Saturday, June 26, 2010

Around Temple Square

Located in the center of Salt Lake City is Temple Square, one of Utah's most visited attractions.

So, like most visitors, we began our visit to the Square with stops at the 6-spired granite Salt Lake Temple and the domed Tabernacle, home of the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the great Tabernacle organ.

Actually, soon after we began our walk around the 10-acre Square we were approached by Sister Kinkini from Hawaii and Sister Wu from Taiwan. On subsequent visits, we met other friendly young adults who were completing their missionary assignment.

Before the mission work began, our new acquain-tances offered to give us a brief tour of the Tabernacle. We arrived about 45 minutes before the daily organ recital and were free to walk around the building.

The organ was the center of our interest, but it was the man standing between the center towers who caught our attention.

We quickly learned that he was part of the team given the responsibility of raising two flags to their positions near these two towers (see photos below).

The Tabernacle is an impressive building. Construc-tion began in 1863 and ended in 1875. The exterior of the completed building is 150 feet wide, 250 feet long, and 80 feet high. This unique Tabernacle was a marvel of its time.

Through the bridge-building technique of Henry Grow, the Tabernacle roof was able to span its 150-foot width without center supports--an amazing achievement in both engineering and acoustics.

Regarding the acoustics, the organist demon-strated the amazing sensitivity of the dome-shaped building by tearing a piece of newspaper and by dropping a pin at the pulpit.

From 170 feet away, the sounds produced by these two actions were clearly audible.

When the recital began, each selection brought a change in the color of the lighting behind the organ pipes, adding a new dimension to the music.

And what powerful music it was.

We heard two noon recitals at the Tabernacle, and when a number of the stops are open, the sound from the magnificent pipe organ with its 11,623 pipes is remarkable.

While tours are available in the Tabernacle, they are not provided for the Temple, so our "tour" of the Temple was limited to viewing the exterior from different angles.

Brigham Young designated where the temple would be built, and on 6 April 1853, he laid the cornerstone of the temple foundation.

Forty years later the Temple was completed and dedicated.

Atop the Temple is a statue of the angel Moroni. the heavenly messenger who first visited the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1823.

Like all temples, once the building is dedicated it is used for sacred Church purposes and not open to the general public.

As we walked around the Temple, I imagined a single floor with columns rising several feet toward the peak of the building.

I was able to compare this image of mine with that shown in an exhibit that opened about a month ago in the South Visitors’ Center on Temple Square.

It featured a 1:32 scaled replica of the Temple, which offered an "open house" experience of the magnificent building. The 88-inch tall, near-identical replica of the temple shows a number of rooms designed for certain functions such as marriages, baptisms and instructional sessions.

The view from the end showed about 10 floors with small rooms that appeared to range from a chapel-like room to rooms filled with informal furnishings.

As we were leaving Temple Square, the setting sun cast a warm glow over the structure.

No comments: