Wednesday, March 30, 2011

LDS Temple Murals - Pt 4 - The Idaho Falls and LA Temple Murals

This is a continuation of my discussion on LDS Temple Murals.  You can find the other parts by clicking on the respective links:
Part 1:  The Beginnings of Temple Murals
Part 2: The Manti and Salt Lake Temple Murals
Part 3: The Spireless Temple Murals
Celestial Room Murals

So far I have discussed murals through the Mesa Arizona Temple.  Today I will discuss the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple and the Los Angeles California Temple and their murals.  These two temples used murals to a great degree.  Both baptisteries included murals.  In addition, both celestial rooms have murals (which I discussed in this post) which are very uncommon.  The only other temples with celestial room murals (to my knowledge) are the Hamilton New Zealand Temple (Brett posted on this blog and told me about that one) and the Logan Temple sort of has celestial room murals, but not really.  The original Logan Temple celestial room had murals added in 1929.  You can read more here.

The Idaho Falls Idaho Temple Murals
Idaho Falls Temple Baptistery
As I stated above, the murals start in the baptistery.  In the 2 pictures I am showing, you can see that one mural is of the baptism of Jesus Christ.  I'm not sure what the other mural is of, or if there are 4 murals total in the room, or just the 2 pictured.  I assume the other mural(s) are of baptisms in the scriptures.
Idaho Falls Temple Baptistery

Idaho Falls Temple Creation Room
The creation room mural is fairly simple and is done in a 1940s style.  It is also fairly dark.  I mention this because as one progresses through the endowment, the rooms get lighter.

Idaho Falls Temple Garden Room
The two trees at the front of the garden room represent the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil found in the Garden of Eden.  The outlines and some details of these two trees are carved into the wall, which is really cool.
Idaho Falls Temple Garden Room Detail
The garden room has many different deep colors.  I also like the abundance of plants and animals in this mural.  They are jammed into every space.

Idaho Falls Temple World Room
 The world room has murals with people in them.  Here you see a husband and wife working together plowing a field as a reminder that we are to work in this fallen world.  On another wall pioneers in covered wagons are coming through a canyon.  All along the wall filled with windows are seagulls coming to save the pioneers from crickets that were devastating their crops.  The message of the room is that the world is fallen (shown through the need for work, the sagebrush and not lush landscape), the joy and success of that work (husband and wife happily getting along, pioneers successfully emigrating), the struggles in life (work, being forced to emigrate, the trial of the crickets) and the grace from God (the seagulls miraculously coming to save the pioneers by eating the crickets).  Progression is shown as this room is lighter than the garden room (partly due to light sagebrush and white seagulls).  It is fitting that the brightest part of the painting - the seagulls (which cover a wall of bright windows) represent the help from God.  This is a great message for a world room to convey.
Idaho Falls Temple Celestial Room

The Celestial Room has an extremely rare celestial room mural.  The mural shows a lot of people in white socializing with one another.  Some carry flowers, books, etc.  The landscape is full of lush grass as a sort of Elysian Fields image of heaven.  Vibrant colors have returned (remember in the world room the colors were faded, not the deep colors of the garden room).  Families are together.  I haven't seen a picture of it, but I have done a session in this temple so I'll tell you about the rest of the mural.  Along one wall there is John the Revelator writing as an angel is talking to him.  In vision he is seeing Zion, the New Jerusalem, coming down from heaven as recorded in the Book of Revelation.  It really is a wonderful way to do a celestial room.  Above the mural the ceiling soars into the spire and windows let in a lot of light.

The Los Angeles California Temple Murals
I found a Time Magazine article on the LA Temple.  It can be found here.  Here is an excerpt:
But most interesting is the second floor, containing the Five Rooms—"a series of classrooms explaining the purpose of life, where we come from, what we are doing, where we are going."
No. 1 is the Creation Room—ovalshaped, with murals of the sun and moon. No. 2 is the Garden of Eden, "where," reads a sign, "Adam and Eve made their great decision." Next is the World Room, with murals inspired by Death Valley, which "represents the lone and dreary world, the testing ground." No. 4 is the Terrestrial Room, "fourth stage on the path to celestial glory, the step before entering the Celestial Kingdom." One of its walls opens onto the fifth room decorated as a luxurious sitting room, with well-upholstered chairs and settees, delicate murals and elaborate chandeliers.
This represents the Celestial Kingdom itself, "where exalted man may dwell in the presence of God."

