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.
Mormons are evil.
Just like Mitt Romney
Google: The White Horse Prophecy
Find out what those evil mormonians are up to
Harry Reid + Mitt Romney = MORMON TAKEOVER OF GOVERNMENT
How many women are at the top of the leadership. And what is their position? How many ordained women are there?
Interesting question. Easy to answer.
How many women are at the top of the leadership. >>>ZERO, ZIP, NONE
And what is their position? >>>On their knees at the feet of the elders.
How many ordained women are there? >>>ZERO
Interesting question. Easy to answer.
How many women are at the top of the leadership. >>>ZERO, ZIP, NONE
And what is their position? >>>On their knees at the feet of the elders.
How many ordained women are there? >>>ZERO
Women = mormonian baby factory
It's a scary cult for sure, but not too far removed from other religions.
There is absolutely nothing scary about it. I suggest you actually go to a meeting at any LDS chapel (not the temple- there is a difference) and you'll see how normal it is. Go to the church official websites- lds.org or mormon.org and you will learn far more of what's true than reading the "scary" and offensive posts by anti-Mormons.
Anne... I've lived in Salt Lake City for the past 20 years...have known more than my share of Mormons and concur with John, it is a scary cult (but that is a similarity shared by many religions). For me, it is more scary because it is a church that enjoys all sorts of tax exemptions yet regularly involves injects itself into secular government.
Anne... I've lived in Salt Lake City for the past 20 years...have known more than my share of Mormons and concur with John, it is a scary cult (but that is a similarity shared by many religions). For me, it is more scary because it is a church that enjoys all sorts of tax exemptions yet regularly injects itself into secular government.
To understand the Mormon view of heaven you first must learn about Emanuel Swedenborg, who is sometimes called the Father of Modern Spiritualism, from whom Smith borrowed many doctrines. Swedenborg is quite popular with New Agers still today and was so large an influence on Freemasonry that some lodges were once known as swedenborgian lodges. Swedenborg dabbled in the spirit realm with angels (demons) that he himself said were liars. So why was Smith so drawn to this man's ideas? What did he borrow?
Here is a former Temple Mormon who will give you the run down on the Temple, with a little humor thrown in. As a mattter of fact he exposed the Temple rituals and the LDS Church hierarchy decided to change the rituals to make them less embarrassing and openly offensive. He comes from a family that had been involved in Freemasonry for nearly 200 years and recognized much of Freemasonry in the Mormon rituals. It is a very short two part presentation.
David- why are you doing this? Don't you realize you are offending not only hundreds of thousands of good peaceful people, but also God? Let them worship however they want. It does not affect you. And it will not affect you AT ALL when Mitt Romney becomes president. IF you are an ex-member who has left due to sin or getting your feelings hurt or whatever- you know what you need to do. Repent and come back into loving arms who want you back. If you've never been a member- leave them alone!!
By the time the media is done exposing the Mormon church, I can assure you there will be no Romney presidency. And there may be no church left, either.
Why are you so offended? If you were a Christian, you would rejoice in the Truth. There should be no secrets between God and mankind if we are to draw closer to Him. If this is your response, as an apologetic to Mormonism, I find your response lacking in anything theological. It sounds like you're complaining about being picked on.
Anne, I am trying to shine some light into a very dark place. Laying a guilt trip on me won't work. Jesus will protect me from your attempts at making me feel duilty. The people who have peddled this deceptive religion need to repent.
Honestly Anne! Trying to control people by making them feel guilty of breaking ranks is so classically cultish. If the videos are inaccurate in any way, enlighten the world. Give us the details. Christ said he did NOTHING in secret. You should therefore gives us the details of how the the doctrines and rituals elaborated might be slightly inaccurate. If your strange beliefs won't withstand public scrutiny, you have no right to blame me. Blame the founders and leaders of your church.
