On Sunday morning (8/31/2014) Melissa sent me an e-mail with some pictures she found online of the San Diego Temple. Initially I was going to use the photos as a quick FYI type of post…
While the photos made us wonder why anyone would believe this was of God, abigger picture began to emerge when I read the history of this place. There was no set plan, no modeling the temple upon any of the things you’d find in temples from the OT times. It’s just filled with random stuff.
An article written by a professor at BYU (Alonzo Gaskill) in 2010 spoke about the symbolism in the temple which left me as confused as Melissa and I were about the pictures. In typical Mormon and Masonic fashion everything that’s said is spoken in riddles and mysterious possibilities leaving the reader to wonder what if anything the leadership of the Church is trying to convey to its members.
What originally triggered my ‘quick’ investigation into the symbols was a repeated pattern of interlocking squares I saw in the pictures Melissa sent. I’ve learned over the years that nothing the Church does is left to chance and their info page on temples was bereft of well, info; thus my digging around.
The next thing that caught my attention was the Church’s statement about the architects. I had to wonder why they chose to use someone they consider to be a ‘whore of Babylon’ to design the most holy place on the face of the earth.
Here in part is what they said;
“The architects for the San Diego California Temple were William S. Lewis, Jr., design architect; Dennis Hyndman, project architect; and Shelly Hyndman, interior design architect. The Hyndmans, who are Roman Catholic, had not toured the interior of a Latter-day Saint temple until the Las Vegas Nevada Temple open house commenced in 1989.”
Why would they choose an outsider to design the interior of their holy temples?
Would Joe Smith and Brigham Young approve?
Does the temple above look biblical to you? All I could think of when I saw this is the Wizard of Oz! (Image above is from LDS.org)
Let’s look at some of the things Mr. Gaskill said in his article about this temple and in particular what the repeated interlocking squares mean;
“Symbolism is the language of scripture and ritual…So how has this symbol made such inroads among Latter-day Saints? The story is a rather interesting one filled with both fact and fiction…
…the commonly repeated story, the architect of the San Diego California Temple, William S. Lewis Jr., was inspired to place the overlapping squares design throughout the temple without knowing what the symbol meant…Sometime after the temple was constructed, it was brought to his attention that the design was actually the “seal of Melchizedek”…
…some versions of this popular story, the architect “saw the symbol in a dream”…Others have said that President Gordon B. Hinckley asked Hugh Nibley to confirm that this symbol was indeed the seal of Melchizedek, an ancient token of the Melchizedek Priesthood…One member of the Church is reported as saying Hugh Nibley told him “something like, ‘Oh sure, it is the seal of King Melchizedek. . . . It was a symbol of Melchizedek’s power, kingdom, and . . . a type of name of Melchizedek, like a seal in wax.”…
… As to the design having been revealed in a dream, Lewis (the architect) has indicated that this did not happen…
…He noted that he and his architectural associates were working hard to find a common symbol…They started with a square…the more they used it the better and better it worked. Some people asked about the symbolism of the design, and he told them he didn’t know if it had any particular symbolism…”
And that’s it folks. No one knows what the meaning is because it doesn’t hold anything of substantial value. Oddly enough, they included all the speculative mumbo-jumbo about a seal of Melchizedek and then revealed they did this on a number of temples so members are now wearing jewelry replicating this design.
“In recent years Mormonism appears to have adopted a new symbol, one quickly growing in popularity. It is commonly referred to as the seal of Melchizedek and consists of two interlocked (or overlapping) squares, making what appears to be an eight-pointed star. This design, according to a growing number of Latter-day Saints, is the ancient symbol of the Melchizedek Priesthood and the act of making one’s “calling and election sure.” Its growing popularity among Church members is evidenced not only by its placement in or on a number of LDS temples but also by its presence in the Mormon market, where one can readily purchase necklaces, tie tacks, or cufflinks sporting this newly adopted symbol.”
Nice. In other words they’re making it up as they go along.
The Bible of course gives very specific instructions on how God wants his temple built. When the 1st temple was built God told King David he wasn’t allowed to take part because of he ‘had been a man of war’ in the past so the job went to his son Solomon. 1 Chronicles 28:2
The specific instructions were then given to Solomon by his father David in 1 Chronicles 28:11-12;
“Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat, 12 And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things”.
The Bible is bereft of details about the ‘sign of Melchizedek’ because God had no intention of putting something like that in His holy residence. Furthermore, there were no engravings or markings of stars because those things represent the earth He created and takes away from His glory.
We’re praying Mormons will stop and wonder what the temples of the OT looked like and what was inside of them. We’re praying their curiosity will spark the desire to investigate and then wonder why their temples don’t resemble biblical temples in the OT.