Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Yigo Guam Temple - Baptismal Font

Yigo Guam Temple Baptistry

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just started the open house for the Yigo Guam Temple. This temple is tiny by temple standards - just 6,861 square feet. For comparison, most small temples President Hinckley had built in the late 1990s and early 2000s were 10,700 square feet. So these are about 2/3 the size of those already quite small temples. Overall the temple is nice, albeit tiny. Several temples under construction are using this plan, so we will soon know if this is too small, or if it works well for remote areas such as Guam.

One interesting design element I liked in this temple is the baptismal font sculptures. Latter-day Saint temples typically have baptismal fonts that are supported by sculptures of 12 life-sized oxen. This is a reference to the Temple of Solomon in the Old Testament where there was a brazen sea supported by 12 bronze oxen representing the 12 tribes of Israel. This was almost certainly not used for baptisms, but instead for washings of the priests in the temple. The Church uses oxen for the baptismal font because baptism symbolically washes in Christianity in a way that is symbolically similar to the ritualistic washing in the ancient temples. 

Yigo Guam Temple Font Sculpture

Latter-day Saint temple font oxen have been in various styles from the highly realistic bronze of the Salt Lake Temple to the highly stylized ones in the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple. The Church has had some temples initially without oxen below the font. I think all of those had oxen added.  Many temples have only the front of full sized oxen. Others have been built with six oxen and mirrors giving the illusion of twelve. Regardless of how the oxen are done, it is a symbol of baptism bringing people into the House of Israel. The Yigo Guam Temple (and presumably others of this style currently under construction) has very unique font sculptures. Instead of 12 full sized oxen, it has 12 relief sculptures of the heads of the oxen. I like this as an occasional design choice. I would love to see the sculpture slightly modified for each temple. I'm guessing they will just keep the one mold and make a bunch of identical oxen, but it would be interesting if they could make minor changes such as changing the cattails to something else, adding a bronze finish, giving different colors to the different elements like the Mesa Arizona Temple has, etc. There are a lot of possibilities to make each of these fonts unique that probably wouldn't cost much. I could even see fonts where the sculptures are flat with just the outlines of oxen are carved into the stone around the font in line art or where the oxen are completely flat backlit stained glass. I like the refreshing detail of relief sculptures for oxen around this temple's font, although I don't expect larger temples to use it.

If you have any thoughts on this temple or the oxen design, feel free to comment.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

The Washington DC Temple Renovation - Part 3 - Grand Spaces

 I love the recent renovation of the Washington DC Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The public open house is currently being held, so if you are in the DC area, please go check it out. I have written two posts with my reactions to this temple renovation. In this one I want to highlight some grand spaces (for lack of a better description).

I like this remodel. When I visited this temple about ten years ago I liked it, but some colors and style choices were dated. The refurbished temple doesn't throw away the midcentury modern architecture, but it does enhance it.

Washington DC Temple
Bridge Lobby Connecting Annex to Temple

As you cross over from the annex where the recommend desk to the main temple, you cross a bridge that doubles as a lobby. I like this bright space. This leads to the rotunda which used to have a 30 ft long mural of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. For some reason it was removed in this remodel. If you know where it went, please let me know. The rotunda is still nice, but I miss the original mural. My previous post discussed this mural and some theories about where it may have gone.

Washington DC Temple Chapel

The Chapel is a nice room. Although it may be used for meetings, these chapels are mainly used when waiting to go to another part of the temple. The worshipers can read scriptures and listen to quiet hymns being played. This room has curves and pointed arches and the walls have windows of thinly cut stone that is translucent. It makes a great place to quietly meditate while waiting to go do a temple session.

Washington DC Temple
Original Ordinance Room
Washington DC Temple
Renovated Ordinance Room

Once you leave the chapel, the Ordinance Rooms (Endowment Room) are usually your next destination. These rooms have been nicely updated while keeping the simplicity of the original, with slightly nicer finishes and more timeless colors. The proscenium and curtain at the front of the room are nicer, the ceiling has been improved from acoustic tile to hard lid with vaulting, and pendant lights have been added.

Washington DC Temple
Original Celestial Room

Washington DC Temple
Renovated Celestial Room

The Celestial Room which represents the heavenly kingdom of God, has been nicely enhanced. The colors have been slightly tweaked, dated curtains removed, and chandeliers have been updated with finer chandeliers (the same style as the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple has). This is an improvement in my estimation. I also learned that there is one large central chandelier and 12 smaller chandeliers around the perimeter. I'm guessing these weren't intended to represent anything, but it makes me think of Jesus Christ as the great light and the 12 apostles as additional lights as described in 1 Nephi 1.

