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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. chuck

    Joseph Smith was a con man. Pure and simple. How did he attract followers? Do you think it had something to do with multiple wives?? We don't expect Mormons to suddenly wake up one day and realize they have been duped. That's like admitting you're insane. But please stop using the fact that millions of people are Mormons. Millions of people voted for Hitler in 1933. The large numbers argument is moot. Also accept the fact that many traditional religions see Mormons as blasphemous. And I will fight to the death to prevent you from becoming mainstream and accepted.

    April 9, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • heguido

      Chuck,

      You used the "Reductio ad Hitlerum" too early in the discussion.

      April 9, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Lyman Wight

      Chuck - As a "con man," Joseph Smith was a remarkable failure. For example, he could never make any money from his store in Nauvoo because he was constantly giving the merchandise away to people who couldn't pay for it. If you were to read the actual history of the LDS Church, including the personal accounts of the people who knew Joseph Smith personally, you would find a very different picture. The early members were mostly from very strict Puritan backgrounds. They did not sign up in order to obtain multiple wives. On the contrary, typically when they first heard about it they were shocked and appalled because it was utterly contrary to their rigidly monogamous New England culture. Joseph Smith himself had that reaction when he received the revelation that plural marriage of the kind that Abraham and Jacob practiced was to be restored. Brigham Young said that his initial feeling was one of revulsion - that he would rather die than be involved in it. If they had not been convinced that God required this of them, they never would have engaged in it. Fortunately for those of us alive now, the practice was stopped 122 years ago, so this is only of academic interest.

      As to "fighting to the death," does this mean that you plan to assassinate people who plan to vote for Romney? Sounds a little extreme.

      April 9, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  2. Jarno

    For good, critical but fair views into Mormonism, I'd recommend looking up the "Dogma Debate" podcast – they have a recent episode with an ex-mormon that was quite deep into the religion prior to his deconversion.

    The "Reasonable Doubts" podcast also has episodes on the Mormon religion, and that podcast is, IMHO, the best skeptical podcast on religion. It's not about religion bashing, but rather about well researched arguments and education. Highly recommended.

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

      Jarno, if a person has been deep in the religion of Mormonism then posts a blog on why it is wrong, is not a good source of information for the LDS Church. The same would go for any other religion. If anyone truly wants to know about Mormonism, then why not go to LDS.org or Mormon.org. Why go to a blog of a person who has lost his faith and now is trying to cause others to do so? Any religion can be criticized, and even God can be denied and man considered just another animal. But it's faith and testimony which makes any religion grow and prosper and increase the human soul.

      April 9, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • heguido

      Serenity,
      To be honest, you can read both, mormon and anti-mormon, and then make your mind.

      April 9, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Serenity

      Heguido, that's true, but the anti-Mormon stuff is so full of lies and twisted truths, when I read it, I feel the evil reeking out of it. There is a special evil spirit attached to the enemies of the Lord but if people read it and are honestly seeking the truth, they will recognize it as lies and avoid it. I love your comments.

      April 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • heguido

      Serenity,
      I agree completely to you, but people will feel it too, and if they are sincere, that will help them to get to know what the truth is.

      April 9, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • sickofmomos

      Ah, Serenity and heguido, two "special" spirits made in the prelife (you know, while Lucifer was trying to take credit and there were these fence sitters, etc). I feel like I might break out in a song from Saturdays warrior for the two of you.
      Anyhow, you know what? You're both bullies. You sit on here and attack people that go against your cult beliefs, EVEN when they provide proof that you can look up to see the evidence yourselves! You're sad representations of your church, but gladly you're indeed the representatives that will push people away from looking into your crazy cult. Who wants to be around mean people?

      April 10, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  3. heguido

    For those who feel that they need to fight against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I think you can learn something from Gamaliel of old:
    "And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God."

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

      This is the place where you look for your 4 wifes?

