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Editor’s Note: The following is excerpted from a publication called, The Jewish News of Northern California. In his article entitled, “A journey into the Holy of Holies — in a Latter-day Saints temple”, David A.M. Wilensky gives an in depth description of his tour of the Oakland Temple and all the things he observed there. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.

Last Monday morning, I found myself in an unexpected place, sitting silently with a group of Bay Area journalists in the Celestial Room of the Oakland Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — accompanied by a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Dear reader, I can hear you scratching your head from here. Let me back up a little.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (more commonly known as Mormons, derived from their sacred text, the Book of Mormon) opened up the recently renovated Oakland Temple to the press. Normally, these temples are only for members of the church. But following the renovation — and before the temple is rededicated — it will be open to the public through June 1. The temple is monumental — if you’ve ever wondered at night about those dramatically lit spires in the hills above Oakland, now is your chance to see the temple from the inside. This is the first time it’s been open to the public in 55 years.

If you’re a fan of architecture or if you’re interested in religions, a visit is a must. I was there out of my love of religious architecture — and because I’d heard that these temples include architectural references to the Mishkan (the portable sanctuary used by the Israelites as they wandered in the desert), as well as the ancient Temples that stood on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

As a Jew, I experienced an exciting sense of standing within the grand sweep of history. Over centuries, the layout of the portable tent in the desert inspired a succession of ever more grandiose temples in Jerusalem — and, finally, 200 temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across the world. A holy tent in the desert echoes across history. It’s really something.

To read the full article, CLICK HERE.