In 1985, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – the Mormon Church – opened a grand temple in Glenview, Illinois. It was the 35th Mormon Temple in the world.
Prior to its consecration in August 1985, the doors of the Temple were opened to the public. From July 15 to August 3d, an open house invited anyone and everyone to take a guided tour through the beautiful structure. There was no proselytizing and no sales talk. It was strictly – we would like to share with you – our neighbors – this new home for the Mormon Church.
I had seen the construction site – and later the completed structure. When I read that the Temple would be open to the public, I thought it would be interesting. And educational. So one weekend afternoon, Donna and I drove over to a very crowded parking lot and lined up for the tour. We must’ve spent close to an hour walking through – including a small, beautiful oval-shaped room, grand chandelier and four chairs – I believe called a “Celestial Room” – where one might pray more directly to God.
After the tour, we were met by two young men in white shirts and black ties. They cordially asked if we had any questions – about the Temple or the Mormon faith. I thought – and inquired about how Mormons viewed those of other faith traditions who worshiped God in their own way. The one young man responded by quoting John 14:2-3 – “My Father’s house has many rooms. . . . ” and he shared an ecumenical belief that while Mormons may have the upper hand in terms of their faith (not unlike the exclusionary attitude of soooo many others faiths, synods, religions), all Christians should have a reservation for lodging in Heaven. As to non-Christians, there is further latitude that acknowledges that all people are God’s children. A good thought for all to keep in mind. . . .