Utah, a state of ultimate scenic beauty in the U.S., houses some of the most striking sites. One of them being the Salt Lake City Temple. With that, on to you! Do you also like travelling and knowing more about the place? Well, you are in the right corner.
Today, we’ll be taking you on a virtual journey to the grounds of the eye-catching Salt Lake Temple that could be everything straight out of your fantasy, that is nothing short of a dream. To the land of dreams, we go!
📍 The Temple Square
Before we move on to the real deal, let’s check out the bigger deal.
Known for its enormous list of striking religious aesthetics, Temple Square is a 10-acre complex owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in the center of Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A.
Temple Square comprises two visitors’ centers, the Seagull Monument, Salt Lake Assembly Hall, Salt Lake Tabernacle, and not to mention the Salt Lake Temple. In 1964, the square was titled a National Historic Landmark District, recognizing the Mormon achievement in settlement of Utah.
In the modern era, the square is extremely famous among tourists, attracting 3 to 5 million tourists yearly. Temple Square is the most famous tourist destination among some of the prettiest sites, like, the Grand Canyon or the Yellowstone National Park. Tourism here is popular for its primary venue, focusing mainly on religiosity than education and fundraising.
📍 Other Sacred Spaces Within Temple Square
Before we dive into our topic for today, the Salt Lake Temple, in detail, let’s explore some other eye candies first.
Salt Lake Tabernacle
The Salt Lake Tabernacle stands east of the temple. It is the reason for which the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir is named. The architecture is surprisingly modern for its time.
Even though it was first used in 1967, it wasn’t completed until 1975. The public events include tours throughout the day, rehearsals of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and you can experience the religious radio Music and the Spoken Word broadcast, but live!
Salt Lake Assembly Hall
The Salt Lake Assembly Hall is built on the southwest corner of Temple Square. The Assembly Hall is built in a Gothic style with stained-glass windows. Latter-Day Saints, between 1877 and 1882, constructed the building. Fun fact: they used all the leftover construction materials from making the Temple!
The hall can seat up to 1,400 and features a 3,489 pipe organ. There are hundreds of free music festivals every year, and during the Christmas season, the Assembly Hall puts up one of many of Salt Lake City’s most charming light displays.
Joseph Smith Memorial Building
Formerly known as Hotel Utah, the Joseph Smith Memorial Building was built in 1911. The hotel was very famous and opulent in its days when it was closed in 1987. In 1993, it was reopened as a visitors’ center and meeting facility.
The building is famous for it is a popular venue for weddings and social events.
Cathedral of the Madeleine
Salt Lake City’s Cathedral of Madeleine was constructed somewhere between 1900 to 1909. It was renovated and rededicated in 1993. It has regular Religious Catholic services and hosts choir, organ recitals, and other cultural events, along with a very popular Christmas midnight mass.
Salt Lake City’s Main Library
Salt Lake City’s Main Library was designed by an internationally-acclaimed architect Moshe Safdie. The building embodies the idea that a library is more than just a house of books and computers; it reflects the city’s imagination and aspirations.
Opened in February 2003, the library is 240,000 square feet, double the size of the previous library, now known as the Leonardo Science and Technology Museum.
The building features an auditorium, children’s play areas, art displays, and shops on the ground level. Library Square offers fountains, gardens, and sculptures.
The Salt Lake Temple is a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. Also popularly known as the Mormon Church, it is the largest Latter-day Saints Church in terms of area.
This was the sixth temple completed by the church, a fourth temple built in Utah, and the first in the Salt Lake Valley. Founded by the Mormon pioneers, the construction site started work in 1853, which took about 4o years to finish, finally completing the temple in 1893.
A centrepiece masterpiece of the 10-acre Temple Square, the temple is sacred, requiring temple recommendations only. Unlike the other adjacent buildings, the general public is not allowed inside. The temple grounds are open to the general public.
Due to its location at the church’s headquarters and its historical significance, the temple receives Latter-day Saints from around the globe and patronizes it.
