So this afternoon, I devoted a couple of hours to touring the grounds of the temple complex. A few church members (two young women and an older gentleman) led me on a tour of the premises. I wasn't allowed inside the main temple building, but there were quite a lot of other buildings on the temple grounds. For instance, there is a really huge and impressive LDS Conference Center with a four-acre garden on the roof (somehow, it reminds me of the hanging gardens of Babylon). This center also has a very interesting art gallery on the second or third floor (I can't remember exactly which floor), which boast a series of commissioned oil paintings depicting key scenes from the Book of Mormon.
All in all, it was a very educational and fruitful trip for me. The church members were very helpful and sincere in telling me about their religion and practices, and acquainting me with the temple grounds and buildings. The hardest part of the tour for me was when the older gentleman was telling me how, according to the Book of Mormon, Jesus Christ came to the Americas to teach the gospel to the native Americans soon after he died on the cross and was resurrected. It took me more than half a second to realize that this gentleman actually really believed this as a matter of fact and with the full weight of his conviction. I had to suppress the urge to make some kind of irreverent remark (which would have been totally inappropriate and disrespectful, given the circumstances), and make myself go along with his story and ask what I hoped were respectfully inquiring questions. But of course, the fault is totally mine; as you probably know from reading this blog, I have a habit of making irreverent remarks, not all of which are appropriate.
Well, as they say, a picture speaks a thousand words. During the tour, I took a few pictures of the buildings on the temple grounds:
Main Temple Building
The main office building of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Statue of Brigham Young
The LDS Conference Center
The Main Temple Building, as seen from the top floor of the LDS Conference Center
I hope you like these pictures. I need to go get some sleep now. I have a very long drive to LA tomorrow.