Written by Mark Cares
In a couple of weeks, the new LDS temple in Meridian, Idaho will be open to the public for tours. Understandably, quite a few people have asked for advice. So much so, that I put together a sheet about taking the tour. Here’s a link to it. Taking the Temple Tour
One of my friends, who also has a number of Mormon friends, asked on Facebook what she should be paying attention to as she toured it. The predominant answer of her Mormon friends was to heed her feelings. They emphasized the beauty of the art and the architecture and the good feelings they engender. None of them mentioned, not even in passing, the purpose of the temple – especially all the work performed vicariously for the dead there.
There is no question, whatsoever, that her friends were sincere. They truly believe that her feelings will be the most important thing to pay attention to.
That is, if she has good feelings. Not so much if she experiences uneasiness. In my experience, that is the most common feeling Christians have after touring a Mormon temple. It made them feel very uncomfortable. And it’s not just Christians who have responded this way. Many ex-Mormons say they were confused and uneasy the first time they went through the temple – some, so much so, that they never returned.
When this happens, most Mormons question the person and not the temple. Their default is to say the person wasn’t sincere and open to the Holy Ghost’s promptings.
It’s good for Christians to be prepared for their reaction – and then use it to their advantage. When Mormons have questioned my sincerity, I l have lovingly but quite firmly pushed back. I tell them they can disagree with my conclusion, but they dare not question my motives or sincerity. They can talk about my sincerity only if they can read my heart – something only God can do (See 1 Samuel 16:7). I often have requested an apology – something most will give me.
But don’t stop there. After clearing the air, ask them if you could seriously, not contentiously, share your reasons for feeling uneasy. Then focus not on how the temple looked, but what the temple is used for. Especially talk about one of the main premises behind temple work; namely, that there they can help people who have died. Share with them how this removes the urgency of people learning about Jesus before they die; how it gives a false sense of security.
And then share with them the feelings you have knowing Jesus has accomplished everything for you. Exuberantly tell them of your complete confidence of spending eternity in Heavenly Father’s presence. Express your joy in wearing Christ’s robe of righteousness which makes you acceptable to God right now. Share with them the wonderful feelings Christ gives you because he has done all for you.