“Mormonism in Pictures” is a photo essay feature from Mormonnewsroom.org depicting The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members around the world. Today we feature photos related to Temple Square and the Church in downtown Salt Lake City.
Historic Temple Square, in downtown Salt Lake City, is one of the most visited places in Utah. Each year, more than 5 million people walk through one of four entrances to view a multicolored landscape and well-manicured lawns.
Inside the 10-acre block of Temple Square, flowers, trees and bushes surround the Salt Lake Temple, historic Tabernacle, Assembly Hall, two visitors’ centers and several statues of special significance to Latter-day Saints. All add to the peace that is found on Temple Square.
Also recognizable on Temple Square are the female missionaries who help visitors understand more about the Church. At any given time the missionaries collectively speak more than 30 different languages to accommodate visitors from all over the world.
With an abundance of spring, soon-to-be summer weather, more than 2,000 volunteers have been refreshing and replanting 35 acres of flowers in more than 700 varieties from around the world in and around Temple Square. Latter-day Saints believe in providing service as a way to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.
The Salt Lake Temple, amid the flowers and foliage, is a favorite backdrop for family portraits, wedding photos or a keepsake image of the temple to serve as a reminder of the eternal nature of the family.
Tulips, other fragrant flowers and trees frame the Salt Lake Temple.
A reflecting pond of recirculated water is on the east side of the Salt Lake Temple and was designed to reflect the image of the temple. Latter-day Saints make eternal promises in the temple, where the highest sacraments of the Church are administered.
The historic Tabernacle is home to the world famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Orchestra at Temple Square and the Bells on Temple Square. Completed in 1867, 20 years after the Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, the domed building has not only been a religious edifice for the Church but has been a community gathering place for thousands of cultural and interfaith events.
Bertel Thorvaldsen's 11-foot statue of the Christus was reproduced by Italian sculptor Aldo Rebechi for the Church. The original is in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Christus is located on the second floor in the North Visitors’ Center. Guided tours and interactive displays about the Church are located throughout the building. Jesus Christ is the center of Latter-day Saints’ worship.
Inside the South Visitors’ Center is a cut-away model of the Salt Lake Temple, as seen in this photo. Displays showing how the temple was built and videos of the Church’s award-winning Homefront public service announcements are available to view.
Outside of the 10-acre block of Temple Square, volunteers work on beautifying the areas around the Conference Center, Relief Society Building, Church Office Building, Administration Building, Joseph Smith Memorial Building, Family History Library, Church History Museum, Church History Library, Beehive House and Lion House.
The Joseph Smith Memorial Building first opened in June of 1911 as the Hotel Utah. Presidents of the United States, dignitaries and celebrities from all over the world stayed at this stately hotel. It closed as a hotel in 1987 but opened in 1993 as the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. The building now houses offices for departments of the Church, a 500-seat theater, two restaurants on the 10th floor, meeting rooms, a café on the lobby level, the FamilySearch Center for people who are learning to research their ancestry and underground parking.
The Church Office Building fountain is a 294-jet fountain mirroring the spires of the Salt Lake Temple with water rising 50 feet above a reflective pool. From the fountain, streamlets of recirculated water run west alongside pathways that finish near the Main Street Plaza reflecting pond and temple.
The 21,000-seat Conference Center, located across the street from Temple Square, offers guided tours, and during the summertime the Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcasts its weekly Music and the Spoken Word from the Conference Center on radio, television and the Internet. People are invited to attend the free live broadcast at 9:30 a.m. (MDT). Attendees must be in their seats by 9:15; doors open at 8:30. Attendance is for people eight years old and up. A smaller theater, for Church productions, meetings and seminars, is in the Conference Center.
On top of the Conference Center is a four-acre prairie of native and wild grasses, flowers and trees requiring very little water. A prominent feature of the building is the waterfall, which starts at the base of the building’s spire on the roof and cascades down to a pool of recirculated water four stories below. When the building was proposed, then Church President Gordon B. Hinckley wanted residents living above the structure to see a garden, not a typical roof.
The Relief Society Building is home to the three organizations of the Church guided by female presidencies. They are Relief Society, Young Women and Primary. A resource center on the lower level, which is open to the public, has displays designed to help strengthen home and family. The building is located across the Main Street Plaza from Temple Square.
The Family History Library houses the largest collection of genealogical records of its kind in the world. Each year hundreds of thousands of people from throughout the world and from all walks of life; many spend their entire vacation searching out their ancestry. The library is free and is open every day but Sunday. It is located immediately west of Temple Square.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a record-keeping people. Since its beginning in 1830 records have been kept that document the Church’s progress and history. The Church History Library is the repository for these records. In addition to housing Church and personal journals and other records, the library also displays historical photos and artifacts. The public is welcome to visit the library for tours and research.
Artifacts and information of the Church dating back to Joseph Smith’s time are in the Church History Museum, located immediately west of Temple Square. The museum, open every day free to the public, contains a wealth of Church history. There are historical items from the Mormon pioneers’ trek to Utah, a display on each president of the Church, art and special limited-time exhibits. A life-size replica of the angel Moroni which stands on most of the Church’s 141 completed temples, is also on display.
The Beehive House was built between 1853 and 1855 and served as home to Brigham Young when he was president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and governor of the Utah Territory. The house is located on the corner of State and South Temple Streets. Tours are available daily.
Built in 1856 under the direction of Brigham Young, the Lion House derives its name from the stone lion statue resting over the front entrance. “Lion of the Lord” was Brigham Young’s nickname; he served as president of the Church from 1847 until his death in 1877. The Lion House was also the Church leader’s family home. Downstairs is The Pantry, a restaurant that serves entrees, salads, soups, desserts, drinks and their famous rolls with honey butter. Families and organizations may reserve rooms in the upper floors for meetings, lunches, dinners and special occasions.
City Creek flows through the water wheel in the center of the Brigham Young Historic Park, located across from the Church Office Building on State Street. The park is reminiscent of the type of farm the Church president had, with rows of crops and statues of pioneers tending to the garden. In the summer, free concerts are presented in the park.
Visitors of all ages are drawn to the sweet smell of the flowers and their eye-catching beauty.
Varieties of flowers on Temple Square include petunias, hyacinths, tulips, daffodils, pansies, forsythia and forget-me-nots, just to mention a few.
The Church offers free gardening classes taught by expert horticulturalists each Wednesday from June to August. Each class is one hour and starts at Brigham Young Historic Park across from the Church Office Building on State and North Temple Streets. Call 801-240-5916 for more information.
In addition to the flowers, summer is the time for Concerts in the Park, at Brigham Young Historic Park. Concerts start at 8:00 p.m. in June and July and at 7:30 p.m. in August. Call 801-240-3323 or go to lds.org/events.