Mormon Temple in Philadelphia
The soon-to-be-dedicated Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple, the only Mormon temple between Washington, D.C., and New York City. Photo courtesy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

A new Mormon temple rises in Ben Franklin’s Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (RNS) The world’s newest Mormon temple, in the heart of Philadelphia, aims to embrace and shut out the city at the same time.

Open to the public for a month before only Mormons may enter, the temple is an homage to Independence Hall, where the Founding Fathers drafted and signed the U.S. Constitution. Mormons consider the document divinely inspired, and a church-commissioned painting of Benjamin Franklin signing it hangs in the temple's foyer.

Although this is the 152nd Mormon temple to be built, it is the one that most strongly connects Mormonism -- one of the largest faith groups to be born in the United States -- with the birth of the country. It's an emotional tie for members of a church who have often been treated as a cult, outsiders in their native land.

“We believe that part of the reason for the founding of this country was to enable a faith such as ours to be established and to grow and flourish the way it has,” said Elder Larry Y. Wilson, who directs temple building for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the official name of the Mormon church.

Mormon Temple in Philadelphia

A painting of Benjamin Frankin signing the Constitution hangs in the foyer of the newly built Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple, the only Mormon temple between Washington, D.C., and New York City. Photo courtesy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

From the painting to the details on the baptismal font railing, the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple, as it is called, honors not only Franklin’s city but also the state where the church’s first prophet was baptized and where half the Book of Mormon was translated.

Steps from the clamorous Vine Street Expressway, the granite building with its spire jutting about 20 stories into the skyline is foremost a place of spiritual quiet. The air conditioning on a recent summer day was powerful but silent, the carpets soft underfoot. Light gently refracted through thousands of crystals in the chandeliers.

“A temple is regarded by members of our faith as the house of the Lord, and just as with Solomon’s Temple, we seek to build it from the finest material and using the finest craftspeople to construct it,” Wilson said.

Elder Larry Wilson, head of the temple building department for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. RNS photo by Lauren Markoe

Elder Larry Wilson, head of the temple building department for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. RNS photo by Lauren Markoe


 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Like the other 151 Mormon temples around the world, the Philadelphia temple is designed to make church members feel, as they ascend four stories to pray and meditate in the temple’s Celestial Room, that they are drawing ever close to God.

“It’s built as a haven for people to leave behind the world and get their bearings in the universe,” Wilson said. “We’ve tried to eliminate as much worldly influence as we can.”

Inside the temple there is no grand sanctuary in which to hear a rousing sermon, no wide aisle down which a bride might walk. It lacks what most churchgoers would recognize as an altar. The interior of the 61,000-square-foot building, rather, evokes a well-appointed Georgian-style mansion, with pale yellow carpeting, cream-colored walls, and burnished mahogany banisters.

The church will not disclose the cost of the temple, for which funds were raised through tithing.

Each of its rooms is designed for Mormons to prepare for or receive a particular blessing. Unlike the thousands of Mormon meetinghouses and chapels around the world in which non-Mormons are welcome -- the equivalents of neighborhood churches -- an LDS temple is built for members of the LDS church to participate in its religious rites, called "ordinances."

These ordinances include the baptism of Mormons' ancestors, and the “sealing” of marriages and families, so they may -- as Mormons believe -- live together in the afterlife.

Josephine Scere, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Philadelphia. The dedication of a Mormon temple in Philadelphia in September will end her monthly trips to the temple to which she had previously had to travel, outside Washington, D.C. RNS photo by Lauren Markoe

Josephine Scere, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Philadelphia. The dedication of a Mormon temple in Philadelphia in September will end her monthly trips to the temple to which she had previously had to travel, outside Washington, D.C. RNS photo by Lauren Markoe


 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

“We want to have everyone have the opportunity to be sealed into Heavenly Father’s eternal family as far back as Adam and Eve,” said Josephine Scere, a Mormon and school counselor who lives in Philadelphia.

