Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easter Joy! He is Risen!

The Agony in the Garden by Frans Schwartz

How do The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints celebrate Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter?

            The Church of Jesus Christ commemorates the events of the last week of the Savior’s life generally in Sacrament Meeting talks referring to the scriptures. Members are always encouraged to read the scriptures and ponder in his/her heart the meaning and importance of this holy time.
            The last week of Jesus Christ life, as revealed in the scriptures, was important. He taught us many things, especially about the significance of the Sacrament and what it represents.
            One of our favorite scriptures refers to Jesus washing the Apostles feet. Through His humble example we learn what He would have us do in His absence: Serve others!

            E A S T E R   J O Y !  H E   I S   R I S E N !

Spring A.D. 34
•Bible: Jesus returned to Jerusalem area (city of Ephraim) final time to celebrate the Feast of the Passover.
•Jesus raised Lazarus from dead.
•Book of Mormon: Righteous people in America began to look for sign of Christ’s death.

6th Day before Passover
•Bible: Mary anointed Jesus’ feet.
•Chief priests conspired to kill Jesus and Lazarus.

5th Day before Passover
•Bible: Two disciples brought donkey colt to Jesus, as He had instructed them.
•Jesus made triumphal entry into Jerusalem on donkey colt.
•Large crowds of people gathered to honor Jesus. They spread clothing and palm branches in His path.
•Jesus wept over Jerusalem.
•Jesus cast money changers out of temple for second time.
•Jesus taught some Greek Jews about His Father, at temple
•Jesus returned to Bethany.

4th Day before Passover
•Bible: Chief priests challenged Jesus’ authority. He rebuked them.
•Enemies tried to trap Jesus in His words. He answered their questions about Roman taxes, marriage and resurrection, and the great commandment.
•Jesus noticed a widow donating a mite at temple treasury.
•Jesus again lamented over Jerusalem. Jesus warned multitude about hypocrisy. At Mount of Olives, Jesus taught His disciples about destruction of Jerusalem and signs of his Second Coming.
•Jesus cursed the barren fig tree on his way to Jerusalem.
•Parables given: two sons, wicked husbandmen, king’s son’s marriage, ten virgins, talents, sheep and goats

3rd Day before Passover
•Nothing Recorded

2nd Day before Passover
•Bible: Jesus told disciples He would be crucified in two days.
•Chief priests again conspired to kill Jesus.
•Jesus visited home of Simon the leper. Woman anointed Jesus in preparation for his death.
•Judas Iscariot arranged to betray Jesus to chief priests.

Passover Eve: 1st day of unleavened bread 6:00 P.M. (1800 hours)
•Bible: Disciples prepared upper room for Passover meal.
•Jesus had Last Supper with 12 Apostles after sundown. (The Last Supper painted by Leonardo da Vinci, 1495-1497)
•Jesus announced His betrayal. (Judas left the room.)
•Jesus instituted the Sacrament.

9:00 P.M. (2100 hours)
•Bible: Jesus washed feet of His Apostles. He did this to teach them that they were to serve others.
•Jesus’ disciples pledged their love for Him.
•Jesus taught disciples and commanded them to love one another as He loved them.
•Jesus testified of His divinity and taught of the Comforter.
•Jesus and disciples left for Mount of Olives.
•Jesus taught disciples of true vine, love, opposition, and His imminent death.
•Jesus offered intercessory Prayer (John 17), praying to Father for Apostles and all who believed in Him through them.

12 Midnight (2400 hours)
•Bible: Jesus and disciples arrived at Gethsemane.
•Peter, James and John went to Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus. Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to suffer for the sins of the world. After asking Peter, James and John to watch with Him, Jesus prayed, and angel comforted Him.
•Jesus found Peter, James and John asleep; Jesus wakened them, asked them to watch with Him and prayed second time; Jesus bled from every pore; Peter, James and John went back to sleep; Jesus prayed third time; Jesus woke disciples.
•Judas led chief priests’ men to Garden of Gethsemane where he kissed Jesus as a signal. Jesus allowed these men to arrest Him and asked that His followers be unharmed.

