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History of the Nauvoo Temple Inverted Star Windows

NAUVOO TEMPLE - The beautiful inverted stained glass star windows on the Nauvoo Temple have a very meaningful history dating back to the early Christian church.  On the Nauvoo Temple Known as the Morning Star in Rev 22:16 it is a symbol of Jesus Christ. Nauvoo Temple window history in LDS Church or Mormon history

The History of the Nauvoo Temple Star Windows


The beautiful inverted stained glass star windows that adorn the top of the Nauvoo Temple have a very meaningful history dating back to the early Christian church. Known as the “Morning Star” in Rev 22:16 it is a symbol of Jesus Christ. When the actual Morning Star’s (Venus) orbit is tracked each morning it creates a mathematically perfect inverted five-point star.

Carved in stone in Old Testament times the inverted star can still be seen on surviving structures and in many museums. In 312A.D. the inverted star was combined with the cross and placed on doors, windows, banners... and even battle armor as a symbol for good and for protection against evil.  Early Christians regarded it as a symbol of Christ. Many of the ancient cathedrals and churches of Europe were decorated with the inverted stained glass stars. Early Christian records state that it stood for the five wounds that Jesus Christ received during the crucifixion.

Famous shrines, such as the Notre Dame Amiens Cathedral in France (1230 A.D.) or the Marketirche church in Germany (1350 A.D.), Catholic Collégiale Notre-Dame de Vitry-le-François, a 17th century building that survived World War II all still have the massive stained glass inverted stars windows.

Over centuries it has continued to grace countless buildings, windows, and banners. It adorns many early American structures and churches, and is found on barns, homes, and gates of early colonial families. The inverted star was used on various versions of the United States Flag until 1876; the most famous flag being the one that flew over Fort McHenry in 1814 and inspired the verses of the Star Spangled Banner. In 1862 Congress ordered the Philadelphia Mint to create the National Medal of Honor, the military’s highest award. The design is a dominant inverted five-point Star and is still used today by every branch of the military. The inverted star is widely used in many other forms; from Sheriff’s badges to the elephant logo of the Republican Party.

Unlike the large, intricate stained glass inverted stars found in the famous Cathedrals, the early Nauvoo Latter-day Saints had only the means to gather enough materials for a humble three color inverted star stained glass window; they chose red, white, and blue. Though simple in its design, and mocked in a nearby newspaper as a “pitiful attempt” the humble inverted stars on the Nauvoo Temple were a wonderful delight to those who saw them backlit each night.

When the Nauvoo Temple was rebuilt and dedicated in 2002, President Gordon B. Hinckley determined that the three-color stained glass windows would once again adorn the Temple. The beautiful Morning Star windows again glow at night as they once did and remind us of the sacrifice of those early pioneers who loved the Lord.

See below various examples of the inverted star

nauvoo temple star window medal of honor
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nauvoo star pentagram windows
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nauvoo temple star windows
Click here to see stained glass stars - available in Nauvoo

Click here to see stained glass stars - available in Nauvoo

FURTHER READING:  It is often asked why this star that's clearly used on Churches, Badges, Medals, Temples etc . . . is sometimes referred to as a pentagram or a sign of evil.  First - a pentagram ('penta' - greek for five & 'gram' or gramma - Greek for written or design) is any five-pointed star, with all lines being the same length and all angles being the same - regardless of what direction it is turned - 'pentangle', 'star pentagon', or 'pentalpha' means the same thing.  These stars originally meant 'any symbol that protects against evil'.  Only during the modern age has the word 'pentacle' or pentagram acquired second, inaccurate meaning.  Wicca is a neo-pagan (meaning "new pagan") religion that was created by a British man named Gerald Gardner in the mid-to-late 1940s. Gardner popularized the new religion via his books that were published in 1949, 1954, and 1959.  Due to sounding similar to the word 'pentagram', and the fact that 'wiccan pentacles' as they were called, simply began using a pentagram as their logo or symbol.  As a result the Christian symbol began to be overtaken and confused with something related to wicca.  As his new witchcraft religion began to grow Gardner even altered, changed and or added content to long established Christian rituals.  He even mimicked the Catholic mass.  Holding up a chalice during his rituals and wearing an upside down cross, Gardner held ceremonies with robes, candles and a church altar.  His vivid imagery and shocking afront stuck in the minds of many and has led to the confusion. Many well meaning, yet uninformed Christians are only aware of the wiccan use of the symbol and don't know that the star is thousands of years older than Gardner's 1940's assault.   

An example of Gardner's wicca impact on some Christian symbols can be seen in numerous inquiring letters and comments received by the Catholic church regarding statues and symbols of St. Peter holding an upside down cross.  Christian tradition is that Peter was crucified in Rome under Emperor Nero Augustus Caesar. It is traditionally held that he was crucified upside down at his own request, since he saw himself unworthy to be crucified in the same way as Jesus. This beautiful act of love by Peter, the original holder of the keys of the kingdom, has inspired countless works of art over centuries. Many Churches, especially the Catholic Church, have thousands of beautiful works of art depicting St. Peter's death.


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compiled & written by Matthew Kennedy