I posted this photo on Instagram yesterday and have been thinking about kids and the temple. According to Val Brinkerhoff in an interview with temple architect Keith Stepan, the Las Vegas and Portland Oregon temples were the first for over 100 years to restore the use of celestial symbolism on the outside of the buildings. Since then, the level of detail and design on the outside of temples has seemed to increase dramatically.
Today, I have noticed that the symbolism is everywhere, from the fence to the gardens and fountains and it is a joy to explore and discover.
I have 3 young daughters between the ages of 2 and 7 who I often take on “Daddy-daughter dates” to the temple. The grounds are peaceful and beautiful and as we walk around, we look at the symbols on the temple and the plants and patterns that are all around us. We talk about what things might mean and study different doctrines and principles according to the child’s understanding.
Kids get symbols. They can learn them just like any language and they are really good at it.
In the picture that was drawn by my 7 year old (without any help), she created a temple that had the celestial bodies in the correct order: the moon at the bottom, the sun and then the stars up top. She also drew a fence that features a squared circle motif and what is interesting is that this is different from the Las Vegas temple. She either observed it elsewhere or realized the importance of weaving symbols into the fence design.
I found the temple flanked by two trees interesting because of the consistent patterns of the number 2 associated with trees that is used on many temples (possibly in connection with the two trees in the garden of Eden, man and woman can be symbolized by two trees as well).
The only thing that’s really off is the Moroni statue; if the temple is facing east in this drawing, then Moroni is facing north. Moroni is usually facing east and sometimes south east like on the Las Vegas and a few other temples.
I wanted to share this to point out the value in bringing anyone to the temple, whether they are children, teens or even people not of our faith. The grounds and building itself are filled with teachings, doctrine and principles that all can benefit from. It is a wonderful place, even on the outside, to meditate and receive revelation.
I’m grateful that such a place exists.