D.C. Temple Open House: A Non-Member’s Perspective
By Chloe Cochran
On April 28, 2022, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to the District of Columbia to tour the remodeled Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ temple before its rededication in August. Being a non-member, I was excited to see what was inside and learn about the culture of Latter-Day Saints. Because I traveled with the Southern Virginia University softball team, I was surrounded by the best tour guides and explainers possible for my journey through the temple.
The temple, I’ve come to understand, is the most sacred place for a Latter-Day Saint members. Recommendations are given out to Latter-Day Saint members to visit it and because the temple is a sacred place, only Latter-Day Saint members are allowed inside once it is dedicated.
Going to Southern Virginia, I had always heard about how amazing the temples are, and I had always been curious about them– what they looked like, who ran them, etc.
So, when Coach Pendleton asked the softball team if they wanted to travel to see the renovated D.C. temple, I was more than excited to go.
Heading into the journey, I didn’t know what to expect (and I tried to keep it that way). I knew that I wasn’t looking for a reason to transition to the Latter-Day Saints religion. Instead, I wanted to explore and learn as much as possible about the religion. I wanted to be given the opportunity to appreciate the belief system that essentially shaped Southern Virginia University and its supporters. Being a part of a university that I found deep love for, I wanted to appreciate and understand better the principles that Southern Virginia stood behind.
When we stepped into the temple, I was astounded by the chandeliers and the paintings that covered the walls.
Out of many paintings, the above picture stood out to me the most. Entering the temple and viewing this photo struck me in astoundment. It was a beautiful painting that captured the essence of Jesus Christ’s second coming. To me, this painting stood out as inspirational and (in a way) showed the perspective of a multitude of religions.
In addition, the room that equally (if not more) drew my attention was the celestial room. I loved that every room inside the temple was representative towards the Latter-Day Saints religion and their beliefs. More specifically, the mirrors inside the celestial room is what I truly found impressive and unique. The center mirrors were positioned so that anyone looking in the mirror could see themselves through all the mirrors, representing eternal life.
Those mirrors also showed up in the sealing rooms, representing eternal life with your partner.
Viewing the mirrors, I couldn’t help but feel emotional, drawn to the high representation that I had been presented with. While I believed differently, I still felt the connections of what an after-life would look like. I was speechless and overwhelmed with something that I had been so unfamiliar with before that day.
After viewing the temple, I was finally able to comprehend why so many Latter-Day Saints have such a high appreciation for their sacred buildings; they are beautiful with so much detail and further meaning.
Because I would normally not be allowed in the temple, I’m thankful to have gone to D.C. temple open house to experience and witness something that I had only ever heard about. Through this experience, I gained a new level of understanding and appreciation for one of many religions.