GTU Community Visits LDS Temple
Oakland, CA - On Wednesday, May 29, 2019, faculty, students, staff, and other guests from the Graduate Theological Union were given a unique opportunity to tour the Oakland California Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The newly renovated temple, which was originally dedicated in 1964, is currently open to visitors prior to being rededicated on Sunday, June 16, 2019. The Oakland Temple is one of more than 160 LDS temples currently operating around the world.
On the day before the tour, Dr. Robert Rees, director of Mormon Studies at the GTU, offered an introductory lecture in the GTU library, preparing guests for the experience by offering background about the temple and its significance in LDS life. Dr. Rees described the temple as a “house of holiness” in which “everything is suggestive of centering on God.” Within LDS tradition, the temple is a sacred place set apart for particular ceremonies and ordinances intended to draw members closer to God.
LDS church members expressed how meaningful and moving it was for them to have this opportunity to share their holy space with the wider community prior to its rededication. GTU President Rabbi Daniel Lehmann remarked, “Our visit to the LDS Temple in Oakland provided us with a visual and experiential portal into the religious thought and practice of the LDS Church. We are excited to partner with the LDS community here in the Bay Area and beyond in seeking to develop a Center for Mormon Studies at the GTU that will add this important religious voice to our interreligious community of learning.”