How did the people of Nauvoo see their magnificent temple? They had to lift their eyes. For the temple was built on a hill, visible from a distance–and most of them lived in the flats, their wooden and brick homes lining roads on the square, not far from the river.
Life in the flats is the essence of much of mortality. How kind of the Lord to give us something for which to lift our gaze. In fact, temples are built on heights wherever possible. They are the high ground, a physical, very tangible symbol that we are not inherently flatlanders
A temple is a mountain, a place where the air and veil is thin, where yearning souls climb to find God, and breathless, having paid the price, they learn his knowledge. The brother of Jared took his 16 stones, burdened under their weight, to the mountain and could not be kept from without the veil, as the finger of God touched each stone and made it light.
Fasting Moses went to Mt. Sinai to meet God and talk to him face to face. Nephi was caught up “into an exceedingly high mountain, which I never had before seen, and upon which I never had before set my foot” (1 Nephi 11:1). In each case they were having temple experiences.