LDS Emergency Preparedness

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LDS Temples

Posted by Elise on January 10, 2010

The opportunity to enter the temple and to take upon ourselves the sacred covenants therein is one of the greatest blessings available to us in mortality. Then, after we take upon us those covenants, our obedience in living them daily stands as a demonstration of our faith, love, devotion, and spiritual commitment to honor our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Our obedience also prepares us to live with Them in the eternities. The temple’s saving ordinances are essential to—and even the central focus of—the eternal plan of happiness.

The primary purpose of the temple is to provide the ordinances necessary for our exaltation in the celestial kingdom. Temple ordinances guide us to our Savior and give us the blessings that come to us through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Temples are the greatest university of learning known to man, giving us knowledge and wisdom about the Creation of the world. Endowment instructions give guidance as to how we should conduct our lives here in mortality. The meaning of the word endowment is “gift.” The ordinance consists of a series of instructions on how we should live and covenants we make to live righteously by following our Savior.

Elder Robert D. Hales

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Ensign, October 2009

TEMPLE SYMBOLISM

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.

Earth Stones.  The earth stones, 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.

Moon Stones.  Located directly above the earth stones, 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.

Sun Stones.  Located directly about the moonstones, the sunstones depict the sun—a symbol of the glory of the celestial kingdom.

Cloud Stones.  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.

Star Stones.  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:

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