"And I, God, said: Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven ... to

give light upon the earth ... " (Moses 2:14-15)


It is the earth, not heaven, that requires illumination provided by

God's light. Likewise, modern temples are made to brilliantly shine so

as to light their nighttime surroundings, while at the same time being

furnished with opaque windows that restrict outside illumination (see

Doctrine and Covenants 43:15). Thus, the temple's function is

symbolically portrayed as giving light, not necessarily receiving it

from elsewhere. The Bible says Solomon's Temple was constructed with

"windows of narrow lights."

"The ancients said: 'Whoever builds windows in his house, makes them

wide outside and narrow inside, that they should bring in the light,'"

wrote the late Israeli geographer Zev Vilnay in his book "Sacred Land." "'Not so in the Temple; because there the light was within, and shone

forth onto the whole world.' 'As oil gives light — so the Temple gives

light to the world.'" 

And Elder John A. Widtsoe said, "Spiritual power is generated within

temple walls, and sent out to bless the world ... Every home penetrated by

the temple spirit enlightens, cheers, and comforts every member of the

household. The peace we covet is found in such homes. Indeed, when

temples are on earth, the whole world shares measurably in the issuing

light; when absent, the hearts of men become heavy, as if they said,

with the people of Enoch's day, 'Zion is fled'" (See Moses 7:69).


Jeffrey M. Bradshaw is author of "In God's Image and Likeness, Ancient

and Modern Perspectives on the Book of Moses."