For the first time in my life after thirty-eight years of existence on this earth, I explored the interior of a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) temple. Actually, I have done so twice in 2008. But after dedication day, February 10, 2008, the Rexburg Idaho Temple doors will be closed to the public, even to the cultural Mormons, Jack Mormons, New Order Mormons, Born Again Mormons, Non-active Mormons, and so on. There is only one thing that separates Believing Temple Mormons from others: the bishop-recommend card. Though you might be wearing a suit and looking your finest, without your recommend, no way will you pass the front desk and step into the peaceful symbolism of celestial glory. Only those “worthy” LDS (living a clean life, tithing, and serving fellow man, etc.) can enter. The temple is restricted to everyone else because the top sphere of heaven is exclusive. I wonder how long this idea will hold out for future generations in a postmodern religious America. (Note: Special thanks to Chris Leavell for permission to use his photos.)At my first tour, my sister, Susie, and I were greeted by an army of friendly ushers in the parking lot of the LDS stake center, inside the building, and then later in the Rexburg Temple. As we made our way into a classroom, LDS sister Kowalchuk smiled and warmly welcomed us. LDS elder Bill Parker (I think he was the executive director of LDS temples) shook my hand.
Hey, my wife and I are soon flying to North Carolina in order to speak in a missions conference. But I have noticed today that the conservative Christian website, Sharper Iron, has posted my short book review on Craig Harline’s, Sunday (Doubleday, 2007).
Check it out. I noticed that Craig is not too fond of Puritan, Calvinistic preachers. Would you think it right of me in saying that Mormonism is the direct antithesis?
Ann Romney, wife of presidential candidate Mitt Romney, on her conversion to Mormonism:
I’m still adjusting because I don’t like going to church for three hours every Sunday. That’s rough!
World magazine (November 3, 2007), p. 16.
Actually, our church has three hours (Sunday School and morning worship) in the morning, not counting the pre-SS prayer meeting. We also have a Sunday evening service.
I invite Mitt and Ann to come visit the next time they are in Idaho Falls. Do many LDS like many evangelicals think three hours is rough? 🙂
Sometime, I will post my thoughts on Craig Harline’s new book, Sunday (2007).
On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther initiated discussion by submitting 95 theses for the Roman Catholic Church to consider. Today, 490 years later, as one who was born and has lived in Mormon country for most of my life, I earnestly submit my 95 theses for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) to consider. The religious leaders of the intermountain West need to completely rethink the foundational undergirdings that hold up the well-oiled, seasoned superstructure.
Governor Mitt Romney, a man who intrigues me, is seeking the presidency of the United States of America. The LDS religion is a topic of discussion throughout many parts of the country. In observing some of the conversation in the corridor, I am at least aware of many undercurrents in popular LDS thought and action. As a Bible preacher who considers himself a latter-day saint living within the I-15 Corridor, the stretch of interstate from the top of southeastern Idaho to St. George, Utah, I offer frank and honest propositions for LDS in 2007. I am sure that for each earnest and regenerated Christian, as he lives in and observes his particular cultural environment in America, thoughts of conviction from time to time will arise to the surface that need to be expressed. Here are some of mine: