Have you ever been lured into a Mormon temple by those nice clean cut young men who accost you on the sidewalk outside the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”? Bet you didn’t decide to do so while on acid, but that’s just what Troy Farah did, recounting his tale for Vice:
No religion is complete without a little mystery—Catholicism with its Immaculate Conception, Scientology with its OT Levels, Buddhism with its Nirvana. It goes without saying that the Latter-day Saints have their share of enigmatic rituals. Some Christian fundamentalists are quick to point out the esoteric beliefs of the LDS church, including the ideas that Mormons become gods of their own planets when they reach one of three heavens, that Jesus vacationed in the Americas, and that they once sort of had a thing against black people.
The Mormon obsession with building gigantic temples around the globe also raises some eyebrows in non-believers, owing to the secrecy of whatever goes on inside.
Mormons hold regular Sunday services in churches open to the public, even slobs like you and me. But unless you’re an incredibly loyal, obedient member, you won’t be getting into any of the temples, a “house of the lord” specialized for prayer, fasting, marriage, baptism (including the controversial “baptism of the dead”), and other “ordinances” or contracts with the Almighty.
Nevertheless, the LDS church hosts an open house when it completes a new temple, inviting society to stroll through God’s crib, free of charge. Afterward, they dedicate the place, forbidding public entry. Naturally, the rumors fly: The temples are rooted in Freemasonry. In temple ceremonies, you are given a secret new name. You learn a secret handshake. Couples are sealed for all eternity in a “celestial marriage,” and in the afterlife, women will forever give birth to “spirit babies.” I could list dozens of other weird rumors I’ve heard—for instance that, after an open house, the church tears out and replaces the carpet—but I can barely find references to these online, let alone confirm them.
So, despite what the Lord God saith in Doctrine and Covenants 132:8 (“Mine is a house of order… and not a house of confusion”), there is obviously a lot of ambiguity. According to the LDS church, when Jesus returns to reign for 1,000 years, he’ll be chilling out in one of these temples. With 142 across the globe and plans to build another 29, he’ll have plenty to choose from. Now would be a good time to start making bets on the lucky House of God Jesus selects.
Maybe Christ will pick Gilbert, Arizona, the suburbanite Mormon paradise just southeast of Phoenix and Tempe, where the latest temple was erected. Gilbert is an incredibly fascinating place formerly known as the “Hay Shipping Capital of the World,” featuring engrossing landmarks such as the Gilbert Water Tower and Gilbert Day Rodeo. I can imagine Christ picking this place to settle down one day.
I decided to take acid and go for a look around the Mormon temple open house. Dressed in my Sunday best, I ingested two tabs of acid and headed over…
[continues at Vice]