#7 - Party with the Founding Fathers


First to cross off the list!  ADS and I toured the national the Masonic temple in Alexandria this morning.  It was very, very interesting.  

Not being a fan of the Dan Brown books (gag me), I really had very little idea what to expect on the innards of the Masonic temple.  The exterior of the temple was grand, but not what I would consider beautiful.  It's rather clunky, but portions of it were poetic (I loved, for example, the columns at the entrance).

Quirky things about the temple:1.  The elevators move diagonal Willy Wonka-style.  I noticed it right away (and by "noticed" I mean "tried desperately not to fall down by holding onto something solid").  ADS told me I was crazy.  ...And then the tour guide pointed it out near the end of the tour.

2.  Of the 5 floors that we toured, each level (with 1 exception) had just one room.  Each time we emerged from the
elevator, my mind was completely blown.  For lots of different reasons.  [More about that below.]

3.  Each and every tree as far as the eye could see (that might be an overstatement) had a stone memorial at its base.  Both ADS and I thought that they were graves.  Nope.  They were sponsorship markers.  Weird.

4.  My favorite artifact in the museum portion of the temple?  I kid you not:  "Beer can found in the attic of the temple.  Circa 1946."  Whut?  Uh huh.

Thoughts on Each Level:
Entrance - Kind of cool, but not really.  They statue was pretty interesting and very well done (see above), but it was more of just a waiting area than anything else.

2nd Floor - This part of the temple was actually 2 levels, and comprised the museum component of the temple.  It had two components:  1) George Washington artifacts, and 2) artifacts related to the building of the temple (see beer can above).

4th Floor - This is the portion that really knocked the wind out of me.  We emerged from the elevators into a medium-sized enclosure that was covered with Egyptian-style murals.  In the confluence of Egyptian, Hebraic and Aramaic symbolism (and text), I stood in amazement at the deep, rich symbolism in this room. 

Here were not only murals flanking the walls, but a small enclosure holding a replica of those instruments used in the tabernacle/temples of the Old Testament, including the ark of the covenant.  (See picture at left.)

As some of you know, I am pretty obsessed with the Old Testament.  And ancient Hebrew.  And both ancient and apostate temple rituals.  So, this was pretty overwhelming for me.

5th Floor - Up one more floor was the room of the Knights Templar (a term well known to you Dan Brown freaks...and I say "freaks" in the most loving way possible).  There were some beautiful stained glass windows in this room, all very Christ-centered.  The tour guide said something while we were standing in this room that really struck me.  He said, "As stone masons make better stone blocks for better buildings, free masons make better men for better societies."  I think that is very beautiful, very poetic - and very true of the Gospel in my life...Only, I'm not just being made better for society, I'm being made better for a grander purpose.

6th Floor - Up to the highest floor to which we were taken.  After all of this symbolism and, just, awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, Gospel-rich wonderfulness, I must say that this level was a bit of a let-down.  It was quite small - though it did sport a throne and a miniature baptismal font (which, once the tour guide found out we were both LDS, was specifically pointed out as what the Mormons all seem to recognize when they go on the tour...oh, honey, if only she knew the half of it!).  There was a viewing deck outside that had expansive views of the city on all directions.

1st Floor - I deliberately skipped the first floor above, because this is where the Spirit really, truly kicked me in the gut and testified to me.  After the formal tour, ADS and I explored a bit and found one of the two lodge rooms in the temple.  We went in, looked around and then sat and talked for a few minutes.  I won't say too much here, but will instead let the pictures do the talking...

All in all, pretty darn incredible. 

And definitely some food for thought.


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