Washington DC Temple
Original Sealing Room

Washington DC Temple
Renovated Sealing Room
The Sealing Rooms in the temple are used for marriages of couples for time and eternity and for sealing children to parents. I really like how the colors have been updated while preserving the beauty and unique style of the original rooms. For example, I love the oval shaped altar in one room, which was part of the original temple. The renovated room has more elegant chandelier and sconces, brightened colors, and other minor changes while preserving the essence of the original room.

Washington DC Temple
Original Assembly Room

Washington DC Temple
Renovated Assembly Room
Next there is the Assembly Room or Assembly Hall. Only 8 temples have these (I have a previous post on these). This one is huge and I like it. It is a modern variation on the Salt Lake Temple's Assembly Room. My only real complaint is that this room and similar rooms in the other 8 temples are rarely used except for in the Salt Lake Temple. I wish the church would uses these more. This room is on the top level of the temple and takes up the entire floor.

I love this temple renovation. If you are in the DC area soon, you can visit the open house and see the beauty of this Christian Temple.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Washington DC Temple Renovation - Part 2: What Happened to the Second Coming Mural?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just completed renovating the Washington DC Temple and the open house is starting this week. I love what has been done and am writing a few posts about my reaction to the renovation. My last post was about the stained glass. This one will be about the murals.

Original Washington DC Temple Rotunda Mural

The Washington DC Temple has a stunning mural of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. I wrote about this 30ft long mural in a previous post. It is in the rotunda that you enter after crossing the bridge from the recommend desk. The church released a rendering of the rotunda with the mural clearly visible as shown below. This mural showed Jesus Christ with the righteous on his right hand pleased to great him and the wicked hiding on his left hand. Many races and time periods are represented with a diverse group on both sides. The Washington DC Temple can be seen in the mural on the side with the righteous. As you would walk across the bridge you initially could mainly see Jesus. It was only as you started to enter the rotunda that you realized this was a second coming AND judgement scene. To me, this mural says as you enter the temple that you will want to be ready to greet Jesus at his coming and that the temple and its ordinances will help you with that. Then when you leave the temple you are again greeted by the mural and are reminded that the temple is vital to where you will stand at His coming. This is in my estimation the most valuable artwork in the entire temple.

Washington DC Temple
Bridge Rendering (Original Mural Visible)

Washington DC Temple Rotunda Rendering
Original Mural Visible

With that preface, you might understand my confusion when I watched the video on CBS News with the reporter and apostles and apostles wives crossing the bridge to the rotunda with the mural nowhere to be seen. A completely new and smaller painting of the Second Coming is in its place. The rendering had shown the original mural, but apparently it was removed sometime and I don't understand why. The rotunda is still lovely, but it is lacking a 50 or so year old artistic masterpiece. I looked through the photos and it has definitely been removed. I hoped that it had maybe just been moved to another area in the temple similar to how a mural of the Mount of Transfiguration in the Ogden Utah Temple was moved in the renovation, but I can't find any photo of it. If you know where it has ended up, please comment. I thought maybe it has been moved to the visitor's center, but the press release didn't mention this. I also don't understand why anyone would want to move this important mural. I found a post online from an art restoration company that stated that they had cleaned and repaired the mural about 8 years ago. It mentioned that some damage had been done. I wonder if during the remodel they found more damage. Another possibility is that it was removed because the woodwork appears to have been changed from what I remember as a black walnut to a slightly brighter African wood. This may not have complimented the painting as well, although I think they could easily have just added black walnut molding or accents in the rotunda to blend the styles together. I also wondered if it was moved for being a painting without diversity, until I looked at a photo of it and noticed all sorts of races shown with the righteous and decided that couldn't be the reason. So I don't know what has happened to this stunning mural. If you know, please let me know.

Washington DC Temple Rotunda
New Painting

The baptistry has murals added. I can't remember if those are new, or were added in a previous remodel. They are definitely not original. The mural shows the Baptism of Jesus Christ. I think this is actually a copy of the mural in the Ogden Utah Temple baptistry added during that temple's remodel. I love it.

Washington DC Temple Baptistry

Those are my thoughts on the murals in the renovated Washington DC Temple. If you are in the DC are soon, go see the open house. It is a beautify House of the Lord.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Washington DC Temple Renovation - Part 1: The Tree of Life and Stained Glass

 The Washington DC Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has recently been renovated and the public open house has started this week. I am going to do a few short posts about the renovated temple.

