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The new Mormon Temple
February 7, 2002 12:46 PM   Subscribe

The new Mormon Temple in Snowflake Arizona is temporarily open to the public before its dedication next month, however the Masonic-like rituals that take place inside are still top secret. Shhh, don't tell.
posted by johnnyace (24 comments total)

 
An LDS friend of mine took me to the temple outside of Boston, just prior to its dedication. Its an incredible sight. The 12 oxen are (larger than) life size and intricately carved and hold the baptismal font on their backs. The baptism area is enclosed in glass and contains stadium like seating (I don't get exactly why)
The sealing room is the coolest thing in the whole place, with mirrors embedded inside mirrors embedded inside even more mirrors, so that the bride and groom feel as if they are inside a massive room with multiple generations of their family.
The recommend desk is the strangest thing to me. Why do you need one more level of bureaucracy telling you when/where you can learn about God?
posted by ajayb at 1:28 PM on February 7, 2002


Wow. It's so tasteful. The slideshow makes it look more like a posh hotel rather than a house of worship.
posted by crunchland at 1:47 PM on February 7, 2002


thanks for these fascinating links.
posted by palegirl at 1:53 PM on February 7, 2002


Cool! By coincidence, I'm going to be in Northern AZ this weekend... maybe I'll drop by. (My significant other is from a town near Snowflake)
posted by ph00dz at 2:08 PM on February 7, 2002


funny thing, everything that goes on inside has been well documented for a long time. So it isn't secret...but a good mormon [i'm not one] Still won't tell you anything about it. Everything in that second link is exactly how i remember.

myself i didn't think it was a big deal, tastefully decorated, but no amazing mysteries of the universe revealed. *shrug*

i do recommend the tour if you are curious...and then you can say you've been inside.
posted by th3ph17 at 2:29 PM on February 7, 2002


Amazing! My great great great grandfather was Milo Andrus, the so-called "Trumpeter of God" and a high muckety muck in the LDS church. All of my father's family (except his parents and brothers and sisters) are practicing Mormons. They all live in Provo and St. George Utah. I have always been interested in and yet slightly apprehensive of the traditions of my ancestors. This is the first time I have seen inside a temple.

Does any one else think it looks positively Kubrickian?
posted by evanizer at 2:35 PM on February 7, 2002


Pardon my ignorance but is it true that the public generally aren't allowed inside Mormon temples and if so how do they prevent you from entering ? I know I should just poke around on the web but it's a rainy, lazy Thursday, not enough will power to click around.
posted by zeoslap at 2:37 PM on February 7, 2002


Oops! Sorry about that link (raksafracken cgi bin image links!) Here's the proper Kubrickian link.
posted by evanizer at 2:38 PM on February 7, 2002


Yikes, I'm so lazy I didn't even click on the links! But my question stands, how do they stop you getting in, do you provide ID upon entering ?
posted by zeoslap at 2:39 PM on February 7, 2002


You need to have a recommend. From the "shh" link above:

Whenever a new Mormon temple is finished, it is always opened to the public for a few weeks for inspection before it is dedicated. This is the only opportunity that a non-Mormon (or an unworthy Mormon) will have to see the inside of a Mormon temple. If there should be a new temple built in your area, you might consider taking the pre-dedication tour. You will not see any of the rituals performed, but you will have a chance to see the building and its furnishings.

Mormons who wish to participate in any of the temple rituals must first request an interview with the bishop of their local ward (that is, the pastor of their local Mormon congregation), who will examine them individually as to their religious beliefs, their loyalty to the church leaders, their abstinence from forbidden things (alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea), their sexual morality, and the extent of their financial contributions to the church. If the bishop determines from this examination that they are sufficiently worthy, he will issue them a "recommend," that is, a pass to the temple, valid for one year. The recommend must then be taken to the stake president (the church officer who oversees several local wards), who will conduct a similar interview before countersigning the recommend. Many Mormons always carry their recommend, which resembles a credit card, in their purse or wallet.

The official questions asked in these interviews can be read here. To see what an actual recommend looks like, click here

posted by palegirl at 3:16 PM on February 7, 2002


I visited a the San Diego temple when it was open to the public. They put little booties on us (so we wouldn't drip evil on the carpet, I think).

They even put booties on the 102 year old, wheelchair- bound, woman in front of us in line. My brother whispered to me, "Wow...if they think she's gonna get up and start walking around, they have some serious faith in their god."

A VERY interesting experience.
posted by halcyon at 3:46 PM on February 7, 2002


Mormonism Research Ministry is an evangelical Christian ministry that has been challenging the claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1979. A portion of their website called Behind the Zion Curtain is a weblog that keeps tabs on LDS-related news. Interesting.
posted by palegirl at 4:19 PM on February 7, 2002


Zeoslap... the temple is -- except for open houses like this one -- accessible to only those members of the faith in good standing.

What goes on is considered sacred by the faithful, and so is not discussed in any detail.

As a member of the Church in good standing, I have had the opportunity to do service in the temple many many times. The teaching that does go on is symbolic in nature... intended (in my experience) to encourage inner musings on the nature of God, and one's own relationship with Him.

As for how they keep people out... it's nothing big. You're just asked to show your recommend before entering. It's not unlike showing one's invitation to a private party.

Ajayb... the "stadium" seating in the baptistry is to hold the large groups that often attend temple baptisms... 20 or so people at a time, quietly waiting their turn to enter the waters of baptism on behalf of another.
posted by silusGROK at 4:43 PM on February 7, 2002


hi Vis10n. It just isn't a mormon thread without us guys who use numerals as letters.

