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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.


soundoff (4,366 Responses)
  1. james

    Boots, what I.said must have struck a nerve.I believe down deep inside you know there is a God and.thats what makes you mad since all men will have to answer for their sins.PLEASE REPENT AND COME TO THE Lord Jesus before its too late.You do not know what the next day may bring forth.Read john 3:16 in the Holy Bible

    April 19, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  2. ?

    Because nothing says women's rights like a candidate with a polygamist background.

    April 19, 2012 at 12:10 am |
  3. biologixco

    Willard (MITT) Romney is an elder and HIGH PRIEST of the mormon LDS church.
    If mormons are an honest, decent, morally upstanding folk, how does behavior like this arise?

    Mittens Romney is desperate not to release his tax returns
    because he doesn't want people to see how he "earned" his money.

    1. The first clue is the fact that he has bank accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Island.

    The only reason anyone has accounts in those countries is to hide your business dealings and protect your money from US taxes.

    2. We already know Romney got rich bankrupting 8 companies in 9 years:
    a. AMPAD – Profit: $102 million – Bankrupt: 2002
    b. DDI CORP – Profits: $36 million – Bankrupt: 2003.
    c. DAMON CORP – Profits: $1.5 million – Bankrupt: 2009
    d. DADE BEHRING. Profits: $365 million – Bankrupt: 2002
    e. STAGE STORES. Profits: $100 million – Bankrupt: 2000.
    f. GS INDUSTRIES. Profits: $65 million – Bankrupt: 2001.
    g. DETAILS. Profits: $93 million – Bankruptcy: 2003.
    h. WORD WIDE GRINDING. Profits $16.5 million – Bankrupt: 2001.

    Total take: $779 million.

    3. Even Republicans agree – Gingrich: "A story of greed, playing the system for a quick buck. A group of corporate raiders led by Mitt Romney, more ruthless than Wall Street. For tens of thousands of Americans, the suffering began when Mitt Romney came to town."

    Is this the kind of character and ethics you learn from your mormon church?
    Isn't lying, cheating and hurting your fellow man against the ideas the church stands for?
    Can a mormon brother give a straight answer for me on this one, please?
    With this man running as President, these are the kinds of questions that just aren't gonna go away

    April 18, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Mary

      No comments from the mormon peanut gallery huh
      Thats the double standard the mormons have
      hypocrites are they

      April 19, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  4. james

    HawaiiGuest,The Lord God will not be mocked and will be held accountable.Please read the Holy Bible,you will find the only truth there.His word is truth.The book of John is a.great place to start.Jesus himself said I Am the way,the truth and the life,no man comes to the father except through me. JOHN 14:6

    April 18, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Oh there's no mocking. Just an observation based on your depiction of a being that has no evidence of existence.

      April 18, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Boots

      james, I mock your fake god, your fake religion, your fake holy books, and you.

      In fact I would gladly p1ss all over you and your books of lies, but I have better things to do with my pee, like flush it down a toilet. I would not soil or profane my pee with anything to do with you or your fake god. But turds are different.
      Give my your address and I'll send you a turd. Then you can smear it on your face and save me the trouble.

      You say your god is not mocked? But he is mocked! I mock him. I mock you. I mock your whole religion and spit on your worthless disgusting insane babblings because what else should I do to insane babblings?
      He is mocked because he does not exist.
      If he existed, things would be very different. He might enjoy being mocked. But he doesn't exist at all. Why not mock what doesn't exist? It's all a lie. And you're the sucker who fell for the lie. How sad that this even happens at all to anyone, much less an ignorant uneducated cretin like you.
      People like you should be in a hospital or mass grave. Either one works for me.

      April 18, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Boots

      Damn dude take a chill pill. No need for that kinda of hate filled speech.

      April 18, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • biologixco

      James, you got it SPOT ON.
      For those of Christian persuasion, there is only one God and one WORD of God, the Bible.
      NOT the quran.
      NOT dianetics
      NOT the book of mormon
      If people start praying to joseph smith and planet kolob, they might as well just pray to false gods like Isis, Apollo or Zeus.

      1 Corinthians 8:6:
      "yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him."

      April 18, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  5. Abinadi

    MICROSOFT FOUNDER, NFL OWNER, PAUL ALLEN, SPEAKS OUT ON MORMONS

    Paul Allen is the owner of the Seattle Seahawks, the ones who played the

    Pittsburgh Steelers for the Super Bowl a few years ago. He is also the owner

    of the Portland Trail Blazers NBA basketball team and is co-partner with

    Bill Gates in Microsoft. He wrote this editorial in the Santa Clarita,

    California newspaper:

    I have heard and seen enough! I have lived in the West all my life. I have

    worked around them. They have worked for me and I for them. When I was young

    I dated their daughters. When I got married they came to my wedding. Now

    that I have daughters of my own, some of their boys have dated my daughters.

