Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Temple Glass - Sun Moon and Star Circles

Stained glass or art glass windows are diversely used in temples built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.   I've already written about how glass has been used to depict people, usually in scriptural scenes.  Now I'd like to focus on suns, moons, and stars in stained and other art glass.

Historical accounts of the original Nauvoo Illinois Temple mention skylights in the attic area where the endowment and sealings were performed.  In the rebuilt temple similar skylights have been added.  One of these lets light into the Celestial Room and can be seen in the picture below.  This skylight has a large sun surrounded by 24 moons in various phases (forming an eternal ring of the moon going through its phases).  These are then surrounded by eight six-pointed stars.  The rugs in the room have a similar pattern on them but with some added symbols such as five pointed stars, if I remember correctly.
Nauvoo Illinois Temple Art Glass Skylight
Of course I should also mention the famous Nauvoo Illinois Temple five pointed star windows.  These can be seen hereOriginal drawings also show what might have been twelve pointed star windows, but it is unknown if they were included in the original temple.

The Manhattan New York Temple includes similar art glass windows (they are by Tom Holdman, the same artist who did the Nauvoo Illinois Temple skylight windows).  In this version, Holdman has added four fig leaves at the four compass points.  The sun has 16 rays and there are 16 moons going through their phases in an infinite loop with the top of the glass containing the full moons.
Manhattan New York Temple Art Glass
The stars are no longer around the sun, but there are stars in windows nearby.  You can see the whole celestial room window layout here.

Other temples have arranged the sun, moons, and stars differently.  Take, for instance, the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple (also by Holdman).  The glass in this temple looks like this:
Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple Art Glass
So here we have the stars in the dark portion of the moons.  Some of the stars are supposed to be laid out in the big dipper constellation.  The three moons are in different phases and form the center of compass roses which also double as suns.

The Columbia River Washington Temple has a large art glass window in the Celestial Room that has many moons (12 in the bottom section, 24 in the middle section, 1 in the top section) and a star/sun at the top of the window.   The moons start in the upper left corner with a new moon waxing as you go down.  On the right side there is another new moon and the moon waxes as you go up.  In the center the moons are all full moons.
Columbia River Washington Temple Art Glass

The St. Louis Missouri Temple has another round window with six moons in different phases inside a giant Star of David.  This can be seen here.

The Redlands California Temple features a sun design in its windows.  Circles in squares and circles in the Seal of Melchizedek (a special type of eight pointed star similar to the Star of David) form a border around the window.
Redlands California Temple Art Glass
The Lubbock Texas Temple has similar windows but with added rays of light extending from the sun.  A photo can be seen here.

The San Antonio Texas Temple has stunning stained glass windows (also by Holdman).  The spire is particularly noteworthy.  It has a long, thin window on each side filled with stained glass stars.  The very top of the windows has a large bright star with 16 points.  It is probably meant to be the sun.  It could also represent a compass.  I don't know for sure what the artist intended.  You can see this window here.

The Las Vegas Nevada Temple has 12 six-pointed cut glass stars and one giant cut glass sun mandala in its Celestial Room.  Photos of these can be seen here. I explained possible symbolism of this in this post.

Of course, the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple also uses stars in its windows.  As you get higher in the temple there are more stars in the glass.  In the Celestial Room, the windows are divided into three levels with increasing densities of stars as you go up.  This is meant to represent the three degrees of glory in the Celestial Kingdom (and also the three heavens).
Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple Art Glass
The Bountiful Utah Temple uses Native American designs throughout the temple.  Sun designs are prominently featured, especially in the Celestial Room window.  The window can be seen here.

I should also mention the San Diego California Temple.  Its windows are filled with eight-pointed stars that are the Seal of Melchizedek.  You can see pictures here and here.

That is my list of temple art glass windows with suns, moons, and stars.  Please comment and mention any that I've missed, or just talk about what you think about these windows.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Possible New Temple Locations

Recently, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that they are trying to build a temple near Paris, France.  This was an exciting development, although not too surprising as church leaders have stated that they were trying to find land for a temple for about 15 years.  The only real question was when they would find the land and make the temple announcement.

In the last April General Conference three new temples were announced - Winnipeg Canada, Fort Collins Colorado, and Meridian Idaho.  This broke a pattern of announcing 5 new temples each October General Conference and none in the April General Conference.

I'd like to discuss some places where I see new temples are likely to be built.  I have based my guesses on some articles/websites about church growth and the likelihood of a temple being built in a particular location.  My guesses are also largely based on my personal feelings.


Cedar City, Utah - This city is about an hour from St. George which has been rapidly growing.  The trip from Cedar City to St. George is usually fine, but sometimes in the winter it can be dangerous.  Placing a temple in this city would have other benefits.  One of the six universities in Utah is in this city so a temple would serve the college students, helping them get into a habit of temple attendance in their early adult years.  A temple would also reduce travel times for people living in Beaver and other cities that currently have 2+ hour travel times to the temple.  I would expect this temple to be either small or medium sized.

Layton, Utah - Even with the Ogden Temple remodel and the new Brigham City Temple, the demands on the Ogden Temple and Bountiful Temple remain high and something needs to be done to alleviate overcrowding.  Layton is a prime candidate for a temple as it is between Ogden and Bountiful.  I would expect this temple to be medium or large sized.

