I was just at the open house for the Indianapolis Indiana Temple and also observe the Seal or Star of Melchizedek at many locations throughout the new temple.
Here's the better link to the website: https://sealofmelchizedek.com/
The new Payson Temple has the seal everywhere.
As an architect I have always felt that the San Diego Temple ranks amongst the best designed temples in the Church. I did not know about this symbolism but the design inside and out all tie together as an architectural whole was evident. The only statement that I take exception to was the one referring to Frank Lloyd Wright, whom I consider that best architect of my time, saying he said to get rid of the box. What he was referring to was residences and buildings that were designed as a box and then widows were punched in the walls. He said better to use folded planes so windows and walls are integral. Having worked for the Architectural Department of the Church I understand the complexities of designing religious edifices and know that the designer of the San Diego Temple was truly inspired.
Wendy, it just says he presided over the dedication, not that he was president. The president must not have been present, otherwise he would have been the one to preside.
Great comments! President Hinckley was not President of the Church at the time of the design or dedication of the San Diego Temple. However, as a member of the First Presidency, his title was still "President." This can be a bit confusing. Additionally, President Hunter was in ill health at the time and President Hinckley bore most of the decision-making burden that the prophet might normally bear. Hinckley was in many ways the acting president as well. I hope that helps make sense. It is difficult to relay so much information accurately in such a short space and I thank everyone again for a chance to share such interesting events to the best of my limited ability.
I have always been intrigued by the design of the San Diego temple, maybe now I understand one of the reasons more clearly. The boxes resemble so much the Star of David...thank you for an amazing article.
"In 2011 I finally set up a website devoted solely to the research and information I garnered from these resources and others. It can be found at SealofMelchizedek.com" This is no longer true, the site mentioned is dedicated to selling "Seal of Melchizedek" book and paraphernalia...
Great article about the Temple. My only observation is that President Hinckley wasn't president of the church when it was dedicated.
Anciently the number 7 stood for perfection. The number 8 stood for beyond perfection and was used to represent Christ. The Albuquerque,New Mexico Temple has 8 pointed stars throughout.
In the 1990's I heard that the baptistry floor in the Las Vegas Temple had the Star of David on it -- which is a symbol of the covenant; and so is a very appropriate symbol for that area. Shortly after that, I was able to visit the San Diego Temple for the first time, and as I looked around at the many, many square within the square (or Seal of Melchizedek) symbols which adorn that building, I thought to myself -- "So near, and yet so fa,r" -- meaning -- that I wondered why they hadn't used the Star of David -- six pointed star -- instead for the motif in the San Diego Temple.
I didn't say anything to anyone one during that visit, but on a later visit, as I was standing by the octagonal, glassed in atrium on the sealing floor level of that Temple, I whispered that thought outloud.
A Temple worker standing next to me, heard me say that and asked me what I meant by that, so I explained that I wondered why the architect hadn't used the six pointed star (juxtaposed triangles) instead of the juxtaposed squares, since the six pointed star was a symbol of the covenant made between man and God and our Church -- and especially our Temples -- were places where such covenants were made.
She immediately replied that the juxtaposed squares were much more important, but, when I asked her why, she said that she had been instructed not to tell anyone about the meaning of the symbol,(that was stil during the -- "It's just an architectural detail" time -- but that she was allowed to tell a patron where they could find information on it. She then told me about Nibley's book, The Temple and the Cosmos, and even told me which page to look on!
Since I had that book at home, I went home and looked up the information, and was "hooked" on that symbol from then on -- and hooked enough that I had a silver pendant made the following summer at a local Renaissance Festival in Minnesota by a craftsman there.
I have since gone on to read everything I could get my hands on about the symbol, and have also recognized it -- not only in Temples, but in religious buildings all over the world; and so I learned very early in my study of it that it is a very, very old symbol,and an extremely meaningful one -- since the number 8 is connected in many, many ways with the Savior, with regeneration and rebirth, etc.
I have since had that same craftsperson make several different Seal of Melchizedek pendants (some larger, and some more intricate, and also some incorporating the Star of David (six pointed star) and the Seal of Solomon (five pointed star) as well); and I love them enough that I wear one of them nearly every day!
I love both the symbol AND the San Diego Temple -- which pointed me in the direction of learning about the Seal of Melchizedek -- SO -- thank you very much for this additional information!!!
By the way -- in the Jewish faith -- the Seal of Melchizedek is called the Star of Abraham! (Covenants all over the place!)
The San Diego temple is my favorite of all the temples because of its brilliant and unique architecture and design. Even the elevators use an 8-sided motif, though a subtle one -- each corner of the elevator, instead of having the walls meet at a right angle, adds two additional short segments.
A few more items:
-- The celestial room, located in the west spire, is vertically oriented: that is, you have successively higher rows of chairs, all facing the stained glass windows on the west spire. You continue to climb up through the celestial room to get to the highest level of the temple, where the sealing rooms are located.
-- In that top level, there is a garden, enclosed by clear glass, that is open to the sky above. (You can see it looking at the drone photo in the article.) I'm not sure I've ever been in another temple where I could look out and see the sky directly.
-- The east spire of the temple has an enormous winding staircase going down. There are sofas near the top of that staircase. When my wife and I lived in San Diego in the 1990s, we'd go through a temple session, then go to those sofas, where we could sit and privately talk through the most important issues we were facing.
It is a beautiful, stunning temple, and I miss living nearby.
In the book, "Celestial Symbols", by Allen H. Barber, the shape signifies man's regeneration. From his listed sources, he states that to the Egyptians it represented the 8 roads to heaven to "show man how he must live on this earth to be prepared to pass into the world beyond." The author comes to the conclusion that 4 lines of one square represent faith, repentance, baptism and gift of the Holy Ghost. The other square represents represents the Lord's 4 basic principles of the gospel: study, prayer, service and agency.
Email (will not be published)
Daily news, articles, videos and podcasts sent straight to your inbox.