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Symbolism can be seen in architecture of S.L.


By Lynn Arave
Deseret News
Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008

The 40 years of labor it took to construct the Salt Lake Temple -- much of it without the help of machines -- have come to
symbolize the extreme dedication, sacrifice, self-reliance and faith that early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints in Utah possessed. However, the outside (like the inside) of the iconic structure contains a wealth of
symbols and representations. A cloud stone is at upper right in this photo of a portion of
the east side of the Salt Lake LDS Temple. Cloud stones
represent the gospel piercing through superstition and
"Notable among all LDS temples, the Salt Lake Temple includes significant symbolism in its architecture," the the error of the world. The outside of the temple contains
Encyclopedia of Mormonism states. a wealth of symbols and representations.

The Salt Lake Temple "stands as an isolated mass of the everlasting hills. ? As nearly as any work of man may so do. It
suggests duration," Elder James E. Talmage wrote in "The House of the Lord."

While it would be improper to discuss the inside of the sacred temple's symbolism, the outside of the sacred edifice has
been publicly written about over the years -- because anyone can view that aspect.

Here's a look at highlights of the temple's extensive outside symbolism:

Granite -- While LDS temple buildings generally represent mountains, which anciently were climbed for solitude and
private communion with deity, the Salt Lake Temple has more symbolism than any other. The gray granite walls
symbolize the enduring and eternal nature of the ordinances performed therein and of the everlasting hills (from "The
Salt Lake Temple," by Dean R. Zimmerman, New Era magazine, June 1978).

The granite for the temple came from the mountain walls in Little Cottonwood Canyon, southeast of Salt Lake City. Deep
excavations around the Salt Lake Temple in 1963 revealed a 14-foot-deep granite foundation, atop a 16-foot-deep
sandstone foundation (according to the Deseret News, March 30, 1963).

Towers -- The six towers themselves signify the restoration of priesthood authority. (Religious spires in general are
symbolic because they prompt onlookers to gaze heavenward.) The three eastern towers on the temple are six feet
higher than the western counterparts. As such, the eastern towers represent the three members of the church's First
Presidency and the Melchizedek Priesthood, while the western towers portray the Presiding Bishopric of the church and
the Aaronic Priesthood (according to the New Era article).
A constellation on the west side of the Salt Lake LDS
Earth stones -- These are found just above the basement of the temple and at the floor of each buttress. The 36 stones Temple. Constellation stones are to symbolize that the
are believed to symbolize the spreading of the gospel throughout the world, because they represent different portions of lost may find themselves through the priesthood. The
the globe. They also represent the telestial kingdom, the lowest of the three degrees of heavenly glory in LDS beliefs. outside of the temple contains a wealth of symbols and
representations. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)
Moon stones -- These are found just above the temple's promenade and represent the moon in all its different phases.
Drawings by the temple's architect, Truman O. Angell, are based on all phases of the moon during the year 1878. There
were 13 new moons, 13 first quarters, 12 full moons and 12 last quarters during that year. Midway along the north wall of
the temple is the first quarter of the moon, based on January 1878. Go clockwise and the moon's phases for that year
continue in sequence. The moon also represents the middle degree of glory, the terrestrial kingdom in LDS scripture.

Some also believe the moon's phases may represent man's mortal journey, from birth to death and from darkness to

Sun stones -- Going upward on the temple are the sun stones, with 52 points per face, to represent the sun's rays.
These stones were patterned after the Nauvoo Temple's sun stones. These stones also represent the highest degree of
glory, the celestial kingdom is LDS theology.

Star stones -- Just above the cornice of the temple are five-point star stones. The eastern towers have 40 star stones.
These number 12 on the central towers. They are also found on the majority of keystones. The central towers on both
the east and west sides contain stones showing clasped hands. These symbolize the hand of fellowship and how Latter-
day Saints should characterize brotherly love. Two sun stones are on the east end of the south side of
the Salt Lake LDS Temple. The sun stones represent the
sun's rays and the highest degree of glory. The outside
Cloud stones -- There are only two cloud stones on the temple. They are located on the east center tower and represen
of the temple contains a wealth of symbols and
the gospel piercing through superstition and the error of the world. representations. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

Inscriptions -- Just above the windows on the eastern center tower is the inscription "Holiness to the Lord" (Exodus
28:36). This is inscribed somewhere on all temples.

Near the windows of the east and west towers are keystones, inscribed with "I Am Alpha and Omega" (Revelation
22:13). This phrase represents time and eternity and is a proclamation of he who is without beginning or end.

Constellations -- Above the windows on the west central tower are representations of Ursa Major and the Big Dipper.
Angell once wrote that Ursa Major and its pointer toward the North Star symbolize that the lost may find themselves by
the priesthood.

