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Question

 

Gramps,

Do modern LDS temples have a room set aside as a Holy of Holies and if so .for what purpose?

John

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Answer

 

Dear John,

I have written before the history and purpose of the Holy of Holies in temples. I’ll revisit it today to provide more detail on this sacred room in the Salt Lake Temple. Elder James E. Talmage describes this room in The House of the Lord.

The central of the three small apartments connected with the Celestial Room,—situated therefore between the Sealing Room for the Living and Sealing Room for the Dead,—is of all the smaller apartments within the Temple walls by far the most beautiful. Yet its excellence is that of splendid simplicity rather than of sumptuous splendor. It is raised above the other two rooms and is reached by an additional flight of six steps inside the sliding doors. The short staircase is bordered by hand-carved balustrades, which terminate in a pair of newel-posts bearing bronze figures symbolical of innocent childhood; these support flower clusters, each jeweled blossom enclosing an electric bulb. On the landing at the head of the steps is another archway, beneath which are sliding doors; these doors mark the threshold of the inner room or Holy of Holies of the Temple, and correspond to the inner curtain or veil that shielded from public view the most sacred precincts of Tabernacle and Temple in the earlier dispensations. (Talmage. The House of the Lord, 5th printing of revised edition, pages 162-163)

Celestial Room, looking east from the veil, to be known as room on second floor depicting the celestial condition, Salt Lake Temple photographs. Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah

Then follows a description of the room itself.

The floor is of native hard-wood blocks, each an inch in cross-section. The room is of circular outline, eighteen feet in diameter, with paneled walls, the panels separated by carved pillars supporting arches; it is decorated in blue and gold. The entrance doorway and the panels are framed in red velvet with an outer border finished in gold. Four wall niches, bordered in crimson and gold, have a deep blue background, and within these are tall vases holding flowers. The room is practically without natural light, but it is brilliantly illumined by a large electrolier and eight side clusters of lamps. The ceiling is a dome in which are set circular and semicircular windows of jeweled glass, and on the outer side of these, therefore above the ceiling, are electric globes whose light penetrates into the room in countless hues of subdued intensity. [in describing the Dome Room, which houses this dome, Elder Talmage notes the “large dome [is] fifty-one feet in circumference at its base and seven feet high[, and] set with seventeen jeweled windows”]

 

On the south side of this room, opposite the entrance doorway, and corresponding in size therewith, is a window of colored glass depicting the appearance of the Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ to the boy Joseph Smith. The event here delineated marked the ushering-in of the dispensation of the fulness of times. The scene is laid in a grove; the celestial Personages are clothed in white, and appear in the attitude of instructing the boy prophet, who kneels with uplifted face and outstretched arms. Beneath is inscribed the scriptures through which Joseph was led to seek Divine instruction:

 

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

 

And Below:

 

“This is my beloved Son, hear Him.” (Ibid.)

Special sealing room between numbers 7 and 8, to be known as the ‘Holy of Holies’, Salt Lake Temple photographs. Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah

I’m only aware of two official sources that describe the functions of this room. President Boyd K. Packer has written that it provides a place where the Prophet may converse with the Lord on sacred matters.

Hidden away in the central part of the [Salt Lake] temple is the Holy of Holies, where the President of the Church may retire when burdened down with heavy decisions to seek an interview with Him whose Church it is. The prophet holds the keys, the spiritual keys and the very literal key to this one door in that sacred edifice. (Packer. The Holy Temple, page 4)

In addition, Elder Talmage has also shared that “this room is reserved for the higher ordinances in the Priesthood relating to the exaltation of both living and dead.” (The House of the Lord, page 163).

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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