Close image: Golden Trumpeter by Jon Armstrong

Golden Trumpeter

I’ll try to avoid a lengthy explaination of Mormon iconography. This guy is the angel Moroni. He sits atop every Mormon temple.

Last Friday, we did a quick tour of the temple the LDS Church built in Draper, Utah. It’s a beautiful building. It’s in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the Salt Lake Valley, and the interior of the building reflects the surrounding riches. The exterior is plain, but inside is something else; a kind of post F.L. Wright/mid-century modern/arts and crafts with roccoco overtones. The fabric choices on the upholstery were a pleasant surprise. Brazilian cherry wood abounds as does Italian marble. This temple is geared for weddings and it showed in the bridal rooms. Talk about princess dreams coming true. Dressing tables that would make anybody feel like a million bucks.

The general public is typically allowed in before the buildings are dedicated for use. That means they let Heather and I in along with anyone else who wants to see what it looks like. Avoid Saturdays if you want to take a look.

  • Kristan

    Hmm, they might not have let y’all in if they knew (ahead of time) about the kitty sacrificing/torturing comment… 😛

    I LOVE how starkly this gold stands out against the gray.

  • meowsk

    Dressing tables? I am so confused about what goes on in there.

    I think the closest I will ever come to a mormon temple is Gilgal Sculpture Gardens

    That mormon shit freaks me out!

    • blurb

      Gilgal is on another level entirely. Even when I was practicing, that shit freaked me out.

      • meowsk

        I don’t know… I have heard about some “sexual cleansing” rituals that go on during temple marriage ceremonies that freak me out way more than a Joseph Smith sphinx.

        Also, on a side note after seeing Heather’s photo of the whole building I am particularly glad I am not living at my parent’s house anymore as that would have been the view from my bedroom window. I don’t know how long I could have handled that god-awful tackiness.

        • PixelFish

          As far as I know, which is admittedly mostly via hearsay, since I left before getting my “endowments”–let me pause here for a juvenile snicker to sate the inner 12 year old–the temple ceremonies have changed a lot over the years. The cleansing you heard about is probably the anointing you undergo before receiving your garments to wear for the first time. You put on a poncho-like article called a “shield” which you hold closed at the sides until it is time to be anointed. The anointings are done in gender-segregated rooms, and basically they just daub oil on you. I’m not sure what all the parts are, but I’ve had some guy friends mention that their crotch was daubed just above the penis. I don’t know if the body is actually handled, or if they just dribble oil on you like some kind of plated food presentation.

          I also know that up until 1990, there was an oath where you would volunteer to ritually disembowel yourself should you betray the sacred secrets of the church. One of my friends had to do that–one of the last groups to go through before they got rid of it–but my older cousin, who went through in the mid-90s said it was definitely gone by the time he went through the temple.

        • blurb

          There were (in my time) no “sexual cleansing” rituals. When one gets anointed, they would touch your belly, but it wasn’t sexual. I believe this bit of the temple work has been altered to be less open to such criticism.

          I’m not sanctioning it, just saying.

          It’s weird, sure.

  • PixelFish

    I’d be interested in seeing it. I can’t remember if the last one I saw the insides of was the Bountiful or the one in American Fork, but I remember thinking that both of those were a mixture of expensive/nice with cheap/tacky. The glass in the American Fork temple windows is really really lovely–has some awesome texture and interesting refractive qualities–but much of the rest of it was generic LDS meeting house style. Boing generic furniture, boring dusty rose carpeting (at least in the bridal rooms), and boring generic Mormon art. The Bountiful temple had (memorably) fake marble pillars. You could tap them and hear an echo effect. My dad said they were probably a facade around metal supports. A lot of the modern temples are really hit and miss on the craftsmanship. (My favourite temples were Manti–which was supposed to have plans for amazing grounds that never quite got realised–and Cardston Alberta’s art deco temple.)

    When I used to be Mormon, I’d look at the pictures of the temples in the Ensign’s temple editions, and worry about that mansion that God had planned for me up in heaven. Because as far as I could tell from the gilt-covered furniture in SLC, God had that Donald Trump thing going on. (Well, either that, or I’d end up in God-mansion with pastel painted ducks and tole-painted wreaths.)

  • Maiken

    I was there the same day as you and your family. (I actually sat next to you in the sealing room. I’m very proud of myself for not yelling across the baptismal font upon seeing you and Heather.)

    I was stunned by the arts and crafts details, modern fabrics, subtle wallpaper, marble baseboards, and dark woods. I wish there were at least some original artworks and perhaps a few less pieces. I did enjoy seeing the use of so many Utah artists. Art is not yet dead!

  • Lesley

    My first impression from the photo on Heather’s page was of a prison. No lie. It’s probably the starkness of the environment in the photo: the gloomy sky, gloomy landscape, and the plainness of the building.

    I have no doubt it’s spectacular on the inside.

  • patrickc

    The Temple ceremonies haven’t changed that much. There have been a few slight modifications, but the gist of what happens is the same as it has always been. It’s part of revelation the Church claims privy to.

    And for whatever it’s worth I: you don’t “take out your endowments”. Rather, you receive and endowment. An endowment of knowledge that’ll bless your life if you so choose. Of course, one has to be ready for that endowment and that’s why not everybody is allowed.

    And for whatever it’s worth II: nothing freaky goes on. No sacrifices are offered. No kitties are killed. No nekked weirdness. Just a time to reflect on what life is all about. Personally, I love attending as it’s a time to pause and charge my life’s batteries.

    As far as architecture goes, I LOVE the Oakland temple. 60’s modern meets Asian influence. Simply fantastic on just about every level.

  • patrickc

    oops…that’s “receive an endowment”.

  • Dogmom

    I was able to visit the San Diego temple about 15 years ago before it was dedicated. I thought the outside facade was an eyesore — it looks like a true fairy castle — but was absolutely astonished at how beautiful it was on the inside. The stained glass, the bridal, dressing, ordinance, sealing rooms — at least as I understood them — were gorgeous, all very tasteful. And the the baptismal font was, like Heather mentioned yesterday, like nothing I’ve ever seen before; bigger-than-life-sized carved wooden oxen holding up a great pool probably ten feet across. Out of courtesy and respect to all the Mormons who visit here and are part of the Armstrong and Hamilton families, I don’t want to get into a discussion of the merits of the religion, but you sure can get an idea of Mormons’ dedication to their faith, and their practices, however strange they sound to us nonMormons, by the thought and resources they put into these temples. I will always remember that tour. It evoked a lot of emotion, and curiosity, in me.

  • embe

    Saw the pic of the Draper Temple on Dooce and my first and lasting thought was this:

    It looks just like the entrance to Mordor from LOTR.

    As a former Mormon myself, I don’t think that description is too far off the mark.