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Article: A Female Episcopal Priest Visits A Mormon Temple


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#1 smac97

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 01:37 PM

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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#2 thesometimesaint

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 01:54 PM

Very nice.
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#3 Log

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 01:55 PM

Cool.

Very.
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#4 bluebell

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 01:59 PM

:good:
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#5 ERMD

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 02:04 PM

Simply wonderful.
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#6 Deborah

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 02:06 PM

What a nice article. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone could keep an open mind about such things.
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Judges 4:4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.

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#7 JeremyOrbe-Smith

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 02:06 PM

Just saw this on Facebook. Fantastic little piece. :)
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#8 why me

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 02:16 PM

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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Joseph Smith Quotes
... I love that man better who swears a stream as long as my arm, and administering to the poor and dividing his substance, than the long smooth faced hypocrites. I don't want you to think I am very righteous, for I am not very righteous. God judgeth men according to the light he gives them.
Words of Joseph Smith, p.204 (18 May 1843)


http://www.lds.org/e...tation?lang=eng

#9 Valentinus

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 02:30 PM

The article shows that there is mercy. Thanks for sharing.
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If you try to take away my rights to the equal protection of laws and equal access to privileges that you enjoy, then you are a bigot. It doesn't matter your reasons. You're still a bigot. If you don't like being called that, then change.

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#10 rpn

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 03:30 PM

Interesting her description of the rooms. Is that the way they do it in all the small temples?
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#11 Law22

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:04 PM

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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#12 calmoriah

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:14 PM

Of course, God is available to be found whenever we seek him sincerely.
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When you climb up a ladder, you...begin at the bottom...ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top...so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first...go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world. Joseph Smith
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#13 selek1

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:21 PM

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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#14 Valentinus

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:32 PM

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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If you try to take away my rights to the equal protection of laws and equal access to privileges that you enjoy, then you are a bigot. It doesn't matter your reasons. You're still a bigot. If you don't like being called that, then change.

Memento Vivere


#15 Law22

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:47 PM

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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#16 bluebell

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 06:16 PM

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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"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

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#17 selek1

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 06:17 PM

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, 22 April 2012 - 06:19 PM.

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#18 Law22

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 07:47 PM

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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#19 altersteve

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 07:53 PM

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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#20 altersteve

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 07:54 PM

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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