Facts and details to enhance your experience at the Provo City Center Temple

Published: Friday, Jan. 29 2016 9:00 a.m. MST

Provo City Temple Monday, Jan. 11, 2016.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

PROVO — Interest in the Provo City Center Temple is high because of its pioneer/tabernacle heritage and the fact that it will become the 150th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

As hundreds of thousands tour the new temple before its dedication on March 20, they will be able to see not only reminders of the historic building but also original artwork, fine craftsmanship and other unique features.

Elder Kent F. Richards, executive director of the LDS Church's Temple Department, summarized the artwork and decorative efforts in one word.

"I think the word is beauty. I think it creates a lovely environment that inspires us as we come into the temple," Elder Richards said during a tour with members of the media. "It's interesting; we pay more attention to the artwork and design sometimes in an open house than we do when we are actually serving in the temple because we are there for the purpose of receiving ordinances and performing this important work for the dead. But as we are there, just the ambiance, the feeling and the beauty permeates throughout the building and brings us to a spiritual level and feeling in the temple."

Sister Rosemary Wixom, the church's general Primary president, agreed.

"Our surroundings, wherever they are, whether it's in our homes, churches or temples, contribute to the spirit that is there," Sister Wixom said. "The artwork in this temple, uniquely 19 original pieces of art, have a huge impact on the spirit in the Provo City Center Temple."

For those preparing to tour the temple, here are some interesting facts, informative details and insightful stories to enhance the experience.

Tabernacle artifacts

Below the temple on the first parking level is a series of displays, including historic photos, artifacts and other items, that recount the story of the Provo Tabernacle from its original construction through the 2010 fire and temple construction process. This display represents a connection between the past and the present, Sister Wixom said.

"It beautifies the purpose of the temple that grew from a dedicated building," Sister Wixom said. "It's interesting to see the history and what has happened through the years and now we have this temple."

Among the many items on display are a large photo of the tabernacle’s interior from 1910; an organ pipe fragment; old log books; baptismal records; a small portion of the baptismal font floor; fire-damaged scriptures; and mock-ups of decorations, door handles and various other items.

Elder Richards said examining the artifacts can help refresh memories for those who were familiar with the old tabernacle.

"It will bring to their mind and hearts that connection that will endure," he said. "It is a unique building. It has its wonderful pioneer heritage, history, legacy of faith, courage, pioneer craftsmanship and everything that allowed this building to be built in the 1880s. Now it's gone, except for the walls. But the spirit of that building lives on. You can't help but feel it as you are inside. It's a wonderful connection to our pioneer ancestors and all they did to prepare this community for these great blessings."

For more on the history of the Provo Tabernacle, visit history.lds.org.

The chapel pulpit

Elder Richards said the only original piece of furniture preserved from the Provo Tabernacle is a square, 4-inch section of carved wood in the pulpit, which can be found in the chapel. It escaped the fire because it had been removed for a musical performance.

Stained-glass Savior and lamb

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