On Monday, Aug. 18, the Sons of the Utah Pioneers, Morgan Chapter, received a powerful lesson on temples from one of the LDS Church’s most able speakers on the subject. Edward J. Brandt, Ph.D., former director of Church Correlation and recent past president of the Columbus, Ohio, Temple, spoke to the assembled group on “Temples Past and Present.”
Brandt reviewed the three sizes of temples that have been built throughout the church including large temples like the Salt Lake (255,000 sq. ft.), the Los Angeles Temple (190,000 sq. ft.), Jordan River Temple (148,000 sq. ft.), and the Ogden Temple (112,000 sq. ft.). These are built to accommodate anywhere from 70 to 100 stakes each.
Medium size temples include those like the Payson Temple (96,000 sq. ft.), the new Provo City Center Temple (85,000 sq. ft.), and the Rexburg, Idaho, Temple (57,000 sq. ft.).
A large number of temples today are smaller. For Example the Brigham City Temple (36,000 sq. ft.) accommodates just 13 stakes. Like Brigham City, most of these small temples require an appointment for one to attend. The smallest temple in the church is that in Colonia Juarez, Mexico (6,000 sq. ft.).
Today there are 143 working temples; when the Ogden Temple is dedicated it will be the 144th working temple. In all, 170 temples worldwide are now either working, under construction, or announced.
Temple history for the church began even as early as the Kirtland period, around 1836. Here a small number of baptisms for the dead were performed. The first endowments for the living were performed on the upper floor of Joseph Smith’s Red Brick Store in Nauvoo. Many others were performed in the Nauvoo Temple before the Saints left for the West.
Other ordinances for the living (around 2,200) were performed in the Council House in Salt Lake City (1851 to 1854). These ordinances were continued later in the Endowment House located on Temple Square in Salt Lake (around 55,000).
The first endowments for the dead were done in the St. George Temple on Jan. 11, 1877. During this single year over 13,000 endowments for the dead were performed. It was here, in August of 1877, that ordinances were performed for the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
The Logan Temple was completed in 1884, the Manti Temple was completed in 1888, and the Salt Lake Temple in 1893. The principles surrounding temple work are listed in the 128th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants. Here it speaks of a recorder to make a “Record of Truth,” and that “Whatsoever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.” Ordinance workers and sealers assist the recorder in recording the ordinances.
It was President Boyd K. Packer who in 1972 stated that “the development of the computer was made for temple and family history.”
Brandt also gave other interesting facts surrounding temples. The Rome Temple is coming to completion. It will have a visitor center that contains exact replicas of the statues of the Twelve Apostles taken from the “Church of Our Lady” in Copenhagen, Denmark. These are carved from marble from the same quarry used by Thorvaldsen for the original statues.
Today there are 12 stakes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These Saints will soon have a temple in Kinshasa.
Brandt closed out his lesson with this statement: “The growth of the church goes forward very quietly; what a privilege it is to be a part of it.”