Sunday, October 2, 2011

New Temple Announcements

So new temples were announced in General Conference for Kinshasa, Congo; Barranquilla, Columbia; Durban, South Africa; Star Valley, Wyoming; and Provo, Utah (which already has a temple, and will get a new one with the recently burned Tabernacle being rebuilt as a temple).  We were also reminded that the church is building a temple in Paris, France (which was announced about 2 months ago).

I'm excited for these temples.  I love that the continent of Africa is going from having 3 temples to 5 temples.  I also love that Star Valley, Wyoming (near Jackson Hole) is getting a temple.  I was up there about a month ago and found out that Afton, Wyoming has a Tabernacle.  Maybe the new temple will be built near that Tabernacle.  I am glad that Wyoming will finally have a temple.  I'd have guessed that a temple would be built near Casper so that it would be by Martin's Cove, but Star Valley probably has a larger Mormon population.

Then there is the Provo Temple.  Okay, that name is already taken by the Provo Temple.  Let's call it the Provo Tabernacle Temple (Provo Temple 2?).  I was reading various reactions to this new temple online and one commenter, who apparently reads this blog, mentioned The Trumpet Stone and wondered what I would think about the Second Provo Temple.  So I guess I'm obligated to give my opinion :).

I love the idea of turning the shell of the Tabernacle into a temple.  When the Tabernacle burned it was unclear what the church would do.  Tabernacles were the first stake centers (which is why when the modern stake centers were introduced in the 1950s or so the church stopped building Tabernacles).  Since that time, many Tabernacles have been torn down, but a lot have been preserved.  The preserved ones are used for stake conferences from time to time and for community meetings and special events such as concerts.  To fully restore the burned Provo Tabernacle would have been extremely expensive for a building that the church doesn't build anymore and whose function can be fulfilled by numerous other buildings in the city.  This meant that the church would be spending a lot for something they didn't need.  Making the Tabernacle into a temple gets around this problem because the money for restoration will also make the Tabernacle into something useful and needed, not superfluous (although historic and beautiful and great for the city).

Some have commented that they think it is too costly to make a temple out of a Tabernacle.  I've seen comments claiming that the church would never make a temple out of an existing structure after the Vernal Utah Temple because that temple cost too much.  These people seem unaware that the Copenhagen Denmark Temple and Manhattan New York Temple were both built out of existing structures after the Vernal Temple was completed.  Even if the church doesn't like remodeling existing structures into temples, the Provo Tabernacle Temple is a unique situation.  The interior has already been gutted for us.  To not build will involve the cost of demolition at the least.  This means that this temple remodel should be simpler than the other re-purposed temples and the cost shouldn't be prohibitive.

You can see a rendering of the new Provo Temple here.  You can also see it at  I like the rendering.  I read online that one person didn't like that they were adding the central tower.  I think the building has looked odd ever since they removed the original central tower in 1917.  The original tower was causing structural problems so they removed it, but this made the building look odd.  Later they removed the square base of the spire and went with a simple roof ridge.  This helped aesthetics a little, but the corner towers still looked like they were meant to have a companion.  The new temple central tower is a faithful reproduction of the original central tower (either lighter this time, or with stronger supports) with the addition of a statue of the Angel Moroni.  I'm guessing that the finials on the four corner towers weren't originally gold leafed, and I like that they will match the new statue of Moroni.  I also like the light color of the tower which helps the building feel like a light, bright, holy temple (similar to the two white tower tops on the Logan Temple that help overcome the dark stone of the main building).

I also like the use of brick on this temple.  Several other temples are made of brick including the Vernal Utah Temple (converted from a tabernacle), the Copenhagen Denmark Temple (converted from a chapel) and the Johannesburg South Africa Temple.  I like the red brick.  It reminds me of the blood of Christ.  It also reminds me of Nauvoo and the Red Brick Store in Nauvoo where the Temple Endowment was first given to a select few by Joseph Smith while the temple was being completed.  I also love the buttressing of the walls, the pointed arches, and the keystones and other prominent stones done in a lighter grey or white.  I like the stained glass windows (added when they removed the original spire) and it appears that they will be restoring the windows.  Since the central tower never would have had stained glass windows it will be interesting to see how they do those windows and if they use them to work in symbolism.

Another thing I like about this temple is that it will be the second (or third if you count the Cochabamba Bolivia Temple) temple with five towers (the Oakland California Temple also has five towers).  I am not the biggest fan of central tower temples, but I like the look with four complimentary corner towers.

I look forward to seeing how the interior of this temple will look.  The original tabernacle had an ornate interior.  I hope the copy a lot of the beautifully carved elements for the temple.  By the way, the church is adding ornately carved moldings to the Brigham City Temple.  You can see pictures in this article.  I hope similarly ornate work goes into the temple rooms.  Here is what the tabernacle interior used to look like.