I must have struck a chord. I didn't intend to make you feel guilty. If you feel guilt, it comes from within. I was only asking what your motivation is for so blatantly displaying and demeaning something so sacred to people. Would you do the same for other religions most sacred items of clothing or places of worship? If not, what is your motive for attacking the LDS church? Counter to this "darkness" you refer to, I have felt nothing but goodness, warmth, light and love within the LDS church. The great thing about this life is that we can choose darkness or light. I choose light. I'm inviting you to come out of your own dark place (it can't feel very good to do what you're doing) and be wrapped in the love of our Savior again.
Why do mormons wears magic underwear and pray to Kolob?
That doesnt sound very Christian to me.
How bout you?
Which mormons pray to Kolob??? I've never heard of doing that, and I've been a member of the church my entire life.
During your temple visit,
Don't drink the mormon Kool Aid!
It leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.
They don't drink coffee or anything with caffeine.
They will offer you Kool Aid.
Beware the mormon Kool-Aid
Come in, come in, to my wonderful temple.
Said the spider to the fly
Think Mountain Meadow Massacre, not Jonestown.
For information that accurately represents The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints go to http://www.Mormon.org
Holly, i just watched the animation posted here below. Can you tell me what is inaccurate?? I don't want to go to another site. If something is untrue, can you point it out to me?
She can't, because it is true. The indoctrination process is supposed to be an orderly process. Hypnotism is a fine art and there are no doubt rules to be followed.
exmormon.org can tell you all about the church from a fair and balanced point of view.
Don't drink the mormon Kool Aid!
Don't drink any religious Kool-Aid.
MItt Romney is a mormon Kolobian alien
Dont vote for him
When my coworker says he is going to rule a planet of his own when he dies, is he simply lying to me?
Joseph Smith contradicts his own book. In his book of Mormon in Moroni: 7:22 Smith decides to refer to God in this way "For behold, God knowing all things, from everlasting to everlasting..." and in Mormon 9:10 this way "and now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is a shadow of changing, then ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a god of miracles."
Later Smith contradicts his Book of Mormon story by saying "We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil" (Come Unto Me, p. 95).
But the Mormon god he created in his mind was once a man! So by Smith's own reasoning the god of Mormonism could not possibly be a god of miracles.
So how can a man change God? One way is just to make it up as you go along like the charlatan Smith.
It gets worse. The Apostle Bruce McConkie states Mormon doctrine clearly, "The Father is a glorified, perfected resurrected, exalted man who worked out his own salvation by obedience" (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p. 64). Obedience to what? Some law of eternal progression? This is eastern religion fused with christianity! Like Hinduism, Mormonism has an enormously large and unkown number of gods. It is a masterpiece of deception.
In 1 Cor 14:33 Paul states "For God is not the author of confusion." Joseph Smith obviously is and is easily proven to be a deceiver and false prophet.
David- you are loved by your Heavenly Father. You are his precious son. Why are you doing this?
David, I don't see any contradiction. When you are looking for faults, you will find them. When you are looking to understand, and praying, with real intent (willing to change), and with patience, you will gain understanding. There is no contradiction. The restored gospel of Jesus Christ is incredibly interesting, inspiring, ennobling, and empowering. The LDS gospel is the gospel of the Bible. Come and see!
Anne, of course I am loved by my heavenly father. I am only trying to expose spiritual wickedness in high places. To know to do right and not to do it is a sin. So I am exposing the false deities of the Mormon system. I know my heavenly father is not the heavenly father created in the imagination of your corrupt founders. I am doing my best to make sure no one else falls into the snare I nearly found myself in. A watchman on the wall if you will. Just curious, did you watch the videoa? Or are you judging me before you have viewed the evidence?
I do not even understand how I finished up here, however I assumed this put up was great. I do not recognize who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger should you are not already. Cheers!
Check this out...it's all about what Holly is talking about....that "eternal progression to become like heavenly father," otherwise to become a God.
The best way to explain How To Become A God If You Are A Mormon.
The video is accurate. There might be tiny details to nitpick, but this is essentially the heart of Mormon theology.
The non-denomination National Council of Christians and Jews wrote a statement in 1984 regarding this movie:
"This film does not – in our opinion – fairly portray the Mormon church, Mormon history, or Mormon belief. It makes extensive use of "half-truth", faulty generalizations, erroneous interpretations, and sensationalism. It is not reflective of the genuine spirit of the Mormon faith"
Julie, what specifically is inaccurate? If this animation is a joke, it should be easy to refute. Tear it apart for us. Please?