3:00 A.M. (0300 hours)
•Bible: Jesus sent to Caiaphas for questioning.
•Members of ruling council questioned, mocked, spat upon and beat Jesus.
•Three times Peter denied knowing Jesus.
•Jesus questioned by whole ruling council at sunrise.
6:00 A.M. (0600 hours)
•Bible: Jesus declared He was Son of God.
•Judas hanged himself.
•Jesus led to Roman Hall of Judgment.
•Pontius Pilate questioned Jesus and found no fault in Him.
•Pilate sent Jesus to King Herod Antipas.
•Herod questioned and mocked Jesus.
•Jesus was sent back to Pilate
•Pilate offered to release Jesus, but people said, “Crucify him.” Pilate released Barabbas.
•Jesus whipped, crowned with thorns, clothed in purple robe, beaten by Roman soldiers. Pilate sought again to release Jesus but people wanted Him crucified.
•Jesus led to Golgotha.

9:00 A.M. (0900 hours)
•Bible: Jesus nailed to cross; soldiers cast lots for His clothes.
•Jesus mocked as He hung on Cross.

12 Noon (1200 hours)
•Bible: Darkness covered land three hours.
•Jesus offered vinegar to drink—called “hyssop” a kind of wild marjoram, used at the Passover.
•A soldier pierced Jesus’ side with a spear.

3:00 P.M. (1500 hours)
•Bible: Jesus spoke His last words and died. There was an earthquake and the veil of the temple was torn in half.
•Jesus’ body was laid in a tomb before sundown.
•Book of Mormon: Great storms and earthquakes caused destruction throughout the Americas.

6:00 P.M. (1800 hours)
•Bible: Chief priests and Pharisees sealed tomb and assigned guards to watch it.

Jewish Sabbath
•Jesus visited the righteous in the spirit world while His body laid in the tomb.
•Book of Mormon: Darkness covered Americas for three days.
•Jesus spoke from heaven to the more righteous people in Americas.

1st Day of Week
•Bible: Jesus’ Resurrection: earth shook, angels opened His sealed tomb.
•Righteous saints in spirit world resurrected.
•Some women found tomb open, saw angels, and ran to tell disciples.
•Peter and John ran to tomb and found it empty.
•Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene at tomb.
•Jesus appeared to Peter.
•Jesus appeared to other women; they testified to disciples of His Resurrection.
•Jesus appeared to two disciples on road to Emmaus.
•Jesus appeared to group of disciples at Jerusalem; Thomas was not with them.

Other Appearances
•Bible: Jesus appeared to Thomas eight days later as well as to other Apostles.
•Jesus appeared to seven of His disciples at Sea of Galilee.
•He said to Peter, “Feed my sheep.”
•Jesus appeared to eleven disciples in Galilee.
•Book of Mormon: Jesus visited and taught people in Americas.
•Jesus visited other lost sheep of house of Israel.
•Jesus ascended into heaven from Mount of Olives 40 days after His Resurrection. Two angels promised Jesus would return in like manner (Second Coming).

Friday, March 27, 2015

Easter 2015: Because He Lives


wherever He walked
wherever He taught
wherever He healed
He changed everything

then changed everything

the Man they called
was gone

but the greatest miracle
was yet to come

He is not here
He is risen

and because He lives

if you
          reach out
          call out
          cry out
He is here

He is here

          the good
          the bad
          the in-between
He is here

no matter who you are
     or who you were
He is here

no exceptions
no lost causes
at all times
in all places
He is here

He rose on the third day
He lives today
find Him
#Because He Lives

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Expressing Gratitude for Talents to our Heavenly Father

The Prayer You’re Not Saying that the Lord Wants to Hear

This puts me in mind of one of my all-time favorite talks given by Marvin J Ashton on Gifts of the Spirit https://www.lds.org/ensign/1987/11/there-are-many-gifts?lang=eng

