Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

APPENDIX.

UTAH'S LIFE PRINCIPLE AND DESTINY.

The great ecclesiastical glory of Mormonism is to be the Temple. This is now in process of erection, but the work is pushed very slowly — probably with a view to the greater soundness of its foundations, as the other reasons common in such cases, lack of money and of labor, can hardly be operative here,—the Church being enormously wealthy, able to control the time of all its disciples, and blessed with a male membership whose large majority is used to physical labor.

The basement of the Temple, as 1 learned from a Mormon builder, was excavated several years ago, and its foundations partly laid, when Brigham Young discovered in the work something which dissatisfied him, and had it leveled to the ground. The foundations are now well up once more, and the gigantic ashlars are steadily coming in from their quarry in the canons. The stone used is a handsome compact granite, like the Quincy, but even whiter, and in the more ornamental parts of the superstructure will be associated with marble, and that magnificent crystalline limestone, traversed by veins of pure calc-spar, which, in almost every direction around Salt Lake, is found adjoining the metamorphic strata.

The City is laid out in the shape of an L, whose upright points north and south. "Temple Block" is situated nearly in the inner angle of this L. On the east Brigham Young's, or "the Prophet's" block, adjoins it, with a street intervening. Ileber Kimball's stands corner to corner with it, just north of Brigham'a. That of George Smith (the original prophet's cousin, and keeper of the sacred archives) is on the west of it. Across the street, on the south of it, is the Council House Block. On the southeast is the block occupied by Mr. Wells, one of the chief apostles, and third of the three presidents, Brigham and Heberl being the others; the History Office is also on the game.

The Temple Block is 660 feet square, its lines running due north, south, east, and west, its front being on the east The front line of the Temple is 78 feet S inches from the east line of the block; the length of the building, including towers and pedestal, will be 186J feet, and its width 118J feet. I was very much surprised when I learned how comparatively insignificant were the dimensions of a building intended to be the external symbol of God's abode among men, and the architectural glory of a people whose sectarian belief is so closely identified with its national

1 Written before Heber's death. With this understanding none of the essential statements me affected.

life as the Mormons. The foundation walls, where they reach the surface

of the ground, are 16 feet wide. From the surface they slope 3 feet on each side to the height of feet, having thus on their upper surface a width of 10 feet. On this base begins the true wall, which is 8 feet thick. Measuring from outside to outside of the north and south wall, the width of the body of the building will be but 99 feet — the larger measurement given above including the towers, which stand at each end of the east and west side. Beside these towers at the corners, there are two others, at the centre of the east and west sides respectively. Each of these towers has pedestals of the same form and proportions as the wall, built of immense rough ashlars laid in lime mortar. Along the north and south sides of the Temple, between the towers, the earth will be sloped into a glacis, or terrace, 6 feet high above the general level of the block; and on its upper surface will begin a promenade with a width varying from 11 to 22 feet, and reaching round the entire building, with stone steps leading up to it from the lower level at convenient intervals along the slope of the glacis. The towers on the four corners start from their footing of 26 feet square, continue to the height of 16$ feet, where they reach the line of the first string-course, and are reduced to 25 feet square. They continue thus 38 feet higher to the second string-course; are then reduced to 28 feet square, and rise another distance of 88 feet to the third string-course. From this course the corner towers become cylindrical, with an interior diameter of 17 feet; those on the east rising to the height of 25, and those on the west to a height of 19 feet, before they reach their own proper string-pieces, or cornices. From these cornices, on all four of them, rise battlements 9 feet high. The string-pieces, save where broken by buttresses, are continuous all round the building, «and arc massive mouldings from solid blocks of stone. Each of the corner towers has on each of its exposed sides two ornamental windows in their 25 feet square section, two in the section 23 feet square, and one in the highest. The centre towers, on both the east and west ends, start 31 feet square, but are otherwise of the same proportions as the corner towers as high as the third string-piece. From that line the east centre tower rises 40 feet to the top of its battlement, and the west centre tower 34 feet, — each being thus 6 feet higher than its adjoining corner towers.

