Monday, December 10, 2007

Swift Templing MoDo

Glenn (sorry for the typo - Mo) Reynolds of Instapundit takes issue with Maureen Dowd's description of her being "kid" seeing the DC Mormon Temple from the beltway. Her description:

When I was a kid, we used to drive on the Beltway past the big Mormon temple outside Washington. The spires rose up like a white Oz, and some wag had spray-painted the message on a bridge beneath: “Surrender Dorothy!”

It did seem like an alien world, an impression that was enhanced when we took a tour of the temple and saw all the women wearing white outfits and light pink lipstick.
And Reynold's reaction:
But if you're imagining Dowd as a pigtailed six-year-old in the back of the family station wagon, think again. The temple was finished in 1974. Maureen Dowd was born in 1952. So she was a "kid" who was old enough to vote and drink. (According to this source, the graffiti first appeared in 1973, when Dowd would have been 21.)
Gateway Pundit claims that her seeing the inside of the Temple is false.
This is complete and total B.S.

Once a Temple is dedicated, only those with valid Temple Recommends can enter. Even LDS Members cannot enter unless they hold a Temple Recommend from their Bishop. And you would never see a woman in her Temple clothes outside the Temple. And no one says pink lipstick or any other shade. That is just plain ignorant as are all her remarks.

This Dowd woman is a liar in more ways than one.
Let's review the timeline:

Maureen Dowd born: 14 January 1952

And from the official LDS website:

Groundbreaking and Site Dedication: 7 December 1968 by Hugh B. Brown
Public Open House: 17 September–2 November 1974
Dedication: 19–22 November 1974 by Spencer W. Kimball

She would have been sixteen going on seventeen when it began construction and would have risen to its skyline imposing height during her high school and college years. She would have been twenty-two when the public open house occurred. And there was only a six week window when she could have ever toured the temple at all. This was a huge event in the DC area and I know people that took the tour. Allegedly all the carpet was removed and replaced after the hoi polloi were shooed out. So she could not have seen the temple insides after that.

If George Bush can excuse cocaine abuse in his thirties as "youthful indiscretions", Dowd can truthfully claim to have seen the temple as a "kid".

Once again, a little research refutes some mudslinging. Really wingnuts, find something more substantial to gig her on.

Update (10:30 am EST): Kathryn Jean Lopez of the notoriously liberal National Review Online takes my stance and says:
With so much to give Maureen Dowd grief about, this isn't one to harp on.
It seems the LDS Temple is a popular place for college kids to go "parking".


Anonymous said...

Simple question: How old was Dowd when the graffiti first appeared?

yellojkt said...

According to Wikipedia, in late 1973, when Dowd was a kid in college at Catholic University. It all comes down to definitions. If Dowd wants to think she was a kid then, who is to disagree?

Arnaldur Svartnaggur said...

I'll disagree, since "kid" implies non-adulthood. 21 year olds aren't kids, they're adults.

RH Potfry said...

I tend to agree that "kid" is a pretty relative term, but when you read the entire introduction, including the next two paragraphs about it seeming like "an alien world," "scowling nuns," and the "hideous fates that would befall girls," it's hard to imagine Dowd as 22 years old. She's certainly trying to communicate a sense of wide-eyed wonder.

blacquesjacquesshellacques said...

Very poor post, with the exception of the comment on Bush. A good showing of BDS, which appears to be the black hole of liberal intellectual life, sucking all thought towards it with a trillion gravities.

'Youthful' and 'kid' have both different connotations and denotations, no?

Otter said...

Way to support her Xenophobia.

D said...

When I talk about something I did in college, I usually say "When I was in college..."

When I want to talk about something I did in high school, I'll say "When I was in High School" or "When I was a teenager..."

"When I was a kid" or child is pretty much reserved for 14 or less.

I'm a little surprised by all this. I honestly thought Maureen Dowd was dead. I hadn't heard anything about her in a couple of years. Before that she'd be in the news once a week claiming that Bush was worse than Hitler.

Mo MoDo said...

I don't think the word means what you think it means.

Yeah, a little more explication would have been useful. I think that since the construction of the temple spanned her high school and college years, she just went for the all-purpose "kid" which is actually more accurate than "child" or "student" might have been. Besides it's an opening anecdote and the exact timeline doesn't affect the overall impression that she was awed by the temple.

Anonymous said...

I've been to a temple dedication, the Chicago temple, where I met the current President of the LDS Church, one Gordon B. Hinckley.

I was eight or nine years old, and I needed a temple recommend from our bishop.

