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Article: A Female Episcopal Priest Visits A Mormon Temple

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Here:

As I stood in front of the new Mormon Temple in Liberty, Mo., it struck me as ironic that close to 175 years ago, Mormons were forced out of this same state.

Whereas the Missouri public once urged their governor to force Joseph Smith and his followers out of the area surrounding Kansas City, Mormons began to return to the region in the 1900s, eventually gathering in such large numbers that the Church organization decided the region needed a temple.

Which is why I came to visit.

...

What does a Mormon temple look like, and what happens inside it?

Would I feel God's presence in this space, even though it's not a space that's sacred for me?

Before I go any further -- and because I know it's the question at the front of your mind, dear reader -- no one tried to convert me. In fact, everyone was very welcoming. Members volunteered en masse, clad in pressed suits and dresses. They offered guided tours, bent down to put protective boots onto my feet so my shoes wouldn't dirty the carpeting, and offered me a chewy snickerdoodle at the end of the tour. They showed me every space from changing rooms to sealing rooms where marriages take place and answered every question I asked, no matter how challenging or controversial.

And in the end, yes, I did have a God moment.

...

Unlike a cathedral, which is primarily composed of one large worship space, a Mormon temple has a variety of smaller rooms that serve different purposes. There are sealing rooms and rooms for men and women to change into white clothes (every male or female Mormon who enters a dedicated temple wears the same white clothing) and instruction rooms where individuals learn about God in preparation for receiving their endowments.

It was in these rooms, and the final Celestial Room, where I caught a glimpse of God.

You see, as part of our final stop on the tour, our guide took us to a room with a mural of the Missouri countryside painted by a local artist. The room had earthy colors, browns and greens and rows of cushioned seats. This was the first instruction room. From there, we took a step up -- as if ascending closer to heaven -- and entered a second room, similar to the first in shape and size but all white. This was the second instruction room. When we left that room, we took another step up and entered the Celestial Room, a space designed to give those who sit in it a foretaste of heaven.

It was a simple room yet ornate at the same time, all white with sparkling crystal chandeliers, large mirrors, and plump sofas and chairs reminiscent of those that must have existed in Joseph Smith's day. Our guide asked us to be silent and said we were welcome to sit wherever we liked and take a moment to pray. So I sat down on a sofa that seemed to envelop me, folded my hands on my lap and closed my eyes.

Like Dante, who saw God face to face but had no words to describe the encounter, I have few words to describe what I felt in that moment. But I can say this: While it did not convert me, nor did it make me want to be a Mormon, the silence and peace I felt reminded me of the many other times I've felt close to God, whether in an Episcopal cathedral, in a clear, warm ocean or in my ratty old car. And because of that, I came to understand why temples exist and why they are so important to Mormons across the world.

And along the lines of Mormons being across the world: As I wrote earlier, Mormons were ironically driven out of Liberty, Missouri and the surrounding region nearly 175 years ago. It cannot be lost on those who visit the new temple that almost two centuries later, Mormons are often still held in suspicion by society, but they are far from being as vulnerable as they were in their early years. They are building stronger foundations every day, and striving, as they do so, to catch a glimpse of heaven.

___

Cool.

-Smac

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Very nice.

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Cool.

Very.

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:good:
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Simply wonderful.

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What a nice article. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone could keep an open mind about such things.

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Great article. :) Much different from the recent thread I started about the catholic priest and what he said on his blog which was spiteful. :spiteful:

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The article shows that there is mercy. Thanks for sharing.

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Interesting her description of the rooms. Is that the way they do it in all the small temples?

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If a non-Mormon can find God in a Mormon temple, can a Mormon find God in a non-Mormon church?

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Of course, God is available to be found whenever we seek him sincerely.

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Excellent article, and a refreshing breeze of ecumenical charity (in the classical, Christian definition of the word;))

If a non-Mormon can find God in a Mormon temple, can a Mormon find God in a non-Mormon church?

The faithful, the humble, and the penitent can find God most any where.

Including in a secluded spot in Pennsylvania, a watery ebb of the Missouri River, or even in a fiery furnace in ancient Mesopotamia.

Contrary to what you might have heard, Mormons do not deny the gifts of the Spirit to others, nor do we assume that God is silent to all save ourselves.

