|Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple|
|Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple Celestial Room Windows|
|Winter Quarters Temple Entry|
The window behind the recommend desk features a river with seven trees adjacent to it, symbolic of seven gospel dispensations in the history of the world. The river alludes to Psalm 1:3, which speaks of a righteous man who is "like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf shall also not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
The leaf in this passage Brother Holdman interprets as representing the posterity of God's righteous children, and he has shown the leaves on the tree linked together, as righteous posterity are linked in an endless chain.
Moreover, the scene alludes to Revelation 22:1-2, "And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it and on either side of the river was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits. . . ."
Thus, Brother Holdman used pulverized crystal to form the river, symbolic of the use of the word crystal in the scriptural passage. That also signifies the sacrifice of the early Church members who crushed their china and silver to mix with mortar in the walls of the Kirtland Temple to make it shimmer. The river of life, in fact, is a unifying motif, flowing down through the window images, beginning at the Celestial Room, alluding to Ezekiel 37, which speaks of living waters issuing from the House of the Lord. In the baptistry, the river appears to flow into the baptismal font.
|Winter Quarters Temple Font|
Windows in the baptistry are bordered with quilt patterns from that era, a log-cabin pattern and crown-of-thorns pattern, signifying the sacrifices of the pioneers who wrapped the bodies of their departed loved ones in quilts before burial.Beneath the temple's spire there are six windows, three are in the men's dressing room on the top floor. See July 2003 Ensign. It describes the windows as follows:
Some of the stained-glass themes hearken to designs on the Salt Lake Temple. And in one of the dressing rooms is a representation of the North Star and the Big Dipper constellations in the exact orientation that they would have to each other on April 6 . . . in 1830. (The stars are formed by holes drilled in the glass, which makes them appear to twinkle.)
Each panel contains a mariner’s compass. In the center of each compass are stars and the moon, representing the telestial and terrestrial kingdoms. The glowing rays of the sun make up the outer ring of each compass, representing the celestial kingdom. The bottom three panels depict a river, rolling hills, and wildflowers.When you go upstairs, you might also notice the windows in the lobby directly above the recommend desk. This lobby has a window with 12 images from Church history relating to Winter Quarters. The images are:
The Kanesville Tabernacle
Winter Quarter's Grist Mill
The Pioneer Roadometer (the odometer was invented by the pioneers)
William Clayton writing the hymn "Come, Come, Ye Saints"
Pioneers building cabins
Brigham Young signing papers to enlist the Mormon Battalion
The chief of the Omaha Indians who was kind to the saints and let them stay at winter quarters
Pioneers crossing a river
A mother and a father burying a child.
The church news explained about this last pane:
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.If you read the article you will notice other small details that are hidden in the art. When I visited the temple, the workers pointed out that in the lobby there are thistles painted on the ceiling. They suggested that the thistle could represent trials. I can see this, but I also know that it is a royal flower (shown with a crown when representing Scotland). The purple flower is a royal color. I also read that the pioneers ate thistles to keep from starving (in addition to the Sego Lily, also represented in this temple).
|Winter Quarters Temple Creation/Garden/World Room|
On 26 May the company passed Chimney Rock—a principal landmark in Wyoming—which was considered the halfway mark by emigrating Saints. It was near Chimney Rock that Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball expressed concern over the lightmindedness and profanity of some camp members who were holding mock trials and elections, gambling, and playing cards. Late one evening the two senior Apostles, moved by the Spirit, discussed calling the camp to repentance. The next day Brigham Young spoke to the men plainly.
William Clayton recalled Brigham saying, “Give me the man of prayers, give me the man of faith, give me the man of meditation, a sober-minded man, and I would far rather go amongst the savages with six or eight such men than to trust myself with the whole of this camp with the spirit they now possess. . . . Do we suppose that we are going to look out a home for the Saints, a resting place, a place of peace where they can build up the kingdom and bid the nations welcome, with a low, mean, dirty, trifling, covetous, wicked spirit dwelling in our bosoms? It is vain!” He concluded with a call to repentance: “If they [the brethren] will not enter into a covenant to put away their iniquity and turn to the Lord and serve Him and acknowledge and honor His name, I want them to take their wagons and retreat back, for I shall go no farther under such a state of things. If we don’t repent and quit our wickedness we will have more hinderances than we have had, and worse storms to encounter.”
The following day, Sunday, Brigham Young convened a special meeting of the leaders. They went out on the bluffs, clothed themselves in their temple robes, and held a prayer circle. William Clayton said they “offered up prayer to God for ourselves, this camp and all pertaining to it, the brethren in the army, our families and all the Saints.” Thereafter a more saintly atmosphere prevailed in the camp.
|Winter Quarters Temple Terrestrial Room|
The celestial room is stunning. Throughout the temple there are depictions of the state flowers from the five states that the pioneers traveled through on their way to Utah. In the Celestial Room there is the aforementioned stained glass window of the tree of life. The window also contains state flowers including the Sego Lily. The Church News explained:
Throughout the temple on art-glass windows are represented the state flowers of the five states through which pioneers trekked — Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and Utah. In the Celestial Room is the sego lily, designated as the state flower of Utah because its roots provided sustenance for the Pioneers during their first winter. It was as manna from heaven for them, Brother Holdman noted. Thus the presence of the flower in the celestial room represents the completion of their journey to the promised land and alludes to Revelation 2:7,17, "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God. . . . To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna."
|Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple Celestial Room|
The Celestial Room is also unique with details such as a chandelier in a style fitting with the pioneer period instead of the standard modern chandelier used in other temples of this style.
|Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple Sealing Room Detail|
I love the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple. It has been finely built and filled with symbols and beauty. It works with the sacredness of the site and enhances it. This temple effectively honors and remembers the pioneers and their sacrifice while bringing us closer to God.
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