📍 Salt Lake City Temple
After discussing the other beauties within Temple Square, let’s come to what you came here for, the Salt Lake Temple.
The Salt Lake Temple is built on a 10-acre site in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. There were days in history when the 6 granite spires of the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dominated the city skyline of Salt Lake City, the largest city in Utah.
Even though those glorious days of the temple are gone, it is still instantly recognizable by the visitors. As if the building wasn’t enough beauty in itself, it is also impeccably set among trees, shrubs, and flowers. The temple holds a special place in public magazines, a striking beauty. Journalists are often seen competing and attempting to capture a single symbol of the Church to get it on the front page of the magazines.
Interestingly, when the first company of Latter-day Saints, the pioneers, arrived on the site in July 1847, Brigham Young waved his hand over a hard, dry spot of ground. That’s when he declared that the temple would stand in all its glory on that very plot of land, in a place where their creation of the most sacred spaces begins.
📍 The Mormon History and Belief of the Temple
The Mormons arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. The church’s facade has the phrase “The House of the Lord” written in gold lettering. Mormons believed that the temple stood for all that – a place where the believers could go to feel the closest to God.
Most significantly, they believed that if they remained faithful to the promises they made in the church, their family relationships became eternal, extending beyond worldly life. It explains why the temple was their top priority when they reached the valley in 1847.
A 10-acre plot of land was discovered and dedicated to Temple Square. The surveyors were instructed to lay the city out on a grid pattern, and the temple would be placed at the heart of the city of Salt Lake, Utah.
The temple was more than just a functional design or conceptual convenience. It was the heart of all faiths of the Mormon pioneers who settled the Salt Lake Valley.
The Mormon pioneers were known for their resourcefulness, but when it came to the temple construction, they spared no expense. The beautiful architecture is a massive granite, a six-spire structure designed in the Neo-gothic style. The temple was a testament to the Mormons’ faith and belief, who sacrificed time and materials to build it.
📍 Location and Details about the Salt Lake City Temple
The Salt Lake Temple covers a large floor area of 253,015 square feet. The place is in downtown Salt Lake City, with several mountain peaks surrounding the area. A shallow stream, City Creek, splits and flows to the south and west sides into the Jordan River.
The surrounding soil proudly holds a permanent wall on the 10-acre temple site. This surrounding wall was the first permanent structure on what has now become Temple Square. It is 15 feet tall, but the southwest slope changes its appearance.
The Salt Lake Temple is also a location of the weekly meetings of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Like that, there are special meeting rooms inside the temple. The temple includes elements that were thought to evoke Solomon’s Temple at Jerusalem.
📍 11 Amazing Things To Know About Salt Lake City Temple
The 35 acres of Temple Square packs in all sorts of spectacular architecture. The Salt Lake Temple stands as the epitome of beauty within it. This place is for you if you are an art and history fanatic. The place is exactly what one needs to move away from the stressful life in the city to a historic building known to hold many tales.
The 129 years old Salt Lake Temple also comes with a long list of interesting facts, some of which are listed below:
The temple observes around 3 to 5 million people flock the Temple Square each year, which is more visitors than at all five of the state’s national parks combined (Arches, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Zion). A highly desired sight to behold, if you ask us.
Admission is free. Yes, that’s right. Touring around the temple is done in over 40 languages. You can reserve a tour booking online or get a free planning guide and experience it raw and personally.
3. The Architecture
As the largest temple in the world, the Mormon Temple, the 210-foot tall Salt Lake Temple with its granite edifice in neo-Gothic style, took 40 years to build, from 1853 to 1893. With walls 9 feet thick at the base and six feet thick at the top, this impressive six-spire structure serves as a universal icon of the Mormon Church.
One of the iconic features of a Latter-day Saint temple is the golden angel Moroni standing tall on the roof. We might not think much about the shining statue when we approach the temple door or see a photo, but it takes a lot to keep it standing.
