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June 14th, 2010
05:20 PM ET

Sacred Spaces: Mormon temple in Vancouver

From time to time the CNN Belief Blog will take a look inside sacred spaces from different faiths. CNN's Chris Ford brings us this look inside a Mormon temple in Canada:

For years, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints living in British Columbia had to travel either to Seattle, Washington, in the United States or to Alberta, Canada, to visit a Mormon temple.

No longer.

The church recently dedicated a new temple in Vancouver, British Columbia, the 131st Mormon temple in the world.

Unlike many religious buildings, Mormon temples do not serve as the main gathering place for worship and social events.

Instead, they are quiet, solemn places used for personal prayer and meditation and certain important sacred rituals or ceremonies, such as baptisms and marriages - for which the temples have separate, designated rooms. Also of importance is the Celestial Room, specifically designed for prayer and meditation.

Mormon chapels are where church members gather to worship, sing hymns, and receive communion. There are more 20,000 Mormon chapels around the world.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Mormonism

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soundoff (459 Responses)
  1. Don Beal

    I admire Mormons for their dedication to their beliefs and for their thoughts about living responsible lives. But the history of the Mormon church is a tale not even the boldest of historical fiction writers would dare put in print. I would urge anyone to study the history of the Mormon church for an incredible story with colorful characters and events. My favorite is Orrin Porter Rockwell, the man Clint Eastwood could only pretend to be. And nothing can top the Mountain Meadow Massacre as a crime story.

    June 19, 2010 at 9:30 am |
    • Joe

      Would enjoy one of the faithful that is following this board explain the Mormon side of the Kirtland Bank failure.

      June 19, 2010 at 10:27 am |
    • Don Beal

      I'm glad to hear someone else finds Mormon history interesting. I like the account of how Joseph Smith came up with the idea of polygamy and then got a friend to tell his wife about his revelation. I also like the handcart migration from Iowa to Utah. And another very interesting side note is the story of James Jesse Strang. Too many great stories to remember. It gets me fired up for some summer reading. Maybe the Mormons are America itself in microcosm.

      June 19, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
    • EAN

      It's amazing that people would judge those in the 1800s by today's standards. Mormon Meadows was terrible, but was never something commanded of God. It was perpetrated by individuals who happened to be Mormons who were informed that these people were linked to a group that killed several brethren in the church. Not an excuse but should in no way discredit the church.

      June 19, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
    • Joe

      Ean, I actually agree with you. The massacre had to do with members of the church however I asked about the Kirtland Bank failure. This had to do with joseph smith.

      June 19, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
    • Brian

      The Kirkland bank failure was not unlike hundreds of failed endeavors of the day. Banks, and even printing of currency was common at the time for states and individuals as there was not the same level of structure we have in banking today. There simply isn't anything out of the ordinary, but again, comparing 1835 to 2010, it's easy to make any common incident or activity seem unusual or even scandalous.

      June 19, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
    • EAN

      Joe, prophets are just mortals like you or I. Remember even Peter was in need of correction by Paul, and that was on a religious matter. Do you think God cares that much about money and a bank. I would call that a learning experience.

      June 20, 2010 at 10:42 am |
  2. shel

    OK, I looked it up. $1.2 billion in humanitarian aide projects since 1985.

    June 19, 2010 at 3:44 am |
    • Paper

      They include feeding their church members as humanitarian aid. They have their own line of food products, they are the biggest beef producer in the USA. They rake in 6.8 billion dollars yearly through their members paying their tidings (15% of member income) and through their investments. Funny how they are still considered a non-profit eh?

      And it all started with magic hats and talking stones.

      June 19, 2010 at 10:27 am |
    • scifigal2k

      Actually, it's 10% of the income. Which I willingly, happily give. Even Abraham in the Bible paid 10% of all he owned, as did the children of Israel. The blessings I've received have been incredible.

      And most of that food, etc. is not bought by Mormons. It is to help self-sustain ranches, stores, etc. When there is a crisis they are turned into charity and are given to EVERYONE, not just Mormons. In fact, it's the Mormon church that's the most organized and first on the scene in a major crisis. We get there even before the Red Cross does. The Church just doesn't brag about it – it's the whole serve others in quiet idea that Christ taught.

      June 20, 2010 at 8:26 am |
  3. Jimbob

    I have read the book of mormon cover to cover. My one question is... What about the horses? There were no horses in North America during those times. They were brought later. So, I asked a missionary. He said "We don't have an answer to that at this time, but we are faithful our research will prove it to be true."

    June 19, 2010 at 3:27 am |
    • Paper

      Horses were brought over by the Spanish when they 'discovered' America. They were released into the wild and quickly populated. Basic history.

      June 19, 2010 at 10:30 am |
    • Paper

      Sorry misread your comment. I apologize.

