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The St. Louis Missouri Temple is one of a series of detailed pencil drawings and paintings created by the artist Chad S. Hawkins. In 1989, at the age of seventeen, Chad started this unique temple series, becoming the original LDS artist to involve hidden spiritual images in his artwork.
St. Louis has been a city of pioneers as surely as any other city in the church’s history, for a pioneer is someone who goes before, preparing the way for others. Throughout the Missouri and Illinois periods of the church, and up to the coming of the railroad to Utah in 1869 and beyond, St. Louis was the most important non-Mormon city in church history. St. Louis paid two important rolls in early Mormon history—as a city of refuge and as an immigrant center. As a large and tolerant city, it gave protection to Mormon refugees in the 1830s when they fled persecution in western Missouri and Illinois during the mid-1840s. Until at least 1855, the city served as the main route for thousands of European converts who immigrated first to Nauvoo and later to Utah.
In tribute to the legacy of the faithful pioneers in St. Louis, the artist has placed a man in the distant trees, mounted on a horse and leading a covered wagon pulled by a team of oxen. Above the pioneers in the clouds is world-famous Gateway Arch (1964), which commemorates St. Louis’ role as a gateway to the West.