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Linda & Richard Eyre: Helping others understand how temples are sacred, not secret

Published: Thursday, Feb. 9 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

The Salt Lake Temple on Sunday morning prior to the 181st Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

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With Mitt Romney edging ever closer to the Republican nomination for president, the church becomes a curiosity and a point of interest for more and more people. How skillfully we answer the increasing questions from our friends and associates may determine their opinion of the church for years to come.

It's not only ourselves as adults who will be on the receiving end of the growing curiosity of this "Mormon Moment" — our kids, at schools and in their peer groups, will get asked more questions as well, and will hear and wish to correct more misinformation from their friends and classmates.

More and more church members have websites, blogs or social media pages where they put up statements on their beliefs; and how we phrase these and how we respond to curiosity really matter. If our answers (and those that our children give) are simple and clear, they can enhance at least the impressions and perhaps even the interest of those who ask.

In this little mini-series of articles, we are suggesting some wording that seems to work well for us on five common subjects that tend to come up a lot.

In the last two articles we talked about questions relating to marriage/polygamy and to "Are Mormons Christian?" Today we want to share what we think is some appropriate language relating to curiosity about temples and sacredness.

Unlike the 20,000 chapels and churches around the world where Mormons meet and worship and where we invite all to join us, our far fewer (135 at last count) temples are not churches or cathedrals or meeting places at all but are sanctuaries where we can go for ordinances and ceremonies like baptisms and marriages and other beautiful rituals that commit us to Christ's teachings and commandments and link us to our ancestors, reminding us that we are all part of the family of God.

The temple rituals and ordinances are not secret, but they are sacred, so the interiors of our temples are reserved for worthy church members.

To facilitate this linking and connecting to ancestors and extended family, it is important to know the names and a bit of the history of our forbears.

Thus, the church has been at the forefront of the growing worldwide interest in genealogy and is an active participant in the fascinating pursuit of connecting people to their roots and their extended families.

For more than 100 years, the church has pursued extensive ancestral research in all parts of the globe, and the genealogical files that have been compiled are available to everyone through www.familysearch.org. Mormons believe that knowing how we are all connected to each other fosters peace and understanding, and anyone who discovers his ancestry also finds a sense of identity and belonging.

Richard and Linda are the founders of Joyschools.com and New York Times No. 1 best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Visit the Eyres anytime at www.TheEyres.com or at www.valuesparenting.com or read Linda's blog at www.deseretnews.com/blog/81/A-World-of-Good.html. Their three latest books are "The Entitlement Trap," "5 Spiritual Solutions" and "The Three Deceivers." Listen to their weekly radio show on Mondays at 4:30 at www.byuradio.org.

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