After leaving Yellowstone's West exit,
the Hawthornes headed off into Idaho.
We got as far as Rexburg, Idaho, for the night.
In the distance is this church,
which I asked the desk clerk about.
We'd seen it for miles as we approached Rexburg.
This is Mormon Territory
and that's a Mormon Temple.
We decided to go check it out.
But first, our desk clerk gave us some of the
geological history of the area.
Most of Rexburg rests on top
of a dormant shield volcano.
Eruptions here are not expected in the near future;
Yellowstone is the most likely setting for volcanic activity
in this area.
There are numerous volcanoes,
both extinct and dormant in the area,
including cinder cones, spatter cones,
shield volcanoes, and volcanic fissures.
Volcanic ash has enriched the soil,
making the surrounding area famous
for its production of potatoes.
And here's a little factoid for you -
Rexburg leads the country in the
number of pet schnauzers per capita.
According to the AKC,
there is 1 schnauzer for every 6.12 people.
Rexburg is home to Brigham Young University-Idaho,
operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Here's a new sign for you.
Sign of the times.
No jaywalking is permitted either.
Lots of rules here.
All the young men we saw walking around
were wearing suits and ties.
All the young women wore dresses.
It was refreshing.
Rosie just better stay in the truck
so as not to offend.
This five-story Temple is adjacent to
Brigham Young University
and soars high above its hillside location.
It's a striking landmark visible
for miles along the highway 20 corridor.
Rosie apologizes in advance
for any accuracies in my post.
And I surely hope I don't offend any Mormons.
Holiness to the Lord
The House of the Lord
Most Mormon temples are topped by a
statue of a male figure
blowing a horn.
The figure on top of the spire
is a representation of the angel Moroni,
the final writer of the Book of Mormon.
He exists in Mormon history in two forms:
as a mortal living in ancient times,
and as an angel following his death.
In his mortal life, Moroni was the son of the prophet, Mormon.
A military leader of the Nephites and a record keeper,
Mormon was the divinely-designated person
who took all the records of his people
and combined and abridged them
to make a smaller, more manageable and more readable, record,
and to help turn people to God.
Mormon was told to hide the records in the Hill Cumorah.
A long war began between the Nephites and the Lamanites,
a group of different people who were enemies of the Nephites.
When Mormon was 74,
he put his son Moroni in charge of the records.
A large battle was fought between the Nephites and Lamanites
and eventually Moroni was the only Nephite who survived.
Moroni was left to finish the record of his people
and hide it in the Hill Cumorah with the rest
of his father's records.
Moroni was kept alive for the purpose of preserving
and completing the records.
These records are now published under the
name of The Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Christ.
The Book of Mormon does not supplant the Bible;
it is additional text which testifies of the Bible and Jesus Christ.
It was Moroni who penned this promise:
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.
And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever.
These verses say that one need not take anyone's word for whether or not the Book of Mormon is true
and that the only testimony you can completely trust in is God's.
Today, the Angel Moroni stands atop the Mormon Temples
with a trumpet,
proclaiming to the world
that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to earth.
And here's where Joseph Smith comes in.
As a young man, Smith was deeply religious.
He grew up in Western New York State in the early 1800s,
a time and place of great theological turmoil.
When the time came for him to be baptized,
Smith had to decide which of the many Christian
denominations to join.
There were many competing churches
in this area,
but Joseph Smith didn't feel any were the true
Church of Christ.
In his confusion,
Joseph Smith turned to the Bible and God
for guidance and answers
If any of you lack wisdom,
let him ask of God,
that giveth to all men liberally,
and upbraideth not;
and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)
Impressed by this verse, Joseph Smith prayed
with the simple faith that God would hear and answer him.
Smith knelt in prayer and later described his experience:
“I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me [ … ] When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other-This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”
This vision of God and Jesus was the beginning of Joseph Smith's calling as a prophet of God. He believed none of the churches had the fullness of truth; the churches in existence were not teaching correct doctrines. Mormon belief is that Joseph Smith was chosen to be the Lord's prophet, to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth, to establish Christ's Church, and to act in God's name. He was led by God to ancient records - the "golden plates" - and given the ability to translate them into English. In April 1830, Smith formally organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Smith knew his responsibility was to pass along the things God revealed to him,
not to spread his own teachings.
Early Mormons endured persecution because of perceived threats to their neighbors, so there were numerous migrations to friendlier parts of the country. The Mormons moved west, built temples, did missionary work, and built thriving cities. God directed Smith to organize the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. Eventually Smith bestowed upon the Apostles all the keys, rights, and authority necessary to lead the Church. At Joseph Smith's death, the senior Apostle on earth, Brigham Young, succeeded him as the second prophet of the Mormon Church. Today, Thomas S. Monson is the the prophet and authorized successor to Joseph Smith. The Apostles of the Church trace their priesthood authority back to Jesus Christ in an unbroken chain of ordinations going back to Joseph Smith.
Joseph Smith, a controversial figure in American history, was beloved by his followers and hated by his detractors. Persecuted much of his adult life, Joseph Smith was killed, along with his brother Hyrum,
by a mob in Charthage, Illinois, in 1844.
From my research (i.e. Googling),
it is believed that the angel Moroni
appeared to Joseph Smith in the 1820s
and showed him where the ancient records
- the golden plates -
It is believed that it was Moroni who buried them
about 1400 years before Smith found them.
Smith said he found the plates in 1823 at a hill
near his home in Manchester, New York.
Smith published his translation of the golden plates
as the Book of Mormon.
The Mormons, or Latter-Day Saints, also believe
that Moroni is the angel mentioned in Revelation 14:6-7:
Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth-to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water."
If any Mormons want to jump in here
and correct me and/or elaborate,
please feel free to do so.
I would welcome your input.
ETA, May 8. 2:52 AM:
Jettboy jumped in
with a wealth of information.
I thank you, Jettboy.
Please see here.
I love the clean lines of the Temple.
We came back to the Temple the next morning
on our way out of town,
since I wanted to shoot pictures of the stained glass windows.
However, the carpet cleaner was there
and wouldn't allow me in.
Is there a Mormon rule
against shooting pictures inside a Temple?