Independence Temple Tour


Dubbed a national historic landmark, the Independence Temple in KCMO is one of the few former LDS temples that allows guided tours for visitors of any faith. Both a place of worship and education, it’s “dedicated to the pursuit of peace” and is a striking figure in the nearby Independence, Missouri skyline. No longer a temple of the Latter Day Saints (though the nickname remains), it is now a Community of Christ Temple. Presented in 1984 by Wallace B. Smith as a response to the World Conference, ground finally broke in 1990, and the temple was completed in 1994.

Gyo Obata designed the temple, which gives a nod to the spiral Nautilus shell with the stainless steel spire rising 300 feet above the ground. Art is displayed throughout the temple, including both traditional and contemporary religious pieces collected from around the globe. You enter a stunning etched glass archway showing Joseph Smith in the Sacred Grove, then head up a worshiper’s path made of stone.

A KCMO Experience

Throughout the pathways is a fountain for meditation and more art, and in the primary sanctuary, seating for 1,600 is available. Here, you’ll find a Casavant pipe organ featuring 60 stops, 102 ranks and 5,685 pipes. You exit into the foyer with “The Field is White, Already to Harvest,” a stained glass wall that received the American Institute of Architects award for religious art.

Look for the huge bronze doors with the church seal of a child, lion and lamb. Upon exiting, you’ll find yourself on a world plaza with a map set into brick. A Daily Prayer for Peace happens at 1 p.m., each day honoring a different nation. Head to the meditation chapel to see paintings by Jack Garnier, or book the theater for meetings or events.