Washington DC Temple
For the temple is a house of God. A place of love and beauty.
The drive to the Washington DC Temple is beautiful as you wind through tree-lined streets, and hear the birds chirp and see the lush greenery. It was a gorgeous spring day and the perfect day for a trip to the most peaceful place on earth - the temple. I don't take advantage of this privilege as often as I should and I resolved yesterday that I would from now on.
The cares of the world lifted away instantly when I walked through the doors of this holy place. It is quiet and lovely and a place to reflect, ponder, and pray. A place to come closer to my Heavenly Father. Being able to go to the temple with family made it an even sweeter experience. Aaron's sister, Jessica, and her husband, Adam, went to the temple, as well. And we had a lovely time participating in things together.
The Washington DC Temple is a huge temple and is actually located in Maryland. It stands 288 ft tall, which makes it taller than the Salt Lake Temple. It is also quite large in terms of square footage, measuring approximately 160,000 sq ft in floor space. The temple sits in the middle of a heavily wooded site but because of its size, you cannot miss it when you are driving on the freeway. Its spires seem to reach the skies! Read more about it here.
The architecture you see on the exterior of the temple is modeled after the temple in Salt Lake. It has six spires with the three on the left representing the Melchizedek Priesthood and its presidencies, and the three on the right representing the Aaronic Priesthood and the bishopric. I didn't notice this before but realized that the spires are all at different elevations, which gives them a unique look as you walk around the temple.
I learned that are very few temples around the world that have this particular type of Angel Moroni statue at the top of the tallest tower of the temple. This statue is holding a depiction of the gold plates from which The Book of Mormon was translated. It is 18 ft tall, weighs two and a half tons, is sculpted in bronze and covered in gold leaf. It was cast in Italy and sculpted by Avard Fairbanks of Salt Lake City, Utah. You can see a picture of it here.
The interior is nothing but the best for a house of God and is immaculate in its adornments and furniture. The temple is filled with symbolism and every little thing has so much meaning in it. It will take us a lifetime and more to figure out all the symbolism in the temple, which is why we are asked to visit often and learn of God in His very house. The paintings in the temple are spectacular and invite you to join in the joy that Christ shares with those who follow Him. I feel embraced in God's love when I enter His holy house and I want to remain within its walls forever.
The exterior of the temple and its surrounding grounds receive equal attention to detail as the interior. The landscaping is always stunning. The flowers, trees, and shrubs are chosen to specifically create a garden of beauty that welcomes you to stay and appreciate God's creations. They are precisely laid out so that the temple is the focal point of all things, and all things lead to the temple. On the temple grounds, also, stands one of the biggest Visitors' Centers I have ever seen. It is beautiful and filled with information about the temple and its history and origin. Missionaries for the church serve within its walls and help people learn more about our faith and the temple. Here is a model of the temple inside the Visitors' Center and the actual temple behind in through the glass walls.
The Visitors' Center is home to one of my favorite statues of Christ - The Christus. It is what I imagine Christ will look like when he comes again. Read a bit about it here.
As I strolled through the Visitors' Center, I came across this picture titled Special Witnesses of Christ, and immediately fell in love with it. It is a picture of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. These men are inspired and their words and actions impact my life for good in a big way.
Every six months, we (Latter-day Saints) come together to listen to the words of our prophet, Thomas S Monson, and these apostles. We are uplifted, have prayers answered, and gain strength from the teachings of the gospel centered on Christ and his life. General Conference is a special and holy time for us and as I have shared the messages with other friends, who are not of my faith, I realize that they are touched by them equally and find comfort and counsel in the messages just as I do.
Whenever you get some free time, take a drive to the temple and walk around its beautiful grounds, and then pop into the Visitors' Center. Some lovely people will help you learn more and feel the Spirit of Christ. It was an enjoyable day for me and I am sure it will be for you, too!