      April 9, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • heguido

      Sure, but they come in the same package with 4 mothers-in-law... ;-)

      April 9, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  4. susan

    I wonder how many people dwell on the formation of the episcipalian church, the catholic inquisition and the like....many religions have their ups and downs but perhaps because the LDS religion is "newer" then it's getting a lot of attention and being picked apart more than others? Also the "garments" the LDS people wear are to remind them constantly of modesty in dress and the covenants or promises they make to help others, serve God, follow Christ...that's not all that odd. Other religions also have clothing that the devout wear....no big deal. And to say you won't vote for someone simply because of what church they go to seems extremely uneducated and childish...I should think America would love to have a pres. that was honest, true, chaste, willing to serve others, no matter what church he went to!

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

      Susan, why don't you mormons realize that we don't want a president serving in the White House that would keep secrets from the American people. You don't have "sacred" things in the temple, they are secret and you know they are. That's why you don't do them in your regular church buildings.
      You mormons want to shut up the people that disagree with you, but we have a right to make it clear that your church was founded by a crook. A man that wanted to form a Theocratic Monarchy to take over the American government and place himself at the head of it. He even made himself a general! Seriously! Is that the kind of American values we want? He had how many wives and he still had to marry a 14 year old girl that later wrote how much she resented not being given the choice herself because Joseph Smith had promised her family eternal salvation if he could have her (the child) for his bride.
      Are you starting to see why everyday people don't like what you believe in? You may be a wonderful person. I have two family members that are temple workers (including my dad) but it doesn't change what's right for this country and Romney is WRONG for this country!

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

      pastmorm,

      You know what? People lie. They lied against Peter. They lied against Paul. They even lied against Jesus, the only sinless man in the history of humanity. Why believe the enemies of Joseph Smith, and ignore the witness of his many friends? But I know you don't care about what I'm saying. I read enough of your comments to know that you are intendedly distorting the things you know to make them look the way you want. That's lying too.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • pastmorm

      heguido, So your response the things that I said that ANYONE can look up online is to call me a liar? Wow, you're a rich one to talk. Anyhow, enough of you. Your comments are manic and meaningless. Responding to you, when you won't even look up what I'm pointing out as historical fact (that can be found in libraries if you don't trust the internet or court houses) is like throwing pearls before swine. It's unfortunate that you prefer ignorance to intelligence.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • heguido

      pastmorm,

      I would love not to call you a liar, but you keep showing that you know a lot about the Church, although you choose to present 'the facts' in a very distortive way. I guess there are reasons that made you leave the Church, but I hope that deep inside of you you know we don't deserve your attacks. Some comments ago you said that your father and your aunt work in the temple... so you know pretty well what temples mean for us, and that wrong or not, we are sincere in our feelings. Hope you find what you are looking for, not needing to hurt anyone in the process.
      BTW, english is not my mother tongue, I'm sorry if something I say makes no sense.

      April 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Serenity

      You know, Susan, your English is marvelous. You write very well. Postmorm has an issue with the Church and judging from his hateful remarks, he may have been excommunicated for something he did against the Lord's commandments. These people are very bitter against the Church and will say twisted truths and out and out lies. What I would like to know what the Church today has to do with almost 200 years ago. The Church today is a true disciple of Jesus Christ. The Savior loves and leads His Church and loves those who are faithful to Him and keep His commandments. Postmorm knows this, and because he has sinned, he is spewing hate and lies against the Church. Instead of repenting, which he should do, he is eaten up in a world of hate. He knows that the holy temples are not secret, and that nothing takes place therein that is rude, crude or illegal. Instead, they are full of love, peace, and joy. They are true houses of the Lord and are pleasing unto Him. That's why only people with temple recommends are worthy to enter that holy edifice. The general public is not known to the guardians of the temple, which are bishops and stake presidents, but anyone can enter the holy temple. All they have to do is get a temple recommend. Oh yes, and IF Mitt Romney did not keep the commandments of the Lord, he too would loose his temple recommend and not allowed to enter therein.