Once the Philadelphia temple is dedicated on Sept. 18, Scere will no longer make her monthly trip to the temple to which she had been assigned, in Maryland just outside Washington, D.C. She will instead immerse in the font in the Philadelphia temple to, by proxy, baptize her deceased relatives in the faith -- including those she has never met -- so generations, she believes, will meet in heaven.


READ: Baptizing Mom


The Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple, the first to be built in the state, will serve more than 41,000 Mormons in the region and be staffed by 800 church members -- all volunteers. It sits midway between the two nearest temples, the one near Washington and midtown Manhattan’s.

To Mormons, another temple means more baptisms and more sealings -- more people who can spend the afterlife with God and their families.

Mormon Temple in Philadelphia

One of four sealing rooms in the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple, in which couples and families will be “sealed” to each other so that they may live together in the afterlife. Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Mormons will give everything to seal themselves to their families, said Vai Sikahema, a Mormon leader from New Jersey, television news anchor and former player for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Living in a hut with a dirt floor on the island of Tonga in the 1960s, Sikahema’s parents saved for six years to buy one-way passage for their family of five to New Zealand, where there is an LDS temple.

Even before they had saved enough money to book passage home, they wanted “to receive the crowning ordinances that are only performed in temples.” They were sealed to each other and their children in a ceremony -- Sikahema said through tears -- that is his earliest memory.

“Our sacrifice as a family was no more difficult than someone who lives on Kensington and Allegheny,” he said, referring to a poor neighborhood in Philadelphia.

When you don’t have a car, traveling to Washington or New York by public transportation presents enormous obstacles, he said. “That’s why the church builds these temples where they’re built, and why so much of the resources of the church are used so that people don’t have to make the kinds of sacrifices that my family made.”

When every Mormon temple announced or under construction is complete, there will be about 175 around the globe to serve the world’s Mormons, who number about 14 million, with about 60 percent living outside the U.S.

“Someday there will be hundreds of temples around the world,” Wilson said.

Though one of the few major churches founded in the U.S., and one of the fastest-growing in the world, Mormonism remains a mystery for many Americans, along with its history.

The Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple of by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, right, sits just outside the city’s center. After its Sept. 18, 2016 dedication, it will serve more than 41,000 Mormons in the region. RNS photo by Lauren Markoe

The Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, right, sits just outside the city’s center. After its Sept. 18, 2016, dedication, it will serve more than 41,000 Mormons in the region. RNS photo by Lauren Markoe


 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

After the establishment of the LDS church in 1830, Mormons endured hardship as they moved to settle lands in the Midwest and West, following their first prophet, Joseph Smith. Mobs attacked and killed Mormons, including Smith, who had sought to build the Kingdom of God in America. Many mistrusted members of the church for their claim to the true Christian theology, and their polygamy, which the church later repudiated. President James Buchanan in 1857 sent forces to counter “the Mormon problem” in a yearlong campaign known as “the Utah War.”

With the church's members-only temples; prohibition on alcohol, coffee and tea; and reverence for Scripture unknown to other Christians, many outsiders today still look askance at the Mormons -- yet admire them for their work ethic and commitment to family.


READ: The Mormon Jesus


But the rare window between a temple’s construction and its dedication lends Mormons an opportunity to demystify themselves, especially in the eastern part of the United States, so far from the church’s Salt Lake City headquarters and the Western states where Mormons are more populous. From Aug. 10 to Sept. 9, the public may tour through the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple and ask questions of their Mormon guides.

The architecture and interior design all point to the importance of marriage and family in an individual’s connection to God.

The first floor baptismal room, for example, sets a warm pool atop a dozen nearly life-sized, bronze-plated oxen, each representing one of the Tribes of Israel. A mural shows the baptism of Joseph Smith in the Susquehanna River in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Mormon Temple in Philadelphia

The baptistry at newly built Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple, where Mormons will, by proxy, baptize their ancestors in their faith. Photo courtesy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

It is here, after a church member dons white clothes -- symbolizing purity and the equality of all people -- that he or she will immerse to baptize an ancestor of the same gender by proxy.

