The church of jesus christ of Latter-day Saints
January 01, 2016
I grew up in Maryland. I’ve passed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day-Saints probably a thousand times, heading up 495 toward Montgomery Mall and beyond. As a kid, I wondered if it was a Disney castle. My mother explained it was “The Mormon Temple.” It’s actually a Mormon temple. There are about 150 of them worldwide.
I’d often wondered about this temple, but until recently ,never thought to go visit. I’d heard Mormons weren’t “so fond” of Black people, (not exactly true, well, now. In 2013, the church renounced its racist theories) and me being Black and all, it didn’t make sense to swing by.
M y curiosity finally got the best of me, that and that whole “new year, new mantra” that drives people to do things they’ve never done. That and I heard the light show was amazing. I figured I’d show up and see how it played out. (Spoiler: nothing happened. Everyone was incredibly nice.)
So. Hubs and I head over. The “light show” isn’t so much a show as it is a ton of trees with decorative Christmas lights. It’s tasteful and beautiful. And worth the trip. There's also a life-sized manger, that’s big enough for an adult to hop in and get their cuddle on with baby Jesus. .
Inside the Visitor's Center,. I counted at least seven perfectly decorated Christmas trees inside. And there’s a large statue of Jesus. Not quite Christ the Redeemer, but a big, cocaine white, arms-outstretched Jesus nonetheless. In another room, there’s the underrated exhibit of 65 nativity scenes from around the world with an artist from each country crafting their version of Jesus’s birth.
That was all well and good. What I found most fascinating was the to-scale model of the inside of the temple. Only Mormons in “good standing” are allowed to enter the temple, which means, I’m out. But the model details the many rooms behind those big marble walls. The most fascinating was the Celestial Room (it’s the one I zoomed in on), where congregants go to zone out and commune with God. One of the docents mentioned that members wear all white inthe temple, and are able to rent white clothes.
After we were properly wowed, we got the soft sell, asking if we’d like to learn more about the Church of Latter Day Saints. The docents, or er, missionaries, promised that they are Christians and follow Jesus Christ, and the Book of Mormon is a supplement to the Bible, not a replacement. .
I’m interested to know more, but not interested in joining a religion, so we took a couple pamphlets and headed out to the see the temple up close. It’s awesome from the Beltway, but glorious in person. It’s all marble and lit to make it seem like it’s glowing. It’s kind of what I’ve always pictured when I thought of heaven, or a Disney kingdom.
Images provided by Demetria Lucas D'Oyley. All rights reserved.