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.
It is great that you went directly to the primary source. Now we are on the edges of our seats. So, I hope your next post comes quickly. I cannot wait to hear what Brother Lewis had to say.
Anyway, thanks for these posts on the seal of Melchizedek — a fascinating topic.
Another temple that displays a motif similar to the “seal of Melchizedek” is the Bountiful Temple in Utah. Everywhere, even in the parking lot, one sees a circle in a square. Some of the squares take on a star shape, even an eight pointed star. The symbolic meanings of this motif are many. One is that the square represents the four corners of the earth that progressively become round. In this progression the earth goes from finite to infinite, mortal to immortal, or telestial to celestial. So it can be with our progression.
Anthony E. Larson
While inquisitive saints struggle to make sense of this or that temple symbol, they seem to ignore the origins of all these symbols as astral. These symbols were all icons originally seen in Earth’s ancient skies, from the Star of David, to the Seal of Melchizedek, to the Saturn Stones and Star Stones. Prodigeous displays of sight and sound in what can only be called “dramatically enhanced auroral” phenomenon played out across Earth’s ancient skies. Even the Christian cross devolves from the same origin. Putting those symbols on the walls of our temples is the prophets’ way of preserving that cosmological heritage. But, because we are indoctrinated in the “philosophies of men” wherein we are taught to believe that there has never been anything in our skies that we don’t see now, we completely miss this priceless message. Nevertheless, it remains a part of our temple heritage, preserved there in stone for all time as a mute witness of those events.
As you mentioned in your post, “this symbol makes its appearance on more than just the San Diego Temple.” I just returned from the Salt Lake Temple. As I entered, I noticed on the glass entrance doors to the recommend lobby the Seal of Melchizedek is present. Also, within the circle is the ever-present beehive found throughout the Salt Lake Temple.
The architect of the San Diego Temple mentioned that same glass entrance door at the Salt Lake Temple. I wonder if there is a photograph of it anywhere…
This is all quite fascinating. I have never heard about this symbol until your series of articles.
Look at the west, glass entrance doors of the Albuquerque Temple.
Hint, hint, hint . . . . . . . .
This symbol is all over the Salt Lake Temple and Temple Square. Including the Conference Center. I have found this symbol in every LDS Temple that I have visited, most recently the chandelier of the Oquirrh Mountain Temple. What is intersting to me is how many other places I have notices this symbol. Like the tallest buildings in Kuala Lampour and a Masonic Temple I recently visited for an open house. I first noticed this symbol on college while studying the history of ancient India and the middle east. This symbol is everywhere! I’m happy that there are others as interested in it as I am.
Ever since I heard of this symbol in a fireside from one of the SD Temple designers, I wondered why there hasn’t been more excitement about it! Not only has it shown up on the Salt Lake City Temple, but it’s derivatives are all around temple square. I saw it in Iraq and now I see it all over many Mosques and even my own apartment building in Kuwait. I’m trying to find out what it means to the locals but either it’s sacred to them and they won’t discuss it or it’s so ancient that it is just traditional to them and the meaning has been lost on them? I’ll be posting pictures from Kuwait and other places at SealofMelchizedek.com soon and hope to create a page where everyone can post pics and places where they find it too.