Salt Lake City, Utah LDS Temple

The Salt Lake Temple is a six-spired granite edifice representing the inspiration and theological underpinnings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.



This temple is the symbolic heart of the Church worldwide. More important than its recognizable exterior, however, are the sacred ordinances performed within its walls.

Streets in the city were laid out beginning at the temple block. The building is 186.5 feet long and 118 feet wide, with walls 167.5 feet high. The temple looks somewhat like a fortress and is built to symbolize strength and spiritual safety.

The east center tower rises 210 feet into the air, capped by a statue of the angel Moroni, who announces with a trump the restored gospel message to all the earth. The 12.5-foot statue is made of hammered copper covered with gold leaf.

The temple’s exterior design includes symbolic stones, such as moon, sun, and star stones. These emblematic stones and architectural representations are meant to reinforce spiritual principles taught through sacred ordinances performed within the temple.

The temple is used exclusively by members of the Church in good standing for sacred ordinances reserved for the house of the Lord, such as proxy baptisms for the dead, washing, anointings, and eternal marriage ceremonies (see 1 Corinthians 15:29; D&C 124:26–42). Latter-day Saints believe that God has commanded them to be “saviors . . . on mount Zion” (see Obadiah 1:21) by performing proxy ordinances for the dead who did not receive them in mortality and that marriages can endure beyond the grave when couples are faithful to the covenants made in the temple.



Additional Media

Temple Square is lit with thousands of lights each Christmas season • © Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Downtown Salt Lake City property map showing blocks surrounding Temple Square selected by early pioneer leaders • Brigham Young University

The angel Moroni stands guard over the tallest center spire on the east end of the Salt Lake Temple • David M. Whitchurch

Majestic view of the temple •Utah State Historical Society.

On-site preparation: Salt Lake Temple stones were dressed and arranged in front of the newly completed Tabernacle. The Tabernacle and the Endowment House can be seen in the background • C. R. Savage courtesy of Richard K. Winters

Little-known shot of the interior of the temple, specifically the Assembly Room, while under construction. The Saints volunteered most of the labor that went into the Salt Lake Temple’s construction • Brigham Young University

Granite: Stone for the Salt Lake Temple was quarried from Little Cottonwood Canyon and hauled to downtown Salt Lake City, first by ox team and later by railroad • © by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.




INTERESTING FACTS

  • Truman O. Angell, brother-in-law to Brigham Young and a member of the first pioneer company to enter the Salt Lake Valley, was the architect. He designed the St. George Temple, the Endowment House on Temple Square (a “temporary temple” for ordinances for the living only), the Lion House, the Beehive House, and many other buildings throughout Utah. Before coming to Utah, he had been responsible for much interior work in the Kirtland Temple as well as the completion of the Nauvoo Temple. He died on Sunday, October 16, 1887.
  • Brother Angell learned about the sacred nature of temple building when Frederick G. Williams, then counselor to Joseph Smith, told Truman of the revelation the First Presidency received relative to the Kirtland Temple:
    Joseph received the word of the Lord for him to take his two counselors [Fredrick G.] Williams and [Sidney] Rigdon, and come before the Lord and He would show them the plan or model of the house to be built. We went upon our knees, called on the Lord, and the building [Kirtland Temple] appeared within viewing distance. I being the first to discover it. Then all of us viewed it together. After we had taken a good look at the exterior, the building seemed to come right over to us, and the makeup of this hall seemed to coincide with what I there saw a minute.
  • Brigham Young conducted ground-breaking on February 14, 1853, and cornerstones were laid during the Church’s annual conference on April 6, 1853. President Wilford Woodruff dedicated the temple forty years later to the day, in 1893. The temple is a magnificent monument to the faith of the pioneers who built it and is a place of prayer, meditation, and administration of sacred ordinances.
  • Unique and slightly blemished granite for the temple [and the Conference Center] was taken from Little Cottonwood Canyon to the southeast of downtown Salt Lake City.
  • Granite blocks were first hauled by oxcart, then by railroad after 1871.