Eye -- Above the upper windows in each of the center towers is a carved emblem, the "all-seeing eye."

Turrets -- On the corner tower are single spire stones, representing flaming torches.
The Angel Moroni statue -- He represents the restoration of the gospel in the latter days.

Some old photographs show a lamp was originally mounted on the crown atop Moroni's head. That light
was eventually removed.

Missing features -- Not all the symbolism originally planned for the Salt Lake Temple became a reality,
either. For example, an early sketch of the temple by Angell found hanging today in Brigham Young's
guest room at Cove Fort shows that two Angel Moroni statues, one each on the east and west ends,
were initially envisioned. Only an eastern statue was ever used for reasons unclear.

Some of Angell's drawings from 1854 show "Saturn stones," complete with rings, located directly above
the sun stones. These were not ever placed on the temple walls, according to Zimmerman's article in the
New Era.

For perhaps its first few decades, the Salt Lake Temple used to have statues of Joseph and Hyrum
Smith, one each in niches at the top of the two eastern stairways. These bronze statues were later
removed and placed elsewhere on the temple block, according to Elder Talmage in "The House of the
Lord." The empty spaces for these two statues remain and are popular photography spots for wedding
parties today.

An earth stone on the east side of the Salt Lake LDS Temple. Earth stones

EXPLANATION OF MAGIC / OCCULT ORNAMENTATION ON symbolize the spreading of the gospel throughout the world. They also
represent the telestial kingdom. The outside of the temple contains a wealth
SALT LAKE CITY TEMPLE of symbols and representations.

Forty large upright stars are found at the top of the east towers. Original plans show forty other stars on
the west towers. These five-pointed stars are known as "pentagrams."
Ultimately, the pentagram can be traced back to being a symbol of the star, Sirius (from the Greek
"scorching"). Albert Pike, premiere Mason and master occultist of 19th century America, identified the
"blazing star" which is at the center of every Masonic lodge as the star, Sirius. Sirius is the brightest star
in the heavens and is part of the constellation Canis Major ("Great Dog"). For this reason, among others,
it is called the "dog star." Because of its brilliance, it was worshipped by the ancient cults of both Sumer
and Egypt as a god. It was the center of the stellar tradition in Sumeria. Sirius was known to the Greeks
as Sothis and to the Egyptians as Set. Set is the Egyptian religion's devil, and is represented as a dog-
headed man. He is called by Masons and Rosicrucians the "Argentinium Astrum" or Silver Star, and is
the patron of the highest three degrees (or spheres) of the magical Tree of Life (from the Cabala.) His
reputation extends back in literature to the time of the Greek writer, Herodotus.
Sirius rises due east in Egyptian latitudes; hence, it is known as the "Eastern Star" among occultists
Two earth stones on the east side of the Salt Lake LDS Temple. Earth stones
because of its prominence and magic power. Masonic lodges and most occult lodges are oriented
symbolize the spreading of the gospel throughout the world. They also
toward the east because because of the esoteric belief that their power ultimately flows from Sirius or
represent the telestial kingdom. The outside of the temple contains a wealth
Set. of symbols and representations.
Magical use: The pentagram is the figure of the microcosm - the magical formula of man. It is the one
rising out of the four - the human soul rising from the bondage of the animal nature. It is the true light -
the "Star of the morning." It marks the location of five mysterious centers of force, the awakening of
which is the supreme secret of white magic. The pentagram has long been believed to be a potent
protection against evil, a symbol of conflict that shields the wearer and the home. The pentagram has
five spiked wards and a womb shaped defensive, protective pentagon at the centre. Here are five
elements, four of matter (earth, air, fire and water) and THE quintessential - spirit. These may be arrayed
around the pentagrams points. The word quintessential derives from this fifth element - the spirit. Tracing
a path around the pentagram, the elements are placed in order of density - spirit (or aether). fire, air,
water, earth. Earth and fire are basal, fixed; air and water are free, flowing.
The single point upwards signifies the spirit ruling matter (mind ruling limbs); is a symbol of rightness.
With two points up and one (spirit) downwards, subservient, the emphasis is on the carnal nature of
Two moon stones are at the upper left and upper right of a portion of the Salt
Up until medieval times, the five points of the pentagram represented the five wounds of Christ on the Lake LDS Temple. The stones represent the moon in all its phases, and also
Cross. It was a symbol of Christ the Savior. This is in stark contrast to represent the middle degree of glory, the terrestrial kingdom. The outside of
today where the pentagram is criticized by modern Fundamentalist the temple contains a wealth of symbols and representations.
Christians, as being a symbol of evil.
The church eventually chose the cross as a more significant symbol for
Christianity, and the use of the pentagram as a Christian symbol gradually
In Mormon theology, the star is often used to illustrate the "telestial" glory,
or the third heaven. (See D&C 76:81.)

