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July 12, 2010

2

A Visit to Temple Square

by Dave Malnes

Greetings from Truth in Love Ministry!

Beautiful manicured lawns.  Multitudes of spring flowers basking in the sunlight.  Granite stone foundations carved over a century ago meshed with modern-day buildings each designed to invite a story.  Temple square in Salt Lake City was warm and inviting on this glorious spring day — a perfect day to take a tour and observe first-hand the pillars of Mormonism.

It was an amazing experience!

Temple square is located in the heart of Salt Lake City and within walking distance from the state capitol building.  Located on a plot of land the size of a city block, the temple is gloriously displayed as it rests on granite blocks hand-carved over a century ago.  Upon entering the gated grounds, you are immediately drawn to two large visitors centers located at opposite ends of the square.

Immediately inside the south visitors center there is a large mural containing a variety of illustrations of a man and a woman faithfully obeying the commandments and ordinances of the LDS church.  At the end, the man and woman are clothed in radiant white joyfully interacting with their children.  The sign shares that by becoming LDS and obeying the commandments of the church, a man and woman can eternally progress toward exaltation.  In essence, man has the opportunity to become a god if they make the right choices in life.  And one of those choices is to become a faithful Mormon.

Only a few minutes into our personal tour, we were greeted by two nicely dressed young ladies who invited us to take a personal tour of temple square.  They introduced themselves as Sister Rios from Mexico and Sister Kim from South Korea.  Our first stop was the tabernacle where the famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs Thursday evening and Sunday afternoons.  From there, we were shown displays about the book of Mormon and how it came into being.  We also saw displays on how a young Joseph Smith found the book and translated it to become another testament to the Bible.  All a person needs to do is to pray about the restored truth in the book of Mormon and the Spirit will tell you that it is all true and there is a better life ahead for those who aspire to attain it.

The most interesting aspect of the tour is that everything presented is within the backdrop of Christianity.  There are references to the Bible, exhibits of important figures of the Old Testament and a few pictures of Jesus Christ.  Yet, Christ is not the central point of the message of Mormonism.  Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and the living prophet of today command center stage of all that is true about Mormonism.  Obeying the gospel of Mormonism, the restored truth of the church, is the key to your eternal progression.  That is the message of the tour and if anyone is interested, you can fill out a card and nice young missionaries in your area will be more than happy to visit you.

For one has put their trust in the completed work of Jesus Christ; who are 100% assured of being perfect in Christ; and who are fully forgiven because of His death on the cross; tears can’t help but form in the eyes to the false teaching being presented.

And people are buying into this message.

In the latest statistical report presented by the LDS church, there are now over 13.8 million LDS around the world.  Last year, there were 280,000 new converts to Mormonism with over 84,000 in the United States alone.  Furthermore, of the new converts, Brazil had 42,000 new members, Mexico with 39,000 and 17,000 in the Philippines.  (Salt Lake City Tribune, April 16, 2010)

Staggering numbers.  But with each statistic, there is a face.  A person with a lost soul crying out for help.  We saw them at temple square.  Young women missionaries with individual names on their tags and the country’s flag for which they came.  And they were not the only ones.  Well over a dozen pairs of young women missionaries from all over the world roam around temple square ready to answer your questions or take you on a tour.  My heart goes out to them because they don’t know the truth that will not only set them free, but save them from the consequences of unsaving faith.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jul 13 2010

    I am so glad you visited Temple Square, and enjoyed the beauty of that sacred space! It’s great you took advantage of a personal tour, and I am pleased that you had a lovely and positive experience.

    It is unfortunate that you chose to conclude such a positive post on a negative note. As you know, the full name of our church is The Church of JESUS CHRIST, of Latter-day Saints, [“Mormons” and “LDS” are just nicknames and abbreviations] You minimalized the many paintings and references to Jesus Christ on your tour, and did not share anything about the commanding statue of The Christus in the North Visitors Center which is one of the pinnacles of a Temple Square visit.

    I know first hand that the sister missionaries you met would have borne their witness of Jesus Christ to you during your tour. Everything that Mormons believe is centered on Jesus Christ. Long before Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, he saw and spoke with Jesus Christ and became an eye witness of Him. Brigham Young was also a witness of Christ, as well as all other LDS prophets. We believe that all prophets and apostles both anciently and modern are personal witnesses, and and chosen as mouthpieces of Jesus Christ. Our church services and temple ceremonies are in remembrance and worship of our Savior Jesus Christ. We believe in Jesus as the Savior and Redeemer of the world, and our only Way to salvation. It should be no surprise then that you would have been hearing Bible scriptures, and continual Christian references. Latter-day Saints read, study, believe in and cherish the Bible. We strive to follow Jesus’ command to love others unconditionally, and to go forth into all the world to share His gospel message. [which, as you have pointed out, is happening rather effectively]

    As you have accurately shared, the Book of Mormon is not a replacement of the Holy Bible, but another witness of Christ with people of the Western hemisphere. The Book of Mormon is a powerful second witness of all the truth of the Bible you cherish, and of Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world.

    In the end, it is very simple. Mormons believe in everything essential that ‘traditional Christians’ believe. We also believe in a few additional things that have been restored and given to the world by Jesus Christ in these Last Days before He comes again soon to rule and reign forever. The question each person must ask themselves is not “Why?” but “Why Not?” The Bible testifies that God lives, and He speaks to the earth either by His own mouth, or through the mouth of his chosen servants. So, Why Not Now? Yes, Especially now! Along with the sister missionaries you met, and all of my 13.8 + million fellow Latter-day Saints, I invite you to read The Book of Mormon for yourself. You will also want to study the words of the living prophet and apostles on the earth today. When you are ready and willing, you will discover even more truth and more freedom and more joy. Jesus Lives! He is the promised Messiah, the Christ, who redeems and saves us all. He has given the world more marvelous ways to know Him, to hear His Words, and to follow His commandments to become perfected like Him. It’s AWESOME! 🙂

    Best wishes from your sister, and fellow Christian, in Utah.

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    Reply
    • merganzerman
      Jul 14 2010

      Thank you very much for your reply. Your words are very eloquent and well-written. At the same time, I must fervently disagree with your assessment that Mormons and “traditional Christians” believe in everything essential. That statement would not be true. Essential doctrine is basically every teaching that centers around salvation. Salvation for a “traditional Christian” centers around the completed work of Jesus Christ. He became our substitute on the cross so that we can be redeemed and made perfect and righteous. Faith alone receives that blessing and promise. As a result, we are freely and fully forgiven of our sins, and made perfect — right now. This is the essential doctrine of Biblical Christianity. When asking the sister missionaries at the LDS temple, they were not aware of this truth and shared with me what the LDS church believes to be true for which you summarized in your comment. The Book of Mormon, in many ways contradicts the teachings of the Bible along with offering history of ancient North America that has yet to be proven as true (via archaeology). But that’s a whole different post. Thank you again for stopping by.

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