    I would be privileged if one of them were to be my son-in-law.

    I'm talking about the Mormons.

    They are some of the most honest, hardworking people I have ever known. They

    are spiritual, probably more than most other so-called religious people I

    have encountered. They study the Bible and teach from it as much as any

    Christian church ever has. They serve their religion without pay in every

    conceivable capacity. Not one of their leaders, teachers, counselors,

    Bishops or music directors receive one dime for the hours of labor they put

    in.

    The Mormons have a non-paid ministry – a fact that is not generally known. I

    have heard many times from the pulpits of others how evil and non-Christian

    they are and that they will not go to heaven. I decided recently to attend

    one of their services near my home to see for myself.

    What a surprise!

    What I heard and saw was just the opposite from what the religious ministers

    of the day were telling me. I found a very simple service with no fanfare. I

    found a people with a great sense of humor and a well-balanced spiritual

    side. There was no loud music. Just a simple service, with the members

    themselves giving the several short sermons.

    They urge their youth to be morally clean and live a good life. They teach

    the gospel of Christ, as they understand it. The name of their church is

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. Does that sound like a

    non-Christian church to you? I asked them many questions about what they

    teach and why. I got answers that in most cases were from the New Testament.

    Their ideas and doctrines did not seem too far fetched for my understanding.

    When I read their "Book of Mormon" I was also very surprised to find just

    the opposite from what I had been told I would find.

    Then I went to another church's pastor to ask him some of the same questions

    about doctrine. To my surprise, when he found out that I was in some way

    investigating the Mormons, he became hostile. He referred to them as a

    non-Christian cult. I received what sounded to me like evil propaganda

    against those people. He stated bluntly that they were not Christian and

    that they did not fit into the Christian mold. He also told me that they don

    t really believe the Bible. He gave me a pile of anti-Mormon literature. He

    began to rant that the Mormons were not telling me the truth about what they

    stand for. He didn't want to hear anything good about them. At first I was

    surprised and then again, I wasn't. I began to wonder.

    I have never known of a cult that supports the Boy Scouts of America.

    According to the Boy Scouts, over a third of all the Boy Scout troops in the

    United States are Mormon.

    What cult do you know of that has a welfare system second to none in this

    country? They have farms, canneries and cattle ranches to help take care of

    the unfortunate ones who might be down and out and in need of a little help.

    The Mormon Church has donated millions to welfare causes around the world

    without a word of credit. They have donated thousands to help rebuild

    Baptist churches that were burned a few years ago. They have donated tons of

    medi cal supplies to countries rav aged by earthquakes.

    You never see them on TV begging for money.. What cult do you know that

    instills in its members to obey the law, pay their taxes, serve in the

    military if asked and be a good Christian by living high moral standards?

    Did you know that hundreds of thousands of Mormon youth get up before high

    school starts in the morning to attend a religious training class? They have

    basketball and softball leagues and supervised youth dances every month.

    They are recruited by the FBI, the State Department and every police

    department in the country, because they are Trustworthy. They are taught not

    to drink nor take drugs. They are in the Secret Service – those who protect

    the President. They serve in high leadership positions from both parties in

    Congress and in the US Senate, and have been governors of several states

    other than Utah. They serve with distinction and honor.

    If you have Mormons living near, you will probably find them to be your best

    friends and neighbors. They are Christians who try to live what they preach.

    They are not perfect and they are the first to admit this. I have known some

    of them who could not live their religion, just like many of us. The

    rhetoric which is spread around against them is nothing more than evil

    propaganda founded in untruths. (Others) had successfully demonized them to

    the point that the general public has no idea what they actually believe and

    teach. If you really want to know the truth, go see for yourself. You also

    will be surprised.

    When I first moved here some 25 years ago there were five Mormon wards in

    Santa Clarita, Calif. Now there are 15. They must be doing something right.

    "The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything. ....

    They just make the best of everything."

