The Early Temples of the Mormons
The Architecture of the Millennial Kingdom in the American WestBook - 1978
The account begins in Ohio, where the believers in Joseph Smith's restored gospel erected a temple resembling the New England meetinghouse in form and use. It follows the Mormons to Nauvoo, Illinois, where the second temple was built in the 1840s. The author demonstrates how the developing theology and the introduction of secret rituals began to change the meaning and the architectural form of the temple, as the style and architectural symbols were incorporated on the exterior of the temple. From Illinois the Mormons moved to Utah, where four temples were built. The most important, at Salt Lake City, is discussed in detail. The author evaluates the contributions of Brigham Young to its design, illustrates and discusses the drawings of the architect, and offers an interpretation of the symbolism of the building. She also discusses the attempt of the Mormons to establish an independent "Kingdom of God" in preparation for the Second Coming of Christ, and relates the Salt Lake City temple and the other Utah buildings to this effort. Her conclusion is that the Salt Lake City temple was to have a civic as well as religious function as the governmental center of the Kingdom of God. The other three Utah temples were intended to extend the authority of the Mormon government throughout Utah.