From the beginning of time, God has called covenant peoples to build temples. Temples are theology in stone, a place where humans seek to commune with the Divine. As such, they serve as models of the universe, where heaven and earth meet.
The design of the Temple at Independence symbolizes the gospel of Jesus Christ, which teaches of the peaceable things of the kingdom. Entering its sacred space is to encounter God’s plan of salvation for creation.
The Temple is open to all people, and is dedicated to peace, reconciliation, and healing of the spirit.
The Temple's Functions
As Kirtland Temple did for earlier Saints, the Temple at Independence serves three functions for Community of Christ:
- Church Leaders administer the church from the Temple.
- Here we gather in worship, to be edified and uplifted by the Spirit.
- And, through an education program known as Temple School, our priesthood throughout the world receives training and instruction on fulfilling their callings.
Temple Design and the Worshiper's Path
Not unlike stars, sunstones, and moonstones on other temples in the Restoration, the Temple is designed with symbols that draw the mind to higher things. At the Center Place, the Temple is our symbolic mountain and model of the cosmos which orients us to Jesus Christ and Zion.
Entering the Temple from east, worshipers move through the Temple’s sacred space, progressing symbolically towards God’s kingdom. Entering what is known as The Worshiper's Path, they encounter, first, a depiction of the Sacred Grove, and then images from the scriptures and teachings of Christ, as they progress upward along an ascending spiral path to the inner Sanctuary. This spiral motion continues within the Sanctuary infinitely upward, drawing focus up towards the Heavens.
This spiral eventually becomes a a spire, centered high above the Sanctuary. The spire is the most distinctive feature of the Temple. The shape overall was inspired by the nautilus—-a universal shape found throughout nature.
The logarithmic spiral of the nautilus, as a geometric progression, was named by Jakob Bernoulli as spira mirabilis, Latin for “miraculous spiral.” The shape can also be found in other shells; in the arrangement of seeds on the head of a sunflower, which moves with and follows the path of the sun across the sky; in the curve of a ram’s horn; in the spiral arms of galaxies, and the rotation of tropical storm clouds; in the flight paths of insects towards light; and in various other instances throughout nature. It is a symbolic fingerprint of the Creator, and reminds us that God is in control of the universe and an ongoing creation.
The miraculous spiral, as a symbol of the Temple, serves to create a centered space at the Center Place of Zion, fitting to the role of the Temple to gather the church inward and then extend Zion outward to the entire world.
To take a virtual tour of the Temple, click here.