      April 9, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • sickofmomos

      Wow serenity, who the heck are you to say that pastmorm has sinned? Who are you to pass judgement? You know, that's what mormons do best. Judge. They pick apart the imperfections in people and judge. You know why? Because mormons actually believe they will become gods (if they are good enough on this earth, this one time) after they die. How incredibly troubling is that? So serenity, it looks like your meanness toward pastmorm comes from your own insecurities, perhaps your own experiences with sin and how well you know it? Throw that "first stone", I dare you. Hypocrite.

      April 10, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  5. Josie

    I went to the dedication of the Nurmburg temple (it was in the 80's) as a kid with my parents. My parents are members still (well more so dad then mom) and they wanted us to see the inside of the temples before we were old enough to get the card to do so. I still remember the beauty of the place and the peace. Now is the chance to go and walk through one, before it is dedicated...and it's not to far from where I live. Might have to see, but doubt I'll make it. Though I don't agree with the religion now, and haven't for years...it does focus on family and on Christ.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • snowtiger

      Thanks Josie for your beautiful and unbiased comment. There is a sense of peace in all temples – before and after dedication. Hope you get to attend the open house.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  6. pastmorm

    LOL! They changed the picture of the gafawing man to a video of the temple. WOW! Romney and his church will stop at nothing to make sure they come off squeaky clean.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • heguido

      Do you say you miss the biased one?

      April 9, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • snowtiger

      You really think the church has that much sway that they can determine what the editor of a major network will place on their media? You really are delusional. Maybe the editor is more open to displaying truth than others putting comments here.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • pastmorm

      snow tiger, do you really have so much megalomania to think that the editor though, "why I better put a video (that says "courtesy of the LDS church) in place of a man that looks like he's a braying donkey so that mormons will be happier?
      Seriously, the video SAYS "Courtesy of the LDS church." So YES I do think they have that much political power, or should I say MONEY to get what they want!

      April 9, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • heguido

      Powerful, oh, yes! But somehow we can't get to ban your comments ;-)

      April 9, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • pine az

      iT'S REALLY SAD TO WITNESS SO MUCH IGNORANCE FROM THOSE WHO DONT KNOW ENOUGH TO JUST KEEP THEIR MOUTHS SHUT, there are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  7. Oskar

    I would like to advise the Mormon people to have a look at Joseph Smith's life. How all started and where is leading the good mormon people. Smith died with the gun in his hand, and he was no more a prophet than a devout mason.
    He tells lies in his book, and is far away from Jesus Christ as the JWs are. The women cannot go to heaven unless is married to a mormon, they say. The men will be given their own planets, and thousands of women to replenish them.
    they have thrown away the bible, and they read Smith's book of the mormons. The people are blinded because the bible has been absent from their lives. The secrecy of the mormons, is the same as the secrecy of the masons. Totally demonic.
    Their bosses live in riches and the folk seek heaven in their poverty.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • heguido

      Lots of half trues. Or, aprox. 30% trues, to be honest.
      For example: Neither a man can get into heaven without a woman... Maybe you forgot that part. It is called "family", remember when it was important?
      Joseph Smith was carring a gun, true, trying to defend himself from a murderous mob (100+) that were tired of the justice to declare him innocent time after time... so decided that they would be judges and executioners.
      Do I need to follow?

      April 9, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Serenity

      Oh golly Oskar, thanks for the religion lesson. It is very interesting. I am a woman, therefore I am lost forever Or, where would I go? You didn't make that point clear. Gee, I want my own planet. I feel so discriminated against now. I must talk to my bishop. Or somebody. Actually, I am not sure which religion you are talking about. Sorry

      April 9, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Lyman Wight

      Oskar, who fed you all this garbage? If you spent just ten minutes at lds.org, you would know that the LDS Church has not "thrown away the Bible." The Bible is studied every week in every LDS meeting all over the world. But obviously the Bible isn't the complete set of God's word. That's proven inasmuch as various Biblical authors themselves refer to other sacred texts that were not placed in the canon, in most if not all cases because they didn't survive that long. But more to the point, if God wants to reveal more truth, or clarify issues that have not been resolved based on the Bible (as Catholic, Orthodox, Methodist, Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, Lutheran, Adventist and Pentecostal Christians have different ideas yet all claim adherence to Biblical authority) - who are you to say that He cannot do so?