Only two Cloud Stones adorn the entire temple. They are located high on the ALL-SEEING EYE
central tower of the east side, above the dedication plaque. Exact meaning The All-Seeing Eye is located over the window directly above the Hand Clasp
behind these stones is unclear. Original designs showed a hand with a trumpet Stone. Jehovah said in 1 Kings 8:29 and 9:3 that His eyes would be on the
protruding below the cloud, pointing down at the earth. The granite walls of the Temple of Solomon always. Heavenly eyes are said to be filled with "light and
temple did not allow the stonemasons to inscribe the detail called for in the knowledge" (D&C 77:4; 88:67). On each side, the eye looks out from a veil. It
A close-up
is said that the Lord can see view of from
our actions the constellation
behind the on veil
the west side of the Salt Lake LDS
plans.The actual stones have no horn, only rays pointing downward.
Temple. Constellation
mortal man from God. It is a reminder that Mormons stones areatocovenant
are symbolize that the lost may find
and that God is watching. themselves through the priesthood. The outside of the temple contains a
wealth of symbols and representations
Photo on the left shows the actual stone on the temple; figure on the right is
from the plans.


Located about 20 feet off the ground are the Moon Stones. 50 separate Moon
Above left: Saturn stones as they appear in Stones circle the temple, each adorned with one of the four major phases.
plans. Above right: the final saturn stones Throughout history, the moon has represented many things. To ancient Israel,
on the SLC Temple. the moon was the means of keeping track of time so they could know when to
perform sacred rituals. Each Moon Stone represents one week of the lunar
year. To Latter-day Saints, the moon is most commonly associated with the
Terrestrial Kingdom (see Corinthians 15:40-44, D&C 76). The moonstones
were ordered carved and positioned by Orson Pratt to coincide with the
phases of the moon for the year 1878.


Myth holds that there are 52 rays on each Sun Stone for the weeks in the solar
year. This is not true. There are only 40 rays on each stone. Latter-day Saints
associate the sun as a symbol of the Celestial Kingdom (see Corinthians 15:40-
44; D&C 76; and JS-H 1:16-17).

Right: Close up of moon stone on SLC temple.


The Hand Clasp is located directly below the Alpha and Omega Scroll on
both east and west central towers. Mentioned in Galatians 2:9, these are the
"Right Hands of Fellowship." Jeremiah 31:32 compares the hand clasp to
entering into a covenant with God. Those familiar with the Endowment
Ceremony will likely see the similarity between this symbol and the ritual; it is
also similar to Masonic symbols.

Image on the left is an enlargement of the sun stone as it appears on the SLC
temple; the image on the right is a sun stone from the Nauvoo temple.

Top left: Illustration of a keystone, showing inverted pentagram. Lower left: Top left: design for the earth stones. Bottom left: the earth stones as they
photo from SLC temple, showing placement of keystone and inverted were finalized on the SLC temple. Right: Blue arrows show the
pentagram. Right: Photo of Logan temple, showing slightly different keystone, placement of the earth stones relative to the moon stones (red arrows.)
with inverted pentagram.
The scriptures refer to the earth as the "Footstool of God" (see Isaiah
Upside down stars are found on the keystones of the arched windows and 66:1, Matthew 5:35; 1 Nephi 17:39). A footstool is where a king sets his
doorways of the main body of the temple. Similar stars were found on the feet while on his throne.
Nauvoo Temple and called Morning Stars (see Doctrine and Covenants 128:23).

During the Middle Ages the pentagram was associated with magic and
Antichrist - the Devil. It was used in Nordic countries, where it was drawn on
doors and walls as protection against trolls and evil. When the sign is turned so
that two of its ends are pointing upward it represents the Devil - at least, it is
recognized almost universally as the "sign" of the devil. The inverted pentagram
has come to be seen by many pagans as representing the dark side and it is
abhorred as an evil symbol. Fundamental Christians, indeed, see any form of
pentagram as such. However, these are recent developments and the inverted
pentagram is the symbol of Gardnerian second degree initiation, representing
the need of the witch to learn to face the darkness within so that it may not later
rise up to take control.


Left: Arrows indicate the engravings of

stars that form the big dipper
constellation. Other marks are naturally
occurring blemishes in the granite.

The Big Dipper is an easily overlooked

feature of the west center tower.Small
PLACEMENT OF TEMPLE SYMBOLS VS CABALIC "TREE OF LIFE" stars forming the shape of the Big Dipper
(marked by arrows) are seen high on the
tower, above two Sun Stones, and the
All-Seeing Eye Stone.

