Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kirtland Temple Symbols - Overview

I am trying to find the meanings for each of the symbols used in the Kirtland Temple.  Many of the decorative carvings used in the Kirtland Temple look like they are just decorative, and I suspect many are purely decorative.  I also know that many of the symbols have added meaning.  Here are some symbols.  I will rIt is true that merely having more decoration on the main floor and in particular on the Melchizedek Priesthood side is symbolic even if the individual decorative carvings were not.  Here are pictures highlighting symbols you may have overlooked:

I do want to credit this site: for giving me some information and the labyrinth picture.  I also got the drawings from this page.

If any of you know what these symbols mean, please comment.  I know only a few of their meanings.


Climber said...

The symbol that looks like a potted plant is a representation of the tree of life. The spirals represent the flow of life through all creation, the labyrinths are representative of the pathway through life back to God. The interlocking circles may represent continual eternities linked together. I'm not to sure of many of the others. Symbols can mean different things depending on the context.

Will said...

Hi Scott,

May I recommend "Symbols in Stone: Symbolism on the Early Temples of the Restoration" by Matthew B. Brown as an excellent source on early temple symbology. I used it and Brown's next book "The Gate of Heaven: Insights on the Doctrines and Symbols of the Temple". As a source for a paper I wrote on the sacred symbols of the Kirtland Temple while I was at BYUH. If you are interested I can provide you a copy of my paper.

Bob Wright said...

Will, I hope you still check this site. I would love to have a copy of your paper on the Kirtland Temple. Please let me know. I'd be happy to share what I have.

R. Lane Wright

Anthony E. Larson said...

All LDS temple symbolism, Scott, is based in ancient cosmological imagery. While Kirtland has some few icons, Nauvoo is where it appears fully developed, and Salt Lake is where it's at its zenith. This is a testament in stone and wood that Joseph Smith is a prophet. No one in his day and age knew of the vital connection between the gospel of Jesus Christ and cosmological symbolism. Only with the advent of modern plasma physics and comparative mythology can that connection be fully appreciated. Nibley spoke of this connection at length in his religion classes at BYU, and he wrote about it in his "Temple and Cosmos." In turn, I have taken that research to the next level, showing that LDS temple symbolism and ritual are all based in cosmic events seen in Earth's ancient skies, prior to Noah's Flood, and that all the symbolism employed by the prophets, apostles and the Savior in scripture has these same cosmological elements we see in temple symbolism. In other words, its use in modern temples, as in ancient temples, is a hallmark of true religion. As such, our temples are mute evidence, crying out to say, "Joseph Smith was truly a prophet of God." You may wish to consider my research.