      June 19, 2010 at 10:32 am |
    • Brian

      Unicorns are also mentioned in the Bible. Are you ready to decry millions of believers because of that? Whether the term "horse" actually described a horse, or another animal similar is really up for interpretation. There are other names for animals for which we have no modern name equivalent. so again, it's all about interpretation. The problem with your interpretation is that it closes the door on the rest of the book and the philosophies involved in Mormonism. It's a convenient cop out that dismisses any real discussion of the topic.

      June 19, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
    • haha

      I am not mormon but Jimbob you are trust to easy. Since when is it proven that horse were introduced when the spanish came. Common error among history books. Do a little research and dont believe your Jr high school history teacher as absolute truth haha. Let me guess Columbus was the first one to land on the Americas too.

      June 20, 2010 at 10:50 pm |
  4. morgan painter

    I have mixed opinions over large, expensive buildings such as this one. They are intended to show reverence and respect for God. They provide a secure quiet place to commune with Him. That is good.

    Then I think of how much money it cost to build and wonder how many people it could have helped. There are so many people in the world who are displaced by war, floods, earthquakes, etc. The lucky ones live in a tent, the rest don't have any shelter. Oftentimes no food or clean water either. It seems until God removes the curse of sin from this world there can never be a good balance or equity for all.

    I have Amish friends who teach a separate building for church is wasteful. They meet in each others homes. If a church building is in need of repairs it does little to honor God but where is the balance between what is necessary and what is excess?
    I certainly don't have all the answers.

    June 19, 2010 at 2:20 am |
    • Nerdlinger

      Yes the temple costs millions of dollars and that money could have been used to feed people blah blah blah. We build an expensive building because we dedicate it to the Lord. It is His house. Render unto God the things that are God's. I see nothing wrong in building a beautiful ediface for God. When we go into the temple we are being spiritually fed. We feel His presence and know He accepts our worship.

      We as a Church give millions of dollars to help battle hungar, poverty, and improve people's education. The temple helps us remember why we donate. As my faith increases each time I go to the Temple, my desire to serve and help others increases. Moral of the story = build a temple and the typical LDS member will donate more to help the poor and the needy.

      Before you berate the LDS Church for building such wonderful temples, make sure you take a few thousand dollars off the cost of your home and give it to charity.

      June 23, 2010 at 1:06 am |
  5. Bleh

    Those look like giant cinder blocks. Also, I am not religious but I try to be respectful of other peoples' beliefs. I don't feel like that same respect is given to me when anyone shows up at my door trying to solicit their beliefs to me. That should just be discontinued for all religions. It is sooooo not cool.

    June 18, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
    • Blain

      I don't understand this. If I knock on your door to offer you a message about God, and you say "No, thanks," and I accept that, I don't see the disrespect. If I don't take "no" for an answer, then I'm being a jerk, and that's not okay in my book, but it's not disrespectful to offer you what I've learned. You may be really happy with what you have, and, in that case, I can walk away and no harm is done on either side. But you might be searching for something right at the moment, and I might have something of great value to you. If I'm not a jerk about it (and I know some missionaries have been and are jerks - one proof that the Church is from God is that the missionaries haven't been able to destroy it), I'm not hurting you with the offer, and I might be able to help you quite a lot.

      What am I missing?

      June 20, 2010 at 1:56 am |
  6. drdoom68

    I would like to thank CNN for posting a factual piece on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I think it is ridiculous that such a piece would garner such a reaction from those who beliefs are contrary to those of the LDS faith. I am LDS and do not feel the need to defend my faith. I know what I believe and to all those whose minds are so small that you would try to tear down another person's beliefs because they are not your own, please get over yourself. You are as irrelevant to most true believing Mormons as your comments are to this article.

    June 18, 2010 at 11:33 pm |
  7. Tiffany

    If I wish to detect counterfiet dollar bills, it will not help me to study every counterfiet out there(BoM). I must study the real thing (Bible) That way I will know a fake when I see it.

    Jesus said "this is my new and everlasting covenant" not "this is what I'm saying for now..and I'll fill you in more later"

    June 18, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
    • Brian

      If I found a $100 bill on the ground, would you really just throw it away because someone else told you it was counterfeit?

      June 19, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  8. JennyTX

    I believe there is plenty of room in heaven for ALL good people and that God doesn't discriminate on the basis of religion.

    June 18, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
    • Tim

      Jenny, although that sounds like a nice concept, scripturally it is not true.

      June 18, 2010 at 7:56 pm |
    • JennyTX

      Tim, the only people who know for sure what happens after we die are dead people. Until then, let's not discriminate, OK?