            This past weekend, I had the unique opportunity to give a fireside about introversion, shyness, and Mormonism after a local bishop read one of my blog posts. At first, I was pretty nervous (Introvert here, remember?), but in the middle of this fireside, I found myself feeling so at home and so happy to talk about something that, for me, is pretty personal. It was a lot of fun, and I'm so grateful I had the chance to do it.*
            As I was preparing for it, I couldn't help but think about how I got to where I am today. I've blogged about this several times, but as a kid, I was terribly shy. That shyness and also introversion pushed me to reading and writing. I found it therapeutic to write about my experiences and my life, even though I sometimes over-killed it with the "woe is me" and "why am I like this" statements in my journals. My writing was my confidant, and the truth is that if I hadn't been so shy, I wouldn't have found writing. And if I hadn't found writing, it would be incredibly heartbreaking, because writing is as much a part of me as breathing is. I love it more than I can even express to you.
            So last night, as I was kneeling to say my prayer before bed and reflecting on these things, I suddenly felt so happy about where I am and randomly ("randomly") told my Heavenly Father, "Thank you so much for the talents that you have given me. I love them and appreciate them."
            The response was immediate. My heart felt like it was being wrapped in someone's arms, it was so warm and at peace. It was as if Heavenly Father was telling me, "Thank you for being grateful for them. I made them just for you, you know."
            Then it hit me: how often do I say prayers where I thank the Lord for the gifts He has given me? Hardly ever.
            Sometimes, I'm so caught up with the 'me' part of 'my gifts' that I forget who they really came from: the Lord. Just like he crafted this earth and our bodies, He must have diligently searched for and crafted gifts that each one of us would need in this life. He must have planned our lives in such a way that we could discover those gifts, and so that we could find joy in them. Isn't that incredible?
            I wonder how many of us take the time to thank Him for those gifts, whether they be athleticism, a beautiful voice, the ability to play the piano, the know-how to fix a car, baking, cleaning, engineering, being a good friend. How often do we take the time to say, "Lord, thank you. I need this gift in my life and it has blessed me"?
            I think He needs and wants you to thank Him for those gifts. To know that you appreciate them.
            If you're not saying this prayer in your life, I'd encourage you to do it. I don't know if the results of your experience will be the same as mine, but I know that the Lord will know how much you appreciate Him. Your talents are as much a part of the Lord's creations as the sea and the stars are, and I know He hopes and desires for you to love them. Don't we all, yes, even the most omniscient being in the universe deserve to feel appreciated for what we do? We do. I know we do.
            So say thanks! Don't hide your light under a bushel, but also don't hide your appreciation for your light under a bushel. Let it shine. I know Heavenly Father will be so grateful you did.

Monday, March 23, 2015

We Should Be the Happiest People on the Earth

Today I Learned that I’m Living the Gospel Wrong

            At 11:30 today, I was sitting in a packed cultural hall at the Logan LDS Institute, waiting for Al Fox Carraway to speak. A blank notebook sat on my lap and my eyes were riveted on the pulpit. I'd been waiting weeks to hear her, and I didn't know if I could wait much longer.
            As she stood up and began to talk with us, I began to write, feeling little tidbits of inspiration just flow through me. I was absorbed and engaged and really enjoying myself, when suddenly, from seemingly out of nowhere, a thought slammed into my mind.
            You're living the Gospel wrong. 
            What. I mean, really. What?
            I'm not perfect, but I'm not breaking commandments with reckless abandon, I thought. I'm not rebelling against authority, skipping church every week, or treating my covenants lackadaisically, I thought. Really, I'm doing quite well. I thought.
            But as I watched Al on the stage, watched the way her eyes lit up and her hands moved and her body bounced up and down on her heels, I realized what I was missing, what I was failing to do. It wasn't something overwhelming, it wasn't something that jeopardizes my worthiness, but it was something I've stopped doing consciously for awhile now. Something meaningful. 
            I've been living the Gospel wrong by not loving it and being excited about it every. Single. Day. And today I learned that Heavenly Father hasn't been too happy with me about it.
            I'm really good at living my life as if I don't know the greatest truth that the world can know. I live my life as if I don't have the answers to life's hardest questions, as if I haven't been atoned for, as if I don't realize my family can be together forever, and as if I don't have a creator of a universe for a father. Sometimes, I walk around and forget that I am part of a Plan of Happiness and that my prayers are answered. So many don't have what I have, and yet, I forget to be excited and grateful about it.
            How can I? Knowing what I know, how can I not be ecstatic every single day of my life?
            It's because I forget.
            When the Sacrament is being passed and my covenants are renewed, I forget to raise my head and rejoice. When I open my hymnbook and the song is marked with the words cheerfully or with enthusiasm, I forget what those things mean. When I'm sitting in a meeting, listening to someone speak, I forget to be excited, to recognize that the truths they teach guarantee my eternal happiness if I allow them.
            I have the greatest gift anyone could ever be given, and I don't wake up every morning excited about it. In that way, I'm failing.
            Today, watching Al speak, I noticed the way she smiled, the way she glowed, the way she punctuated everything she said with "and I love it." Joy radiated from her, and I felt so embarrassed. How could I have lived my whole life knowing the things that I know and not be as happy as she is? And not want to share it every single day?
            This thing, this big thing we call life, is part of a divine plan. It was created for us to teach us, strengthen us, and save us. It was designed in a way to allow us to be saved and saved at the side of our family members. No one is left behind, and no one is left out. Every one of us has been carried in the arms of a Savior who came here, not for himself, but for every individual who has ever lived. You are living and breathing and changing because of him. Isn't it incredible? Isn't it joyous?
            Of all of the bad and depressing news, this is the best and happiest news. And it's eternal. Unchanging.
            I know Heavenly Father wants us to be happy about His plan, to wake up every single day and be excited to be a part of it. This is no mediocre, meh journey. It's salvation, eternity, happiness, and adventure. It's the Gospel.
            And sometimes, no matter how good we are at living it, we forget to do what matters just as much: love it.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

