Sunday, January 31, 2016

Beautiful Gates

Beautiful Zion, built above;
Beautiful city that I love;
Beautiful gates of pearly white;
Beautiful temple--God its light;
He who was slain on Calvary
Opens those pearly gates to me.
Beautiful heaven, where all is light;
Beautiful angels clothed in white;
Beautiful strains that never tire;
Beautiful harps thru all the choir;
There shall I join the chorus sweet,
Worshiping at the Savior's feet.
Beautiful crowns on ev'ry brow;
Beautiful palms the conquerors show;
Beautiful robes the ransomed wear;
Beautiful all who enter there;
Thither I press with eager feet;
There shall my rest be long and sweet.
Zion, Zion,
 Lovely Zion;
Beautiful Zion;
Zion, city of our God!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Details on a Snowy Morning

I took advantage of the standby line this morning.  My wait was barely long enough to warm my fingers below the propane heater before it was time to enter.  If you want to know the current wait time, use this handy link.
I must confess I've been a little busy lately.  It was nice to be back at the temple.
Beautiful interior photos can be found here and also at this link.
Friends who have served in various capacities with the open house have had choice opportunities to study the new temple.  They have shared their observations with me.
Fortunately, my friends are your friends.  I'm going to share what they've said.
First, as you enter through the underground entrance, admire the words, “Holiness To The Lord, The House of the Lord.”
Second, you don't need to be in a hurry.  No one is going to push you out of the way.  This morning I was near the front of my tour group, but I stepped out of the line so often that I eventually ended up with the group following us a few minutes later.  It worked out fine.
As you enter the temple, look for a stylized lotus on the inside of the hinge plate.  In fact, watch for these at every doorway.  The hinges are not identical, but you will see a lotus inside each one.
It is at this point that you might start counting how often you see the lotus blossom inside the temple.  When I first looked at the fabric in the baptistry and main floor chapels, I saw a tree of life pattern, but I have since been taught to also see a lotus in the design.
Not until this morning was I able to identify the north foundation wall.  As you exit the baptistry, look to your right down the hall.  There you will see a two or three foot stretch of beautiful wood paneling from the floor to the ceiling which marks the north footprint of the original tabernacle.
As you approach the grand staircase, look at the wall just to the right.  There you will see a painting with figures which will remind you of the mural in the chapel in the Provo Temple.  The artist of these two works is the same, a Russian named Emin Zulfurgarov. This is a wonderful piece of art.
As you arrive at the ground level, you will enter the chapel.  Here you can begin your count of arches.
Some are pointed, some are rounded, which is also true for the exterior windows.
This might be a never-ending count, perhaps worthy of a student who knows the infinite digits of pi.
At the pulpit, I stooped to look at the detail.  Thomas Allman was the pioneer artist who carved the ornate support for the pulpit.  The detail includes a rosette, a pattern which you will see in the wall coverings, the wood, and the carpeting.
When the pulpit stood in the tabernacle, the top portion had a thin leather mat covering.  This was damaged during the fire, so the top now has a very thin new veneer.
From the chapel, you will enter the north instruction room.  I stepped out of the moving line into the row of pews and admired the room.  Several others did the same.
I had been told that there were Columbine flowers carved into the pews.  It took a few seconds for my eyes to find them, but they are at the ends of every pew.  If you touch the pews near the walls, you will feel more Columbines.
This flower has also been carved into the woodwork around the windows.  If you turn back and look at the entrance to the room, you will see more carved Columbine flowers.  If you want to see these flowers in the wild, visit Cascade Springs in the summer.
As I admired the mural in the north room, I saw that the artist had included several goldfinches.  These are local to Utah County and visit my bird feeder daily, a scene which my camera frequently captures.
This morning an usher pointed out her favorite features in the north instruction room:  a frog on a lily pad near a lotus flower, in the northeast corner, and dragonflies on the south wall of that room.
The south instruction room has elephants in the mural.  I am quite certain these are not local to Utah County.
The seating design in all three instruction rooms is a nod to the tabernacle.  The seats do not stand alone as they do in the Provo Temple.  Instead, each is part of a pew.  The pews are straight on the ground level, but beautifully curved in the upstairs instruction room.
As you climb the tower stairs, notice the detail in the hardware supporting the handrail.  You will see a floral design and also tiny beads, which is a very delicate design throughout the temple.
Remember to admire the gold-leafed beadwork on the altar in the upstairs instruction room.  You will also see the Columbine flower on the ends of  these pews.
As you leave this instruction room, peek past the usher at the northeast tower stairwell.  Count the windows at the top.  There are five in that octagon shape, not eight, as I had expected.  I have never counted them from the outside, but the number is the same on that side, too.
On this upper level, you will begin to see beehives on the plates for the door handles.  You will see many more arches.  They can be seen in the doorways and in the wood paneling along the halls.
A very interesting video points out many of the arches in the temple. A link to this video is also on the top right-hand side of my blog.
As you approach the end of the north hallway, step back and admire the design on the elevator door.  It’s not just beautiful, it mirrors the design of several of the exterior windows.  I missed this twice, but saw it the third time.
A stunning rug was designed for the celestial room floor.  During the open house, this rug has been replaced with a large carpet.  However, the edges of the beautiful hardwood floors are still visible.
This room is so stunning with detail that you might be overwhelmed, but notice the art glass in all four walls.  Take the time to admire the center table.  Look at the beehives on the  plates of the door handles and the lotus design on the hinges.
Try really hard to resist being distracted by the beauty surrounding you so you can focus on the details.
The west sealing room, on the top level of this gable wall, has a beautiful rug, but it's not identical to the one intended for the celestial room.  However, after seeing this, you cam gain an appreciation of its beauty.
Don’t forget to look at the acorn/pineapple-hatch design on the corners of the altar and in each corner of that room.  The other two large sealing rooms don't have this design in the corners of the walls, just the west room.
After looking at the displays, you will exit through the pavilion.  Take the time to admire the fountain.
Be careful, or you might be hit by flying coins.
The grounds are open and you can enjoy a beautiful walk.
You could visit the park on the north side of the temple, or the gardens on the west side. which we watched from the construction cam.  It has since been shut down.
The marriage waiting room is not on the tour.  A fascinating feature which I hope you see at some point is the shoe shelves for guests.  I learned they have their own ventilation system, leaving me with several unanswered questions.
Some of our questions might be answered Wednesday night.  A. LeGrand Richards, former stake president of the area where the tabernacle stood for so long, will speak at the Provo Library at  7 pm.
On your walk along the grounds, take a moment to stand between Center Street and the temple, in line with the northeast tower.  Look carefully and you will see that the two north-facing niches and upper window are not in line.  The designers of the temple could have chosen to repair that pioneer effort, but instead they deliberately left it.
Tours now start at 7 am and go until 9 pm, except on Mondays, when they end about 6.  I have parked several times at the lot on the southeast corner of Second South without any difficulty.  A new traffic light at that intersection facilitates pedestrian crossings.  Tickets are periodically released.  I have stopped worrying about that and just wait in the standby line, although Saturday might not be the best choice to test this.
If you need special access, ask at the driveway entrance at First West or Second South for permission to park underground.
I have been deeply touched by the interior details.
I thought about this passage from Matthew:  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.
Or this verse:  Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
Elder Maxwell taught that God is in the details of our lives.
In the video which is shown before the tour, Elder Holland teaches doctrine. "There is something eternal in the statement that 'Neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord.' That is not just good sociology.  It is eternal."
Details and doctrine have made this temple beautiful.