      June 18, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
    • Tim

      Jenny,
      While I want as many people to go to heaven as possible, according to scripture it doesn't "just happen" because you believe. Our beliefs don't dictate eternity or the after life, how can they? The Bible is very specific about that. I am not discriminating, far from it. As I said, I want as many people to go to heaven as possible, telling someone that there are many ways, or as some say "all roads" lead to heaven is the road that will not take them their at all. Jesus is made it very clear that in Matthew 7 that we "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
      Its not that God doesn't want them to find Him, to the contrary, God has done everything possible to lead people to Him, however most want to believe that many religions lead to God and heaven. Religion is man made, only Christ allows us eternity in heaven. There won't be any religion in heaven. Teaching people about Christ and what He taught is not discrimination, its clarification and ALL are welcome to place their belief in Him. God is love.

      June 20, 2010 at 1:29 am |
    • Brian

      Actually, Tim, you could argue universalism from the Bible. Take 1 Cor. 15: 22, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." That sounds pretty much like everyone will take advantage of Christ's atonement. Second take Rom. 14: 11, which says "every knee shall bow to God" which tells me all mankind universally will acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ meaning they can partake of salvation. I would read 1 Cor 15 carefully, and decide for yourself how man will be judged and how we partake of the atonement.

      June 20, 2010 at 2:08 am |
    • JennyTX

      People, people - the bible was written by people who hadn't died yet, so they were only expressing their theories and opinions. I can't believe you interpret the bible so literally. It seems that all religions believe that only THEY are going to heaven and that all other religions are doomed. It's that sense of smugness and superiority that I find so distasteful about religions. Again, no religion can ever prove that it's right and all others religions are wrong. And again, I'm confident that God does not discriminate on the basis of religion.

      June 20, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
  9. PasadenaDave

    I have both single and married friends who are Mormon; honest, trustworthy, upright and friendly people (my friends don't push religion..). Personally, the world would be better off if more people had these personal attributes, regardless what the "ideals" of their faith are. Not a believer, myself...

    June 18, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  10. Truth

    Smith admitted on his death bed he lied about it all. He had so many followers at the time of death they refused to accept it. Today we have that temple. Some people like giving away all there personal decision and fund silly things all the time.

    People refuse to accept responsibility for them selfs and attribute everything to an outside source. In this "modern time" we still act like people living before the age of reason.

    If you dont accept science in its true form then you cant be taught math, biology, computers and anything else derived from scientific theory. So you might as well live outside in the wild and leave every aspect of science behind.

    June 18, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • gtrgr103

      so do you have evidence to back up your story about him lying about it all....? I think if everyone could cite their "sources" this little section would be a little better off.-

      June 18, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
    • Em

      "On his death bed?" Do a little research on where and how Joseph Smith died, and what his last words were. He didn't have time to negate what he had taught during his life.

      June 18, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
    • Blain

      Joseph didn't have a death bed, and his last words are reported to be "Oh Lord, my God." His letters, written the day he was killed, had nothing remotely similar to what you're talking about. So, yeah, I'd like to see some sourcing to back up your claim here.

      June 20, 2010 at 2:06 am |
  11. Mimi

    are Mormons technically Christian? Because they praise the book of Mormon more thant he bible. I'm all for extra literature so you can learn how to read the bible, but this is a book that is heralded separate from the bible. Mormons who are out preaching even hand out this book, not the bible. So, are they Christians simply because they believe in Jesus?

    June 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
    • Gary

      Mimi ,I am agnostic I but have a few close mormon friends and they do consider themselves Christians. They accept J.C. as their savior. They believe in some latter day saint I think in the 1800s appearing to some guy ...Some believe America is the actual new Isreal too. but since I dont adhere to any religions I dont know too much about them. The few I know are extremley nice hardworking family oriented folks..

      June 18, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • Brian

      Mormons use the King James Version of the Bible just as much as any other church. They also believe in freedom of religion (see Thirteen Articles of Faith).

      June 19, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
    • Joe

      Minor correction on the above statement. Mormons believe the Bible "as long as it is translated correctly". This becomes the fall back argument if something in the Bible is different than something in the book of mormon. Mormons believe that the book of mormon takes precedence over the Bible. The book of mormon is absolute as Joseph Smith put rocks into a hat that allowed him to translate the golden plates:

      Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine.
      David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, Richmond, Mo.: n.p., 1887, p. 12 (David Whitmer is one of the three witnesses that who signed a statement in 1830 saying that an angel had shown them the golden plates )

      June 19, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
    • Brian

      Is it really unusual to say the Bible must be translated (and interpreted) correctly? Would anyone say they believe in a mistranslated Bible? The difference isn't that Mormons don't trust the Bible, it's that they don't consider it a perfect record. I would have to agree considering it's easy enough to show mistranslations and contradictions.