51 Questions that Might Lead You to Mormonism

51 Questions that Might Lead You to Mormonism

            When I was 20 years old…my religion was more about surfing and baseball than it was about anything else. For some odd reason…I still wasn’t happy. A couple important people in my life suggested that I ought to research Mormonism and determine whether it was true or not.
            One of the most important decisions a person makes in their life is their choosing of a religion or church to join. It’ll shape the way they think, determine the things they do, and impact their overall happiness.
            At 20, I began to seriously consider the doctrines of the Mormon Church. Those doctrines started making me a better person. That was the first real and tangible evidence for me. But lots of people challenged me to stop being delusional and look at the facts about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and the LDS Church. The Bible says “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” (Proverbs 18:13) so I try to be open and consider the things that people have sent me. As I consider each of the various arguments against Mormonism, my mind always comes back to the many questions that Mormon doctrine seems to answer with ease. These questions….and their answers form what I consider to be a doctrinal “Mormon Superstructure”.
            I haven’t found any other religion that can logically answer these basic questions. This fact alone keeps my interest in the Mormon faith piqued.
            So here are 51 questions that have helped me form that superstructure. You don’t have to read them all. Pick one or two or ten…and it might just make you want to stop and talk with those missionaries just a little longer next time.

1. There are 50,000+ Christian denominations. Why are they not one church? (Ephesians 4:5)

2. If the Bible has obvious contradictions, then how can it be viewed as the final and infallible word of God by Christians? (Acts 9:7, Acts 22:9)

3. Does the Bible say anywhere in it that there will not be any more prophets or any additional scriptures?

4. There are various letters from Paul and others that were not included in the Bible. Who gets to decide what goes into the Bible and what gets left out?

5. Did we live as premortal spirits before we came to earth? (Jeremiah 1:5, Job 38:7)

6. Who was “God” talking to when He said “Let us” make man in “our” image and after “our” likeness? (Genesis 1:26-27)

7. Why do people believe God the Father and Jesus Christ are one being when Christ refers to himself and His Father as two men? (John 8:17-18)

8. The first Hebrew word for “God” renders the word “God” in the plural. Is there more than one god?

9. Why does Paul say that there are lots of gods? (1 Corinthians 8:5)

10. Why do so many of the “Early Christian Fathers” (those that were closest to the New Testament church) and respected Christian scholars such as C.S. Lewis speak of there being multiple gods?

11. The word “God” is a title. It’s not the actual name of Christ and it’s not the name of Heavenly Father. So could others like you and I be called using that same title someday if we are faithful children of a being with the title of “God”? (John 10:30-36) (Romans 8:16-17)

12. Christ tells us to become perfect. God is perfect. Does that mean we can become like God? (Matthew 5:48)

13. Why would Christ be resurrected with his actual body if he was only just a manifestation of the Father?

14. You must accept Christ in order to be saved. But what if you never even heard of the name of Christ while in your lifetime?

15. Would a just God condemn someone merely because of the space of time in which they lived on the earth?

16. If baptism is required for salvation as taught by Jesus Christ (John 3:3-5), what happens to those that never had the chance to be baptized such as infants that died near child birth?

17. Why would Paul speak to the Corinthians about baptism for the dead, and why is this concept overlooked in mainstream Christianity? (1 Corinthians 15:29)

18. Why would Christ preach to the dead if the people that had died without confessing Christ had no chance in the after-life? (1 Peter 3:18-19) (1 Peter 4:6)

19. Many pastors get paid big bucks to be pastors when Paul says we should minister for free. Should a church have a paid or unpaid ministry? (1 Corinthians 9:18)

20. What does Paul mean when he says we can become an heir of God and a joint-heir with Jesus Christ? (Romans 8:16-17)

21. Why do many Christians say that our works don’t matter, but Jesus says that we are required to repent and keep the commandments?

