|Stonehenge, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, England, 23 August 2010|
The funny thing is that the pamphlets and audio tour at the site and all the books I've read about the Standing Stones, can't come to a definitive conclusion as to what their purpose was. It doesn't help that the builders, apparently, had no written language - at least none that has been found yet. Today's experts don't know if it was a temple, observatory, calendar, pathway to the ancestors and the spirit world, a celebratory or ritualistic site. My conclusion is, why not all of the above? Temples in my religious tradition serve all those purposes. Now, that idea is not original with me, Hugh Nibley has certainly opined on the matter. But I think it's so obvious I would have figured it out on my own.
Temples in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are sacred places, literal Houses of the Lord. We go there for spiritual insight and to perform sacred ordinances that give us power from on high to accomplish the purpose of life, before, during, and after our life here on earth. Under priesthood authority we seal families together for all time and eternity - including marriage celebrations (if very reserved and quiet in the Temple as a sacred place). We perform these sacred ordinances, including vicarious baptism, on behalf of our ancestors who did not receive these ordinances during their lives on earth. And these blessings are available for all of humanity which each individual can accept or reject according to their own will, whether here on earth or in a restored paradisaical world to come, before the final judgment day. And the Temples generally face east to greet the rising sun as well as the eventual return of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, when he ushers in that millennial reign of peace. And Temples are full of the symbolism of Heaven, Earth, and Sky.
So, thinking on these things, I took my camera with me this morning to capture the Midsummer Sun lighting up the Temples. Below is the Bountiful Temple from my bus stop. I've been noticing the past few days that the sun clears the mountains and hits the golden angel just after 7 a.m. If not a pillar of smoke, certainly a flame of fire.
And then, my bus got me downtown just in time to see the sun hit that other golden angel.
|The House of the Lord as the longest day of summer sun begins|