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Friday, June 11, 2010

A Virtual Tour of the Salt Lake Temple

The Salt Lake Temple is the flagship temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Within this post we will examine pictures of the interior of the House of the Lord and, from Scripture, find where in the Bible our doctrine is found, as well as explain the nature of the Endowment ceremony.  We will begin from the ground up, literally.  We proceed posthaste!

Above we have the Baptistry of the Salt Lake Temple.  From 1st Kings 7:23-25 we read,

And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.  And under the brim of it round about there were knops compassing it, ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about: the knops were cast in two rows, when it was cast.  It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward.

Although there is no reference in the Old Testament to the ordinance of baptism, it is clear from the early chapters in the New Testament that baptism was indeed practiced by the Jews before the coming of Christ, as evident by John the Baptist (who was Jewish) baptizing Jesus Christ (who was also Jewish).  After the Atonement, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is clearly evident from writings of Paul and Peter, the chief Apostle, that baptism for the dead was indeed practiced by the 1st century Christians (see 1 Cor. 15:29 and 1 Peter 3:19-21 respectively), thus granting salvation to as many as possible at that time.

Above we have the Creation Room of the Salt Lake Temple.  Herein Latter-day Saints learn about the purpose behind the creation of the earth, and the nature of Adam and Eve before they were formally introduced into the Garden of Eden.  From scripture we read, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Gen 1:1).

Here we have the Garden Room of the Salt Lake Temple.  From scripture we read, "And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed" (Gen 2:8).  In the 15th verse of the same chapter we read, "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it."  During instruction in this room, temple patrons learn this important truth taught by father Lehi in the Book of Mormon,  

And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden.  And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.  And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.  But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.  Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy (2 Nephi2:22-25).

From this room one proceeds to the World Room, seen below:
The above room represents the corrupt, wicked, degenerate, and fallen world in which we now live and must toil in all the days of our lives.  The Holy Bible speaks of the time immediately after Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden because of their eating the forbidden fruit.  The Bible states,

And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:  Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.  So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life (Gen. 3:22-24).

We learn from modern revelation that Adam and his wife were then taught of the coming of Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world.  In the World Room, Church members make covenants with God of sacrifice and chastity to one's spouse.

Above next is the Terrestrial Room, spoken of by Paul to the Corinthians.  "There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory" (1 Cor 15:40-42).  Within these walls covenants are made to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to concecrate one's all to the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth, which Kingdom is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with Christ as King.  At the end of the presentation, patrons go through the veil, or curtain, that separates one symbolically from the presence of God.  I will not give a recitation of scripture here, but just say that before the Atonement of Jesus Christ, only the High Priest could enter through the veil, and this only once a year.  At the death of Jesus Christ, the veil of the Jerusalem Temple was rent in twain, symbolizing the rending assunder of the Mosaic Law with its fulfillment through Jesus the Christ (Mark 15:38).  The temple Endowment ceremony up to this point is instructive in motivating and encouraging one ever upward towards God's presence.  After a short test at the veil, the Celestial Room is entered, seen below.

The 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians, verses 40-42, was mentioned before, with Paul speaking of glories of the Sun, Moon, and Stars.  The Celestial Room, as seen above, is symbolic of the glory of the Sun and God's presence.  No instruction is given herein, but rather is a place of contemplation as one ponders upon the covenants one has made with the Lord.  Looking at the picture above again, the open room to the far right is what is known as a Sealing Room. 

Above is a Sealing Room, so aptly named because it is here that a man and a woman can be married (or "sealed") for not only this life, but for all eternity.  This is the highest and holiest ordinance that patrons of the temple go through.  This is the main purpose for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - to unite families both here and in the hereafter for eternity.  Let Matt 16:19 explain.  The Savior said to Peter and the rest of the Twelve Apostles, "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."  No other church the world over can legitimately claim this authority.  The only church  which can do so, and do so legitimately, is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Taken from the Aaronic (West) pulpits of the Salt Lake Temple Assembly Room, looking to the Melchizedek (West) pulpits.  (Found in Hinckley, Gordon B., "Why These Temples?" Ensign, August 1974, 44).
The above picture is of the Melchizedek Priesthood pulpits in the fourth-floor Assembly Room of the Salt Lake Temple.  The First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy meet in this room monthly.  Of these monthly meetings, President N. Eldon Tanner wrote of what goes on there.  Wrote he,

On the first Thursday of every month the First Presidency meets with all the General Authorities—the members of the Twelve, the Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopric. In this meeting all are advised of any changes in programs or procedures and instructed in their duties or responsibilities. The President calls on members to bear their testimonies, after which we all dress in our temple clothes, partake of the sacrament, and have a prayer circle with all members present participating. At the conclusion of the prayer all, other than the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, are dismissed, and those remaining change to their street clothes and carry on with the regular business of the Thursday meetings ("The Administration of the Church", Ensign, November 1979).

The above room is the Council Room of the Presidency of the Seventy, which Council consists of seven men who preside over the current eight Quorums of the Seventy now extant.  The Presidency meet here weekly on Thursdays.

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles meet in the above Council Room every Thursday morning to deliberate together with the Lord as to the workings of His Kingdom on Earth.

The Twelve also meet in this room, pictured above, on Thursday mornings with the Council of the First Presidency.  President N. Eldon Tanner wrote of what occurs here.  Said he,

It is in this room that the leadership of the Church has been directed by the Lord since the temple was completed. Here one experiences a special spiritual feeling, and at times senses the presence of some of these great leaders who have gone on before. Portraits of the twelve Presidents of the Church, and also of Hyrum, the Patriarch, hang on the walls. There are also paintings of the Savior at the Sea of Galilee where he called some of his apostles, and others portraying his crucifixion and his ascension. Here we are reminded of the many great leaders who have sat in this council room, and under the direction of the Lord great decisions were made.

As the First Presidency enters this room at ten o’clock on Thursday mornings, we shake hands with all members of the Twelve, then change to our temple robes. We sing, kneel in prayer, and then join in a prayer circle at the altar, after which we change to our street clothes ("The Administration of the Church", Ensign, November 1979).

It was in this room where the ban on blacks and the Priesthood was lifted, occurring on 1 June 1978

I hope this explains the purpose of temple more clearly, both through the use of scripture and logic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the insight and scriptural reference for your information. I have been an active member for many years but have been searching for further information regarding our temples.