22. The Bible specifically says that we’ll be judged according to our works. Where is the cutoff line for heaven and hell? If you said 20 lies and I said 19, will you go to hell while I go to heaven?

23. Why do people believe in one heaven and one hell when the Bible teaches that there are various “degrees of glory” after the resurrection? (1 Corinthians 15:40-42)

24. What was Paul talking about when he said he saw in vision a “third heaven”? (2 Corinthians 12:2-4)

25. Why does Christ say that there are many “mansions,” or if you prefer the Greek, “residences, stopping places, degrees” in heaven? (John 14:2)

26. What does the scripture in Acts 3:19-21 mean when Peter talks about the need for a future restoration?

27. What was Christ teaching his apostles during the “40 day ministry”? Why did He need an entire 40 days for after he was resurrected when he was with them every day for the last 3 years? (Acts 1)

28. Why don’t Christian denominations build temples?

29. Revelation 7:15 say that in the last days, disciples wearing white clothes would be working “day and night” in the temple. What church does that?

30. The last chapter of the Old Testament seems kind of important. Does anyone have any idea what it means to “turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers?” (Malachi 4:5-6)

31. The Jews prepare for Elijah’s return every year during Passover. On April 3, 1836 Elijah returned to the earth and appeared in the Kirtland temple on the exact day that Jews around the world had prepared an empty chair for Elijah at their Passover meal? Is that a coincidence? [More]

32. Why was there a sudden global interest in genealogical research and why were these genealogical societies formed immediately following Elijah’s appearance in the temple in 1836?

33. The New Testament apostles had the ability to bind and seal on earth and in heaven. Who today claims the ability to bind and seal things on earth and in heaven?

34. Will we know our family and friends in the after-life or do we lose our identities?

35. Joseph Smith “could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well worded letter” according to his wife and many others. Could he have written the Book of Mormon?

36. If he did write the Book of Mormon, where or how did he accumulate so much wisdom in under 22 years of life?

37. Could Joseph Smith have been capable of plagiarizing from other books to write the Book of Mormon?

38. If you say he plagiarized from a book that was popular and well known in his area, then how come no one called him out on it when he released the Book of Mormon?

39. Every scribe for Joseph Smith said he used no other manuscript or third party source material. Do you think Joseph Smith could have curated, memorized, and dictated Jacob 5 “The Allegory of the Olive Tree”, let alone the entire Book of Mormon?

40. Eleven plus people testified that they saw or handled the Book of Mormon plates. Many of these people became mad at Joseph Smith. Is it feasible that none of them would have “spilled the beans” if it was a calculated fraud in order to destroy Joseph Smith?

41. Who are the “other sheep that are not of this fold” referred to by Christ in (John 10:16) Hint: It’s not the Gentiles.

42. Why do so many ancient North, Central, and South American Indian traditions cite the appearance and ministration of a “Great God” that visited their ancestors many years ago and promised to return again?

43. Why do the explorers and conquistadors credit their ability to conquer the Indians of the America’s to their belief that the conquistadors were that “Great God” returning?

44. If the polygamous history of Mormonism is a deal breaker, then why do you still believe in the Bible? Remember Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, and others who are esteemed from the Bible?

45. Joseph Smith was free and clear from the mob and on the other side of the Mississippi River when he was summoned to go to Carthage to die. If you were an evil villain imposter…would you go back to Carthage, or would you save your own skin?

46. They found the Book of Mormon that Joseph and Hyrum had in Carthage jail with the page turned down that they read from before they died. Hyrum, other than Joseph, would have known best if it was a fraud. If you were Hyrum, would you read from a fraudulent book in your last days?

47. Would there be that many people that would lie about Joseph Smith’s prophetic qualities and the many miracles that surrounded the restoration? If so…why?

48. Is God capable of sending a prophet to the earth today? If yes, how do you think that prophet would be received?

49. What Christian denomination most closely resembles the New Testament church of the Bible?

50. According to Christian beliefs, Mormons would be saved based on their confession of Christ. So…what is wrong with being Mormon?

            Many of these questions have been asked by truth seekers over hundreds of years. It’s amazing to me that we live in a day that these questions can be answered. I personally go back to this “superstructure” whenever my faith is challenged intellectually. I can’t logically discredit the restoration of the gospel while the answers to these timeless questions have been given to me and are in plain view.
            But then there’s question 51:
            The Bible tells us that we should “ask God” and that the Holy Ghost will show us whether something is true or not. So after realizing that there is no other institution (that I know of) that answers these questions…I can do only one other thing to solidify my faith. I’ve got to ask the ultimate question.

