a huge part of being in europe and in russia is seeing the churches and cathedrals. that's a huge part of who these people are and their history and culture. but, while in sweden we were lucky enough to be able to go to the temple. i've thought about this before, but going there, after all the cathedrals i've gone to, just made me realize how much more i love temples than them. it something that seems like it would be kind of obvious, and it kind of is, but i just want to explain my thoughts about it a little bit.
first, here are some pictures of inside cathedrals.
now, here are some pictures of the temple.
let me just say that i do think that cathedrals are beautiful in their own way, and sometimes i do just like to sit inside for a few minutes and watch people and just look around. but, i kind of hate them at the same time. i like looking at them from a cultural aspect. but, as far as a religious aspect, i just... i just don't like them. i know that the icons and saints are meant to bring you to Christ in a specific way and you use different ones for different purposes, but i feel like they take away the focus from Christ himself. when Christ is portrayed, it's usually a gruesome depiction, and almost always of Him on the cross. i realize that that was a big part of His mission here on this earth, and it is important to think about his sacrifice for each and every one of us. but when thinking of Christ, i want to think of my kind, loving, happy, charitable older brother. i want to think of His love for me, His teachings, and how i can become more like Him, not just the amount of suffering and cruelty he faced. i don't want looking at images of Him to be more depressing than uplifting. i also think that all the gold and glamour and decorations in the cathedrals is distracting. it's fun to look and marvel at, and it is beautiful, but for me, it takes away from the spirit of the place, because it's just too much. also, i don't really see the point of having old coats of arms? i don't know how to do that plural. having a bunch of those old things from old rich families. i just don't see how that contributes to you spiritually in any way, even if they are cool old historical things.
but, being at the temple, i love. honestly, i think one of the only things that can compare to the beauty and peace of the temple is being outdoors, away from the world, and just marveling at Heavenly Father's beautiful creations and the love He has for us to bless us with such beautiful things. anyways, the temple is just.... ah. i just love it. it's bliss. its simplicity and purity (aside from that whole being set apart thing) contributes to it's quiet peacefulness. it's beautiful to look at, but i think the complete peace that can be found in the temple contributes just as much to it's beauty as its design. i just realized i pretty much said the same thing, but backwards. but it's true! everything about the temple just compliments everything else and it all blends together perfectly.
*disclaimer: obviously i don't know everything about the religion in these churches. and i hope i haven't offended anyone by expressing my opinion. again, i think both are good in their own ways.