Do you know much about Indianapolis? Of course you don’t. It’s the capital city of Indiana, a flyover state. What else is there to know? And like our gentile counterparts, in the Mormon world—outside the 11 Stakes within the new Indiana Temple district—Indianapolis more often than not elicits vague responses like, “Oh, that place with the big race car race?”
Well, I’ll do you one better. I’ve moved across the country recently so I didn’t fly over Indiana…I drove through it! That means I got to see Indianapolis up close and personal as we zoomed through on I-70, shouting briefly, hey, what’s this skyline? Where are we? Is this a city? How? What’s that massive building? A football stadium? Who are the Colts?
Let’s just say I was exposed to a lot of new knowledge during the 10 minutes it took to speed through downtown Indianapolis and back to the miles of cornfields, row upon row, upon row.
So when I say I know Indianapolis, please know that among certain circles, I’m basically the resident expert. But the truth of the matter is, I’ve been on somewhat of an educational bender with that great American city lately, because of another edifice that is of larger note within the Mormon Universe than, say Lucas Oil Stadium, where the Colts play.
Yes, Indianapolis is the newest city to soon dedicate a Mormon temple. But what you didn’t know is that the capital of Indiana is already a city of temples and memorials, war and soldier memorials to be precise. The Indiana War Memorial Plaza Historic District is an amazing tourist attraction in the heart of the city that contains two museums, three parks, and 24 acres of monuments, statues, sculptures, and fountains. Indianapolis, man. Who knew?
That’s just what makes the new Indianapolis Temple so great. We’ve seen by now that when a new location gets a temple, whoever is on the temple architecture, design and decoration committee (I just named that myself) takes what I like to call the Starbucks approach, and aesthetically customizes each temple to its location with design and decorative elements that hearken cultural notes and geographical expressions unique to the region and the region’s history.
That means, in a city that is home to the national headquarters of the American Legion (see how much I know?) and a central green quad that boasts more war and patriotic monuments than anywhere else, save Washington, D.C., savvy were the temple designers to appropriately appropriate some of those elements into the look of Indiana’s first temple.
Here’s a teaser with the Indianapolis temple spire. See the similarities to the Indiana War Memorial above?
As the Indiana War Memorials site suggests, it seeks to
“acknowledge and honor the value and sacrifice of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines of the United States, and of all who rendered faithful, loyal, heroic and self-sacrificing service at home and overseas, and to inspire patriotism and respect for the laws to the end that peace may prevail, justice be administered, public order maintained and liberty perpetuated; and preserving and promoting the historical and educational activities of the Indiana War Memorials.”
It seems fitting, then, to so purposefully recall Indiana’s pride to honoring those who have served our nation, in an edifice that is also dedicated to service.
It really is a stunning architectural accomplishment that has genuinely moved me in a spiritual way (as any great architecture should).
Just look at it. A memorial to faith, a house of God. A monument to the very best that we can be as we sacrifice to serve others. I’d say it fits right in with Indianapolis. Maybe next time I fly over or drive through, I’ll actually stop and appreciate this true gem of a town in the midwest. And who knows, maybe I’ll learn what a Hoosier is, too.