The Temple Photograph Series

Jay M. Todd

For some time, President Spencer W. Kimball has been urging Latter-day Saints to have a photograph or painting of a nearby or favorite temple displayed in their homes—perhaps, he has said, on bedroom or other home walls.

It has been President Kimball’s hope that beautiful, framable photographs of Church temples could be made available to the Saints for this purpose. His desire has been consistently voiced in the solemn assemblies that he continues to hold throughout the Church: that the dreams, aspirations, and ideals of youth and adults are greatly influenced by the visual images surrounding us in our homes. He often tells the story of the mountain valley mother who saw her three sons all go off to sea as soon as they completed their secondary schooling. The mother tearfully asked her bishop why he thought it was so when she had hoped her sons would further their education and accept mission calls. The bishop had no answer—until one day when he visited her home and saw framed on the wall a painting of a ship at sea. With sudden understanding the bishop said, “Now I understand. You have been an excellent teacher. Every day of their lives you have taught your sons the romance and adventure of the sea. No wonder they all wanted to join the Navy.”

What kinds of visual images might we use in our homes? The question is easily answered. What kinds of values, feelings, ideas, concepts, goals, events, persons, and heritage—cultural, national, genealogical—do you personally wish to reinforce in your home?

Clearly, President Kimball is strongly convinced that an attractive photograph or painting of one’s nearest or favorite temple, displayed wherever seems most appropriate, can continually remind us of what temples have come to mean to all of us: a symbol of the intelligence and purity to which we each aspire; a symbol of the eternal nature of life and the eternal ramifications of our course of actions at any given time; a symbol of refuge from the world’s crises, stresses, and styles—which shall increasingly pattern “the last days”; a symbol of community with other like-minded, like-oriented, like-prepared people who in love and harmony can solve any problem or challenge that should face them.

Little wonder that there is great wisdom in daily, visually reminding ourselves of the Lord’s temple covenants, promises, and blessings.

So, beginning this issue, each month’s Ensign will feature a new photograph of one of our temples. It is hoped that many families will cut and appropriately frame the photograph—and is there a child whose bedroom should not have his favorite temple displayed?

For readers who may not wish to wait until the nearly two years’ series ends, a new magazine-size booklet on temples, Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is available from: Ensign, 50 East North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150, at $1.00 each. All temples are featured in full-page, full-color, recently taken photographs. Or perhaps you have other sources available—including your own photograph or your own painting of your favorite temple.

We start the series with the Oakland Temple, in a photograph by Longin Lonczyna, Jr. The Oakland Temple, designed by architect Edward Anderson, was dedicated 17 November 1964 by President David O. McKay, becoming the fifteenth temple of this dispensation.—Jay M. Todd, managing editor