Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Brigham City Utah Temple

A few weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Brigham City Utah Temple open house.  It was a wonderful experience and I'd like to share some of my impressions about this temple.

First, if you haven't already, you can go to the following link and download photos of the interior:
That link will not stay up forever, so get the photos now if you want them.

I loved the detail in the Brigham City Temple.  The style is meant to tie back to the pioneer temples (Salt Lake, Logan, Manti and St George temples in Utah).  It does this through a number of features.  On the exterior, the two main towers with spires and four corner towers echo the pioneer temples.  On the interior, the neoclassical style feels similar to the ornate grandeur of the pioneer temples, particularly Salt Lake and Manti.

One detail I particularly liked was the use of a cast bronze font instead of the white fiberglass fonts that have been used in recent years.  I like that it makes it look more like the fonts used from pioneer times through about the 1950s.  I also like it because as much as I like white oxen, you need to occasionally do something different.  It feels fresh and I like that.

Brigham City Temple Baptistry
While you are admiring the photo of the font, make sure that you notice the original paintings in this room.  There are a lot  of new paintings in this temple.  I particularly want to point out the painting of baptisms being performed in a river in the Brigham City area seen in the photo, and a painting of a Native American being confirmed in pioneer times which is also in the baptistry.  I also noticed several paintings of people harvesting fruit.  One was a lady placing apples in a basket.  These tied into the history of Brigham City which is known for its orchards, and they tie into the temple and gospel themes of gathering, fruit, harvest, etc.  In the Matron's office, which leads into the Bride's Room, there are some paintings of birds that were painted by President Boyd K. Packer, current president of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles who was raised in Brigham City and who used to go to school on the site the temple was built on.  I'm not sure if President Packer's love of birds influenced the endowment room murals, but they are full of numerous birds.  Brigham City is also home to a bird sanctuary and many varieties of birds are in the area due to the very close proximity of the Great Salt Lake and its tributaries.  I enjoyed the endowment room murals.

Brigham City Utah Temple Endowment Room A
This temple has a lot of ornate decorations.  This is very apparent in the second endowment room, essentially the Terrestrial Room, which is ornate enough to pass for a Celestial Room in most temples.  I really enjoyed the room.  If you look at the photos, notice the unique wood carving above the curtain.  It is also in the Celestial Room and Sealing Rooms.  The wood carving is extremely impressive in this temple.  The wood was rough carved by machine and then all finished my hand.  The detail is spectacular, and you really do have to see it in person to realize just how incredible it is.

The Celestial Room has stunning detail.  You can look at the photos.  If I remember correctly there are gold peach branches on the ceiling of the room.  I also noticed that the cream on white "wallpaper" appeared to be hand painted stenciling and not wallpaper.  The sculpted peach blossoms in the carpet were also beautifully done.

Brigham City Temple Sealing Room
The sealing rooms were probably my favorite part of this temple.  The photos the church has provided unfortunately skip the best part.  The ceilings of the room have a circular section painted blue with peach branches in bloom running over the top.  So looking up from the altar it looks like you are laying under a peach tree looking through the white and pink blossoms towards a clear blue sky.  I used to have a peach tree and loved it in spring, so I really liked this detail.  Also, if I remember correctly, the peach branches on the ceiling were also in the Celestial Room, but only in the sealing room were they fully in bloom with colorful blossoms.  So I liked that symbolism.  The sealing rooms may be my favorite of any temple, although I'm not certain about that.  The detail is stunning.

There are many other aspects of this temple that I loved.  I liked the unifying peach blossom motif.  The intricate stone inlays were beautifully crafted.  Many colors were incorporated into the temple making it more interesting than the white and off white color schemes found in most temples, while still being light and inspiring.  The stained glass is really beautiful.  Also, the railings and woodwork are very nicely done and detailed.

I could go on, and perhaps I will later add some to this post.  For now, I'd like to hear what your thoughts are on this spectacularly done temple.  So please comment.

