reunite with lost loved ones. That to me is awesome i don't understand how people wouldn't want to at least try and believe that.

    April 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • biologixco

      You oversimplify. You forgot to mention planet KOLOB, the mystical magical undies and a whole lot of other whacko ideas that make the LDS more like SCIENTOLOGY than Christianity. But thanks for trying.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Believing in something does not make it any more real, that only happens with Tinkerbell.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • What IF

      "i don't understand how people wouldn't want to at least try and believe that."

      You mean pretend?!

      April 9, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Doug from Mexico City

      To biologixco- Just read the Old Testament once through and you will encounter many words, ideas and even symbols that don't make sense to our present-day minds. Although you have all of your ideas quite mixed up and seem to want to stir up anger or rejection in others, just stop and think that you may be on the wrong track. I suspect you yourself may be mixed up in some pretty negative associations- which cause you to think it is very okay to run down the belief systems of others, and your words are clearly designed to upset or make others confused. I wont' write again, because I can see from your responses that whatever it said will be attacked by you. Please rethink and reset.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  17. Snowman

    Have you ever noticed that liberals believe in the First Amendment...as long as it doesn't conflct with what THEY want to say? biologixco you may want to think you aren't hateful, but your comments belie that fact. they find the Westboro Baptist Church offensive, most Mormons simply want to live in peace, they don't drink, they don't smoke, and the worst swear word you'll hear from them is "crap". You have questions and criticisms but, WHY DO YOU CARE!?!? IF their temple was open would you go? of course not. My issue with folks of your ilk is your selective criticism. How do you feel about the Catholic Church and abuse? How about Jehovah's Witness and their feeling on the flag? how about Muslims and their clothing? How about the Reverend Wright? How about the secrets of the Masons? The secret rights of fraternities and sororities? The "men only" policy at Augusta? If you really were bothered by all you say you are, you'd be dealing with all of these as well. Alas, you are simply somone who has found an easy target and can anonymously throw your random ill-educated concepts around. Too bad. The Mormons probably think far more of you that you do of them.

    April 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • biologixco

      I care and AMERICA cares, because the elders of the LDS are preparing to inject their HIGH PRIEST MITT ROMNEY into the Presidency of the United States. Can you imagine a secret society cult placing one of their people into the most powerful office in the world? You can't fool America. We got yo number. And when November is over and MITTENS is toast, you can go back to your 10 wives and magical undies and we will leave you alone.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • biologixco

      OH and PS: LDS TEMPLES are NOT OPEN to the public! DONT LIE!
      Don't gloss over this fact. They are PRIVATE places of worship NOT PUBLIC. And the EXACT reason any tax free status situations should be REVOKED for the LDS like they did in the UK.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Keith

      biologixco : Mormon Temples are open to the public before they're dedicated. The church opens it up for all to tour and see what they look like on the inside. This is a great opportunity if you have ever wanted to see the inside of a temple:-) I would also add that the Church does not tell it's members to vote for any one candidate. biologixco I'm afraid where ever you have received your facts about the LDS church is not very credible and reliable. I will pray for you though that your heart will be soften as you sound very hateful and that is very heart breaking.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • biologixco

      Keith, please dont pray for me. Pray for YOURSELF.
      God has a special place for false prophets and their followers.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Keith

      biologixco : This is true he does, though we're also told you will know them by their fruits. What fruits have you seen that are not in concordance with the doctrine of Jesus Christ?

      April 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • biologixco

      The fruit called MITT ROMNEY!
      And he will prove to be the most bitter tasting fruit of all.
      Just as nasty as that apple Adam and Eve bit into.
      And just as dangerous for America~!

      April 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Keith

      You talk about the Bible being the book you learn from, then you use Mitt Romney as a fruit??? If you knew your Bible you would know I was referring to You will know a prophet by their fruits. Mitt is not a Prophet, and is not high ranking within the LDS church either. Please don't respond on attacking the Book of Mormon and saying LDS don't use the Bible till you have taken time to read the Bible to know what is in it. I have studied the Bible in Biblical Greek and in KJV.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Pat F

      Amen to you, Snowman. Biologiixco, are you David Axelrod – just an Obammie hack? Or just a garden-variety religious bigot?