    April 18, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • heguido

      Is not THAT Paul Alle,n but a namesake. Anyway the content is true ;-)

      April 18, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • james

      I have.also met MORMAN family's who are extremely nice.seem to be honest,hardworking people who are sincere in their beliefs but who are sincerely wrong in regard to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.Being honest and being the most outstanding person on earth cannot earn favor with God.Romans 3:23 says for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.Only trusting in the death.burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (who was God in the flesh) can we ever enter the kingdom of heaven.Anyone who is outside of Christ will not go to heaven no matter how great a person they are.

      April 18, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @james

      Wow your god is pretty vain and petty.

      April 18, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • biologixco

      Check your facts, bub.
      Paul Allen of Microsoft fame DID NOT WRITE THAT LETTER!
      But Mr Abinadi, you don't have to quote Paul Allen about mormons.
      Quote me! Mormon folk are decent, upstanding people of high moral value and character.
      (IF you discount Mitt Romney from that statement)
      Its the doctrine of your religion and your fakey church elders like MIttens Romney we don't like.
      America, Read up on the White Horse Prophesy,.
      Then vote verrry carefully this fall. (and juz say NO to Mitt Romney 2012!)

      April 18, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • David Nelson

      Mormonism is ultimately a works religion. Working your way to Godhood is about as works oriented as it gets. We are not save by works but by faith in Jesus and yes it matters which Jesus because many false version have been put into the world.

      April 19, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  6. Moderately Amused

    First, good reporting on CNN's part. I'm surprised, though, that this is almost treated as a surprise that there's a temple open house. There's been quite a number of temples opening in the U.S. over the last few years. 0.o

    Secondly, I'd like to congratulate the trolls for their enthusiastic flocking. :P Your unbiased opinions are always an educational read.

    April 18, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  7. Hypocrisy-killer

    Nice that they make you put booties on. Only the truly holy wouldn't want to mess up their nice expensive Church with some of God's ugly dirt.

    April 18, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • J

      Ha! Yeah, that's it...

      April 18, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • just sayin

      Prayer is evidence of psychosis. God Bless

      April 18, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • J

      Ha! Yeah, that's it....

      April 18, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  8. Barry G.

    There is an excellent article in Harpers' magazine (Oct. 2011) by Chris Lehmann, which presents an summary of the history of the Mormon Church and its founder, Joseph Smith.

    It also speaks about Mitt Romney and other political leaders, who are members of LDS.

    April 18, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  9. TJeff1776

    ANYONE publicly faultfinding other people's religion are themselves bigots, backward, and stupid. These types should be banished from society. Show me a persecuted church or group, and I will show you a fast growing organization much like the Christians between AD 34 and AD 100.

    April 18, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • David Nelson

      Banished from society? What type of torture or death are you thinking of? Would you be happier in the Dark Ages?

      April 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
  10. Texpride

    Do mormons still believe in magic underwear and Indians choosing certain people and that you become planets and stars and all that bs? Because that's what many of your ilk espouse. How can you call yourselves Christians?

    April 18, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • biologixco

      Load the dog atop the car...
      Planet Kolob aint too far
      Poor little pooch atop the roof....
      Thats why mormons are so ALOOF!
      Like my little Romney spoof?
      Say NO to MIttRomney2012!

      April 18, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • biologixco

      Its BLASPHEMOUS!
      No?

      April 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  11. biologixco

    Wanna join that pretty church?
    TURN TAIL AND RUN LIKE THE WIND
    Its like a whirlpool.
    Closer you get, the greater the danger of being sucked in.
    Just like scientology and the people's temple of Jim Jones.
    Stay away, you were warned.

    April 18, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • David Nelson

      Scientology is a decent comparison because Joe Smith and L Ron Hubbard are frequently compared to each other. I have read biographies on both and agree that both Smith and Hubbard were opportunists.

      April 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  12. Marilyn

    Why do people desicrate a church that does so much for humanity worldwide. I will never understand the animosity some people display for others choice of worship. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the restored church on this earth. Joseph Smith was a prophet, seer and revelator that was an instrument in God's hands in restoring the true church on this earth.
    The The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the first church on any scene of disaster to provide assistance to people of all nations. They are loving, kind, caring, and productive people who chose to worship how, when, and where they chose and allow others the same privilege. Please be considerate and search out the facts.

    April 18, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • ?

      Joseph Smith was a con artist. A charlatan. And to use the name of Jesus Christ to perpetuate fraud is heresy. And deep down inside, Mormons know it. Repent, before it's too late.

      April 18, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • moogie

      It's sad that there are so many people who hate, and don't even know what they are talking about. It's obvious that most of the hate comments here are ignorant. People should at least do their homework instead of spouting off about something they know nothing about. It would be interesting to know where they get their info. Obviously not from any credible source.

