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Accelerated Temple Building

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
July 15, 2021 9:53 pm

Accelerated Temple Building

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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July 15, 2021 9:53 pm

The LDS Church is poised to have more than 250 temples in the next 6-8 years. It was just in 1993 when the San Diego temple was #45. The biggest proponent of temples is Russell M. Nelson, the 17th president. In the last general conference (April 2021), he announced 20 new temples, then added a … Continue reading Accelerated Temple Building →

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Viewpoint on Mormonism, the program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from a Biblical perspective. Viewpoint on Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism Research Ministry. Since 1979, Mormonism Research Ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's Viewpoint on Mormonism. Welcome to this edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry, and with me today is Eric Johnson, my colleague at MRM. This week we've been talking about Latter-day Saints and their need to stay on the covenant path and its connection to temple worship. D. Todd Christofferson in his talk started off with a comment made by the 17th president of the LDS Church. Russell M. Nelson, where he said, Well, it's really more important than just the typical everyday blessings. It's also contingent on you receiving celestial exaltation.

If you hope to get into the celestial kingdom, in the highest level of Mormon heaven where you will dwell as they believe in the presence of Heavenly Father, you must stay on the covenant path and you must keep all of those covenants that you make in the temple as well as when you were baptized and again when you partake of the sacrament every Sunday. But there was an article on page 135 of the May 2021 edition of the Liahona Magazine. It was titled, In his closing comments at General Conference, President Russell M. Nelson announced plans to build 20 new temples throughout the world. The previous high number for specific temples announced at one time was the 12 temples announced by President Nelson on October 7, 2018. President Gordon B. Hinckley announced plans to construct as many as 32 new temples at the April 1998 General Conference but did not list specific locations. Since becoming president of the church in 2018, President Nelson has announced construction of 69 temples. He announced 19 temples that year, 16 in 2019 and 14 in 2020. There are 43 temples currently under construction or renovation and despite the pandemic, ground was broken for 21 new temples in 2020.

The church now has 251 temples announced under construction or operating. And Bill, I'm going to say since that time, there's another temple that has actually been added to this. And it's the temple that's going to be built in Ephraim, Utah, which is in St. Pete County. That was done on March 12 at a special session in Manti to announce that this new temple would be built to supplement the Manti temple seven miles away.

So I find it interesting, Bill, that Nelson holds the record and we thought Gordon B. Hinckley was big. And he did announce that one time he announced 32 new temples at the April 1998 General Conference, but he didn't name those. Anybody can say I'm going to build 30 or 40 or 50 temples, but 20 temples in one conference, that's almost double what he did a few years before when he announced 12. When we heard about the announcement for the temple in Ephraim, you and I both were very puzzled by that because Ephraim is just north of Manti. As you said, it's about seven miles north, maybe 10 at the most. And we're wondering, why would you need another temple so close to the Manti temple? Furthermore, they're building one in Smithfield. Smithfield is just north of Logan. There's been a temple there for years, a pioneer temple, very similar, you might say, to the Manti temple.

Why would they need something so close? And if you were to drive up the I-15, you're going to see as you go through Orem on the west side of the freeway, there's another temple being built there. If you go on the 215 in Utah, you'll also see on the west side another temple, the Taylorsville temple. I mean, these things are going up all over the place, and they do, as you say, have quite a list of planned temples to be built in the near future.

Oh, you mentioned Smithfield. The mayor of Smithfield didn't even know he was skiing, apparently, and received a phone call to tell him they were going to build a temple, and he seemed very surprised. The church had purchased a property there, and he didn't realize that that purchase was for a temple.

And just so you know, Smithfield only has 12,000 people in it. When you go to Sanpete County, we're talking around 30,000 people, not very many to have a second temple be built there. And I'm going to suggest to you, Bill, there was not a lot of foresight in making this decision, because the reason they're supposed to be building this is they didn't have enough room in the Manti temple, which has been around for over 100 years. This temple was being overused, so they needed to relieve the stress.

Okay, fine. Except during COVID, they never really started the remodel of the Manti temple like they were supposed to, and they've now reopened it, but it's going to close in October. So what you have, you had one temple that was working, you're now going to have zero, and it will take two or three years for them to be able to get both temples back up again.