We simply believe that we have the fullest and most complete understanding of the Gospel and, therefore, of the ordinances required for the fullest and most complete degrees of glory.

Mormons, as a people, are not interested in condemning others- only in inviting others to share in what we have.

Rare is the Mormon who would condemn someone such as Billy Graham or Mother Teresa. We might not agree with their denomination or faith- but none of us would gainsay their faith or sincerity.

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Excellent article, and a refreshing breeze of ecumenical charity (in the classical, Christian definition of the word;))

The faithful, the humble, and the penitent can find God most any where.

Including in a secluded spot in Pennsylvania, a watery ebb of the Missouri River, or even in a fiery furnace in ancient Mesopotamia.

Contrary to what you might have heard, Mormons do not deny the gifts of the Spirit to others, nor do we assume that God is silent to all save ourselves.

We simply believe that we have the fullest and most complete understanding of the Gospel and, therefore, of the ordinances required for the fullest and most complete degrees of glory.

Mormons, as a people, are not interested in condemning others- only in inviting others to share in what we have.

Rare is the Mormon who would condemn someone such as Billy Graham or Mother Teresa. We might not agree with their denomination or faith- but none of us would gainsay their faith or sincerity.

Great response, Selek.

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Excellent article, and a refreshing breeze of ecumenical charity (in the classical, Christian definition of the word;))

The faithful, the humble, and the penitent can find God most any where.

Including in a secluded spot in Pennsylvania, a watery ebb of the Missouri River, or even in a fiery furnace in ancient Mesopotamia.

Agreed. If this is so, is it absolutely necessary to attend church on Sunday?

Contrary to what you might have heard, Mormons do not deny the gifts of the Spirit to others, nor do we assume that God is silent to all save ourselves.

Sure they do. All the time. You do it here.

We simply believe that we have the fullest and most complete understanding of the Gospel and, therefore, of the ordinances required for the fullest and most complete degrees of glory.

See what I mean?

Mormons, as a people, are not interested in condemning others- only in inviting others to share in what we have.

Rare is the Mormon who would condemn someone such as Billy Graham or Mother Teresa. We might not agree with their denomination or faith- but none of us would gainsay their faith or sincerity.

The LDS church and it's members routinely deny and oppose ("gainsay") other churches. "The One True Church" stuff comes to mind. Because you are Mormon you will receive something that non-Mormons will not receive, right?

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Agreed. If this is so, is it absolutely necessary to attend church on Sunday?

LDS believe that God has commanded us to attend church on Sundays when possible. We don't go because it's the only place where we can feel God, we go because God has said that's where we need to be.

Sure they do. All the time. You do it here.

Examples?

See what I mean?

Disagreeing with someone's doctrinal beliefs is not the same thing as denying that they can receive gifts of the Spirit.

The LDS church and it's members routinely deny and oppose ("gainsay") other churches. "The One True Church" stuff comes to mind. Because you are Mormon you will receive something that non-Mormons will not receive, right?

We do believe there are specific blessings which are available to those who are members of the church which are not available to those who aren't, but that is not the same thing as talking bad about other religions, denying they are Christian, or denying that God blesses them as well.

Saying that someone belongs to a religion that is less complete than another does not deny the truths that that religion possesses. The idea that one must agree with everything another church teaches or they are 'gain-saying' that religion isn't logical or reasonable.

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Law22,

In future, please use the "quote", rather than the "color" button. Their use is the same in either case and it makes it far easier to respond to you.

"The faithful, the humble, and the penitent can find God most any where. Including in a secluded spot in Pennsylvania, a watery ebb of the Missouri River, or even in a fiery furnace in ancient Mesopotamia."

Agreed. If this is so, is it absolutely necessary to attend church on Sunday?

Strictly speaking, "attending chuch on Sunday" is not "absolutely necessary". In point of fact, many Latter-day Saints in the Middle East observe a Saturday Sabbath.

What is incontrovertible, however, is that we are commanded by the Lord to meet regularly in worship and to renew our covenants. There is strength, security, wisdom, and growth to be found in keeping those commandments.

And that is what the faithful do.

"Contrary to what you might have heard, Mormons do not deny the gifts of the Spirit to others, nor do we assume that God is silent to all save ourselves."