One final note, the detail in this temple makes me optimistic that someday they will restore the Logan Temple with this level of detail.  Clearly we can still build temples as ornate as the pioneers.


Slim said...

I was able to go through the Temple last week and loved it. It's a beautiful temple in and out.

I did think it was curious that the entrance to the baptistry is in the parking garage.

I thought the baptistry was really cool. Like you I loved the bronze oxen in the font area. I also loved the deepness of it. I was told that all of the oxen have a different expression on their face which is a first for baptistry's.

I loved both recommend areas of the temple (main and baptistry). The one thing I loved about it was the blue used in the ceiling. It really gives you the being outside feeling. It's also right above the font in the baptistry, which ties in nicely with the pictures in that room. I'm sure there is more examples, but I have only seen the use of blue on the ceiling in one other temple (London Celestial Room).

I like you noticed the carving in the temple, especially on the third floor where the ordinance rooms are. I especially noticed the moldings on the doors and it reminded me of the intricate detail in the Salt Lake Temple.

One some of the moldings they have the pattern of the Morse code letter V. (Dot Dot Dot Dash). The story told by the locals up in Brigham City is it was the first message sent via telegraph when the two trains met at Promontory point. There was a telegraph sent prior to the meeting saying when they send the dot dot dot dash they were victorious in meeting. It's the symbol for the letter V. From what I read they sent the message DONE in Morse code so I'm not sure how true the story is.

I love how the temples with the two stage ordinance rooms are making the first room look like the surrounding areas. I too thought of the bird sanctuary when I entered the room.

I love the big window in the Celestial room.

It certainly is a beautiful temple, and I think they did an awesome job of blending the new style of temples, with the pioneer style of temples.

Quinn Rollins said...

We took our sons there last week, and we all enjoyed the experience. I knew about the peach blossom motif beforehand, and had my boys watch for them as we went through.

I loved the tributes to pioneer-era Brigham City, and the overall architectural style. I also liked it much more than the renderings I've seen for the Payson Temple, which I'm sure will be beautiful, but is simply a "modern" temple.

I found out after touring the Brigham City Temple that a friend of mine was one the of the sculptors that worked on the oxen that support the baptismal font--evidently the Church has been so pleased with how that font turned out that they're thinking of using them for three more temples--I'm not sure which ones.

In any case, the Brigham City Temple is beautiful. Can't wait to participate in the dedication in a few weeks. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the insights. Since I'm not in Utah and unable to make it to the open house, I appreciate hearing about the things I couldn't see from the photos.

If the rumors about three new bronze fonts are true, I'm going to guess that the temples to receive them will be Provo City Center, Philadelphia, and Hartford.

Brian said...

Does anybody have speculation or reasons why the Brigham City temple gets original artwork but other temples are undeserving?

To the best of my knowledge, I have walked every bit of the Seattle and Vancouver temples that are accessible to normal patrons. I looked at every piece of artwork, hoping to find an original painting but only saw prints. I was, and still am, disappointed that neither of the temples in my area are considered deserving of even one original painting.

Quinn Rollins said...


I don't think it's an issue of Brigham City being "more deserving" at all; Seattle seems to have been built at a time when there wasn't much of the original artwork happening in any of the temples (a contemporary of Seattle, the Jordan River Temple, doesn't have any either to my knowledge). It does surprise me that Vancouver doesn't, since that seems to be a characteristic of other modern temples. I wonder if one of the temple workers there could direct you to artwork that is specific to that temple (if it exists)?

Anonymous said...

Not wanting to start any rumors, or create a false buzz, but I do know that there have been recent discussions about restoring the Logan temple to a more ornate building in the near future. I am also aware that these type of things have been being said for some time, and it is hard to know the timeline of those people that make the decisions to halt or move forward with these type of projects. These talks may lead to nowhere, but it is interesting to consider. I have seen a few different proposed floor plans and layouts, one of which is close to the original, but again these are only talks and proposals, and nothing has been finalized or approved by the brethren, so no need to make a fuss. I just also think it would be really neat to see the Logan temple restored.

tolman said...