      April 9, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • sickofmomos

      Again...serenity, why do you respond to Oskar with sarcasm when you KNOW what he/she says is true. You cannot get into the celestial kingdom without a worthy husband and therefor you cannot become a god. Trying to mock the truth to soften the blow isn't going to keep people from looking up what Oskar said. Indeed you are a woman, and obviously a bitter one at that. Maybe you ought to work a little harder on honesty and kindness...it'll get you a little closer to the celestial kingdom. Maybe, but I doubt it.

      April 10, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  8. smittyandme

    No caffeine?. Married for ETERNITY? Are they crazy? Don't doubt the special "garments". Look them up on line.
    You have to have specific approval to even buy the darned things by one of the leaders of the LDS group. I think Sears sells them. I'm not preoccupied with it. I just think it's extremely weird. I looked it up when I first heard about it from an LDS person.
    I laughed and thought they were making it up, and I'm still smiling about it. I mean, REALLY!!!!

    April 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • heguido

      Sorry for you that you don't want to be married for the Eternity... I love my wife, and I certainly do want to live with her forever!

      April 9, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • pine az

      WHY DON'T YOU RESPECT YOUR SELF AND YOUR BODY? DON'T CONDEM THOSE WHO DO.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Lyman Wight

      Initially I thought it was weird, too, but then I did some research. It turns out that God never granted any authority to mankind without involving some kind of emblematic clothing. See, e.g., http://www.bible-history.com/tabernacle/TAB4The_Priestly_Garments.htm.

      April 9, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  9. Elias

    I wonder how many farms and how much food can be bought with the money they spend on temples?

    April 9, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • heguido

      Don't worry about that. Just google "LDS humanitarian", and we can talk about it later if you want.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Dano

      The LDS Church does own man farms, and produces thousands of tons of food for humanitarian efforts around the world every year, as a matter of fact.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • snowtiger

      The church spends an enormous amount of money each year on farms, clean water projects, humanitarian assistance after earthquakes, tsunamis, etc, as well as local needs (employment assistance, food, etc) far in excess of any money that is spent on temple building. Having said that the temple is a special place for people to perform ordinances of salvation for both the living and the dead. We have a firm belief in the eternal nature of life and that these ordinances are essential for a life with God after death. Hence we provide a place to assist us with our quest for eternal life as well as providing temporal (earthly) assistance to those who need it in this life.This temporal assistance is given to any regardless of their race, nationality or religion.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • pine az

      Good thing you dont have to worry about it, lol i mean really when the LDS church is more often then not the first one in with food, water, clothes and medical when there is a disaster, what they spend on temples are chump change, good thing its not your money. IT IS THE LORD'S THANK YOU

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

      The LDS Church has many farms and a welfare project and they help anyone in trouble. The are the ones in the yellow tee shirts with Mormon Helping Hands on the back. When hurricane Katrina or any major catastrophe in the world happen, the LDS church is there, not only giving food and the necessities of life, but helping people get back on their feet. They have service missionaries overseas helping people to be self sufficient by teaching them to grow food, get clean water by digging wells and whatever is needed by them. There are only for the temporal welfare of the people. Our temples, however are for the spiritual welfare of humankind. They give instruction for eternal life and for the spiritual welfare of all those who attend. There are no places on earth which are more holy and sacred than the holy temples. Since they are houses of the Lord, they are beautiful and well constructed. As Solomon's temple of old, they are fitting place for God..

      April 9, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  10. Georgia

    It is nice that CNN is willing to report on the newest Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Anyone can visit http://www.lds.org and learn more about the teachings of the Church.......and search out any questions that may concern them. "Mormons" are not your "traditional Christians" but they are Christians and profess a profound belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, our Eternal Father in Heaven. We are not traditional Christians because we believe in a living Prophet who leads the Church today, with the assistance of 12 living Apostles, dually called and ordained to administer the affairs of the world-wide Church! We believe we follow the admonition found in Ephesians 4:11-14 and which describes the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ anciently.
    We believe in baptism by immersion as was practiced anciently for both the living and the dead. 1 Peter 3:15-22; 4:6.......
    When we stop and think about it, there have been many who have lived and died upon the earth never having the opportunity to receive the gospel message or the ordinances required by the Savior for redemption in eternity such as baptism ....John 3:5...
    Thank you CNN, for your fair reporting of this event! Hope you will continue to be truthful in your description of Romney's religion and faith!