The Los Angeles Temple baptistery has a mural of the baptism of Jesus.
LA Temple Baptistery

The endowment rooms are huge!  The creation room appears to be in vibrant colors starting with darkness and showing a spectacular sun.
LA Temple Creation Room
The garden room is lush with vibrant colors.  It appears brighter and lighter than the previous room.  There is a mural in the lobby of the Jordan River Utah Temple that is based on the LA Temple garden room.  That mural shows a lamb and lion laying down together.
LA Temple Garden Room
The world room depicts Adam and Eve after leaving the Garden of Eden.  I think this is the last temple endowment room mural to include people (Manti and Idaho Falls also show people).  The room is even brighter and lighter than the previous rooms with faded colors.
 LA Temple World Room
I also notice that the world room landscape is exaggerated and grand.  It is something you might find in an epic movie, which is fitting as the temple is near Hollywood.  I am told these rooms are huge, but I have never actually attended this particular temple.  If you have, please comment with your insights.
LA Temple World Room

There are no murals in the terrestrial room (that I know of) but as you can see, the room is huge.
LA Temple Terrestrial Room

The celestial room also contains murals.  The image is faded, but they appear to show a landscape of some sort.
LA Temple Celestial Room
There has been some debate on this blog, but I'm almost certain now that this next photo is of the Hamilton New Zealand Celestial room that appears to have received a celestial room mural at some point.

Hamilton New Zealand Celestial Room
The Idaho Falls and LA Temples were the last temples with live presentation of the endowment (the Bern Switzerland Temple was dedicated between the two temples and was the first temple to use a video to present the endowment).  As temples started using film for the endowment, the need for different rooms to present the endowment, and the accompanying murals in those rooms, was lost.  Luckily the last temples with murals went all out.  They had baptistery and celestial room murals.  They had people in the world room murals.  The murals were partly sculpted in Idaho Falls.  The murals showed progression and taught lessons.  As the era of temple murals ended, some of the best murals were produced.  It was between the dedications of the Idaho Falls and LA Temples that the Manti Temple garden and world room murals were painted.  In my opinion, this is when the most creativity went into temple paintings.  Perhaps God inspired the artists more than usual because he knew we wouldn't have new murals until the last few years (mid 2000s) when they became standard again.


Slim said...


Great post. I like how the world room of the Idaho Falls temple looks like it probably looked when the pioneers arrived there.

The world room of the Los Angeles Temple seems like it would be from the Monument Valley area of Utah rather than the LA area.

I thought it was interesting you left out both Terrestrial rooms of both temples. While I can see why. When I went through the Idaho Falls Temple I was a bit disappointed when we went into the Terrestrial room. It looked like a chapel from the 1980's. The Los Angeles Temple looks like another enodowment room from temples from the 1980s-1990s.

I must say I am glad the Los Angeles Temple was restored back to the progressive endowment. When they remodeled it in the 1980s they made it a 'traditional' temple where you sat in one room for the endowment. In 2003 they reverted back to the progressive endowment. This give me hope for the renovation of the Logan Temple.

The rooms in the Los Angeles Temple are huge. I would say they are as big, if not bigger than the rooms in the Salt Lake Temple. We went on a Wednesday morning and the small numbers looked really small in the giant rooms.

Great posts. Keep it up.

Scott said...

Actually I left out the terrestrial rooms because they don't have murals and the post was on murals. I have the pictures. I actually like the Idaho Falls Temple terrestrial room style.

As for the LA world room, the murals depict Death Valley. I think I linked to an article stating this.

Yes, the LA Temple is larger than the Salt Lake Temple (unless you count floor space including additions for Salt Lake). I've been told that the rooms are larger (and they look larger in the pictures). The other huge temple is the Washington DC Temple which is taller and more voluminous than the Salt Lake Temple. The rooms are apparently huge in it.

Scott said...

Ok, I just added a picture of the LA Temple terrestrial room. I was going to add one of the Idaho Falls Temple terrestrial room, but I don't actually have one.

Anonymous said...

You should add your picture of the Hamilton New Zealand celestial room that doesn't show the murals. I wonder if they are just washed out in the photo. I would be surprised if the church actually went back in and added them later.

Anonymous said...

