Appendix 1 Section B
The walls are entirely covered with scenic paintings and the ceiling is pictured to represent sky and cloud. The earth scenes are in strong contrast with those of the Garden Room below. Here the rocks are rent and riven; the earth-story is that of mountain uplift and seismic disruption. Beasts are contending in deadly strife, or engaged in murderous attack, or already rending their prey. The more timorous creatures are fleeing from their ravenous foes or cowering in half-concealed retreats. There are lions in combat, a tiger gloating over a fallen deer, wolves and foxes in hungry search. Birds of prey are slaying or being slain. On the summit of a rugged cliff is an eagle’s eyrie, the mother and her brood watching the approach of the male bird holding a lambkin in his claws. All the forest folk and the wild things of the mountain are living under the ever-present menace of death, and it is by death they live. The trees are gnarled, misshapen, and blasted; shrubs maintain a precarious root-hold in rocky clefts; thorns, thistles, cacti, and noxious weeds abound; and in one quarter a destructive storm is raging.
The scenes are typical of the world’s condition under the curse of God. Nevertheless there is a certain weird attractiveness in the scenes and in their suggestiveness. The story is that of struggle and strife; of victory and triumph or of defeat and death. From Eden man has been driven out to meet contention, to struggle with difficulties, to live by strife and sweat. This chamber may well be known as the room of the fallen world, or more briefly, the World Room.
The Terrestrial Room: From the north-west corner of the room last described is a large door-way leading into another room, lofty, spacious, and beautiful. Its general effect is that of combined richness and simplicity. Following the elaborate decoration of the World Room, this is restful in its soft coloring and air of comfort. The carpet is a light shade of blue. The walls are of pale blue, the ceiling and woodwork are white with trimmings in gold, At the west end is a large mirror framed in white and gold. The chairs, which provide seating for 300, are upholstered to harmonize with the floor-covering. From the ceiling hang two massive crystal chandeliers.
An upholstered altar stands near the east end of the room, with copies of sacred writ in place. In this room lectures are given pertaining to the endowments and emphasizing the practical duties of a religious life. We may, for convenience, designate it the Terrestrial Room. At the east end is a raised floor of two levels reached by two steps to each level across which springs an arch of 30 feet span. The arch is supported by five columns between which hangs a silken portiere in 24 sections. This is the Veil of the Temple.
The Celestial Room: From the room last described to the one now under consideration the passage leads through the Veil. This is a large and lofty room about 60 by 45 feet in area and 34 feet in height, occupying the northeast section of the building on this floor. In finish and furnishings it is the grandest of all the large rooms within the walls. If the last room described could be considered typical of the terrestrial state, this is suggestive of conditions yet more exalted; and it may appropriately be called Celestial Room. The west end is occupied wholly by the Veil and a mirrored wall. The east wall is in part taken up by five large mirrors and a mirrored door, 13 feet high; the central section of each is three feet eight inches wide, and the side sections each three feet in width. Along the walls are 22 columns in pairs, with Corinthian caps. These support entablatures from which spring ten arches, four on either side and one at each end. The ceiling is a combination of vault and panel construction elaborately finished. Massive cornices and beams separating the ceiling panels are richly embellished with clusters of fruit and flowers. The color scheme of the walls is soft brown relieved by the light tan of the fluted columns and by abundant trimmings in gold. Eight chandeliers with shades of richly finished glass hang from the ceiling, and each of the 22 columns holds a bracket of lights in corresponding design. A newel-post at the east bears a flower-cluster of colored globes with an artistic support in bronze. The floor is covered by a heavy carpet and the movable furniture is all of rich yet appropriate design. At the east is a short flight of stairs leading into a sealing room.
Each of the three arched-window recesses in the north is framed by draped curtains of silk, which in material and design match the Veil. An arched doorway at the north leads to the sealing room annex to be later described. On the south side are four pairs of double doors in position and size symmetrically corresponding with the windows on the north. The portal at the south-west opens directly into the upper corridor at the head of the grand stairway already described; each of the three other portals is fitted with sliding doors, and opens into a separate room slightly raised above the floor of the large room, and reserved for special ceremonial work more specifically described in the following paragraphs.
Sealing Rooms: The first of the three small rooms at the south of the Celestial Room is about 10 by 13 feet in the square with a semi-circular recess five feet deep on the south side. This room is raised two steps above the main floor. In the wall of this recess is a bay art window of stained glass, representing with effective and impressing detail the resurrected Prophet Moroni delivering the plates of the Book of Mormon to the youthful seer, Joseph Smith. It is a fitting symbol of the actuality of communication between the dead and the living; and it is to ordinances pertaining to this relationship that the room is devoted. This is one of the temple’s sealing rooms. The west wall is occupied by a large mirror. In the center stands a richly upholstered altar finished in white and gold. The altar is six by three feet six inches at its base and two feet six inches in height. Here kneel in humble service the living proxies representing deceased husbands and wives, parents and children. The only other furniture consists of chairs for the officiating elder, the witnesses, and persons waiting the ordinances at the altar.
