During a recent trip to Salt Lake City (Utah), I visited the historic Mormon Temple located in the downtown section of the City. After finding parking, I began a two block walk to the famous LDS Temple, taking pictures along the way. When I got to an entrance of the Temple site, I was approached by a representative from the LDS church who promptly advised me that I needed a ‘Temple recommend’ to enter. I asked him why and he did not directly respond. Instead he reiterated that one would need a ‘Temple recommend’ to enter the building. I explained to him that of various famous religious sites such as the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC or the Whaling Wall in Jerusalem, there were no special screening requirements for tourists that I was aware of.
The LDS representative agreed that the SLC Temple definitely had historical context. The site’s ground breaking was performed by none other than Brigham Young himself in 1853 and the 253,000 square foot Temple was finally completed and dedicated by 1893. I guess any ordinary tourist like me would think that the interior worship hall of this particular Temple would open to the public. It didn’t take me long to find out that I, along with the other tourists there, were not going to be allowed inside.
According to the one Mormon website (which is overseen by the More Good Foundation) a ‘Temple recommend’ is needed to enter the site. “The recommend is a certificate that is issued to members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints… The Temple Recommend allows a member to enter the Temple. In order to obtain a recommend the candidate must indicate worthiness and preparedness (to the church’s hierarchy)… by answering specific questions pertaining to his or her faithfulness” (to the Mormon Church).
This policy of entry for this LDS religious site clearly demonstrates an ‘exclusiveness’ which runs contrary to the message of the Bible. In the book of Matthew (Matt. 11:28-29) Christ beseeched mankind to “Come unto me all of you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me…” This verse clearly shows us that Christ desires to reach out to all non-believers in all places. Christ makes an appeal for people to follow Him. Jesus reaches out to those who don’t know Him and it is not an exclusive offer.
Certainly the policy of exclusivity that I experienced in the LDS church runs contrary to the words of openness I find in the Bible. If we are seeking truth we can find it in the pages of Bible. God’s word has liberated millions of people through the ages. Perhaps that is why I am so thankful that a friend of mine shared Biblical truth with me so many years ago. He opened up the word of God to me by sharing a Campus Crusade for Christ’s 4 Spiritual Laws booklet. This small 18 page booklet contains some key words of truth from the Bible about Salvation and explains how to become a follower of Jesus Christ (www.whoisjesus-really.com). This simple booklet with its golden nuggets of Biblical truth helped to spiritually open my eyes to the reality of God and His love for me. Years later I found out that two of my college friends in addition to a next door neighbor from my childhood home were praying for me. They prayed that God would open my eyes to His truth and love.
He did. And for that I will be eternally thankful.
Read Lambert’s newly released book: 16 Amazing Stories of Divine Intervention (www.16AmazingStories.com) … and find out just how far our loving God will go to someone who reaches out to Him. You can call the author at 1-800-656-8603.
James L. Lambert, a frequent contributor to ChristianMirror.net and author of Porn in America, is a licensed nationwide real-estate mortgage loan sales agent and can be contacted through his website