LDS temples 'a place apart,' church official says

Published: Friday, April 6 2012 11:55 a.m. MDT

The Kansas City Missouri Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is open for public tours April 7-28. According to Michael Otterson, once it is dedicated it will be "a place apart."

LDS Church

See also: A complete list of Mormon temples

LDS Church Public Affairs managing director Michael Otterson used the beginning of the three-week public open house for the Kansas City Missouri Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a way to talk about LDS temples in his regular blog on the Washington Post's "On Faith" site.

"Temples are places consecrated, dedicated and set apart for sacred purposes, and when temple-goers walk through the doors they have already set themselves apart mentally," Otterson wrote in explaining why LDS temples are not open to the general public after they are dedicated. "Set apart from what? From the distractions of the world, from the profane and materialistic, and instead — as the apostle Paul urged Jesus' followers — in order to set their affection 'on things above, not on things on the earth.'"

Although people outside the church refer to LDS temple worship as "secret," Otterson says, "In my whole life I have never heard a church member refer to a temple as 'secret.' The term of choice is 'sacred,' and Mormons understand the difference."

"Rather than places for casual visits from the public, temples are places where we continue a spiritual journey already begun," Otterson concluded. "While we do not invite the public into the temple, we do invite sensitivity, understanding and mutual respect for the sacred — values which are sadly diminishing even in our religiously pluralistic society."

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