The temple has been called a place to receive sacred instruction. The
instruction sets one on a course to return to live with God. The Big Dipper has
historically been a way of orient one's self when lost. Its presence represents
the lessons taught in the temple and the eternal direction they give to
life. Further, the symbol of the big dipper is oriented so the traditional system
of used to find the actual North Star can be used when standing in front of the
temple. Follow an imaginary line formed by the last two stars of the cup of the
dipper (marked in blue). This leads one to the actual North Star.


Above: statue that once appeared on the SLC

Small statues of Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith
once appeared in specially designed niches of the
SLC temple. They have been removed.
Salt Lake Temple
4th operating temple

Location: 50 North West Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah, United
Phone Number: 801-240-2640.
Site: 10 acres.
Exterior Finish: Quartz monzonite (similar to granite) quarried from
Little Cottonwood Canyon 20 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.
Temple Design: Six-spire design suggestive of Gothic and other
classical styles but unique, distinctive, and symbolic.
Number of Rooms: Four progressive-style ordinance rooms and
fourteen sealing.
Total Floor Area: 385,000 square feet.
ANNOUNCEMENT: 28 July 1847
SITE DEDICATION: 14 February 1853 by Heber C. Kimball
GROUNDBREAKING: 14 February 1853 by Brigham Young
DEDICATION: 6–24 April 1893 by Wilford Woodruff

Positioned on Salt Lake City's center block, known as Temple Square, the spires of the Salt Lake Temple rise amid
downtown high-rises and super malls. Sharing the block are the North Visitors' Center and South Visitors' Center;
the Tabernacle, home of the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir; and the Gothic-style Assembly Hall. East of the temple is the
masterfully landscaped Main Street Plaza, complete with reflecting pool. Beyond the plaza is the Church's world headquarters,
known as the Church Office Building, and the Joseph Smith Memorial Building—a multipurpose Church building, which has
become a popular wedding event center. The Church's Conference Center, an architectural masterpiece, lies directly north of
the temple. Every holiday season, Temple Square is transformed into a highly popular display of hundreds of thousands of
Christmas lights.

The Salt Lake Temple was the fourth temple built in Utah (though its construction was started first) and the first in the Salt
Lake Valley.
The Salt Lake Temple was the only temple dedicated by President Wilford Woodruff.
With its distinctive spires and statue of the angel Moroni, the Salt Lake Temple is an international symbol of the Church.
The Salt Lake Temple is the largest temple (most square footage) of the Church.
Original plans for the Salt Lake Temple called for two angel Moroni statues—one on the east central spire and one on the
The Salt Lake Temple took 40 years to build with its highly ornate interior being completed in just a year.
During the construction of the Salt Lake Temple, the St. George Utah Temple, Logan Utah Temple, and Manti Utah
Temple were all started and completed.
The walls of the Salt Lake Temple are nine feet thick at the base and six feet thick at the top.
The Salt Lake Temple is the first temple to feature a standing angel Moroni statue, which was created by Paris-trained
sculptor Cyrus E. Dallin.
The Salt Lake Temple features beautiful hand-painted murals on the walls of its progressive-style ordinance rooms: Creation
Room, Garden Room, World Room, Terrestrial Room (no murals), and Celestial Room (no murals).
The Salt Lake Temple is one of two temples that still employs live acting for presentation of the endowment. (The other is
the Manti Utah Temple.)
The Salt Lake Temple was completed the afternoon before the dedication. That evening, invited non-Mormon government
officials, businessmen and their wives were given a complete tour of the temple. It was the first time that a temple had been
opened to the public prior to its dedication.
The Salt Lake Temple was dedicated on April 6, 1893—three years before Utah became a state in 1896.
The Salt Lake Temple was closed on July 29, 1962 for extensive renovation that included demolition of the old annex;
cleaning of the exterior stone; replacement or upgrade of all mechanical systems, plumbing, wiring, carpeting, and light
fixtures; reupholstering of furniture; and redecoration of the entire building. The temple reopened on May 21, 1963.
The dedication of a temporary annex was held on March 7, 1963. This building would later become the North Visitors'
The new annex opened on March 19, 1966. It was built to house seven new sealing rooms, a children's waiting room,
mechanical systems, two new locker rooms, new initiatory areas, and a new chapel seating 450 patrons. The annex was
formally dedicated on October 23, 1967.