The easterly room of the three is in size and shape a counterpart of the last described. Its finishing, however, is in brighter tone; the altar and chairs are tastefully upholstered, and the walls are of light tint. Mirrors extend from floor to ceiling on the east and west walls. This sealing room is typical of those in the temple used for the living. Here is solemnized the sacred ordinance of marriage between the parties who come to plight their vows of marital fidelity for time and eternity, and to receive the seal of the eternal priesthood upon their union. Here also are performed the ordinances of sealing or adoption of living children by their parents who were not at first united in the order of celestial marriage. On the south side of this room is a door with transom and side panels of jeweled glass in floral design, leading into a reception room which is provided for the accommodation of parties awaiting the sealing ordinance. This room connects on the west by a short passage with the sealing office, and this in turn opens upon the upper corridor at the head of the grand stairway.
Sealing Annex: Because of the great numbers who come to the temple for the sealing ordinances, both for themselves and for the dead, a special series of rooms have been constructed at the north of the Celestial Room for the convenience of temple patrons. These rooms are furnished in a manner typical to those sealing rooms already described. These rooms are used for sealings of the living and the dead, as are other rooms throughout the temple which are designed for this purpose. In all, there are 14 sealing rooms in the temple.
The Holy of Holies: The central of the three small rooms at the south side of the Celestial Room is, among the smaller rooms of the temple, by far the most beautiful. Yet its excellence is that of splendid simplicity rather than of sumptuous splendor. It is raised above the other rooms and is reached by an additional flight of six steps inside the sliding doors. The short staircase is bordered by hand-carved balustrades, which terminate in a pair of newel-posts bearing bronze figures symbolical of innocent childhood; these support flower clusters, each jewel blossom enclosing an electric bulb. On the landing at the head of the steps is another archway, beneath which are sliding doors; these doors mark the threshold of the inner room of Holy of Holies of the temple, and correspond to the inner curtain or veil that shielded from public view the most sacred precincts of tabernacle and temple in the earlier dispensations.
The floor is of native hard-wood blocks, each an inch in cross-section. The room is of circular outline, 18 feet in diameter, with paneled walls, the panels separated by carved pillars supporting arches; it is decorated in blue and gold. The entrance doorway and the panels are framed in red velvet with an outer border finished in gold. Four-wall niches, bordered in crimson and gold, have a deep blue background, and within these are tall vases holding flowers. The ceiling is a dome in which are set circular and semi-circular windows of jeweled glass, and on the outer side of these, therefore above the ceiling, are electric globes whose light penetrates into the room in countless hues of subdued intensity.
On the south side of this room, opposite the entrance doorway, and corresponding in size therewith, is a window of colored glass depicting the appearance of the Eternal Father and his Son Jesus Christ to the boy Joseph Smith. The event here delineated marked the ushering-in of the dispensation of the fullness of times. The scene is laid in a grove; the celestial Personages are clothed in white, and appear in the attitude of instructing the boy prophet, who kneels with uplifted face and outstretched arms. Beneath is inscribed the scripture through which Joseph was led to seek Divine instruction:
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”(James 1:5.)
“This is my beloved Son, hear Him.”
This room is reserved for the higher ordinances in the priesthood relating to the exaltation of both living and dead.
Dome Room: Near the landing of the granite stairway in the southeast tower on the fourth floor is the entrance to the large Dome Room, 39 by 44 feet. On the south side are three oval windows. In the center appears a large dome, 51 feet in circumference at its base and seven feet high. This is set with 17 jeweled windows and may be readily recognized as the ceiling of the Holy of Holies already described as a prominent feature of the second floor. In each of these windows electric bulbs are placed, and it is from these the room below derives its beauty of ceiling illumination and coloring. The walls are hung with portraits of Church authorities. No specific ordinance work belongs to this room. At the northwest corner this room opens into a hall or corridor 75 feet long, eight feet wide throughout the first 15 feet of its extent, and 10 feet wide for the rest of its course. From this corridor rooms open on either side.
The Prayer Room: This is the first room on the south side of the corridor, west from the Dome Room. It is 31 by 13 feet and is lighted by one oval window. The furniture consists of an altar for prayer, chairs, and a table.
The Council Room of the Twelve Apostles: This room lies to the west from the last described, on the south side of the corridor. This is 28 by 29 feet, and has two oval windows on the south. It is furnished with 12 upholstered chairs, other chairs for recorders or clerks, a desk, table, and an organ. On the walls are seen portraits of latter-day apostles now living, and also the First Presidency and Patriarch. Adjoining this chamber is an ante-room 14 by 21 feet.
The Council Room of the Seventy: Entrance to this room is from the corridor near its westerly termination. The room is 28 by 14 feet, and has one oval window on the south side. This chamber is reserved for the use of the First Seven Presidents of the Seventies, or more accurately stated, the First Council of the Seventy. It is furnished for its purpose with seven chairs of a kind, an extra chair for the recorder or clerk, and a table.
