Sunday, September 30, 2012

LDS Temple Art - Restoration Themes

I wanted to highlight some art in LDS Temples that is related to the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and of the last dispensation of the gospel (1820 to now).

Many temples depict the First Vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ to Joseph Smith.  Some notable examples are in the Salt Lake Temple Holy of Holies which has a stained glass window of the vision (top below), in the lobby of the Palmyra New York Temple (which is overlooking the actual grove of trees where the vision occurred (middle below), and in the entry of the Redlands California Temple which also has a stained glass window of the vision (bottom below).


Another popular restoration theme is of the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood and of baptisms in modern times.  The Cardston Alberta Canada Temple has murals in its baptistry including ones of John the Baptist ordaining Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to the Aaronic Priesthood in May of 1829.  This event is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 13.  Copies of this mural are found in the Logan Utah Temple and the Helsinki Finland Temple (top below). The Mesa Arizona Temple has a mural of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery baptizing each other after having received the priesthood from the angel (middle below).  The Manti Utah Temple also has murals of baptisms (I believe of Joseph Smith and Oliver) that can be seen in the bottom photo below (although they are somewhat cut off).  There is also a depiction of these baptisms in the newly completed Quetzaltenango Guatemala Temple.  I was pleased to see that the baptistry mural in the Brigham City Temple depicts baptisms in a stream near Brigham City, presumably during pioneer times.  There is also a painting at the back of the baptistry chapel of a Native American being ordained near Brigham City in pioneer times.

The Salt Lake Temple used to have a mural of Joseph Smith preaching to Native Americans.  Currently the  Mesa Arizona Temple includes a large mural of Joseph Smith and others preaching to the Native Americans in the 1830s.

The Idaho Falls Idaho Temple World Room mural has a depiction of pioneers arriving by wagons, a couple farming the land, and of seagulls coming to rescue the pioneers from the plague of crickets.
The Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple has many pioneer related items and art.  Most notable is a large window made like a quilt, but out of glass.  It contains images related to Winter Quarters and the Mormon migration such as the prophet Brigham Young, the Kanesville Tabernacle, pioneers burying a child, Brigham Young signing a treaty with the Native Americans, Native Americans who mercifully helped the saints, the odometer which was invented there, etc.
The Salt Lake Temple has several other restoration themed pieces of art.  One sealing room has a stained glass depiction of Joseph Smith receiving the plates that he translated into The Book of Mormon from the Angel Moroni.
In the downstairs portion of the main hallway in the Salt Lake Temple there are two prominent paintings on opposite sides of the hallway by Alfred Lambourne.  These are of The Hill Cumorah and Adam-Ondi-Ahman.  The painting of the Hill Cumorah (below) shows the hill where Joseph Smith received the plates that were translated into The Book of Mormon.  This hill in New York state may not be the same as the hill mentioned in The Book of Mormon and was not referred to as the Hill Cumorah until many years after Joseph Smith obtained the plates there, but it is often associated with the Hill Cumorah in The Book of Mormon where the Nephite nation was destroyed.  Lambourne played off of this.  The painting is both showing the Hill with its positive associations of the Nephite record, and it has an ominous tone reminding us that just as the Nephites were eventually destroyed for their wickedness, we need to remain righteous and keep our temple covenants if we are to keep receiving The LORD's blessings.  The painting of the valley of Adam-Ondi-Ahman shows the valley in Missouri where several notable events occurred and will occur.  The Doctrine and Covenants states that Adam and Eve went to this valley after leaving the Garden of Eden and that Adam gathered and blessed his posterity there.  A temple site was dedicated there in the 1830s, but the temple was never built.  Finally, the Doctrine and Covenants contains a prophecy that as part of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, HE will appear there and minister to the righteous.  This painting works with the Hill Cumorah painting.  Our obedience or disobedience to God and his covenants we make in the temple will determine if we end up like the Nephites, destroyed as at Cumorah, or if we end up with the faithful, gloriously greeted by the returning Messiah.  By the way, Lambourne made 2 copies of each painting.  One set is in the Salt Lake Temple.  The other set is on display on the first floor of the Church History Library in Salt Lake City so the general public can view these.
Finally, there are several temples with sculptures related to the restoration.  Most notably, the Laie Hawaii Temple has a sculpted frieze of the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times (below) which depicts events from 1820 onward.  There is a bronze replica of this sculpture in the Church History Library on the first floor.  The Mesa Arizona Temple also has sculpted friezes showing the gathering of Israel from the four corners of the earth and depicts various groups joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with most immigrating to be with the church.  These can be seen in my post on sculpures here or in this article from The Ensign magazine.