In one of the four sealing rooms, heterosexual couples marry and family members are bound to each other for eternity. The infinite reflections of the bride and groom in gilt-edged mirrors, which face each other on opposite walls, are meant to reinforce the idea that marriage will last beyond death.

After Sept. 18, when the temple is dedicated, only card-carrying Mormons will be admitted. The card, known as a “recommend,” shows that a church member has been deemed worthy of entry.

Once through the door, Mormons will see the painting of Franklin and one of Jesus that hangs below two crossed quills -- one quill stands for the Book of Mormon, the other for the Constitution.

Has Benjamin Franklin been posthumously baptized in the LDS church? Yes, according to Mormon sources. But the church treads gingerly on this topic, having angered many when Anne Frank and other Holocaust victims were baptized by proxy.

“We don’t encourage people to do ordinance work for people who are not part of their family,” Wilson said.

Mormon Temple in Philadelphia

A painting of Jesus hangs in the foyer of the new Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Above the painting are two quills, one representing the Book of Mormon and the other the Constitution. Photo courtesy of the church


 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Comments

  1. To set up a reservation to visit an LDS Temple before it is dedicated, see here.

  2. It is a cult. It has more in common with Scientology than Christianity. However, it produces good, law-abiding citizens so more power to them.

  3. Mormons accept the Bible as God’s Word, and we believe that the Book of Mormon testifies of Jesus Christ. We try very hard to follow the example of Jesus Christ in our daily lives. So I think that our religion has an awful lot in common with Christianity, although we are certainly distinctive in believing that God continues to speak through prophets and that God is going to give all of His children the opportunity to be saved (even if they didn’t know of the Gospel in their lifetime) through the ordinances of the temple (like proxy baptisms).

  4. They baptism and confirm our dead ancestors into their faith without permission. Someday they will probably desecrate my grave with the same practice.

    It is offensive that a faith that has fought so hard to limit the civil rights of blacks, women and now the LGBT is embracing our founding father Ben Frankin.

    The triumphet bellicosity of the LDS knows no bounds.

    Visitors beware. This a faith that now bans baptism of children of LGBT couples and to get a recommend probes into the sex lives of members. That includes minor children. They consider the faiths and creeds of Christianity to be an “abomination.”

  5. You forgot to add that you don’t consider the bible to be translated correctly. Actually your church considers the beliefs of other faiths to be an abomination. For decades your leaders at your conferences used the term “so-called Christian” to characterize mainstream Christianity.

  6. Mormons don’t believe a posthumous baptism necessarily makes the deceased person a Mormon in the afterlife. The idea is that it makes the baptism available to that person, should they decide to join the faith in the afterlife. There’s no assumptions made about whether the deceased have accepted.

  7. The “mobs” were in part comprised of former Mormons swindled in the Kirtkand bank scandal or swept up by the practice of polygamy in Illinois. Their founder was in prison after destroying a newspaper that had revealed his practice of polygamy. Even today LDS males can be “sealed” in marriage ceremonies to more than one wife for “time and eternity”. Two of their present leaders are sealed to deceased and living wives.

    In the temple itself they perform modified Masonic ceremonies. Until 1990 that include a blood oath. You will not find any symbols of Christianity in the temple. The LDS react to the Christain Cross much like Bella Lugosi.

  8. Wrong. The baptism is then followed with a ceremony that confirms them into the Mormon church.

    This practice should offend all Christains and Jews.

  9. It is offensive that someone peddling hatred of a religious minority is acting as if Benjamin Franklin would be on his side.

    Also, fact check: The LDS Church has never fought against the civil rights of women or black people. Utah was one of the first states to pass women’s suffrage and would’ve done so sooner had Congress not prevented it. The Mormon history with race is troubled, and the LDS did discriminate internally, as to priesthood ordination, until the 70s. But it did not fight against civil rights for black people. They’ve done the right thing and are working to diversify. There’s no reason to criticize their stance from 40 years ago except religious bigotry.

