Philadelphia has a new neighbor — a new Mormon Temple at 18th and Vine Streets. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints consider their temples to be the most sacred places to worship on Earth.
“It’s a place of peace, inspiration, and sacred ceremonies,” said Elder Milan Kunz, a senior Mormon leader in the Philadelphia region. “People think when they look at the temple that it’s going to be one great hall inside, but it isn’t. It contains four floors and each floor has a specific function and purpose.”
The Temple, and its adjacent meeting house, will serve more than 40,000 Mormons from parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and Maryland. Right now, the Georgian style, granite-clad structure is open to the public.
Tours are being given daily through Sept. 9, then only card-caring Mormons can enter. Kunz says that meeting houses are still open to the public.
“When you really get to be a part of a congregation, it becomes a part of your extended family,” Kunz said. “None of our clergy receive compensation, and so they just serve one another in various capacities — as teachers and as leaders and planning activities — so there really is a sense of extended family in our congregations.”
For more of Jennifer Lynn’s interview with Milan Kunz, press play at the top of the page.