Salt Lake Temple, Salt Lake City

Salt Lake Temple, Salt Lake City (must see)

The centerpiece of Temple Square, this beautiful neo-gothic edifice took 40 years to build at the direction of then Church President, Brigham Young, and has withstood the test of time since being dedicated in 1893. The granite-like quartz monzonite was quarried in Little Cottonwood Canyon, 22 miles south of the site, and was then laboriously hauled by oxen, stone by stone, until the railroad became operational in 1869. Oriented towards Jerusalem and incorporating a host of symbolic designs and decorations, many of which are visible on the exterior, it remains the largest LDS temple by floor area (253,015 sq-ft / 23,505.9 m2). Its massive presence is a marvel, considering there was no electricity, no computers, nor any other artificial means used during construction. The stone masonry is so precise, there is not even mortar between the stones! And then to think the pioneers built this huge edifice in the middle of a desert guided by faith is just awesome.

As with all LDS temples, only qualifying members of the LDS faith can enter the building (used primarily for marriages, baptisms for the dead, religious ritual instruction, and meetings of the First Presidency and of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles), but visitors can walk around the exterior and enter other historic structures nearby. During the winter months the beauties of the world-famous flower beds are replaced by nativity displays and millions of Christmas lights strung through all the trees on Temple Square, making it a hugely popular destination for visitors and locals alike.

As noted by the scholars, "Brigham Young was almost sole author of one of the most important chapters in the history of the American West." When the first group of pioneers, led by Young, entered Immigration Canyon overlooking the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, Young (who had been ill and was bedded in a covered wagon) rose long enough to gaze out over the valley and famously declared "This is the right place. Drive on." Those with him clearly understood that he was talking about his vision of where the Latter-Day Saints were to settle. It should be noted that Church leaders and members alike felt that settling in Utah (near the Rockies) would fulfill Isaiah 2:2 - "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house [temple] shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it."

Perhaps among Young's greatest visible accomplishments was his initiation of the construction of the world famous Salt Lake Temple and Tabernacle on Temple Square, and the incredible construction of a system of miles and miles of irrigation canals that fulfilled the prophecy in Isaiah 35:1 "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose."

One of the best (and free!) views of the edifice (and of Temple Square) is from the atrium and inside of The Roof restaurant, located on the top floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, a short walk and elevator ride directly to the east.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Salt Lake City. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Salt Lake Temple on Map

Sight Name: Salt Lake Temple
Sight Location: Salt Lake City, USA (See walking tours in Salt Lake City)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Salt Lake City, Utah

Create Your Own Walk in Salt Lake City

Create Your Own Walk in Salt Lake City

Creating your own self-guided walk in Salt Lake City is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Salt Lake City Downtown Walk

Salt Lake City Downtown Walk

The story of Salt Lake City's settlement and growth is inscribed in the streets and historic buildings of its downtown. Many visitors say it's the cleanest area they've ever been in, and church leaders have planned it very well indeed: the layout resembles a Cartesian graph, with the origin at Temple Square.

In 1847, four days after the scouting team had first arrived in this...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Historical Buildings Tour

Historical Buildings Tour

Salt Lake City’s downtown is a good place to view buildings and sites that reflect the city’s Mormon heritage. Begin your tour at the fine Devereaux Mansion and the Temple Square, the city's most popular attraction, then make your way toward Capitol Hill, rich with Utah history and architectural diversity. Further along the way, you may get to see the influences of other cultures, so...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 Km or 2.5 Miles
Pioneers Trail

Pioneers Trail

After extensive religious persecution in the Eastern and Midwestern United States, the Mormon Pioneers made their way across the plains and mountains to the west to a spot where Brigham Young said God had designated they should stop and settle. Unlike other social groups (farmers, miners, merchants) who created other western cities, these settlers arrived in Salt Lake Valley as a...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.9 Km or 1.2 Miles