In all the excitement over the building of a temple in Pocatello, many questions are asked about why a temple is so special to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
To this point in time, the closest temple — of the 156 now open around the world — has been the one in Idaho Falls, closed since 2015 for renovation. Open houses for this edifice will take place later this month.
Once a temple is dedicated, it is no longer open to the public, and only Church members with recommends from their bishop and stake president may attend what are known as “sessions,” where sacred (not secret) instruction is given and where covenants of a spiritual nature are entered into.
Looking through our personal files on the subject of temples, we came across some thought-provoking insights written by a popular Jewish rabbi, Wayne Dosick, Ph.D. This occurred following a tour he took shortly after the stunning San Diego Temple was built in 1993.
Dosick is a well-known writer and lecturer on Judaism and Jewish life. Among other books he has authored is The Business Bible: Ten Commandments for Doing Well and Doing Good.
Following Rabbi Dosick’s tour, he wrote an article titled “RABBINIC INSIGHTS — How Goodly Is Your Temple, O Mormons.”
Dosick captured in words what many experience when visiting one of the Church’s many temples by saying, “From the looks of the building from the outside, I had expected large, sweeping rooms able to accommodate thousands. Instead, the temple is made up of a series of small rooms, each with a specific purpose.
“There are endowment rooms where Mormons come to receive instruction about their beliefs and faith. There are Sealing Rooms, where brides and grooms and parents and children are “sealed” to each other for this life and for eternity.
“There is the baptismal font resting on the back of 12 oxen, representing the 12 tribes of Israel — and where, according to Mormon faith sacred ordinances (baptisms) can be performed for those who have died, and there is the Celestial Room where Mormons come to sit in peace and serenity, enveloped in beauty, to contemplate their lives and feel a spiritual closeness to God.”
He added, “Like the cathedrals of medieval Europe, this Mormon Temple uses sweeping architecture to create a space that invokes the celestial heavens that is awesome, that transcends the place and the moment, transporting people from the here and now to thoughts and images of God’s presence.”
Rabbi Dosick ended his article by saying, “We wish our Mormon friends joy and contentment and all of God’s blessings as they dedicate their new Temple, and we thank them for reminding us how holy a place a mere building can be.”
All are welcome to have the same experience as that enjoyed by Rabbi Dosick. Upcoming open house dates for the Idaho Falls temple are April 22-May 20. There is no cost, and reservations are available by calling visiting www.templeopenhouse.lds.org or by calling 208-522-7669.
Dean & Nancy Hoch are local public affairs representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. firstname.lastname@example.org.