      As to the exact method of translation, there are varying stories, but all are generally of a supernatural nature. Is that so unusual, given the Biblical stories of burning bushes and such? As to putting one's head into a hat, that story was told well after Smith's death as a third party account, and the hat was simply used (according to such account) to block out light, similar to you holding your hand to block the sun when reading a digital watch. Not all that mystical, unless you want to present it as bizarre, which clearly is your intent.

      June 19, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
    • Joe

      I was presenting a quote You want to interpret it as odd so be it . The quote was from one of the three witnesses. If the witness makes it appear odd, so be it..(I assume you know who David Whitmer was)
      ....
      Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine.
      David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, Richmond, Mo.: n.p., 1887, p. 12
      ....
      If I wanted it to sound bizarre I would have said something about magical rocks being placed in a top hot....

      June 19, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
    • Brian

      so, you are telling me, of the dozens if not hundreds of accounts of how Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, that you randomly picked the quote that just happened to be the most bizarre? *eye roll*

      June 20, 2010 at 1:22 am |
    • Joe

      If there are so many accounts, then give me the words of one of the other two witnesses. If they were not a witness then their account really doesnt matter does it? Let me hear an account from one of the other two witnesses that makes this sound less bazaar.

      June 20, 2010 at 7:47 am |
  12. JennyTX

    I wonder how much money the church members had to donate to building that temple. Wouldn't that money have been better spent on charity?

    June 18, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
    • Brian

      The church has one of the largest and most efficient humanitarian programs in the world. See PrividentLiving.org

      June 19, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
    • Joe

      Deseret Industries is helpful if you need help and happen to live in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Of course, if the mormon church hadn't poured so much money into prop 8 they could have expanded the areas of service to other needy spots.

      June 19, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
    • Brian

      And what of the money used by the No on 8 people? From what I understand, they raised even more money than the Mormons. So should they have also given those funds to charity?

      June 19, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
    • Joe

      That would have been nice Brian, but the mormon church launched an attack on the gay and lesbian community. Many who would have given to charity had to rethink their charity plans. To give money to protect their home and family or give to charity. The attack from the mormon church caused many funds that would have been given to charity to rather go and stave off that assault.

      June 19, 2010 at 9:41 pm |
    • Brian

      Funny, as a gay man myself, I felt no threat at all from Prop-8. In fact, I see a far more threat in redefining religious fundamentals in the guise of "rights". The word marriage has no business in government control, and I am all for people defining their own relationships without having to get a stamp of approval from the state. Believe me, I hear all the complaints from my friends about how they have lost rights, but when pressed to what they actually have lost, it is all straw man arguments.

      June 20, 2010 at 1:25 am |
  13. Joe

    Nerdlinger, Mormons have been on the wrong side of the marriage issue before. No surprise they are on the wrong side again:

    “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. The nations of the earth have transgressed every law that God has given, they have changed the ordinances and broken every covenant made with the fathers, and they are like a hungry man that dreameth that he eateth, and he awaketh and behold he is empty.”
    (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, volume 10, page 110)

    June 18, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
    • Jim

      I disagree with President Young's commentary there, but of course it is a relic of the nineteenth century mindset shared by the majority of Americans at the time and should be understood in such a context.

      June 18, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
    • Joe

      Jim, so are you saying Brigham Young's words were not inspired by the lord? If not, and they were rather inspired by the prejudice of the day then would you not agree that the mormon church's stand on prop 8 is also inspired by prejudice of the day?

      Remember that according to Brigham Young we should put to death a man who married a black woman. The church now accepts interracial marriages. You must cede that the church believes in an evolution of the definition of marriage.

      June 18, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
    • J--

      Hi Joe,

      I do believe that Brigham Young was a prophet of God. However, I also feel that being a prophet does not preclude one from being influenced by the popular sentiments of the day. Do I feel President Young was inspired by God when making that statement? I tend to think that was a personal opinion...and I don't agree with it. As for current events, I'm not sure what the future holds. The LDS Church encouraged its members on the West to support and fund Prop 8. I'm not sure that was a wise PR move. Months later they supported an anti discrimination housing bill in SLC. I'm not sure if you want my personal opinion on the matter or not. Have a good weekend. James

      June 18, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
    • Brian

      The irony of Mormons position on blacks is that they were and are one of the most inclusive Christian church's in the 1800s/ While Baptists were claiming blacks had no souls, Mormons were openly baptizing them. Blacks have never been segregated in their congregations where we still see segregated churches in the South today. look up the history of the Southern Baptist Convention if you want to see true racism in American religion.

      June 19, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
    • Joe

      Brian, you were joking, right? Blacks were not allowed to hold the priesthood until 1978.

