Surreal Estate

Robrt Pela Tours Gilbert's New Mormon Temple

I visited the new Mormon temple in Gilbert. The big, beautiful art glass windows were worth the trip. The wall-to-wall interior limestone was stunning; the crystal chandeliers were magnificent. The building's castle-like, three-story neoclassic façade, layered with concrete and white quartz and topped by a 195-foot spire, is straight off a movie backlot or maybe one of Disney's better theme parks. There are water features and a pergola, and massive gardens filled with native plants. Where curb appeal is concerned, the Latter-day Saints have really delivered this time.

What's more, the temple might be the cleanest building I've ever been in. Having grown up in a home run by a housewife from Ohio, that's saying a lot. The marble floors were gleaming; the sunken baptistry spotless; the shiny entry hall neat as a pin. Even the shafts of light pouring through all that colored glass appeared to be dust-free.

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela