The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates more than 140 temples in various parts of the world. Mormon temples differ from Latter-day Saint chapels where anyone is welcomed to attend worship services. Temples are closed on Sunday, and only members who hold a current temple recommend are allowed to enter a temple after it is formally dedicated. The infographic above and the accompanying information in this article describe the process in constructing a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ.
Lec Holmes has worked as a steelworker for the past 25 years and is considered to be an expert in his field. As one of the construction workers on the site of the second temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Provo, Utah, the Provo City Center Temple, he admits it’s “not like a typical [construction] job.” The reasons that he gives for this construction job being atypical include:
Not typical because of its steep pitched roofs (he’s used to square buildings with flat roofs). Not typical because of the unity among the various parties involved in construction (he says “everybody gets along”). Not typical because Mormon temples are built to the highest standards (he notes that workers at the Provo site are “more conscious on the quality of work that’s done here”).
Identifying the Need for a New Temple, Selecting the Site, and Funding
It is important to note that Mormon temples are constructed using Church funds which have been set aside for that specific purpose. Elder William R. Walker, executive director of the Church’s Temple Department stated, “We’ve had a long-standing practice in the Church for well over 100 years that we don’t take loans or put mortgages on properties to build temples. So we would not build a temple unless we could pay for the temple as the temple was built.”
The construction of new temples is normally announced during the opening session of the annual and semiannual General Conference by the President of the Church. With eighty-five percent of members living within 200 miles (320 km) of a temple. he Church looks for areas with enough members (there is no specific number) to warrant the building of a new temple, or where great distances exist between already operating temples when deciding on a site for a new temple. Bill Williams, a Church architect since 2003, stated that the Church looks for sites “that would have prominence, be in an attractive neighborhood, a neighborhood that would withstand the test of time.” Once the decision has been made to construct a new temple in a certain area, the First Presidency of the Church prayerfully considers the precise location where the temple will be built.
The Design Phase
The size of a new temple is determined based on the number of members in an area. After the size has been determined, and the site has been selected, a team of Church architects begin creating potential exterior and exterior designs.
Although the purpose of each of the 140 temples of The Church of Jesus Christ is the same, many aspects of the interior and exterior designs of each are unique as they are tailored to the local people and the area where the temple is constructed. Williams further commented that some of the things that can make a temple unique include “the decorative motifs, the kind of furniture, and the interior accouterments, how articulate it is. It could be anything from the modern look that you see in the Washington D.C. Temple to something like the gothic, neoclassical look that you find in the Salt Lake Temple.” Architects rely on a number of available resources to help them create the look and feel that is suited for a particular temple. For example, for the temple that is to be built in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Church architects met with locals to better understand the nature of the people, the culture in which they live, and the Latter-day Saints who are there, in order to build a sacred edifice that would be better fitted for them.
Williams also commented that a critical aspect of the planning process is “sustainable design.” This concept, he continues, helps to reduce the long-term operational costs. He defines “sustainable” as:
Whatever we can do to make the environmental systems, the mechanical systems energy efficient, to make the interior materials have longevity so that they don’t wear out straightaway, anything we can do to conserve water, it’s great for us as the owner because it makes that long-term cost less. That’s what it means to be sustainable.
Only the best and finest materials are selected when building a temple. Elder Walker states that the pattern for this workmanship is found in the description of Solomon’s Temple as recorded in the Bible in 1 Kings 7. Only the finest materials and craftsmanship were used to build Solomon’s Temple and that is the same pattern that The Church of Jesus Christ uses in building its temples which members revere as the House of the Lord. Williams further stated, “These are His houses, and we would like to make sure that everybody feels that responsibility, so that when we begin design meetings, we start with a word of prayer.”
The entire design phase can take up to two years. Throughout the entire process, the First Presidency of the Church is actively involved and gives the final approvals.
The Construction Phase
Before actual construction is begun for a new temple, the Church sends representatives to different regions of the world to seek out the best contractors who are able to meet the high standards of craftsmanship that is required. More than a dozen contractors are utilized and Jared Doxey, the director of architecture, engineering and construction in the Church’s Physical Facilities Department, commented, “the complexity of the temple design requires the very best that most workers have ever had to give on a project.” Brick masons, for example, are asked by the Church to lay their brick in a rigorous way such that it’s very uniform and consistent throughout” and thus “installed to the very best of the craftsman’s abilities” said Cory Karl of the Church’s Construction Services Division. Latter-day Saints believe that temples are among the holiest places on earth and are tributes to God. Therefore, the Church builds temples to last hundreds of years. Thus the reason for the high building standards.
Construction workers do not have to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, however, they are expected to adhere to Church regulations which include no smoking, no alcoholic beverages, and no loud playing of music on the construction site. Church representatives also ensure that the construction companies that are utilized are financially stable. The companies that are selected are invited to be a part of the building process, and depending on the location, construction could take anywhere from 24 to 48 months to complete. Temples built outside of the United States may take even longer to complete due to various reasons.