      June 19, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
    • Brian

      I am simply comparing racial practices of all churches. There are currently segregated churches right now in the country. The Southern Baptist Convention (currently the largest protestant church in the US) was established to preserve slavery in the South. Joseph Smith and the early Mormons were abolitionists. Up until the 1960s, there was no issue with Mormons withholding priesthood from blacks. Yes, they were late to change policy, but to imply that Mormons were somehow unique on this issue is to ignore far more egregious actions by other churches.

      June 19, 2010 at 8:54 pm |
    • Joe

      Brian, so your argument is that even though president brigham young called for the death of a man that marries a black woman, even though the church said that blacks couldnt carry the priesthood – which carries implications for their souls for all of eternity. the mormon church wasnt as bad as other churches? Interesting, the mormon church is simply the lesser of two evils.

      June 19, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
    • Brian

      I am saying you are judging Brigham Young based on a moral standard that simply didn't apply at the time. Would it surprise you that Abraham Lincoln also spoke out against interracial marriage. Or that Brigham Young said that he felt that given the opportunity blacks could equal the achievements of whites, a statement which at the time was scandalous?

      June 20, 2010 at 1:15 am |
    • Joe

      Look at the quote again . This is the prophet stating the law of god. He comes right out and says this is the law of god. The law of god is to put a white man to death (on the spot) that marries a black woman. Does the law of god change with the times? Is the law of god different today than it was in the 1800s? Does god speak differently to the prophet today than He did in the past?

      Same thing with not allowing blacks to hold the priesthood. The quote back then should have been "As man is God once once, as God is man will become...unless you are black" Not allowing blacks to hold the priesthood was a mark upon their eternal soul.

      Just because other religions were bad (and even worse) does not make this mormon bigotry any more tasteful.

      June 20, 2010 at 7:43 am |
    • Joe

      Of course there is another explanation. The prophet could have been lying when he said it was the word of god.

      June 20, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  14. BasBleu

    I've challenged people to tell me why/how faith/God is "real." No logical takers so far and a bit off-topic for this blog. Sounds like I have an express ticket to the flames of Hell since I don't believe. Bring back the Inquisition and witch-hunts!

    June 18, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
    • Gary

      BasBleu , Sadly you bring up another excellent point.

      June 18, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
    • Jim

      God is "real" to each person on an idividual basis. I see the living, quanitfiable reality of God in every direction I turn. However, I understand that several people have challenges in doing so. There are some that say "show me proof of God" when if the Almight were to stand in front of their face, they would still deny it. Faith is more than a wish, it is a deeply personal and powerful agent that is impossible to quantify. If you will only believe in your basic senses and refuse other alternatives, God will never be apparent. Don't worry, the 16th century myth of fire and brimstone is like a lot of Protestant Christianity, a man-made device.

      June 18, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
    • Blain

      There is no proving questions of faith - if they were provable, they wouldn't be questions of faith. I don't know why this is particularly noteworthy.

      Inquisitions and witch hunts? Not from Mormons. Check out our Articles of Faith, especially number 11.

      June 20, 2010 at 2:15 am |
  15. Gary

    Soldier86 by the way its considered "making trouble" by disagreeing with you. The burden of proof is on you my friend. . I am simply agnostic. I dont adhere to any religion but I wouldnt be suprised if one was true either. I have no way of knowing. I brought up famous religious leaders and I left many off the list. you as a religious person should be appaulled by these charimatic devils. I actually believe there is a God. I believe he gave me a brain to use. I also believe he is much smarter than any earthly religion. I think all religions (some by default )but all insult God. and his wisdom.........but I sincerely wish you well in this and eventually your afterlife!

    June 18, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
    • Jim

      Actually, the burden of proof is on ther person making the assertion. You lumped those leaders in together with a nice dash of rhetoric. So the ball is actually in your court.

      June 18, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
  16. soldier86

    BasBleu
    One other thing. having faith in a man made thing like who will win a sporting event will never be a true thing, but having faith in God is a real.

    June 18, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
    • BasBleu

      Soldier, why do many athletes, after winning a game, look skyward and say "Thank God!" Just an observation. Does the losing team say that, too?
      Also for sake of keeping things literal (and we all know the Bible is completely literal *wink*), people living in the New Orleans region prayed that Hurricane Katrina wouldn't hit their area. Hurricane. "Manmade" = faulty logic = faith. Oh, right, faith doesn't have to make sense, I forgot. I wish you well in your faith and heaven/hell beliefs.

      June 18, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
    • Douglas

      I've lived in Utah and studied LDS doctrine and scriptures. However, the rubber really meets the road in one important venue... and that is "How will any person - including especially a faithful Mormon - make it to the Celestial Kingdom? What are the requirements of God for making it there, i.e., what does the LDS Church teach in this regard?"