Rich symbolism adorns the exterior of the Salt Lake Temple, depicting mankind's journey from mortality into the eternal
realms. Perhaps Elder J. Golden Kimball expressed it best when he stated: "When I think about that building, every stone in it is
a sermon to me."1 Following is a summary of some of the major symbolism of the Salt Lake Temple:
Angel Moroni. The angel Moroni depicts both a messenger of the restoration of the gospel and a herald of the Second
Coming: "for the Son of Man shall come, and he shall send his angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet, and they
shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds" (JS-M 1:37).
Towers. The three towers on the east side represent the First Presidency of the Church and the Melchizedek Priesthood; the
twelve pinnacles rising from the towers represent the Twelve Apostles. The three towers on the west side represent the
Presiding Bishopric and the Aaronic Priesthood; the twelve pinnacles rising from the towers represent the High Council.
Battlements. The castle-like battlements that surround the temple symbolize a separation from the world as well as a
protection of the holy ordinances practiced within its walls.
Earthstones. The earthstones, located at the base of each buttress, represent the earth—the "footstool of God." Although
the earth is currently a telestial kingdom, it will transition to a terrestrial kingdom at the coming of the Millennium; and at the
end of one thousand years, it is destined to become a celestial kingdom.
Moonstones. Located directly above the earthstones, the moon is depicted in its various phases around the temple. The
changing moon can represent the stages of human progression from birth to resurrection or represent the patron's journey from
darkness to light.
Sunstones. Located directly about the moonstones, the sunstones depict the sun—a symbol of the glory of the celestial
Cloudstones. High above the sunstones on the east center tower are two clouds with descending rays of light (originally
planned to be one white and one black with descending trumpets.) The parallel of this symbolism is found in the Old
Testament. Once temples were dedicated in ancient Israel, they were filled with the "cloud of the Lord." At Mount Sinai, the
children of Israel saw this cloud as both dark and bright accompanied by the blasting of a trumpet.
Starstones. Six-pointed stars represent the actual stars in the heaven. Upside-down five-pointed stars represent morning
stars, compared to the "sons of God" in the scriptures. The large upright five-pointed stars may represent the governing power
of the priesthood while the small upright five-pointed stars may represent the saving power of the priesthood for those who
attach themselves to it.
Big Dipper. High on the west center tower is a depiction of the Big Dipper, a constellation used by travelers for thousands
of years to find the North Star. It is an appropriate symbol for the temple where patrons come to get their bearings on the
journey home.
Handclasp. Each of the center towers features a pair of clasped right hands identified as the "right hands of fellowship"
cited in Galatians 2:9. In Jeremiah 31:32, the Lord uses the handclasp to denote covenant making—an act at the very heart of
temple worship.
All-Seeing Eye. Located atop each of the center towers of the temple is the all-seeing eye of God, which represents God's
ability to see all things.2

1. J. Golden Kimball, "Elder Jonathan Golden Kimball," Conference Report April 1915: 78–79.
2. Matthew B. Brown and Paul Thomas Smith, "The Salt Lake Temple," Symbols in Stone: Symbolism on the Early Temples of the Restoration (American Fork, Utah:
Covenant Communications, Inc., 1997) 117–156.
First Presidency Message
The Salt Lake Temple
By President Gordon B. Hinckley
First Counselor in the First Presidency

Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Salt Lake Temple,” Ensign, Mar 1993, 2

“Our Father in heaven, thou who hast created the heavens and the earth, and all things that are therein; thou most glorious One, … we, thy children, come this
day before thee, and in this house which we have built to thy most holy name, humbly plead the atoning blood of thine Only Begotten Son, that our sins may be
remembered no more against us forever, but that our prayers may ascend unto thee and have free access to thy throne, that we may be heard in thy holy
habitation. And may it graciously please thee to hearken unto our petitions, answer them according to thine infinite wisdom and love, and grant that the blessings
which we seek may be bestowed upon us, even a hundred fold, inasmuch as we seek with purity of heart and fulness of purpose to do thy will and glorify thy
name.” 1

Thus spoke President Wilford Woodruff in dedicating the Salt Lake Temple on 6 April 1893. These opening lines of a remarkable prayer of dedication are a
sermon in themselves. In these few words, which are the beginning of a long and beautiful petition, the prophet of that day acknowledged the Creator of the
heavens and the earth. He acknowledged the fatherhood of God and the blessing extended to all of His sons and daughters to speak to Him in prayer. He
acknowledged the Only Begotten of the Father, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, whose atoning blood was shed for each of us. He extended a plea that we
might walk worthy of the blessings of the Almighty and with a desire to glorify His name.

This prayer of consecration is filled with thanksgiving for the blessings of the Lord upon His people. The occasion was the greatest and most significant event in
the history of the Latter-day Saints in the Salt Lake Valley.

It is a thing of note that Wilford Woodruff had been the one to drive the stake marking the site of the temple four days after the 1847 arrival of the pioneers. On that
occasion President Brigham Young had declared, “Here we will build a temple to our God.”

