Mormonism and temples/Inverted Stars on LDS Temples
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Some critics of the LDS Church claim that the inverted five-pointed star on some of its temples are a symbol of evil and thereby demonstrate that Mormonism is not really a Christian religion.
The Prophet Joseph Smith indicated that he received the pattern for the Nauvoo Temple by revelation (cf. DC 124:42). He told the architect of the project, "I have seen in vision the splendid appearance of that building illuminated, and will have it built according to the pattern shown me." The Prophet also stated that he had seen at least one of the exterior symbols of that temple in this vision.
One of the foremen who helped to build the Nauvoo Temple recorded what the emblems on its exterior represented. He said,
- "The order of architecture was unlike anything in existence; it was purely original, being a representation of the Church, the Bride, the Lamb’s wife. John the Revelator, in the 12 chapter [and] first verse of [the book of Revelation,] says, 'And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.' This is portrayed in the beautifully cut stone of this grand temple."
Joseph Smith revealed the connection between the heavenly woman of the apostle John's vision and the restored Church. In the Prophet's revision of the King James Bible he modified Revelation chapter 12 verses 1 and 7 to read: “And there appeared a great sign in heaven, in the likeness of things on the earth; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars . . . the woman . . . was the Church of God.” (JST Revelation 12:1,7).
This is the same arrangement of the symbols on the exterior pilasters of the Nauvoo Temple -- moon (bottom), sun (middle), and stars (top).
The stars are associated in the book of Revelation passage with a "crown" which is a symbol of royalty. In another section of the book of Revelation Jesus Christ proclaims His descent through the royal lineage that is within the house of Israel and then pronounces one of His titles: "I am the . . . offspring of David, and the bright . . . morning star" (Revelation 22:16). This is the title that nineteenth century Latter-day Saints assigned to the inverted five-pointed star. One of these emblems was put into place on the east tower of the Logan, Utah temple in 1880. An eyewitness to the event reported the following which was printed in a major newspaper: "Carved upon the keystone is a magnificent star, called the Star of the Morning."
In 1985 LDS Church Architect Emil B. Fetzer stated that the inverted stars on early LDS temples were not sinister but were “symbolic of Christ.” He said that when the LDS Church “uses the pentagram or sunstone in an admirable, wholesome and uplifting context, this does not preclude another organization’s using the same symbols in an evil context.”
A connection between the "inverted pentagram" and Satan "is almost certainly a 19th century invention by Eliphas Levi," who was a "defrocked priest." He did not begin publishing references to this idea until 1854, a decade after the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Varied uses of five-pointed stars
Below are links to examples of the inverted five-pointed star in ancient Christian usage and also numerous modern, non-evil usages.
- Kaarma, Estonia, Church of Sts. Peter and Paul - 1261 AD off-site
- Amiens, France, cathedral, north transept window off-site
- Market Church, Hanover, Germany off-site
- Church pew, Europe, 12th century off-site
- Chartres, France, niche surrounding Madonna and Child statue off-site
- St. Mary's church, Adderbury, Oxfordshire off-site
- St. Bartholomew church, Ucero, Spain off-site
- Lisbon, Portugal cathedral cloister off-site
- St. Paul's cathedral, Melbourne, Australia off-site
- Orthodox Church, Olyphant, Pennsylvania - 2009 AD off-site
- Schenkenschanz, Germany - 1634 AD [video] off-site
- Berthold Missal, Germany, ca. AD 1215 off-site
- Portfolio of Villard de Honnecourt off-site
- Christmas Creche off-site
- Christmas Star off-site
- Armagh Observatory Seal (watermark-mitre) off-site
- Camp Stella Maris off-site
- 1862, Los Angeles, California off-site
Medal of Honor
- Congressional Medal of Honor off-site
Boy Scouts of America
- Boy Scouts off-site
Coat of Arms
- Dutch municipality flag off-site
- Arkansas state flag off-site
- Micronesia flag off-site
- "Great Star" flag (USA) off-site
- Faultless Starch off-site
- Tempstar Heating and Cooling logo off-site
- Republican Party logo off-site
- Victoria Police Department badge off-site
- United States Navy off-site
- Order of the Eastern Star off-site
- Grammy Awards logo off-site
- Nutrition Program off-site
- Micmac Sign for Heaven off-site
- Post Civil War Parade Stand off-site
- Steamboat Decoration off-site
- [note] Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 6:196-97. BYU Studies link
- [note] Josiah Quincy, Figures of the Past From the Leaves of Old Journals (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1883), 389.
- [note] Wandle Mace, Autobiography, 207, Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
- [note] Deseret Evening News, vol. 13, no. 228 (20 August 1880): 3.
- [note] "The Public Forum," Salt Lake Tribune (13 November 1985): A–15.
- [note] The Mathematical Gazette, vol. 78, no. 483 (November 1994): 319.