The Public is Invited inside Prior to Dedication
Once construction is complete, and prior to the formal dedication of the new temple, the Church opens the temple doors to the public for several weeks for free tours. These open houses afford members of the community and surrounding areas – Mormons and non-Mormons – a rare opportunity to enter the House of the Lord and learn more about The Church of Jesus Christ, its teachings, and what Latter-day Saints belief.
A week or two after the open house concludes, a Church leader (normally a member of the First Presidency) formally dedicates the temple. One aspect of the dedication events is the cornerstone ceremony, where Church leaders and others place mortar around the cornerstone to symbolize the temple’s completion. Afterwards, either the President of the Church, or a person whom he has assigned says the dedicatory prayer “to consecrate the temple that it would be used for those sacred purposes for which the temple is built.” For example, the following is the text of the prayer President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, offered in dedicating the Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple on Sunday, 4 May 2014.
News: Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple Recognized as Best Cultural/Worship Project
The Engineering News – Record (ENR) annual project excellence program recognizes the best construction and design achievements in the four-state region of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. Recently they announced that the Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the best cultural/worship construction project in the Southeast.
The region’s top contractors submitted projects to judges who in turn selected 44 projects in 19 different categories. The Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple, as well as the other projects, will be featured in the November issue of ENR Southeast and will also be recognized at a luncheon on 11 November 2014 in Orlando, Florida.
A temple is a welcomed addition to any community. Elder Walker stated, “I think it just shows that the temple, normally, will be one of the most beautiful —if not the most beautiful — building in a community. It’s natural that, not just members of our Church, but all the members of the community generally would be very pleased to have a temple there, and they would feel it’s ‘our temple.’ We hope that that would be the case.”
Reconstruction on the Ogden Utah Temple, the 14th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has been completed, and the sacred edifice will be rededicated on Sunday, 21 September 2014.
The construction fences have now been removed, and preparations are being made for the public open house of the Phoenix Arizona Temple which will be held from 10 October through 1 November 2014. The temple will be formally dedicated on Sunday, 16 November 2014. On Saturday, 15 November 2014, the day prior to the dedication, a cultural celebration entitled Keepers of His Light will be held commemorating the heritage of the Phoenix region through narration, song, and dance. The Phoenix Arizona Temple will be dedicated in three sessions at 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. Each session will be broadcast to all of the stakes and districts in Arizona.
These are two of the 140-plus operating temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which are featured on the infographic below. For each of the 15 temples listed in the infographic, a preconstruction rendering, a construction site photo, the construction status and the announcement, groundbreaking and, when available, scheduled dedication dates are included.
For information about how Mormon temples differ from chapels, please see the Mormon Newsroom article titled “Of Chapels and Temples: Explaining Mormon Worship Services.”
My father recently gave me a family possession as a gift. It was an old sepia colored photo of my great grandmother. Dressed in a fur wrap and short dark cap cocked to one side, her face is illuminated in a bright, sincere grin – something rare for a photo from that era.
Although the photo has been on my Grandma’s wall since I can remember, no one really knew exactly who the person in the photo was. After piecing some things together I figured out who the person was and it gave the gift a whole knew meaning.
Finding My Family
Family history on my father’s side is very spotty and in the last couple of years I have been working on filling up some of those holes and putting together a more clear picture. There isn’t a lot of documentation for various reasons and my grandmother’s memory isn’t the best so my work hasn’t always been easy. But it has been very rewarding.
One benefit of not having any family history information on my Dad’s side is a benefit all in itself. The fact that it doesn’t exist means that I am the original discoverer – the first person to open my own family’s “King Tut’s Tomb” so to speak. It’s so exciting to me to be able to solve these family mysteries of “who, when, where and why” little by little and report back to my immediate family. Read more
Ground will be broken for the first temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently called the “Mormon Church”) in Connecticut, USA, in August 2013.
Groundbreaking Ceremony for Connecticut Mormon Temple Announced
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will break ground on the first Mormon temple in the state of Connecticut on Route 4 in Farmington next month.
The Church announced in a press release Monday that the groundbreaking service is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 17 at the 1024 Farmington Ave. site.President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints first announced the temple plans on Oct. 2, 2010, according to the release. The groundbreaking ceremony will be a religious service that includes “congregational singing, speakers from Church leadership, and a dedicatory prayer,” the release stated. At the conclusion of the service, “Church and community leaders will ‘turn the ground,’” the statement said. Read more
About 300 Miles north of New York City, and Southeast of Rochester, New York, begins a lively pageant atop Hill Cumorah each summer. The play is a live performance put on by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently called the “Mormon Church”). The play is a presentation of events that occurred in the Bible and The Book of Mormon.