  10. Here is the ritual.
    Brother (or Sister) ________, in the name of Jesus Christ, we lay our hands upon your head for and in behalf of ________, who is dead, and confirm you a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and say unto you: Receive the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

  11. Your leader Ezra Taft Benson speaking in conference called the Civil Rights movement a communist conspiracy. look up the letter sent by LDS leaders to Romney’s father threatening him for his support of the Civil Rights Movement. Your faith led the effort to defeat the ERA in the 1970s. Today it is the LGBT.

  12. Your username and comments suggest you live in Utah, harbor disdain for Mormons, and surf around the Internet looking for Mormon-related articles on which to spread religious intolerance. I hope you find a better cause to spend your energy on.

  13. This is essentially the view of religion preached by “The Book of Mormon” (the Broadway musical, not the book): It’s ridiculous, but maybe it does some good! It’s an attitude of benevolent patronization.

    I doubt you would find many professors of comparative religion who would agree the Mormons have much in common with Scientology. They’re both new religious movements. That’s just about all they have in common.

  14. And so far no non-LDS archeologist or professor Egyptology has found the ancient civilizations that comprise the Book of Mormon or the translations of the LDS founder. Not a single Nephi nickel has been unearthed. And the “translations” in the Book of Abraham are gibberish.

  15. “. . . we [Mormons] are certainly distinctive in believing that God continues to speak through prophets . . .”

    Of course. The LDS Church was built on the foundation of Joseph Smith’s fraudulent tale of the gold plates, and now the fraud continues to expand their power and wealth via fraudulent prophets for profits.

    PS: I don’t mean to single out the Mormons, because all religions are built on foundations of delusions and/or fraud. But the fact that the LDS Church is a relatively modern-day creation makes the fraud so easily discernible.

  16. It’s a pretty building.

    Mormonism fits the definition of a cult, but so does the Roman Catholic Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses and a few others. Well, maybe several others. So what?

  17. That article has too many misinterpretations and logical fallacies than I care to address here. Understandably, Catholics are much better at Catholic theology than they are at commenting on LDS theology.

    It is interesting, though, that the article acknowledges the non-obligatory nature of Mormon baptisms for the dead. Thanks for helping me disprove your argument.

  18. Well, considering the people are dead, permission was hard to come by.

  19. So you think believing in a mistranslation is better?

  20. Do they have paintings of Joe the Smith using his magic rock to translate the alleged “golden plates” that haven’t been seen since? Do they still wear the get-ups (white clothes, green aprons, weird hats) that Joe the Smithster ripped off from the Masons?

  21. There is a spirit of peace at the temple unlike any other place. If you lack peace in your life, even if you are not a Mormon, go and see if you feel it too. With the possible exception of the very most bitter souls (like internet trolls) it is almost impossible to come away without feeling good at the deepest level whatever your faith may be. So, go see for yourself while you still can. When I was a child I liked to sneak through the walls of a nearby LDS temple late in the evening and sit in the garden and look at the stars. There I would feel a peace that I have rarely felt anywhere else except at such temples.
    The ability to think differently, and to believe differently, and to live differently than the always troubled and tired herd of humanity was born in law in the Constitution in this city. It comes full circle that a child of that freedom, the LDS Church, now returns grown and prosperous to give some honor to the place that helped make that freedom and peace possible. It becomes a living monument to the triumph of freedom born here and a sanctuary of peace in an increasingly angry land.

  22. A “Nephi nickel”? What is that supposed to be?

  23. From The Catholic Catechism (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P29.HTM):

    816 “The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter’s pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it…. This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsistit in) in) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.”

    The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism explains: “For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God.”

    “Outside the Church there is no salvation”

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

    847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.

    848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.

    So according to Roman Catholic doctrine eventually everyone who is saved is part of the same ‘Church’ and that the ordinance of Baptism is necessary (http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P3M.HTM)

    But, as best I can tell, there is no formal provision to make that possible.

