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.
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The 67-year-old Walker is the executive director of the Temple Department, and he is the point man for the church’s 137 temples.
Walker is a top official in the LDS church as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and he reports directly to Monson. The Canadian-born hockey fanatic has been a lifelong member of the church. He graduated from Brigham Young University, served a Mormon mission to Japan and spent time in the private sector working in securities and investment banking before being called to serve the church full-time in 2002.
Kansas City’s temple is the latest to open. The church has announced it will build 29 temples across five continents. Construction is under way in Paris and Rome, and temples are planned for Peru and South Africa.
“We’re building temples where the church is grown and have a concentration of members,” he said.
Outside the new Mormon temple in Kansas City, Missouri.
Inside the temple the required first stop is the Recommend Desk. After the dedication, only Mormons who have a recommend card are able to enter and participate in worship. The personalized cards are given by local church leaders to adherents who profess to be living in accordance with church teachings.
As he explained the process, Walker reached into his wallet, pushed his Utah driver’s license aside and pulled out his recommend card, which was endorsed by Monson, his bishop. Walker said his credit-card-sized recommend card, like all others, is only good for two years.
CNN was invited by church officials to tour the temple with Walker before its dedication. The church denied CNN's request to film inside the space, saying it was against church policy. The LDS church provided still images after the tour, which accurately depicted key parts of the temple. In a rare move, CNN was permitted to film inside the front of the temple at the Recommend Desk, but no farther.
"It's not about secret. It's about sacred,” Walker said after the tour, making what the church sees as a key distinction. “We feel that it's a very sacred and special place and therefore it is reserved for those worship functions and those ordinances that take place in the temple. It's not about secret."
Walker said the policy is not unlike that for Shinto shrines in Japan, where he served his mission.
But it's a thin line between sacred and secret. Public tours of the temple are only available when they are first built or undergo massive renovations. After that, outsiders and Mormons who are not temple recommended are kept out, even from wedding ceremonies.
In the sealing room, where eternal weddings take place, Walker points out the altar at the center of the room. The bride and groom kneel facing each other and the officiant stands off to the side. The room is richly decorated with Swarovski crystal chandeliers and massive gilded mirrors on either side of the room, and Walker raves about the design on the white carpet, carefully explaining how local artisans cut the meticulous pattern by hand.
Despite the grand size of the building, each room is small: This is the biggest of the three sealing rooms, and its capacity is just 49 people.
Guests are welcome at Sunday worship at one of the church’s 18,000 meeting houses, Walker is quick to note. The temple, he observes, “is a sacred, special place that’s unique. There are only 137 of these temples in all the world.”
The temple also contains a gleaming baptismal font. Though it’s a point of pride for Mormons, it has been controversial elsewhere. A church ceremony called “proxy baptisms” by Mormons includes posthumous baptisms of Jews, some of whom have protested the practice.
The baptismal font at the newest Mormon temple.
However, in Mormon doctrine, baptism is essential for salvation. While converts to the faith are baptized in services at local wards, the weekly meeting place for services open to the public, proxy baptisms take place only in the temple and in private.
The proxy baptisms are supposed to be for Mormons’ ancestors who were not of the faith. Walker said the baptism serves as an invitation to accept Mormonism as an avenue into heaven.
Explainer: How and why do Mormons baptize the dead?
At the temple, Walker took his visitors through the process as it is supposed to work.
The font rests on 12 oxen, which he said represent the tribes of Israel.
Adherents change into white gowns he jokingly referred to as "jumpsuits," provided by the temple. A male priest leads the proxy into the waist-high water, gives the blessing and the name of the ancestor, then the proxy is lowered into the water, fully immersed, then brought up to the surface. The desk next to the font has a small monitor and a light. That person's job is to record the act for the church's central database.
When the temple begins operation, Walker said, this is a scene that will play out “hundreds of times a day.”
But some Mormons have used the church’s extensive genealogy database to baptize others who are not Mormon ancestors, such as the murdered Jewish reporter Daniel Pearl and holocaust victims like Anne Frank. It’s a practice that has outraged Jewish leaders.
“When people violate the church policy of doing baptisms for those who our leaders have said we’re not going to do that, they’re acting on their own in contradiction of church policy,” he said. “We’re unhappy about that. We love our Jewish friends. We don’t want to offend them or anyone else by our religious practices.”
“We’re sorry. We live by our word and when we say we’re going to do something, we’re going to try and do it,” Walker said.
He promised disciplinary action.
“We’re now tracking those who’ve done this contrary to church policy and we’re going to shut down their access to the church’s database, Family Search, so they can’t do this.”
He acknowledges interest in proxy baptisms, and other Mormon practices, has spiked thanks to Mormon Mitt Romney’s run for president.
While the church takes no position on party politics nor allows its officials to endorse candidates, Walker can see some good coming out of Romney's run for the White House.
“I think it’s perfectly understandable people who are considering him would want to know more about the church he espouses,” he said. “In many ways it may be a good thing that people will want to know more. Maybe some of the old ideas about the church that have persisted in American culture can change.”
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Attending the temple is a unique experience. It is like experiencing a bit of heaven on earth. It gives a feeling of being transformed into a celestial realm where just for a moment, the cares of the world are gone, money does not matter, and families are of utmost importance. True happiness is being in the temple.
Only if one is impressed with superficial worldy things. Joseph Smith has been proven to be a wife stealing, polygamous, false prophet who taught his followers that Black skin is a curse from God and that blacks sided with Lucifer in some imagine pre-existence. Brigham Young taught that Adam was God and the men can become gods and someday be worshipped. Check it out folks before the Mormon missionaries get to your door. Learn a little and they won't waste their time on you. They are looking for ignorant sheep to fleece.
This is a video similar to a play they put on in the temple. The facts are in this video. They actually believe they will become gods!
I meant this one, though the one above is just as good.
Here is something to seriously consider. Lucifer was kicked out of heaven because he wanted to have the worship belonging to God. Lucifer taught Eve that if she disobeyed God, like he did, she could become a god. Brigham Young said Satan told the truth to Eve. Mormonism says if you do what they tell you to do you can become a god too. So is satan speaking through Mormonism? Its the same message when you boil it all down to basics and strip away all the christian pretense.
You are misrepresenting the statement. Satan actually said, "ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Gen 3:5) which was a true statement. And the idea that children of God can become like Him through the Atonement of Jesus Christ was taught by Paul in his epistle to the Romans. Romans 8:16-17 reads: "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."
The Truth is to mormons as water is to the Wicked Witch of the West
Go to EXmormon.org for an independent view
Your eyes may melt if you read this website.
biologixco, and also don't miss:
I like the part of the book of mormon where it is written the jewish tribes found horses when they came to America (300 B.C.). Joseph Smith didn't know horses weren't here before the Spanish landed in the 1500's, but we do. Nice try.
Oh yeah! I love that part too...or what about the fact that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from "reformed Egyptian" but all the languages in North and South America have no relation to Egyptian in any way? Mormons always run away when they read comments like this because they know how embarrassing their beliefs are.
Families really are important! We all agree on that!
Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door!
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before.
Relax, said the nightman
We are programmed to receive
You can check out anytime you like~~~
But you can never leave!
guilt can turn into anger
You seem to know this from experience Franz. How unfortunate.
I'm sensing a lot of anger from these comments by people who probably used to be Mormons. Once they leave the church they just can't leave it alone. I suspect it's out of guilt that they feel the need to attack Mormons and their beliefs online.
Franz, you seem to suspect or assume a lot. You're not willing to let people say what they feel about the mormon church even though this original article is one sided.
It is truly wonderful that people feel so close to their god in the Mormon temples. But people can be very happy once they are no longer under the strict rules of the Mormon church. It feels so good to be free of a lot of old men telling me how to feel, act, believe and breath. Mormons can't even drink coffee or any other caffeinated drink. No alcohol, not even wine and no smoking (which is good because smoking really is harmful). Why be so controlled?
I am a Mormon. My husband and I were married in the Los Angeles LDS temple and attend frequently. The temple is a beautiful and sacred place where I feel peace, comfort, and joy. Along with Marriages and Baptisms, instruction takes place in the temple. Jesus Christ is at the center of that instruction as he is in all instruction we receive in our Sunday church meetings. I have been in over a dozen different temples and each one is gorgeous with large beautiful paintings of Jesus hanging on the walls throughout the temple. I have never felt the spirit of the Lord more powerfully than I do when I attend the temple. My oldest son is now old enough to attend the temple and he too has felt the powerful spirit of the Lord inside the temple. It is an overwhelming feeling of love. Although like every person I have to deal with the cares and worries of everyday life, I look forward to my visits to the temple. My life has been blessed by the peace I receive there.