Here are some VERY troubling Quotes from the Second Prophet (leader) of the Mormon Church.....
Brigham Young said your own blood must atone for some sins.
"There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it . . . " (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 247; see also, vol. 4, p. 53-54, 219-220).
Brigham Young said you must confess Joseph Smith as a prophet of God in order to be saved.
"...and he that confesseth not that Jesus has come in the flesh and sent Joseph Smith with the fullness of the Gospel to this generation, is not of God, but is Antichrist," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 9, p. 312).
Brigham Young said his discourses are as good as Scripture.
"I say now, when they [his discourses] are copied and approved by me they are as good Scripture as is couched in this Bible . . . " (Journal of Discourses, vol. 13, p. 264; see also p. 95).
Brigham Young said he had never given any counsel that was wrong.
"I am here to answer. I shall be on hand to answer when I am called upon, for all the counsel and for all the instruction that I have given to this people. If there is an Elder here, or any member of this Church, called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who can bring up the first idea, the first sentence that I have delivered to the people as counsel that is wrong, I really wish they would do it; but they cannot do it, for the simple reason that I have never given counsel that is wrong; this is the reason." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 16, p. 161).
Brigham Young compared his sermons with scripture.
"I know just as well what to teach this people and just what to say to them and what to do in order to bring them into the celestial kingdom...I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call Scripture. Let me have the privilege of correcting a sermon, and it is as good Scripture as they deserve. The people have the oracles of God continually." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 13, p. 95).
Brigham Young said you are damned if you deny polygamy.
"Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 266). Also, "The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 269).
Brigham Young said you can't get to the highest heaven without Joseph Smith's consent.
"...no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 289).
Brigham Young boasted.
"What man or woman on earth, what spirit in the spirit-world can say truthfully that I ever gave a wrong word of counsel, or a word of advice that could not be sanctioned by the heavens? The success which has attended me in my presidency is owing to the blessings and mercy of the Almighty . . . " (Journal of Discourses, vol. 12, p. 127).
Brigham Young said Jesus' birth was as natural as ours.
"The birth of the Savior was as natural as the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood–was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 115).
Brigham Young said that God the Father and Mary 'do it.'
"When the time came that His first-born, the Saviour, should come into the world and take a tabernacle, the Father came Himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, p. 218). "The birth of the Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood - was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 115). Note: the late Bruce McConkie who was a member of the First Council of the Seventy stated "There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events..." (Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce McConkie, p. 742).
Brigham Young said that Jesus was not begotten by the Holy Spirit.
"I have given you a few leading items upon this subject, but a great deal more remains to be told. Now, remember from this time forth, and for ever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 51).
Brigham Young taught that Adam was God.
"Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and spoken - He is our Father, and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 50).
Brigham Young made a false prophecy?
"In the days of Joseph [Smith] it was considered a great privilege to be permitted to speak to a member of Congress, but twenty-six years will not pass away before the Elders of this Church will be as much thought of as the kings on their thrones," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, p. 40).
Brigham Young comments about blacks
"You see some classes of the human family that are black, uncouth, uncomely, disagreeable and low in their habits, wild, and seemingly deprived of nearly all the blessings of the intelligence that is generally bestowed upon mankind....Cain slew his brother. Cain might have been killed, and that would have put a termination to that line of human beings. This was not to be, and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 290).
"In our first settlement in Missouri, it was said by our enemies that we intended to tamper with the slaves, not that we had any idea of the kind, for such a thing never entered our minds. We knew that the children of Ham were to be the "servant of servants," and no power under heaven could hinder it, so long as the Lord would permit them to welter under the curse and those were known to be our religious views concerning them." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p. 172).
"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 110).
Now if that last portion didn't strike you as unbelievably horrible, than imagine this....Mormons are taught to believe every word of their prophets as though they were the words of God: Unquestionable. And these are quotes from just one of their prophets.
Now imagine the President of the USA being Mormon.....
