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.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

LDS Temple Murals - Pt 3 - The Spireless Temple Murals

This is a continuation of my posts on LDS Temple Murals.  Part 1 can be found here and part 2 can be found here.
 
It took 20 years after the Salt Lake Temple was completed for another temple to start construction.  Ten years after that, the Cardston Alberta Canada Temple was finally completed.  In the meantime the Laie Hawaii Temple had been started and completed.  Four years later, the Mesa Arizona Temple was completed.  These three temples share a common floor plan and a lack of a spire or tower.  They are beautiful temples.  They also had murals which I will discuss briefly.  I have only been in the Mesa Arizona Temple so my insights on the other temple murals will be less detailed.  Please write in the comments and tell us about their murals if you know more.


The Laie Hawaii Temple has unique murals with a different style than those found in pioneer temples.  (Addition to the original post - the baptistery also includes murals) Here are pictures of the creation, garden, and world room murals.  I particularly like how the creation room mural has different panels for each day of creation instead of the one continuous mural painting seen in most temples. I also like how the wood brings warmth into the rooms.  LeConte Stewart painted the murals according to the LDS church's news release after the latest remodel.
Laie Hawaii Temple Baptistery Murals
Laie Hawaii Temple Baptistery Murals
Laie Hawaii Temple Creation Room Mural

Laie Hawaii Temple Garden Room Mural

Laie Hawaii Temple World Room Mural
The Cardston Alberta Canada Temple was the next completed.  It has intricate woodwork throughout the temple that can be seen alongside the murals.  Also, murals are found in the baptistery, chapel, and terrestrial rooms and not just the creation, garden and world rooms.  I think this is the only temple with terrestrial room murals, although I could be wrong.  An ensign article found here talks about the Cardston Temple and gives this insight into the murals:
Latter-day Saint artists spanning three generations worked side by side on the murals of the temple. LeConte Stewart, in his late twenties, supervised the decorative work and painted the murals in the creation room. These murals were painted with small daubs of color, much like the pointillist style of some of the French impressionists. In the next room was Lee Greene Richards, a man in his early forties, who had been one of LeConte Stewart’s teachers. His garden room murals recalled some elements of art nouveau, including a sinuously curved tree and a graceful peacock. A. B. Wright, one of Richards’s contemporaries, was also at work on smaller paintings in the chapel and terrestrial rooms. Meanwhile, Edwin Evans, a well-established artist in his sixties, who had taught both Richards and Wright, painted scenes of the Alberta countryside in the world room.
I hope you noticed that pointillism and art nouveau were mentioned in regards to the creation room and garden room murals respectively.  The artistic liberties granted to the mural artists were perhaps a lot greater than those given artists today.  Today we stress strict realism in temple murals; in the past we allowed other artistic styles to have some expression.  Prints of the garden room murals are now on the walls of the Kyiv Ukraine Temple as well.  I like how in the Carston Temple garden room the front of the room has two trees painted on half cylindrical portions of the walls.  This seems to make them more tree like, in my opinion. Here are pictures of the various rooms with murals.  If any of you have been to the Cardston Temple and can give more details on what is in the murals, etc. then please comment.  I notice from the pictures that the murals take up a larger portion of each wall than the previous room's murals (with the possible exception of the terrestrial room) which adds to symbolic progression in the temple.
Cardston Alberta Canada Temple Font


Mural of Abraham Offering Sacrifice in Cardston Temple Baptistery
Cardston Temple Baptism of Christ Mural Detail
Cardston Alberta Canada Temple Chapel
Cardston Alberta Canada Temple Creation Room
Cardston Alberta Canada Temple Garden Room
Cardston Alberta Canada Temple World Room
Cardston Alberta Canada Temple Terrestrial Room
The Mesa Arizona Temple was has been called a Lamanite temple in that many Native Americans and Mexicans have historically attended the temple.  The murals reflect the Lamanite influences.  In the baptistery the murals show baptisms being performed in ancient America as well as the baptism of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.  In the upstairs hallway next to the grand staircase there is a mural of Joseph Smith Jr. preaching to the Lamanites (Native Americans).  The other rooms have typical murals of the creation, Garden of Eden, and world.  The world room presents a barren desert landscape as a symbol of this fallen world.  This is fitting as the Mesa Temple is in a very hot and dry desert.  The Snowflake Arizona Temple uses desert scenes differently and has murals capturing the beauty of the desert landscape instead of showing it strictly as a symptom of a fallen world.
Mesa Temple Baptistery with Mural
Mesa Arizona Temple Baptistery Mural
Mesa Arizona Temple Creation Room Being Painted