      What I discovered and have spoken often to LDS missionaries about… is that Spencer Kimball (former LDS president) taught in his book “The Miracle of Forgiveness” that the standard is “perfection.” You must STOP sinning and you have to do it in this life. You can’t just “do your best” and cross your fingers or even trust God to take up the slack, nope, you have to become absolutely perfect. So I ask the LDS missionaries, “Have you stopped sinning yet?” They always say that they still struggle with sin (at least they are honest). So I reply, “When are you going to stop?” They get very uncomfortable with this question…. and in some cases, if the discussion is developed and personal enough… I’ve had several missionaries break down and cry like babies in front of me (to the point I felt almost embarrassed). In another case, a friend of mine were issued an official “curse” with the approval of the Mission president, who was present for the discussion. They cannot answer this question of the requirement to stop sinning. It’s the rubber that meets the road and slams the screeching breaks on all the bravado and pride of LDS rhetoric.

      Of course, as an evangelical Christian, I believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is my redeemer from sin and died for my sins on the Cross, washing them away completely as I place my trust in Him. My only righteousness is like what the Apostle Paul said, Jesus Himself is our righteousness, a righteousness which Christ imputes to us by faith upon our repentance and full trust in Him alone for our salvation. But as long as Mormons are trying to earn their salvation, or add to what Christ did for them, they cannot consider themselves to be ready for heaven in any biblical sense of understanding.

      June 18, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
    • Rob

      Douglas, that isn't remotely close to an explanation of our doctrine, and in fact stands in stark contrast to what we believe. I'd refer to any any of the hundreds of talks on the Atonement in our General Conference addresses, and you will find that we believe that while we are commanded to "be perfect" (Matthew 5:48), we also recognize that we all have fallen short and therefore rely on the mercy of Christ to redeem us. The Book of Mormon is clear on this subject: "It is by grace that we are saved, after all that we can do." But in terms of how we live our lives, we do believe that striving for perfection, as opposed to being content with sin, is expected of us by a loving God who has provided a way to bridge the significant gap between all that we can do and all that He can do.

      June 18, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
    • Jim

      Doug, we all sin on a daily basis, that's why we take the sacrament to renew our covenants (agreement) with God on a weekly basis. Be ye therfore perfect is only made through the atonement of Christ and our constant efforts to become better. The missionaries were probably crying in laughter at your pretended knowledge.

      June 18, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
    • Blain

      Douglas - Miracle of Forgiveness is not an authoritative work that expresses only binding or official doctrine. It's the best understanding of (then) Elder Kimball on the things he was writing about. I know people who just love the book and find it amazingly useful - I don't. I recall hearing that Pres. Kimball said, in later years, that, if he had it to do again, he'd have said some things differently.

      I don't understand this sense of "gotcha!" in your comment. Like you've read this one book, and so you've got the inside track on what Mormonism's all about. And it's not at all unique to you - I see it from all kinds of folks who read the "witnessing to Mormons" books, among others. Whether the book is from Decker or Krakauer, or Brody, or Kimball or McConkie or Talmadge, you simply can't condense all of Mormonism into a single book, and you can't get the "inside scoop" in just a year or two of study. I've been learning about it for more than 40 years now, and have looked into things that many others in the Church haven't, and there's more to it than I really have a mastery of, so when I see somebody coming in with less time and less study thinking they've got the whole thing figured out, I'm not that impressed. They might bring something to the party that I didn't already know, but even that's pretty unusual these days.

      I do appreciate the significant reduction in arrogance in what you've said and what the "witnessing" folks do - I find it highly offensive that somebody will tell me what I believe without bothering to ask me what I believe first, and to base those declarations of my belief on the Journal of Discourses is just ignorant in the first degree. Most Mormons have never even heard of the JoD, and almost none have read any of it - it hasn't been taught out of officially in much of anybody's memory. To claim that the statements there are what Mormons "really believe" is to show staggering ignorance of Mormonism. And my purpose here isn't to slap at you for being arrogant at all - it's to let you know that, having connected what you've shown here with the "witnessing" crowd, that I see a significant distinction between you and them.

      June 20, 2010 at 2:45 am |
  17. Sufficient Grace

    As a minister, I have a many reservations with Mormonism. I have many friends that have become Mormom, and they do live "good" lives, however I am concerned they are being deceived. I think Satan will do anything he can to keep you from Christ. He doens't care if we live "good" lives, as long as we don't put our complete trust in Christ and Christ alone Satan wins, despite the fact we might have a good family, good job, promote strong family values, live morally, and even attend church regularly. Jesus said he is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the father except through him.
    Whenever any takes the Holy Bible and places it second to another book, there is dire consequences. Every Mormon missionary I have spoken to has said that the reason that the Book of Mormon and the Bible to not line up and contradict each other is because the Bible has been translated incorrectly. So they believe their book is correct the Bible is translated incorrectly at parts, a slippery slop indeed.