Each of the centre towers is, furthermore, crowned with a spire; the spire of the east tower rising to the height of 200, and that of the west to 190 feet. All the towers are ornamented at the corners of each story with pinnacled turrets, and each side of the towers is flanked by a pair of buttresses. On the front of each centre tower are two windows, each 80 feet high, set one above the other. It is expected that these -will rival the finest abbey and cathedral windows of the Old World. They will be of the handsomest carved stone-work, with stained-glass panes; and there are among the Mormons one or two artists in both these departments, whose talents, judging from small specimens of their work which I saw, are really quite remarkable. It is the intention that all the labor and the art expended on the Temple shall be distinctly indigenous; and the pride which Brigham takes in all home productions tends to the constant development of the very class of abilities needed for this result. The height of the ridge-pole of the Temple will be about 100 feet.

The foundation of the building looks more like that of a fort than of a cathedral. Not only do the massive Bide walls, 16 feet thick below, 8 feet above, contribute to this impression, but the partitions also, of enormous ashlars, by which the basement is separated into a multitude of rooms. In the centre of the area is the baptismal room, 59 feet long by 85 feet wide, separated from the main north and south walls by four rooms, two on each side, each 19 feet long by 12 wide. On the east and west sides of these rooms are four passages, 12 feet wide; and still further east and west four more rooms, two at each end, 28 by 88J feet. These rooms are all 16J feet high, and are to have elegantly ornamented and groined ceilings.

From the basement, by stair-ways in the towers, we ascend to courts 16 feet wide, running from tower to tower, and communicating by.doors with all parts of the building. Out of the front or east court, a lofty door-way will enter the principal room of the Temple, 120 feet in length, 80 feet in width, and 38 feet in height to the crown of the ceiling. The ceiling is to be groined; its arches, segments of an ellipse, resting upon columns based on the partition-walls below. These arches will meet in Ogive fashion at the centre, and be as profusely ornamented as possible by saintly artificers. The space outside of the columns supporting the arches, between them and the outer walls, will be divided into sixteen compartments, eight on each side, and 14 feet square, with a passage-way 6 feet wide, running along them the entire length of the building — each of these having in the outer wall (here 6 feet thick) a large elliptical window with the major axis perpendicular.

The next story is to be precisely similar, except that the width of its large room will be one foot wider than that beneath it.

The ornamentation of the building is intended to be symbolical of that employed on the celestial courts above. Its plan is already partially developed to Brigham by revelation through an angel, but will be communicated in all its particulars only as required during the progress of the work. The ungodly understand this arrangement as synonymous among their own uninspired class with waiting to see how things will look; but whatever they may say, I believe that Brother Brigham thinks he receives the plans from an angel. If it be really an angel, we must arrive at the painful conclusion that good taste is not necessarily included in that perfection of human nature which ensues on translation to the celestial state; for such an architectural hotch-potch as that which I have just attempted to describe was certainly never seen on earth, and must render any part of heaven where it existed a very undesirable place of residence to people of cultivation. Among the adornment* which are to be executed on the exterior of the barbaric pile are the following, which I quote from the architect's own account of his plan: —

"On the two west corner towers, and on the west end, a few feet below the top of battlements, may be seen, in alto-relievo and bold relief, the Great Dipper, or Ursa Major, with the pointers ranging nearly toward the North Star. (Moral: The lost may find themselves by the priesthood.)

"The pedestals under all the buttresses project at their base 2 feet; above their base, which is 15 inches by 4$ feet wide, on each front is a figure of a globe S feet 11 inches across, whose axis corresponds with the axis of the earth.

"Above the promenade, close under the second string-course on each of the buttresses, is the moon represented in its different phases. Close under the third string-course or cornice is the face of the sun. Immediately above is Saturn with his rings.

"The only difference between the tower buttresses and the one just described is, instead of Saturn being on them, we have clouds and rays of light descending.

