Thursday, October 29, 2009

Preston England Temple Sunstones Moonstones and Starstones

I served a mission in London, England from 2002-2004. This meant that I went to the Preston England Missionary Training Center which is a part of the Preston England Temple complex. We went to the temple 3 times while I was in the MTC. It is a really nice temple. The floor plan is very similar to the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple.

One unique feature of the Preston England Temple, that I have never seen in any other temple, is its distinctive sunstones, moonstones, and starstones shown above. What I find unique is that they are laid out horizontally and clearly represent the 3 degrees of glory and eternal progression.

In the picture at the top of this post (showing the north side of the temple) the left side is closest to the temple entrance and the right side is closest to the celestial room. Notice that the stones begin on the left with a starstone, then 4 moonstones and finally a sunstone. The same pattern is on the south side of the temple but reversed so the sunstone is still nearest the celestial room. I find this fitting because as we enter the temple and progress through the endowment rooms (there are two sets of two endowment rooms and you move from one room to another at this temple) and finally into the celestial room you are gaining light and progressing from this world to a celestial world.

Another thing I like about these stones is that they also show the cycles of the moon. Notice that the starstone is really a star with a new moon in the center and the sunstone is really a sun with a full moon in its center. So these stones also go around the temple in the phases of the moon. This is a symbol of time. The endless lunar cycles are a nice symbol for eternity on a building where eternal families are made.

I enjoy the fact that 2 or more interpretations of these symbols are present and the depth that they bring to the Preston England Temple experience. I hope to discover other unique details in LDS temples I visit.


Brett said...

I have noticed some have some of the Nauvoo style symbols...others have the full battery of symbols. Do you know who makes that decision?

Scott said...

I would assume the temple committee. I know that the San Diego Temple was originally designed with sun, moon and star stones but the architect was told to take them off and that the temple wouldn't have symbols. He ended up putting a pattern on the temple that is actually the Seal of Melchizedek, an ancient symbol. It looks like the star of David but with 2 squares. I think in that case leaders were inspired to request no symbols so a symbol could accidentally be included.