In 1847, shortly after Latter-day Saints entered the Salt Lake Valley, Church President Brigham Young selected a location, proclaiming, “Here we will build a temple to our God” (quoted in Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Salt Lake Temple,” Ensign, Mar. 1993). Completed in 1893, the Salt Lake Temple is considered by Latter-day Saints to be the house of God and a sacred place to worship Jesus Christ.
The temple represented both the spiritual and physical center in the lives of the pioneers. Laying out the land for Salt Lake City began only a few days after the Saints identified the location for permanent settlement. The work of surveying the city blocks began at the southeast corner of Temple Block.
Using the Temple Block as the primary reference point for the city, Brigham Young labeled the streets according to their distance and direction from the Temple Block. As a result, locations in the city are in reference to the Temple Block. Today, the temple remains the central reference point in Salt Lake City.
In the decades since Brigham Young’s statement, other sacred buildings have been built near the temple. The campus has expanded to become the world headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In addition to the Salt Lake Temple, Temple Square is home to congregational worship spaces such as the Salt Lake Tabernacle, the Salt Lake Assembly Hall, and the Conference Center. It provides access to libraries and museums such as the Church History Museum, the Family History Library, and the Church History Library. Historic house museums include The Lion House, The Beehive House, and the Deuel Cabin. Event and administrative office spaces are in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, the Relief Society Building, the Church Office Building, and the Church Administration Building. The grounds include gardens, monuments, and fountains.
Temple Square hosts a biannual gathering that draws members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from around the world. Over 80,000 participants gather in the Conference Center during the two-day conference, which is broadcast globally to millions in more than 120 languages.
With its many attractions and historical structures, Temple Square provides many options for visitors.
Free tours of Temple Square are available in more than 40 languages by native-language-speaking guides. To help visitors understand the purpose of temples and how members worship Christ through temple service, exhibits about the Salt Lake Temple are on display in the Conference Center.
Temple Square also hosts concerts, rehearsals, recitals, museums, and libraries, all of which are free to the public. During the Christmas season, Temple Square is lit up with more than one million lights and showcases multiple Nativity scenes.
As of January 2020, the Salt Lake Temple and several surrounding areas are closed for an extensive renovation process.
When the temple 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.