CARMEL -- The clock is ticking for the public to see the inside of the world's newest Mormon temple, in Carmel. Over 30,000 people have already made their way through the ornate limestone building, and church officials are expecting more than twice that many before it closes its doors to outsiders on Aug. 8.
This week, Andrew Child, a Mormon from Illinois, stopped in Carmel with his wife and seven kids to take the tour.
“We’re on our way on a family vacation and we just thought ‘we have to stop by and see this,’” said Child. ”It was beautiful, absolutely gorgeous.”
Until its construction, Indiana’s estimated 30,000 Mormons had to travel to Louisville or Chicago for ceremonies. The Childs go the temple in Chicago.
“But it was built in 1984, it’s not as nice as this one,” laughed Child. “I’m very jealous.”
The building, which sits on 18 acres, took three years to complete and features a 96-foot limestone tower topped with a 7-foot gilded statue of the Angel Moroni, who is said to have delivered the plates of the Book of Mormon to Joseph Smith in 1823.
Its interior features lightly colored limestone and marble floored rooms, brilliant stained glass windows, detailed murals, paintings, chandeliers and plush furnishings. There are many Indiana-centric details, like the Tulip Poplar -- the state tree. And a number of Hoosier builders, architects, artists and craftspeople contributed to the work.
This is the 148th temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The temple differs from the Mormon chapel where Sunday services are held because it will host sacred ceremonies like baptisms for the dead and sealing ordinances or eternal marriages.
The public open house has also drawn protestors, who are stationed on the outskirts of temple property. Tri-Grace Ministries hands out literature to people leaving the temple saying that the religion is not in line with the teachings of Christ.
The temple is scheduled for formal dedication on Aug. 23.