When Dr. Margaret Barker, a biblical scholar and methodist minister, walked inside the Paris France Temple during its open house prior to dedication, she was “impressed” with what she saw.
“It wasn’t in any way an attempt to imitate Solomon’s temple. … But it was an expression of the feeling of a temple, and the progression through a temple to the holy place,” Dr. Barker said.
Dr. Barker is one of many voices featured in a new video released by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Aug. 6 titled “Temples Through Time.” Other scholars, people of various faiths and members of the Church share their thoughts about temples of old and present-day temples — and how both connect people with heaven.
“Having a sacred space to which you could go enables you to go out and bring that holiness into the wider sacred space that is the whole creation,” she said.
The Lord has always commanded His people to build temples, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said.
“Temples are the most holy of all places of worship, a sacred space specifically set apart for worshipping God and for receiving and remembering His great and precious promises,” he said.
Referencing Solomon’s temple, Dr. Barker said, “The purpose of the first temple was to provide a center, a focus, a place where people could go and feel especially close to the presence of God.”
Dr. Craig Blomberg, a distinguished professor of the New Testament Denver Seminary in Denver, Colorado, said the beauty and gold design of Solomon’s temple was designed to focus attention on God.
“The temple had to have been a spectacular building. Some people call it the 8th wonder of the ancient world,” he said. “It must have been just the most amazing experience for ancient people.”
After losing his son at the young age of 29, one Latter-day Saint man said going to the temple gave him a peace “beyond all understanding.”
“I understood that he was going to be part of my family forever. That brought a sense of comfort to me that I didn’t get in any other place,” he said.
A Latter-day Saint woman said, “When I am in the temple I feel protected, and when I go out into the regular world again, I feel stronger to face life.”
Correction: The first version of this story incorrectly stated Dr. Margaret Barker visited the Rome Italy Temple. It was the Paris France Temple.