  24. Are there any other religions in the world that depend on secrecy like Mormons?

  25. The person is dead. Their soul is in heaven or hell away from any Mormon baptizer.

  26. I don’t see where RCC meets the definition of a cult. Please tell us how.

  27. After the place is dedicated is it closed? Why? What kind of things are you doing that you can’t do them in public like a regular religion?

  28. I’ve worked with several Mormons … not very nice people. The grandparents of their children had to pay to see their grandchildren. Sick.

  29. So what if he does. Your cult does the same thing .. I’ve seen articles about the cult on other web sites and Mormons attack the site and the commenters.

  30. The original definition of ‘cult’ is any system of religious veneration. Therefore, all religions are ‘cults’.

  31. After dedication, the Temple is only open to practicing members of the LDS Church. The rituals performed therein are considered very sacred and (somewhat like the Catholic idea of excluding non-Catholics from the Eucharist) are to be practiced only by Mormons in good standing. The early Church, in fact, used to exclude non-Christians from even witnessing the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

  32. Mormons are nothing like RC’s. There is nothing secret about Holy Communion — no secret room, no secret handshakes, no secret words — everything is out in the open.

    Yes, it’s true that the early Church did go into a separate room to receive Holy Communion. RC’s and other churches like Lutherans believe what the Bible says. We receive the true body and blood of Jesus Christ — if the Sacrament is taken without that belief it can be harmful to that person. The Church by having closed Communion is protecting those who do not believe in the real presence.

    RC’s and others who believe in the Real Presence take Communion because they are sinners and need forgiveness of sins … it has nothing to do with good standing.

    Please do not equate cult members with Christians.

  33. I am happy they finally get a temple. Go to the open house. You will feel peace just walking on the grounds. We have missionaries on http://www.mormon.org who can share more. You can read the Book of Mormon and pray and ask God if it is true. I did. He said it was. I also read Bible daily. Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected 3 days later. God has called prophets today who witness and testify of Christ.

    There is freedom of religion in the USA. I am a Mormon. I have friends of many different faiths. I ask that we all respect each other.

  34. Claims as the one and only real, true church, failure to recognize clergy or sacraments of other denominations, strict qualifications for membership, undemocratic governing and financial structure, etc. While individual congregational practices vary, the fine print is cultist in my opinion. But again, I don’t care because I want no part of any cult, however well accepted it may be.

  35. Sensitive cult member. Do you get extra points for being nasty?

  36. That’s a remarkable jab, considering the content of your comments.

    The word “cult” in your hands — as in the hands of most bigots — is mere invective. It conveys no information about any subject but your own disdain.

  37. I have grandchildren. I have to pay to see one of them.

    In that, he lives in another country, so I have to pay to travel to where he lives.

    But I’ve never heard of any Mormon grandparent having to pay to see their grandchildren in any other context.

    The notion sounds rather weird to me.

  38. Secret rituals behind closed doors. Attempting to convert dead people. Secretive and demanding leaders. Works oriented ‘religion’. The list can go on.

    Believe me, I know about Mormons. Living among them, working with them, you get to know them.

  39. My ancestors and I will NEVER be slaves in your crazy imaginative world where you think you’ll be a god. You’re being scammed.

    Mormonism is a dangerous cult.

  40. Isn’t it wonderful that in the 8 years since that advice was published, the Catholic Church and the LDS church have moved closer together in recognizing the goals we have in common instead of bashing each other on the practices and beliefs that drive us apart. Would that the members could do the same.

  41. Unless Mormons repent they will end up in hell.

  42. All ordinances, including confirmation, done in the temples are binding only if accepted by the deceased for whom the ordinances are carried out. There’s no force or coercion in the process. These ordinances are done simply to give the deceased in the afterlife a choice in the matter, instead of being bound for eternity by the circumstances of their life.

  43. Equating “cult members” with “Christians” is not a problem in this case. Jesus Christ is the bedrock of the Mormon faith. Mormonism is a branch of wider Christianity, not some entirely different theology. Unless, of course, one equates “Christian” with “Trinitarian”, “Catholic”, or some other sectarian label. “Christian” means those who believe in the divinity, teachings, and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Under that definition, Mormons are most definitely Christians.

