LDS Scholar Hugh Nibley once observed that the temple is a scale model of the universe. At least in part, he seemed to have had the physical structure in mind. In other words the buildings themselves having something to testify of and to teach about.
Many of our modern temples have three levels (basement, ground and upper floors). The Mount Timpanogos temple is a good example. In a general way, we could correlate these three levels to the underworld (or spirit world); the earth; and the heavens.
In the Salt Lake temple we find seven divisions or realms. These are distinct areas or rooms in the Salt Lake temple. These seven are:
World or Telestial Room
Baptistry & Initiatory
Celestial Room (including the sealing rooms)
These same seven divisions are present in other temples as well, although they are sometimes portrayed through changes in the endowment presentation (lighting, narration, etc.) rather than architecturally through separate and distinct rooms. Because they are very pronounced in the Salt Lake temple our discussion and examples will focus there.
Admittedly, in addition to these seven, there is possibly an eighth division represented by the Holy of Holies.
The question is what are we to learn from the temple’s architecture and layout?