BYU Religious Studies Center
"Provo's Two Temples" is by Richard O. Cowan and Justin R. Bray.

PROVO’S TWO TEMPLES” by Richard O. Cowan and Justin R. Bray, BYU Religious Studies Center and Deseret Book, $29.99, 363 pages (nf)

When the Provo Utah Temple was being planned in the 1960s, it was a departure in design from the temples in Salt Lake, Logan and Manti and would be modeled after the recently dedicated temple in Switzerland with the endowment presented using an audio-video format.

It’s part of the history of the temple that’s included in “Provo’s Two Temples,” by Richard O. Cowan, a professor emeritus of church history at Brigham Young University, and Justin R. Bray, who is the coordinator of oral histories for the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Cowan and Bray share a short history of temple building as an introduction, and then the book is divided into two parts, one looking at the Provo Utah Temple and the other at the Provo City Center Temple.

The book includes many photos and diagrams, memories, timelines, histories and other information about the buildings, creating an all-encompassing yet easy-to-digest volume about the two buildings.

With the Provo Temple, the book includes reflections of the architect in developing the “Danish ellipse” floor plan for the endowment rooms, intended and unintended symbolism of the exterior of the temple, fundraising efforts, construction, the dedication and the temple in operation.

There were 246,201 people who visited the temple during its open house, including Truman and Ann Madsen and their family, who didn’t realize that the temple would be closed on Monday and knocked on the door.

On the Provo City Center Temple, the authors include the history of the tabernacle, the fire that gutted the building and then the announcement to reconstruct the building as a temple. It includes many photos of the fire, groundbreaking, excavations and construction of the temple, including excavating the basement.

There are appendices with photos and additional milestones in the area.

“Provo’s Two Temples” thoroughly shares the histories and images of the area, making this a book that is both beautiful to look through and full of interesting information.

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