      April 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • David Nelson

      Sorry, but LOVE OF TRUTH inevitably means exposing lies and Mormonism has more lies than anything I have ever come across. Love of Truth may sound like hate to those who have devalued truth.

      April 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • moogie

      David Nelson,
      And just how is it that you know for a fact that Mormonism has lies? I would love to know your source. BTW, what is this TRUTH that you mention? Does that mean you have some alternative to offer?

      April 18, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  13. David Nelson

    That "rare look" amounts to pretty much nothing. The Mormon church is a marketing machine. It knows most of the old ideas people had about Mormonism were correct. It is merely marketing itself differently, now as a conservative christian denomination. Many higher ups probably even know that Joe Smith was a con man involved in things forbidden in the bible and lied about the Book of Abraham, the Book of Normon, the Kinderhook plates, and many other things. Mormons deserve pity. But the sympathy should never be extended to its contrabiblical doctrines.

    April 18, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • David Nelson

      Oops, Book of Mormon of course!

      April 18, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • biologixco

      Its not "The Book of Mormon"
      I always call it "the book of mormon" just to show my disrespect.
      No need to put capitals in there
      Such a work of fiction doesn't deserve to be capitalized

      April 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • David Nelson

      biologixco, Me thinks you have a point, but I care about Mormons even if they think I am a mere gentile for not being in the brainwashed flock. I know the term brainwashed is incendiary, but I can't think of a better term to describe the mindset they had me trapped in 12 years ago. The idea that the Indians were actually Hebrew descendents was popular when Joe Smith was growing up and he ran with it. I am quite certain, like most open minded thinking people, that the BOM is a combination of Ethan Smith's and Solomon Spaulding's ideas plus borrowing from the bible and Joe Smith using his ample imagination. Heck, LDS church has had to make nearly 4000 corrections to his so called perfect book and polygamy is still in D & C! I think one of the funniest things Smith did was capitalize on the excitement of the barges on the then newly completed Erie Canal. It was heralded as such a great achievement for its day and a sourse of great pride, so Smith added a barge buider into the BOM in the second to last chapter in an act of defiance that no one would see through his sad attempt to cash in on the excitement.. Smith's home town Palmyra is on the Erie Canal. How ridiculous can you get and what a tip off that the BOM was written by an opportunist.

      April 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • moogie

      I feel sorry for you – lots of hate in your comments. What anti-Mormon sites did you get your info from? Or you just have an axe to grind? You really should be sticking to credible sources.

      April 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • David Nelson

      moogie, anything that refutes Mormonism is called anti-Mormon. Why not have some courage and call it Pro-Truth? The LDS church is fanatical about keeping people from reading anything it has not sanctioned. Please explain to the world how Egyptian funerary rites written on Papyrus involving pagan deities such a Osiris, Isis, and Anubis the God of the Underworld could be considered sacred scripture written by Abraham. Joseph Smith lied and pretended they were. Most people outside LDS circles know nothing about this and would probably prefer it be hidden from the world. Since reason and honesty don't work the church says he found the Book of Abraham in them by inspiration! Inspiration from whom? The Devil? Joe Smith didn't know paganism from the God of Abraham! Joe Smith was for a time one of the most successful con men in America, but his lies caught up to him as is usually the case with con men. Its reality and you close your eyes from it moogie.

      April 18, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • David Nelson

      I have a life to live and thank God Almighty that he led me out of mormonism and led me to christ. He can do the same for you. Signing out!

      April 18, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • moogie

      Sorry to say, but your comments are becoming more and more nonsensical. You haven't written a single thing that is even close to the truth. And others reading these nonsense comments are going to get the wrong idea, but I guess that is your goal. I guess that reading crazy ideas others throw out is how you are getting your wrong info too.

      You really should stay away from the anti-Mormon sites, which are almost always wrong (I have checked out many over the years, so I know). And the things they get right, they twist to give the wrong impression. Oh well, have your fun, but you are not doing anyone any favors by spreading the false info.

      April 18, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  14. Andy Johnson

    Thank you for this article. Worshiping God in a temple has been part of the Gospel plan since the days of Adam and Eve. Why should there be a difference in our time? Jesus himself taught in the temple and cleansed it when he found it to be corrupted by profiteers. Jesus "went about doing good" and that is what I try to do as a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Whether I meet someone else's definition of "christian" does not matter to me. I seek only the approval of God and His Son. I know I fall short. I respect anyone who is honestly seeking to follow God according to the dictates of their own conscience.

