Thursday, January 04, 2007

Garish Temples

I think the Saint George Temple is an authentic manifestation of the desires of Utah pioneersTo begin this post, I need to point out that I love big churches. I especially love those churches which are an authentic manifestation of the desires of the people who built them. The LDS Temples in Salt Lake City, Logan, Saint George and other pioneer communities fall into this category along with the great Cathedrals of Europe, the grand mosques of the Middle East, and the many pagodas and temples of the orient.

Many of the grand churches stand number among the greatest architectural achievements in the history of mankind. Historically, church and religious temples push both architectural and design barriers. Let’s face it, I were a member of the idle rich, I would have several trips under my belt to see sites such as Brunelleschi’s Dome in Florence, the Vatican and other great churches.

To the extent that churches are an authentic manifestation of the desires of a people, I love ‘em. Unfortunately, there is another unseemly side to the history of Temples. Sadly, religious structures can be used as tools to dominate and control people. For example, in ancient Rome, you would find emperors placing icons of their images and their gods in temples of their conquered subjects to emphasize their dominion.

Anyway since my last post on the speech by Robert Millet, my mind has been stuck on garish temples. Millet’s speech had the following quote:

Brother Brigham is reported to have said that every time we announce the building of a temple, all the bells in Hell begin to ring, and, oh, how I love to hear those bells.

This statement has my mind reeling with Satan celebrating the construction of LDS Temples. Unfortunately, this idea of Satan celebrating means that this post will be mean spirited.

I think of Satan as that force that corrupts the good things in life and makes them divisive. Looking at LDS Temples, we see that aren’t simply a structure among other structures. Historically, LDS Temple design has been to create a structure that dominates everything around it. There is generally very strict zoning codes in the neighborhoods around temples, etc..

Your typical temple is a massive white building larger than the county courthouse, and most state Capitol buildings and generally positioned in ways to dominate the communities around the temples. As the temples cross the line from being an authentic manifestation of the aspirations of a whole community, and become a symbolic gesture of one segment of the community to dominate others, the temples become garish eye sores.

The garishness of temples is an issue in the United States where both the religious and political community were hoping to transcend the sadomasochistic games that European kings and Mideast Empires had played with temples in the past.

Modern construction and financing techniques have made it simple to pound out massive community dominating structures. Look how quickly Walmarts and mega malls appear in our cities!

Much as I love big churches, I greatly appreciate the fact that the American religious communities have restrained themselves from using improved construction technology to undertake church wars. Instead, mainstream religions have chosen to concentrate on the more meaningful questions of what takes place within each church.

The Site has a page on the chronology of Temple construction. This table shows that the LDS Church has pounded out about 100 of these community dominating temples in the last decade. I can see Satan celebrating with glee as his most faithful servants in the LDS Church pervert the authentic desires to build and worship in grand churches into a hate filled competition of on upmanship.

Brigham Young and Robert Millet are both right. Satan dances at the corruption of good. This aggressive temple construction schedule transforms the good and wholesome desire to whorship the Lord into a horrid, wicked game of political domination and submission.


Tyler Farrer said...

I've always read the 'bells of hell' quote differently than you did. I don't think that Satan celebrates the building of a new temple. Rather, I think the bells are meant to invoke the idea that devils gather their forces to the call of the 'bells'.

At the time of that quote, Brigham Young had overseen a number of new temple building projects. He was no friend of Satan.

y-intercept said...

Millet's speech was very clear. He stated that people who question the legitimacy of the Book of Mormon or that balk at getting a massive LDS Temple slammed in their backyard is a servant of Satan.

I was trying to throw the quote back at brother Millet to say that people who build garish temples that divide communities, and that play games of isolating their powerbase from the community are more likely to be the servants of Satan than those opposed to building garish temples.

Mormonism actually has a nasty catch. Yes, if Joseph Smith and Brigham Young really were chosen by Jesus Christ to separate out a group of Saints in the Latter Days in the one and only true church, then, by definition, he is no friend of Satan.

If, however, Joseph Smith made up his story of the Native Americans being descendents of Jews who had established a massive civilization in the Americas; then Smith and Young were both rogues who were intentionally perverting the word of Christ to gain power.

As Satan is a creature who perverts the work of God, then Young was satan's greatest friend.

It is a really nasty thing that Smith pulled on his followers.

Regardless of the truth of falseness of the LDS Church, I do think that there is a divisive nature to temples. People should speak out about massive projects designed to dominate their neighborhood. Millet's labeling the people who don't want to live in the shadow of an LDS temple as servants of Satan is just plain mean.