Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Spires in the Fog

While I was in San Diego, CA, last weekend, I passed the local Mormon temple a number of times. It is a striking building and it would be difficult to not be intrigued by it.

Mormon Temple
San Diego Mormon Temple

It sits along Interstate 5 and is clearly visible for miles - when the coastal fog has burned off that is. The Wikipedia page explains that it was completed in 1993. It looks newer than that as the building and grounds are well tended. The lustrous white facade is white marble chips in plaster. I never got close to it in the sunlight but I imagine it looks great. HERE is a link to other photographer's images on Flickr.

What really struck me as I looked at it was that it indicated just how much money the Mormon church must have right now, and they are spending it on beautiful edifices. As compared to other Christian churches built in the last 50 or so years, this is pretty impressive. Certainly Lakewood church in Houston is bigger, but it seems more like a football stadium than a temple. The Solid Rock church in Ohio goes big with the "Planet of the Apes" -like statue, but it is not nearly so beautiful. Contemporary churches feel like a corporate office.

Something about this tendency towards humdrum houses of worship nagged at me, and I could not pin it down. After all, since I am not a Christian, why do I care what their houses of worship look like? I found an article that captures some of what was bothering me. Like me, the author "has a nagging intuition that symbolism, mystery, cultural depth, spirituality, and beauty are all somehow connected." That may explain why most of my communing with the Divine occurs outdoors, enmeshed with the natural world. Well, that and the fact that neoPagans do not build houses of worship.


  1. Beautiful photo of a beautiful building. I love how you captured the "atmosphere". But when I look at this building for awhile, the bilateral symmetry becomes overbearing and the feeling evoked is not welcoming. Contrast this to the Bahai Temple in Wilmette Il (sorry I don't have a photo to share.) L~

  2. I found photos of the Ba'hai Temple that Annonymous refered to HERE. It is beautiful. Interestingly, in light of the comment, it too is symetrical, with repeating themes. What it is not, is sharp and pointy. To my eye, it is more beautiful. Had I been there I would definitely have taken photos of it. It was constructed between 1921 and 1953.


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