    April 18, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  15. ?

    I believe a con man that invokes the name of Jesus Christ to dupe people is a blasphemer. Joey Smith was a snake oil salesman. Sorry you are so gullible. And don't call yourselves Christians. That is heresy.

    April 17, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • heguido

      Joseph Smith was an amazing man, who died for keeping his faith and testimony. Many other "mormons" also gave their lifes for Jesus, also, so show some respect.

      April 18, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • David Nelson

      Respect for a money digging con man? I also have a testimony of Joseph Smith. He was one of the most vile opportunists who ever lived. L Ron Hubbard is rightfully compared to him. Smith introduced people to a false Holy Spirit. A spirit that is little more than a feeling inside a human being. A burning in the bosom for some. Jer 17:9 famously says "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: Who can know it?" But Smith being the consumate con man uses that deceitful spirit to convince people he is a prophet. The Book of Mormon goes so far as to suggest that if an idea grows in your heart it is therefore true. The Holy Bible warns people that seeds should be judge by the resulting fruit. The fruits of Joseph Smith include polygamy, Blood Atonement, lying about translating Egyptian burial ritual papyri and passing it off as the Book of Abraham. There are so many thing Smith lied about it could fill volumes. He actually boasted he did more than Jesus to keep a church together. (History of the Church, Vol. 6, pp. 408-409.) I could go on for hours. Intensity of belief has nothing to do with truth. Isaiah 1:18 says "Come let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red as crimson; they shall be as wool." Mormonism does not stand up to reasoning with obvious facts. It relies upon feeling to convince people that false things are true.

      April 18, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Get Real

      David Nelson,

      Nice hatchet job on Joseph Smith.

      Now, if you would use the same tactics on Moses and Paul of Tarsus (and Mohammad too, if you wish), you might be getting somewhere...

      April 18, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • David Nelson

      How can revealing the truth be a "hatchet job?" Mormons rarely deal in facts when pressed, they resort to rhetoric. Go ahead and defend Joe Smith using reason. Tell me how pagan Egyptian burial papyri that included Osiris, Isis, and Anubis are Christian. You can't! You are stuck believing he did it from inspiration. Joe Smith could make up anything he plased and the people would have to believe it. He destroyed the printing press of people who tried to expose him. He was then rightfully jailed. Smith was a man of the very poorest character. All the non-related Witnesses to the book of Mormon left the Church. Some testimony from the people around him.

      April 18, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Get Real

      David Nelson,

      No argument on Joseph Smith's conscious or delusional con job. Just keep going and extend your debunking to *all* of those powerful and persuasive men in history who made unfounded and unverified claims about supernatural beings and events.

      April 18, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • David Nelson

      And there is no reason to attack Saul of Tarsis when he became Paul, or Moses, because they were true prophets. Such decpetive reasoning you are employing. That is the type of reasoning needed to defend the false prophet Joe Smith Jr. Pretty Sad.

      April 18, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Get Real

      David Nelson :

      Can we have a **facepalm** and a **head-desk** here?!

      April 18, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Dieter

      @ David Nelson

      About the whole Pagan Eqyptian Papiri: You're only arguing with what was a commonly-held belief in ancient Egypt. The Book of Abraham doesn't preach that Osiris is a god and all that jazz. It merely shows that that was a widely-held belief in his culture. Hope that clarifies it for you.

      April 19, 2012 at 4:00 am |
  16. Abinadi

    Why I am a mormon.  Mormon is a nickname given to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We call ourselves saints because that is what the Christians called themselves in Jesus’ time.  It is Latter-days because we are the Church of Jesus Christ of modern times which are the latter days.  The church is organized on the same principles as the original and ancient church of Jesus Christ on the foundation of living apostles and prophets and with priesthood authority from God.  Our beliefs are summarized by the Articles of Faith:
    “We believe in God the eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
    “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
    “We believe that through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
    “We believe that the first principle[s] and ordinances of the Gospel are: (1) Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; (2) Repentance; (3) Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; (4) Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    “We believe that a man must be called of God by prophecy and by the laying on hands, by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
    “We believe in the same organization that existed in the primitive Church, viz: apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.
    “We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc.
    “We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
    “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
    “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion will be built upon this [the American] continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
    “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the di ctates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
    “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates, in obeying[,] honoring, and sustaining the law.
    “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul, ‘We believe all thing[s], we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
    “Respectfully, &c., Joseph Smith” 

    April 17, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • ?

      Still a cult. What else you got?

      April 17, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  17. ?

