CARMEL, Ind. (July 18, 2015) – Indiana’s Mormon community is giving every Hoosier a rare look inside.
The Indianapolis Indiana Temple began is public tours Friday.
The temple, located at 116th Street and Spring Mill Road in Carmel, is the first Mormon temple in Indiana. And sitting atop 34,000 square feet, and three years in the making, visitors say it is a sight to be seen.
“Everything is made to perfection,” Rachel Devault said, who drove three hours for the tour. “It’s just beautiful.”
The temple, sacred for Mormons, church leaders say will serve 30,000 people throughout the state. Before its dedication next month, the public opening is for Hoosiers to experience not only its grandeur, but the temple’s intimacy for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
“There was an overwhelming peace and spirit about it,” Emma Harrison said.
The free tour includes a video presentation and walk through the temple.
“This will be probably not just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” Paul Sinclair said, a church elder.
After the temple dedication, only church members will be allowed inside.
But this rare look into a faith and its faithful is stirring some controversy.
“We are not trying to do anything to disrupt their temple opening,” Chip Thompson said, the director of Utah-based Tri-Grace Ministries.
Members of the group have gathered outside the temple, they say to offer another view of the Mormon faith. Their purpose, Thompson said is not to protest, but rather to inform.
After a large ad in local newspapers, their presence in Central Indiana is symbolic of larger tensions dating back ages.
“All we are doing is offering a different view point about what Mormon temples are about than what they’re going to hear when they go through the Mormon temple,” Thompson said.
Church elders, for their part, say their focus is on their faith and welcoming the public in the days ahead.
“The purpose of building temples in our view is to build families,” Sinclair said. “Families are critical to our faith and we believe all of God’s children are part of one big family.”
IF YOU GO:
Tours run Friday, July 17 - Saturday, Aug. 8
Tours run every day except Sundays
Click here to reserve a spot