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BYU Religious Studies Center
"The Los Angeles Temple: A Beacon on a Hill" is by Richard O. Cowan.

"THE LOS ANGELES TEMPLE: A Beacon on a Hill," by Richard O. Cowan, BYU Religious Studies Center and Deseret Book**, $31.99, 395 pages (nf)**

The Los Angeles California Temple is a well-known and loved building in Southern California. In Richard O. Cowan‘s beautifully rendered book, “The Los Angeles Temple: A Beacon on a Hill,” Cowan brings the history of this beloved building to life.

BYU Religious Studies Center
Richard O. Cowan is the author of "The Los Angeles Temple: A Beacon on a Hill."

The story begins not in California but in western New York with Joseph Smith, and the proclaimed need for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to build temples. It moves forward into the 1840s during the times of the Mormon Battalion, and on to World War I and the search for a temple site in California. The story continues into the 1990s when riots threatened the temple, and into 2008 when local politics led to a lockdown at the temple.

In addition to the history of this magnificent building, Cowan takes the reader step by step through the development and design of the Los Angeles Temple from site selection and construction to the paintings and sculptures within. The grounds are also explored, including the family history center, the visitors center and women’s sculpture garden.

The sacred purpose of the temple is captured through inspirational stories throughout the book, and chapter 8, “The Temple as a Source of Blessing,” further focuses on them. These beautiful stories connect the reader to patrons of the temple and highlight the purpose of the temple.

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The appendix is full of wonderful additions, including the dedicatory prayer, photographs and biographies of the temple presidents and matrons, the talks given at the cornerstone layings, timelines and the official proclamations by the governor, mayor and City Council members.

The book also includes a glossary of terms for those not familiar with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

With over 100 historical photographs and documents (many previously unpublished), "A Beacon on a Hill" is a treasure trove of imagery that one could enjoy just flipping through. However, the careful research and attention to detail makes it an interesting, informative and inspirational read.