However, to experience the temple firsthand, one needs to convert to the faith, and then (after a year's membership) obtain a temple recommend to enter. The recommend is obtained from and signed by the member's bishop after passing a one-on-one worthiness interview, in which one's commitment to the gospel is reviewed. The recommend is also signed by the member's stake president after a second one-on-one worthiness interview, and finally by the member themselves. By signing his or her own recommend, the member acknowledges their responsibility to ensure that they remain worthy to hold the recommend. Once issued a recommend remains valid for a period of two years.However, during the period between the completion of construction and the dedication of a temple, open houses are held, allowing the general public an opportunity to tour the building. Open houses are currently being held for the new temple in Rexburg, Idaho, and the two of us took a trip up there Saturday with a couple of friends to check things out. Here it is:
The tour was quite efficient. As we arrived, we were directed into the parking lot by ushers in orange vests. We were then shown to the chapel of the building next door to the temple, where we waited for our turn to go to one of the six video rooms to watch a 10-minute video on the purpose of temples and the history of the Rexburg area. The couple directing our tour then took our group (of about 30) over to the temple via a tented-over, heated walkway. Before entering, volunteers put white plastic booties over our shoes, presumably to protect the carpets. During the tour, numerous ushers were in place throughout the building to direct us and, seemingly, to keep us out of certain places.
Cameras were not allowed on the tour, so the following pictures were taken from the brochure we were given. You may notice, as we did, that the place is reminiscent of a luxury hotel.
Our first stop was the Baptistry, where baptisms are performed on behalf of those who have died. The font rests on the backs of 12 oxen, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. The tour guide emphasized the "beauty" of this room.
After walking through a chapel, we proceeded to the Ordinance Room, where, according to the literature, "an overview is given of the Lord's plan for his children." The walls are painted as they are (by a local artist!) to invoke the Creation. There is a projector screen at the front of the room. The tour guide instructed us to notice the "beauty" of this room.
After a trip through the ladies' dressing room, we proceeded upstairs to the Celestial Room. This room "symbolizes life as eternal families with our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ." I think you just kind of hang out in this room. The tour guide mentioned that this is the brightest room in the temple, and also that it is "beautiful." Note the chandelier.
Our final stop was up the stairs again to the Sealing Room. This is where marriages take place. There were four of these rooms, giving the temple the potential to be a veritable marriage factory. Mirrors on opposite walls of the room, providing that perpetual mirror effect, symbolize the eternal aspect of LDS marriage. This picture does not depict a small, square, padded bench in the middle of the room with padded space for kneeling all around it. It also does not depict the pattern that was basically carved into the carpet, as we were told. The design had a wheat theme, as did the rest of the temple interior, in recognition of the area's agricultural heritage. This room is also, you guessed it, "beautiful."
Finally, we returned to the building where we started out for refreshments. Comment/information cards were also available. No questions were taken during the tour (in fact, silence was encouraged, in order to feel the impact of the building), but we were told that there would be an opportunity for questions at this point. However, I only saw one or two people that I could have directed questions to, and in such a large, busy room, that was not feasible. But I got to eat a lot of cookies.
In all, it was an informative, worthwhile trip, and a rare opportunity. We may get to do it again in Twin Falls this summer.
P.S. These guys were there, too.