Compare this statement from Brigham Young to what John says in his first epistle. See if he is not setting Joseph Smith up as Jesus Christ. Usurping Christ's position.
Joseph Smith has taken over Christ's job and puts him in the same position Mohammed occupies for Musliims
So basically Brigham Young has plugged Smith in where Jesus Christ is supposed to be. The very definition of a false Christ.
So now a mortal man is passing judgment upon men, the man Jospeh Smith. We have both a false prophet and a false Christ being presented to us.
Listen to what John says about the spirit of antichrists. (plural) THEY WENT OUT FROM US, BUT THEY WERE NOT OF US. Mormonism may seem to be positioned within the ranks of christianity, but it is very, very different. It is a counterfeit.
For more information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and their temples go to Mormon.org
Yet again another automaton response from the paid Mormon servant Holly. Just watch their propaganda and don't listen to anyone else! But when you ask her if she REALLY believes she'll become a GOD when she dies she ignores you...because she can't deny her own faith. These people believe that God was once a mortal man on another planet that grew up with the beliefs that the mormon church has now and became a God when he died. WOW. What ever happened to "I am Alpha and Omega?"
Don't drink the mormon Kool Aid!
Check out EXmormon.org
All this religious talk and practice gave me a great idea – to become a church crasher! Church leaders, priests, pastors, HYPOCRITES, repent! All those who want to know the Truth and be set free, seek Jesus Christ through the Bible, yourselves!
Jesus Christ is dead...I think for what...almost 2000 years now.
How on earth did the United States of America allow a cult like this to grow so influential? My God, the more I learn the more disgusted I become. Mitt Romney must not be allowed to become president. Anyone who would buy into this fantasy world is barely sane, let alone competent. Start telling everyone you know to educate themselves about the Mormon church. We must not allow this to happen.
Unfortunately for us the Republicans think they need the reliable Mormon votes. I am sure many of the elites know the goofy beliefs they have, but were unwilling to alienate a voting block. Also, the Mormon men can give the masonic handshake and I suppose that helps them when it comes to hiring time in business and government. Serious christians know about the bizarre beliefs. Interfaith types could care less, sadly.
I challenge any one of your Mormons to deny that you believe that you will become a god after this life if you reach the Celestial Kingdom by being as perfect as you can on this earth.
Now think about what it would be like to have a President of the USA that believes he is a God.
And you think the Middle East is troubling us right now?????
Mormons do not believe they are gods. THAT would be ridiculous. Mormon doctrine teaches that death is not the end of progression, that spirits continue to learn and mature spiritually until they are reunited with their bodies at the time of their resurrection. Mormons teach that just as Christ was resurrected, mankind too will be resurrected. At some point comes the final judgement where men receive their final glory and it is determined where they will dwell throughout eternity. Those who are the most faithful will inherit the greatest glory and will continue their progression which includes continuing the creation process. Mormon doctrine is not clear about how this happens or what exactly it entails. Traditional Mormon teaching is that the faithful can progress to become like their Heavenly Father, just as children here on earth can grow up and mature to become like their earthly parents.
Holly you are a liar. You know that you believe you will BECOME gods after you die. Deny it. I dare you.
Amanderl, Holly said that she believed that Mormons will help with the creation process after death and will become like God the same way children grow up to be adults. That is pretty close to becoming a God, so I don't think that she was lying to you, just expressing the idea in different words.
'Fraid we already know. Becoming a god is impossible in this earth life- so no need to worry.
This is why our family left the Mormon church. Listen with your heart and mind. Don't just jump on a website like the Mormons tell you to.
Right on guys. The Life that is Jesus Christ is all anyone needs to know, not Joseph Smith or any other religious figure, or religion, for that matter. The Bible is God's Word in print; look to it for Truth.
Ahahhhhahhha! Yeah. Sure. You say so. So does every zealot, about every OTHER religion or belief.
Really, you sort are laughable, or would be, if you weren't so sad.
It's very important to hear the story from both sides...since this CNN article is so one-sided and has been purchased by the church to be at the top header for over a month.
Wait....i need to put on my magic underwear before I read this.......OK, now i'm ready.
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.