The Evolution of Sacred Space: The Changing Environment of the Endowment

The Evolution of Sacred Space: The Changing Environment of the Endowment

Bridger Talbot

Bridger Talbot was a junior studying business management when this paper was presented.

“To Latter-day Saints, the blessings of the endowment are as a pearl of great price in their lives, giving endless support and strength, unlimited inspiration and motivation.”[1] It is in their temples that Latter-day Saints can receive special ordinances, including the endowment, either for themselves or for the dead. These temples are more than just a space where ordinances are administered. They do not merely facilitate the endowment; they enhance its symbolism by using emblematic architecture and art. While the temple ordinances are the same everywhere, the actual temple space is flexible: in today’s temples, a variety of settings are used to administer the endowment. The facilities of the temple relating to the endowment have changed with time, subject to the needs and abilities of the Church. The transformation of the endowment has created a similar transformation in temple architecture, ranging from rich decoration and symbolism to efficiency and economy; these changes demonstrate the close and unique ties the endowment ritual holds to the architecture surrounding it.

Develo​​pment of the Endowment: Nauvoo and Salt Lake

Joseph Smith specified the first setting of the endowment, which was a mixture of ornamentation and art. In 1842, while the Nauvoo Temple was still under construction, the Prophet began to administer the endowment in the second story of his Red Brick Store. Following his instructions, several men prepared the room by arranging plants and painting a mural of a pastoral scene in the northwest corner.[2] It seems that their purpose was to more fully envelop the Saints in the unfolding story of the ordinance: in the endowment, patrons symbolically became Adam and Eve; the temple became their stage, world, and journey.[3] This setting included different areas (later separate rooms) that were tied to the ceremony—the creation, garden, world (or telestial), terrestrial, and celestial rooms.[4] These preparations, directed personally by the Prophet, indicated a strong emphasis on the environment of the endowment ordinance and would be the foundation that future administrations would follow.

When the Nauvoo Temple was completed after the death of Joseph Smith, the endowment was administered in partitioned areas of the attic.[5] While no murals were present, ornamentation was used to define areas. For example, the garden room was decorated with a variety of potted plants and trees “consisting of evergreens, shrubs and flowers, [which] were arranged into aisles and walkways. One of the plants represented the Tree of Life, and another, which was draped with raisins and grapevines, represented the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.”[6] This was the type of setting experienced by the many Saints who received their endowment before heading west.

Later settings for the endowment would use a mix of physical props, as well as murals, to provide an environment for the endowment. After the exodus from Nauvoo and subsequent desecration of the temple, various temporary locations were used to administer the endowment. It wasn’t until 1855 that the next edifice built expressly for the presentation of the endowment, the Endowment House on Temple Square, was dedicated. A mural was present in the garden room,[7] along with potted plants. More importantly, the Endowment House marked the beginning of an expansion of architectural symbolism associated with the endowment: patrons ascended to the second floor just before entering the celestial room.[8]

The St. George Temple was the first temple in which endowments for the dead were performed. Like the Nauvoo Temple, it contained no specific rooms for the endowment, but instead used partitions in the lower assembly hall to create different stages for the ceremony.[9] This temple was the last to follow this pattern, as a different concept soon took hold.

Progressive​​ Temples of the West

The temples built in Logan, Manti, and Salt Lake were the first ones that the Saints could build in the relative peace and prosperity that the sheltered valleys of northern and central Utah offered. They initiated an increase in architectural symbolism that would be incorporated in later temples.

In these temples, the architecture of the endowment ceremony received greater emphasis. The Church built temples that modeled the Endowment House, with rooms specifically built for the endowment.[10] Noting this transition, one architectural expert remarked that the design of the St. George Temple was “not going to be sufficient. . . . Logan and Manti were designed from the outset to have only one assembly hall, on the second floor, with the remainder of the space to be divided into smaller chambers.”[11]

These progressive temples, through their spatial arrangement, had patrons embark on an ascending route from room to room—beginning with the creation room and ending in the celestial room—with considerable amounts of architectural symbolism used in each room. The Logan and Manti Temples were the first to have these rooms built in such an arrangement. In these conditions, symbolism was rich and added upon what could not be offered in the hasty, temporary conditions of Nauvoo and Salt Lake. In these temples, the expansion and importance of the murals would replace the use of physical scenery.[12] Murals were present in three rooms (the creation, garden, and world rooms). Progression between rooms was augmented with stairs: patrons in the Logan Temple began on the first floor and ended on the third.[13] Additionally, each room was generally larger and grander than the next. For example, as patrons moved from room to room in the Manti Temple, more natural light was present, ceilings were higher, and decorations were more ornate.