What goes on is considered sacred by the faithful, and so is not discussed in any detail.

See? not Secret--just not discussed outside of the temple out of respect. I'm ex-mormon [blah blah blah, i don't know how many times i've typed that] and i don't think the secret stuff is a big deal. As far as evangelical christian watch-dog groups go...give me a break. Don't believe Their Jesus story, believe OUR Jesus story.

Put their religion under the same scrutiny that they put mormons under and they all melt down to faith vs. history. The only difference is Time, modern religions are just a little easier to research. [insert phil's standard religions-all-have-the-same-problems rant here]
posted by th3ph17 at 5:29 PM on February 7, 2002


We have close family friends who are Mormon, though they're a little unusual -- they drink coffee and wine, he's a university professor of art, painted full-size nudes of his family (exhibited at a museum! now in their living room), and the daughter went out to Brigham Young, met the son of a dripping rich guy, and married him in the SLC temple.

Neither father could attend the wedding.

That, for me, says it all. And that's all I'll say.
posted by dhartung at 7:44 PM on February 7, 2002


20 or so people at a time, quietly waiting their turn to enter the waters of baptism on behalf of another

Ahem. Yeah, like Jews who died in the Holocaust, who the Mormon version of god will turn away from heaven unless some good Mormons have been baptised on their behalf in the years since their deaths. [insert retching sound here] The ornate nature of LDS temples makes perfect sense -- ostentation and arrogance do tend to go hand in hand.
posted by Dreama at 8:53 PM on February 7, 2002


9. Are you a full-tithe payer?

that IS the most important question on the test for a recommend. i think if they say yes confetti falls from the ceiling.
posted by jcterminal at 10:25 PM on February 7, 2002


Dreama... except the occassional over-zealous member who chooses to do a little more than is asked of them (we're asked to only do proxy work on behalf of our own ancestors), I think that proxy baptism is a beautiful doctrine.

Think about it... if you believe that baptism is necessary to enter Heaven (a basic tenet of many Christian sects), then why not extend that to the greatest number of people? I've been baptised on behalf of maybe a hundred other people... it's a wonderful experience to reach back in time to one's progenetors, extending the hand of fellowship to those who had gone before.

JCTerminal... I pay my tithing, and enjoy doing it. It's been a great blessing in my life. Among the most tangible of benefits is learning (at an early age) to manage one's money. When 10% is shaved off the top, you take a little extra care with the remaining.

Moreover, from the looks of things, it's hardly been a hardship for most... and no Mormon goes hungry (unless they're too proud to ask for help).
posted by silusGROK at 7:45 AM on February 8, 2002


As an active Mormon myself I can only sigh and shake my head at most of your comments. Say what you will about the organization as a whole but I'd bet that, by and large, any Mormons any of you have known individually have been intelligent, informed, interesting, and pretty cool.

Oh: Hi, Harry.
posted by terceiro at 9:52 AM on February 8, 2002


Think about it... if you believe that baptism is necessary to enter Heaven (a basic tenet of many Christian sects), then why not extend that to the greatest number of people?

Because people's relationships with their god are a personal matter, and if they choose to have a relationship with the Mormon version thereof, then they'll seek the requrements of the Mormon faith accordingly. If they have not, then they've made their choice -- which may be perfectly acceptable to them and their religion, even if it doesn't jibe with Mormon teaching. The very concept of Mormonising Jews -- or anyone else -- after their death for "their own sake" is insulting, arrogant, presumptuous and self-righteous beyond belief.
posted by Dreama at 10:53 PM on February 8, 2002


Dreama... Um, you rant with such fervor that it seems a shame to rain on your parade. But you should really get your facts straight: proxy baptism is not some form of post-mortem compulsory conversion.

The doctrine behind the practice (in short form) is that these baptisms are performed on behalf of the deceased, not to them.

The person on whose behalf the baptism is performed must then accept the rite on the other side of the veil; it's an invitation, not a command.

At any rate, how folks who don't believe that the doctrine reflects reality can muster such indignation is beyond me... but I thought I'd better clarify the doctrine, nevertheless.
posted by silusGROK at 7:23 AM on February 9, 2002


I'll be the first to admit I know little about the Mormon faith, but I read the link with great interest. However, the concept of "recommend" is interesting.
What is of even greater interest to me is whether the Mormon faith is the only one that requires some sort of "proof of membership," if you will, before you're allowed into their place of worship.
Anyone?
posted by Fenderhead at 10:20 PM on February 9, 2002


I'll be the first to admit I know little about the Mormon faith, but I read the link with great interest. However, the concept of "recommend" is interesting.
What is of even greater interest to me is whether the Mormon faith is the only one that requires some sort of "proof of membership," if you will, before you're allowed into their place of worship.
Anyone?
posted by Fenderhead at 10:20 PM on February 9, 2002


Fenderhead... temples are not our regular houses of worship. There are 10s of thousands of houses of worship across the globe (2 being built every day) and they are used for Sunday services, social gatherings, scout troop meetings, and the occassional wedding reception. Anyone can attend a worship service there... and there are often pick-up basketball games going on in their gyms most other nights of the week.

Temples, however -- and there are only a hundred or so -- are special places set aside as the literal House(s) of God. They hold a special place in the Mormon psyche... and are reserved for special rites. As such, only members in good standing are permitted to enter once they are dedicated. Because of this, the Church holds open houses for a couple of weeks preceeding a temple's dedication... offering a chance for neighbors to see what a temple looks like before it's closed to the world.

Hope that helps...
posted by silusGROK at 7:34 AM on February 10, 2002


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