3 unexpected and seemingly random images of temples in mainstream media

Screen Shot 2022-06-29 at 3.27.14 PM.png

Depictions of temples are ubiquitous in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Photos of them can be found in many meetinghouses and members’ homes, depicted on everything from rings to temple recommend holders and in the logo for the Children and Youth program.

But it can be surprising to see a temple depicted outside of a Church context, which does happen once in a while in mainstream media and products. Depending on the situation, such depictions can elicit a sense of delight, confusion, or even indignation.

Here are three unexpected—at times, even random—depictions of the temple in a mainstream context.

Editor’s note: LDS Living does not endorse or promote any of the media or products referenced here.

1. The Last of Us video game

Screen Shot 2022-06-29 at 12.23.25 PM.png
A scene from the video game The Last of Us showing the Salt Lake Temple in the background.
Naughty Dog, Sony Interactive Entertainment

The Last of Us is a 2013 action-adventure game published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The game follows the story of Joel, a smuggler tasked with escorting a teenage girl, Ellie, across a post-apocalyptic United States. Ellie has been found to be immune from the infection that’s ravaged the country, so Joel’s job is to bring her to the Fireflies, a group that’s trying to find a cure.

It turns out the Fireflies are in Salt Lake City, and as the characters enter the city, players are greeted by scenes of local landmarks, including the Salt Lake Temple.

2. Music video for “Run Boy Run,” by Woodkid

Screen Shot 2022-06-29 at 3.01.20 PM.png
A scene from the music video for “Run Boy Run” by Woodkid, featuring the Bern Switzerland Temple.
YouTube screenshot

“Run Boy Run” is a 2012 neofolk song by French singer-songwriter Yoann Lemoine, who uses the stage name Woodkid. The song has been featured in dozens of movies, TV shows, and events, including Divergent, Maze Runner, 13 Reasons Why, and the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympics.

The music video for the song, which was nominated for Best Short Form Music Video at the 2013 Grammy Awards, opens with a depiction of a building nestled in the Alps that essentially looks identical to the Bern Switzerland Temple, albeit without the angel Moroni.

Ominous church bells chime as a boy suddenly bolts out of the temple at a full sprint. The boy continues to run throughout the video as several beasts surround him.

The video does not identify the temple and gives no indication of why it’s depicted as the location from which the boy is running.

3. Beauty and the Beast phone case

An Australian manufacturer unwittingly used the Salt Lake Temple as the “castle” in the background of this Beauty and the Beast phone case.

In 2018, Latter-day Saint Katie Hoyos was shopping online when she stumbled on a phone case featuring Belle and the Beast in front of the Salt Lake Temple. She got a kick out of the unexpected juxtaposition and had to assume that the Australian manufacturer had no idea that the majestic six-spired building isn’t a fairy-tale castle but rather a religious edifice.

The image on the case also contains words from Doctrine and Covenants 123:17, which Joseph Smith wrote from Liberty Jail. This text was presumably original to the background temple image.

Naturally Hoyos bought one of the cases and posted a photo to Facebook. “What could be sweeter than a tale as old as time and all eternity?” she said of the depiction.

▶ You may also like: These one-of-a-kind depictions of Joseph Smith might surprise you

Stay in the loop!
Enter your email to receive updates on our LDS Living content