Temple Builders Testimony & Symbolism
As beloved Prophet and 14th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley is immediately recognizable in this painting. On his desk before him, lay blueprints used for the reconstruction of the Nauvoo Temple, dedicated June 27, 2002. In the background, a painting of Brigham Young and a bronze statue of Joseph Smith are set in this portrait to represent the devotion of three men, called of God, to serve as latter-day Prophets, each playing a particular role in the history of the Nauvoo Temple and in a large degree, the building of most temples we use today.
Joseph Smith, under the inspiration of the Lord, initiated the building of the Nauvoo temple. After Joseph’s tragic martyrdom, the prophet Brigham Young completed the construction and dedicated it before the Saints left Nauvoo and traveled west. Then, 155 years later, Gordon B. Hinckley restored and rededicated the temple to its former beauty and celestial splendor. Each of these prophets has played a significant role in the temples we serve in today.
The Holy Scriptures, placed on the sideboard, symbolize the word of God as well as the Savior Himself – our greatest Prophet, Priest and King. In the Bible, rests a bookmark, placed in Malachi 4:5-6, a verse of scripture appropriate for the content of this painting and the mission of temple work:
“Behold, I [Jesus Christ] will send Elijah the prophet . . . and he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers . . . .”
Lying beneath the scriptures are the words of Elder Boyd K. Packer, contained in his book, The Lord’s Holy House, and a book written about genealogy, Roots and Branches, co-authored by Connie Rector and Diann Deputy.
The widow’s mite, a coin spoken of in ancient Hebrew times (Mark 12:43), is placed at the feet of Joseph Smith, symbolic of the sacrifice of the Saints in giving of their tithes and offerings to finance the construction of all temples. It is also representative of the great stewardship the brethren have in distributing the Lord’s money for his righteous purposes.
There is a visually-implied circle of unity designed into this painting, revolving from the scriptures to Joseph Smith, then to Brigham Young and President Hinckley; to the temple and then returning back to the Holy Scriptures. To me, this symbolizes the enabling grace of Jesus Christ, His restored gospel and the essential and sanctifying priesthood ordinances of this latter-day work as all working together, eternally being of “one heart and one mind” (Moses 7:18).
We must prepare ourselves to enter the holy temple, the Lord’s earthly home, and seal our love to enable us to return with our families to our Heavenly Father’s presence, and there make His eternal home our own home once again.
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