The St. George Temple is More Beautiful than it’s Ever Been Thanks to Renovations
I was recently given the special opportunity of touring the newly renovated St. George Temple before it’s open for public tours from September 15 to November 11 (you can find pictures of the renovations at the end of the article).
Now I could tell you all about how this historic temple has a wide variety of new features that will allow to live on for years to come, and while I will speak on some of the matter, the St. George Temple is one of, if not the most important structure to many residents in St. George.
The St. George Temple was originally completed in 1877 and was the first temple built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when they trekked to the Great Salt Lake.
It ushered in a new era of temples that have continued to this day with over 300 temples being built since then, and there are no plans to stop anytime soon.
That being said, the St. George temple was closed in November 2019 to restore some of the pioneer spirit that was put into the original almost 150 years ago.
The Salt Lake City Temple and the Manti Temple are currently undergoing similar renovations, but the St. George Temple is the first one to be completed with this new/old style in mind.
The St. George Temple means the world to me. Generations of my family have been sealed in that temple, and it honestly broke my heart to see the temple closed for such a long period of time.
However, I’m happy to say the wait has been worth it. In fact, I would go as far to say this temple has only grown even more beautiful in both looks and spiritual significance.
The press (including me) gathered at the St. George Temple’s Visitor Center to hear words from two of the General Authority Seventy, Elder Erich W. Kopischke, and Elder Matthew S. Holland.
The media also got a chance to hear from Elder Kevin W. Pearson, who’s also a member of the General Authority Seventy and Utah Area President.
Each of these men gave testimony on how important temples are, and how MONUMENTALLY important the ordinances performed in those temples are.
Elder Kopischke said, “There is one that comes with our covenants that we do with the lord. One word, called “remember.” We need to remember, we need to remember our covenants that we made with our savior, Jesus Christ. This temple also reminds us that we need to remember the sacrifice of the pioneers.”
Elder Kopischke is from Germany, so he relates a lot to the pioneers of the late 1800’s as many of them were from Europe. He said it’s important to remember them, remember their names, and remember what they’ve done.
This brings me to one of my favorite parts of the newly renovated temple, the baptistry.
Baptisms are performed here, not for living members of the church, but for those who have come before us. This is commonly known amongst members as Baptisms for the Dead.
I’ve performed hundreds of baptisms in the old St. George Temple baptistry, so seeing it in its restored glory was something to behold.
The baptismal font has been replaced, or rather, restored. The font that President Brigham Young personally paid for back in 1877 has returned to its original resting place. It’s not entirely untouched, but that’s because the church wanted to give it the proper refurbishing so that it will last for decades to come.
This brings me to a trend I noticed throughout the temple. Before the renovations, most of the temple’s interior was filled with bright colors of white and gold. Much of the interior has been replaced with dark brown, bronze, gold, and a little bit of black.
On paper, this may sound strange, but trust me, the feeling of the temple is there and then some. I felt a sense of comfort, almost like I was returning home after a long day of work. The temple has never been more beautiful in my eyes.
Another contributing factor to said beauty is the artwork adorned throughout the St. George Temple. The murals inside the three instruction rooms have been completely re-done. According to staff from the temple, the murals were painted by local artists, with a different artist taking on a single room.
The rooms are themed around the creation of the world, the Garden of Eden, and the world as we know it now. That last room is different in every temple, with this room’s mural showing the red plateaus of Southern Utah.
The murals, along with the surplus of framed artwork found in the many hallways of the temple, give a sublime sense of history, and I was told that more than 230 pieces of artwork can be found in the temple.
The most important ordinance performed in the temples is the sealing of a man and a woman for time and all eternity. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes in eternal families, and the concept of being together forever with loved ones, even after death.
For Elder Matthew S. Holland, this ordinance is vital to him and his posterity.
Elder Matthew S. Holland is the son of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who’s one of the twelve apostles for the church. His mother, Patricia Holland, sadly passed away this summer, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has been hospitalized for the past month due to health complications.
Elder Holland said, “This summer, I lost my mother, and it came somewhat unexpectedly. In any other setting, this would be a tragedy and a grief. I don’t know that I could recover, I was extremely close to my mother. She was the powerful, spiritual, physical force of my youth growing up.
Elder Holland said if he didn’t have the reassurance of what he knows to be true about the church and temples, it would be unbearable.
Elder Holland said, “Because of what I know to be true by virtue of the temple, because of the sealing power that was invoked when my mother and father were married and received that sacred ordinance, and because of my commitment to be sealed with my wife, I know that I will be with her through the eternities.”
What Elder Holland just said is the reason why the St. George Temple means so much to me. I was sealed to my brother who passed away in 2014 due to a drug overdose, but even though it’s agony to not live life with his smiling face by my side, I feel nothing but comfort in knowing that I will be with him again when the time comes.
The St. George Temple will be open for public tours from September 15 to November 11, and you don’t have to be a member of the church to see it for yourself. The re-dedication of the St. George Temple will take place December 10.
Reservations for the open house tours can made through the church’s website.