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Monday, January 11, 2016

Through the Looking Glass

The sun has taken a long vacation.  I gave up waiting for his return and went to the temple this morning.
Although the public open house doesn't begin until Friday, there have been many private tours.
For example, last week missionaries were able to take their investigators inside.  This morning, the governor visited.
Contractors who worked on the building were able to take friends and family last Friday.  I was deeply honored to receive two invitations, one from a track hoe driver and another from a painter. I gratefully accepted and am going to attempt to give you some pointers on what to look for when your turn comes. 
First, you will be interested in seeing interior photos released by the Church today.  The link is here, or google Mormon Newsroom.
Everyone seems to want to tour the building.  Heaters have been nice for those who've had to wait.  Tickets can be obtained through this link.  There will be a stand-by line, also.
Bike racks are available in the underground garage.  You might also want to take Frontrunner, which I highly recommend.  Having said that, there should be enough parking.
Tours begin at the underground entrance, where the words Holiness To the Lord can be found for a third time.
I have been interested in taking a photo on the south entrance glass window with that inscription, but it is currently covered with a tent.  This area is where my tour ended.
The chapel, which is just behind these north doors, is very beautiful, with an arch across the north end of the room.  Fabric on the pews has a tree of life pattern.  This same fabric is also used in the baptistery chapel.
This photo, taken by Eva Bingham Persson in the tabernacle, shows the pulpit, which was not damaged in the fire.  It appears to have been refinished and is now in the chapel with a new base.  The scriptures from the tabernacle pulpit are on display outside the temple.
Visitors to the open house will see both A Instruction rooms, which are behind the east doors on the ground level.  Each room has exquisite murals.
One instruction room is on the south side.  The exterior art glass is five panes thick to minimize sound.
The other ground floor instruction is on the north.  Look for a cougar.  Despite rumors to the contrary, he is not wearing a BYU cap.
A small vestibule behind the east doors allows patrons to exit the instruction rooms and climb the stairs in the east towers to the second level.  This grandmother had no difficulty, although an elevator is available. The stairwell has light coming in through the art glass windows.
When you arrive at the top of the stairs, look up.  These windows were not visible from the interior of the tabernacle, but they are from the temple.
These windows on the east side are part of the upper instruction room.  To me, this was the most beautiful room in the temple.  Notice the gold leaf beadwork on the altar.  A steady hand was required to place the finish on those beads, and it took several months to complete 8 miles of gold leaf lines in the temple.  Look for other bead designs throughout the temple.  
The upper instruction room is between two hallways.  One is on the north side.
The other is on the south.  Light from these exterior windows not only fills the halls, but it shines through identical windows in the instruction room, taking your breath away.
Your walk from the upper instruction room to the celestial room will take you by an elevator which is behind these two windows on the north side.  Please notice the elevator doors, which are brass with an elegant design.  Another feature in brass which you must notice is the interior of the door hinges.  Along this wall are two keyed switches which lower the chandeliers over the staircase for cleaning.
Again, the Church has released interior photos, and one of these pictures is of the celestial room. Accompanying me on my tour was an extremely observant child who found many points of interest in that room.
I am going to suggest that before your tour, you show any accompanying children what a Parcheesi marker looks like.  My new friend, Oliver, spied quite a few finials on furniture which looked like these game pieces.  Together, he and I then spotted them throughout the temple.
This is an example of a basic rosette.  Rosette designs are throughout the temple, and Oliver was eager to point each of them out to me.  He saw them long before I did, and he noticed that the wallpaper has a subtle rosette design.  He also found this design in woodwork on the walls, in the carpeting, and in some of the authentic Victoria furniture which has been acquired for the temple.
Oliver also cleverly found several carved Columbine designs.  I had noticed the design on the ceiling of the upper instruction room.  He found the design in a piece of furniture in the bride's room and on the stand for the prayer roll.  It is also visible in an original painting on the lower level.
This lotus design from an exterior window is carried throughout the temple and is very noticeable and quite lovely.  There is more art glass in the interior of the temple than on the exterior.
This art glass design is one of several in the celestial room.  I haven't been able to get enough of these on the exterior, so I was thrilled to see it replicated on the interior.  Oliver spied a delicate acorn design on a magnificent center table in the celestial room.  He also found acorns on the ends of runner stays on the grand staircase.  This window is part of the north sealing room.  Each sealing room has a gold-leaf pineapple or hatch design on the altar.  The west sealing room has this design in the corners, also.  Two small sealing rooms have square altars, very unique.
This design of the podium of the tabernacle, from a photo by Eva Bingham Persson, is replicated not only in the chapel, but also along the walls of the grand staircase.  If you were familiar with the interior of the tabernacle, you will see many nods to the pioneer building by the designers of the temple.
You will notice many original paintings in the new temple.  These are mixed in with more familiar and favorite works of art.  I feel a need to mention that the Provo Temple is being newly decorated with about fifteen new paintings.  You might also want to admire new furniture in the celestial room there.  The Provo Temple continues to function perfectly minus about 1700 workers who live in the new temple district and who were released last month.  These workers are being called and set apart to serve in the Provo City Center Temple.  Some are already functioning as ushers and in other capacities.
The marriage waiting room is in the southwest corner of the temple.
The southwest tower door serves as a nearby emergency exit.  
The grounds will be open to the public on Friday.  This morning I was actually accompanied on my brief walk inside the wrought iron fence by a friendly member of the security team.  The grounds are beautiful, even in the winter; my chat with the guard was delightful.
Pictures of the bride's dressing room are online.  That room is underneath the skylight at the northwest corner. Because of traffic concerns, I am not certain that everyone will be able to see this room during the open house.  The dressing room is part of the expansive annex which is under the north grounds.  This area is decorated as exquisitely as the rest of the temple, and if you don't know you are outside the footprint of the tabernacle, there is no way to tell.
The Christus statue has been moved to a new spot in the pavilion.  Several knowledgeable sources have told me that this statue is only temporary, brought in for the open house.  Many families had their pictures taken in front of the statue.  Missionaries in the underground display area also have a delightful photo opportunity for temple visitors.
Blue tape marking areas in need of further attention is still visible.  Volunteer ushers are also seeing glimpses of tape.  I was oblivious, and everything looked perfect to me.
Past the entrance to the temple on the ground level is a beautiful work of art glass of the Good Shepherd, constructed in 1907 for a Presbyterian church in New York.  The panel was acquired by an anonymous donor and given to the LDS Church when the Presbyterian church was demolished.  A picture of this panel can be found here, and it is so beautiful that patrons might choose to enter on this level, even though it might mean traversing a few extra stairways.  This is not colored glass, but painted glass, which was then fired at high temperatures. The panel needed new lead, and the lighting behind it took weeks to get right.  It is magnificent.
The wait has been long, but it has definitely been worth it!

2 comments:

Easy_Going_Dad said...

One way to tell when you are passing under the original footprint of the tabernacle down on the annex level is to look for the enormously thick cased openings in the corridors. The poured foundation that replaced the famous stilts is several feet thick and is cased entirely in mahogany. They are very easy to spot when compared against the other standard cased openings in the corridors which are only a few inches thick.

Julie said...

I noticed the north foundation wsll. The south wall -- I did not process I was leaving the temple footprint.