Why don't Mormon temples look like the actual "Temple"s of Solomon/Herod?

(on wikipedia) There’s a reproduction of what the Temple of Solomon would have looked like. Also there have been pictures (not photographs of course) of the Temple of Herod and I think there are blueprint requirements of the temple in the bible, such as how many cubits the rooms are supposed to be.

THAT being the case, I saw the spires of a Mormon temple on some picture, and it looks neo-gothic or something, not at all mideastern.

Umm, so why did they not make the temples more like the original temple? Surely they knew the difference between European neo-gothic architecture and Mideastern? And of course the Wailing wall still stands from Herod’s temple, so the type of worksmanship and materials are known as well. The mormon version is not even close, way too tall and neo-gothic (although the color looks accurate), not at all the same.

I dont get it (I never do)

Although the LDS church refers to ancient temples as precedents for current temples, there is no doctrinal impulse to copy the architecture. It is also only recently (past 20-30 years, when temple construction has increased greatly) that the architecture has become more homogenous. There is much more variation in design in the first 12-18 temples, for example http://lds.org/church/temples/cardston-alberta?lang=eng

From an LDS perspective, I would ask “why should they look like Solomon’s temple?”

Yeah, there’s no reason for it to look like Solomon’s temple. They just want it to look pretty nice.

In 1973, someone thought the Washington DC temple was inspired by Oz, judging from the prominent graffito that was painted on a railroad bridge. Just as the temple came into view on the beltway, the artwork on the bridge was like a figure caption, reading “Surrender Dorothy.”

See, for example, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_D.C._Temple

When I was living in Northern VA and seeing that graffiti often, it always made me smile. Still does the rare times I’m driving through there now.

The Mormon temples aren’t a template design, each is unique and has it’s own artistic merits. I like most of them. They seemed to do a pretty good job landing between nice looking and the blatant excess found in Catholic cathedrals.

Most of them actually are template designs. In the late-90’s, they made a smaller standardized floor plan design and started opening them all over the place. The cookie cutter “modern classic, single-spire” design temples now outnumber the actual unique design ones. It’s kind of a shame to see them going bland and generic since the old temples are so interesting architecturally. They do still open a uniquely designed temple from time to time, especially overseas.

I wonder if the “Surrender Dorothy” graffiti is the only piece of graffiti with its own Wikipedia entry:


There may be other Wikipedia entries for large classes of graffiti or examples of graffiti that appear many places, but I suspect that it’s the only one with its own entry. And it was painted over years ago.


No, that’s the sort of graffiti that I specifically said I wasn’t talking about, a piece of graffiti that appears many places. I’m talking about a single piece of graffiti that appears in one place and that is famous for just that one appearance of the piece of graffiti.

This is actually an interesting question, because there isn’t a direct link between Mormon temples and Solomon’s, but there have been Mormons who have claimed one, although indirectly.

Many parts of the Mormon temple ceremony were lifted directly from the Freemason ceremony, and there were those both within the Masons and the Mormons who claimed a history of the Masons back to Solomon. It would then be a valid question to ask why the architecture was not.

The quick answer is that Mormons came up with the idea of building temples first, and then only later associated the secret ceremonies with the temples. The ceremony was originally only for Joseph Smith and close associates who were secretly practicing polygamy, and seem to have been created to provide a structure of an inner circle.

The first temple which the Mormons built, Kirkland Temple, in Ohio, was built in the 1830s and used as a church and meetings, including schools. It did not incorporate the functions of the temple such as the “endowment” as Joseph Smith’s still evolving theology had not progressed that far.

I’ll have to research this some more.

Minor nitpick: It’s Kirtland. Not Kirkland. [/nitpick]

I was going to be nice and not say how tacky the Mormon temples are, but if you want to go there that’s OK. They are a combination of Disneyland Castle and Marriott Destination Hotel. An amalgamation of design elements that draws from the worst of the past and adds nothing new that is worthwhile.

Whatever you think about the Catholic church (not much in my case), their Cathedrals have some of the most beautiful architecture ever created. Much of it borrowed and tarted up by the architects of the LDS temples.

There is, or at least there hasn’t been, any intent on making the temples match any specific thing. (design wise)

The San Diego Temple was designed by a Catholic husband and wife architectural firm under the supervision of the church.