The tour begins at the visitor's center where you view a 10 minute film that explains what a temple is. It is a place of learning.
You walk across the street with your group and have a brief introduction and then are led to a tent where volunteers put plastic booties on your feet to protect the wood floors and carpeting inside from the many visitors that will pass through over the next month. Not an unreasonable request.
I am not sure what I expected to see inside but I have envisioned an elaborate altar somewhere and it was not like that at all. There were a lot of rooms and stairs to the many levels in the building. Photographs were not permitted inside these rooms but photographs were permitted in the receiving area where you were allowed to ask the members any questions.
On our tour we were taken through several rooms were ordinances occur. Ordinances in the Mormon religion are sacred rites and ceremonies. The first room was the Baptistry. This is where you can act on behalf of your ancestry and have them baptized if they passed without being baptized. What you cannot see is the lower level which consists of twelve oxen holding up the baptismal. These oxen represent the Twelve Tribes of Israel. It was a beautiful meticulous room with a stunning painting on the wall of a baptism and a crystal chandelier hanging above.
Samples of the building material used in the Baptistry were on display in the receiving area, fine craftsman materials.
Next we walked past the changing room were members arrive in regular cloths and the women change into white dresses and the men change into a white shirt and white pants. This symbolizes equality. We an usher lead us through the building but he did not speak and we were not permitted to ask questions. A few of the rooms contained ushers who spoke about the rooms.
There are a series of Instruction Room where audio and video presentations take place to teach you about Jesus Christ. If I understand it correctly you progress to different levels in the Instruction Rooms.
Again samples of the structures in the rooms were available in the reception room. The stone flooring was from Egypt.
The sealing room is the place where a couple seals their commitment to marriage. Unlike the vows we are all familiar to, "until death do we part", Mormons believe that a marriage lasts "forever".
This was a sample of the stained glass window in the sealing room. You can view those windows from the outside from the Rooftop Garden.
The Celestial Room was the final room we were to visit. There is a enormous crystal chandelier in the center of a large seating area. This room is for members to sit and reflect on the love of family. The chandelier with all its brilliant reflections has you looking up towards the heavens suggesting a direction to turn to.
Materials again were available to view fro this room in the reception are.
Free Tickets are still available with free parking if available until September 9, 2016. It is worth a look.
I have been to the Salt Lake City, Utah campus. Now I know what I was unable to see inside. It is different but very beautiful and tastefully constructed in the Federal style to match the Philadelphia history. I do wish you could have asked questions as you went along but I can easily see if they ha permitted that we all would have been there all day and there were a lot of groups going through. It was well organized and no real waiting.