Mesa Arizona Temple Garden Room

Mesa Arizona Temple Garden Room
Mesa Arizona Temple World Room
Mesa Arizona Temple Staircase
Mesa Arizona Temple Mural of Joseph Smith Jr. Preaching to the Lamanites



I like that the murals in these three temples are unique.  They display different art styles unlike our current murals which seem to be all natural realism.  Also, I like that murals were worked into different places such as baptisteries, chapels, halls, and terrestrial rooms.  When the endowment was presented using film, the need, and unfortunately the desire, to have murals was lost.  Unfortunately this meant that a lot of good art was not produced for temples until recently when murals have begun to be used again in temples.  There is no reason why a temple using film cannot follow the example of the Laie, Cardston, and Mesa Temples and use murals in the baptistery and in hallways, lobbies, and chapels.  Actually some temples have done this, but that is for another post.  In my next post I plan to talk about the Idaho Falls and Los Angeles Temples and their murals.  They pushed mural progression even further forward with celestial room murals.

Please take the time to comment on these temples and their murals.  I'd love to hear your insights on these murals and how concepts present in these temples could be applied to new temples today.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

LDS Temple Murals - Pt 2 - The Manti and Salt Lake Temple Murals

In my last post I talked about how the first temple murals developed.  With the Logan Temple built with progressive endowment rooms and murals, plans for the Salt Lake Temple and Manti Temple were updated to include progressive endowment rooms and murals.

The Manti Temple originally had murals painted by the pioneers.  These were painted directly on the plastered walls and the murals in the garden and world rooms began to decay.  Eventually the murals decayed so much that they could not be repaired and they had to be completely replaced.  This is when the church commissioned Robert L. Sheppard and Minerva Teichert to paint the garden and world room murals, respectively.  The rooms were completed in 1948.  Please follow this link to read a great article on the world room mural which I think is the single best mural or piece of artwork in a temple.  Here are pictures of the current Manti Temple Murals:

Manti Temple Baptistery

The Manti Temple baptistery contains murals showing the baptism of Joseph Smith.  I don't recall if other events are depicted in the murals, but this was the first baptistery to contain murals.

Manti Temple Creation Room
The creation room has volcanoes and dinosaurs included in beautiful murals.  During the session, they turn lights on symbolically to match events in creation.

Manti Temple Garden Room
The garden room murals give a nice depiction of the Garden of Eden.  Folding privacy screens with painted trees are also used so that actors presenting the endowment can have a place to hide behind.  Potted plants (I think artificial) are also in the room.

Manti Temple World Room
The world room contains an extremely involved mural.  It depicts events from the Tower of Babel to the future founding of Zion in America.  Abraham, Joseph, Moses, crusaders, Columbus, poor, rich, and royalty are among those pictured.  The article I linked above goes into a lot more detail.  There is a lesson about worldliness in the room.  After attending the Manti Temple with my mom she said to me, "That's the first world room that made me feel like I didn't want to be in the world anymore and  made me want to go into the terrestrial room while in the world room."  Indeed, the painting shows the miserable, sick, poor, alone, needy people ignored by the rich and royals who aren't even happy themselves.  At the front of the room is a Native American chief welcoming the people to the Americas.  The chief is in a Christlike pose and guards the doors exiting the room.  Behind him is a depiction of Zion in America as a conglomerate of various Latter-day Saint settlements in Utah. The message is then that we don't have to live in a telestial world in this world.  If we come to Christ and live his gospel, then Zion can be established and this world can be a terrestrial world.  As we covenant in this room and continue in the endowment, we leave this flawed world and enter the terrestrial room and a more glorious way of living.  Anyways, you should read the article.  It is very interesting.

While the Salt Lake Temple was originally going to simply have a lower and upper assembly hall, its plans were altered to have progressive endowment rooms and murals.  To ensure quality murals for this and other temples, the church sent missionaries to Paris to study art so that they could come back to Utah and paint the Salt Lake Temple murals.  This was known as the Paris Arts Mission.  I could talk a bunch more about it, but the link has more than enough information, so please read it.  As a side note, the church has started calling art missionaries to paint temple murals as this church news article about the Draper and Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temples discusses.

Salt Lake Temple Creation Room w/o Mural
The Salt Lake Temple creation room was originally not painted with a mural (see photos in The House of the Lord; A Study of Holy Sanctuaries, Ancient and Modern by James E. Talmage).  The current mural shows creation through the creation of plants.  I'm not sure why the artist didn't include animals in the mural, but he didn't.  To see the room with the mural, go to my post here.  I'm not sure when the mural  was added.  Apparently sometime after Talmage wrote his book.

Originally the garden room was to be outside the temple in an attached greenhouse.  Revised plans brought the garden room back inside the temple proper; however, a small greenhouse was attached to the wall behind the altar and three doorways entered into this greenhouse giving this room natural light and real plants.  The greenhouse has since been removed.  I talk about it a little in this post.

The Salt Lake Temple world room murals show nature competing.  Plants fight for space and are unhealthy, dried out, broken, etc.  Animals fight.  A river erodes a hillside.  The room is beautiful, but at the same time it shows that this world is fallen.  I like the murals in this room.  They convey through depictions of nature some of the problems with this fallen world.

So there is a little information on the Manti and Salt Lake Temple murals.  Please comment and let us know what you think.  I forgot to mention it in my last post, but if you have pictures of the Logan Temple murals, please comment and tell me where I can get them.  I have only seen a very small glimpse of them in a book on the Logan Temple that shows them ripping the murals out.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

LDS Temple Murals - Pt 1 - The Beginnings of Temple Murals

Many LDS temples have murals painted on the walls of the endowment rooms and occasionally in other areas of the temple such as the baptistery.  I'm going to discuss the development of temple murals in a series of posts, beginning with this one.

The first Mormon temples didn't have murals.  The Kirtland Ohio Temple was mainly a place for revelation to be received and heavenly messengers (angels and Jesus Christ) to come and give instruction and priesthood keys necessary for future temple ordinances.  The Nauvoo Temple was the first temple where the endowment ceremony was performed.  In this temple, endowments were performed in the attic level partly because as the structure was built members didn't know the endowment was going to be performed there.  To administer the endowment, the room on the top floor was divided using curtains.  Each divided off room section was then used to represent the various parts of life - creation, the Garden of Eden, the current world, the terrestrial world, and finally the Celestial Kingdom of God (Heaven).  Potted plants may have been used to give the rooms some connection to what they were to represent.  The rebuilt Nauvoo Temple contains murals as a tribute to what the early saints may have eventually added if they had stayed in Nauvoo.

When the saints arrived in Utah they started building temples.  While these were under construction, the endowment was given in several places.  The council house (now across the street from the Utah State Capitol Building) was used with curtains dividing a room into endowment areas.  Then the Endowment House was built on temple square and it included potted plants and murals in various rooms.

The next temple built was the St. George Utah Temple in 1877.  It lacked endowment rooms.  One of the two assembly rooms was simply divided into the various rooms for the presentation of the endowment.  In 1881 proper walls were added and murals were painted.
St. George Utah Temple Garden Room

St. George Utah Temple World Room
The first temple with true planned endowment rooms with murals was the Logan Utah Temple.  The Logan Temple was planned with progressive endowment rooms with a lot of movement from room to room during the endowment ceremony.  This movement strengthened the teachings of the endowment.  Patrons would see murals depicting the various parts of the endowment and would move higher and higher in the temple as they moved through the endowment ceremony.  Unfortunately this also meant there were a lot of stairs in the Logan Temple and this partly led to the temple being completely gutted and rebuilt in the 1970s.  This remodeling destroyed (or sometimes simply removed) intricate pioneer craftsmanship, fine detailing, the pioneer murals, and the progressive setup of the endowment rooms.  The Logan Temple inspired the use of progressive endowment rooms with murals in the Manti and Salt Lake Temples, as well as many more temples until the 1950s when presenting the endowment on film temporarily ended the use of endowment room murals.  It is extremely sad that the Logan Temple remodel didn't include progressive endowment rooms or murals in the new endowment rooms currently being used.  Hopefully it will someday be re-remodeled with progressive endowment rooms, murals, and fine detailing - even if the exact room layout cannot be restored.
Original Logan Temple Creation Room
Original Logan Temple Garden Room
Original Logan Temple World Room
Original Logan Temple Terrestrial Room
The murals in these early temples were painted by the pioneers.  Many of these had experience and training from their native countries.  In a future posting I will talk about how the church encouraged the development of better murals and art in temples through the Paris Arts Mission.

Please comment and let us know what you think.

This is an addition to the original post:
The Logan Temple original celestial room also had murals painted on either end of the room.  One was of Joseph Smith going to the Hill Cumorah to receive the gold plates the Book of Mormon was translated from.  The other mural shows Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery receiving the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist.  These murals were added to the room in 1929. (See The Logan Temple The First 100 Years by Nolan P. Olsen).  They weren't wrap around murals, and were essentially just huge paintings, but they are still murals and added to this temple.
Original Logan Temple Celestial Room With Mural

Sunday, March 13, 2011

LDS Temple Architecture Myths

As members of the church we often get a certain picture of what a temple should be like.  The architecture can be limited by preconceived notions of how a temple should be.  I wanted to dispel some temple architecture myths and highlight temples that are different. (By the way, a commenter on this blog was mentioning some of these and his comments led me to write this post.  Please comment, you may have a similar effect on me :)

Myth # 1: All temples must have an Angel Moroni statue.
This is blatantly false.  Many temples have been built without Angel Moroni statues.  Three didn't even have towers (Cardston Alberta, Laie Hawaii, and Mesa Arizona).  Others had towers, but were built before the Atlanta Georgia Temple when Angel Moroni statues became common (because a newspaper said the new temple wasn't to temple standards without one).  Until that point, only the Salt Lake, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Seattle Washington, and Jordan River Utah Temples had Angel Moroni statues (the original Nauvoo Temple had an angel statue but it was not identified as Moroni).  Several have been built without the statue since, only to have the statue added later.  An Angel Moroni statue is a powerful symbol that we should be free to add to our temples for religious reasons, but is not essential for a temple to be a temple.


Myth # 2: Angel Moroni statues must face east.
This is false.  The Nauvoo Temple (and statue) face west.  The Dallas Texas Temple and statue face south, the Spokane Washington Temple recently had its Angel Moroni statue turned from east to west after President Hinckley didn't like how it looked.  The Seattle Washington Temple and statue face west, the Taipei Taiwan Temple and statue faces west, and the Manhattan New York Temple and statue faces southwest.  The myth developed because most Christian churches face east and so do most temples (this is a symbol of Christ coming from the east at the second coming) but is not essential.  Also, President McKay had the Moroni statue of the LA Temple turned to face east even though the temple faces southeast (I think).  This led to a conversion and spread the myth, even though the east facing statue was clearly for a specific reason.

Myth # 3: Sealing rooms must have facing mirrors, giving an eternal effect.
This type of mirrors is nice, but the St. George, Manti, and Salt Lake Temples have some sealing rooms that don't even have mirrors.  I'm sure other temples break this rule.  The fact is, eternal mirrors are a nice decorative feature to use, but not an essential part of the room.

