You know how it is when new neighbors move in -- you peek out the window and see what they're unloading from the U-haul. Big speakers, heavy weapons, bongs, Justin Bieber records... all could spell trouble.
But folks in Davie ought to be stoked about the new Mormon temple -- one of only two in Florida and 134 around the world -- that's slated to open in the 'hood this spring. Mormons don't drink or smoke, and they are generally not the troublemaking sort. Their temples, they say, can be a boon to property values . "Neighbors throughout the world have found temples to be good additions to the community," says the Latter-day Saints' website. "Temples are ideal neighbors because the buildings and landscaping are meticulously maintained and those who visit come in small groups throughout the day, rather than in one large group. In addition, it has been repeatedly shown that temples help neighborhoods increase or hold onto their value, even in a bad economy."
See also: Inside the Mormon Storehouse
The temple site is located on the northeast corner of Interstate 75 and Griffin Road on SW 154th Avenue in Davie.
The Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be open to the public from Saturday, March 29, through April 19, excluding Sundays. After that, only members can enter.
The Mormons' website explains that a temple is different from the places where they worship on Sundays:
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Church meetinghouses or chapels are open to all, and everyone is welcome to attend the Sunday worship services and other activities held there. Chapels are open and busy all day on Sunday, while temples are closed that day. Besides Sunday services, Church meetinghouses can be used for a variety of activities such as a neighborhood dinner, a youth activity, or even a community blood drive. Temples are used only for sacred ordinances [baptisms, marriages, etc.] that bless individuals and bind families together for eternity. After temples are dedicated, only faithful Latter-day Saints may enter them.
There are an estimated 136,549 Mormons in Florida, spread throughout 234 congregations. The temple will serve about 25,000 members from congregations from Stuart to the Bahamas.
The temple will be formally dedicated on May 4. In conjunction with the dedication of the temple, there will also be "a cultural event featuring music and dance" on Saturday, May 3. Let's hope Mitt Romney comes!
Church spokesman Eric Hawkins didn't immediately return a message left on his voicemail.