The Salt Lake Temple Terrestrial Room
The Terrestrial Room of the Salt Lake Temple is the final of four ordinance rooms that are used to present the temple endowment to patrons. From the outside, the Terrestrial Room is located on the Northwest face, behind the temple expansion that was added in 1967. It is adjacent to, and accessed from, the Telestial Room. However, in keeping with the symbolism of progression and ascension, the Terrestrial Room is elevated a few steps higher than the Telestial Room. The Terrestrial Room is also larger and much more ornate than the previous room, which augments the visual aspect of the lessons of the temple and enhances the experience of the temple patron.
Coupled with the aesthetic symbolism of the Terrestrial Room is the functional symbolism that is part of the temple worship service. The curtain at the head of the room which separates the Terrestrial Room and the Celestial Room is analogous to the veil in the temples of the Bible. It has multiple symbolic meanings, including our temporary separation from God. The curtain is also an emblem of The Lord, Jesus Christ, who is referred to as "the veil" in Hebrews 10:20. After leaving this room, patrons will enter The Celestial Room of the temple, which represents figuratively entering into the Kingdom and Presence of God The Father. Since the curtain separates the two rooms you can't get to God The Father without going through Jesus Christ.
Another symbol in the room is the altar. As with other altars in the temple, the altar in the Terrestrial Room is a symbolic representation of Jesus. As patrons kneel at the altar, they are figuratively kneeling before The Savior. Before entering the Celestial Room, temple patrons offer a prayer in a prayer circle, with the altar in the center. This symbolizes the need of preparing to meet God by centering our lives on Christ.
In the Terrestrial Room, patrons learn about personal accountability, the atonement and resurrection of Christ, and of mankind’s redemption through Christ. Covenants are made with God, under authority of the holy priesthood that reinforces the patrons’ faith and devotion to The Lord. Patrons promise to dedicate their lives to Christ and to prepare for His Second Coming. The blessings associated with the temple covenants are eternal life with our families in God’s Kingdom. Those blessings are reinforced symbolically at the conclusion of the endowment ordinance when the patrons enter the Celestial Room.
The Salt Lake Temple is an example of one of 12 temples that were built with the four-room progressive style design. Contemporary 21st Century temples are built with a two-room progressive style design. The second room in the two-room style temples corresponds with the Terrestrial Room in the four-room style temples. The ordinance rooms in the one-room style temples that were built during the 20th century do as well.
The Terrestrial Room is named in reference to the Terrestrial Kingdom. In LDS theology, the Terrestrial Kingdom is God’s 2nd Kingdom of Glory which the scriptures compare to the glory of the moon. We believe that after the Resurrection, those that lived good lives and believed in Jesus, but didn't endure to end or receive all of Christ's Priesthood ordinances and blessings will inherit the Terrestrial Kingdom and Glory.
"And thus we saw the glory of the terrestrial which excels in all things the glory of the telestial, even in glory, and in power, and in might, and in dominion. And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, And the glory of the terrestrial is one, even as the glory of the moon is one."
Doctrine and Covenants 76:91; 88:21; and 76:97