Brother Woodruff saw with his own eyes the forty-year pageant of the construction of this magnificent house of the Lord. At the time of the temple dedication he
was eighty-six years of age. He had been sustained President of the Church four years earlier. He had known all of the latter-day temples that had been built
before this—Kirtland, Nauvoo, St. George, Logan, and Manti. He had presided in the St. George Temple from the time of its dedication in 1877 until 1884.
Few, if any, had a better understanding of the purposes for which these structures are built. He grasped with eagerness and taught with clarity the importance of
the ordinances in the house of the Lord and, particularly, of the validity of work for the dead and the manner in which families should be linked together in a great
patriarchal chain.

Beautiful is the prayer that he offered in the dedicatory service of what was then the newest temple in the Church and which has remained the largest.
The work performed in every temple is identical and is equally efficacious. While the Salt Lake Temple was the first begun in the West, it was the fourth completed
and dedicated. But it is the most widely recognized. It has been used to illustrate Church literature for a full century. It is known and recognized by Latter-day
Saints and others not of our faith throughout the world.

If I may speak personally, one of the treasured blessings of my life is this Salt Lake Temple. It is not mine. It is the Lord’s. And yet I feel a certain sense of

It is mine to look upon, and it is mine to enter. No special qualifications are necessary to admire it from the outside. Certain standards are required for those who

It is a creation of beauty—
A symbol of strength
A haven of peace
A sanctuary of service
A school of instruction
A place of revelation
A fountain of truth
A house of covenants
A temple of God

I am fortunate to be able almost daily to feast upon its architectural beauty. I am blessed, as is every qualified member of the Church, to be able to enter its rooms
and walk its halls. To me, it is an incomparable structure.

Who can deny its singular beauty? It follows no traditional pattern of architecture. It was constructed over a period of forty years. I am confident that many details
of structure were changed during that period. And yet there is a flowing harmony in its pattern. It is anchored firmly in the earth and reaches toward the heavens.
There is a solid symmetry in its design. Six major spires rise from the walls. And each of these major spires has a three-tiered set of four lesser spires.
The lines of the building are such that each of the towers seems to rise independently from the ground and yet all are tied together to create harmony and
solidarity. Joining each set of spires is a row of castellated stone. Granite dentils and capstones add to the beauty of the design.
The variety of windows is interesting. Some are round, some oval, some have arched headings, others are narrow and perpendicular.
I write not as an architect. I write as one who loves the beauty found in the harmony of line and the decorative detail to be seen no matter the place from which
one views.

I marvel at the architects who had only a very small amount of the kind of technical training received by professionals today. Except for the glass and some of the
hardware, they had access only to native materials. I have no doubt that they were inspired from on high. They recognized that they were not simply constructing
another building. They knew they were creating a temple of God.

Its granite walls give a feeling of substance and strength. Most of those who dressed and set the stones had learned their craft in England. They had come to Utah
as converts to the Church. They were highly skilled, and the temple, after a century of time, shows this.
Many carved stones in the building required a high degree of skill on the part of the worker, as in these examples: a star stone over a window, a cloud stone, a
stone representing one of the phases of the moon, and the carved inscription declaring that this is the house of the Lord. (Photos by Welden Andersen.)

James Moyle, who was superintendent of the stonemasons, wrote:

“Not only days but weeks were required to dress some of the stones. … Many stones in the building required a high degree of skill on the part of the worker, for
these come almost to a feather edge. One may see them from the ground in the large round windows. The grain is easily cracked since the small pieces of quartz,
feldspar and mica in the composition fall apart when jarred. For this reason the feather edge was always cut last. If there was a miss hit, or if a given blow of the
hammer were too hard, the work went for nothing, and weeks might be lost.” 2 There is an air of strength, a feeling of solid substance with an essence of delicacy
in the massive granite of this sacred structure.

When the temple was completed, a wall was constructed surrounding what has come to be known as Temple Square. The traffic outside the wall is now frequently
heavy and noisy. Within the wall, there is an environment of peace and beauty. The grounds with their artistic walkways, broad lawns, magnificent trees, and
brightly colored flowers become a world apart from the outer surroundings. Visitors from near and far, who now come by the millions, speak of this.
Inside the temple a further sense of peace is experienced. The world is left behind with its clamor and rush. In the house of the Lord there is tranquillity. Those
who serve here know that they are dealing with matters of eternity. All are dressed in white. Speech is subdued. Thoughts are elevated.
This is a sanctuary of service. Most of the work done in this sacred house is performed vicariously in behalf of those who have passed beyond the veil of death. I
know of no other work to compare with it. It more nearly approaches the vicarious sacrifice of the Son of God in behalf of all mankind than any other work of which
I am aware. Thanks is not expected from those who in the world beyond become the beneficiaries of this consecrated service. It is a service of the living in behalf
of the dead. It is a service which is of the very essence of selflessness.