So for the next two years, after October, the people in Sanpete County will have nowhere to go. Why wouldn't you have just kept the Manti temple open for those two years until you had a new temple, and then you could have remodeled the Manti temple? Well, in the remodeling of the Manti temple, there was also a controversy over the murals that are in that building, and they were going to destroy those murals during the remodeling, and apparently a lot of members were up in arms over that. And made a very vehement complaint, and the church later came out and said, well, we're going to spare the murals now. But it really, I guess you're supposed to assume, it didn't have anything to do with all the complaints, because it was supposed to be some kind of prophetic revelation on the part of Russell M. Nelson that they were going to keep the murals and not destroy them during the remodeling process. In fact, that's what Apostle Ronald A. Rasband said. He denied that day that they announced the Ephraim temple would be built, and he denied that the members many petitions and phone calls, as well as there was a protest march in Provo to save the mural, that it played any role in the reverse decision.

And this is what he says. He says, it was the result of prayer, and he even used the R word. It was a divine revelation. Rasband speaks about Nelson, who talked on a Zoom conference call, and he says, what we have just heard from our loving prophet is the mind and will and the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a great announcement for the whole kingdom of God on earth. And Rasband claimed that he was in the room when Nelson received an impression upon the 96-year-old prophet to have the church build a new temple in Ephraim. I just find that to be a little bit, I don't know, it seems like a fictional tale that he was there to see how God impressed upon him to build this new temple.

On page 127, there was an article in this same edition of the Liahona magazine. It was titled COVID-19 and Temples, and the subheading said, Keep your temple covenants and blessings foremost in your minds and hearts. Stay true to the covenants you have made. Why was such an announcement necessary in encouraging the membership to make sure they stay true to the covenants? For much of last year, and much of the early part of this year, Mormon temples weren't open.

And you know what? Even their chapels were not being utilized fully, that's for sure. I know in driving to church on Sunday, I noticed all the various chapels that I drive by, there were very few cars parked in the parking lot. Certainly not as many as I am used to seeing on any other time of the year, but a lot of people weren't going to church. And I wonder, are they going to get a lot of those people back once they've had over a year of a, what you could say, a layoff from going to church? I've heard stories of those who live next to Mormons and have talked to them about that, and many of these Latter-day Saints saying they aren't going to go back to the church. Unfortunately, I'm afraid many of them are going to slip off into agnosticism or atheism if someone doesn't get to them with the gospel and show them the need to put their trust in the Jesus of the New Testament.

What are your thoughts? I agree with you, and you've been saying all week, Bill, that the purpose of the temple and the reason they have it really does show the importance of obedience. They are not moving to a grace that Christianity has taught for 2,000 years that the Bible teaches. I think the building of so many temples in the last few years is almost a desperate move to try to get the faithful to remain faithful. And especially if they have a temple built in their area, even a town like Smithfield with only 12,000 people, well, at least let's keep those people. And when you get a temple, there's a lot of peer pressure for you to, if you don't have a temple, recommend to go get one. Or if you have it, to keep it because there's a prestige to have that recommend that you'll be able to go when it does open so you can do the work necessary for you to be able to go to the celestial kingdom and to be with your family forever. In this article, COVID-19 and Temples, Russell M. Nelson makes this statement. He says, And as we've been discussing this week, those covenants have to do with keeping all, not some, but keeping all of the commandments. I guess you could say that the reason why the church feels compelled to build so many of these buildings is because I guess you could say it's showing the Mormon people the importance of these buildings. And the fact is, you better participate in what those buildings have inside because if you don't, your future is at stake.

Do not think for a minute, basically is what I think Nelson is saying here. Don't think for a minute that you neglect your temple covenants, you neglect going to the temple, that somehow you're going to end up in the celestial kingdom. And if you don't end up in the celestial kingdom, you forfeit being with your families. And if you've talked to any amount of Latter-day Saints, and you ask them, What is it you hope for in the next life?

First and foremost, you will hear to be with my family. If that desire is first and foremost in the hearts of many Latter-day Saints, you can see why it's important to keep encouraging them to do what they better do in going to those buildings. One of the outreaches that we have done over the years, this started in 1993, is actually doing evangelism at temple open house events.

Our first one was in 1993. Almost 30 years ago, Bill, I don't know if you remember that far back, but we covered the San Diego temple for six weeks and handed out thousands and thousands of newspapers. But let me just tell you, give you a little perspective, fewer than 30 years ago, that was number 45. In the next few years, they're going to have more than 250, five times more in probably about 35 years. This is an amazing statistic, and the church certainly is emphasizing the temples for people to work at so they can go to the celestial kingdom. It makes you wonder, though, if these buildings are going to have the power to bring back those who have been disillusioned. Only time, I guess, will tell on that matter. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint on Mormonism.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-22 05:05:22 / 2023-09-22 05:10:49 / 5

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