Sure they do. All the time. You do it here.

I'm sorry- but you're going to have to be far more specific than this.

We do not deny the faith of others- nor do we assume that any who disagree with us are automagically lost, fallen, bestial, or sinful.

We do not believe that any Church which disagrees with us is automagically the Church of the Devil- and in those rare instances where such nonsense has been put forth, it has been shot down swiftly and unequivocally.

"We simply believe that we have the fullest and most complete understanding of the Gospel and, therefore, of the ordinances required for the fullest and most complete degrees of glory."

See what I mean?

To be honest- no, I don't.

Mormons, as a people, are not interested in condemning others- only in inviting others to share in what we have.

"Rare is the Mormon who would condemn someone such as Billy Graham or Mother Teresa. We might not agree with their denomination or faith- but none of us would gainsay their faith or sincerity."

The LDS church and it's members routinely deny and oppose ("gainsay") other churches. "The One True Church" stuff comes to mind. Because you are Mormon you will receive something that non-Mormons will not receive, right?

Try again- and this time, read what I wrote.

By declaring that we are the "one, true Church" we are not gainsaying the faith or sincerity of others. The worst of which we can be accused is questioning their claims to authority.

We do not automagically assume (as do many others) that all who disagree with us are vile, insincere, phony, or damned to hell. We cheerfully acknowledge that most Christian practicioners are sincere believers in their faith- that they are genuinely, honestly seeking Christ the best way they know how.

That is a charity and a concession that far too few are willing to make in our favor. For the faithful Latter-day Saint, that admission is as normal and regular as breathing.

We are not "opposed" to other faiths, any more than a preference for water stands in opposition to a preference for cola.

We simply disagree with their premise, and make our premises plain.

Yes- we stand in contradiction with the faith claims of others: but we do not stand in condemnation of their faithful.

We do not have dedicated ministries whose sole purpose is to tear down the faith of others. We simply invite others to take what good they have and join it to that which we can offer.

That crucial concession- that someone who believes differently might believe sincerely- is sorely lacking in much of the world today. That's why this article is so refreshing.

Edited by selek1
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Bluebell and Selek1 -

(instead of hitting the quote button I just addressed the post to you two - I'll figure it out in time I hope.)

While I do appreciate everything you say in response to my post, I am left feeling a bit . . . unenlightened.

Let me ask this: Do you believe that if a person is not a temple worthy Mormon, and they die after they are eight years old, and they are not the subject of post-mortem proxy, they cannot get into the Celestial Kingdom and will therefore never meet God or Jesus?

btw, I've heard non-Mormons characterized as lost, fallen, and sinful, but "beastial?" :)

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Let me ask this: Do you believe that if a person is not a temple worthy Mormon, and they die after they are eight years old, and they are not the subject of post-mortem proxy, they cannot get into the Celestial Kingdom and will therefore never meet God or Jesus?

This wasn't directed to me, but I do not believe this. Our Heavenly Father has declared that all His children will be given an opportunity to enter into His kingdom. The only people who will not live with Him again are those who choose not to.

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If a non-Mormon can find God in a Mormon temple, can a Mormon find God in a non-Mormon church?

Absolutely.

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Law, let me suggest you invest the time (it should not take you that long) to read the basic Sunday School manual, Gospel Principles. It will save you so much confusion and time and make these discussion much more meaningful and maybe even interesting for you. Very simple to read so it's quick and if you want, the scriptures used to support the doctrine are just a click away.

Here is the online version:

http://www.lds.org/m...ciples?lang=eng

For postmortal beliefs, see chapters 38, 40, 41, 46 and 47.

Edited by calmoriah
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Law, let me suggest you invest the time (it should not take you that long) to read the basic Sunday School manual, Gospel Principles. It will save you so much confusion and time and make these discussion much more meaningful and maybe even interesting for you. Very simple to read so it's quick and if you want, the scriptures used to support the doctrine are just a click away.

Here is the online version:

http://www.lds.org/m...ciples?lang=eng

For postmortal beliefs, see chapters 38, 40, 41, 46 and 47.

