On the exterior of the Salt Lake Temple, there are many celestial symbols such as moonstones, sunstones, starstones, etc. On the central west tower of the Salt Lake Temple on the upper section is the constellation of the Big Dipper. Why?
All of these celestial symbols are reminders of the vision of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price. In Abraham 3:1-13:
1 And I, Abraham, had the Urim and Thummim, which the Lord my God had given unto me, in Ur of the Chaldees;
2 And I saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; and there were many great ones which were near unto it;
3 And the Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest.
4 And the Lord said unto me, by the Urim and Thummim, that Kolob was after the manner of the Lord, according to its times and seasons in the revolutions thereof; that one revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest. This is the reckoning of the Lord’s time, according to the reckoning of Kolob.
5 And the Lord said unto me: The planet which is the lesser light, lesser than that which is to rule the day, even the night, is above or greater than that upon which thou standest in point of reckoning, for it moveth in order more slowly; this is in order because it standeth above the earth upon which thou standest, therefore the reckoning of its time is not so many as to its number of days, and of months, and of years. …
9 And thus there shall be the reckoning of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob, which Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord’s time; which Kolob is set nigh unto the throne of God, to govern all those planets which belong to the same border as that upon which thou standest. …
13 And he said unto me: This is Shinehah, which is the sun. And he said unto me: Kokob, which is star. And he said unto me: Olea, which is the moon. And he said unto me: Kokaubeam, which signifies stars, or all the great lights, which were in the firmament of heaven.
We learn that stars are people. Kolob is the person nearest to God the Father, hence Kolob is a symbol of Christ. The Big Dipper is famous for pointing to the North Star, the one star in the heavens that never moves and all the other stars revolve around. Therefore, the North Star is kind of like Kolob that Abraham spoke of. The Egyptians called the North Star “The Nail”, which for us has a very strong reference to the crucifixion and atonement of Jesus Christ. Also, notice that the Big Dipper is made up of seven stars or the seven prophets that head up each of the dispensations of time. From Adam, to Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ (who led the dispensation of the meridian of time), and Joseph Smith (who introduced the dispensation of the fullness of times) they point to the North Star, Kolob or Christ.
So the Salt Lake Temple is oriented on earth pointing to the North Star, or “The Nail”, or Kolob for which all the ordinances of the temple are possible because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
(I have to thank my husband for writing this up for me. He will continue with more temple symbolism in the future. My purpose may seem vague at this point, but I will show you how all of this has to do with us, as women and daughters of God.)