There are many other examples of restoration themed art in LDS temples.  I noticed a painting of the heavenly visitations that occurred in the Kirtland Temple in the Manhattan New York and Brigham City Utah Temples.  Please comment and share what restoration themed art you have noticed in temples.

9 comments:

tolman said...

In the Manti temple the world room has the history of the world unfolded on its walls all the way up to the saints arriving in the valley. This is displayed by a Indian chef who is welcoming them to the valley. Also in the Idaho falls celestial room the mural displayed what heaven may be like and connects heaven with salt lakes temple square held high in the heavens. Really interesting idea for the saints finding heaven on earth.

Anonymous said...

This is not exactly on topic, but any idea why the photos released on the Newsroom website in conjunction with the Calgary Alberta Temple open house do not include photos of the celestial room, baptistry, or terrestrial room? They appear in the video b-roll, but not in any of the high-res still images.

Cory said...

There are Three Murals in the Idaho Falls Temple Baptistery. There is the one of Jesus pictured and the other one is of a Pioneer baptism. The other one that is not pictured is Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery climbing out of the river after baptizing each other. In the past Year or so, the baptistery has received some upgrades. Behind the view of the Camera there is two passages from the Doctrine and Covenants. In Between the two scriptures is a false window. Even though the font is located in the center of the basement, the window makes it seem there is daylight any time of the day. There is now a railing around the oxen and some glass around the rim of the font. There is also a Ledge over the murals with tray lighting and circular lights around the top of the murals. On the ceiling there is several motifs with a modern Chandelier that is similar in shape to this: http://smartshopbuy.com/images/Lighting/cristal-lighting-6272-10-alexandria-pendant.jpg

Anonymous said...

To the other anonymous commenter:

The most likely reason that photos of the new Calgary Baptistry and Celestial Room were not included in the official press release is that those areas were not sufficiently completed at the time when the church photographers were at the Temple. The photos that appear in the b-roll are actually digital renderings (not photographs), included because that's all they had at the time. Hopefully high-resolution will still be posted sometime. Seems like they were really hurrying to get everything completed for the open house. Beautiful photos.

tolman said...

You should do a post on the different temples with annex's. for exsample what was the last temple to be built with one?

Schuring Family said...

Scott, I am working on updating "A Walking Tour of the Seattle Temple Grounds" document that Lamar D Brown put together sometime around 2002 and updated in 2006. He has since passed away, but you may be interested in the 32 page word document. I can email it to you. I am interested in finding that lady Anna that referenced her father was the first Seattle Temple President. She has posted here on your site prior. I assume that means her father was F. Arthur Kay. Anyhow, I am looking through your content to cross reference information that will benefit the outdoor walking tour document. Thank you so much for this awesome blog!

If you want to email me, I can send over the document.

Scheris Schuring
Maple Valley Stake
Maple Valley, WA
scherisw@hotmail.com

Unknown said...

Re: the Calgary temple not having pics of the cel room. Another poster said what I was about to. Having said that, there is an official pic of the cel room of the temple in Kennewick, WA and the chandelier (which is a Schonbek Winderemere) is undressed. It's the silver frame, but nary a crystal hanging on it. Very interesting pic!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brett Stirling said...

I do like how the Church is reviving unique pieces of art for each temple including early Church history. I understand budget restraints would restrict it, but it would be nice to see more.