Everyone was wearing suits and dresses, just like we did for church on Sundays.

I'm not a Mormon now, but I was one until I was about 12, and I have never heard of Mormons wearing their temple clothing other than outside the temple, with only Mormons present.

Because I was a child, I do not even know what temple clothing looks like, because I never laid eyes on it, and would not have until the time came to go to the temple myself.

I think Maureen Dowd swifted herself.

Anonymous said...

I mean to say inside the temple... and let me also clarify that Hinckley is currently the President of the Church; the president then was Spencer W. Kimball, and he was too ill to attend.

Anonymous said...

I think you mean National Review Online. Must not be your day

Mo MoDo said...

Thanks. Fixed. I get National Review and New Republic confused because they are so similar.

Mo MoDo said...

You are going to have to ask Dowd herself what she say thirty years ago. Maybe she was scared by some choir members.

This stuff was not covered on my one and only visit to Salt Lake City. I work with some Mormons, but I'm not willing to ask those kinds of silly questions.

Anonymous said...

Mo Mo Do, suppose I were a famous columnist for the New York Times, and I said that my first visit to a Catholic church freaked me out because I saw those albinos with spiky things around their thighs? And if someone called me on it, would you say "oh, well, ask Gabriel Hanna what he saw, maybe it was just something else".

Well, no, I didn't see albinos with cicatrices in the church, where I saw those in the Da Vinci code, and it would be right to call me on that and wrong to defend me.

Perhaps Dowd conflated her sterotypes about what Mormons supposedly do with what she actually saw. People do stuff like that all the time, like Reagan talking about his role in liberating the German death camps. You wouldn't have excused that one, would you?

davis said...

I lived inside the beltway when the temple was being constructed, and there was a small window between it's completion and consecration during which outsiders could take a tour. I knew someone who did. It's possible that she did, too, but I bet she didn't.

Milhouse said...

If George Bush can excuse cocaine abuse in his thirties as "youthful indiscretions",

Huh? In what universe did that happen? Certainly not this one. Bush has never "excused" cocaine abuse, in his thirties or at any other age, because he's never admitted to any in the first place. He's never had to admit it, because there is no evidence at all for it, or even the slightest reason to believe it. It's just a vicious hateful rumour spread by deranged slanderers because they get off on making up this sort of story.

Anonymous said...

davis, temples usually do have an open house before their dedication and you really can most of a temple.

My point was that I was a Mormoon, with special permission to attend a ceremony that non-Mormons were not permitted to attend, and even I didn't see anyone in temple garments. What I saw were people wearing their Sunday best, just as they did in church.

I did see protestors OUTSIDE the temple, one of whom was in a weird costume, but it didn't look anything like what Dowd described; I've NEVER seen a Mormon wear what she described.

And choir robes are choir robes the world 'round-they shouldn't have seemed weird to Dowd, if that's what she really saw.

I think she "knows" that Mormons wear weird clothes in the temple and "remembers" seeing it. I just don't think she actually saw it, because Mormons don't let non-Mormons see those. And I, as a Mormon child, never saw them, because I never participated in the temple ceremonies where one was obliged to wear them. My parents were not even allowed to tell me what went on in them, though it isn't that hard to find out.

Mo MoDo said...


We are giving Talmudic weight to the words "all the women wearing white outfits and light pink lipstick" which could mean anything. We don't know if the outfits were dress clothes that happened to be white or special uniforms to distinguish the church guides from the visitors or ceremonial robes I can only imagine. Neither of us were there to confirm or refute whether any women were wearing white and what sort of outfits they were. In fact, this is the sort of superfluous detail nitpicking that I'm mocking.

You yourself admit that you have been in a temple only a few more times than I have (which is never). You were at a temple dedication which is very different from the "open house" type of event Dowd claims she went to. (How do we know she was even there? Does she have pictures? Programs? Notarized receipts?) Thousands of people went to the open house. Surely someone else remembers what was worn by whom.

When I was in Salt Lake City, I found the sheer number of clean cut healthy looking blond people a little unsettling myself. I'm used to much grittier urban environments.

megapotamus said...

"Swift-templing"? The undergirding subject is trivial but revealing. Of course Dowd, like any Leftwinger, has only a cursory association with reality. 'nuff said. But the title here is an ignorant and offensive slander against the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. No, they did not tell any lies about John Kerry, rather, ummm, Inconvenient Truths. Kerry lied and continues to lie about his cowardice, incompetence, treason and hearty endorsement of the North Vietnamese communists who were at war with the US, committing widespread atrocities as a matter of tactics in SE Asia. This disgrace redounds on all those who associate with this sick troll, including voting for him. You can earn a quick million bucks if you can document a lie in Unfit for Command. Try it. Check into the actual facts for once in your life. You might like it. Not at first, however...