This sacred edifice becomes a school of instruction in the sweet and sacred things of God. Here we have outlined the plan of a loving Father in behalf of His sons
and daughters of all generations. Here we have sketched before us the odyssey of man’s eternal journey from premortal existence through this life to the life
beyond. Great fundamental and basic truths are taught with clarity and simplicity well within the understanding of all who hear.

This is a place of revelation. Here almost weekly the First Presidency of the Church and the Council of the Twelve Apostles have met since the time of dedication.
Here there is earnest prayer with supplication for enlightenment and understanding. Here in these hallowed precincts there is discussion, quiet and restrained.
And here is felt that inspiration which comes when men who are endowed with the highest authority of the eternal priesthood counsel together and seek the will of
the Lord.

I was in that circle in that sacred room when President Spencer W. Kimball on a June day in 1978 pleaded with the Lord for direction on a matter fraught with
tremendous consequences. It concerned the eligibility of all worthy men to receive the priesthood.
I can testify now, as I have testified before, that the spirit of revelation was felt on that occasion, and that the fruits which have flowed from that revelation have
been sweet and wonderful for great numbers of people across the world.

The temple is also a place of personal inspiration and revelation. Legion are those who in times of stress, when difficult decisions must be made and perplexing
problems must be handled, have come to the temple in a spirit of fasting and prayer to seek divine direction. Many have testified that while voices of revelation
were not heard, impressions concerning a course to follow were experienced at that time or later which became answers to their prayers.
This temple is a fountain of eternal truth. “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.” (John 4:14.) Here are taught those truths which
are divine in their substance and eternal in their implications.

For those who enter these walls, this house becomes a house of covenants. Here we promise, solemnly and sacredly, to live the gospel of Jesus Christ in its
finest expression. We covenant with God our Eternal Father to live those principles which are the bedrock of all true religion.
This is a temple of God. The entablature on its face declares “Holiness to the Lord—The House of the Lord.” The first phrase of this statement is a declared
recognition of the Almighty and a pledge of holiness and reverence before Him. The second is a statement of ownership. This is His house, built through the
consecrations of the people and presented to Him as their offering of love and sacrifice.

In this holy house, I was endowed as a young man before departing for a mission. Here I was later married under the authority of the holy priesthood in a
relationship that death cannot break and time cannot destroy. And here I have entered to do that for which this house was designed, always leaving a better man
than I was when I entered.

So it has been with countless thousands of those who have come to this temple where is felt the divine love of the Redeemer of the world.
Every temple in the Church, each somewhat different in its architectural design, offers the same blessings. We speak today particularly of the Salt Lake Temple
because it was an even century ago that it was dedicated by a prophet of God. It took longer to build than any other—forty years. In terms of interior space and
facilities, it is the largest ever built by our people.

It is a veritable fulfillment of the words of Isaiah:

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the
hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
“And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways,
and we will walk in his paths.” (Isa. 2:2–3.)
Thanks be to God for His holy house. May it stand, as it was built to stand, through the millennium yet to come and serve the needs of our Father’s children, those
in this life and those beyond. May its doors ever be open to the faithful who may enter its portals and experience something of the divine.
Review of Symbols in Stone: Symbolism on the Early
Temples of the Restoration
Daniel B. McKinlay
FARMS Review: Volume - 11, Issue - 1, Pages: 23-26
A review of "Symbols in Stone: Symbolism on the Early Temples of the Restoration"
by Matthew B. Brown and Paul T. Smith Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute, 1999

The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and do not represent the position of the Maxwell Institute, Brigham Young University, or The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Symbols in Stone: Symbolism on the Early Temples of the Restoration

Matthew B. Brown and Paul T. Smith

American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications, 1997. xi + 176 pp., with appendixes and index. $21.95.
Reviewed by Daniel B. McKinlay

One of the inevitable matters that confront the conscientious Latter-day Saint temple attender is what to make of the array of symbols that comprise much of the
temple experience. The authors in this handsomely bound book discuss in considerable detail a number of the symbols found on the exterior of the Kirtland,
Nauvoo, and Salt Lake Temples and occasionally other temples. But they offer more than the title of the book would suggest: they examine symbols within the
above-named structures as well.

Their method of dealing with this project is to locate the historical and doctrinal foundations of the symbols and to report, where available, the interpretations given
in the scriptures and in church documents related to the building of the sanctuaries. Giving latitude for the fact that response to symbols is subjective and flexible, I
commend the authors for the materials they have gathered to inform the reader of the rich meanings that have been assigned to the various symbols; at the very
least they contribute appealing possibilities for the interested learner. In some cases they alert their audience to "myths," or false interpretations not originally
intended, that have circulated in church circles. While certainly there is room for more than one meaning for a given symbol, it is helpful to know what scriptural
and doctrinal backgrounds can be adduced in the literature to teach us what lies behind our sacred images.