The statue is 12 feet a 5-inches tall with a steel rod going 27 feet down into the building. A 4,000-pound counterweight at the bottom of it ensures the angel withstands all extreme weather conditions.
4. The Architect And His Patriarchal Blessing
The official architect for the Church was Turman O. Angell. Turman did a mind-boggling job in the temple’s design. In 1850, he was called the official architect by Brigham Young and sent Angell to Europe to train and learn his designs.
Along with the Salt Lake Temple, he also designed the Lion House, Utah Territorial Statehouse, and many more. His assistants had worked on the Logan and Manti temples. Woefully, Turman passed away six years before the construction was finished.
ChurchofJesusChrist.org called him “a skillful carpenter” and said that he “was told in his patriarchal blessing that he would become a builder of temples and cities.” And he did excel in that blessing because we got to experience the gorgeous gardens of the gorgeous temples he designed.
5. They Had To Build The Foundation Twice
After the Saints had laid down the first foundation for the temple, the news was received that the U.S. army was coming to Utah. They immediately had to cover the construction site with dirt to protect it.
However, Brigham Young noticed the cornerstones were cracked when the army left and uncovered the foundation. He then decided that the foundation had to be replaced entirely with granite 6-foot thick footings.
The building, rebuilding, and construction of the foundation took about 14 years, and the builders didn’t reach ground level until 1867. Brigham Young was focused on quality, even though he knew it would take a lot of time. His aim was not just to build a temple but a temple to such perfection that it would live through the millenniums.
6. Provision For The Workers
The temple required the workers to work six days per week for 10 hours daily, providing them on-site camps. They were provided a place to rest and re-energize from their hard labour. They also travelled to retrieve the materials and stones to build the temple. Newsroom wrote that each stone weighed between 2,000 and 6,000 pounds.
Wagons were used to haul the stones from the quarry to the temple site along a road that was riddled with hills and gullies, streams, and sandpits. They required three to four yokes of oxen and full-time teamsters to make the four-day round-trip journey from the quarry and back to the temple block.
7. Women Being Helpful
You may have come across tales of the men who dedicated their lives to building the temple, but what we don’t talk about much about is how many sacrifices the women made. A teenager named Margaret Shelton Kinsey showed her dedication to the temple’s construction despite lacking the money to donate.
Newsroom reported that she would collect the wool the sheep left behind on twigs and barbed-wire fences, form the wool into small balls, and sell that wool for money that she then contributed to the temple building.
“Years later, she would tell her grandchildren that she had helped pay for the temple in her way.” The men were at work while the other women stayed home and supported the family. It was a shame that very few people lived to see the finished temple, but it was obvious that they all cared deeply for the temple.
8. Bombing in 1962
On 14th November 1962, the residents living close to Temple Square were jolted awake by a loud bang. Some thought it was an earthquake, but it was a huge explosion.
One of the doors on the temple’s east side exhibited a 5-inch, where a door knob once sat. Several sets of windows on the granite wall surrounding it and the windows on the door were shattered. A total of 11 windows were broken there, including some in the interior.
Other damages inside the temple included high fixtures and wood splinters. It was also reported that a doorknob had punctured a hole in the wall. In the end, it was concluded that the damage caused was probably the result of a plastic explosive.
9. Visitors’ centers
Temple Square comprises two visitor centers- The South Visitors’ Center and the North Visitors’ Center. The South Visitors’ Center mainly focuses on the Salt Lake Temple construction history, teaching about the operation and purposes of the temple, as well as the importance of families.
The North Visitors’ Center focuses more on the beliefs of Latter-day Saints and the life of Jesus Christ. It is also home to an 11-foot statue of Jesus Christ, a replica of one of the sculptors Bertel Thorvaldsen’s works.
10. The Assembly Hall
The Assembly Hall was built in a Gothic style from the leftover materials from the temple. It houses an enormous organ and organizes free concerts on Fridays and Saturdays. In front of the Hall is the Seagull Monument commemorating a legendary event in Salt Lake City’s earliest history.