    April 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  11. Steve

    There were also many Jews back in the day who thought Jesus and his teachings were weird. They too were pretty ticked about it. They couldn't make that go away either.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  12. smittyandme

    I wonder what we AREN'T shown. If you have to qualify to enter, then it's a cult. Special undergarments?
    No thanks. Not interested in even knowing this much. Creeps me out. And, the EXPENSE of these temples...
    (I feel the same way about any religious gathering place with this much adornment. It's WRONG!!!!)

    April 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • floridamom1

      You know what is wrong? Complaining about something you know nothing about. Drawing conclusions when you have no idea what you are talking about. If you go on a temple tour before it is dedicated to the Lord you will be able to see everything that is there. Nothing is hidden. There are all kinds of rooms in the temple, some for baptisms, some for sealings and some for making covenants with the Lord. What do you think is in there besides that? The only thing creepy are the stories made up about it by people like you.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • pine az

      you say adornment we say homage, it is our honor to our lord never mind, these temples are paid for by the members them selves, and we have the right to honor our lord, JESUS CHRIST anyway we choose. thank you

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

      "If you have to qualify to enter, then it's a cult"
      Most universities would desagree....

      April 9, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Serenity

      Ummm what is it exactly that creeps you out about other people's underwear? You seem to be fixated on it. Something is strange here. What you are saying is a little too weird. I don't give a rat's butt what kind of underwear you wear, so you keep your weird thoughts off of mine, OK? I am really starting to consider this an invasion of privacy.

      April 9, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • sickofmomos

      I think – serenity (why not try a more fitting username?) – that what smittyandme is trying to point out is that your mormon garments have "secret symbols" on them that match the symbols on the curtains in the temple where you put your hand through and utter a commitment while you make a secret handshake. Basically, your garments are a secret underwear and you wear them as a reminder of your ritualistic commitments. So we really can't have a President that keeps secrets like that from the people that are paying for his rent in the White House.
      On another note, I hardly think you feel your privacy is being invaded, if you did, you wouldn't be such a bully, picking at each non-mormon on here like you love nothing more than being mean.

      April 10, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  13. garyM

    Jesus said that those who are left outside, cold, hungry, and nowhere to go, those will be the ones to inherit the kingdom of God. Fancy palaces never saved anyone.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Lyman Wight

      Gary - So when Solomon built the temple that is described in the Bible, did he construct it from rubble, disused fenceposts and rags so that he would have money left over for the poor? No. Actually, the LDS Church does more for the poor per capita than any other denomination, so it's not an either-or proposition. But do you remember someone who said that certain valuable things should be sold and the proceeds given to the poor rather than to honor the Lord? That was when Lazarus' sister Mary used some fragrant ointment worth about $20,000 per pound to anoint Jesus shortly before His crucifixion. The one who said that this should have gone to help the poor was Judas.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • snowtiger

      No-one is 'left outside' if they choose to follow the church's teachings. To be able to worship in the temple is a result of a series of personal choices – the choice to follow Jesus Christ, the choice to be baptised in the manner in which He was baptised by someone having authority from God to perform the baptism, and the choice to keep the commandments committed to at baptism. Anyone is free to come to Christ as He prescribed and hence be 'temple worthy'. There are many opportunities in life that people choose not to avail themselves of. The Temple worship experience is open to all who choose to participate by adherence to the requirements – that is also true of many other aspects and organisations in this world.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • pine az

      It's sad that so few actually understand scared and only the very best for just that, (scared) the lord gets the best when when u believe he has given you everything, sad u don"t have the same respect or feels for him as he does for you.

