New Mormon temple provides opportunity for those who are ‘curiouser and curiouser’

“That they might have joy” column by Jacki Wood

In chapter two of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” Alice cries out, “Curiouser and curiouser!”

This curious phrase comes after she drinks from a bottle to shrink herself and then eats a small cake to grow more than nine feet tall at just the beginning of her adventures.

In recent years, I’ve found myself saying, as Alice did, “curiouser and curiouser,” as I realize something I’d never thought of; or in reality, realize how ignorant I am and how very little I know.

Ignorance is defined as lack of knowledge, learning, information, and Albert Camus said, “The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance.”

But the more I read, the more curious I become. And through learning, the more respect I have for things that were once an unknown to me, especially other peoples and cultures.

While we may look different from one another, speak different languages, and have different religious and philosophical beliefs, I believe we are all very much alike. We all want to be understood and loved and respected, regardless of our race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

I remember in high school, the local Baptist youth group decided they wanted to learn more about the other religions in our community. So for several weeks, they traveled around town and listened while each church’s youth shared their beliefs with them. They were our friends from school, our teammates on the basketball and football teams, in our math and English classes, but we didn’t really know what each other believed.

That experience with the Baptist youth had such a great impact on me. I’m a Mormon, or a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I was impressed that they would want to know what we believed by asking us, not by just reading something that someone, somewhere had written about us.

In my 36 years of being a Mormon, I’ve come across a lot of ignorance as to what we truly believe.

This month, though, there is a unique opportunity here in Missouri to learn more for those who are curious. The church has built a new temple in Kansas City, the first one in this area, and they are having an open house from April 7 to 27. It’s a perfect time to take a look inside the temple and become more educated about what we believe.

Once the open house is over and the temple is dedicated, only members of the church in good standing are allowed to enter.

For me, the temple is a place of beauty, of love, of great peace; a place to leave the world behind and focus on what’s most important; and a place to learn more about Jesus Christ and feel God’s love.

This opportunity for the curious reminds me of Helen Keller’s “The Seeing See Little,” when she said, “Those who have eyes apparently see little. The panorama of color and action that fills the world is taken for granted.”

My challenge for all of us is to not take for granted the things that we could be learning at this important time in our lives. It’s a curious world. Curiouser and curiouser as we begin to open your eyes and truly see the world around us.

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