Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Philadelphia's Mormon Temple

Logan Square's Mormon Temple is beginning to take shape. And while many may not quite understand the group Homer Simpson once referred to as "America's most powerful weirdos," Philadelphia's trade unions and even our City Hall could take a page from the discipline employed at the site.

No smoking. No coffee. No cursing.

That might sound silly. It certainly sounds silly to me, particularly since I indulge in each with great reverence.

But the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has its own notion of reverence, one that includes strict discipline embraced to evoke an optimism and excitement uncharacteristic of an ordinary Negadelphian.

I don't have to be religious to appreciate what the Mormons are bringing to Logan Square. The new temple is utterly beautiful. America's own incarnation of Christianity sharing the street with Christianity's oldest denomination is also uniquely symbolic.

While most of us will never be allowed inside the Mormon Temple after its completion, its architecture is worthy of the address of the Catholic Basilica of Saint Peter and Paul, and guided by more rigid design and construction standards.

Pat Gillespie's union routinely fusses with conventioneers who want to plug in their laptops, but the Philadelphia Building Trades Council has accommodated the church's unique requirements. Daily work begins with a review of the itinerary and an optional prayer, and cookies. Perhaps it's the cookies that quell the typical union nonsense. Perhaps it's the optimism. Perhaps it's the blind faith and boatloads of cash afforded by the Latter Day Saints.

Whatever it is, the construction site is easily the cleanest, friendliest, and most productive Philadelphia's seen since the Great Depression.

The new Mormon Temple will be located at the corner of 18th and Vine, next to the soon to be defunct Family Court building. Scaled and styles appreciative to the neighboring Franklin Institute and Free Library of Philadelphia, the temple is a welcome replacement for the surface parking lot it replaced.


  1. Correction....the Church invites everyone to tour the inside of the temple when construction finishes. They go out of their way to have a month long open house...the public is invited

    1. Thanks for the correction. I'm looking forward to taking a tour when it's finished!