Tours be­gin through Provo tem­ple

Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Christi C. Bab­bitt

In Jan­uary, vol­un­teers from LDS stakes in Springville and Provo be­gan guid­ing vis­i­tors through the newly com­pleted Provo City Cen­ter Tem­ple, the 150th op­er­at­ing tem­ple of The Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints.

An­tic­i­pa­tion of the new tem­ple has been great since LDS Church Pres­i­dent Thomas S. Mon­son an­nounced on Oct. 1, 2011, that the Provo Taber­na­cle would be re­built as a tem­ple. The taber­na­cle was nearly com­pletely de­stroyed in De­cem­ber of 2010 by a fire that left only the build­ing’s brick shell in­tact.

Pub­lic tours of the tem­ple, lo­cated at 50 S. Univer­sity Ave., Provo, of­fi­cially be­gan Jan. 15, but some tours were held be­fore that date for spe­cially in­vited guests, in­clud­ing a tour for the me­dia on Jan. 11.

“I marvel that this is the 150th tem­ple for The Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter-day Saints,” LDS Church Gen­eral Pri­mary Pres­i­dent Rose­mary M. Wixom told mem­bers of the me­dia just be­fore they en­tered the new tem­ple. “I re­mem­ber as a lit­tle girl mem­o­riz­ing all 15 tem­ples.”

The new Provo tem­ple is an homage to the pi­o­neers who set­tled the Provo area and the pop­u­lar de­sign el­e­ments of the late 1800s. Beau­ti­ful carved wood, stained glass and arched win­dows through­out the build­ing re­flect the time pe­riod when the taber­na­cle was orig­i­nally built. Ground was bro­ken for the taber­na­cle in 1883 and the ded­i­ca­tion held in 1898.

“It’s in a way a me­mo­rial to the past, but now we will look for­ward to the fu­ture, its func­tion and use as a tem­ple,” said El­der Kent F. Richards, a mem­ber of the Seventy and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the church’s Tem­ple Depart­ment.

De­sign el­e­ments such as wood mold­ings and newel posts that ex­isted in the taber­na­cle were repli­cated in the tem­ple, but only one item from the taber­na­cle was sal­vaged and placed in the new tem­ple. The item, a piece of in­tri­cately carved wood about four inches wide, came from the taber­na­cle pul­pit and was used as part of the pul­pit in the tem­ple’s chapel. The taber­na­cle had a re­mov­able pul­pit to make room for mu­si­cal per­for­mances, and it had been taken out of the main area at the time of the fire, al­low­ing this piece to sur­vive.

“This is just a stun­ning ex­am­ple of the Lord giv­ing beauty for ashes,” El­der Larry Y. Wil­son, a mem­ber of the Seventy and as­sis­tant ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the church’s Tem­ple Depart­ment, said of the tem­ple dur­ing the me­dia tour.

When LDS tem­ples are built, their dé­cor of­ten re­flects their sur­round­ings. The columbine flower, a plant found in the moun­tain val­leys of Utah County, is one

mo­tif used through­out the Provo City Cen­ter Tem­ple. Works of art hang­ing through­out the tem­ple de­pict scenes from the Utah Val­ley area, in­clud­ing one large work by Springville artist Robert Mar­shall ti­tled “Hob­ble Creek Glory.”

Mar­shall also painted the mu­rals for the walls in one of the tem­ple’s two in­struc­tion rooms. Both rooms – the other painted by Orem artist James Chris­tensen – fea­ture de­pic­tions of the cre­ation of the earth and the Gar­den of Eden.

There are in­di­vid­ual seats for tem­ple pa­trons in the in­struc­tion rooms, but the seats are joined at the back, giv­ing them the look of wooden church pews. Wil­son said this type of seat­ing is unique to the Provo City Cen­ter Tem­ple and was done to re­flect the wooden pews that were in the Provo Taber­na­cle.

Much of the tem­ple is lo­cated un­der­ground. Most pa­trons will use un­der­ground park­ing and en­ter the tem­ple on that base­ment level, which in­cludes about 53,000 square feet hous­ing dress­ing rooms and the bap­tistry. A se­cond base­ment level of about 11,000 square feet in­cludes a laun­dry, me­chan­i­cal equip­ment and the 12 bronze sculp­tures of oxen that sup­port the bap­tismal font.

The two floors in­side the for­mer taber­na­cle mea­sure about 11,000 square feet each and house the in­struc­tion rooms, the ce­les­tial room and seal­ing rooms for wed­dings. Wil­son said as of the date of the me­dia tour, 500 wed­dings had been sched­uled at the new tem­ple.

Some LDS tem­ples rent tem­ple cloth­ing to pa­trons, but that ser­vice will not be of­fered at the Provo City Cen­ter Tem­ple.

Pa­trons will be able to en­ter the tem­ple at ground level on the east side of the build­ing. Just in­side that en­trance is a large art glass piece de­pict­ing the Sav­ior cradling a lamb in his arms. The 120-yearold piece was re­moved from a Pres­by­te­rian church in New York, Wil­son said, and pur­chased by an LDS church mem­ber who then do­nated it to the tem­ple. He added that it is one of the most beau­ti­ful pieces of art glass found in any of the church’s tem­ples.

“To mem­bers of the church, tem­ples are the most sa­cred place on earth. We con­sider it the house of the Lord,” Richards said. “We are a tem­ple-build­ing peo­ple. The pur­pose of tem­ples is not just to con­struct beau­ti­ful build­ings but to pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for mem­bers to come and re­ceive life-sav­ing or­di­nances.”

Photo cour­tesy of the LDS Church

Vis­i­tors by the thou­sands have be­gun walk­ing through the newly com­pleted Provo Cen­ter Cen­ter Tem­ple. Pic­tured above is the ce­les­tial room of the tem­ple.

This multi-floor stair­case show­cases the fine wood­work found through­out the new Provo City Cen­ter Tem­ple.

The piece of carved wood just un­der­neath the flat top of this pul­pit, now lo­cated in the chapel of the new Provo City Cen­ter Tem­ple, is the only item that was able to be sal­vaged from the Provo Taber­na­cle and used in the tem­ple.

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