It will also be interesting to see how they divide the interior into rooms.  I've never been in the original tabernacle, so I'm unsure just how much floorspace is available.  I'd assume that that the church will add an underground annex with dressing rooms and offices and perhaps a chapel so as much of the historic building as possible can be used for temple ordinances.

There are some of my thoughts on these new temples, and mainly on the Provo Tabernacle Temple.  Please comment and let us know what you think about these temples.


Brett said...

The Star Valley Tabernacle is lovely.

tolman said...

I wonder if the celestial room will be in the middle so as to use the central spier as a voluted ceiling like in other temples?

Brett said...

That would be amazing if they did do a centrally located celestial room. You could fit two single endowment rooms either side easily.

I am not sure if you could fit a new 2 room progression style setup...however if you could, you could then squeeze in a double set on either side increasing it's capacity.

Of course, I am not sure you could fit all the rest of the rooms on the ground floor...I suppose you could do a full basement level for the baptistery.'s just some musings. I quite like the design, although I think a Salt Lake Temple styled Angel Moroni would be more sympathetic to the period of the building.

Scott said...

They could do 2 A rooms, one B room, and a celestial room. You spend about 2/3 (1 hr) of the endowment in the first room and 1/3 (1/2 hr)in the second (I've timed it). I'm not sure how you'd arrange the rooms, but this setup would use less space and allow endowments to be performed every 30-40 minutes.

Another option would be to have 2 'A' endowment rooms on the first floor and then have you go upstairs to two 'B' endowment rooms and then to the celestial room.

I agree that a Salt Lake style Moroni would fit in with the historic character of the building. I also wish the church would develop a new style of Angel Moroni statue. They should commission a new statue every 10 or 20 temples in my opinion. This would make you want to look at the statue and study it. As it is, there are only a few unique ones so normally there isn't anything unique to look at.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that you got wrong is that the Provo Tabernacle wasn't used for stake conferences on occassion. It hosted 2 stake conferences virtually every Sunday of the year. It wasn't an occasional thing--it was constant.

tolman said...

I think it will need a basement, making it a three floor temple if not also addition g a under ground annex just to acomidate the volume of people it will see.

Justin said...

I heard there was a President Hinckley quote following the difficult transformation of the Vernal Tabernacle into a temple saying that that church wouldn't undergo another serious restoration project like that again. Scott, have you ever run across that quote?

Brett said...

On the Angel Moroni, it looks as though the it is a Salt Lake Temple styled one. The new Payson Utah Temple definitely is in that the large res photo from the Church website and enlarge to full size and you can definitely see that.l I tried to do the same with the Provo Tabernacle Temple but they have positioned it away from the viewer so you can't fully see it.

Anonymous said...

Temple spires are almost always architectural ornaments that don't connect to the interior space. Although it would be cool if one could look up into the tower from the celestial room, it would also prevent a two-room progressive endowment arrangement, and nearly every temple built in the past 15 years has used a progressive arrangement.

Maybe they could put a special sealing room up there, like the tower sealing room in the Manti Temple. Unlikely, but maybe.

Scott said...

I've heard people claim that President Hinckley said we'd never make a temple out of an existing structure, but I'm skeptical of the quote because only a few years later we converted two existing buildings into temples.

I hope it is a Salt Lake styled Moroni or a newly commissioned one. I noticed that Payson used the Salt Lake Moroni, but am unsure if this was just for the rendering.

I was looking at the Provo Tabernacle on Google Earth. It is about 70 ft by 130 ft. For comparison, the upper levels of the Oquirrh Mountain Temple are about 70 ft by 160 ft, and on the endowment room level they have a big hole for a double staircase in the middle. So I think this temple has about the same space for endowment rooms as the Oquirrh Mountain temple, if not more. If the chapel and locker rooms were in an underground annex (Vernal did it this way) then most of the floor plan could be devoted to endowment rooms and you could easily have 4 small endowment rooms (or 6 with 4 'A' rooms and 2 'B' rooms). I've laid out reasonable room sizes over an aerial view of the tabernacle, and there are several ways to fit 4 or 6 endowment rooms and still have progression and a central celestial room. Sealing rooms would have to be on the first floor, or in the towers, or in the four sections of the building that jut out slightly. Or the endowment rooms could be on the first floor with a 2 story plus spire celestial room. The baptistry would probably need to be on its own basement floor. In any event, I think this building is larger than people assume and has plenty of room for multiple endowment rooms as long as lockers, offices, waiting rooms, chapels, etc. are in an underground annex.

Brett said...

The New Sapporo Japan Temple looks great, I am loving the deco inspiration and the stunning landscaping. I look forward to the design of the new temple for New Zealand (if it happens). I hope the Church website releases a high resolution photo, the one via is low res but tantalisingly shows a unique Angel Moroni me thinks.Of course my eyes could be shot and I have imagined it. lol

Scott said...

The high resolution rendering is up on the church's newsroom website.

Anonymous said...

I refer to the new Provo Temple as "The Tempernacle".