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Exploring Mormonism

On recent trips to Vancouver & Calgary, I took groups to visit Mormon communities. Calgary was a special treat as we visited the Mormon temple complex.

Mormons use small churches for weekly services but have large temples for ordinances (sacramental life cycle rituals). In the picture below, a wedding party has just emerged after their ceremony. The ritual itself seals the couple for "time and eternity" as Mormons understand heaven as a physical place with work, wealth, sex and all that makes earthly life pleasant. Hence, marriages and families will continue to exist in the afterlife if they are sealed in the temple.

Mormon temple, Calgary

Topping every temple is the angel Moroni who is trumpeting the arrival of Christ, which is expected to happen soon (hence followers are called the Latter Day Saints, as the remaining time is understood to be short).

That angel, Moroni, also revealed the Book of Mormon to Joseph Smith in the form of buried golden plates. Non-Mormons cannot enter the temple except for a greeting room near the entrance and in that entrance we found two pictures (both below) - one of Joseph Smith and one depicting a Book of Mormon scene where Jesus, just post-resurrection, appears in the Americas to share the gospel with them. This story is unique in Christendom, found only in the Book of Mormon and distinguishing Mormons from other Christian traditions.

Joseph Smith, Mormon founder
Jesus appears to people in the Americas, post his resurrection

In addition to conducing temple ordinances for themselves, Mormons also perform ordinances by proxy for those who died outside of the faith (another unique aspect of the faith). They believe doing so allows these people to enter heaven and hence they stand in for the deceased. Someone reads the name of a deceased person while a young Mormon takes their physical place for baptism, for marriage, for ordination, etc. They consider this a great work of service. (The deceased can reject the ordinances in the afterlife so that free will is not denied). To save as many souls as possible, Mormons exert enormous efforts to track genealogies. Thousands of Mormon volunteers copy records into their database. If you want to learn about your own history, you can sign on at

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