  44. Do you know how rude and offensive it is to learn that Mormons might someday Baptize and Confirm me as a “member” of their church? What unmitigated gall.

    How would you react if I started placing Christian Crosses on the graves of your family?

    This article makes it sound like your faith is baptizing immediate relatives,not strangers. That is clearly not the case. This became public when it was learned your faith was baptizing Jewish Holocaust victims.

    I am sorry, take a few steps backwards. This is cult-like behavior.

    Believe when I say, that I will be rejecting. Frankly, I would like to put something in place that triggers litigation if my name ever passes through your temples.

    Is it no wonder your faith has the highest negatives of any Christians-affiliated faith.

    FYI – the reason I have been commenting is raise red flags for Christians who might read this article. The Mormons who are commenting are doing a great job of showing that the faith resides far outside of mainstream Christianity.

  45. They are performing Masonic derived rituals in the temples.

    The LDS have been desperate to mainstream themselves into American society since the 1990s. No longer did their leaders wish to be perceived as a Peculiar People. They hired Edelman, Michael Deaver to be specific, and they started to co-opt many Christian symbols and ideas. This included replacing many of their church building spires with New England style steeples. They always try to plant themselves into historic American real estate like Boston, Philadelphia, etc. It is very similar to Scientology in that respect. In fact, the Scientologists are now led by a former Mormon.

    This effort has largely failed and research by Pew continues to show that they have the highest negatives of any Christian affiliated faith. The words “Polygamy” and “Cult” continue to be the two words most associated with the faith.

    It’s less of a faith today than it is a mega-corporation with a certain triumphant bellicosity.

  46. And I ask that you respect my rights, and those of my family and ancestors, not to make our names the subject of your secret temple rituals.

  47. Your objective has been quite evident from the start. However, those who read these comments will have to judge for themselves.

    Furthermore, the article is actually accurate. The LDS Church today restricts baptisms to immediate family.

    Your actions and motives here are saddening beyond belief. I came to this article because I am a Mormon who once lived in Philadelphia, and I wanted to see this new development for both my city and faith. You, presumably, are both a non-Mormon and a non-Philadelphian. And yet you came anyway, going out of your way to do nothing but tear down and destroy. You aren’t preaching, you aren’t edifying, you aren’t adding anything to this dialogue which you and springer have made toxic. You come only to tear down others. That’s petty and sad. LDS missionaries don’t seek to tear down the light in the lives of others; they only offer more, should they choose to accept it. You, on the contrary, seek only to raze and to demolish.

    I’m sure you will remain unfazed. After all, you likely view what you are doing as a service, keeping people away from the “Mormon heresy.” However, you do a disservice to the name of “Christian” with such relentless, uniform scourging of another’s faith. You do realize that you are adding nothing, don’t you? If your principal objective was to offer another way forward, that would be a different thing entirely. No, you are simply announcing that, from your perspective, this path is closed. That’s not good discipleship. After all, Christ did come to bring hope.

    How about, instead of whiling away the days in rabid attacks, you talk about why you think your worldview is edifying and uplifting? Tell us why you think you’re right, not why you think we’re wrong. It’s much easier to respect someone who is civil and positive, as opposed to caustic and vengeful. Give it a try: I’m sure everyone involved will prefer the new method.

  48. The Mormon Jesus is not the Jesus of Christianity. The Jesus of Christianity is a equal part of the Trinity. You will find no Mormon agreeing with the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, or the Athanasian Creed which are all based on the Bible.

    Mormons are therefore not Christians.

  49. I’ve never understood why anyone would be offended in such a way as DCA seems to think all Christians and Jews should be. Either you consider the teachings of mormonism to be a bunch of hooey or you believe them to be legitimate. If they are the former, you walk away and say “who cares? – that is all fantasy anyway and has no real-world impact on me”. If it is the latter, you think, “well – if mormoms have it right, I’m glad I’ll be included when I get to the afterlife”.

