The topic of temple stained glass windows is so large that I have avoided writing about it. This is unfortunate, because LDS temples have a rich history of using stained (and art) glass windows in various styles and ways. To make the topic manageable, today I'll just talk about scriptural scenes (with one exception). This post is limited to stained glass scenes of people so it does not include representations of the Tree of Life, which is also common in temple windows, nor does it cover stained glass stars, etc. Even so, stained glass windows showing people in scriptural or other scenes have been used in many temples and should be an interesting topic.
The Salt Lake Temple
|Adam & Eve leave Garden of Eden, Salt Lake Temple|
|Moroni Giving Plates, Sealing Room, SL Temple|
In person, the window is much more impressive.
|First Vision Stained Glass, Holy of Holies, Salt Lake Temple|
The final scriptural stained glass window in the Salt Lake Temple is in the Holy of Holies. This stained glass scene is of the First Vision, where God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in answer to his prayer. This is a very fitting work of art for the room where the prophet can go to seek revelation on how to run the church. I've never seen this, because you aren't allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, but I have included a picture. Also, you can see the window from the other side where it goes into either the sealing office or a hall off the sealing office.
Windows by Tom Holdman
Utah stained glass artist Tom Holdman has a lot of experience doing stained glass for the church in numerous temples. Some of these are geometric, others are nature scenes, and a few are scriptural including the following windows in the Palmyra New York Temple, Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple, Nauvoo Illinois Temple, Sao Paulo Brazil Temple, and Manhattan New York Temple.
The Palmyra New York Temple
|Palmyra Temple First Vision Window|
The Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple
|Winter Quarters Temple Lobby Art Glass|
Similarly, the Winter Quarters temple site is sanctified by the interment nearby of the remains of Latter-day Saints of the 1840s and 1850s who, in the words of William Clayton's now world-famous hymn, died before their journey was through.
A depiction of Elder Clayton's writing of that hymn while camped with the Pioneers on the plains of Iowa, "Come, Come, Ye Saints," is included among 18 stained-glass art scenes that tell the story of the epic gathering of Zion by way of Winter Quarters. The artist, a member of the Highland 6th Ward, Highland Utah Stake, said he had a recording of the hymn playing continuously as he formed the William Clayton scene. Thus inspired, he was able to portray Elder Clayton with a pleasant countenance, "happy to be a Saint." (Indeed, Brother Clayton was jubilant, having learned that morning of the birth of his son back in Nauvoo.)
But sadness mitigated by hope is depicted as well in the window scenes. A father and mother are shown in winter walking away from the grave where they have buried a loved one, he supporting her in their mutual grief. The shovel he carries points toward the grave site. Near the grave grows a tree, laden with fruit. Yes, it is an unseasonable element in a winter scene, but intended so: It depicts the tree of life, symbolizing the hope of exaltation and eternal life for those who die in the Lord. (See Doctrine and Covenants 42:45-46.)
Other art scenes in the stained-glass panels depict the wooden roadometer the pioneers fashioned to measure their travel; the building of cabins at Winter Quarters; Brigham Young signing papers calling for the Mormon Battalion enlistment; pioneers crossing the Elkhorn River; the chief of the Omaha Indians, who showed kindness to the Pioneers at Winter Quarters; the log tabernacle at Kanesville, on the Iowa side of the river, where Brigham Young was sustained as president of the Church in December 1847; and the handcart pioneers.
One of the art scenes is a portrait of President Young himself. "Personally, I think it's the best thing I have ever done in my life," Brother Holdman said of the portrait, which depicts President Young as a figure of strength and fortitude. "Here, he has all of these people stretched out across the plains. People are dying; people are asking him, 'What should we do to survive?' He had to be going through a lot, don't you think?"
|Winter Quarters Temple Sealing Room Art Glass|
The Nauvoo Illinois Temple (rebuilt)
|Baptism of Jesus in Nauvoo Temple Baptistery|
The Sao Paulo Brazil Temple (remodeled)
|Christ Visiting Nephites, Sao Paulo Temple|
The Manhattan New York Temple
|Christ and Apostles on Road to Emmaus, Manhattan Temple|
The Snowflake Arizona Temple
|Christ and Children, Snowflake Temple|
The Redlands California Temple
|First Vision, Redlands Temple|
After the first chapel was built in San Bernardino, Calif., in 1933, a large art glass window depicting the First Vision and over a dozen small windows or icons showing various aspects of Church history were installed. . . .
In 1960, it was deemed necessary to sell the building — windows and all — because it had no off-street parking for the growing wards.
Once the building was sold, San Bernardino Ward Bishop Charles W. Eastwood tried to buy the First Vision window but the pastors of the Protestant faith that had bought the building would not allow its removal. Finally, in 1978, after repeated requests, a new pastor allowed it to be taken if it would be replaced with amber glass.
Some time later, the icons were also obtained and put into storage.
Brother Eastwood and his wife, Laurie, became the custodians of the window and began to search for an artisan to restore the dirty and broken panes of art glass. Sister Eastwood, daughter of famous Latter-day Saint artist Minerva Teichert, had a special interest to see these works of art preserved. . .
The First Vision window was finally installed in the Pacific Chapel in San Bernardino and unveiled on March 7, 1979.If anyone reading this has pictures of the other windows in the Redlands Temple that show church history, please let me know and how to get them. I've found a few here. I'm very glad that we were able to save and use these stained glass windows and that we have such great stained glass in the Redlands Temple.
When the Redlands California Temple was announced, Sister Eastwood initiated efforts to obtain the window for permanent display in the temple.
"I felt impressed that this exquisite piece of art should be in the temple," recounted Sister Eastwood. "In the temple thousands will enjoy its beauty and message."
The icons have also now been restored by John Heiss of the Upland California Stake. . .
Well there you have it. Those are the stained glass windows depicting scenes with people that I know about in LDS Temples. If you know of any temples that I missed, please comment and let me know. Also, if you know of any pictures of these stained glass scenes, please let us know where they are and how to get them.
I hope the church continues to occasionally add stained glass scriptural scenes in temples. The really do add to the experience of the temple and remind us of important parts of the scriptures.