First off, I love the renovation. It has kept the essence of the temple including floor layout, while removing some extremely dated colors and a few other elements. I visited this temple about 10 years or so ago and I liked it. The photos and video I saw on and on CBS News appear to have furthered the beauty and quality of the existing temple.

Washington DC Temple Stained Glass "Tree of Life"

I watched the video the church included with the press release. The video said that the stained glass behind the recommend desk is of the Tree of Life. I don't think I knew that before now. They added some LED backlighting that has made the stained glass easier to see. Now if you know it is supposed to be The Tree of Life, you can see that. It is abstract, so it is understandable if you, like me, didn't realize what it was supposed to be. I hope they also put a sign below it like you see at an art gallery so people years from now know what it is. I really like this art glass and it is original to the temple, so about 50 years old.

Washington DC Temple Stained Glass

Washington DC Temple Stained Glass

Other stained glass has been cleaned and put into improved frames by the original stained glass company. The stained glass on each end of the temple extends the full height of the temple with the glass getting lighter and brighter as you ascend, which helps with the temple symbolism. This glass also makes the main temple staircases stunning. I really like what has been done. The renovation has made these stained glass windows and staircases even more beautiful.

I love what has been done with the glass in this temple. If you are in the Washington DC Area, you should go to the open house while it is still going on.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

October 2021 New Temple Announcement Predictions

Now that General Conference is only four weeks away, I thought I'd list some temple announcement predictions. We had a lot of temples announced last conference so that probably means we will only have a few this conference, but it could instead mean that we will have a lot of temples announced. It will be interesting to see what happens.

I've grouped my temple announcement predictions geographically and have generally chosen 3 cities for a region, but for some I chose more. I give more weight to a first temple in a country or state. Here are my predictions:


Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Jakarta Indonesia

Kaohsiung City, Taiwan (Taichung City could also work)

Busan, Korea

Osaka, Japan

Puerto Princesa, Philippines

Australia / Pacific:

Christchurch, New Zealand

Tasmania, Australia

Marshall Islands


Antananarivo, Madagascar

Kampala, Uganda

Kananga / Mbuji Mayi, Democratic Republic of the Congo


Edinburgh, Scotland (or Glasgow)

Tirana, Albania

Barcelona, Spain

South America (not Brazil):

Punta Arenas, Chile / Rio Grande,  Argentina (southern tip of the continent)

La Paz, Bolivia

Maracaibo, Venezuela


Teresina, Brazil

Palmas, Brazil

Cuiba, Brazil

North America (not US):

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Durango, Mexico

Kingston, Jamaica

United States (not Utah):

Tacoma, Washington

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Flagstaff, Arizona

Austin, Texas

Bakersfield, California


Heber City


Spanish Fork / Springville

Those are my picks for new temple locations. I'm hoping for a lot of temple announcements, but even a single temple will bless many lives. Please comment with your lists of possible temple locations. There is also usually a lively discussion about possible temple locations on the Growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints website so you can go there for more predictions. This conference's list should arrive any day on that blog.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Manti Utah Temple Preservation and New Ephraim Utah Temple

 In case you haven't heard, President Russel M. Nelson announced today that the Manti Utah Temple will be preserved including keeping murals and that a new temple will be built in nearby Ephraim Utah so anyone that cannot handle the stairs in Manti can have an accessible temple within about 8 minutes of Manti. The Ephraim Temple will also provide additional ordinance rooms and a second font for the area. This is great. It allows for the wonderful pioneer craftsmanship and pioneer mural and 1940s murals to be preserved while at the same time providing an option for temple worthy members with various disabilities, or even just arthritis, to have a temple close by without having to drive an hour plus. 

This is a great compromise and it impresses me that our prophet, President Nelson, is someone who can come up with a solution (gutting the temple) and then will still listen to legitimate concerns of others and ponder and pray for a solution that can meet everyone's concerns and needs. In this case, building a temple in Ephraim meets the need of the disabled and provides for future growth while preserving the Manti Utah Temple preserves the art, history, and heritage while also honoring pioneers and later artisans and allowing their consecrated efforts to continue to inspire and teach future generations. President Nelson similarly helped to diffuse a contentious situation when The Church moved the Tooele Valley Utah Temple from Erda to Tooele (now renamed the Deseret Peak Utah Temple). This alleviated the concerns of neighbors who didn't want the development while still providing the temple without the exorbitant cost of running all the utilities to the temple without a community to share the cost. 