    Lastly, Mormons make some pretty outrages claims compared to what the Bible says.
    Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers, we can become our own gods of our own planets (isnt that blasphemy?), we have to whisper our wife's secret name in order for her to be with us in the after life (although Jesus taught there will be no marriage in heaven, there wont be any need for it), married couples in the after life will have celestial "relations" in order to have spiritual babies that will eventually become a child on their own planet. Baptisms of the dead, a high prophet to determine God's will for us (Scripture says that Jesus is the only mediator between man and God). Not allowing the general public into their Temples because we will cause them to be unclean or if they do open it to the public, after they close it to the public they rebuild the areas in order for it to be cleansed (which again is against all Christ did on the cross, that all may come boldly before God), believing that Christ paid for our sins by sweating drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, rather than on the cross. That God is not God of the universe, but simply of this planet, we can become God's of our own planet by doing good things in this life and being found worthy of becoming god of our own planet. The list goes on. These are all things that Satan would have you believe, it is just enough to get you away from the scriptures and the truth of who Jesus is and what He did for us.

    Christianity is not perfect either, however it is important to stick to scripture and Jesus. The most dangerous type of lie is the one that is closest to the truth, but leads you just far enough away that you never arrive there. Satan doesn't care is you have a "good life," he only cares that you don't serve Christ as your only Lord and Savior.

    June 18, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
    • InVestigator

      Grace, exactly...and you could made other points as well I might add.

      June 18, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
    • Gary

      sufficient grace ...ministers and religious leaders like yourself is the main reason I question and despise religions. Why dont you get a real job and become a productive person in American society. Instead of collecting money from weak minded followers. I am so proud I use the brain God gave me..

      June 18, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
    • BasBleu

      Sufficient Grace is another example that anyone can "hang a shingle" and become a minister. Look, they don't even have to know basic English or grammar! Maybe I should look into becoming a minister. Oh, right, I guess I have to actually "believe" in God, so that career is not an option. Sorry, Satan must've made me do it...

      June 18, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
    • Bob

      Well Mr. Minister, what you managed to do with your comment, is completley prove your ignorance. Wow.

      This is exactly why I walked away from Evangelical Christianity. SO MUCH JUDGEMENT! That's God's job. Sorry.

      I have never in my life met better more devoted followers of Christ than I have in my last 18 years as a member of the LDS Church. Are they perfect? No. Are they sitting around condemning others? No. They are living as they believe the Savior wants them to live.

      I like the fact that most mormons don't judge others who are not Mormon, even if they don't agree with them. It's called respect and thinking outside of some narrow interpretation of scripture that anyone could prove anything with.

      What sad commentary. It's unfortunate people can't just be more loving towards each other. Nothing is taught or understood with anger and judgement. I personally don't want to worship a God who is so 'angry' as Evangelical Christianity tends to teach. I prefer one who is compassionate, kind, understanding, and here's a thought .....willing to die for his fellow man. Hmm.

      Perhaps someday people will realize there are many paths to get to the same place and that God really is a loving tolerant being. Yes there are consequences to our choices and accountability for our actions but we bring that on ourselves.

      This commentary makes me a little sad for humanity as a whole. We are better than this.

      June 18, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • Sufficient Grace

      Bob, I agree with you that the church can be judgmental, we all have imperfections and all churches are made up of imperfect people. However, the best way to "love" someone is to point them to the truth, not to pat them on the back and tell them they are good. There is a way to do that in love, and not in a harsh or degrading fashion (which I don't feel I was doing). I want my Mormon friends to be with Christ in Heaven, hence the love and reasoning for showing them the truth.

      Gary, just so you know, I don't take money from anyone in my church or a salary, but we do collect money to give to those in need and missionaries spreading the Gospel all over the world.

      Bas, if grammar is your focus, you are right, I shouldn't be an English professor. However, I am not writing this to publish a thesis, but simply to give an opinion, just as you have.

      In seeing the replies back to your comments, I see that some people believe that their are many ways to heaven, and that simply is not true. No matter how mush be believe something or want it to be true, we cannot truely create any god that will live beyond ourselves.

      June 18, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
    • Brian

      There is way too much Ed Decker in this post. Anti-Mormon claims about what Mormons r*really* believe are so last year. Don't you know that the internet is a double edged sword, and now there is enough accurate information out there to make your outrageous clams laughable if it weren't so sad and transparent.

      June 19, 2010 at 2:48 pm |
    • Sufficient Grace

      Brian,

      Thanks for the reply. I know it would be difficult to do so on such a media platform with limited space, however I would be interested to hear why you call "my claims" laughable. I have spent countless hours talking to my Mormon friends about such topics, and while we agree to disagree, they have never called the differences laughable nor say that they did not exist or were unfounded in LDS beliefs, not only did they acknowledge them, we talked about them thoroughly.

