Monday, May 16, 2011

The Las Vegas Nevada Temple

I really like the Las Vegas Nevada Temple.  It shares the impressive floor plan of the Portland Oregon Temple and is therefore a highly modified form of the six spire sloped roof style of temple.  The details that went into this particular temple are impressive.  Members donated large amounts of money to build the temple beyond their tithing.  In fact, they raised $11 million, 428% of what they were asked to raise (see this site).

This temple has a copper roof, precast concrete panels, and detailed spires in addition to beautiful art glass windows.  The doors are tall with paneling above the doors that make them look even taller (the Manti Temple does the same thing).  The precast panels have several symbols/decorations cast into them.  Moonsun, and other stones similar to those found on the Salt Lake Temple are on the exterior panels.  Some glass windows also have stars cut into them.  The desert lily, a local flower, is also cast into the panels (see this site).  This helps the temple fit in locally as well as adding symbolism.  "Consider the lilies of the field..."  Another exterior symbol is the circle inscribed in a square, a symbol found on many temples which, among other things, can represent heaven and earth coming together or God and man united.  The art glass windows filling the north and south elevations of the temple are impressive.  At night they make the temple glow.  During the day, they brightly illuminate many rooms.  The celestial room is on the south of the temple, and due to the interesting hexagonal geometry of the building, the windows for this room face southeast and southwest, so light is always flowing into the room during the day.  Also, since more light always comes from the south in the northern hemisphere, the celestial room is the room with most light in the temple.

The grounds of the Las Vegas Temple are filled with lush desert vegetation and give a feeling of the temple being an oasis in the desert.  The temple site is intentionally far from the strip; in fact, if it was any further away it would be on the mountain it is next to.  There is also a fountain on the west side of the temple.  On the east side, just inside the temple, there is a courtyard garden that is open to the public.  It has flowers and other plants and ponds.  There is also a good view of the Angel Moroni statue from this courtyard.  The entry waiting room is also nice with a dome with really good acoustics (don't whisper something you don't want overheard), a detailed floor with numerous types of stones inlaid in a nice pattern, and a mural of Christ teaching (I think it was the sermon on the mount, but it has been about a year since I was last there).

Inside, the temple is decorated with desert colors.  Pinks, browns, tans and reds are everywhere in the temple.  Accents of gold and silver (Nevada is the silver state) work nicely with these colors.  The color scheme is also very soothing and adds to the feeling of peace already present in all temples.

 The Las Vegas Temple baptistry is one of my favorites.  The room has exterior windows which make it very light.  It is also at an angle, which makes it feel special and unique.  The floor beneath the font has beautiful polished stone laid out in the Star of David.  The chapel looks out on the font (without a wall or even glass in between).  There are two columns in the room, each round and painted to resemble a brown stone.  This makes the room feel refreshingly cool (which is welcomed in the heat of Las Vegas).

If you are doing an endowment, you'll first enter the chapel to wait for a session.  The chapel is unique.  It has art glass windows all along two sides of the room which illuminate the room with pink hues.  Above the doors here (and elsewhere in the temple) there are arches filled with a carved rising sun.  I would estimate that these half suns are between 3ft and 5ft in diameter.  The style is interesting and a little hard to describe.  They are similar to the Nauvoo Temple sunstones, but without a face on the suns.  They can also be found in the endowment rooms, celestial room, and elsewhere in the temple.

On the way to the endowment rooms you might notice that the staircases are triangular (or hexagonal depending on your point of view).  This is very similar to the Portland Oregon Temple.  I love this feature because it makes the temple unique and is something you almost never see.  I've only seen these types of staircases in the Portland Oregon Temple and Las Vegas Nevada Temple.  This architectural feature makes the temple different than the world.  It is also modern in a good way.

The endowment rooms are very similar to those in the Portland Oregon Temple and are laid out with the focus on a corner of the room.  Differing from Portland, the rooms have a slight curve to them.  The rooms are finely crafted.  A short railing has an 1800s look to it, perhaps to connect the temple to the original Mormon pioneers who were sent by Brigham Young to what would become Las Vegas to convert Native Americans.  This made church members among the first settlers of Las Vegas. (on a side note, there are some Native American themed paintings and artifacts inside the temple).