The terrestrial room in the LA temple has been completely remodeled. I know for a fact that room has gone through extensive renovations, I have yet to go through the temple but have been told that it has had quite a few changes made. There is a picture of the celestial room in the new visitors center at the LA temple, it is absolutely beautiful. It has also gone through changes. The murals are still there but the furniture has been all replaced. Every furniture item is now a creamy white color, it looks similar to the furniture in the Salt Lake temple. I have been told that the celestial room in the LA temple is the largest celestial room in any of the temples.

Scott said...

I know the LA Temple received a seismic upgrade and some repairs (apparently a member in the spire was bent) and got renovated and restored at the same time. My picture of the Terrestrial room shows evidence that at one time it was split into 2 rooms. I understand that it is now one room and the divider has been removed so you won't notice the earlier change.
The church has been remodeling many temples, often because they need structural upgrades. I am a structural engineer and know that the church is slowly upgrading deficient buildings (chapels, temples). Frankly, a lot of old buildings, even those built in the 70s and 80s, weren't designed or built adequately to withstand earthquakes. I like that the church is also taking the opportunity to restore temples when they are upgraded, or in some cases to upgrade temples that were built on a budget and weren't that nice to begin with.

Ian said...

I have a picture of the updated celestial room in Bern. It's gorgeous. I can send it to you if you are interested.

Scott said...

I have a small picture of the Bern celestial room, but go ahead and send me yours as well because mine is really small. sdporter at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

The Terrestrial room in the LA Temple has been completely re-gutted and remodeled. It has been scaled down from it's original size. It is a vibrant creme white colored room. Very modern. Looks more like the interior of the Vegas or San Diego Temple.

As for the celestial room, it too has been updated. The furniture is fairly new as well as the chandeliers. It's the largest celestial room in any Temple. The mural is interesting. Up close there is a lot of pink and purple coloring in it. I know that some people do not care for it.

Overall the LA temple is amazing. I really love the murals in the progressive ordinance rooms. The garden room is especially beautiful.

Scott said...

I need to visit the LA Temple sometime. Thanks for the information.

Anonymous said...

Scott, I was just at the LA temple today and could not help noticing something. The first picture of the New Zealand Temple celestial room happens to actually be the recently updated celestial room of the LA temple. I remember sitting on the couch against the wall and looking through that mirror I was there today. The picture is very faded but it is def. the celestial room of the LA temple. You may want to re-lable it. ( Ex. Note: I talked to a worker today about the temple. The progressive style rooms were switched to stationary rooms in the 80s. It was not until around 2003 that they were restored to their original progressive style. Patrons were very happy to have the Temple restored to the original form.)

R. Workman said...

I know this isn't about the murals, but one of my favorite parts of the Los Angeles Temple is that during the creation the creation room ceiling fills with twinkling stars. Great website. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

This was a very interesting post. I found this blog while searching for information on the LA Temple, having just visited this particular Temple for the first time. Great information.

I hate to point out inaccuracies, but the washed out photo at the bottom of the post (with pink toned furniture) is definitely NOT the LA Temple. It is totally understandable why this photo may be mistaken for LA because there are many close similarities (IE: almost identical chandeliers, tall windows, wall murals, gold mirrors on the wall, etc). I think the blog author had it right to begin with.

If you compare this photo to the one just above it (which really is the LA Temple), you can tell that the LA Celestial Room is very expansive, whereas the washed out photo is not. The scales of the rooms do not match. It is almost impossible to get a photo with all 3 chandeliers in it. There is ample room to have a large sitting area under each individual chandelier. In LA the ceiling is slightly curved with slightly arching domes above each chandelier. The windows are much wider than the windows in the washed out photo.

Although I have not been to the Hamilton New Zealand Temple, I am fairly certain that the washed out photo is of the Celestial Room in that Temple. Mainly because it's the only other Temple with murals in the Celestial Room (besides LA and Idaho Falls).

And lastly, I have to say that because of the poor quality of the washed out photo, it seems obvious that it's not an officially released photo from the church, which would mean it was taken without proper authorization. Taking such a photo is highly inappropriate and very disrespectful.

Scott said...

The poor quality of some of these photos is because they are either:
1. Scanned from old Ensign magazines or open house pamphlets and the faded ink and scanning has degraded the quality quite a bit.
2. Pictures of pictures in visitor's centers. This also degrades the quality quite a bit.
None of these pictures were taken in the temple by someone sneaking a camera in. They are all authorized photos that have just been copied and lost quality.