The Council Room of the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles: This room is situated on the north side of the corridor, and with its ante-room occupies the greater part of that side. The main room is 40 by 28 feet. In the center is a prayer altar of white wood upholstered in blue velvet. Twelve large upholstered chairs are arranged in a semi-circle around the altar. The rest of the circle is occupied by a table, behind which are chairs of the same kind for members of the First Presidency of the Church, and another chair for the Patriarch to the Church. These pieces, with desk, table, chair for the use of the recorder, and a small electric reed organ, constitute the essential furniture of the room; all additional pieces are decorative. The walls support several fine paintings, including original canvases showing landscape scenes of interest in the history of the restored Church.
The ante-room to this chamber is 16 by 14 feet. On the north side is seen a commemorative window of colored glass presenting in the central panel a splendid picture of the finished Temple, above which appears the sacred inspiration, “Holiness to the Lord.” Each of the side panels presents an escutcheon with scroll and inscriptions.
The Main Assembly Room: With its vestries and the end corridors, this room occupies the whole of the fifth floor, and is 128 by 80 feet in area, and 36 feet in height. A commodious gallery extends along both sides, and but for the space occupied by the stands, includes the ends. At either end of this great auditorium is a spacious stand-a terraced platform-a multiple series of pulpits.
The two are alike as to finish and furniture; a description of one will serve for both.
The stand comprises four terraces, the lowest of which is one foot above the floor, while each of the other three has a rise of two feet. On each of the lower three terraces is a settee or dais eighteen feet long; the upper terrace is furnished with three upholstered chairs for the seating of the president and his two counselors. On each terrace is a central lectern, with smaller pulpits of corresponding design on either side. All the woodwork on these terraced platforms is hand carved, and is finished in white and gold.
The upper stand at either end of the room is covered by a canopy, supported by columns, and bearing on its from the designation of the order of priesthood to which the end is devoted. The stand at the west end is inscribed “Aaronic Priesthood,” and the one at the east, “Melchisedec Priesthood.” It will be remembered in connection with the description of the temple exterior that the towers at the east rise to a greater height than do those at the west. It is now seen that this difference is in accordance with the graded orders of priesthood, stationed within, the higher at the east and the lesser at the west.
Flanking the official stands at either end of this auditorium are seats for officials in the priesthood not directly called to officiate in the services of the day. The gallery and the wings of the stands are furnished with chairs permanently placed in position. The chairs belonging to the body of the auditorium may be placed in position to face the stand in which the priesthood officiating on the occasion belongs.
This great room is finished in white and gold. In the rear of each stand are commodious vestries with entrances on either side. In each corner of this imposing auditorium is a spiral stairway leading to the gallery; the stairway is of graceful design with hand-carved embellishments.
The Upper Floors: Above the level of the main assembly room with its accessories there are no rooms. The next doors have elevator landings at the west and a cross-corridor connecting the two corner towers at both the east and west ends of the temple. The next landing is on a level with the roof of the temple, above which are only spires and finials.
The Four Granite Stairways: In each of the four corner towers is a stairway leading from basement to roof, each and every step of solid granite. The stairs are attached to a central column of granite four feet in diameter, and every step is set and anchored to withstand for ages any and all ordinary loosening by time. In each of these four corner stairways there are 177 steps, a total of 708 in all. Each step is six feet long with an insert of three inches at either end; at the narrow end each step is five inches wide, and at the other end 20 inches; the steps present a projecting tread of one inch and a half. There are broad landings at convenient intervals in the long spiral. Each complete step weighs over 1700 pounds, and the aggregate weight of the granite in the four stairways is over one and a quarter million pounds. On each floor is a cross corridor ten feet in width, running north and south, connecting the tower stairways. At the west end of the structure are two commodious elevators running in separate shafts of granite from basement to roof. At first hydraulic lifts were installed, but these have been replaced by automatic electric elevators.
Be it remembered that the temple has been built not for the present alone. In structure it is stable and of the best construction skill and devotion could achieve. In the interior its appearance is strictly in keeping with the stability of the walls and in harmony with the impressive and imposing appearance presented without. I no part is there evidence of hurried plan or careless execution. Even the attic rooms and muniments-but seldom used-are well and fully furnished.
However, the temple is not beautified throughout with equal elaboration. There has been no lavish nor unnecessary expenditure in embellishment. The predominating intent has been that of appropriateness. There are many rooms of plain design, furnished in but simple style; there are others in which no effort has been spared nor cost considered to secure the essentials of grandeur and sublimity. In no part is there a hint of incompleteness; nowhere is there a suggestion of the excessively ornate. Every room has been planned and constructed for a definite purpose, and both finished and furnished in strict accordance therewith. Within this, the greatest temple of the present dispensation, there is no mere display, no wasting of material, no over-ornamentation. The temple has been planned and built as was believed to be most appropriate to The House of the Lord.