After going through this temple I have to wonder if the Provo city center temple won't have a similar floor plan, of having the temple cut in half like the brigham city temple was.

Anonymous said...

The murals in the Vancouver Temple's first endowment room are original paintings. (That one is indeed a simple function of when the temple was built, as Quinn pointed out. The tradition [re]started with Nauvoo, and nearly every temple since has gotten original endowment room murals depicting the local landscape.)

Could you explain what you mean by the floorplan being cut in half? I wasn't able to see it myself. Thanks.

Brian said...

Interesting. A person I home teach who recently moved back here from Rexburg said the Vancouver instruction room mural is a copy of the mural in the Rexburg temple. Do you have a source you can cite?

Quinn Rollins said...

(I do know that when they produced some of the murals, they also produced copies that could be used in other temples...but I don't know which murals were "copied and pasted" into which other temples)

tolman said...

Most temples I have been to, especially in Utah have a floor dedicated to endowment, sealing, and changing rooms. Aka draper temple for example. Sure there are plenty of temples that share endowment rooms and sealing rooms. I just felt as I went through Brigham city that the top floor had really been cut in half one side for one thing and the other for another thing. Maybe it was the celestial room alone that made me feel this way. What a interesting shaped room for the celestial room.

Scott said...

The V morse code is a rumor and it isn't true.
Most new temples for the last 10+ years have had murals. In the last few years I estimate that 75 % are originals and 25% very nice prints. Examples of prints would be Vancouver's print of Rexburg's original, and Kyiv Ukraine's print of Cardston's original. I assume this is due to the recession.

Scott said...
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Scott said...
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Anonymous said...

I have knowledge that the Church is commissioning artists to create more pieces of original artwork to be used in the temples. I believe the Church is trying to celebrate te uniqueness of each area and temple and one way they will be doing this is through original artwork.

DJ said...

I also loved all the metallics. I understand the metallic blue "tiles" and latter the gold squares and silver squares in the brides room, are supposed to be similar to the hand dipped silver leaf the Japanese have been producing for centuries.
The peach blossoms in silhouette are in the second endowment room or Terrestrial room. These branches with blossoms are laid out in a more naturalistic dispersement.
You are correct that the "wallpaper" on the walls in the Celestial room are hand stenciled paint. These are original designs drawn specifically for this temple, referencing local flora. This actually starts in the this "B" room with a mountain wildflower pattern. I understand this is based on the structure of the mountain asters, or "mule ear".
The pattern on the walls of the Celestial and Sealing rooms consists of large sycamore leaves, in homage to the stalwart specimens there on Main street, and leaves of the gamble oaks covering the Wastach front. Also in the pattern are poppies, like those on magnificent display in neighboring Mantua about Fathers Day every year, and Parrot tulips like those supposed to have been brought across with the plains with the early pioneers, dug up prior to leaving beloved Nauvoo. and finally entwined peach branches in blossom, showing clear signs of pruning, symbolizing that they are obviously "tamed".
There are no painted peach blossoms on the Celestial Room ceiling. This has always been a bit disturbing to me considering the finishes of the patterns on the ceiling of the Terrestrial room and the sealing rooms, especially so since the same finishes are on the hall ceiling right outside the Celestial room.
The branches on the ceiling in the Sealing room are more organized that those of the Terrestrial room. and are painted in color not just silhouette. They are outlined in a copper giving the light pink cast, and the centers are each a little explosion of gold. Almost no one ever seems to notice that there are a few bees on those blossoms in each of the Sealing rooms.

Anonymous said...

Hey Scott, Thank you for posting these beautiful pictures. They're perfect for my lesson in church this week, but when I went to download them from the official church site it did say, "You may not post material from this site on another website or on a computer network without our permission." Just thought I'd let you know if you didn't already.

Don said...

I like this baptismal font, too. I see some people calling them "bronze" but they don't look bronze to me, so I'm a bit confused. My favorite baptistry of all is still in the Idaho Falls Temple, with its very modern, brushed stainless steel font.