Jon Ryan Jensen: Sharing temple testimonies in ways that weren’t possible during previous open house

A couple of weeks ago, on Easter Sunday, the United States’ CBS television network shared a piece it produced that featured Elder David A. Bednar and Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The two senior Church leaders — joined by their wives, Sister Susan Bednar and Sister Kathy Christofferson — talked about the sacredness of what happens in temples and invited those who are able and in the Washington area to participate in the Washington D.C. Temple public open house that began a week later.

“We’re leaving the world and entering a more heavenly place where we learn about God,” Elder Bednar said as they walked with the CBS reporter into the newly renovated temple.

Read more: In exclusive national interview, Elder Bednar calls Washington D.C. Temple ‘a place of light, of peace’

The television segment wasn’t limited to those who watched the program live on their televisions early that Sunday morning in the United States. Social media broadened the reach of the piece when it was shared by the network on its social media channels. The segment was viewed more than a half-million times after only a few days on Facebook and YouTube.

Thousands of individuals left comments and questions of their own after watching the segment. Some shared their own temple experiences. Others asked how they could attend. Forty-eight years ago, when this same temple was opened to the public for the first time, such questions might have only been asked of the living room television — that inanimate object projecting such a report in a living room. But no answers would have been given.

A half-century later, questions can be answered quickly by anyone around the world who knows the answer. As a result, some individuals were invited to participate in the Washington D.C. Temple’s media day who might not have 50 years ago. They represented members of the Church, members of the local community and members of other faiths.

Most of them you won’t hear from by clicking to a TV channel with a remote control or on the car radio. But those “influencers” shared largely glowing opinions of the Church and the feelings they had inside the temple. They did so using channels that are available to nearly anyone around the world who has access to the internet.

Unlike the television crew from CBS or the social media influencers who all toured the temple the week of Easter, members of the Church who have entered the temple don’t need a special invitation to share their feelings about it. And those who have never entered shouldn’t have to wait for a journalist or influencer to be the one who tells them what happens in a temple or how it brings people closer to the Savior.

— Jon Ryan Jensen is director of audience for the Church News.

An inscription reading "The House of the Lord" is pictured on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, April 19, 2022.
An inscription reading “The House of the Lord” is pictured on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Washington D.C. Temple in Kensington, Maryland, on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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