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

      Could you quote a chapter and verse in the Bible that says that about only the poor, hungry and ect can go to heaven? I am not familiar with that. Jesus did tell us to take care of these people but He never guaranteed heaven just because you are poor.
      ]

      April 9, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • sickofmomos

      Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

      We know serenity, that you prefer only you and your rich mormons like Romney inherit the Heavenly kingdom, but I think someone like Gandhi or Mother Teresa are already there and they would reject your proposal of baptism for the dead on a good day! Goodness is what matters, not mean badgering like what you and your fellow mormons do.

      April 10, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  14. heguido

    For those concerned about racism in the 'mormon church'. Just go and visit a mormon church in Nigeria... You'll hardly find a white person in it. Yeah, those racist nigerians ;-)

    April 9, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  15. Steve

    The LDS built 18 temples since the year 2000 in the United States alone. Each of those temples had an open house where visitors from any religion, age, or walk of life could go and see for themselves what was inside. I'm just scratching my head with the headline that implies going inside the LDS temple on a tour is a "rare" experience. Sure the temples aren't open for the public after the open house, but with the rate that temples are going up in this century, I'm sure there is one coming to a place near you soon....and yes you'll be able to go on a tour of that building before it is dedicated, usually for a period of a few weeks to a month. Please take advantage of it because it's awesome.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • pastmorm

      So now we know where all of that "charitable" giving goes: to build HUGE, decadent temples that people are forbidden in after the building itself is "dedicated."
      Americans, do you want a president that would go into one or more of these buildings, do secret things and then come out, forbidden to tell us what he did? No other religion (not counting cults...and ok, mormons are a cult, but still) on earth forces its members to keep its rituals secret. At this time in our history, we cannot afford to have a president that will obey his church before he obeys his duties as the President of the USA.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • snowtiger

      To pastmorm – a small percentage of the charitable donations go to temple construction, which you could find out for yourself if you chose to do some research. Far more goes to helping the poor and needy in all parts of the world. The temple ordinances are spoken of and written about freely and openly in a broad sense but specific details are not included because of their sacred nature. We all know what happens to anything sacred that is open to all to defile and decry. You only have to look at some of the comments on their page to see the vitriol and nastiness that is displayed toward the beliefs that Latter-day Saints. My advice to all is if you don't believe in our beliefs then fine, don't, but let us live our lives as we choose without the venom, ridicule and negativity you and others display. We do not ridicule your beliefs, do us the same courtesy

      April 9, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • pastmorm

      snowtiger, you don't know my beliefs so how could you ridicule them? Yet when I was a mormon I recall being taught all about how horrible the Baptists were and that the Catholic church is considered the "Who*re of the nations." So don't be a hypocrite. You mormons LIVE to judge.
      By the way, as an American citizen I have every right to question the religious beliefs of a possible president. Especially if they are secret.

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

      Postmorm, we may not know if you even have a religiion, but from your posts we can all tell that you have an issue with the LDS Church. Do you think anyone will listen to you about your AMERICANS WOULD YOU WANT MITT ROMNEY FOR A PRESIDENT because he is a Mormon which is a Church you seem to love to trash. Anyone can see your comments as shallow and have no profundity. Start saying something intelligent or get off the net.

      April 9, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • sickofmomos

      And yet again serenity....pastmorm is not bullying you yet you attack him/her and call him/her names. I find that typical of your religion and obviously your own troubled nature. If your mormon religion is giving you the comfort to be the way you are now, then it certainly is not a religion of peace or love! How sad that you have gone through this entire post to attack pastmorm. You are obviously VERY threatened by all of the points (that anyone can look up to confirm) that he's making about the history and validity of your mormon church. How sad.

      April 10, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  16. jerry

    One day I'll buy one of these "temples" and make it a night club

    April 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Lyman Wight

      Build your own night club. The temples are not for sale, and never will be for sale.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Serenity

      You know, that's been tried before in Navoo, IL in the early days. That temple was eventually struck by lightening and was destroyed. So, go ahead and try.

      April 9, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  17. Ace

    That clears it up for me, I used to think they were really really weird.

