ST. GEORGE — Next week, the St. George Temple, a staple of the St. George landscape, closes for three years.
In January, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that the St. George Temple would be closed for renovations starting Nov. 4 and carry through 2022. In May, church officials held a press conference in the temple visitor center sharing details and renderings of what the future renovations would involve and look like once complete.
“The temple is one of the of the most beautiful, premiere temples in all of the world, and definitely in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Brent Roberts, managing director of the church’s special projects department, said during the May 22 press conference. “Members of St. George, southwestern Utah and parts of Nevada have worshiped here for almost 150 years. However, like other temples of its age, building systems have worn out and need to be refreshed and need to be restrengthened for future generations to come.”
Like other pioneer-era temples in need of upgrades and improvements, the St. George Temple will undergo extensive structural, mechanical, plumbing and finish work, Roberts said.
The temple’s landscaping will also be given an overhaul, with plans for palm trees to line the walkway from the temple block’s east entry to the steps of the temple.
Parts of the restoration work will also include restoring elements of the temple that were changed or removed during the last major renovation that took place in the mid-1970s.
“The St. George Temple has always maintained a significant role in the history of this great church,” said Ralph Atkin, a local public relations official for the church.
The temple is also considered significant to the LDS church due to the role it is believed to have played regarding the church’s doctrine involving baptism for the dead.
The St. George Temple is also the oldest and longest-operating temple in the church. Construction began in November 1871, and the building was dedicated for use April 6, 1877. Since that time, the St. George Temple underwent major renovations in 1917, 1938 and 1975.
Atkin also referred to the pending closure as one that comes with a sense of trepidation, because he and many others would like to see the temple remain open. Nevertheless, they are excited for the coming renovation, even if it takes three years.Atkin said many older church members in the St. George area may remember being baptized in the temple when they turned 8 years old.
“It’s three years, but can you imagine the beauty that’s going to be here and the excitement that will resonate throughout this community?” Atkin said. “I’m sure we’ll have plenty of opportunities of service in our community as we prepare for that great day.”
The St. George Temple currently serves 12,000 youth and 90,000 adult members of the church and is operated by a combination of over 3,000 volunteers.
To read more about the plans for the St. George temple (and see additional artist renderings for its interior and exterior renovation), see this article in its entirety at stgnews.com.