Also, I think the original information was correct and the last picture is of the New Zealand celestial room. I notice that the windows don't match up with the LA celestial room.

Bfitisemanu said...

Yup just went through the Hamilton NZ Temple on Saturday and that is definitely our lovely Celestial room :)

Deb said...

Great blog. Can you tell me who painted the murals in the Idaho Falls Temple?

Hotels Idaho Falls said...

Thanks Scott, I fully agreed with your comment and overall the LA temple is incredible. Have you seen this temple virtually?

Scott said...

I have only seen pictures of the LA Temple

Matthew Taylor said...

The huge LA temple endowment rooms seat 300 people each. Most large endowment rooms, such as those at Provo and Mt. Timpanogos seat just less than 100. I have attended LA temple many times. One way they fill these rooms is by having Stake temple day. That often brings them half to 2/3 way full. However, on one occassion my stake did fill the entire Garden Room (they even brought in a few extra chairs, so we had 305 patrons in one session plus the officiators. That may have been the largest session in history! We did this before it reverted back to the progressive endowment. But even without moving rooms the numbers added at least another 30 minutes to the session.. ,

Anonymous said...

I would really like to see a clearer and zoomed in picture of the mural in the LA temple. Reason being,
I once heard a story that prophet David O. McKay said, "this painting looks more like christ than any other painting, except he has blue eyes."

elderdarrell said...

I worked in the L.A. Temple for 6 years from 1979 to 1985. I also received my Endowment in 1976. The Ord. worker that stated that the Temple changed to stationary rooms in the 1980's was in error. When I received my Endowment in 1976 we stayed in the Garden Room until it was time to go to the Veil room (i.e. Terrestrial Room). This remained so until early 2003?. Iwas sad to help in the destruction/reconstruction of the original Veil Room. There were hugh mirrors in the back. None were saved, I believe. The room was split in two so that a 4th ord. room could help faciltate more patrons. No murals...modern in design like Prove, etc. With the changes back to progressive the Veil Room was remodeled again. I think the 4th room was removed. I now live in K.C. Missouri and am an Ord. Worker in our new Temple. Getting back to LA ... you might find it interesting to know that there are over 1,700 light bulbs in the Temple. That does not include all the Christmas Lights. The other asst. engineers and I were the team that relight many of the burned out lights, especially in the tower. The tower is accessed only by the roof and hollow in side with a metal ladder that must climb until in order to reach the old 300w bulbs. At the top there is another ladder to climb up into the highest part of the tower where one can open a small hatch and look out. About two people can fit into the area just below Moroni. More to come... Elder Darrell

The Nephew of an artist said...

Thank you for such an enlightening experience with the murals. My parents are originally from Southeastern Idaho. My Great Aunt, an artist, helped in the painting of some of the rooms in Idaho Falls (especially the Garden Room, her specialty in painting). Later, she moved to LA and submitted for approval, a painting she did on a window shade. That painting was approved and her design for the LA temple's Garden Room mural was drawn out and mostly painted by her. She also painted a portrait of Jesus that still hangs in the LA temple. I'm so happy to have that painting she used as approval in my possession though it has been suggested to donate it to the LA Temple for the visitor's center. Thank you again for your information on those murals.

Russell Ricks said...

As I Google searched Idaho Falls Temple Murals, I was very pleased to find a photo on this post which holds very personal meaning for me. The photo illustrating a section of the Celestial Room Mural, shows 5 figures. My grandparents on my mothers side past away when I was about 14 years old. The sitting figures on the left, resemble the likeness of my mother's parents as I remember them. The two standing just right of them, look like my grandparents when they were younger (according to my mother). The woman sitting down on the far right, reminds me of my mother when she was a young woman.

I was searching for photos showing additional sections of the Celestial Room mural, but my search came up empty. When I was eight years old, one night I had a very profound personal dream. The veil was parted and I witnessed an event in my life, in the Pre Existence before I was born. I was met by the Savior in a beautiful heavenly garden, who brought me comfort and made me promises, easing my anxiety and fear before entering mortality. The Idaho Falls Celestial Room mural has rich symbolism for me which relate to this dream.

Anonymous said...

Robert Shepherd painted the world room mural in the Idaho Falls Temple. He was my great-uncle. I believe he painted one in the LA and Manti temples as well. At the very least, there is at least one framed Robert Shepherd painting in the LA Temple.