      April 9, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  18. EW88

    I am a Mormon. Thanks for a largely factual and respectful article concerning temples amid countless editorials based upon falsehoods. I clarify that the 14 million members of the Church is the number worldwide, with 6 million living in the United States. I wish to add only that for answers to questions you should seek them at the source and not from media, just as you wouldn't seek lessons in math from a history teacher. lds.org, mormon.org, and mormonnewsroom.org are great references.
    Thanks for listening. http://www.conservativemormonmom.blogspot.com

    April 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • biologixco

      The only falsehoods spoken here are from the false prophet Joseph Smith and the book of mormon.
      God has a special place for false prophets and their followers...
      Deuteronomy 18:20
      But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  19. biologixco

    Please stop calling me hateful. I hate no one. Mormons are mostly decent folks. Misguided, but decent.
    I simply wish to see the curtains pulled back and a little sunshine let in.
    Mormons are too touchy and thin skinned.
    Better get used to it. With Mitt Romney so close to POTUS. The questions will only grow LOUDER>!

    April 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Keith

      If you say they're decent people, why do you feel the need to attack our faith? I don't get it. I have never attacked what other believe, and it is not cool for you to be attacking something so special to us.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Keith,
      I haven't followed the discussion between you and @biologixco, but I have to wonder about your declaring faith as out of bounds. Isn't that what every young LDS member on a "mission" is doing, attacking other people's faith. Isn't proselytizing and trying to convert others to your own faith, attacking their faith?

      April 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Keith

      I think you bring up a good question. I would answer it by saying While I was on my mission I invited people to learn more about my Faith, never did I force it on them. I simply invited them and if they wanted to continue to learn more I would teach more, though I never argued with anyone. I had full respect for what it was other had believed. I was also a convert to the LDS church. I was a Wesleyan Minister before joining the LDS church. I know that the Missionaries that taught me never forced it on me either, they just invited me and respected what I believed along the way.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Joanna

      biologixco...why do you care about the "white magical undies" which are called under-garments? So we hold something sacred to us, which reminds us of our faith, and reminds us who we are...Children of God. Do you ask a Catholic Father why he wares the garb he has on or a nun why she wears her clothes? It is a symbol of who they are and what they hold special to them. Do you ask a muslim why they wear the burka? It also is a symbol of who they are. You are the misguided one. If you want to know more, then we have many missionaries that would be glad to explain things to you. You can listen and ask away. I don't know why you are asking on CNN about it. Ask a real person that can help you with your questions. You don't know what you are talking about. I will also continue to pray for you to have your heart softened and understand. I am glad you admit to us being good people. We don't hold secrets, we hold things sacred.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • biologixco

      Does the LDS have a big washing machine where they brainwash you?

      April 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Joanna

      yes they do...really??? you have a good day. I will let you keep posting your misguided comments and not bother saying anything anymore. I will pray.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
      • biologixco

        Thanks Joanna. You have a great day!

        April 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @keith,
      Not many "invitations" show up on your doorstep prepped with a manual on how to manipulate the invitee and fail to disclose their true intent for the first 10 or 15 minutes (guestimate) of discussion.

      In addition, apparently the "invitation" stops a the door to the temple, correct?

      April 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Doug from Mexico City

      Biologixco... I believe you continue to write in this blog because you enjoy the attention. It's okay to want attention, but the way to get it is by helping and serving and giving to others. Have you considered you may have been misled by others? Reading your posts is really confusing, because you just don't have your facts in order. Keith's comments have attempted to give you some insight, but it seems you are hell-bent on continuing the slander. I just feel sorry for you. You are missing out on the opportunity to- at a minimum- make some good new friends by learning more about the Church you are so actively condemning. God bless you.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
      • biologixco

        Slander? What I have said is tame. I only speak the truth. Not my fault you are brainwashed.

        April 9, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  20. Holy JS

    "I do not approve of this temple in Missouri"

    – Joseph Smith

    April 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • biologixco

      And please dont send your LDS goon squad to silence me.
      Or place any kolob boogeyman hexes on me.
      Scientology unsuccessfully tried that already.
      I call a spade a spade.
      A cult a CULT!

      April 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.