Hill Cumorah Mormon Pageant
Mormon Newsroom.org outlines the folling information about the annual Hill Cumorah Pageant:
Trumpets will ring out in July, introducing the first of seven performances of the largest outdoor pageant in America — the annual Hill Cumorah Pageant, sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Featuring a cast of over 700 volunteers, the pageant portrays events from the Bible and the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. The 90-minute performance is staged a few miles from Palmyra, New York, on the Hill Cumorah, southeast of Rochester. The production features a 10-level stage, 50-foot light towers, brilliant costumes and stunning special effects performed to an audience in the thousands. Music recorded by the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir brings the night air to life. Read more
One thing I love about temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the varying beautiful architecture of each temple. They always seem to reflect aspects of the local culture and history. One of my favorite temples, the Mesa, Arizona temple, is designed after Solomon’s Temple from the Old Testament. Recently I visited this temple at night. The temple is impressive and beautiful. It truly invokes the “Old Testament” ancient feeling. It makes me feel as if the truths taught inside are so precious and important. Like all temples, the Mesa temple grounds are beautifully manicured and included palm trees and a gorgeous reflecting pool.
Temples Are Built To High Standards
All the work, ceremonies, and practices that occur in temples of The Church of Jesus Christ around the world are all the same. The gospel is true and uniform no matter where you go in the world, but the design of temples varies. Read more
What do you, personally, believe is your greatest purpose? What do you believe is the most important thing you could achieve in this life? Once you have defined that one, specific goal, wouldn’t you do all you could to prepare for it throughout your life?
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (often inadvertently called the Mormon Church), it’s no mistake that we begin teaching about the family early on. The Family and marriage between man and wife are the basic foundational principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and are the abiding goal of almost every church member.
Forever Families Are Important to Latter-day Saints
Elder Eric B. Shumway said in October 2008,
Ponder this statement. This single truth—that the cosmic purpose of this earth and the universe has as its central feature marriage and the family, with husband and wife at the core—should inspire our souls and our imaginations. Marriage and family are not human inventions or social constructs evolving from human necessity. They are part of a heavenly order that leads to eternal life and eternal happiness. Read more
Angel Moroni Atop Mormon Temples
Perhaps one of the most recognizable symbols for temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly called the Mormon Church), is of the Angel Moroni. The prophet from The Book of Mormon (a companion scripture to the Bible that testifies of Christ), is memorialized in statue form with applied gold leaf atop most Latter-day Saint (LDS or Mormon) temples.
Who Does the Statue Represent?
The statue of Moroni is not a figure of worship, but rather one of respect for his role in the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Moroni was a real person, an ancient prophet in the Book of Mormon who revealed the location of golden plates to the young Joseph Smith in 1823 from which the sacred book of scripture was translated.
With the horn pressed to his lips and his right hand holding the outstretched horn, the statue of Moroni symbolizes the restoration and the preaching of it to the world.
Latter-day Saints believe Joseph Smith restored the original church established anciently by the Lord Jesus Christ. Read more
President and Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Thomas S. Monson, announced on 25 January 2010 that a new Temple was to be constructed in Payson, Utah. The 96,630 square foot edifice which will rest on 10.63 acres, will be located at the corner of 930 West and 1550 South in Payson, Utah. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on 8 October 2011, and Church leader, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, presided over the ceremonial occasion and dedicated the site. In the course of his remarks, he noted, “Standing adjacent to I-15, the major north-south artery in Utah, the Payson Utah Temple will be a dominant and visible influence on the millions who pass by here by day and by night.” (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints News Release, “Groundbreaking Held for Payson Utah Temple,” 8 Oct. 2011.)
The Payson Utah Temple will be the fifteenth temple built in Utah and the third temple built in Utah County. According to the LDS Church Temples.com site, “As of late February 2013, precast concrete panels are arriving at the site of the Payson Utah Temple for attachment to the exterior of the building. Work is well underway on the interior of the building including electrical, plumbing, HVAC, framing, and drywall.” Below are a few pictures of the ongoing construction work. The pictures were obtained from Payson Temple Construction – April by Mark Johnston.
The Mayor of Rome, Italy, got a rare personalized tour of the construction site of the Rome Italy Mormon Temple. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (often mistakenly called the Mormon Church), builds temples all around the world, and on October 4th, 2008, President Thomas S. Monson surprised the Church by announcing plans to build a new temple in Rome.
Plans to Build a Temple in Rome
This will be the first Mormon temple in Italy. The Religious and Cultural Center of the Church, the first of its kind in Italy, will include a temple, multi-functional meetinghouse (including a cultural hall and facilities for conferencing), visitors’ center, family history center and patron housing, all surrounded by lovely gardens. Read more