Consider 17,096 exterior stones, 47 miles or nearly 250,000 linear feet of wood, 4,668 cubic yards of concrete, 407 tons of structural steel, 80 miles of electrical wiring and 184 individual doors.
These numbers describe some of the construction details involved in building the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The supply list would not differ much in quantity from any other construction project of more than 61,000 square feet, but temple construction projects operate on one noticeably differing principle: prayer
At the beginning of each workday, construction project managers, engineers and specially called temple missionaries gather in a review of the day’s assignments and conclude that inventory session with a prayer.
David and Bobbie Arnson, Church missionaries assigned to the recently completed Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple construction in Salt Lake County, Utah, suggest that “the teamwork achieved in carefully creating a temple begins in a morning devotional with the project managers and prayer.”
Numerous construction workers agree that the prayer makes a difference in the success of the work. Often errors are noted in a timely manner or calculations change to address immediate concerns. Sometimes extraordinary challenges are efficiently resolved.
Getting all the pieces of a temple together in a timely fashion challenges nearly every construction project.
Nearing the completion of the Sacramento California Temple, Okland Construction project manager, Russell Mumford, reported that the unseasonable weather posed a huge problem. “It rained almost every day for two months, the two months we needed to install the landscaping and finish up the project. Instead of being able to plant, we had a full lake surrounding the temple. The landscape contractor was also frustrated with the situation and pressured by the deadlines. We received permission to invite local members of the Church to participate in the landscaping installation. In 10 days of 4 four-hour shifts and with about 200 volunteers a shift, the orange-vested contractors carefully supervised the crowds of volunteers and the landscaping was completed on time,” Mumford explained. “We never could have done it without the local support.”
Lee Fugal, engineer for the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple, had an opposite experience with the landscaping on that temple. “All fall long we had unseasonably warm and clear weather,” Fugal explained. “We laid the last piece of sod on December 12 and it snowed the next day and didn’t stop for a week. It’s unheard of here in Utah to lay sod in December, but we did.”
Mark Lawrence, the drapery contractor for the newly completed Utah temple, described his attempts to find the right item in a timely manner. “I tried for several months to find the perfect fringe trim for the draperies, but was unable to locate an appropriate trim,” Lawrence reported. “After I had exhausted all my resources, I turned to the head designer at the Church. I searched some examples in his library and finally found a beautiful match. I called the manufacturer, only to discover that he was already producing that very trim in a quantity of 50 yards. I needed 40 and because it was already in process, I was able to meet my deadlines on the project.”
Doug Welling, president of Jacobsen Constructionsaid: “Building a temple utilizes the highest quality in every material, and every fashioning of that material has to be the absolute best. Assembling a temple is a unique building experience. We all have a desire to produce the very best workmanship for the house of the Lord, implementing innovative design and materials of the highest quality in an economical way that will allow the project to continue.”