One-Minute Answers by Stephen R. Gibson

Contents of One-Minute Answers

Does the Temple Display Pentagrams?

Question: Doesn't the Salt Lake Temple display satanic pentagrams on its exterior walls?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is viewed by some extremists among its critics to be a satanic cult. Those who view the Church in this light think they have discovered pentagrams on the Salt Lake Temple's exterior which they conclude are of the occult, and therefore, satanic in origin.

Pentagrams are, by definition, any five-pointed, star-shaped figure. It is no secret that there are five-pointed stars on the outside walls of the Salt Lake Temple; they are there for all to see and admire. However, only those with a jaundiced eye to Mormonism would declare such symbols to be pagan and occult upon viewing them in person. James E. Talmage gives this description of these star stones:

There are in the walls several series of stones of emblematical design and significance, such as those representing the earth, moon, sun, and stars, and in addition are cloud stones, and stones bearing inscriptions ....

Star-Stones are numerous; each bears in relief the figure of a five-pointed star. On the east center-tower immediately below the battlements are sixteen of these, four on each face, and on each of the east comer towers are twelve such stones, making forty on these towers alone. The Keystones of the doorways and those of the window arches belong to this class, each bearing a single star.

Star-Stones of another kind appear on the face of the center tower at the west. Here, above the highest window and extending to the base of the battlement course, are seen the seven stars of the northern constellation Ursa Major or Great Bear, otherwise known as the Dipper. The group is so placed that the two stars called Pointers are practically in line with the North Star itself (The House of the Lord, pp. 148-50).

Five-sided stars have occasionally been used by Church members in various artistic expressions since the time of Joseph Smith. Some have noted their connection with Church newspapers, Nauvoo legion uniforms, with the concept of deseret, and with the genealogical society of the Church. These stars, for the most part, have been pentagrams only in the sense that they are five-sided stars.

Extremist critics, however, lead unwitting readers to untrue assumptions. They first explain that inverted stars are known as "goat heads" and depict a goat's head within a star that has two points facing up, and then say that the stars on the temple also have two points facing up. What they do not mention is that the five-sided stars can be found placed at various angles, only occasionally having two points up. There are no goat's heads carved on these temple stars. Mormonism is vehemently opposed to anything satanic, and critics' allegations are therefore a distortion of the Church's position.

No one argues that a certain type of pentagram is significant to members of the occult. But to imply that any use of any five-sided star constitutes allegiance to Satan flies in the face of reason. Numerous secular organizations, not least among them the Boy Scouts of America and the U.S. Government, have utilized five-pointed stars as part of their symbolism. Does that make them satanic as well? Are Americans who salute the flag and its fifty pentagrams unwittingly pledging their allegiance to Satan? Of course not.

For most of today's Church members, the stars on the Salt Lake Temple are mainly decorative nuances around the windows and cornices of the temple. That some of them happen to be pointing downward has no significance other than to add variety to the arrangement.

Among today's Church members there are those who interpret the stars as representing light and knowledge. Others see them as referring to the Telestial Kingdom. No other temple is similarly decorated.

In his own time, Jesus also had to contend with those who allege his ministry was inspired and directed by Satan: "But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils" (Matt. 12:24).

Perhaps Jesus' response to this allegation is applicable for today's critics of his temple:

Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? (Matt. 12:25-26)
It is no secret that the LDS Church is opposed to Satan and his plan to enslave mankind. Why then, on the exterior of their temple, would they place symbols promoting this enslavement? The clear answer is that they did not do so. This allegation by extremist anti-Mormon critics is clearly without factual basis, and it typifies their penchant for maliciously attempting to portray the Church in an improper light by making absurd assumptions and comparisons.

There critics would do well to heed the advice of the Savior as he continued addressing his critics: "But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matt. 12:36).