For more information on Mormon temples visit LDS.org/church/temples
This video is also a good reference for what happens our Mormon Temples.
The above video is false, and is slander. Mormon temples are sacred and for that reason are private. Those who dislike the church may speculate and produce horrible video claiming to know the goings on of Mormon temples, but in reality their only purpose is to seek to destroy the faith of others.
It appears there are many ex-mormons who have posted obnoxious videos on this site in an effort to make themselves feel better
Mormon temples are amazing. They are so beautiful inside.
Fra and Holly, why are you so angry? You have the right to bear your testimonies, so do those of us that have left the mormon church. Holly, the video about what mormons believe is not slander. You cannot deny anything it says. You know that you believe that "As man is now, God once was, as God is now, man may become." That is your own scripture. How is the video slander?
Why do you Mormons get so angry when people say they are happy for not being Mormon? CNN has left this article on here for almost a month now. I think people are tired of seeing this one-sides article. What happened to unbiased journalism? So we are saying how we feel since CNN doesn't seem to allow a one sided article by someone that has left the mormon church.
People who were once Mormons and leave the church never do so quietly. It's as if they need to justify their decision by attacking those things which Mormons hold most sacred, such as holy temples (you see them all over this blog). It is extremely offensive to those of us who are true believers. The fact that someone would take something so pure and sacred and stomp all over it is hurtful, like graffiti. And why do they do it? Out of guilt I suspect. No one can leave it quietly.
I'm guessing most Mormons don't know much about Freemasonry, because most people in general don't or see something misleading on the History Channel or some popular movie, etc. Some of the Mormon rituals that happen in Mormon Temples are modified Masonic Rituals that occur in Masonic Temples. How could this be? Joseph Smith freely admitted joining the Freemasons. I once met a woman who was a Temple Mormon and I converted her to Christianity. Guess what the last straw was for her? When she came face to face with the Fact that the Mormon rituals she had been involved in were essentially Masonic rituals.
Franz, you still haven't denied that you believe you WILL BECOME A GOD when you die if you're a good mormon while on earth. All of you mormons keep skating around that issue because you know middle-America would FREAK OUT if they ALL knew that Romney, their possible president believed he was a god in the making!!!!!
Lucifer was kicked out of heaven because he wanted to have the worship belonging to God. Lucifer taught Eve that if she disobeyed God just like he did, she could become god. Brigham Young said Satan told the truth to Eve. Mormons believe they can become gods.
Do you see the obvious pattern here? So who do you think designed the doctrines of Mormonism? A man who was obedient to God, or a man seduced by Satan? Something to think long and hard about. But, for most it should be pretty obvious.
One could also say that "Satan" is the one who spoke to Moses... and Paul of Tarsus... and M,M,L & J... and Mohammad. Throw in a bit of "love" and a few truly valid human behavior suggestions, add a seductive promise of "eternal bliss" .... hehheheh, got 'em hooked! Sit back now and watch 'em squirm and fight it out!
Many of the people on this board have been cruel and some have tried to state facts for or against the Mormon church. We think the important thing to remember is that the way the Mormon church started and the way it continues needs to be known to all American citizens as they consider who their next President will be. Do you want a President that will keep secrets from you and possibly hand our sacred government over to his church (look up White horse prophesy)?
Besides the fact that I think ALL religion is silly. Just how is Romney supposed to "hand" over the government. He's elected, not a dictator. We have congress (such as it is) and the Supreme Court. Plus a ton of bureaucrats that would hardly bow to the Mormon church. Its all just silly. On the other hand, Hopefully the Fox crowd will believe what you post and not vote for him. That would be fine with me.
