Best Show in Vegas – and My New Favorite Celestial Room

Tonight I had a break from the rigors of an intellectual property strategy course I’m taking in Las Vegas, leaving me with enough time to participate in a session at the LDS Temple here. Best show in town! A bit pricey when tithing is considered, but unlike most of the attractions here, you’re almost certain to leave this establishment better off than when you came.

It’s a pretty temple from the outside, but the majesty of its celestial room caught me by surprise. What fabulously beautiful architecture! Bold lines, gentle curves, sweeping diagonals, an intricate sun theme, beautiful windows and lighting, in a bright, open, and very light presentation that cheers the heart.

The Las Vegas Temple gets my award for Best Celestial Room. And it’s literally just minutes away from Paradise – without any need to depart from your mortal body. (Paradise is a poorly named unincorporated township next to Las Vegas that includes much of the Strip.)

It was built in 1989, yet looks as fresh and new as if it had just opened. It’s on the western eastern foothills overlooking the city and can be seen from many parts of town. In fact, I can see it from the window of my cheap hotel room on Las Vegas Boulevard (comfortably away from the main Strip).

I got there after the sun went down, but was still able to get a few photos. Here’s one:


Author: Jeff Lindsay

9 thoughts on “Best Show in Vegas – and My New Favorite Celestial Room

  1. Yes the temple is quite nice…I have done several sessions there myself. One correction: it is in the eastern foothills.

    Also, I am kind of dismayed at your general attitude toward Las Vegas. You may not like gambling, and that’s fine. But it is the economic engine that drives the state – even as non-gaming revenue accounts for less than half of the revenue for many 4 and 5 star resorts as shopping, high-end dining and shows are becoming more and more important to the bottom line. The 21 stakes of Mormons in the Las Vegas Valley I suspect view gambling as a necessary evil and have to have a “Live and Let Live” attitude.

    There is much that can be enjoyed without ever setting foot in a gaming area. The art galleries at Bellagio and Wynn, the Guggenheim-Hermitage art gallery at the Venetian, the shark reef exhibit at Mandalay Bay, and my favorite – the dancing waters shows every half hour in front of the Bellagio. Italian arias synchronized with huge fountains = tears of joy.

    You may wish to check out the book “Saints in Babylon” detailing the history of the church and its members there.

  2. Yep, the street paradise, north of the airport, is quite dismaying. If your Vegas experience is limited to the strip, and the drive to the temple, you aren’t seeing the vegas that the locals live in.

    My suggestion would be to take a drive out to Summerlin, or Silverado Ranch, Or basically any residential area.

    If you have the time, head out to Red Rock (Take Charleston West to the Mountains). It is a gorgeous park, with an amazing view, just minutes from the city.

    I hope you are taking advantage of the amazing culinary and cultural opportunities we have here, or at least seeing the beautiful natural wonders (Red Rock, Valley of Fire, Lake Mead, etc).

  3. Someone I know in Las Vegas once remarked that Bonanza Road (the road that leads to the temple) appear to be straight as you drive toward the temple but crooked as you drive back down into the valley — an interesting illusion. I second the suggestions to visit Summerlin and Redrock park out to the west.

  4. Shman! That is ridiculously beautiful. I don’t care what you believe, you’d be crazy not admit how stunning some of these temples are.

    I’ve never been to the temple, but it’s definitely on my “to do” list.

  5. The temple was our first stop after being picked up at the airport. President Taylor would ask that we all be quiet as he took us around the the temple grounds. We would stop at the circular tiled paving stones on the west side and look over the city. He would comment on how the temple was a spiritual oasis in the heart of babylon. It was always a special experience attending the temple on P-Day.

    The city and the strip are really two separate creatures in a strange symbiotic relationship.

    There’s nowhere I’d rather tract for hours 😉

    As a visa-waiter who was only suppose to stay for a month, I’m glad I ended up spending my entire mission there.

  6. I think I’d have to selectively disagree with the first comment (anonymous): “…Mormons in the Las Vegas Valley I suspect view gambling as a necessary evil and have to have a “Live and Let Live” attitude.”

    I was born and raised in Vegas as a member of a devoutly active family. My experience was that, yes, many have the attitude of “Live and Let Live” toward gambling. But many others (maybe even 50%, but it’s not like I’ve done a scientific study of the question (hee hee)) detest gambling and the type of life that is glorified on the Strip. Yes, some parts of the Strip are gorgeous. But it is all directed at one thing–to separate you from your money while stoking your greed.

    At BYU I actually met far more people with a casual attitude toward gambling than I did at home (which may have been a function of who is willing to talk about it). It’s an in-your-face type of issue in Vegas, one that usually can’t be ignored (I mean, the grocery stores have slot machines. I never knew that was weird until I was 18).

    Sorry for such a long post. I COMPLETELY agree that the Celestial Room in the Las Vegas Temple is the most beautiful one that I have ever seen. If you get a chance, you should try going in the morning before the sun comes up–so that you make it into the CR when the sun is still low over the mountain. Sunlight through the cut glass star windows…the most gorgeous thing ever! And the new granite floor in the foyer–vast, vast improvement over the carpet that used to be there.

  7. I did take a quick spin up to Red Rock Canyon and saw the red rock, sadly after sunset. Very nice.

    The gambling “ethic” extends way past the strip, unfortunately. Five miles away, the little Best Western Parkside where I stayed had a video poker lounge. The proprietor expressed shock and genuine disappointment when I told him I didn’t gamble. He obviously relied on the machines for income.

    I stopped at a 7-11 by my hotel to get a bite after a late reception at my workshop, and there was a sadly typical sight: an older woman sat huddled next to the video machine as if she lived there, dumping in coins to play again and again in that dingy, smokey joint while I was there.

    Gambling wipes out millions among the wealthy, but it’s worse that it soaks up desperately needed cash from the poor. It rips off the widow’s mite.

    I’m happy to report that the two LDS buildings I visited in Las Vegas did NOT have video poker or slots (unless I missed something in the clerk’s office).

    I detest gambling. I’ve seen too many families hurt by it. And I trust that most active LDS people are with me on this.

    No evil is necessary, especially gambling.

  8. Here, here on the anti-gambling lobby. The project I work on involves the historical origins of the church in Las Vegas. A tenuous relationship indeed–sadly, the relationship is nevertheless real.

    While members (rightfully) deride the gambling industry (as do I), some of them have nevertheless given into without even knowing it. Gambling means low-to-no taxes. Low taxes means Nevada is a nice place to mvoe. While Saints have loathed the casinos, they nevertheless benefit from them when they move to Nevada because of low taxes (other reasons-fine. Here, it is the motive that counts).

  9. Hey,

    I was married in the Las Vegas Temple and I haven’t been able to find a picture of it that shows its beauty quite like the picture on this page does. Is there anyway I could get a version of that picture with high enough resolution to print a decent sized picture with?
    Please let me know. Thanks so much,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.