In 1885, the plans for the Salt Lake Temple (still under construction), which originally called for two assembly halls, were modified to follow the patterns of the Logan and Manti Temples.[14] Never again would a temple without endowment rooms be considered. The Salt Lake Temple would be filled with symbolic artwork and architecture, including a “conservatory of living plants” located off of the garden room,[15] a magnificent staircase that ascended between the garden and world rooms, and a stained-glass representation of Adam and Eve being cast out of the garden, visible at the appropriate portion of the ceremony.

Progression i​​n the Architectural Arrangement

The architectural symbolism of the endowment would increase in prominence and be reflected in the basic shape and plans of the temples built during the next half century.[16] The absence of assembly halls in these temples allowed the building’s shape to conform to the rooms used to present the endowment.[17] The celestial rooms of the Cardston Alberta and Laie Hawaii Temples were placed in the elevated center of the temple, while the remaining rooms, complete with murals, were in the wings projecting outward; because of this, “the major rooms inside were the most prominent features outside as well.”[18] Patrons participating in the endowment “follow[ed] a circular path through each of the four wings, finally passing into the center in the celestial room. Each room was a few steps higher than the one before, with the celestial room and the adjacent sealing rooms the highest of all. Thus the architectural arrangement reinforced the idea of progression found in the temple ceremony itself.”[19]

The Mesa Arizona Temple was largely constructed around a grand staircase, making the progressive symbols obvious to all who entered, not just those who participated in sessions. Indeed, when it was constructed, one author wrote that the staircase “is designed to serve more than the purely utilitarian accommodation. . . . It suggests the story of man from earthly birth to the regions of celestial glory, and reflects the successive stages of progression. . . . The grand stairway may be said to typify the [ever] upward pathway which terminates in celestial glory.”[20] Thus architectural and structural symbols formerly confined to rooms designed for the endowment ceremony began to appear in the shape and structure of the building. This increasing prominence suggested the new primary function of temples—not merely that of a meetinghouse, but as one of the few places on earth where important ordinances of exaltation could be performed.

“Bring the Ro​​oms to the People”

Beginning with the Swiss Temple, a radical change in the form of presenting the endowment would lead to similarly drastic changes in the architecture and setting of the ordinance. In April 1952, the decision was made to construct a temple in Europe.[21] President David O. McKay suggested that the new temple would present ceremonies “in one room without moving from one room to another, utilizing modern inventions. . . . Such a building could be erected and adequately equipped for about the cost of one of our present meeting houses, namely, two hundred to two hundred fifty thousand dollars.”[22] From the outset, the temple was designed to have only one room for the presentation of the endowment, thus being a smaller and more economically feasible edifice. President McKay later explained his reasoning: “You cannot carry the Salt Lake Temple . . . which took forty years to build, over to Switzerland. . . . Some modification had to be made.”[23]

This was the first time an endowment would not feature the progressive movement. As one Apostle put it, “instead of having the members move from one room to another, we will bring the rooms to the people.”[24] The temple groundbreaking was held in August 1953. That fall, Gordon B. Hinckley was asked by President McKay to “find a way to present the temple instruction in the various languages of Europe while using a minimum number of temple workers.”[25] Hinckley eventually concluded that a film presentation would be the best solution.[26]

Such an innovation was probably inevitable.[27] Here, and in subsequent temples, the endowment was presented in one room that resembled an auditorium, lacking murals, stairs, or other symbols. This loss of progression and architecture, however, best fit the Church’s needs.

The film version presented several distinct advantages—efficiency, economy, and convenience. A temple built to hold a stationary presentation of the endowment could hold twice as many sessions in the same space as that of a temple built to hold a progressive ceremony. This method reduced costs, allowed for smaller temples, and increased the efficiency of larger temples. Moreover, the use of film reduced the number of workers and amount of training needed to conduct sessions.

