The Temple in Zion

By Nancy Harlacher

The Temple in Zion by Nancy Harlacher

In her painting, Nancy Harlacher has produced a faithful likeness of what the Zion Temple in Independence will look like, when it shall be built according to the description which the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., received from the Lord concerning it. The Lord gave instructions in 1833 that the Temple was to be built “like unto the pattern which I have given you” (Doctrine and Covenants 94:3a).

Using the description from the Times and Seasons, the artist has faithfully painted it in detail—locating it upon the true site which was also revealed by revelation. The Temple was to be built by using the same pattern as the Kirtland Temple, which stands today at Kirtland, Ohio, a few miles east of Cleveland. The description of the Zion Temple’s plans may be found in the Church's paper published at Nauvoo, the Times and Seasons 6:786–787, and in the book, The Temple Of The Lord. Both are available for purchase at the Restoration Bookstore or from our online store.

Although the Zion Temple is to look like the Kirtland Temple, it is to be sixty-one by eighty-seven feet in size, or six feet wider and twenty-two feet longer than the Kirtland Temple. It is to have only five windows on each floor, while the Kirtland Temple has six.

Prints of the above painting are also available in various sizes for purchase at the Restoration Bookstore or from our online store.

Doctrine and Covenants 94:3–5b

Verily I say unto you, that it is my will that an house should be built unto me in the land of Zion, like unto the pattern which I have given you; yea, let it be built speedily by the tithing of my people: behold, this is the tithing and the sacrifice which I, the Lord, require at their hands, that there may be an house built unto me for the salvation of Zion; for a place of thanksgiving, for all Saints, and for a place of instruction for all those who are called to the work of the ministry, in all their several callings, and offices; that they may be perfected in the understanding of their ministry; in theory; in principle and in doctrine; in all things pertaining to the kingdom of God on the earth, the keys of which kingdom have been conferred upon you.

And inasmuch as my people build an house unto me, in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it; yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it, shall see God: but if it be defiled I will not come into it, and my glory shall not be there, for I will not come into unholy temples.

And now, behold, if Zion do these things, she shall prosper and spread herself and become very glorious, very great, and very terrible; and the nations of the earth shall honor her, and shall say, Surely Zion is the city of our God; and surely Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place, for God is there, and the hand of the Lord is there, and he hath sworn by the power of his might to be her salvation, and her high tower ....

Times and Seasons 6:786–787

A description of the house of the Lord, which is to be built first, in Zion:

This house of the Lord for the presidency, is eighty seven feet long, and sixty one feet wide, and ten feet taken off of the east end for the stairway, leaves the inner court, seventy eight feet by sixty one, which is calculated and divided for seats in the following manner, viz: The two aisles four feet wide each; the middle of the pews, are eleven feet ten inches long, and three feet wide each; and the two lines drawn through the middle, are four inches apart; in which space a curtain is to drop at right angles, and divide the house into four parts if necessary. The pews of the side blocks, are fourteen and a half feet long and three feet wide. The five pews in each corner of the house, are twelve feet six inches long. The open spaces, between the corner and side pews are for fire places; those in the west are nine feet wide, and the east ones are eight feet and eight inches wide, and the chimney carried up, in the wall where they are marked with a pencil.

The pulpit in the west end of the house is to be occupied by the high priesthood, as follows: Number one, is for the president and his council. Number two, is for the bishop and his council. Number three for the high priests; and number four for the elders: each of these are eight feet long, containing three coves or stands for the respective speakers; and those seats opposite them are for visiting officers, who are to occupy seats according to their respective grades. The two spaces in the middle are stairs two feet wide. The middle pulpit is to be elevated; the first seats one foot, the second two feet, the third three feet, and the fourth four feet. And those upon each side are also to be elevated: the first one eight inches, the second sixteen, the third twenty four, the fottrth thirty two inches. The corner seats are to be occupied by singers and elevated; the first seat six inches, the second twelve, the third eighteen, the fourth twenty-four, and the fifth thirty two inches.

The pulpit in the east end of the house is to be occupied by the lesser priesthood. Number one is for the presidency of the lesser priesthood; number two for the priests: number three for the teachers: and number four for the deacons; and the seats by their sides, are also to be occupied by visiting officers; each one opposite his respective grade, &c. The pulpits are to be done off with panel work, in the best workmanlike manner, and the building to be composed of stone and brick of the best kind. The side view represents five windows in each story. The windows are to have each forty eight lights, of seven by nine glass, six one way and eight the other; the sides and lintels of the windows to be of hewn stone; end on the top of the lintel is to be a gothic top, as you see, but the windows must have a lintel; and so with the outside doors, all with gothic tops.

Make your house fourteen feet high between the floors. There will not be a gallery but a chamber; each story to be fourteen feet high, arched over head, with an eliptic arch, over each of the stories. Let the under part, or foundation of the house, be of stone, let it be raised sufficiently high to admit of banking up so high as to admit of a descent every way from the house, so far as to divide the distance between the house, and the one next to it. On the top of those stone, and above the embankment, let there be two rows of hewn stone, and then commence the brick on the hewn stone.— The entire height of the house, twenty eight feet, each story being fourteen feet; make the wall a sufficient thickness for a house of this size.

Observe particularly that as there are pulpits at each end of the house, the backs of the congregation must be to one of them, and they will want occasionally to change. In order for this, the house must have pews instead of slips, and in the pews let the seats be loose, so as to slip from one side of the pew to the other, so as to face either pulpit, as occasion may require.

The end view represents five windows of the same size as the side, the middle windows excepted, which is to be the same, with the addition of sidelights. This middle window is designed to light both above and below, as the upper floor is to be laid off in the same way as the lower, and arched overhead, with curtains, or veils, as before mentioned.

You will be careful to have hooks and rings to suspend your vails on, so that they can be let down or raised at any time, at pleasure. —Also, as you see, the pulpits are to have four seats, one rising above another; for instance, the elders seat is the lowest, next comes the high priests, next the bishop’s; so each of these must have a vail that is suspended on the upper floor, so as to be let down; which will at any time when necessary be let down, and shut off each stand or scat by itself.

The doors are to be five feet wide, and nine feet high, and to be in the east end of the house. The west end is to have no doors, but in other respects to be like the east, except the windows are to be opposite the alleys which run east and west. The roof of the house to have one fourth pitch, the door to have gothic top, as the windows. The shingles of the roof to be painted before they are put on. There is to be a fan light, as you see. The windows and doors are all to have venetians; a belfry in the east end, and a bell of very large size.— June 25th, 1833.