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Project focuses on impact of tabernacles in south central Utah

Deseret News

Published: Thursday, June 7 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

OREM — The impact of tabernacle buildings built by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint will be the topic of a presentation at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 8, at the Utah Valley University Library's auditorium, room 120.

The presentation titled "Tabernacle Memories & Meanings: South Central Utah" is free and open to the public.

It will include tabernacle images and interviews with residents in the towns of Provo, American Fork, Vernal, Spring City, Manti and Heber City about their experiences with the tabernacles. The research is the second in a three-phase project to chronicle Utahns' memories and histories of the historic Mormon buildings in southern, central and northern Utah conducted by Ron Smith, the city administrator of Plano, Texas, who has a doctorate in public affairs and is a distance education instructor for BYU-Idaho, and Simon Fass, associate professor of public policy and public affairs at the University of Texas, Dallas.

The project's purpose is to document the significance that individuals attach to Mormon tabernacles in south central Utah. The 24 oral interviews conducted last fall by Smith and Fass for the south central Utah phase of the project also shed light on how these structures helped shape the identities of individuals and the community.

"The LDS tabernacle was and sometimes remains the center of community life, both secular and religious. It is a powerful expression of devotion and sacrifice by those who built and maintained it using primitive tools, limited resources and abundant faith," Smith said in a news release. "When the building is lost, pictures remain. When memory is lost, the images are barren, bereft of life and meaning. Our project aims to capture some of the memories before they are lost, and connect them to images of buildings where they were formed."

For more information about the presentation, contact Catherine McIntyre, archivist at the UVU Library, at mcintyca@uvu.edu or 801-863-8821.

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