If everybody left the Church, what would happen to all our meetinghouses and temples? They’re such beautiful buildings. It would be a shame to see them sit empty. It would be a shame to see them converted into stores or get demolished.
I can’t help but feel sad when I see an abandoned church house. It feels wrong somehow when people enter old churches not as worshippers, but as tourists. Mitt Romney described the cathedrals of Europe perfectly. He said they’re, “so inspired, so grand, so empty.” The sad fact is, church attendance in Europe is decreasing. Mosque attendance, on the other hand, is increasing. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing.
I’m reminded of a couple of Poetry Slams I went to a few years ago. (Poetry Slams, for those who don’t know, are meetings or shows where a bunch of emotional teenagers read poetry to each other in a dramatic way. They’re fun.) They were held in a building that used to be a church. It still had a steeple, it still had pews, and it still had a slightly raised stage area where the pastor used to stand and preach. But someone had removed all the crosses and Bibles and paintings of Jesus.
Although the building’s exterior looked like a church, what happened inside was very un-church-y.
Don’t get me wrong. A lot of what happened at the Poetry Slams was uplifting and beautiful. The Poetry Slams were a time and a place for hip college students to meet up and hang out, and bask in the beauty of poetry. That’s cool. But there was also a lot of drug use, underage consumption of alcohol, profanity, taking the Lord’s name in vain, vulgarity, immodesty, and a celebration of sinful acts. What made the whole thing even worse was that it took place inside of an old church.
It was sad.
I guess I could imagine our meetinghouses being converted into churches for another religion, or stores or gyms or something. But what could our temples be turned into? Museums? Um… upscale apartment complexes? A school? Seriously, we Mormons pour millions and millions of dollars into building these beautiful temples. They are specifically designed for administering our particular ordinances. They are built unlike any other type of building I can think of. And they’re made out of such expensive material! And they’re made to last into the Millennium! I just can’t picture any developer wanting to buy them.