Summarized by Rosemary Pollock
Mormons open house
Detroit MI Free Press 7Oct99 D1
By David Crumm: Free Press Religion Writer
New temple in Bloomfield Hills gives Mormons less travel time
Flint MI Journal 7Oct99 D1
By Betty Brenner: Journal Religion Editor
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MICHIGAN -- This past Friday began the only public
tours that will ever be permitted for the general public into the
Bloomfield Hills, Detroit Mormon temple. This new 10,700 square-foot
building is the 63rd temple of the worldwide Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints.
Approximately 33,000 Mormons live in Michigan with about 1,200 living
in the Flint area. Latter-day Saints now number 10 million worldwide
and make up the seventh-largest church in the United States. The
Detroit Temple District has grown 7 to 8 percent in the past year.
The tours which end October 16, will allow thousands of local
visitors and residents to tour the building. The tours begin with a
seven-minute video about Mormon beliefs. Wednesday, small groups of
community leaders, including clergy from other religions were ushered
through the temple by Mormon leaders.
Victor Begg, president of the Muslim Unity Center in Bloomfields Hills
expressed his fascination with the tour. "I was impressed," said Begg.
"They talked a lot about family, and that's a common thread between us.
Islam build its whole superstructure around families."
"And they talk a lot about our life on Earth being part of eternity.
That's one of the most important things for us as Muslims, too, the
belief that this life is just a temporary place for us."
Rabbi Aaron Bergman of Congregation Beth Abraham Hillel Moses in West
Bloomfield said, "It was fascinating. Their version of heaven is that
we get reunited with our families, and I think that fits into Judaism,
too, although I think they have a stricter entrance requirement for
heaven than we do." "It was really a moving experience to see their
temple. I thought it was wonderful of them to open this up to us."
Thomas Bithell, spokesman for the church in Oakland County, dismissed
any notion of trying to push the Mormon faith on visitors. "No one
needs to worry about that," he said. "We certainly do plenty of
missionary work at other times, but these tours have a totally different
Fifty-four more temples are under construction worldwide. "The temple
is where we put families together forever. It is our link to heaven,"
said Elder Jay E. Jensen, president of the northeast district of the
The free public tours run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
There are no tours on Sunday. On Monday, tours run 9-6. They continue
Tuesday through Saturday, 9-9 p.m.