Of course, the transition to film did not come without its worries and objections. One writer noted, “One function of the temple is to heighten perception of what is there to be appreciated, among which are the inherent properties of sacred architecture, craftsmanship, and temple space. The tendency of film is to divert the mind from its physical location to another location that is literally yet illusively depicted by moving pictures. . . . The nearer we attempt film literalism, the more we risk screening the essence with technique.”[28]

This writer’s concern centered on the fact that a progressive ceremony helped patrons to feel like participants in the events depicted in the endowment; a film is more likely to be interpreted as a documentary. Certainly, the change to a stationary presentation was a trade-off between symbolism and efficiency. The ritual lost its progressive and architectural nature; however, the inherent properties of film also added effects that were not possible with a live endowment, such as special effects and music. Considering these major effects, one is impressed to see how quickly the transition was decided upon and made. This would even affect the older temples that had been built for a progressive presentation.

Remodel​s and Revision

The Swiss and New Zealand Temples were the first ones built with a stationary presentation; the advantages offered by this method would lead to its implementation in almost every temple worldwide, notwithstanding its lack of architectural and artistic symbols. By April 1956, President McKay suggested that new methods “will probably be used in all the Temples,”[29] and a few years later said that “the crowded condition in the Salt Lake and Logan Temples can be overcome in part by introducing the more efficient way of conducting the sessions.”[30] In February 1957, Elder Richard L. Evans added that he was “in favor of putting in all the Temples the new presentation of the endowment ceremony.”[31]

The next forty temples built, from 1955 to 1997, had stationary ordinance rooms. The Oakland Temple, built in 1964, was the first to have multiple stationary endowment rooms (two) that fed into a single celestial room.[32] It was the first temple with a stationary presentation in the United States and included, perhaps as a sign of transition, slide projectors that projected photo murals that simulated the progressive rooms used in the live endowment.[33] Later, lighting was used to differentiate between different portions of the ceremony.

The success of these temples resulted in the remodeling of several older temples to also accommodate the stationary presentation of the endowment.[34] As a result, progression and murals were removed, in addition to much of the architectural symbolism, which relied upon the progressive nature itself.[35] The large changes made in these temples are best exemplified in the drastic case of the Logan Temple. When architect Emil Fetzer was asked to remodel it to allow for the stationary presentation of the endowment, he came to the conclusion that the only feasible way of doing so was to completely gut the building. Everything was removed except the exterior walls. Standing in the basement and looking up to the open sky, Fetzer later said that he “was horribly shocked, . . . shaken at the boldness and audacity that I had in proposing such an extreme and drastic manner for changing a temple, . . . yet, I knew that it was right.”[36]

It was a number of unique factors that led to this drastic change in the presentation of the endowment. By the end of 1979, the average temple district was composed of sixty-four stakes—a jump from the average of thirty-eight stakes in 1969.[37] A stationary presentation of the endowment, which allowed for more frequent sessions, could better accommodate these larger districts. Because of the financial obligations associated with building and maintaining new temples, remodeling was usually a more economical option. For example, the Church at least explored the option of remodeling the Logan and Manti Temples instead of constructing new ones in Ogden and Provo.[38]

In response to the growing temple districts, newly constructed temples were larger as well. The four temples dedicated in the 1970s had an average size of over 115,000 square feet; the only other period to rival these sizes were the four pioneer temples built before 1900. The Ogden Temple was the first to be built with six stationary endowment rooms and became the most productive temple in its first month, completing 75,000 endowments—passing the 50,000 completed by Salt Lake.[39]

The trend of larger temples, however, would not continue. As membership continued to grow, the size of temples would be reduced to further meet the needs of the Church.

Smaller​​ and Stationary

As Church membership exploded in the mid-twentieth century, Church leaders faced the dilemma of building temples that would allow many members to attend the temple without traveling inordinate distances. The decision was made to build smaller temples that only had the essential facilities. This was more efficient, allowed for more temples to be built, and resulted in more Saints receiving their temple blessings. In April 1980, it was announced that a standard plan would be utilized for temples.

It is interesting to note that in the past, the progressive and ornate architecture originally present in the rooms of the endowment had been incorporated into temple designs and plans; now, with the loss of the interior symbolism, temple designs and plans were likewise simplified. As a result, temple architecture had come full circle. At least one concerned writer noted, “Whereas previous architectural style, size and materials had distinguished the temple from the ward meetinghouse, the new temples narrow the gap between these two main forms. The exterior of the temples in no way reveals the unique ceremonies within, and they have no visual articulation, . . . stained glass art windows or other features to distinguish their sacred functions.” The new temples represented “a compromise forged by the strains of the internationalization of the Church, the rapidly increasing membership and the attempt to give continuity and unity to church programs across the world.”[40]

When the fiftieth temple, in St. Louis, Missouri, was dedicated, only five temples still utilized the progressive form of the endowment—three of these with film. Because of this, the vast majority of Church members worldwide had never experienced the endowment ceremony with the original progressive rooms with which it had been established.

