These make me excited—like I’m risking my life on an adventure with Robert Langdon (the hero of The DaVinci Code) and the ancient secret we’re after lies hidden beneath layers of cryptic symbols. (But I like to let my imagination run wild.)

It’s actually a Kickstarter project called LDS Symbol Cards (being put together by my new friend Steven Reed). I was given a complimentary set, and I’d like to tell you what I think.

They’re basically study guides or flash cards that teach about symbols in temple architecture and ceremony. There are two sets: The Building Blocks is a numerological set that examines the numbers one through ten. The Temple Themes set looks at ideas, shapes, and motifs of a slightly broader range—while still staying pretty basic (but you might be surprised, like me, by what you don’t know).

Some of you aren’t as boyish as me, and the Indiana Jones aspect won’t get you excited. But these cards will be equally valuable to the academic or serious parent who wants to teach his or her children something deeper about the temple.

And even though the cards are simple—designed with kids in mind—I learned a lot (and I wrote a book about the temple!). For example, I knew that a circle represents the eternal heavens and a square represents the four corners of the earth. But these cards taught me that an octagon (which seems to be half-way between a circle and square) represents the middle ground between earth and heaven, the mediation (or Mediator) between the two. Also, if seven is the completion (or perfection) of a cycle (e.g., 7 days of the week), eight is the renewal of that cycle—the new beginning, the baptism, the rebirth, the Resurrection (Christ).

To be fair, I found myself wishing the cards had more explanation. Even by reviewing the accompanying website (http://ldssymbols.com/), I still didn’t fully get some of the concepts. Often they made sense, but several times I found myself wanting to say—”Now I understand WHAT this symbolizes, but WHY does this symbolize that—what’s the connection?” Maybe this means he’ll need to write a book. Or maybe it means I need to read the sources he cited—which are numerous and all seem credible and interesting.

You may know, I design book covers (among other things), so I hope I have at least a little clout when I say that the visual design is excellent. They’re the highest quality in every aspect.

Overall, I am very impressed. And I think you will be too.

They’ll make a great Christmas Gift for just about any member of the Church of any age—as long as they have a healthy interest in learning.

If you want to “back” this project and get your own set of LDS Symbol Cards, here’s the link to the Kickstarter page:

UPDATE: the Kickstarter didn’t fund, but Steve still made this happen and you can purchase the card’s at Latter-Day Home, or SugarDoodle.