I was able to recently visit the temple in Idaho Falls, and while it may not be "pioneer" architecture, it is significant in that it was the last temple truly built for a live endowment. (The Los Angeles Temple also had all four rooms, but from its dedication used a tape recording to facilitate the presentation of the endowment.) Even though the temple now uses film to present the endowment, its unique architecture remains, and I wanted to give a brief walkthrough of the temple. The pictures of the interior come from The Idaho Falls Temple: The First LDS Temple in Idaho, by Delbert V. Groberg; I've also added pictures from the Mormon Newsroom's article on the recent renovation and open house.
First, I liked the arrangement of the temple's lobby and chapel (called 'assembly room,' but really the chapel) where patrons gather before a session begins. Patrons enter the lobby from the recommend desk. On either side are corridors leading to the locker rooms; at the front are the doors leading to the chapel. Above these doors are painted the words, "The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him" (Habakkuk 2:20).
|Idaho Falls Temple Lobby|
|Idaho Falls Mural and Staircase|
|Idaho Falls Creation Room|
|Idaho Falls Creation Room|
It gives us the perspective of the Creator, which is unique to any creation room I've been in. I also liked how stars twinkled down from the ceiling at the appropriate part of the presentation.
|Idaho Falls Creation Room|
|Garden Room, looking toward the back of the room|
Idaho Falls Garden Room
The most striking thing about the garden room are the two trees at the front (representing the two main trees in the Garden of Eden), which are not only painted, but also carved into the wall. This gives them a three-dimensional effect that made them stand out. They are technically bas-reliefs, and surprisingly, they were done by Torleif Knaphus, a Mormon artist with many well-known works.
|Idaho Falls Garden Room|
|Idaho Falls Garden Room Tree Detail|
Idaho Falls World Room - Back (South Wall)
Idaho Falls World Room - Side (East Wall)
Idaho Falls World Room - Side (West Wall)
The world room murals teach a lot of different aspects that gave me additional insight into the teachings of the endowment. This is the whole purpose of murals, so I really enjoyed it.
|Idaho Falls World Room|
This mural includes a pioneer wagon train crossing the landscape into the Salt Lake Valley, as well a depiction of the miracle of the seagulls. A pioneer couple tills the ground, clearly reminiscent and symbolic of Adam and Eve--the first to work on the earth. These depictions speak to temple patrons of the difficulty of this world, but also the joys and miracles we experience while living here. Heber J. Grant, upon touring this room, responded by "terming the mural as an innovation and expressing enthusiastic approval...satisfaction was given by J. Reuben Clark and other high church officials."
When I went through the temple (around 2012), the curtains were all shut in the creation, garden, and world rooms. I thought this was a real shame, since the windows are stained glass (which means the curtains don't need to be closed for privacy). I understand the use of film might require darkness, but other temples (such as Oquirrh Mountain) have curtains that open and close automatically, as needed. Fortunately, all of the new pictures of the temple show the curtains open, which gives me hope that these windows will be visible when the film isn't being used in the endowment.
The terrestrial room is next:
|Idaho Falls Terrestrial Room|
|Idaho Falls Temple Stained Glass|
Patrons pass through the veil of the temple into the celestial room, which also has murals. These were done by Lee Greene Richards. On the east wall (the view patrons see as they enter), there are paintings representing the eternal rest of those who have lived the gospel of Jesus Christ. The whole room is painted as a landscape, suggesting that the celestial kingdom isn't a building or a place--it's a whole world for the Saints of God to enjoy. According to LDS doctrine, families are united for eternity.
Idaho Falls Celestial Room - East Wall
A couple of sealing rooms are also located off the south side of the celestial room.
Idaho Falls Celestial Room - Southeast Corner; one of the two sealing rooms is visible
On the west wall is a depiction of the vision of John the Beloved, seeing the New Jerusalem descend from the sky.
Idaho Falls Celestial Room - West Wall (on the left are two sealing rooms)
In this interpretation, the city in the vision is Temple Square--the outlines of the Salt Lake Temple and Assembly Hall are clearly visible.
The roof of the celestial room opens up into the tower. You will notice that the more recent pictures appear much more bright than the old ones; I believe the renovation has opened up more windows along the sides of the room.
The ordinance rooms are not the only ones to have murals; the baptistry also has murals. These were also done by Lee Greene Richards. The main mural (visible here) is The Baptism of Jesus; on the left is The Baptism of Oliver and Joseph, and on the right is The Baptizing of a Convert. Richards also painted quotes from D&C 20:37 and D&C 128:15 over the entrance to the baptistry.
The oxen are quite unique in comparison to other temples--they were done in a very modern style.
This temple is lovely. It has a variety of styles (true to the time period in which it was built), and it has been lovingly restored. I highly recommend attending this temple if you get the chance.