Saturday, March 14, 2009

LDS Temple In Chicago Suburb Of Glenview, Illinois Re-Opened For Business On March 3rd; No Re-Dedication Required

The Pioneer Press Local reports that the temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located in the Chicago suburb of Glenview, Illinois, was re-opened on March 3rd, 2009, and that it didn't need to be re-dedicated. The temple had been closed for repairs since December 24th, when a water pipe burst, partially inundating the interior and causing extensive damage. But one of the most informative aspects of this article is that it outlines how emergency access to an LDS temple is handled, since temple access in generally limited to templeworthy Mormons once a temple is formally dedicated.

On December 24th, 2008, a water pipe located in the temple's attic burst, sending water cascading into the rooms below. At 4 A.M., firefighters arrived after being summoned by an alarm. The firefighters, including Battalion Chief Ted Lancioni, had let themselves in by using the lock box on the front gate and had shut off the water. But, guided by a security guard who had a temple recommend, they had not gone beyond the equipment room out of respect for the sacred areas of the temple. Shortly thereafter, temple president Kenneth Robinson arrived, and under the direction of firefighters, verified that there was no fire danger in the sacred areas of the temple.

Robinson praised the firefighters for their expeditious response, saying that had they not responded so quickly, the whole temple might have been underwater. Once the immediate danger had passed, other temple members showed up to help assess the damage. Most of the carpeting and furniture were soaked, and the ceiling and some walls and baseboards were in shreds, necessitating an extended closure to accomplish repairs.

Because the Church and the fire department had previously worked closely together, firefighters understood the significance of the facility, knew where the sacred areas were at, and did only what they needed to do. So even though subsequent repairs were required, the temple itself did not need to be re-dedicated. But after taking delivery of new carpeting and other materials, only templeworthy church members performed the restoration work. Latter-day Saints can be found in all different professions, and in an area with a sufficiently dense population of Mormons to warrant a temple, it's no problem to find a sufficient number of templeworthy LDS to do all the construction. In addition, the local full-time missionaries can always be called upon to assist.

But although emergency services personnel will avoid entering sacred areas of the temple in response to a situation if possible, they are not barred from doing so if life is in jeopardy or major property damage is possible. The Church is practical.

Constructed in 1985, the Glenview temple serves 17 stakes located in the Chicago area and in parts of Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana, with an estimated LDS population of 40,000. It is reserved for the Church's most sacred rites, including baptisms, marriage ceremonies and endowments. Here's a new YouTube video in which key Church leaders explain what temples mean to them:

The reaction of Gary Eldredge, second counselor in the Glenview Temple presidency, echoes this theme. "The people felt the void here," said Eldredge. "The president of the Rockford Stake said (having the temple closed) '...was like a spiritual fast.' People missed it".

Perhaps that's why so many Mormons reacted rather strongly to the recent disclosure by HBO that they would include a temple marriage scene in an upcoming episode of Big Love. The LDS Church Headquarters sought to blunt the anger by issuing a statement urging members not to over-react. Even if I watched HBO, I doubt that I would have boycotted it, simply because an apostate by the name of Deborah Laake revealed the ceremonies in a hysterical anti-Mormon screed entitled "Secret Ceremonies" years ago. The ceremonies were changed a bit afterward, but still retain the same basic character. However, it's been since learned that Laake suffered serious emotional disturbances towards the end of her life, committing suicide in 2000, so to write her off as a "daughter of perdition" would be premature and possibly presume upon God's judgmental prerogatives.

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