View Full Version : Calling All Mormon Architects (And anyone else who would know of course!)

03-30-2004, 02:42 PM
Ok, I live in the DC area of suburban Maryland. Near to where I live, there is a Moron temple, & I have to say, it's really a fascinating building to look at. In fact, until I was told otherwise, at about the age of eight, I just assumed it was to mideval eurpean castles what an '04 VW Passat is to the original Beatles. That is to say, a thoroughly modern & updated descendant.

Not so. Anyways, I know that the only way to ever see the inside of it or any of its countreparts is to be a near perfect mormon, which I will likely never come close to. So my question is twofold.

A. Anyone know exactly what it looks like on the inside? Is it a wide open catherdra like structure? Or really like a tradition castle with scads of smaller rooms all over the place? Also, is it marble on the inside too, or like a more traditional office building, complete w/ flourescents & cheap furniture?

B. If one need be a mormon is super high standing to enter, than how did they ever build it? Did they spend years carefully scrutinizing the construction staff & journeymen who built it, or is it just consecrated after completion to avoid a bog-down with that?

I know these may seem like silly questions, but it's something I have been wondering about for the better part of two decades, & I figure people here are pretty sharp, so thanks in advance for your help!

Mr. Moto
03-30-2004, 02:53 PM
It's consecrated after completion (disclaimer: IANAM).

I believe tours are given of grand Mormon structures to non-Mormons before they consecrate the structures and shut us all out forever.

03-30-2004, 02:58 PM
I can confirm Mr. Moto's answer as accurate, at least according to the Mormon guide at Temple Square in SLC.

P.S. Was that typo in your OP ("Moron temple") a Freudian slip or what? :D

03-30-2004, 03:02 PM
The temples are very beautiful and functional both on the inside and outside. The furnishings are very modern with carpeting and nice furniture, and the rooms are designed for the special ordinances which take place in them. There are sealing rooms where marriages are performed, there are instructional rooms for the ordinance we call the "endowment", and other various rooms and offices.

Prior to a temple being dedicated, the public is allowed to tour and view the inside of the temple. There are currently over 100 Mormon temples around the world, although not all of them are as large as the one in Washington.

If you are really interested, there is a new temple currently being finished up in Manhattan, which will be dedicated in June. The public open house will be from May 8 until June 5. Here is a link (http://www.lds.org/temples/main/0,11204,1919-1-31-0,00.html) with details if you are interested in seeing it.

03-30-2004, 03:06 PM
Here is a link to the LDS temple in question (http://www.lds.org/temples/main/0,11204,1912-1-52-2,00.html), complete with pictures and visitor info. It appears from the site that more than 750,000 visitors viewed the completed temple during a public open house prior to its dedication in November 1974.

Under the FAQ:
Q: What is it like inside the temple?
A: Many people are under the impression that the interior of a Latter-day Saint temple is like a great hall or cathedral. Actually, temples are made up of a number of rooms designed to accommodate certain functions such as marriages, baptisms, and religious instructional sessions. Inside the temple, Church members change into simple, modest, white clothing before taking part in temple ceremonies. The white temple clothing symbolizes purity and reverence.
Q: Will members of the public ever see the inside of the temple?
A: Yes. After the temple is completed, an open house (typically several days) is held for the general public. During the open house, public tours are organized and information is provided to answer questions and to explain the different functions and ceremonies performed in the temple.

03-30-2004, 03:17 PM
P.S. Was that typo in your OP ("Moron temple") a Freudian slip or what?

Oh my god, yes it was, lol. I had no intention of typing that. Stupid right-handed keyboards, grrrr...

03-30-2004, 03:40 PM
Here (http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1993.htm/ensign%20march%201993.htm/in%20his%20holy%20house.htm?fn=document-frame.htm&f=templates&2.0) are some interior pictures of the Salt Lake City Temple (http://www.lds.org/newsroom/showpackage/0,15367,3899-1---6-119,00.html). This temple was completed in 1893, so it may look a little more "old fashioned" than the Washington DC Temple, but there are many similarities.

03-30-2004, 04:01 PM
I'm sure some of this is discussed in another thread but for the life of me I cannot find it.

My FIL works as the assistant recorder in one of the Utah temples (it's like the assistant manager).

A couple of interesting things. If someone who is not "endowed" (alright stop that snickering i'm referring to someone without the proper temple permissions/blessings) enters a temple, it must be shut down until it can be reconcecrated. This has happened a few times. Sometimes someone tries to break in and makes it inside. In other cases if say paramedics or other folks who do not have the proper endowments need to come help someone in need.

For situations like someone being injured and such there are usually stairs that lead to evacuation points where people can be taken (if abulatory and not in danger) otherwise the polide, FD, EMTs and such can go in, but the building will need to be reconcecrated.

