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The St. George Utah Temple (formerly the St. George Temple) is a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in St. George, Utah. Completed in 1877, it was the church's third temple completed, but the first in Utah, following the migration west of members from Nauvoo, Illinois, following the death of the church's founder, Joseph Smith.

Description

The building is located in the southwestern Utah city of St. George. It was designed by Truman O. Angell and is more similar in its design to the Nauvoo Temple than to later LDS temples. The St. George Temple is the oldest temple still actively used by the LDS Church. The temple currently has three ordinance rooms and 18 sealing rooms, and a total floor area of Template:Convert. It was originally designed with two large assembly halls like the earlier Kirtland and Nauvoo Temples. The lower Assembly Hall was partitioned with curtains to provide the ordinance rooms for the Endowment Ceremony. In 1938, the lower Assembly Hall was rebuilt with permanent walls dividing it into four ordinance rooms. The four ordinance rooms were later changed into the present three rooms, at the time the endowment ceremony was changed from a live presentation to one presented on film.

In the 1970s, the temple was closed for extensive remodeling. LDS Church president Spencer W. Kimball rededicated it in 1975.

Temple construction and dedication

A temple in St. George was announced on November 9, 1871 by Brigham Young and was dedicated on April 6, 1877. Even though the Salt Lake Temple had been announced and commenced years earlier (1847 and 1853), construction on that temple was not completed until 1893. The St. George Temple was built to satisfy the church's immediate need for an appropriate place for temple ceremonies and ordinances. Because of the pressing need, the building's groundbreaking ceremony was held on the day the temple was announced. It was the third to be completed by the church and the first one in Utah.[1]

Young chose a Template:Convert plot as the temple site. Builders soon discovered that the chosen site was swampy with numerous underground streams. Young was consulted on moving the site, but he remained firm in the idea that this was the site for the temple. To deal with the swampy site, workers created drains to eliminate as much water as possible. Then they brought lava rock to the site and crushed it into a gravel to create a dry foundation for the temple. This led to a new problem: how to crush the rock. Someone suggested using an old cannonTemplate:Refn that the city had acquired. After creating a pulley system, the cannon was used as a pile driver to compact the lava rock and earth and create a firm foundation.

After stabilizing the foundation, work began on the structure. The walls of the temple were built of the red sandstone common to the area and then plastered for a white finish. Local church members worked for over five and a half years to complete the temple. Historians James Allen and Glen Leonard made note of the dedication shown by the pioneers in Southern Utah. The workers opened new rock quarries, cut, hauled and planed timber, and donated one day in ten as tithing labor. Some members donated half their wages to the temple, while others gave food, clothing and other goods to aid those who were working full-time on the building. Women decorated the hallways with handmade rag carpets and produced fringe for the altars and pulpits from Utah-produced silk. At its completion, it contained Template:Convert of lumber, which had been hand-chopped and hauled between Template:Convert. They also used 17,000 tons of volcanic rock and sandstone, hand-cut and hauled by mule teams.

In honor of the temple, the church's April 1877 General Conference was held there. The temple dedication ceremony took place on April 6, 1877. Young presided and Daniel H. Wells, his second counselor, gave the dedicatory prayer. The St. George Temple was the only temple completed while Young was president. Shortly after the dedication and the conference, Young returned to Salt Lake and died on August 29, 1877, at age 76.

Lightning Strike Transformation

However, as the temple neared its dedication date, President Young was not satisfied with the way the steeple of the temple looked, as he mentioned to his son Brigham Young, Jr. [2]

Happy to finally have a temple in the West, the Saints enjoyed using the St. George temple as it was until October 1878 when a severe thunderstorm rumbled through St. George. During the storm, lightning struck the tower, completely destroying tower but miraculously damaging no other part of the temple.

For years the tower underwent repairs until the Saints decided to heighten the steeple, consequentially giving the temple the look Brigham Young preferred.


1975 Remodel

After remodeling of the interior, the temple was rededicated on November 11, 1975.[3]

2019 Renovation Plans

The temple will close November 4, 2019, as crews begin extensive structural, mechanical, electrical, finish and plumbing work. The renovation is expected to be completed in 2022. [4]

Presidents

Notable presidents of the temple include

Access

Template:Main article Temple access is available to church members who hold a current temple recommend, as is the case with all operating Latter-day Saints temples. An adjacent visitors center is open to the public. An LDS Church meetinghouse is across the street on the East, which is also open to the public.[1]


See Also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Template:Citation
  2. Bizarre Lightning Strike on St George Temple LDS Living
  3. Template:Citation
  4. Mormon NewsRoom announces Major Pioneer Temple Renovation
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