Whether a rock, tree, body of water, mountain, home shrine, or constructed temple, sacred spaces anchor the foundations of most world religions. But what is it that makes these spaces “sacred”? Who or what determines their ontological status as a sacred space? Who or what determines how long and under what terms a space remains “sacred”? In class lecture and reading, Eliade provides an explanation behind the construction and sustaining of sacred space. According to Eliade, religious man (homo religious) experiences some space as non-homogenous, i.e. a distinctive space from the profane, which allows the sacred to “break-in” to the homogenous and profane world. For this paper, students will look at a few key issues related to Mormonism and the creation and sustaining of the Salt Lake Temple. First, students must integrate Eliade’s concepts of chaos/order and cosmicization to explain the “Zion-Making Process” by which Temple Square came about (be sure to detail Eliade’s arguments). Secondly, and in relation to this last point, “Reading 13” notes that the Mormon’s early acceptance of “Zion ideology”
created “otherness” between them and other Americans. In creating their own cities, homes, and temples (especially Temple Square), which were intended to reflect “Zion” on earth, Mormons believed in a strict sacredness of place, separating themselves spiritually and physically from the outside world. However, even at the inauguration of the Salt Lake Temple, a few non-Mormon, “Gentiles”, were allowed to tour the premises. The tourism of Temple Square has only increased in time and now stands as Utah’s second most visited attraction. Using “Reading 2” and “Reading 14,” explain the differences between “pilgrimage” and “tourism” with special attention given to how “tourism” at Temple Square took-off (and became accepted) even in light of Zionist ideology of “otherness”.
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