The same goes for any inspections (like fire codes and such) In many cases, they will try to find someone with a temple reccomend to perform them. if they can't they'll just reconcecrate the bulding after the inspection is done. Because of these needs, most temples close for a 2 week period each year for inspections, repairs, service and then the reconseration of the buildings.

03-30-2004, 06:31 PM
Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to be "a mormon of super high standing" to enter a temple. After all, if that were true, there wouldn't be the need for all those temples all over the world. Anyone baptised member who agrees with and keeps the generally accepted teaching of Mormonism (i.e. no sexual relations except in marriage, tithing, abstaining from tobacco and alcohol, attending church regularly) should have no problem getting a temple recommend allowing that person into the temple. The LDS church spends a considerable effort trying to get members to attend the temple regularly (most want to, but time and distance keep many from regular temple attendance). It would make no sense to reserve the temple just for those of "super high standing", whatever that means.

03-30-2004, 09:53 PM
As a non-Mormon I took the tour of the temple in Las Vegas before they activated it for the believers back in about 1992.

It obviously cost a bundle. Overall I had the impression of a very nice office building. It wasn't like a more typical church hall and it definitely wasn't like a cathedral.

There were some special purpose rooms that had a lot of religious feeling in the architecture and furnishings, and others that reminded me of nothing more than my laywer's waiting room with high-end Ethan Allen-style furniture and expensive carpet & stone flooring.

The tour wound up and down and around through the building, guided by a horde of host/hostess church members. I'm real good at directions and mazes and I figure we saw about 10% of the above-ground interior and none of the below-ground.

The largest room I saw had a seating capacity of about 50 and resembled your typical convention/meeting hall in a Hilton-grade hotel.

I happened to live near the building site and watched the whole construction effort with interest. I noted the basement excavation was a bit large for a buidling that size, but there were no signs of tunnel boring machines or similar rumored nefarious goings-on.

All in all I came away more curious than ever and with very little feeling of religiosity. I'm a non-beleiver in general, but you can feel something in the air of a traditional cathedral, or even a well-executed church, regardless of denomination. This had virtually none of that feel. Odd.

p.s. Little known fact: The largest concentration of Mormons in the US outside of Utah is in Las Vegas.

03-31-2004, 09:08 PM

I am terribly sorry if my ignorance offends (after all, I post here as much as I do to change that; so goes theory anyway...), but I had always heard that you need to do service in foreign countries first, abstain from caffien, sex for purposes other than making children, wearing special underwear, etc. Needless to say, I did not know how much was true or not, so you see where I am/was. In other words, I'd always heard it was like trying to get into the emerald city without knowing anyone on the inside. In fact, about every year or so, there is a new layer of graffiti painted onto an overpass positioned just in front the DC Temple. Invariably, it says "Surrender Dorothy!"

I guess the point of everything I have posted thus should be that I find the temples utterly fascinating (with all their mystique), and really beutifull as well, especially the San Diego & Chicago temples. I really just want to know more about them. Hope that helps, and again, sorry if I have ruffled any feathers.

Everyone else,

Thank you so much for your help & insight. I think I will go see the Manhattan open house too!

03-31-2004, 11:59 PM
I am terribly sorry if my ignorance offends
Asking honest questions should never offend! Ask away.
but I had always heard that you need to do service in foreign countries first, abstain from caffeine, sex for purposes other than making children, wearing special underwear, etc.

To get into the temple, missionary service for men is encouraged, (women are encouraged to get married) but not a requirement. Caffeine, alcohol and tobacco are forbidden. Sex before and outside of marriage is forbidden, as well as any homosexual sex. One must donate 10% of oneís income. Once a person has gone through the temple they have to always wear the special underwear. There are a number of other requirements as well.

The Mormon temple ceremonies are quite secret, and Mormons were required to swear to never reveal the contents. It used to be that the participants were required to swear on their lives, but this was changed in 1990.

It is said that the Mormon temple ceremonies and design are based on the secrecy surrounding Joseph Smithís polygamy.This site (http://www.i4m.com/think/temples/temple_legacy.htm) discusses this in greater detail, but in the following quote may answer some of the questions in the OP as well as other peoples comments. The Kirtland and Nauvoo temples discussed in this quote were both built by the early Mormons. The former was completed in 1836 and later was started in 1841. The temple ceremony itself seems to be based on the Masonic rituals.

Why was the Nauvoo temple so different than the Kirtland temple? Both came from the same unchanging God, right? The Kirtland Temple was actually an expensive church, not an endowment house like the Nauvoo temple. Modern temples with their closed doors, secret ceremonies and odd clothing started in the polygamy-inspired Navuoo temple. In fact, the whole concept of a "Celestial Room" was created to reinforce the doctrine that Smith would be with all of his wives in "heaven" as one big family. The touching experience today when mormon families reunite after the veil in the temple, started out as an experience Smith could use to show how polygamy worked in heaven.