51. “God…has Your church been restored?”

            All of the previous 50 questions pale in importance to question 51. The Church of Jesus Christ in these latter days arose out of just one simple prayer to God from a small town farm boy in Palmyra New York.
            So…I followed the Bible. I studied, I asked, I learned for myself that it’s true. I can only speak for myself.
            A sermon could be given on each of these questions, but simply asking these questions is cause enough to at least give Mormonism a long stare down.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

16 Little-Known Facts about LDS Temples


1. The tallest temple is the Washington DC Temple with a 288-foot spire.

2. There were 34 temple dedications in the year 2000, the most in any single year.

3. The current Nauvoo Illinois temple was dedicated on the 158th anniversary of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

4. The Salt Lake Temple was the first to be topped with an angel formally identified as Moroni. The angel was designed by Springville, Utah resident Cyrus Dallin, who was not a member of the church. Then-president Wilford Woodruff asked him to design it. He told his mother he didn’t think he should accept the job because he didn’t believe in angels. “Why do you say that?”, asked his mother. “You call me your ‘angel mother.’” Dallin went on to say this about the experience: “I considered that my ‘Angel Moroni’ brought me nearer to God than anything I ever did,” he said. “It seemed to me that I came to know what it means to commune with angels from heaven.”

5. The Colonia Juarez Chihuahua Mexico Temple is the smallest in the world at 6,800 square feet. It has just one ordinance room and one sealing room.

6. The first temple in Europe was the Bern Switzerland Temple, dedicated in 1955. It was also the first temple not to have English as its primary language.

7. The London England Temple was the second European temple, dedicated in 1958. Europe didn’t get another temple until the Freiberg Germany Temple, built in 1985.

8. Three temples do not have any towers or spires and resemble Solomon’s Temple: the Laie Hawaii Temple, the Cardston Alberta Temple and the Mesa Arizona Temple.

9. Endowments for the dead were first performed in the St George Utah Temple.

10. LDS artist Tom Holdman designed every window on the San Antonio Texas Temple. His stained glass artwork from Holdman Studios also appears on the Palmyra New York Temple, the Nauvoo Illinois Temple, the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple, the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple, the Manhattan New York Temple, the Laie Hawaii Temple, the Draper Utah Temple, the Twin Falls Idaho Temple, the Rexburg Idaho Temple, the San Salvador El Salvador Temple, the Gilbert Arizona Temple. His work will also be featured on the Rome Italy Temple, and he has seven more new temple projects in the works.

11. Lightning struck and damaged the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple in June 2009, ruining Moroni’s arm, face and trumpet. The replacement made it atop the temple by August, ten days before the dedication.

12. Only two LDS temples have been completely destroyed. The Nauvoo Illinois Temple was destroyed by arson fire in 1848, then rebuilt and rededicated in June 2002. The Apia Samoa Temple, dedicated in 1983, was destroyed by fire in 2003. It was rebuilt and rededicated in September 2005.

13. The first 50 temples were dedicated in a span of 120 years. The next 50 dedications happened in just 3 years.

14. Because real estate is costly and limited in Asia, the Church has taken down mission homes and rebuilt temples in their place, including the Fukuoka Japan Temple, the Tokyo Japan Temple, the Hong Kong China Temple, the Seoul Korea Temple and the Taipei Taiwan Temple.

15. The Boston Massachusetts Temple was dedicated without its steeple and Angel Moroni because of a dispute with local residents over the need for the steeple. A judge originally ruled that the “steeple was not a ‘necessary element of the Mormon religion.’” The Supreme Court overruled the judge’s decision over a year later, noting “A rose window at Notre Dame Cathedral, a balcony at St Peter’s Basilica, are judges to decide whether these architectural elements are ‘necessary’ to the faith served by those building?” The judges concluded that, “It is not for judges to determine whether the inclusion of a particular architectural feature is ‘necessary’ for a particular religion.” The steeple and Angel Moroni statue were subsequently added to the temple.

16. Four new temples will be dedicated in the coming months: the Cordoba Argentina Temple will be dedicated in May 2015. The Payson Utah Temple will have an open house in April and be dedicated in May. The Trujillo Peru Temple will be dedicated in June and the Indianapolis Indiana Temple will be dedicated in August.