Inspiring LDS Architecture

It seems a lot of designers like to discuss architecture that inspires them. I find that architecture inspires me as well. However, I realise I have been writing fewer LDS-oriented posts, so I thought perhaps I would do a post on what LDS architecture I find inspiring.

Okay, stop your laughing. Obviously a lot of modern LDS architecture consists of cookie-cutter chapels and temples. However there is some older architecture—and even some newer—that I do find inspiring.

Naturally, I find the Salt Lake Temple inspiring. It has a very gothic feel, but at the same time there is a distinct LDS flavour present. For example, the six spires of the SLC temple represent the restoration of priesthoods. There are also stones throughout the exterior with symbols representing Earth, the sun, the moon, stars, clouds, the all-seeing eye, clasped hands and Ursa Major pointing to the North Star. Even the doorknobs have intricate beehive designs engraved in them.

Salt Lake Temple

My favourite modern temple is the Houston Texas Temple. The pillars offer a very classical feel, but there is also a south-western/Mexican theme as well. Very beautiful. I wish the Church built more like this.

Houston Texas Temple

close-up of Houston Texas Temple

While I do not find the exterior of the Palmyra New York Temple inspiring, I find the cherry wood and extensive, narrative stained glass windows inspiring.

close-up of Palmyra New York Temple stained glass window depicting First Vision

Closer to home, I find the baptistery of the Cardston Alberta Temple very inspiring and, like the Salt Lake Temple, full of symbolism. For example, the tall, elaborate columns in each corner represent the twelve tribes of Israel. The high ceiling is also very awesome. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a public photo to use.

My Dad The Hero

We do a weekly newsletter that we send out by email to all my family. In her contribution to the newsletter, my mum made mention about my dad and his work.

My dad works in construction and when he started with a new company earlier this spring, he was made project supervisor. In his new position, he oversees an entire project from start to finish. It is a lot less physical work for him, and as he gets older, the less physical work, the better.

Their current project is completely redoing a lecture hall on the campus of BCIT. The project includes everything from cement to walls to carpet.

The project deadline is in roughly a week and my dad has never missed a deadline. Unfortunately, some of the workers aren?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t producing the work my dad expects, so he has been spending many nights lately putting in overtime to tidy up the work. Last week, he put in 74 hours?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùthat?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s more than double my regular workweek.

My dad?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s an amazing guy. Not only has he taught me to work hard, but he?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s also taught me to do a job right.

Here?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s hoping they meet the deadline.

Tal Bachman Leaves Mormon Church

As Jeremy reported (as did Mark and William), world-renowned musician Tal Bachman left the church. Apparently, it has taken the former Sunday School teacher two years to come to this decision. Technically, he still is a member because he has yet to formally request name removal through a letter to his bishop.

Nevertheless, one thing in the article really caught my attention.

>I came to understand that, much to my shock, many of the foundational claims of the church were not based in reality. I struggled so much with that, and kept trying to un-know what I kept uncovering, that at the end of two years I felt so burdened and so confused and puzzled. I kept going to these church defenders that I’d always trusted and trying to find out what the explanations were for what appeared to be smoking guns. And there weren’t any.

Why is it historical accuracy is such a big issue for so many people who left the Church? Why do they put so much weight in the accuracy of events happening exactly as described?

These same people, for example, often have no problem accepting that the creation of the world did not happen in six 24-hour periods. However, when they’re faced with the fact that Joseph Smith allegedly wrote a couple dozen versions of the First Vision, all of a sudden it’s too much and the whole Church is a sham.

Sigh.

In all honesty, who cares? Who cares if the First Vision was with God and Jesus Christ or if it was three angels? The point is that the heavens that were closed for millennia were now open. The point is that the Lord opened the way for a church run by revelation. Who cares if the world was created in six days, six thousand years, or 4.5 billion years? The point is that it was created.

Some naysayers may read this post and say, “Who are you to question his decision? Who are you to be an expert on questioning doctrines when you’ve lived the sheltered life of Mormonism?” To such things, I respond by saying that my life has been far from sheltered. I have had my share of worldly indulgences. I have had my share of questions.

In fact, I came to the point where my faith was seriously shaken as well. You want to know the difference between my experience and others like Tal’s? When my faith wavered, it wasn’t because I read that Joseph Smith was a boozer or that Brigham Young was racist. It wasn’t because I found what appeared to be inconsistencies between the Book of Mormon and the Bible. It wasn’t because my bishop couldn’t answer my questions.

It was because I doubted God’s existence.

That’s right. It wasn’t my faith in a single book. It wasn’t faith in the character of a prophet. It wasn’t faith in the sociability of my home teachers. It was faith in God.