Now you can find the temple ceremonies on the internet. Since Mormons in good standing do not talk about the ceremonies, what is on the internet is usually by exmormons.

Here (http://www.i4m.com/think/temples/temple_experience.htm)is someoneís experience going through the temple.

04-01-2004, 12:21 AM
sex for purposes other than making children, wearing special underwear, etc.

This, combined with the 'moron' comment, is less than naive.

04-01-2004, 01:48 AM

I apologise if I have misread your statement. But, as I have already explained, it was a typo. I am sorry I wasn't born knowing just what Moroni said to Joseph Smith & everything else about the Latter Day Saints.

For the last time, this thread was not intended to slam Mormons in any way. I have never (In many trips to Provo & SLC, as well as life in the DCA & Los Angeles/San Diego areas), had any bad experience with mormons in general or with any particular individuals partaking in the LDS lifestyle/religion, nor is this thread intended to express any feelings of hostility or ignorance. I am simply asking a question. It so happens there are a lot of "Mysterious" structures I would love to see the inside of.
And as far as the temples go, with their near-exotic beauty & fortress like pressence, how can one not be made overtly curious about the interior structure & goings on within?
So, I figure, go where the smart people hang out & put out a thread asking about it. That is of course, if it is all right with you. G'day


Thank you for the links! I will read them shortly. I appreciate all the information you & everyone else have brought to this discussion. In truth, it has been much more than expected, and just more evidence of why it is I like to frequent these boards so much!

04-01-2004, 08:49 AM
Ieatfood! -
Actually, I did not believe, nor do I believe that you intended any offence at all in any of your questions. I was simply correcting what I have heard as a common or frequent misconception about temples.

Getting information about LDS temples from a website for "recovering Mormons" may not be the best source of info. To me, its a little like going to Jack Chick to get accurate information about Catholicism or Islam. There are much better sources out there that don't have the agenda. As many people don't believe us members of the LDS church about what members of the LDS church believe, may I suggest reading anything by Jan Shipps, a non-member historian college professor who has written extensively about the church over many decades. I can point to other sources I would find much more credible, but I'll try to keep this to a detour rather than a full blown hi-jack.

A few more misconceptions:
Missionary service does not need to be to a foreign country, hundreds if not thousands of missionaries are serving domestically. Missionary service is not manditory to enter the temple. In fact, I go to the temple when I can (the closest temple to me is 3+ hours away) and I never served a mission, neither did my parents, my wife, my brother-in-law, his wife, my aunt and uncle, etc. All frequent temple attenders.
I won't rehash the Caffiene issue again. Lets just say, I am not a pop drinker (just a pepsi every few weeks or so) I just don't like it having drank way to much as a child, but I eat way to much chocolate, and my aforementioned parents drink pepsi and coke like there is no tomorrow. In other words, consuming caffiene is not a bar for entering an lds temple. Taking illegal drugs, though, will keep you out. (I haven't seen it mentioned here).
Sex for purposes other than making children? Bwahahaha - lets just say, as long as you are not having sex outside of marriage, you are fine. In my decades of church membership, including seminary and institute classes, and teaching those classes, I have never heard anybody counsel that sex is only for making children. In fact, I have heard church leadership specifically mention at least one other reasons (building intimacy between spouses), and without revealing to much about my own personal life and those around me, use of birth control has never been a problem as to temple attendance.
Finally, "special underwear" are called garments. IIRC there are whole threads on this bourd concerning them. I won't rehash them here for fear that this thread will quickly head to the pit. Lets just say there are a lot of misconceptions. Same with connections between masonry and mormonism.

04-01-2004, 08:52 AM
My apologies, then!

04-02-2004, 01:59 AM

Getting information about LDS temples from a website for "recovering Mormons" may not be the best source of info.
Since Mormons are under oath to not discuss the details of the rituals, then one has to go somewhere, and I'm fully confident that intelligent people (and everyone here is intelligent :) ) will be able to judge the material within the context. If you are concerned about the negative slant in these sites, feel free to contradict.

In context of a discussion of temples, perhaps you could further explain your suggestion of reading "anything" by Jan Shipps. Does she discuss the temple rituals, etc. in anything she writes? Since we are pointing out people's bias, it seems there are people who do not find Jan neutral to Mormonism. From a reader's comment on Jan Shipps's Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition "It is favorable towards the church and does tend to gloss over the controversial parts of the LDS faith." To be fair, I have not read her, so I am unable to say anything either way.

Letís just say there are a lot of misconceptions. Same with connections between masonry and Mormonism.
I've found plenty of misconceptions from all sides, Mormons, ex-Mormons and never Mormons. Is there anything which you would like to point out to refute the claimed connections between masonry and Mormonism? The "pro connection" side seems to make a convincing argument, but I haven't read anything from the "no connections side."