Along With Others of the Devout (of Various Religious Stripes) Latter-day Saints Worship In Buildings, We Don’t Worship the Buildings Themselves: We Worship Jesus Christ
By Ken K. Gourdin
Some time ago in my cyber-travels, I happened upon LDSdaily.com (a site which, now that I’ve run across it again, I intend to add to my “Worth Regular Visits” list—which is a very short list, by the way: LDS.org, Mormondialogue.org, LDSChurchTemples.com, Dan Peterson’s Blog Sic et non at Patheos, and a few others), which has a feature on the newly-constructed Tucson Arizona Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For the feature and accompanying comments, see here (this and all other links last accessed September 20, 2017):
In response to the foregoing coverage, a poster with the Internet handle “Steve Shimek,” which, I assume, is his real name, posted, “You need to focus on Jesus Christ”—as though members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints don’t do that; see what I did there?—“and have a personal relationship with him not worshiping a building made by men” [sic]. There is, of course, a vast difference between worshiping the Temple itself, which Latter-day Saints don’t do, and worshiping in the Temple, where, in one way or another, Jesus Christ is the focus of everything we do. For more information on why Latter-day Saints build Temples, see here: https://www.lds.org/temples/why-latter-day-saints-build-temples?lang=eng.
While many people—including many Latter-day Saints—call the Church “the Mormon Church” (after The Book of Mormon, a book of scripture comparable to the Holy Bible) or “the LDS Church” (for Latter-day Saints), the proper name of the Church, as I point out above, is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and preferred style on subsequent references is simply the Church of Jesus Christ. A number of years ago, the Church of Jesus Christ’s logo was redesigned to make the Savior’s name-title its most prominent feature. (See here: https://www.brandsoftheworld.com/logo/the-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints.)
I responded to Mr. Shimek thus:
With due respect, you present a false dichotomy. No one worships the temple, and feeling excitement and reverence for what one considers a sacred space where one may draw closer to one’s Lord and Savior certainly is not inconsistent with worshiping Him. From the time Christ became separated from his earthly parents upon returning from celebrating Passover at Jerusalem and they “sought [him], sorrowing” and finally found Him in the temple and He, in turn, asked them, “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (see Luke 2:44-49) on into His earthly ministry, Christ seemed to be perfectly at home in the temple.
I suspect that you will need to rely on more than a few a priori assumptions, ipse dixits, and other unsupported assertions in order to construct a rationale for why, if Christ was perfectly at home in the temple, Latter-day Saints should not follow his lead. Latter-day Saints construct these edifices at the Lord’s command, and He refers to them in Latter-day Saint Holy Writ as “[His] house” (see, e.g., Doctrine & Covenants 88:119; 109:8; 97:15; 124:24, 40; 110:7).
Of course, while, often, I don’t succeed as well as I would like to, I do try to follow the Book of Mormon’s injunction to “stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that I may be in, even until death” (see Mosiah 18:8-10, especially verse 9), and, in so doing, to glorify my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that the Temple is just one of many places where I can do that (since, according to that scripture, I’m supposed to do it everywhere), but the fact remains that some of my most significant spiritual experiences (experiences which have brought me closer to Christ) have occurred in the Temple.
Google’s Gmail lets users set up different tabs (which are essentially file folders); Facebook notifications go into my “Social” tab, which, frankly, I hardly ever look at. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of the trail of breadcrumbs one leaves in Cyberspace. Thanks to Sean Buckley for liking this comment on Facebook (a site which, frankly, is not on my “regular visits” list). Honestly, had I not seen Mr. Buckley’s (Brother Buckley’s; I assume Brother Buckley is a fellow Latter-day Saint) Facebook “Like” of my comment in my Google “Social” tab (which I only look at once every few months), I would have forgotten about this comment entirely.
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