The point is when you question your faith, think about what you’re questioning. If you are offended by someone and decide to never come back to church, think about where your faith must lie. If you come across some abhorrent thing Joseph Smith did and decide to leave the Church, think about where your faith lies.

Think about where your faith lies.

It was a very hard and depressing experience I went through. However, I am very grateful for it. The experience has really solidified my faith and I have become stronger as a result. Because of this, odd events and doctrines that would normally offend or shake someone’s faith no longer phase me. I am now able to question things freely.

Think about where your faith lies.

New Calling: Ward Clerk

After two years as a counsellor in the young men presidency (and as acting young men president in our ward), I received a new calling today.

I was called as the ward clerk. The previous ward clerk lost his job and relocated to another job in a different city. He actually moved in June and the high councilman contacted and called me on Thursday. A bit long, but apparently the stake presidency and high council meet infrequently in the summer months.

Technically, I am still serving in my previous calling, as I was not released. The bishopric has a person ready to call, but were waiting to hear back from the stake regarding my call. Apparently, they didn’t have enough time to contact this individual before today to call him. As a result, I have not been released.

I hope the release will take place next Sunday, as there is a four-day Scout camp coming up next week and I would rather not having my arthritis aggravated from it. If I do go, I’ll end up limping for 3-4 days after I get back because of the arthritis, and I may not be able to bike to work. I guess we’ll see.

For the interest of anyone who cares, here is a list of the callings I?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ve had since we’ve been married.

  • Elders quorum presidency, second counsellor (Surrey First Ward)
  • Elders quorum presidency, president (Surrey First Ward)
  • Ward mission leader (Lethbridge Ninth Ward)
  • Stake mission presidency, secretary (Lethbridge Alberta West Stake)
  • Young men presidency, second counsellor (combined Lethbridge First and Second Wards; also served as acting young men president in Lethbridge First Ward)
  • Assistant stake clerk (Lethbridge Alberta Stake)
  • Ward clerk (Lethbridge First Ward)

I am LDS After All

I took a survey yesterday that asked questions regarding religious beliefs. The idea is that after you?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢ve taken the quiz, it will analyse your answers and tell you which religious movement your beliefs more closely resemble.

Not surprising to anyone?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùwell except maybe those who think I question too much or who consider me a heretic?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùthe quiz said my 100 percent of my beliefs corresponded with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Here are the remaining findings.

  1. Jehovah’s Witness (97%)
  2. Bah?ɬ°’?ɬ? Faith (94%)
  3. Orthodox Judaism (83%)
  4. Sikhism (77%)
  5. Mainline – Liberal Christian Protestants (72%)
  6. Mainline – Conservative Christian Protestant (71%)
  7. Islam (70%)
  8. Jainism (69%)
  9. Liberal Quakers (62%)
  10. Hinduism (60%)
  11. Eastern Orthodox (58%)
  12. Roman Catholic (58%)
  13. Reform Judaism (57%)
  14. Seventh Day Adventist (57%)
  15. Orthodox Quaker (56%)
  16. Unitarian Universalism (55%)
  17. Mahayana Buddhism (52%)
  18. Theravada Buddhism (51%)
  19. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (39%)
  20. Neo-Pagan (36%)
  21. New Age (33%)
  22. New Thought (25%)
  23. Taoism (25%)
  24. Secular Humanism (23%)
  25. Scientology (21%)
  26. Non-theist (19%)

Some interesting results. For example, I find it interesting that my answers put me closer to Baha?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢I, Judaism and Sikhism than it does to mainline Christian Protestants. I also found it interesting that my answers put me closer to Islam, Jainim, Quakers and Hinduism than it did to Catholicisim.

Knowledge Before Faith

During Alma the Younger?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s sermon to the poor of Antionum, he extrapolated on the foundation of what faith is.

…faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true.

I wonder though how this can be. If something has to be true for you to have faith, how can you know that thing is true? Wouldn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t such knowledge nullify the faith then?

Let?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s take for example the existence of God. By Alma?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s definition, God needs to be true?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùor exist?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùin order for me to have faith in Him. Yet, how can I know in advance He exists?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùis true?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùbefore I have faith in Him?

You might say, ?¢‚Ǩ?ìJoseph Smith, Moses and others saw him and testify of him?¢‚Ǩ¬ù. Absolutely, but I wasn?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t there with them, so I have to have faith in their words or testimonies. However, that brings us back to knowing something is true before having faith in it. I would need to know that what Joseph Smith, Moses and others claimed were true before I can have faith in their words.

I have no problems with faith amounting to a belief in something that cannot be seen. However, throwing in the ?¢‚Ǩ?ìtruth aspect?¢‚Ǩ¬ù seems to be throwing a wrench into the whole definition.