Try this experiment some time when a Mormon Missionary comes to your door. Q. Who is our God? They might say Jevovah, you know Yahweh. Q. Did he start out as a man? A. Yes! Q. Did he have a father? A. Yes! Q. Do you Mormons know his name? A. Um, I'm not sure. Q. Did he have a human father before him? A. Yes! Q. Did he also start out as a man? A. Yes! And this has gone on and on for no one knows how long? A. Nobody knows! Q. And no one knows the name of the original God? A. No! Q. Did you know that in Malachi God says He does not change? Q. Did you know that in Isaiah 44:8 God says there are no other Gods?
Then they go on to say that the bible has been corrupted and that mormonism restored the truth that there are more Gods than the God of the Bible. So here is the crossroads. Something is corrupt and its not the Bible. Mormon doctrine is corrupt and came from a corrupt source. I don't mean to hurt anybody, just asking you to use your God given reasoning abilities.
Very valid and honest points David. The Book of Mormon does make mistakes because Mormons do believe that God started out as a mortal man on some other world and so forth...as well as the fact that they themselves will become gods of their own planets. That is a little scarey to think that we could have a President in the White House that believes that....isn't it called megalomania to believe you are a god?
Sorry about the editing in the post above.
Almost as weird as thinking some infinite being that created the entire universe cares whether or not you personally believe in him or who you love.
Brothers and sisters,
I have to leave for a while. It's been quite an experience to be part of the fulfillment of many prophesies.
I hope I'll be able to come back soon.
Mormonism is awasome!
27 And I exhort you to remember these things; for the time speedily cometh that ye shall know that I lie not, for ye shall see me at the bar of God; and the Lord God will say unto you: Did I not declare my words unto you, which were written by this man, like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking out of the dust?
28 I declare these things unto the fulfilling of the prophecies. And behold, they shall proceed forth out of the mouth of the everlasting God; and his word shall hiss forth from generation to generation.
29 And God shall show unto you, that that which I have written is true.
30 And again I would exhort you that ye would come unto Christ, and lay hold upon every good gift, and touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.
31 And awake, and arise from the dust, O Jerusalem; yea, and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion; and strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy borders forever, that thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled.
32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.
34 And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen.
So heguido....you think that by being on this chat board you have been a part of mormon prophesies coming true? WOW, and I mean WOW. So you are a psychiatric patient. Anyone in America would label you with megalomania if not narcissism. How sad. Well, it will be good to see you finally leave this chat board. Having been a mormon, I wouldn't consider you a good representative of the mormon faith. They certainly don't want their members to be so outspoken that people consider them mentally unstable.
Don't let the door hit you in the behind
It's so sad that so many people in the Mormon church refuse to read or learn anything about what life can be like outside the controlled environs of their religion. It's also sad that they think that people that have left the church should be miserable. I've met more happy ex-Mormons than I have regular Mormons. In today's day and age with technology, it's impossible to NOT find the truth about the past of the LDS church.
If people that have chosen to leave the Church are more happy, more power to them. It is not the intent of God for people to be unhappy so they have made their own "free agency" choice. Some people aren't happy in the Church due to sin they cannot overcome (ex: adultery), others aren't happy because it just doesn't work for them, one lady left because we dress up on Sunday and she didn't like that, there are as many reasons as there are people. One video said her Bishops advised against divorce, I cannot imagine a Catholic priest, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheren etc. minister that would advise any differently unless abuse was present. We have many active divorced people who were unhappy in their marriage and got divorced for that reason and were and are not condemed by anyone. This idea that members are all unhappy is silly and all ex-members are happy is equally silly. No one makes you go and no one makes you stay, there are not bars on the chapel doors.
Janew, why are you lashing out at these videos? Can't these people be happy without you saying that they are leaving because they have sinned or because they aren't allowed divorce? If they have a temple marriage, then one partner in the marriage has to be excommunicated to gain a temple divorce. My mother went through that with her abuse husband when she was a member and a relief society president.
I think that all you've managed to do is get angry that people REALLY are happy that they are NOT mormon. Do you have so many doubts of your own beliefs that it troubles you to see happy non-mormons? Why put down people that have left the mormon church to build yourself up?
$$$<<<The TRUE mormon god!
Have you seen the "I'm a Mormon" TV ads designed to placate the American electorate? Just WHERE do you think these commercials originate? Madison Avenue in New Yawk? Nooooo. Salt Lake City! The War room! Mormons are trying to control the message. Make sure they are portrayed in a positive light. We dont see a commercial of Warren Jeffs and his 5 polygamist wives! The FLDS is an offshoot of the LDS
Have you seen the "I'm a Mormon" TV ads designed to placate the American electorate? Just WHERE do you think these commercials originate? Madison Avenue in New Yawk? Nooooo. Salt Lake City! The War room!
Why are Mormons getting so angry about people that are happy because they have left the mormon church? Can't we tell you how "Awesome" our lives are, now that we are not controlled by a cult?
They are offended because KocHroaches always scurry when the curtain is pulled back and a little of God's sunshine let in!
Ann, I have been active and inactive back and forth my whole life and it had nothing to do with doctrine, just basic laziness on my part but you seem to have created a reason, fine if that make you feel good, but doctrine is not taught in Nursery as it would be meaningless not brainwashing as you indicate. Yes, some doctrine is taught in Primary 3-11 but for the little guys it is mostly about stories of Jesus, starting at 8 it gets into more doctrine. I know, I teach 11 year old girls, our main focus is that God gave us rules and guidelines in the scripture so our lives would be happy not to keep us from fun but since God also gave us free agency they have to learn to do their own choosing which is a major responsibility. Ann, think you just didn't believe and that is your choice and right, Obiviously no one brainwashed you since you made that choice. Most people leave the Church for their own reasons whether it be hurt feelings by some rude person or disagreement with 1 or more doctrines. We do not shun people but we encourage them to come back, some do,, some don't. I think all Churches experience this as my Baptist friend feels terrible her entire congregation has spilt over a leadership dispute. People are people and no denomination is exempt.
Janeway, what is your point? I don't think I posted this video on here for your analysis. It's wonderful that you're a happy mormon. It's also wonderful that I have the right to say what made me unhappy about being a mormon without someone making a moral judgement against me.
That's the thing about Mormons: They JUDGE better than any other religion on earth. I guess that comes from believing you'll be a god someday so you may as well start judging now huh?
Mormonism is blasphemous.
Any Christian worth a pinch of salt would NEVER vote Mitt Romney2012!
"Mormonism is true because I know it is true, and you can also know it is true. Let me tell you how."
That would be a more accurate description. (And a HUGE difference!)
There are missionaries all around the world teaching people how to know that "mormonism" is true.
Think about it. There are prophets and apostles nowadays! God keeps revealing His Will to help us deal with modern problems! There's more knowledge about the purpose of this life than ever! You can communicate with God by yourself, no intermediaries! The Church of Jesus Christ restored in its fullness!
That's why I keep saying:
Mormonism is awesome!
Don't you have anything good about your own beliefs to share, instead of keep attacking mine?
What is awesome in your life?
heguido, you're a freak.
41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
You really can't have an intelligent give and take with people whose argument for their fath is founded in conditioning and not reason. "Mormonism is true because I know it is true" is sadly what it has come down to. Back in the 1800s sincere Mormons believed that science would prove Mormonism true. That evidence would be found for Nephite civilization, to verify the book of Abraham, to prove Native Americans were Hebrew. Well, it all proved false and now they are stuck with "Mormonism is true because I know it is true, Joseph Smith is a prophet because I know he is." Maybe it started out as a fraud on naive people, but they believed it would be proven true in time. Now that it has been proven a fraud, the only thing holding it together is a belief in Joseph Smith. Now it is truly a cult with no excuse. Here is a little metaphor for you. The real Jesus knocks at the door of a Mormon's hearts, but Joseph Smith steps in and says "I'll get it!" and sends the real Jesus away and when he is asked who was at the door, Smith says, "Some imposter from the corrupted bible of the gentiles." But Jesus will come back.
David, I don't think heguido is intelligent enough to do anything but dance around with his arms raised up in the air like a Muppet saying how "awesome" his church is. Truthfully, he's just egging people on and making himself look pathetic. For all we know, he is probably a mental ward patient that has access to a computer. He may not even be a mormon; he may just be a psychotic that likes to push people's buttons. I really doubt he's a mormon.
Last time I took the test my iQ was 128...
But, thank you, anyway!!
heguido, i am truly sorry if you are suffering shame for Joseph Smith's name. Jesus Christ can fix that, but Joseph Smith would rather he got nowhere near you.
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.