When Latter-day Saints settled the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, Apostle George A. Smith declared that a temple in the valley would fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy that “the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established” in the last days (Isaiah 2:2–3). Shortly after, Brigham Young, the President of the Church at the time, saw in a vision the place where the temple should be built.
Under the guidance of Brigham Young, construction of the granite temple began in 1853. The construction took 40 years, and much of it was completed by hand. Church architect Truman Angell designed a large building inspired by old European styles to give a sense of permanence for the area. The Salt Lake Temple was dedicated, or consecrated, to the Lord in 1893. The Salt Lake Temple is the centerpiece and reason for the name of Temple Square, a five-city-block area around the Salt Lake Temple and headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
This temple was the sixth dedicated temple of the Church. Although it was the first to begin construction in the Utah region, it was the fourth dedicated in the region.
The Salt Lake Temple stands 222 feet high and is topped with a statue of Moroni, a Book of Mormon prophet. Stone carvings on the exterior of the temple—including stars, phases of the moon, the sun, and other symbols—remind people of the importance of promises made in God’s temple in guiding His children back to Him. The building and its supporting annex buildings include more than 250 thousand square feet of interior space.
Currently, the Salt Lake Temple is undergoing a seismic renovation process and other upgrades. The renovation work began in 2020 and is expected to take four years. Visitors can view the construction from the roof of the Conference Center and through the observation windows next to the construction site.
When the upgrades are complete, the Salt Lake Temple will be open for public viewing before it is rededicated.
After the temple is rededicated, it will reopen for Latter-day Saint worship. Because of the sacred nature of temple services, the Salt Lake Temple will at that point no longer be open for public visitation or tours.
To help visitors to Temple Square understand the purpose of temples and how Latter-day Saints worship Jesus Christ through temple service, exhibits about the Salt Lake Temple are on display in the Conference Center. A full-scale cutaway model of the Salt Lake Temple’s interior before renovation is also on display in the Conference Center. Short descriptions and interactive video presentations about the purpose of the temple and temple ordinances accompany the scale model of the Salt Lake Temple.