A flock of seagulls had saved the Mormon pioneers’ first crop from invading locusts. Just across the street from Temple Square, the Deuel Pioneer Log Home is one of only two remaining Mormon pioneer cabins left in the Salt Lake area from 1847. Restored and filled with artifacts in the day, providing visitors with a glimpse into pioneer life (scratch the hardship and fear of locusts).
11. The Exterior Of The Temple Was Symbolic
There are lots of details on the temple exterior which are symbolic of different things in the Church. But one example that is lesser known is that the circular and the rectangular windows wrapping around the temple building symbolize a person’s journey from imperfection to perfection and a mortal life to eternal life.
Temple Square Blog wrote, “Individually, the circle has been a historical symbol for perfection as well as unending or infinite, so it’s only fitting that in the temple’s design, the circle represents eternal life while the square is meant to symbolize the earth and life on earth.”
📍 Bonus Facts
Man Who Snuck Inside The Temple And The Savage Authority
There is a story of a person who decided to sneak inside the temple and take pictures of everything. As we saw earlier, admission inside the temple is impossible for someone, especially without the temple’s recommendation.
In 1911, there was a huge scandal where a man named Gisbert Bossard snuck inside the temple to click pictures of the restricted temple interior to sell those pictures for a good price. Bossard had made friends with one of the temple gardeners, who ended up handing him a set of keys, giving Bossard access to the temple.
He had confided in his father that upon entering the temple, he had hidden the cameras under his coat, saying that some pictures were taken during the day and others at night through the flashlight.
When Bossard was made known to the public, and the only thing he could be charged with was trespassing, the Church decided to take a savage approach. They clicked pictures of the temple’s interior and published a free booklet with the pictures in it. They distributed the booklet to the public for free, stealing Bossard’s thunder and teaching him a lesson.
Angel Moroni Statue
The golden Angel Moroni Statue is an iconic symbol of any Latter-day Saints temple worldwide. It stands broad and tall on the Church’s roof. However, it might not look like much when you approach the temple, but it was a task to keep it standing.
The statue is 12 feet, 5-inches tall, with a steel rod going through it 27 feet into the building.
📍 Temple Square Renovation Project
Following is some ongoing renovation work at the Salt Lake Temple, Church Office Building plaza, and other surrounding areas. Work continues, and the Temple Square Renovation now includes the Main Street plaza.
Church Office Building Plaza
Snowfall is widely adored, but what isn’t are the snow-covered walkways. Slippery and dangerous, aren’t they?
Church Office Building plaza has upgrades and renovation on their walkways written on the list. During the winters, the sidewalks collect lots of snow, making them extremely slippery and dangerous. The renovation project includes snow-melting conduits installed under those newly poured sidewalks. The system provides snow-free walkways during the winter.
Some of the walls near State Street also feature new stonework.
On the south side of the Salt Lake Temple, excavation has begun to create additional areas, services, and guest services for the visitors visiting the temple square – the south visitors center.
Salt Lake Temple Additions
On the north side of the Salt Lake Temple, the construction continues on the three-floor addition, and the second floor includes sheer walls around the addition’s perimeter.
These three new basement floors will have baptistries, sealing rooms, dressing rooms, and administrative offices.
Main Street Plaza
Temple Square’s Main Street Plaza, which runs north and south between the Church Office Building and the Salt Lake Temple, is now closed to the public until further notice.
Renovations here will include landscape enhancements and some other fountain and garden renovations. These changes aim to provide a consistent look, feel and flow through Temple Square.
Work to be done here includes the crew clearing out the planter areas and reflecting pool as the landscape continues to be redesigned.
Despite all the tragic incidents the temple went through- the bombing, the earthquake, – it still stands broad and tall in the name of the Lord, holding so many tales within its walls. The echo bounces off the walls of the glorious building as your gasp of mesmerization fades out in those tales. What’s stopping you? Come, and experience the blessing first-hand.