Having found the mosaics from Ravenna, Italy, that displayed this symbol in connection with Melchizedek, I wanted to do some more research to see if I could find the symbol mentioned anywhere else. And, of course, I went to the best tool for online research – Google. The difficulty with using Google is that you can usually find someone saying something about pretty much anything. So it’s not only a task of finding the correct information, but of determining its credibility.
One of the first results you come to is a blog called “Ernest Goes to Iraq” with a blog post “The Sign of Melchizedek.” Ernest explains:
I heard directly from one of the architect team partners that designed the San Diego Temple, he explained that the designer saw this symbol in a dream and based the floor plan and décor of the temple on this design; namely two offset, intersecting squares. Much like the 6-point Star of David but with 8 points instead.
Ernest continues by quoting the caption from Temple and Cosmos about the seal of Melchizedek. This is the only place that I’ve found on the internet that talks about the architect’s involvement in the design of this symbol, but it has some differences from the version of the story that my parents told me, namely that the designer purportedly saw the symbol in a dream.
Other interspersed references to the symbol online refer to it as a six-pointed star, not eight, and conflate it as the same symbol as the Seal of Solomon, or the Star of David. There might actually be some correlation between the two symbols, which we will explore in a later post.
One interesting find was that someone had posted a question to the 100 Hour Board at BYU asking about the appearance of this symbol on the Newport and Redlands California temples. The responder gave the description from Temple and Cosmos also. So this symbol makes its appearance on more than just the San Diego Temple. As the questioner pointed out, the symbol has also made its way into LDS merchandising (see image above). Usually in these instances it has become referred to as the “Melchizedek Priesthood Symbol.”
As I learned more about this symbol, I wanted to know more about the origin of the story of the symbol on the San Diego California Temple, and to clarify any inaccuracies that might have crept into the story. I couldn’t find any other account online of the design of this temple, so I decided to call the design architect of the temple, Br. William S. Lewis, Jr., and ask him directly. He is a member of the Church and a current sealer at the San Diego Temple. I thought that he’d probably be able to give me the most accurate account of the story behind this symbol, which I will relate in the next portion of this series.