Myth # 4: Temple baptismal fonts must be on the backs of 12 sculpted oxen and be in a basement.
Several temples were built without oxen supporting fonts (even the Tabernacle in the Old Testament lacked oxen, they were added for the Temple of Solomon) and other temples were built with only 6 oxen and a mirror to give the effect of 12 oxen.  During the design of the Ogden and Provo Temples, the design team looked in the necessity of the oxen and decided they were not essential (although those temples used oxen) and noted that in future temples oxen might not be used.  A lot of 70s and 80s temples (Atlanta, Sydney, and most pacific island temples) were then built without oxen (most, if not all have had oxen later added, and the plan was always to add oxen at a later date).  In these cases, a font similar to a meetinghouse font was used.  As for fonts being in basements, the Doctrine and Covenants reads: "the baptismal font was instituted as a similitude of the grave, and was commanded to be in a place underneath where the living are wont to assemble".  This means it needs to be underneath, but due to high water tables this doesn't necessarily mean in the basement, just on the lowest floor and if possible underground.

Myth # 5: Temples must get lighter as one progresses from room to room
Although light colors are the easiest way to express symbolic progression, light colors are not essential.  The Cardston Alberta Temple has rooms actually getting darker because the woodwork is getting finer and more expensive.  It turns out that the best woodwork is generally dark so the celestial room and sealing rooms in this temple are dark wood.  Windows still bring light in.  I like that this temple has a unique way to show that these rooms represent better and holier things and places.

There are some architectural myths I have identified relating to LDS temples.  Please comment about these or point out others I've missed.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Kirtland Temple Symbols - Explanation part 1

In my last post I showed a few symbols from the Kirtland Temple.  Now I am going to explain some of them with a huge disclaimer.  Here is the disclaimer:
       In my research I discovered that the symbols were taken from 2 architectural books (dated 30 years apart) and are decorative details.

Okay, so what do I mean by that and why does it effect the symbol interpretation.  Well, this means that the symbols' meanings were probably unknown to the builders of the Kirtland Temple.  With other temples the symbolism can be found in documents from Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, or the builders.  Symbolism was intended.  With the Kirtland Temple the symbolism doesn't appear to be intended.  If this is the case, then any meanings we interpret from the symbols is either:

  (a) our wrong interpretation
   (b) possibly a correct interpretation that God arranged to be in the temple without the builders realizing it.

I like the idea of (b) being correct and that is great if it is, but from a scholarly perspective (a) is probably more accurate.  Nevertheless, I'll go ahead and state some interpretations of symbols which may or may not be what they mean.

Labyrinth
This symbol is a labyrinth or maze.  Labyrinths are common in Christian churches and cathedrals as a symbol of the meandering journey through life.  As a temple symbol it could signify finding our way through life and the mysteries and knowledge that will show us that true way.  One problem with interpreting this symbol as a labyrinth is that most labyrinths only have one way (although that way is winding).

Gonfalone
This symbol is sometimes interpreted as a gonfalone, a type of flag or banner.  These banners are used in religious ceremonies in many Christian churches.  As a temple symbol it would remind us of "the standard of truth" and "an ensign to the nations" and "the title of liberty".  The biggest problem with this symbol being interpreted as a flag or banner is that it is upside down from any gonfalone I've ever seen.  It looks more like a 'w' to me, or maybe the Hebrew letter shin (sort of) which is related to 'w' and can also be used to represent God.

 Spiral
This symbol is a spiral which symbolizes progression ever closer and closer to the center (perfection, heaven, eternity, etc.).  The idea is that this is an upward spiral.
 





Squares Within Squares
This symbol is said to represent increasing zones of holiness.  The symbol would represent the temple as a sanctuary from the world with areas in the temple being holier and holier. It is the idea of the ancient temple's outer court, Holy Place, and Holy of Holies.  This symbol has been recycled in other temples with circles withing circles.  I'm guessing the symbolism wasn't intended in the Kirtland Temple, but was intended in other temple.

Those are some symbols.  Again, it is likely that they are purely decorative, or if actually symbolic, that the interpretations are wrong.  Regardless, they are beautiful and make for a finely crafted temple.