What is a Mormon Temple Open House?
When a new temple is built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon Church for short by friends of other faiths), or when a temple is remodeled and then rededicated as a house of God, an open house is held for the general public, government officials, and the press. The purpose of a “Mormon” temple open house is to show the public that there is nothing untoward in “Mormon” temples, but that they are houses of purity and light.
Many thousands of people attend these open house events, and most report that they have been enlightened during the guided tour. They feel the spirit of the Lord, receive correct information, and allow their misperceptions of the faith to slip away.
To attend an open house for an LDS temple, one must call in advance and obtain tickets. The tours are free, and tickets are required so that visiting times are more equally attended, avoiding huge crowds and long waits. Before guests enter the temple, they are given some introductory information. What do “Mormons” do in temples? Inside, the guide explains the use of each room and sometimes the decor and artwork that grace the interiors of LDS temples.
Once the general public has had a couple of weeks to tour the temple, the temple will be “dedicated” as a House of the Lord by a prophet or apostle of the Church. Church members who are worthy may attend a dedication in the temple. Sometimes there are too many people to fit them all inside. In this case, there are several dedicatory sessions held, and the ceremony might be broadcast via closed circuit television to “stake centers.” A stake center is a meetinghouse used on Sundays by several congregations of Latter-day Saints and always has a cultural hall that can be used for overflow from the chapel. One must be a member of the Church in good standing and be interviewed by one’s bishop (leader of a congregation) to attend a Mormon temple dedication.
Often, before a temple is dedicated, there is a “cultural celebration,” in which many thousands of local members use song and dance to portray the culture and history of the area.