Friday, February 21, 2014

Visiting the New Mormon Temple in Gilbert, Arizona

This past week, I scratched an item off of my life-list - visiting a pre-dedication Mormon temple. This is an opportunity that doesn't come one's way very often, if ever, so I was very excited about this!

Originally we planned to take the entire family, but we decided against that, and I went solo instead. It's a good thing I did, as I spent a good hour waiting in various lines (which would have been oh-so-fun with two toddlers), and guests were asked to leave strollers outside (ack!).

About to turn left to reach the temple. 

Quick note: Please forgive the picture quality here. Though I admit to a penchant for taking somewhat-sideways pictures, I don't take them this sideways - at least not on purpose! These pictures are the result of trying to juggle many things in my arms while clicking blindly with my phone - due to the bright sunlight, I could see nothing of what I was photographing. My cousin said, "Just call them 'art shots' and people will be really impressed." My husband begs to differ - he says they're too embarrassing to show in public. However, they're all I have - so here goes!

Introducing... "An article with really skewed pictures!"

Taken on the way from the far-away overflow parking lot. The sidewalk to the right was a constant flow of visitors coming and going. It was quite a walk! 

The question will probably arise - "Why are you interested in Mormon temples if you're not Mormon?"

It's true. I'm not Mormon. However, I am fascinated by the study of comparative religions, and I love finding out more about different religions - especially the religions that lay claim to a relation to Christianity.

Additionally, the Lord has given me a great love for the Mormon people, and I have carried that love with me through adulthood. I have always had many Mormon friends, acquaintances, and neighbors, and learning more about their religion has always been an abiding interest. It's especially applicable now that we live in an area that has a per capita Mormon population that rivals (and in some areas exceeds) Salt Lake City, Utah.

I also have a deep respect for the Mormon church on a practical level - the way they organize their churches, meet the needs of their people, and plan for the future has always seemed very praise-worthy to me, and I think that we Protestants have a lot that we can learn from the practicality of the LDS church.

The tour went smoothly and was staffed by tens (hundreds?) of very dedicated volunteers - though one could tell that they were rather overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of visitors.

Most of my time was spent waiting in lines like this one...

.... and this one...

... and this one! 

The first part of the tour consisted of watching a short video on the subject of Mormon temples in the visitor center, followed by a non-guided tour through the temple itself. We saw many aspects of the temple, including the entrance area, the marriage room, the marriage waiting area, the baptistry, and the Celestial Room.

Though we were asked not to take pictures inside the temple itself, you can see the rooms that we saw here:

Pictures Inside the Gilbert Mormon Temple

It was fascinating to see the room-types that I have read about for so many years. I was disappointed that the tour was not guided and narrated - I had anticipated tour guides taking small groups through the temple and narrating each part - but wandering through at one's leisure was fun too. When I saw the sheer number of people there, too, I realized that narrated tours would have been almost impossible to carry out logistically - there were just too many people.

The tour confirmed what I have long noticed and appreciated about Mormon architecture - an emphasis on solid quality and flawless beauty, without the least gaudiness, excess, or ostentatious display. Beauty with nothing showy - I loved it. I've always been a huge fan of Mormon architecture.


It is not my intention to turn this post into a discussion of religion or a theology debate. I will simply say, therefore, that I enjoyed my temple tour very much. The staff was friendly and helpful, and the building was of excellent quality. Though I didn't learn anything new (being in a very Mormon-heavy area, I've always been fairly well-informed on the basics of Mormonism), it was great to experience in person the highest expression of the Mormon religion. I very much appreciate the kindness of the LDS people in opening their temple free of charge to non-Mormons during this pre-dedication time.

Did any other local friends take time to tour the temple? Let me know what you thought!


  1. Mormonism is "another gospel", as defined by Paul; I will say no more, to avoid getting into a discussion of religion. Here are some links for your perusal [].

  2. Yes, Kathy, I agree with that. I did not want to make this article a religious debate, which is why I didn't go into any theological issues here, but thank you for providing these links for my readers. I appreciate it.

    Hope you and the boys are well! I miss your blog! :)


  3. Hi,

    I have been a long time reader of your blogs, and have really enjoyed reading your posts, particularly the ones on homeschooling and birth. I myself am LDS, and I am so glad that you enjoyed your visit to one of our temples. I am really thrilled that you love us. I was really interested with the links that Kathy posted, and would like to add that if you, or any other readers would like to read answers or more information about the links from an LDS perspective, might I suggest
    Pretty much everything mentioned in her links is discussed there. Thanks for writing your awesome blog!

  4. Llama of Doom - Thank you for visiting, and for your kind words! I appreciate it! Thank you for sharing your link, and for stopping by to leave a comment!


  5. I love your pictures, even if they're not straight! I love seeing the different temple designs when they are built. I love the temple and feel the spirit when I attend.

    It looks hot and dry in AZ! Here in Ohio we've been cold and snowy again, 16 degrees was the high today.

  6. Hi, Tristan! Thanks for visiting! I'm so glad you enjoyed the pictures. It was interesting to see all the rooms that I'd read about. Even though I'd read the description of the Mesa temple, this one had all the same room types - so I conclude that all temples have the same basic composition, just with different style and design.

    We never really got winter here in AZ - and at the end of February, I've given up hope of having one. But this weekend it's supposed to get cold - all the way down to 70, LOL!! :)


  7. Yes, they all have the same general rooms. Large temples may have a few sets of the same rooms to accommodate more people at once, but that's it. Some have a Visitor's Center and others do not. Typically if a room has murals or artwork they will have it reflect the area's plant and animal life. Color themes vary in the furnishings too with lighter or darker wood, different fabrics, etc.

  8. Ooo, I knew I had seen a short video about the murals before. It's about 3 minutes long and is an artist who did murals for the Brigham City Utah temple a few years ago. He talks a bit about the process and how they reflect the area.

    I can't imagine being that talented with paint! I think my kids paint better than I do...hahaha.

  9. Yeah, I should leave the link... can you tell it's bedtime?

  10. Tristan - Thanks for the links and the info!

    I didn't see any murals that I can remember, but they did say specifically that they had an agave plant theme. They had them planted everywhere, and they were part of the artwork. I can't remember what the spiritual significance was supposed to be, but they did mention it. :)

  11. The agave plant likely doesn't have any spiritual significance. Most temples have their interiors and exteriors decorated to reflect the local environment and plants. The Brigham City Utah temple has many fruit trees incorporated in the pictures inside, and planted outside, as Brigham City is known for it's fruit.


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