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

      What are you talking about Ace?

      April 9, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  18. ralph

    As an LDS member, I love going to the temple. It is such a peaceful place where I can contemplate life and how best I can contribute to it. It's about as close to being in the Garden of Eden as we can get!

    April 9, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Rick

      I'm Christian. I can get the same from hiking to the top of a large mountain.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • ralph

      I agree, Rick, but there's something in the temple that you can't get by climbing a mountain – service to others. In the temple we actively serve others as well as worship God.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • pastmorm

      Ralph, how do you actively serve others inside the temple? Please explain...or is that secret...oops, I mean "sacred."

      April 9, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • ralph

      Thanks for the question, pastmorm. I'm happy to answer. Everyone working in the temple is a volunteer. All are given the opportunity to serve in this capacity, whether it be providing directions or distributing rental clothing (we wear white symbolically in the temple, which can be rented if one doesn't have one's own) or doing the laundry. We also serve those who have passed on before us by doing temple work for them that they can no longer do for themselves. One might ask why this is important. The answer for Christians is really quite simple. Christ commanded his followers to "come follow [him]." He then set the example for all of us to follow. A big part of his life was his death; he served as a proxy in doing something for all that they could not do for themselves. How do we obey his commandment to follow him if it is impossible for us to die (or act as proxy or stand-in) for others? Temple work gives us the opportunity to stand-in for those who are no longer here to do it for themselves. They are still under no compulsion to accept the temple work done on their behalf, but they then have the freedom to accept it if they choose. So in a very real sense, doing temple work allows those entering its walls to follow Christ as much as is humanly possible. It's a wonderful opportunity to serve the living and the dead.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • pastmorm

      Ralph, my father and my Aunt are both temple workers. You didn't explain how working inside a stuffy building is better service to someone that being outside in the wild, living air of the mountains as one of the commenters said and you disagreed with.

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

      I fail to see what service being on a mountain provides. I have been a temple worker in the past and it's an amazing experience. The spirit is very strong in the temple. It's so hard to describe the peace and love being in the temple brings.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  19. roy

    Don't knock the morman religion this temple may be our new White House after November.

    April 9, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Bob

      Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha

      You funny, maynard.

      Mitt the Liar is toast.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  20. Carl

    Guess what?? If any of you geeks ever bothered to look into Mormonism you'd find the soul of America. But hey, I know, that's too bothersome to do. So just watch CNN, try to reelect Obama, and go for that Hype and Change.

    April 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Ace

      The soul of America is 99.999999%white?

      April 9, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • lester holter

      Two words dude...magic underwear. No go on Mittens for prez.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • ralph

      You are absolutely right, Carl.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • heguido

      lester holter.
      Your fixation to other people underwear is kind of worrisome.
      BTW, no 'mormon', ever, considered his underwears to be 'magic'... Maybe you are confusing us with David Copperfield.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Anthony Kovic

      Carl,
      You know who the ultimate geeks are?
      Yes, Donnie and Marie Osmond .... such goody-goodies.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Bob

      In a pigs_ass, boyo.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • pastmorm

      Dang Carl, you're just downright insulting to us "nonbelievers," by saying that the soul of America only exists in your Temple. WOW! Megalomania at it's best. Of course that can be expected coming from someone that believes he'll be a god when he dies (if you're a good boy that is...).

      April 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Lyman Wight

      In response to PastMorm - Carl didn't say that the soul of America is "only" in the temples. I think that the idea he was trying to convey is that the temple reflects the values that made America great, whether espoused by Presbyterians, Catholics, Jews, Methodists, Baptists, or members of minority denominations like the AME Zion Church. It's about love of God and one's fellow man, freedom to choose for ourselves, and about faithfulness to covenants.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Serenity

      Lester Holter, what about those two words, magic underwear? What are you talking about? Again,are you trying to say something intelligent or clever when you don't know what you are talking about?. Why don't you stop? Either you know better or you don't know at all. Either way, don't make senseless comments if you want to be taken seriously.

      April 9, 2012 at 9:53 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.