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The temple in my backyard

So, technically, it’s not IN my backyard, but it’s not much more than a stone’s throw away from my backyard. January, 2014 marks the Grand Opening of the newest Mormon Temple, and this one just happens to be a few blocks away. It also happens to be the only sky scraper that the town of Gilbert boasts, so it’s hard to miss. The temple in my backyard.

During the first month of its opening, they will host close to 500,000 visitors from around the globe – some Mormon and some not. I was able to “tour” the temple today, and I must say that the feelings that rose to the surface while walking through it weren’t much different than the spiritual awareness I experienced in Thailand at the Buddhist temple or in Egypt at the Islamic mosque. Pagan temples, arrayed in splendor, esthetically pleasing to the eye, glorious architecture, but all of it resting on the foundation of deception.

As I sat through the 12-minute video that introduced the tour, I was reminded of how crafty our enemy really is. Lots of lies laced with just enough truth to bait whomever is lost and looking for truth but doesn’t really know WHO truth is. Jesus Christ – and not man’s version of Him. My intention for going on this tour was to prayer walk through the temple. And that is exactly what I did. No, I wasn’t praying that God would send fire and brimstone down from heaven to consume this building and its followers. I prayed for the light of Jesus Christ to illuminate this darkness. I prayed for the veil of deception to be lifted off of their eyes, and I prayed for them to find truth, undistorted truth, the whole truth…Jesus Christ.

To every Christian reading this, we are engaged in a battle, and the enemy doesn’t fight nice. He is a liar, and he preys on those who don’t know the truth because they are far easier to deceive. He prowls around like a lion seeking to devour anyone and everyone who can’t or won’t wield their Sword – the Word of God. When we know God’s Word, we are far more likely to recognize lies, and therefore less likely to be deceived by them. This is precisely why it is so important and vital to our faith to know God’s Word and to make it known. But when it remains nothing more than another book collecting dust on the shelf, we forfeit its power at work within our lives and we become delicious prey for our enemy.

As my eyes took in every bit of that temple today, my mind was drawn back to a few verses in 2 Timothy 4:

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

There is nothing more man-made about a religion than when it seeks to be self-centered, self-glorifying, and sadly self-deifying. Do your homework. Investigate just a bit about what these false religions actually believe. Even more so, read God’s Word, study it, and know it inside and out. The God of the Bible is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through faith in the Son, Jesus Christ.


5 Comments

Melissa

Well said friend! Well said….

January 29, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Denise

As I read this post I’m thinking of the courage to write these words. This is not about bashing another’s religion or faith, it’s about a woman who so dearly loves the people who are deceived. A woman, who is my dear & cherished friend, who desperately wants everyone to experience the life changing love of Jesus. Yes, Jesus! The Maker of Heaven and earth and the lover of our souls! If you do not know Him the way He wants you to know Him, then I invite you to read His Word. And as you pick up that Holy Book, ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you and allow Him to enter your heart!! Then you will understand the heartfelt words in this post.

January 29, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Jere Van Patten

Friend,

Having grown up attending Calvary Christian Church AND school I can relate to what you write in this post. After a crazy life of turmoil, drug and alcohol abuse among all other types of confusion, and downward spirals I found the Mormon church. I was married in the Mesa Temple, and have attended the temple many times. There is so much more than a beautiful interior that takes place within those walls. I was raised believing Mormonism was a satanic cult. I wept for my sister’s friend when she joined the church and I prayed for her salvation to find her way out of the brainwashing.

These beliefs could not be more false. God is real. Jesus Christ is the savior of the world. He died for all of our sins and is the only way to eternal life and salvation. What I also know is that God has a prophet on the earth who leads and guides just as they did in biblical days. I know that there is no brainwashing or trickery in this church. I know that my life is drastically better than it was before I converted. I also know that, “you shall know them by their their fruit,” and this church continues to grow, temples continue to be built and its members give of their time and talents without any monetary compensation.

If Mormonism were a cult, if its members were solely attained through brainwashing and trickery, surely it would cease to exist. I was not brainwashed, I was open to the spirit of the Lord. I heard the still small voice and knew this is where I could find peace and a love from God like I had never felt before.

I know where you’re coming from as I was once there too. The lies and the brainwashing was what I was raised on: ex-Mormons guest speaking from the pulpit about how wicked and wrong the evil Mormons are, and how they will work through our children to “innocently” lure and entice them to attend activities and events all with the secret desire to convince them to join their church. I saw the movies, I heard – and BELIEVED those speakers. I will even admit that even the day I went through the temple the first time I was a bit anxious and even a bit nervous of the, “what if they were right?”

I’m happy to report that everything I thought I knew was wrong. There is peace, there is love, there is an amazing God who loves me (and all of us), and knows me better than I know myself. I called my mom as son as I got out and said, “Mom, they were wrong. That was awesome.”

I am so glad that you, “prayed for the light of Jesus Christ to illuminate this darkness,” but I can promise you there is no darkness in the house of the Lord. There is no, “veil of deception,” that needs “to be lifted off of [our] eyes” There is, “truth, undistorted truth, the whole truth…Jesus Christ.”

This church is centered on the love of Christ. We are reminded constantly to be followers of Christ, loving our fellow man, being of service to those in need, and to be selfless. I am not sure how you feel that Mormons are, “self-centered, self-glorifying, and sadly self-deifying.” I would also encourage YOU to do your homework as well. You may find more truth here than you had first thought. The God of the Bible IS the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through faith in his son, Jesus Christ. We believe this wholeheartedly, and it is the foundation of what we teach. We too, are Christians – followers of Christ, doing the best we can to be more like him each day.

This afternoon I was able to go through, “the pagan temple in [your] backyard” with my wife, kids, and non-Mormon mom. It was exciting to see them experience how beautiful it was and to share with them along the tour what each room is used for and what the temple signifies. The temple has blessed my life and I have been transformed since joining the Mormon church.

I wish nothing but good things for you, and I love that you love the Lord – as I do too. May you find the peace and love from on high that you search for. May the blessings of heaven continue to pour out upon you and may you be filled with his light and love each and every day. I am thrilled that you were able to attend the temple, and I hope that you were able to feel the spirit of the Lord there in that holy place. My wish is that you will continue to investigate for yourself so that you may educate yourself on the truths the gospel holds – not just the teaching we were raised on. There is so much more than what we were taught.

God bless you,
Jere

January 31, 2014 at 2:01 am

Keaton

Cheri, thanks for sharing this. As my family moves to the east side, we’ve become more aware of the interactions that will and are taking place between the mormon church and follower’s of Christ. I sensed that your heart is truly for Christ to be revealed, and not to “bash” or “ridicule”… it’s not an easy task.

Often, love is expressed in the tension of uncomfortable truth.

Stay strong and keep speaking truth in love.

January 31, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Debie Bradshaw

Glad you had the opportunity to go there and pray…and thanks for the encouraging word to us believers….love you!

February 1, 2014 at 12:40 am

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