Tooele Valley, Utah - A temple could be built in Tooele (two-wheel-a), Stansbury Park, Grantsville, or a few other locations in this valley.  Tooele valley is one valley west of the Salt Lake Valley.  This valley has a reasonable population.  People in the Tooele Valley must travel all the way to the Salt Lake Temple, an hour to hour and a half drive.  I would expect this temple to be small or maybe medium sized.

Price, Utah - I suspect Price will eventually have a temple as it has faithful members, a junior college, and a long travel time to the Manti Temple.  I don't expect a temple to be built here for a while because it would drain the Manti Temple district, which has low population.

Richfield, Utah - I eventually expect a temple here, but because it would drain the Manti Temple district quite a bit, I don't expect one in the short term.  In 10-20 years I could see a temple in Richfield being very likely.

Salt Lake Valley, Utah - There are already four temples in the Salt Lake Valley, but we should expect more as a huge percentage of the church lives there.  Also, President Hinckley already announced plans to build a fifth temple in the Salt Lake Valley when needed.  Rumors identify the temple as being in Herriman or Bluffdale, both in the extreme southwest corner of the valley.  Temples could also be built elsewhere in the valley.  I wouldn't be surprised to see more temples in the Salt Lake area soon.

United States

Pocatello, Idaho - With a good number of members and the nearest temples (Idaho Falls, Logan, Brigham City, and Twin Falls) an hour or more away, I think a temple will likely be built here.  It might be 5 or 10 years before an announcement is made, depending on crowding at Idaho Falls.  I expect a small temple, but a medium sized is also possible.

Wyoming - Wyoming is an oddity.  It has many members with over 60,000 members, yet it has no temples.  This is probably due to low population density and the fact that most population centers are near borders with other states and not that far from a temple in another state.  Even so, it would be nice to see this state receive a temple.  I prefer Casper as it is central and would be near Martin's Cove and could be a historical temple like Winter Quarters, Palmyra, Nauvoo, and Kansas City.

Rapid City, South Dakaota - South Dakota is another state without a temple.  Rapid City is where I would expect one to be built as it has a reasonable population and receives a lot of tourists.  The Latter-day Saint tourists would then be able to visit a temple when they go to visit Mt. Rushmore National Monument and The Badlands National Park.  Rapid City is also close to Wyoming, bringing a temple closer to the saints in that state.

El Paso, Texas - This city almost has a temple, but it is in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico across the Rio Grande river.  The temple was built there to be easier for saints in Mexico to attend as crossing into the U.S. legally can be difficult.  Unfortunately, a string of violent kidnappings, murders, and other violence (mostly drug related) has made Juarez very unsafe.  I know U.S. citizens who are originally from Mexico that are afraid to travel to Juarez for fear of being kidnapped or killed.  If I lived in El Paso, I would travel to San Antonio or Lubbock to attend the temple, rather than risk my life in Juarez.  So, I expect to see a temple in El Paso eventually.

Tucson, Arizona - Arizona has been getting a lot of temples recently.  This isn't surprising if you've attended the Mesa Temple and realized how overcrowded it was.  The state has a ton of members.  Tucson is about 2 hours from the Mesa/Gilbert Temples and is a significant city.  I'd expect a temple to be announced in Tucson soon.

North and South America
Managua, Nicaragua - Recently, many Central American countries have received temples.  Nicaragua still does not have one, but it does have decent membership numbers and a population centralized in a single metro area.  I expect that the church will build a temple in Managua, Nicaragua soon.

The Caribbean - Currently there is a temple in the Domican Republic.  I think another temple is likely in the next decade.  It could be in Puerto Rico, or another island.  I don't know enough about the region to speculate more.

South America - Several South American countries are getting their second temple now, and Brazil continues to get temples. I expect to see more, but don't know enough about South America to speculate where.  I would love to see Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana receive temples as they are the last countries in South America without temples.  They also don't have many members so although I'd like them to receive temples, I'm not expecting them to receive temples anytime soon.

Scotland - The U.K. has two temples (Preston England and London England).  It also has more members that any country in Europe by a long shot.  I think another temple in England is very likely.  Scotland would be a good location as it is many hours from Preston and would reduce travel times for other members living even further north.  Scotland also has a mission and a good number of members.

Birmingham, England - An alternative to a temple is Scotland would be another temple in England.  Birmingham seems like a reasonable guess.  Cambridge would also be interesting.

Norway - With Denmark, Sweden and Finland all having temples, Norway seems like a likely candidate and would cover Scandinavia with temples.

East Africa - I think East Africa needs a temple.  Perhaps in Uganda or Kenya

Kinshasha Congo - Apparently The Congo has a lot of members and is a likely candidate for a temple.

Thailand/Southeast Asia - This area has a lot of members and seems right for a temple.

India - Apparently the members in India are faithful.  This would also bless members throughout the Indian Ocean region from East Africa to Southeast Asia.

Unfortunately I don't know Australia or the Pacific islands well enough to speculate on a new temple location, but feel free to speculate in the comments section.

There are some of the areas I envision seeing a new temple.  Feel free to discuss other options in the comments section.