The Return of Progression and Art​

One of the temples completed in 1997 was the Vernal Temple, built inside the decaying shell of the Uintah Stake Tabernacle. The constraints of building in an existing space required an innovation in the presentation of the endowment. Original plans called for two rooms with stationary presentations, but the footprint of the tabernacle made such an arrangement awkward. As a result, a “more direct, progression-based experience . . . was designed. Patrons experience the beginning of the endowment ceremony in the first room. . . . They then rise and walk . . . into the second endowment room. From there they progress directly into the Celestial Room.” The project architect noted that “the Church had to be more creative and say, ‘That’s not the way we usually do it, but we think that will work just fine.’ There was a lot of give and take.”[41]

The two-stage progressive temples combine the creation, garden, and world rooms into one room. This room is often painted with murals of a pastoral nature, sometimes highlighting local scenery. This arrangement was quickly used in all new temples constructed. In June 1997, only months before the Vernal Utah Temple was dedicated, President Hinckley received inspiration concerning the building of small temples.[42] After some testing, it was decided that the huge numbers of small temples built during the turn of the century would use the two-stage progression.[43] The success of the two-stage presentation is seen in its rapid implementation. Of the ninety temples dedicated after the Vernal Utah Temple, eighty-three incorporated the two-stage presentation; six used the stationary presentation; and one, the Nauvoo Illinois Temple, used the four-stage presentation.[44]

The success of the two-stage presentation of the endowment is based on its ability to balance efficiency with symbolism. The return of the murals, as originally included in Joseph Smith’s administration of the endowment, was a return to the original form of the endowment and often a tribute to local nature and beauty. Progression was restored, but in a manner that was more efficient than having four progressive rooms.

Recent Trends in Temples

The smaller temples announced by President Hinckley were built worldwide and brought the temples to the people—a large difference from the general tendency in the 1970s to build temples only where large numbers of members made it necessary. The reason these small temples were constructed was not that there was overcrowding in other temples; rather, it was to reduce the distance many members needed to travel to attend a temple. This meant that the average number of stakes in each temple district fell from sixty-four in 1980 to twenty-one in 2013. The smallest temple district in 2013 was composed of a mere two stakes.[45]

The increase in temples, with their accompanying reduction in temple district size, has allowed the Church to restore the progressive movement of the endowment in some of the temples where it had been lost. The Los Angeles California Temple became progressive once again in 1993, and the Laie Hawaii Temple in 2010. As more temples are built in the future, it is possible that other historic temples will become progressive again.[46]

As the Church continues to build temples, it is likely that new trends will emerge. For example, the temple in Meridian, Idaho, will contain two telestial rooms that feed into a single terrestrial room, reducing the space needed even further.[47] An initial Church News article noted that the Provo City Center Temple would employ the four-stage progressive style of the endowment.[48] Even in the future, the setting and environment of the endowment will continue to evolve according to the needs of the Church and its members.

Conc​​lusion

The endowment is inspired of God. While its truths and teachings are eternal, its presentation and setting can be modified under divine direction. However, even though these aspects are flexible, they also affect how patrons learn and what they perceive. The Church has tried to balance efficiency and standardization with rich symbolism and progression. It is clear that of all of the ordinances of the Church, the endowment has the closest and most unique ties to its architectural presentation, highlighting the importance of sacred space.

Notes


[1]“Endowed with Covenants and Blessings,” Ensign, February 1995, 40.

[2]Roger D. Launius and F. Mark McKiernan, Joseph Smith Jr.’s Red Brick Store (Macomb, IL: Western Illinois University, 1985), 28.

[3]In the early endowment, the patrons had more participation in the ceremony. Only later would temple workers, and eventually film, reduce such participation. See John David Buerger, “The Development of the Mormon Temple Endowment Ceremony,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 20, no. 4 (Winter 1987): 49.

[4]James E. Talmage noted that the endowment “includes a recital of the most prominent events of the creative period, the condition of our first parents in the Garden of Eden, their disobedience and consequent expulsion from that blissful abode, their condition in the lone and dreary world when doomed to live by labor and sweat, [and] the plan of redemption by which the great transgression may be atoned.” See James E. Talmage, The House of the Lord (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1968), 83.