Thank you so much for the link but I've read it. :)

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Let me ask this: Do you believe that if a person is not a temple worthy Mormon, and they die after they are eight years old, and they are not the subject of post-mortem proxy, they cannot get into the Celestial Kingdom and will therefore never meet God or Jesus?

That's an awful lot of qualifiers, addenda, and provisos, Law22- almost to the point of absurdity.

Upon reading it, the first thing that sprang to mind was the Genie's lines about adenda and quid pro quo from the movie Alladin.

That having been said, no I don't (and based upon Mormon theology, cannot) rule out the possibility of such an one reaching the Celestial kingdom- for it is God who will judge them, based upon the light and law that was given to them.

Addressing your qualifiers one at a time, they strike me as arbitrary and artificial:

1) not a temple worthy Mormon,
"temple-worthy" is a qualifier governed by specific covenant. Given that the vast population of humanity has not and likely will not be inducted into that covenant in this mortality, it is neither just nor logical to judge them by that standard.
2) they die after they are eight years old,
This goes back to the age of accountability. Eight years old is the arbitrary rule of thumb established by revelation and practice- but it remains just that: a rule of thumb. It is an irreducible tenet of Mormonism that each of us- Mormon, non-Mormon, Turk, Frank, Hottentot, Saxon, Norman, Democrat or Republican will be judged on our individual merits and account for our individual deeds. Thus the qualifier as offered is a strawman, rather than a valid qualifier of salvation or damnation.
3) they are not the subject of post-mortem proxy
Ironically, this is the only qualifier that might possibly be a genuine hurdle- though not for the reasons you think.

First and foremost, we believe that everyone will be offered this rite: whether in this life or during the Millenium.

As such, there will be only two categories of people: those who received the baptismal and endowment ordinances in this life, and those who did not.

The former have no need of proxy baptism- and can yet be saved (which obviates your qualifier).

The latter will receive at least the offer of the ordinance- which they can accept or reject according to their own beliefs and conscience.

Why would those who genuinely seek Christ and his grace reject the ordinance when he offers it to them?

Ultimately, your argument and litany of qualifiers fails for one simple fact: all of those who can or will be redeemed- every single one- is ALREADY a recipient of salvation by proxy.

None- regardless of age- can or will be redeemed who will not receive Christ's gift of mercy and grace. Christ himself stood as a proxy for us, taking upon our sins.

Save that we accept his atoning sacrifice, there is no rite, no process, no means by which we can be saved.

In point of fact, one can only be saved by proxy, by obedience, and by faith.

Going back to your overall question however: It is possible that someone who is not a temple-worthy Mormon, who died above the age of eight, and who was not subject to proxy baptism will be allowed into the Celestial Kingdom.

But the circumstances would be so rare and unusual that it would be easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle.

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Interesting her description of the rooms. Is that the way they do it in all the small temples?

That's how they're doing it in all the new temples, including those being renovated. Going 'back' to a form of Salt-Lake-progressive-style! (Creation, Garden, and Telestial/World sequences all together in one beautifully mural-ed World room, followed by a physical move into the Terrestrial Room, and then, as always, a Celestial Room). I love it.

Edited by David T
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Bluebell and Selek1 -

(instead of hitting the quote button I just addressed the post to you two - I'll figure it out in time I hope.)

While I do appreciate everything you say in response to my post, I am left feeling a bit . . . unenlightened.

Let me ask this: Do you believe that if a person is not a temple worthy Mormon, and they die after they are eight years old, and they are not the subject of post-mortem proxy, they cannot get into the Celestial Kingdom and will therefore never meet God or Jesus?

LDS believe that EVERYONE will be the subject of post-mortem proxy ordinances, if they never got the chance in mortality.

But, I think this question illustrates the difference between how you appear to view baptism and how LDS view it.

LDS believe that whether or not someone get's to 'meet' Jesus or God is not based on which church has their records. Baptism is about becoming an adopted son or daughter of Jesus through covenant-making, and thus becoming joint-heirs with Him, enabled to gain all that the Father has. It is about going through the narrow gate (spoken of in scriptures), which LDS believe is the only way to get onto the path which leads to eternal life.

So, can someone gain eternal life without getting on the path that leads to it? No, LDS don't believe that they can.

Do you believe that someone can gain eternal life without doing what Christ has said must be done to gain it?

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