    I assume DCA doesn’t give any credence to the doctrinal teachings of mormonism in the same way I consider the world of Harry Potter to be fantasy. If I found out that somewhere a group of Harry Potter fans had enrolled me in their class at Hogwarts, by DCA’s logic, I should be deeply offended and should make a point of visiting every fan site I can to denounce the fact that my name is on the school rolls. And while I’m at it, I should point out to said fanboys that I think wands aren’t magical and Voldemort didn’t actually exist.

    I guess everyone has a right to be offended by anything they want but this one has never made sense to me. Perhaps I’m being too logical about it?

  50. Hey, it’s an ingenious–albeit bogus–way to inflate membership rolls.

  51. Your reply was definitely a side step because I never said nobody has been offended. In fact I imply that people have been – as you redundantly point out.

    Back to my actual point: should I really be so seriously concerned if Hogwarts gave me an honorary degree to be picked up after I die? Come on, you would like to “put something in place that triggers litigation” for this? I believe you when you say you will be rejecting it. Obviously you feel there will be something to reject.

  52. No, I just want to tie them up in litigation. I donated and raised substantial money to help underwrite Kitchen v. Herbert.

    It’s been fun. Off to Rio.

  53. Yes. With Olympics underway the LDS are claiming over a million members in Brazil, but the last census by the Brazilian government it revealed less than 300,000 self-identified LDS.

  54. But then, that is true of everyone, not just Mormons.

  55. Absolutely true. In addition belief in Jesus is essential. Not the Jesus that Mormons believe in, but the Jesus of the Bible.

  56. But wait, the Jesus Mormons believe in IS (according to them) the Jesus of the Bible – just not interpreted the same way that you interpret it. All of your assertions about “the real Jesus of the Bible” depend upon certain interpretations of the Bible. So, at the end of the day, who is to say that your interpretation is any more accurate than theirs? Perhaps yours is based upon errors introduced over the centuries as the Mormons assert.

  57. Unless they are right, and then your interpretation of Christianity becomes the dangerous “cult”.

  58. What ridiculous nonsense. While there may well be some odd, screwball people who just happen to be “Mormon” and for some strange reason they require their parents to pay to see their grandchildren, that has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the Church and YOU KNOW IT. You come on here claiming to be a good Christian – did you ever hear about bearing false witness as being something that you should NOT DO? What does the Jesus of the Bible say about hypocrisy?

  59. Christianity is supported by people who were there and gave accounts in the Bible of what happened. There is also non-Biblical support in historical facts.

    Mormonism is based on secrecy and good works.

  60. You’re kidding yourself … Mormons do not believe that Jesus is God equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

    The Mormon Jesus was once an angel and goes back to being an angel. Christianity’s Jesus is part of the Holy Trinity – never created. The true Jesus became a man, died for our sins, and rose from the dead to reign forever.

    Christianity’s Jesus is free.

  61. Wow, who told you that? You really have no clue as to what Mormons actually believe but you’re on here bashing them. Everything you said about”the true Jesus” is precisely what Mormons believe and everything you said about “the Mormon Jesus” is precisely WRONG.

  62. But what those people wrote can be ( and certainly is) interpreted many ways. Yours is just one of many different opinions concerning the nature of God and the requirements for salvation.

  63. A “cult,” for all practical purposes, is any religion that whoever is speaking doesn’t happen to like. The word contributes nothing to the discussion. Your statement about “co-opting Christian symbols and ideas” is patently false. Beliefs which separate the Mormons from other denominations are not hard to find with a minimum of effort — such as the belief in additional scriptures, the rejection of the traditional doctrine of the Trinity, the practice (mentioned in the article) of temple ordinances for the dead, and belief in a spiritual pre-existence (just to name a few.)

  64. So, would you rather condemn all non-Christians to spend forever in an eternal, never-ending hell, for no fault of their own, the way many “Christians” still do, even today?