[5]The Nauvoo Temple had no rooms specifically built for the endowment, containing instead two assembly rooms.

[6]Lisle G. Brown, “The Sacred Departments for Temple Work in Nauvoo: The Assembly Room and the Council Chamber,” BYU Studies 19, no. 3 (Spring 1979): 371–72.

[7]Lisle G. Brown, “‘Temple Pro Tempore’: The Salt Lake City Endowment House,” The Journal of Mormon History 34, no. 4 (Fall 2008): 40.

[8]Brown, “Endowment House,” 43.

[9]Not until the 1930s would the St. George Temple assembly hall be more formally partitioned into different rooms.

[10]It is likely that Truman O. Angell Jr., architect of the Logan Temple, was the one who developed the interior arrangement used in these temples. He explained his plan to President John Taylor, noting that “our late President Young said that it was not required that temples be alike. . . . I have the building planned for greater convenience.” See C. Mark Hamilton, The Salt Lake Temple: A Monument to a People (Salt Lake City: University Services, 1983), 54–55.

[11]Laurel B. Andrew, The Early Temples of the Mormons: The Architecture of the Millennial Kingdom in the American West (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1977), 150.

[12]That is not to say that physical scenery was removed completely; in fact, potted plants are still present in the garden room of the Manti Temple.

[13]Andrew, The Early Temples of the Mormons, 177.

[14]Richard O. Cowan, Temples to Dot the Earth (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1989), 103.

[15]Talmage, House of the Lord, 185–86. Brigham Young had at least considered creating a “garden room annex” that would be located outside of the temple’s basic floor plan, with a “three-wall southern exposure [that] would have permitted the planting of an interior garden that would have given the desired atmosphere associated with the activities of the room.” See Hamilton, The Salt Lake Temple, 64.

[16]These were built in Laie, Hawaii; Cardston, Alberta; Mesa, Arizona; and Idaho Falls, Idaho.

[17]“In earlier temples the large upper assembly room had essentially determined the basic shape of the whole building.” See Cowan, Temples to Dot the Earth, 122.

[18]Paul L. Anderson, “First of the Modern Temples,” Ensign, July 1977, 10. These temples continued to display symbolism in their interiors; for example, the Alberta Temple’s endowment rooms were each a few steps higher than the one before and “richer in its materials and decoration.” See Anderson, “First of the Modern Temples,” 11.

[19]Paul L. Anderson, “The Early Twentieth Century Temples,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 14, no. 1 (Spring 1981): 13.

[20]Evan T. Peterson, The Ninth Temple: A Light in the Desert: Mesa, Arizona, 1927 to 2002, Seventy-five Years (Orem, UT: Granite Publishing, 2002), 94–95.

[21]Richard O. Cowan, “The Pivotal Swiss Temple,” in Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: Europe, ed. Donald Q. Cannon and Brent L. Top (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, 2003), 131.

[22]Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Wright, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2005), 262.

[23]Cowan, “Swiss Temple,” 133.

[24]Devery S. Anderson, The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846–2000: A Documentary History (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2011), 290.

[25]Sheri L. Dew, Go Forth With Faith: The Biography of Gordon B. Hinckley (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1996), 176.

[26]Dew, Go Forth with Faith, 177.

[27]For example, while the Los Angeles Temple had all four rooms, President McKay noted that its first endowment ceremony marked “the first time in the history of the church [that] the old-style presentation of the endowment ceremony was given by tape-recording rather than by persons enacting the different parts.” See Prince and Wright, Rise of Modern Mormonism, 260.

[28]Michael Hicks, “The Aesthetics of the Endowment: Artistic Considerations Weight Against Abandoning the Live-Action Endowment,” Sunstone, May–June 1982, 48–49.

[29]Prince and Wright, Rise of Modern Mormonism, 260.

[30]Minutes of a meeting held in the Ogden Stake Tabernacle, March 2, 1959, David O. McKay Diaries; quoted in Prince and Wright, Rise of Modern Mormonism, 268.

[31]David O. McKay, diary, February 21, 1957; as quoted in Anderson, “LDS Temple Worship,” 307.

[32]Harold W. Burton, “The Oakland Temple,” Improvement Era, May 1964, 382.

[33]Buerger, “The Development of the Mormon Temple Endowment Ceremony,” 60–61.

