The stage is set for the public open house that begins this week for the Cedar City Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Visitors will have several weeks to go inside the temple for a guided tour of the main rooms, including the baptistry, an instruction room, a sealing room, the celestial room and the bride’s room.
The 39,802-square-foot Mormon temple is visible from the north as it sits on a hill in the high desert of southern Utah. The sacred structure, made of precast concrete panels with sections of gypsum fiber reinforced concrete, stands more than 260 feet high, including a 13-foot-tall angel Moroni statue atop a cupola spire.
“The spire is reminiscent of ones that you would find on a tabernacle. It’s more of a cupola type feel than the standard spires that we see on some of the other temples,” added Berry.
Free tours of the temple will be available beginning Friday, October 27, 2017. The open house continues through November 18, except for the Sundays of October 29 and November 5 and 12. Reservations for the complimentary open house tickets are available online at www.templeopenhouse.lds.org.
About 4,500 local youth will participate in a cultural celebration on December 9 at the Southern Utah University America First Event Center (previously known as the Centrum). The stories of past and present pioneers of the Cedar City area will be told through song and dance.
The temple will be dedicated the following day on Sunday, December 10, in several sessions at 9:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. The dedication will be broadcast to members of the Church at meetinghouses in the temple district. The three-hour schedule of meetings will be cancelled for that Sunday for those congregations to enable members of the Church to participate and focus on this sacred event.
The color palette for the décor draws upon the rich colors and textures of southern Utah, incorporating native flowers and juniper berries.
“We have a lot of art glass that you can see from the exterior windows,” described Berry. “And in some of the design of that art glass from the exterior is a flower design. It’s kind of a columbine flower that is found in the high mountain valley areas … in southern Utah.”
Rich African mahogany and sapele woodwork and stone and tile flooring from Israel, Turkey, Spain and Iran add to the elegance of the temple.
“There are elements into the stone that are red in nature, and they kind of depict the colors that we find in the natural stones and formations here in southern Utah that help us pull together this pioneer feel in this area,” he said.
There are eight original pieces of art inside the temple depicting the local landscape or the ministry of Jesus Christ.
On display inside the temple are two of four historic windows that were recovered and donated to the Church from the Astoria Presbyterian Church in Queens, New York, when the building was razed in 2008.
“They set a tone of reverence as you enter, and as you go through the temple you’ll be able to feel the Savior here,” said Berry. “You’ll be able to understand that this is the house of the Lord, that this is a place for learning.”
The other two companion pieces are in the Provo City Center Temple and the Star Valley Wyoming Temple.
“We want to make sure that we have the finest materials that we can possibly provide and try to do the best we possibly can and [use the best] craftsmanship that we have so that it would be worthy of our Heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” explained Berry.
He continued, “Our temples are very sacred to us. They’re opportunities for us to know more of the Savior, to understand the Savior. It’s a house of the Lord. It’s a facility, a building, a temple that is dedicated to the Lord.”
The Cedar City Utah Temple was announced by Church President Thomas S. Monson on April 6, 2013, in general conference. Ground was broken for the temple on August 8, 2015.
There are 2.1 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah. This will be the Church’s 17th temple in the Beehive State and the 159th operating temple of the Church worldwide.
The Cedar City Utah Temple will serve approximately 45,000 Latter-day Saints in 17 stakes in southern Utah and eastern Nevada.
Visitors from around the globe come to Cedar City every year to visit Utah’s national parks and experience world-class theater. The temple grounds will remain open for the public to visit once the temple is dedicated. The landscaping features native plants and traditional ornamentals suited for the mountain climate, including 225 trees, more than 2,200 shrubs and hundreds of perennials and annuals.
The temple is located at 280 South Cove Drive on more than eight acres of land in a residential area in Cedar City.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.