  65. A “cult,” for all practical purposes, is any religion that right wing Protestants don’t like.

  66. Traditional Christian doctrines like the Trinity and Original Sin came about centuries later, through political machinations, factionalism, state (Roman) power, and – often times – violence and mob action. Such books as “Jesus Wars,” by Philip Jenkins, or “Voting on God in the Early church Councils” by Ramsay McMullin, are informative in this regard.

  67. How do people get sent to hell? For disagreeing with you?

  68. For the record, I rejected right wing Protestant teaching long before I ever became a Mormon. This was mainly for the following reasons: (1) their doctrine of the Trinity (which struck me as unbiblical and nonsensical); (2) their Doctrine of Original Sin – which asks us to blindly accept guilt, without proof, for the sins of Adam. This contradicts the American concept of justice, wherein we are presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty in a court of law;(3) their confusing mixed messages as to whether we have free will (moral agency) and whether it counts for anything in our process of salvation; (4) their continual degrading and belittling of the individual (as being unworthy, by nature evil, miserable sinners, totally depraved, and all the rest of it.) This promotes an attitude of little more than self-loathing or self-denigration. This is unhealthy – especially for young children – I don’t care how “Christian” it is.

    Incidentally, I am a Mormon grandparent. If I ever have to “pay’ to see my grandchildren, I’ll let you know.

  69. from Webster’s Dictionary ….

    Simple Definition of cult

    : a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous

    : a situation in which people admire and care about something or someone very much or too much

    : a small group of very devoted supporters or fans

    Pretty much describes Mormons.

  70. Here is what we find at http://www.webster-dictionary.org/definition/cult

    Pronunciation: kŭlt
    n. 1. Attentive care; homage; worship.
    Every one is convinced of the reality of a better self, and of the cult or homage which is due to it. – Shaftesbury.
    2. A system of religious belief and worship.
    That which was the religion of Moses is the ceremonial or cult of the religion of Christ. – Coleridge.
    3. A system of intense religious veneration of a particular person, idea, or object, especially one considered spurious or irrational by traditional religious bodies; as, the Moonie cult.
    4. The group of individuals who adhere to a cult (senses 2 or 3).
    5. A strong devotion or interest in a particular person, idea or thing without religious associations, or the people holding such an interest; as, the cult of James Dean; the cult of personality in totalitarian societies.

    Seems you left some of it out, springer. More evidence of the bearing of a false witness. Is that the way you let your light shine before men? (Matt 5:16)

  71. Funny, that pretty much describes Christians at the time of Jesus.

  72. There are no beliefs in Christianity at any point in history that were extreme or dangerous.

    Jesus is God. Of course people were in admiration of him.

    They started out as a small group that grew by leaps and bounds.

    Nothing secret about Christianity. Almost everything secret about Mormonism.

  73. Do you believe the Bible to be translated correctly? And as a follow up, which Bible do you believe in?

  74. No. That’s what your cult leaders tell you. The Trinity is seen in the Old Testament and extensively in the New Testament. Read the Bible, not that Masonic ripoff you call the Book of Mormon.

    Change your magic underwear … I think it might be a little too tight.

  75. Just another snarky, tasteless rant that I have come to expect from yahoos like you. As I mentioned elsewhere on this thread, I rejected the Christo-Fascist teachings of right wing Protestants long ago.

  76. Mormons keep their temple practices sacred, largely because they would otherwise be ridiculed and misrepresented by fundamentalist yahoos. ( No beliefs in Christianity that were extreme? Oh really? What about the belief by many past Christians, and even by several today, that untold millions of people will be sent forever to eternal Hell for basically no fault of their own?) Also, I might add the Doctrine of Original Sin, which tells us to blindly accept guilt, without proof, for a transgression allegedly committed thousands of years before anyone today ever existed.

  77. Have you picked out your planet where you think you’ll play god? You’d better get used to hot temps.

  78. Your inability to discuss anything intelligently is what I’ve come to expect from right wing fundamentalist Protestants.

  79. Read such (non-Mormon) sources as “Jesus Wars” by Philip Jenkins, and “Voting on God in Early Church Councils” by Ramsay McMullin. (That is, if you can read above a 1st or 2nd grade level.)

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