[34]The St. George, Mesa, Laie, and Logan Temples were remodeled. Originally, there were plans to remodel the Manti Temple in a similar manner; instead, the temple was meticulously restored and its original architecture preserved. See Karl T. Haglund, “Restore the Manti Temple?,” Sunstone, March–April 1979, 35. The only temples that never lost their progression were the Cardston, Idaho Falls, Salt Lake, and Manti Temples. The Salt Lake and Manti Temples are the only ones that have retained the live endowment.

[35]For example, brethren removing the murals in the Mesa Arizona Temple were not told that they would be used again, and therefore often removed the murals by tearing them off in bits and pieces. See Peterson, The Ninth Temple, 353.

[36]Edward L. Kimball, Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball (Crawfordsville, IN: R. R. Donnelley and Sons, 2005), working draft, ch. 35, pg. 23.

[37]The average stakes per temple would peak in 1982 at about seventy-three.

[38]It is unclear how seriously this option was considered; however, the Church ultimately built the Provo and Ogden Temples because in that case it was cheaper: the Building Department eventually “advised constructing new temples if for no other reason than economics.” The temples were designed to be utilitarian and simple. See Prince and Wright, Rise of Modern Mormonism, 269.

[39]Prince and Wright, Rise of Modern Mormonism, 271. Other temples built with six endowment rooms are the Provo, Washington DC, and Jordan River Temples.

[40]Martha Sonntag Bradley, “The Cloning of Mormon Architecture,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 14, no. 1 (Spring 1981): 29.

[41]Kathleen M. Irving and John D. Barton, From Tabernacle to Temple: The Story of the Vernal Utah Temple (Vernal, UT: S. T. Tabernacle, 1998), 35. Credit to Rick Satterfield, webmaster of ldschurchtemples.com, for locating this source. It should be noted that several of the older, remodeled temples, including the St. George, Mesa, and Logan Temples, use a similar type of ceremony: because their floor plans were originally progressive, patrons remain in one room for the entire ceremony, and then proceed to a “veil room” (the original terrestrial room) for the very last portion before entering the celestial room. This type of presentation was necessary in these temples to allow each session access to the celestial room. The two-stage presentation differs in that the second room represents the terrestrial world; the veil room does not have this purpose. However, these temples may have inspired the development of this presentation.

[42]This was during a visit to Colonia Juarez, a small Mormon colony in Mexico. See Virginia Hatch Romney and Richard O. Cowan, The Colonia Juárez Temple: A Prophet’s Inspiration (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, 2009). Available online at http://rsc.byu.edu/recent/colonia-juárez-temple-prophet’s-inspiration.

[43]Prototypes of these temples were announced in October 1997. They were built in Monticello, Utah; Anchorage, Alaska; and Colonia Juárez, Mexico. These temples were all built with one stationary room and were all later modified to follow the two-stage progressive presentation, with the exception of the Colonia Juárez Mexico Temple.

[44]This was the first temple built since the Los Angeles California Temple, built forty-seven years earlier, to incorporate all four rooms.

[45]This is the Halifax Nova Scotia Temple. Credit goes to Rick Satterfield, webmaster of ldschurchtemples.com, for compiling general data for each temple and temple district.

[46]For example, the completion of the temples in Phoenix and Gilbert will reduce Mesa’s temple district by half, alleviating much of the pressure that had forced it to be remodeled. Similar situations may apply with the building of a temple in Cedar City (reducing the district of the St. George Temple) and Brigham City (reducing the district of the Logan Temple).

[47]Ada County, Planning and Zoning Commission. “Staff Report 201300652-CU-MSP-HD-PR-PBA, Corporation of Presiding Bishop,” 45. Adaweb.net. http://www.adaweb.net/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=2XO3853v1jQ%3d&tabid=1216. This document is the application for the Meridian Idaho Temple to the Ada County Planning and Zoning Commission and was made available to the public for a short time. Unfortunately, it is no longer public.

[48]Heather Whittle Wrigley, “Provo City Center Temple Teaches Lesson on Conversion,” Church News and Events, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, April 26, 2012. http://www.lds.org/church/news/provo-city-center-temple-teaches-lesson-o.... The article states that “patrons will progress through multiple rooms before passing into the celestial room. Only a handful of temples employ this ‘progressive’ style.” Later, unofficial reports state that the temple will contain two telestial rooms and one terrestrial room, similar to the Meridian Idaho Temple; it is therefore unclear what type of presentation will be used.