Saturday, January 9, 2021

Jesus in Latter-day Saint Temples - Paintings

My wife was looking at Light The World posts and saw that someone was using that hash tag to claim that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints aren't christian because our temples don't have pictures of Jesus in them. The post was of course ridiculous (we have pictures of Jesus hanging everywhere in temples) and I think it is an internet troll trying to take the good that came from Light The World and twist it into evil. The claim was ridiculous as the temple ceremonies feature Jesus Christ and his teachings. As a response, I would like to highlight some art in temples that depicts Jesus Christ. This post will highlight depictions of Jesus in paintings.

If you've ever walked through a latter-day saint temple then you know that about every second or third painting on the wall has Jesus in it. My post will focus on original art that was painted for a specific temple, with a few exceptions where a print is something like 30 feet wide and therefore intended never to be changed out.

Temple Baptistries

Many temples have paintings of the baptism of Jesus Christ in their baptistries. Several notable examples are shown below.

Laie Hawaii Temple Baptistry
The Laie Hawaii Temple has a series of paintings in the arches around the baptismal font. The central painting is of the baptism of Jesus. The other paintings highlight priesthood ordinances such as administering to the sick and baptisms or other people. Placing Jesus Christ in the center arch emphasizes his central role in our religion.




Cardston Alberta Temple Painting of Jesus's Baptism
The Cardston Alberta Temple has several original paintings of Jesus Christ. One in the baptistry shows the baptism of Jesus Christ, which I believe was painted by LeConte Stewart and was done in a pointillist style.

Idaho Falls Idaho Temple Baptistry
The Idaho Falls Idaho Temple also has a mural of the baptism of Jesus Christ above the font.


The Los Angeles California, Hamilton New Zealand, and London England Temples all feature paintings of the baptism of Jesus in their similar baptistries. I suspect the Bern Switzerland Temple may have a similar painting because it is a triplet with London and Hamilton, but I haven't seen photos to verify that.

Los Angeles California Temple Baptistry

Hamilton New Zealand Temple Baptistry

London England Temple Baptistry

Copenhagen Denmark Temple Baptistry Mural
The Copenhagen Denmark Temple features a huge mural of the baptism of Jesus Christ. Reproductions of smaller sections of this mural have also appeared in numerous temples. The scale of this mural is impressive and highlights the example of Jesus.

Many other temples have paintings of the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist.

Other Paintings of Jesus Christ

The Logan Utah Temple used to have a painting of Jesus Christ next to the temple veil. A reproduction of this painting currently hangs behind the recommend desk as you enter the temple.

Logan Temple Painting of Jesus

The Salt Lake Temple grand staircase has a huge painting with Jesus Christ as the central figure. I think this might show Jesus Christ appearing to the Nephites, although it might also be a second coming painting.
Salt Lake Temple Painting

The Cardston Alberta Temple has multiple original murals of Jesus Christ. I've already shown the baptism of Jesus Christ above. There are also paintings of the resurrected Jesus appearing to Mary at the empty tomb which is in the Terrestrial room, and a painting of Jesus administering the sacrament to the Nephites which is in the chapel.  
Jesus Appears to Mary, Cardston Alberta Temple

Jesus Institutes Sacrament to Nephites, Cardston Alberta Temple

The Idaho Falls Idaho Temple has a large mural of Jesus Christ teaching next to the grand staircase of the temple where it is intended to be noticed. The scene appears to be Jesus teaching in the temple.
Idaho Falls Temple Mural by Staircase
The Ogden Utah Temple has had a very large mural of Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration with Peter, James, and John witnessing the event and Moses and Elijah appearing. I couldn't find a picture of this, but it was preserved in the remodel of the temple and is in the lobby in the center of the temple. The painting fills an entire wall.

The Washington D.C. Temple has a stunning mural of the second coming of Jesus Christ. This huge mural is seen as you pass the recommend desk and start crossing the bridge into the temple proper. Initially, Jesus is the main part of the mural that you see. Once you cross the bridge and enter the lobby at the center of the temple, you can see the entire mural with the righteous on the right hand side of Jesus and the wicked in shadow on his left hand side. It is an inspiring mural and interior renderings from the recent remodel show that this mural has been preserved.

Washington D.C. Temple Mural - The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

Some temples have paintings of Jesus that aren't original, but that are such a part of the temple architecture and are on such a scale that I thought they were worth mentioning. The first one is in the Mexico City Mexico Temple waiting area behind the recommend desk. This mural shows Jesus Christ appearing to the Nephites after his resurrection. The original is in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, but it has been reproduced on such an impressive scale that I thought it was worth a mention.

Mexico City Temple Entry

The Vernal Utah Temple features a large print of the second coming of Jesus Christ in the Celestial Room. Due to the scale and position of this painting, I think it is intended to always remain in this place in this temple. It commands the room and as the central decoration in the focal room of the temple, I thought this picture was worth noting. I've seen this in many other temples, but never used quite as impressively. A similar scale print is used in the Bountiful Utah Temple chapel.
Vernal Utah Temple Celestial Room
The San Salvador El Salvador Temple has an original painting of Jesus Christ with indigenous central American children. This painting is behind the recommend desk and is an excellent piece that emphasizes that Jesus cares about all people. Reproductions of this mural have made it into other temples including the newly remodeled Ogden Utah Temple.
San Salvador El Salvador Temple Entry

These are some of the notable depictions of our Savior Jesus Christ in original paintings in temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Each temple, even tiny ones, contains dozens to hundreds of paintings of Jesus Christ. He is the focus of our worship and our means of obtaining salvation and exaltation. We love, honor, adore, cherish, and celebrate Jesus Christ in our worship and he is vital to our temple experience and worship.

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