Today’s guest post is by Joe Geisner. Over on Juvenile Instructor, Jared T. and Ben have done a wonderful job of reporting on the “Sacred Space” symposium held at BYU. After reading the comments on what the academics think of sacred space I reflected on my own experience with sacred space. The academics focused on the Mormon Temple as our sacred space.
I wrote the below experiences a few years ago after a trip to my ancestral homeland, Ireland. It was in response to an individual about not casting his pearls before swine. A friend of mine was the swine.
I was in Ireland last month. I visited rock cairns and rock circles that date 5000 and 6000 years ago. As my daughter and I crawled over and into the cairns and circles I was over whelmed. Did I feel the spirit, absolutely. It was incredible for me to see and feel the spirit of those who lived so long ago and appreciate the culture of my ancestors who roamed the landscape and built the monuments for their religious beliefs. My cousin who was our tour guide told me about an elderly Irish man who asked my cousin if he knew who built the cairns. My cousin gave him the pat answer that it was our ancient ancestors, the older gentleman looked at him in shock and said, “Oh no it was the fairies who built the rock mounds”. I don’t think my appreciation for the ancients is any less valuable or less spiritual than than the older gentleman’s belief in fairies. I had the same experience when I visited the priory’s, cathedrals, church of Ireland, and Catholic Church sacred spots. I don’t believe in, nor am I a member of these religions but I had equally moving experiences at each of these spots and the spirit there did touch my heart.
A few years ago I traveled to Palmyra and Kirtland. For me a kid growing up in the west it was a dream come true. Being in the Whitney store where the school of the prophets was held, the Johnson farm house where “The Vision” was received by Joseph and Sydney, and the Kirtland Temple where visions galore happened were all “faithful” wonders. I felt the spirit. I didn’t cry like the sister missionary did as the told us Pres. Hinckley is God’s chosen leader on earth, but I felt the spirit of Joseph and Sidney sitting in front of that window, over looking the beautiful Hiram landscape and reading the bible. Feeling what they felt and trying to see what they saw. I doubt my experience was any less spiritual or faithful than the fine sister missionary. I sat in the temple, just me and Lachlan Mackay, talking about Joseph and Joseph sen. (Lachlan Mackay’s ancestors) rising to the podium and giving sermons and prayers, and Sidney Rigdon reading the dedication. We both sat in silence and pondered. What a time. I reflected on my wife’s 4th great grandmother holding her son, my wife’s 3rd great grandfather, in those pews I was sitting in, listening to Joseph and I felt their spirit and had faith that the people at the time saw and heard things that they believed were marvelous. As I walked around Cumorah and had the sun going down in the west and the breeze blowing through the trees I felt Alvin and Joseph’s presence, looking for buried treasure, both secular and religious. I thought and felt Joseph running with the plates thinking that some evil force or person was after him. I wondered if it was after me as I walked by myself as the sun was setting.
I have come up with a few questions after reading my earlier comments and Jared’s posts.
*What makes sacred space for you?
*Do you have sacred space outside a Mormon Temple?
*Do you have to believe in “angels and gold plates” to have sacred space?
* Is sacred space for us or God and why?