Anonymous said...

Mo' Mo
Mo Do was taiking a gratuitous swipe by mytholizing.(is that a word?have to check with Dostoyevsky).It's a bit like John Kerry's's done because the writer feels there is no way to disprove one's recollections.After all,how can one prove someone's (purported) memories ,were in fact,not real.
Unfortunately for Mo,sometimes it's not hard.Still,.in n
the pantheon of Democrats lieing to make a point,I would give it only a 6 on the 10 point scale.
Ten's.Kerry's SEARED during Cambodia memories.
9)Al Gore's being serenaded by his mother with,"Look for the Union Label."Still,if Al was only 22 when this was written,he may have been an infant,according to the Ericson/Dowd Developmental scale.
8)Joe Biden's appropriated autobiography,or"I need a life of my own"
7)Patrick Kennedy's-"I can't remember nothing after I took the Ambiens"
6)The above by MODo
Out of examples.Please feel free to may be my own bias,but I can't recall people in other political parties9including,w
Whigs,Tories and Free Silverites beeeeing caught with 'memory falsification'

Anonymous said...

Maureen likely toured the temple before its dedication where the folks inside would have been dressed in white. Temple clothing can be worn on the outside of the temple. It is simply all white modest clothing. The ritual clothing would not be worn during the openhouse but Dowd didn't say anything about seeing that.

She would not have been a kid, however, when the temple was completed, when she toured or when the graffiti appeared.

She apparently misremembered or borrowed someone elses memory.

It doesn't say much for her memory or reporting but what does ?

Pal2Pal said...

Over 758,000 people toured the Washington, DC Temple during the month and a half or so it was open to the public before dedication. Do we have any other stories like Dowd's out of those hundreds of thousands of potential descriptions? Since one of those was First Lady Betty Ford, I would bet my bottom dollar that lots of media also took the tour. Where are their stories?

I have some non-Mormon friends who took the tour of the San Diego Temple after it was completed and before dedication. My friend still talks about the beauty of the place and how, even with so many people being shuttled through, she had a sense of peace inside.

I've been in 4 Temples, Los Angeles, Salt Lake, Provo and Ogden. The main sanctuaries could be any great church you are familiar with. The smaller rooms are like private chapels within. The carpet is thick and sound deadening, the walls are covered with beautiful murals depicting Biblical scenes/events. If you want to get an idea of the craftsmanship of the Salt Lake Temple (the oldest), visit the Mormon Tabernacle in Temple Square, Salt Lake. The techniques used there are very similar to the construction techniques of the Temple.

I've found that whether it is construction of a building, or in the modern world cutting edge use of technology, the Mormons tend to do quality work and most of it provided by volunteers doing the job for love of God.

Think about the Mormon accomplishments. Reagan called the Mormon Tabernacle Choir "America's Choir" and they have world-wide acclaim. The craftsmanship of that 11,600+ pipes of that fantastic organ in the Tabernacle, the world's greatest genealogical and records collection, kept safe in a granite mountain that even our government uses to store documents and keep them safe, even from a direct nuclear bomb hit. The quality videos and DVDs they produce and mostly give away for free to anyone who asks, a top university system, a farm system designed to feed hundreds of thousands, a distribution system for the needy that rivals any we are familiar with, and on and on. Mormons do not believe in going on the public dole and instead provide for their own, but the rub is, if you are in need, you don't have to be one of their own to get help if you ask. A friend of mine was given food and money to get her through a 4 month period of unemployment with 4 kids to feed and rent to pay. She is not a member, but a neighbor member saw her need and made sure she had help.

And I just heard 5 minutes ago on the news that Mormons have 40% less heart disease than the general public which is attributed to their Bible driven diet and the fact that they fast one day a month. Mormons live their beliefs, not just inside Temples or in Ward buildings on Sunday. They live it in their communities and in their families. Whether it is Family Home Evening on Monday nights or Cultural Studies or Homemaker and parenthood instructions through the Relief Society or bringing food and comfort to the sick, they are teaching their young people to learn about their world and how to be successful in that world. Good solid people.

Mo MoDo said...

Thanks for your very enlightening comment. I've been to Salt Lake City and was very impressed with the architecture.