To those of us who live in the Indianapolis, Indiana, area the Church's announcement that the temple will be in Carmel is welcome news, but not a surprise. Every member around here predicted it would be in that area.

My husband, a Hoosier by birth and a Boilermaker by choice, closely examined the map and cannot imagine a better location for a temple. Access is superb and the Carmel area is wonderful. 

When we moved back to Indiana late last year we were loathe to leave the Kansas City, Missouri Temple area. It was so exciting to see a temple in that location going up. But, they've announced the Indianapolis Temple location so close to the first announcement of its being built, that it's finishing date can't be too far off.

Naturally, it has spawned a number of articles in the local press. In fact, I'm enormously impressed with two articles in the Indianapolis Star entitled, "Plans to build temple in Carmel reflect Mormon growth" and "About the Mormon Church" by Robert King. King did his homework. in fact, he does a marvelous job of explaning us to the uninformed.

He makes good use of Dr. Jan Shipps, the most informed scholar about Mormons and an Indiana resident as well. I've heard Dr. Shipps referred to in Mormondom as "our beloved agnostic" but I can't find a reference for the quote. Even so, it is true. She helps others understand us when we can't make ourselves understandable to them. But, in all fairness, if she criticizes us or praises us then we probably deserve it. The lady knows her stuff.
Jan Shipps, professor emeritus of religious studies and history at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, has studied the Mormon faith for 50 years and says it is definitely a Christian religion.
"If you look at a group and the group says that the name of their institution is The Church of Jesus Christ and they accept the atonement of Christ, they are very much Christian," Shipps said. "You can't say they are not Christian. It just doesn't make sense. But they are not Christian in the same way that Catholics and Protestants are Christian. They have a different theological understanding of God and Jesus."

I think that is a fair and accurate assessment of our Christianity. Further in King's article:
Still far from being a Mormon stronghold, Indiana ranks 26th among states in Mormon population. But the Mormon Church here has grown to nearly 42,000, a 50 percent increase since 1990. It is growth local church leaders say reflects the Indianapolis area's attractiveness to a church membership that's well-educated and drawn to high-end job opportunities, as well as a place with a reputation for being family-friendly.
 King goes on to describe aspects of temples:
Inside, temples feature a large baptismal pool that rests on the backs of stone oxen. An ornately decorated "celestial" room, usually on the second floor, is used for meditation and is a place some Mormons believe is as close as they can be to heaven on Earth.
As close to Heaven as you can be on Earth.

I like that.

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