    If the United States elects a draft dodging, diaper wearing cult leader, Jesus Christ will reach down and wipe America off the face of the earth.

    April 17, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • taylor

      Well that should have happened 3.3 yrs ago then

      April 17, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • ?

      I mean, what else is there to say? 2 + 2=4?

      No!

      April 18, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  18. Steven

    The secretive mormon practices are no more than a cult with a little Christianity wrapped around it
    Blasphemous, pure n' simple
    Repent whille you still can!

    April 17, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
  19. susannah

    my life was ruined by mormons
    dont let them blow smoke up your behind
    Let someone who ESCAPED mormonism tell you the Truth
    mormon way is wrong and goes against God
    go to EXmormon.org. hear my story

    April 17, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • heguido

      "ESCAPED mormonism"?
      You mean, you didn't show up for sunday meetings any more?
      C'mon!
      Next time tell us how you "escaped" Rotary Club.

      April 18, 2012 at 6:24 am |
    • David Nelson

      Why is it that Mormons are so condescendingly cruel to people wise enough to leave? Such a snide remark, no doubt to make her look and feel guilty. I am with you 100% susannah. :)

      April 18, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • heguido

      If you know something about "mormonism" is how easy it is to get out of it. OK, probably some willing home teachers will knock your door for once in a while, take some cookies they made themselves, and ask you if they can help you in any way, and if you are REALLY lucky your Bishop will make you a phone call for your birthday, depending on how close your birthday is to the trimestral reports.
      But... "escape"... is pretty much far-fetched.

      April 18, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • David Nelson

      Escape is the perfect word. Christ warned us about False Prophets and False Christs and Mormonism has both. Christ described such as ravening wolves. I have been through the indoctination. I would call it mind manipulation. Everything depends upon Joe Smith! Everything depends on whether he was what he said he was or if he was a total fraud. The church claims great authority and the subject needs to submit and conform to to that stolen authority. The leaders are totally brainwashed, or totally trapped people who have bought into the lie that salvation could exist anywhere else. Escape is the perfect word. I've been there and by the grace of God I escaped. The evidence makes it 100% clear that Joe Smith was a con man using his charisma and ability to lie his way into more and more power. Actually the best thing that ever happened to Mormonism was Smith's death. He was making up so many ridiculous things that even his followers would have revolted. His death resulted after Smith ordered the destruction of a printing press used to expose him. Here is a man who hated freedom of the press because he wanted control of people's minds. Escape is the perfect word.

      April 18, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • moogie

      David Nelson,
      I could provide a correct counterpoint to every one of your mis-characterizations and mis-quotes. I feel bad for whatever turned you so bitter. Leaving the LDS church (if I understand you correctly) was certainly your choice. Not everyone agrees with everything – no problem there. But most people who don't agree with something move on with their lives. Why is it that you feel you need to continue attacking and belittling something that millions embrace because of the positive impact it has on their lives? Since you seem to be so knowledgeable about Mormonism, I assume you know about Korihor in Alma 30. Someone you are trying to emulate perhaps?

      April 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • David Nelson

      Mormons rarely give point by point rebuttals, they usually play the victim card. moogie, the book of mormon is a book of fiction. I understand that you have a huge emotional investment in it, but I know it is the work of a fraud. It was written by a con man. There is zero reason to get sucked into an argument about a person who never existed in Joe Smith's false testament. It would be foolish for me as a Christian to pretend anything in the book of Mormon is true other than what it stole from the bible. I actually think satan loves when people become Mormons because Mormon 'scripture' warps and confuses so many bible doctrines. moogie, you know how different the Mormon Jesus and God are so why put on the act that we worship the same Jesus when you know full well we don't. Very happily I have forgotten much of what is in the Book of Mormon and I say Hallelujah to that!

      April 18, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • susannah

      I know it's true in my heart...but I don't care

      April 18, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • moogie

      David Nelson,
      Hmmm... Just where did I put on an act that we worshiped the same Jesus? I never went down that road, and I have no idea what your idea of Jesus is anyway. But from your various comments, I would say it's a very safe bet that your Jesus and my Jesus are indeed very different, so not at all sure what you are trying to accuse me of. Sorry that you feel such a need to attack windmills. Would love to hear what your idea of real happiness is though.

      April 18, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  20. rex

    how hard to you have to beat those mormon women to stay in line?
    with so many fillies in the stable, must be hard to keep them from going astray

    April 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • rex

      ...I mean, I just like beating myself.

      April 18, 2012 at 6:00 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.