The celestial room is brilliantly done.   It is very similar to the Portland Temple celestial room (unfortunately without a second level).  Two walls are filled with art glass letting light flood in.  The top pieces of glass are ovals with a star cut into them.  This causes rainbows to be scattered about the room.  On the exterior corner there is a very tall window of cut glass.  The top pane is a circular crystal medallion cut into a sunburst.  You can see pictures of this glass on the manufacturer's website.  If I remember correctly, the window goes into a sealing room in the corner of the room.  The celestial room also features two polished silver chandeliers covered in crystal.  The silver fits in well with the color scheme of the temple and helps the temple fit into Nevada, the Silver State.  I really like this celestial room.  I wish they had added a staircase and upper level like the Portland Oregon Temple has; however, even without that detail this room is stunning.  I also like a lot of details in this room better than those in the Portland Temple.  There is added symbolism in the celestial room glass.  There are 12 oval windows with stars cut into them and the one huge circular sunburst glass.  Together these may reference Lehi's vision in The Book of Mormon of Jesus Christ and the twelve apostles:
And it came to pass that he saw One descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon-day.
And he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament.
1 Nephi 1:9-10, emphasis added
 The sealing rooms are nice.  I particularly like the barrel vaulting in the center of the rooms.  I recall there being fine details painted around the rooms, but I don't have any pictures detailed enough to show this.

I highly encourage you to visit the temple when you are in Las Vegas.  It is always the highlight of my trips to Las Vegas.  Even if you cannot go inside, you can enjoy the lush grounds, exterior symbolism, and the courtyard (inside the temple but open to the public and before the recommend desk).

Please comment and let everyone know what you think about this temple, or other interesting details I missed.


Brian said...

I never miss a chance to visit the Las Vegas Temple, even if I do nothing else in town. Thanks for the beautiful walkthrough, you certainly know your stuff.

Brett said...

That was awesome, the pictures on the manufacturer's website were stunning and give a better grasp on the scale of the temple.

Anonymous said...

I also really love the Las Vegas Temple. A design aspect I really like is the veil area (between the endowment rooms and the Celestial Room). I remember it's shaped like X to accommodate all 4 endowment room and has a beautiful table, chandelier, and dome right in the center. I remember I felt it truly was an extension of the Celestial Room.

Another room I really likes was the marriage waiting room. It's basically a chapel that mirrors the Celestial Room on the North side of the Temple. It is also shaped like a triangle, has beautiful stained glass windows, and 2 beautiful brass chandeliers. The most striking point is a giant desert scape mural along the back wall. It technically is framed and not painted directly onto the wall, but it's gigantic, probably at least 6 feet tall and 20 feet long. It was very beautiful and special.

Scott said...

I also like the veil area.
I haven't seen the marriage waiting room, but it sounds really neat. I'll have to ask to see it next time I am there.

Don said...

My wife and I had a great experience at the Las Vegas Temple once: We were attending a family reunion held at Laughlin, Nevada, and decided to take a day to go and see some sights. We chose to go to the temple, then tour the Hoover Dam. We finished our endowment session, and as we were going into the Celestial Room, a temple official approached and asked if we could come and help perform sealings. We looked at each other and immediately knew the answer. I still haven't toured the Hoover Dam, and I don't mind a bit.

Anonymous said...

I really Love the temple. and i really like the pictures!

Ed Kanet said...

Wonderful blog, Scott. I used to take a lot of photos of the Las Vegas Temple and sell them in the local LDS Bookstores. In fact, for over 20 years I publishing an annual publication knows as the LDS Guide for Southern Nevada in which the cover was always graced with an image of the Las Vegas Temple, usually by one that I had taken.
Now I am preparing a display on Temples for our stake's missionary open house and wanted to pull out the black and white images of interior shots of the temple and couldn't find them. (I received them as part of a press packet from the Church before the temple opened). The only results of a search for those images lead me to your site.
If there is a chance that you get this comment this week, and you can lay your hands on the images you have included on this page, and could send me copies, I would consider it a miracle.
Thanks, again, for your efforts on this blog.

Las Vegas Web Design said...

What an interesting looking building.