      June 20, 2010 at 1:14 am |
    • Blain

      SG - Yeah, you're falling into some standard anti-Mormon patterns of thinking here. You make some very good points about a pitfall that Mormons (and other Christians, frankly) can fall into - where they get caught up in good things that distract them from the very centrality of our dependence on Jesus and his sacrifice for us. Mormons tend to get caught up in doing good things, and in looking perfect, while other Christians can get caught up in putting on the trappings of Christian life (music, books, t-shirts, bumper-stickers, etc.) while missing out on Jesus clear teachings (Sermon on the Mount stuff - very basic, and very challenging) and feeling like they own Jesus (it's the other way around). But the failings of Mormons is not a failing of Mormonism, any more than the failings of Christians are failings of Christianity, and there are no shortage of such failings, flaws, weaknesses and misunderstandings to be found anywhere. It's a good thing God loves us, because we clearly aren't worth a plugged nickel on our own strength.

      But your summary of what Mormons believe is, at best, twisted, and based in limited understandings and imperfect communication. At worst, it's based in the characterization of professional anti-Mormons, and to accept their characterizations without further investigation isn't intellectually honest. You're going to come closer to understanding what Mormons teach and believe from our little (2009 edition) "Gospel Principles" book that you could read in a couple of hours than what those folks have to say in all of their books.

      And you could do with just a smidge of respect for Mormonism. You've done everything you can to cast every little tidbit of information you've got in a disrespectful and negative light. If I spoke of your side of our doctrinal differences with as much respect as you have shown, you would be right to be offended. Let me suggest you re-examine the Sermon on the Mount for how Jesus said to treat people you disagree with - it seems you have some more learning to do on that.

      Let me tell you what I believe on the things you spoke about. And then you can tell me what you believe, instead of you guessing (wrongly) what I believe. Okay?

      I believe that we are all spirit children of God - everybody who has come to this world or ever could have. That makes us all brothers and sisters. I believe that God wants us to receive everything he has, because he loves us that much, and that, if we follow his plan for us to the degree we can, and rely on his power and grace, his grace is sufficient for us. I don't accept that he would teach us to call him "Father" if we never had a chance to become like him - that sounds cruel to me. Jesus said "Come, follow me," and that he wanted us to be perfect, as his father is. I think he meant that, and I don't see any stretch to think that we can follow him to where he is, due to his power and love for us.

      I believe families can be forever. I have no idea what the details of an eternal family will be or how it will function, but I do challenge the notion that God would rip families and marriages apart and call that "Heaven." Why give us families in this world if they are to have no eternal significance? Why not have us born from rocks and dirt, rather than from parents?

      I just can't bring myself to go forward with what you had to say. There's just too much disrespect, and too little charity in how you're mischaracterizing things I find important and sacred. I will talk about almost anything with those who are interested in understanding and respectful, but I'm not getting any of that from what you've said here. I wish you the best, but I'm done with this for now.

      June 20, 2010 at 3:18 am |
  18. soldier86

    BasBleu,I feel sorry for you that you can not have faith in something other than what is right in front of you face. Religion is based on faith and nothing else. I hope you are a good person and I am not judging you because I do not know you. May God touch your heart one day so you can know how if feels to have faith.

    June 18, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
    • BasBleu

      Please, Soldier, don't waste your energy on feeling sorry for me. I don't feel that I lack anything by not "believing" in something I can't see or feel. Conversely, and not to be ugly, but I feel frustrated/amazed/sad that so many are led into believing in some force or almighty powerful god exists. If that helps you exist, then fine. I feel I'm a good person, I don't go to church or believe or have faith or whatever it's called, but I have done alright in my life thus far. No lightning strikes, floods, oil spills at my house, or other "acts of God," as the insurance companies like to say. The concept of "God" is so ingrained in our society that it's disturbing sometimes, but I digress. I am, alas, the minority here.

      June 18, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
  19. BasBleu

    To Soldier86, who doesn't post a "reply" option: Sorry about the Joseph Smith reference to marrying a 14-yr-old. OK, she was 15. Just kidding, but who knows, really. The (missed, apparently) point here is that there is little to NO proof/evidence/hard facts presented when it comes to religion. Blind faith, but that's what faith is. Maybe someone had faith that the Lakers wouldn't win last night. Faith doesn't make it true.

    June 18, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
    • Jim

      Help me understand, there is no capacity for reason or learning in any organized religion? I love the scripture in Hebrews which states Faith is the evidence of things hoped for and not seen. There is a huge difference between having faith in something and a wish.

      June 18, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  20. soldier86

    Gary
    You so not even know Rob and you want to lump him in with some pretty bad people. I think you just like to make trouble. you probably think Rush Limbaugh is a great man.

    June 18, 2010 at 2:13 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.