We could all learn to follow the example of President Nelson who has taken to heart Jesus Christ's teaching "Blessed are the peacemakers" and who truly cares for the concerns and opinions of others. He has clearly worked to strip himself of pride and to love and care for everyone, not just those who agree with every decision he makes. It must have been hard to reconsider long thought out plans for both of these temples when new concerns were brought forward. Most people would stubbornly dig their heels in and insist that they were right and that they had already decided. President Nelson took the harder way and rethought and reworked decisions to see if there was an even better way that could be found. You can see this kind of open thinking throughout other decisions in his presidency and it is probably one reason why revelation is such a prominent theme of his presidency. If we will only listen to revelation when it conforms to what we want, then God who knows much better than us, will not reveal those things we won't accept.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Symbolic Placement of Sealing Rooms

Laie Hawaii Temple Sealing Room Located Directly Over the Creation Room

Temples built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints come in various floorplans. Some floor plans are laid out for efficiency. Others are laid out symbolically. I'd like to talk about how locations of sealing rooms can be symbolic.

Sealing rooms are used to perform sealings of husbands and wives in eternal marriage and to seal children to parents.

Many temples have sealing rooms off of the celestial room. In the earliest ones you would actually have to cross through the celestial room to get to the sealing rooms which required the wedding guests to dress in white. This is symbolic of sealing being a higher ordinance than the endowment and of sealing being a requirement to enter the highest degree of the celestial kingdom. For example, the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple has one sealing room attached to the celestial room at the same level as the room. They sometimes let couples wait in this sealing room while waiting for their sealing.

In many temples the sealing rooms off the celestial room are several steps above the celestial room. This occurs in the St George Utah Temple, Salt Lake Temple, Mesa Arizona Temple, etc. In the Salt Lake Temple one of the sealing rooms has a whole staircase up to one of the rooms.

In the Portland Oregon Temple there is a staircase that goes up to a mezzanine level in the celestial room. There is a door in this area that leads to sealing rooms. This is very symbolic of sealings being a requirement for entering the highest degree of the celestial kingdom.

Other temples have different symbolic placement of the sealing rooms. In the Laie Hawaii Temple and Cardston Alberta Temple the endowment uses progressive rooms. You start in the creation room, move to the garden room, then the world room, then the terrestrial room and finally enter the celestial room. The creation, garden, world, and terrestrial rooms are each on a different side of the celestial room with each a little higher. The sealing rooms are then off of the celestial room. Because of the room layout and because the creation room is the lowest endowment room, the sealing rooms fit directly above the creation room which becomes very symbolic of the sealing as the ordinance that creates eternal families and it is also symbolic of the fact that God created man and woman and did not want them to remain alone so he instituted marriage to join men and women. It also symbolizes that marriage is required by God before men and women are authorized to use their biological powers to create children.

The Manti Utah Temple (until it is gutted and murals are removed and rooms rearranged in the upcoming remodel) (Great news, they are no longer gutting the Manti Temple, and Ephraim, Utah also gets a temple!) and the Salt Lake Temple (before the murals were recently removed and rooms rearranged in the current remodel) both had sealing rooms off the celestial room that were actually above the garden rooms. This could be seen as symbolic of the marriage of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and that we like Adam and Eve need to work together as couples in righteousness.

The very high capacity temples such as the Ogden Utah, Provo Utah, and Jordan River Utah Temples usually don't have symbolic placement of sealing rooms. In these temples the sealing rooms are on the floor below the endowment rooms and celestial room. There are some exceptions. In the Washington D.C. Temple the sealing rooms are on a the floor above the endowment rooms and celestial room. The celestial room ceiling extends through the sealing room floor with the celestial room ceiling at the same level as the sealing room sealings. This emphasizes that sealings allow us to enter the highest degree of the celestial kingdom. This is also how the 1980s remodeled Logan Utah Temple, the Oakland California Temple, Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple, and many others have their sealing rooms located.

Even the small temples that President Hinckley had built have symbolic placement of sealing rooms. In these temples the sealing room(s) are generally located next to the celestial room and are the highest rooms. I've noticed that as you walk back to the dressing rooms from the celestial room or sealing rooms the hallway is slightly inclined as a ramp because these rooms are slightly elevated. It is only a step or two higher, but it is meant to convey a higher ordinance.

I feel that great sacred temple architecture uses everything including placement of rooms to reinforce the teachings of the temple and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am glad sealing rooms have been symbolically placed in many temples to heighten the teachings about eternal marriage and families and our covenants. Please feel free to comment if you have any other insights.