“Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness,” Says the Bible Dictionary in the LDS edition of the Bible. It seems that some in the mountain west might be taking this a little too far. It appears that it has become a common trend for some LDS to take a spare room in their house, add some modest furniture, paint the walls white, hang some Church artwork, and maybe even an altar! And by doing so, create their own Celestial Room.
I remember one evening doing a Google search for “celestial room,” that led me to a resort in Utah that had its own celestial room! (see here) I said to myself, wait aren’t celestial rooms reserved for the temple? Apparently not. The practice of creating a quite room dedicated to prayer and study is not new or exclusively LDS, it does become interesting when Mormonism puts its spin on it, especially with our unique temple liturgy.
Let’s go back in history a bit; the original Nauvoo Endowment was given to a special group of Joseph Smith’s close friends often called the Anointed Quorum. It was given, not in a temple, but in the attic of the Prophets red brick store. It seems that a temple proper is not necessary for the ordinances we normally associate with it. Brigham Young even dedicated one mountain top as a natural temple. It was recorded that at one point on the trek west Brigham Young and several other Elders dressed in their temple clothes and retired to the top of a mountain to Pray according to the True Order.
Later in LDS history we see Brigham Young encouraging every family to have a temple style Altar in their homes, he even includes dimensions! By Common Consent has an excellent blog about Family altars, by J. Stapley. We see that certain elements of temple worship were brought out of the temples and into homes. Up until the 1970’s, extra temple Prayer circles were the norm in some Stakes. Once they were stopped at the Stake Level, because there were not enough opportunities for all to participate, it seems the practice stopped completely.
That brings us to today. After some searching and posting questions on LDS forums; it seems that some Mormons are bringing the temple back into their homes. The practice ranges from simply having a living room with no TV and a set of scriptures, to a full blown recreation of what one would expect in a celestial room. Personally I applaud the idea, why not bring a little piece of the temple back home with you? If having your own altar reminds you to pray more often what harm could it cause? This is the sort of thing I could see myself doing if I had the space.
Don’t be fooled, this practice is not exclusive to LDS eHow has a page showing you how to create your own prayer room for any religion. It seems that some people have an embedded drive to create sacred space where it is easily accessible. I wish more people were that in touch with their spirituality.