"All of these symbols are to be chiseled in bass-relief on solid stone. The side walls continue above the string-course or cornice feet, making the walls 96 feet high, and are formed in battlements interspersed with stars.

"The whole house covers an area of 21,850 feet."

While this portentous structure is getting ready to surprise, if not to •care, the nations, the Mormons residing in the City of Salt Lake worship in cool or cold weather at " The Tabernacle," and in the dog-days at "The Bowery."

The Tabernacle is. situated on the southwest corner of Temple Block. It is a building of the sun-dried bricks or adobe in such universal use throughout the western half of the Continent, — having its principal entrance in the southern gable, which fronts on the same street as Brigham Young's. Its length is 126 feet, its width 64; and its height so disproportionately small as not only to give it a very squat appearance, which its absence of pretension and temporarincss of purpose make a matter of no consequence, but to render it almost stifling when the July sun pours down on it, — a matter which, to the 2,200 people whom it can seat at a pinch, is of very great consequence indeed. > With the first extremely hot weather, therefore, Sunday religion moves its quarters to "The Bowery," a structure like the booths of the ancient Israelites, or, to descend for illustration into an atmosphere more recent and familiar, like the arbors which used to be in vogue at many of our sea-side wateringplaces, and are still to be seen fronting some hotels at Long Branch and at Fire Island — a scaffolding of rough tree trunks the diameter of a telegraph pole set firmly in the ground, ten or twenty feet apart, braced together by equally rough string-pieces at the top, and covered with successive layers of boughs green at first, but dried to parchment by the end of August, felted into each other, so to speak, until they are quite impervious to the sun. Rain in Utah there is but too little need of providing against. The only "fair-weather Christian" must be a coolweather one. The outer line of posts, in the Bowery, includes a nearly equilateral area of about 14,000 square feet, situated due north of the Tabernacle, and like It, on the Temple Block. 1 should judge it capable, without difficulty, of accommodating somewhere near 4,000 persons. Its seats are rude pine benches, some with backs, others backless, and provided, by the more luxurious members of the congregation, with hair or cornshuck cushions. On the inner posts hang kerosene lamps for use during the second Sunday service, which is held in the evening through the summer months at least, the afternoon being devoted to Sundayschool. A platform in length and breadth equaling the stage of a goodsized theatre, occupies about half of the northern side (the middle of the stage coinciding with the middle of the side), and affords rather more sumptuous seats than those of the auditorium (cane settees and chairs when I attended service) to a score or more of the principal men of Mormondom. The only approach to a pulpit is a plain drawing-room table, on which lie the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Latter-Day Saint's Hymn Book, flanked by a pitcher of water and a tumbler.

On visiting the Bowery at the hour of beginning morning service, about half-past ten, as usual in most of our Eastern churches, I found the seats already well filled, but obtained a good position by the politeness of Brigham's son-in-law, Mr. Clawson. A pleasanter place to attend service in could hardly be imagined. The uninterrupted passage through the leafy covering of a delicious mountain breeze, whose edge, acquired by gliding over the hone of the perpetual snow, had been tempered just to a nicety by the sunshine of a cloudless summer sky, made fans entirely unnecessary; and the liberty of the Gospel was broadly enough construed to admit of several bronzed agricultural saints near me sitting in the spotless freshness of snowy shirt-sleeves. The ladies were generally attired in airy muslin dresses without any over garment, except in a few scattered instances, where a black silk mantilla indicated some member of the Mormon aristocracy; and the children, who were present in large number, were, with striking good taste, dressed comfortably rather than ostentatiously — a course worthy of imitation at the East, and likely, if adopted, to increase greatly the number of youthful Christians who can say without hypocrisy, —

"I have been there, and still would go:
'Tie like a little heaven below."

The stage was occupied by nine or ten dignitaries of the Church, among whom I recognized that stalwart pillar, Brother Heber, Dr. Bernhisel, and a very pleasant-looking man, a bishop, to whom I had been intro

« ZurückWeiter »