One of the bonuses for me is the inclusion in a prefatory chapter of temple-related matters pertaining to the future of Missouri. The authors have assembled
scriptures and documents concerning the plan for the future temple in the "center place," at Independence, Missouri. They point out that the plans for the great
temple were similar in part to the pattern revealed for the Kirtland Temple, and they add other fascinating information from early church records, suggesting what
the early Brethren anticipated in this remarkable edifice. They explain the meaning of stakes, cords, and tents and relate these and other symbols to
the parousia or second coming of Christ. In addition they supply quotations from some of the Brethren concerning the pivotal role of Adam-ondi-Ahman, which is a
location significantly tied in with priesthood and the patriarchal chain.

As part of their presentation, the authors include tasteful and inspiring accounts of visions and other manifestations to Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and other
early members of the church that enhance the meaning of the symbols that are otherwise given by word. For example, the latter-day prophets, like their Old
Testament counterparts, saw the specified dimensions and other features of the contemplated temples. In the section on the Salt Lake Temple, the authors piece
together from a variety of sources the visionary scenes preliminary to building that magnificent structure, thus bearing witness to Brigham Young's (and Wilford
Woodruff's) visionary gifts and reminding us that part of the heritage of God's people through the ages has been their esteem for consecrated land and temple.
These spiritual experiences throughout the book are well documented, and in most cases have been made available in previous church publications.

The authors have researched widely in preparation for the book. Much of their material is taken from non-LDS scholarly works that deal with symbols, and in my
opinion they blend in remarkably well with the considerable references taken from scripture and LDS sources. One of the natural consequences of their approach
is that they demonstrate a continuity in symbolic meaning between past dispensations and this last one. The authors include copious endnotes, which should be
read carefully because they contain items that are as engaging as the script itself; they are intended to bolster and enlarge the text.

I found a few places in the book where the authors might have been a little more informative. Perhaps in a future printing they could embellish these issues. On
pages 65–66 they discuss the Greek letter tau and point out that this letter, in an interconnected pattern, once decorated gateways and domes near the Jerusalem
Temple (as it does in the Kirtland Temple), and that in the Vulgate, angels put the tau on the foreheads of Yahweh's people to protect them from the ravages of
the destroying angels when the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon was about to take place (see Ezekiel 9:3–6). Proceeding from that, they cite scriptures to
show that the tau symbolized eternal life and sealing for the early Christians. This is welcome information, but I wonder if the authors could have explained a little
more what the design of this letter meant anciently and why this letter had the implications to which they refer.

Similarly, on page 69 the authors discuss another symbol in the Kirtland Temple, the gonfalon, a w-shaped image that they identify with a flag or ensign designed
to represent ancient mysteries. They go on to note that the individual tribes of Israel had their own ensigns and that a prophecy in Isaiah 11:10–12 refers to an
ensign that would be set up for the gathering of Israel in the latter days. This they tie in to the restoration of the keys of gathering bestowed by Moses in the
Kirtland Temple. I value these connections, but I would appreciate a little more understanding of what the gonfalon with its peculiar shape meant in earlier days.

On pages 106–7 the authors inform their readers that, in the architectural design for the Nauvoo Temple, an emblem that looked like a flame was located on the
upper end of the spire. They comment a little on flames and fires in Solomon's Temple, quote a spiritual report by Perrigrine Sessions about the Nauvoo Temple
having flames lighting on it, then cite an account of the glory of the Lord in the latter temple, recorded by Samuel W. Richards. I am grateful for the Richards
quotation; however, I feel that it is a bit of a stretch to relate this incident to flames or fire in the Nauvoo Temple. But these slight deficiencies (as I see them) are
more than compensated for with the richness of the suggestions the authors present for the interested student of latter-day temples.

Some members of the church may wonder at the wisdom of disseminating a book on a theme as sensitive as the temple. In my experience with reading the book,
I found that it maintains an impressive balance between manifesting discreet respect for sacred matters while at the same time providing genuine insight. The
complex of temple themes is vast, since it is reflective of the plan of salvation with Christ in the lead. The book is neither inappropriate nor insipid. And though the
style is restrained and sober, it is invigorating.

As we witness the accelerated visionary movement of President Gordon B. Hinckley in the construction of temples around the world, thoughtful Latter-day Saints
will desire edifying literature to help make the experience of temple participation increasingly meaningful. I believe that this exciting book can be an aid in this
endeavor (with all due recognition and understanding that it is not an official publication of the church and that it represents the views of the authors) and that this
tome will be enjoyed especially by at least two classes of Latter-day Saints: (1) those who have an intense interest in early church history and (2) those who enjoy
studying suggestions about temple symbolism. In many instances I suspect that these two groups will overlap.