7 Fascinating Then & Now Comparisons of Latter-day Saint Temples

Over the years, many Latter-day Saint temples have experienced changes or renovations. In the case of the earliest temples, seeing the landscape change around it is also fascinating. Here are seven “then and now” photos of temples around the world.

The Salt Lake City Temple began construction in 1853 with the groundbreaking ceremony and was officially dedicated on April 6, 1893. In early 2019, it was announced the temple would close for a period of four years for major structural renovations to the temple itself and the surrounding grounds.


The Provo Tabernacle was a popular site for both religious and community events. It was dedicated on April 17, 1898, with a minor update for electrical and heating systems taking place in 1964. On December 17, 2010, the Tabernacle caught fire and was entirely gutted on the inside. In 2011, President Thomas S. Monson announced it would be rebuilt as the second temple in the city of Provo. The Provo City Center was dedicated on March 20, 2016.


The Apia Samoa Temple was the first temple built in Samoa and the third in Polynesia. It was dedicated on August 5, 1983. However, a fire destroyed the temple on July 9, 2003, while the temple was closed for renovations. The cause of the fire is still unknown. The angel Moroni statue on the new temple, which was rededicated on September 4, 2005, is the original statue that survived the fire.


Announced in October 2008, the Rome Italy Temple became one of the most talked-about temples in recent memory due to its historic location. It took 11 years for the temple to be built from that first announcement, but the structure was finally dedicated on March 10, 2019. The dedication was the first time in history the entire senior leadership of the Church was gathered in one location outside of the United States.


The Kirtland Temple located in Kirtland, Ohio, was the first temple built in this dispensation. It was dedicated on March 27, 1836, by Joseph Smith. After the Saints left Kirtland, the temple passed through multiple hands, mostly splintered factions of the Church. The temple is now owned by the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). It is a historical landmark and in many ways miraculously preserved through the years.


The Ogden Utah Temple was the first temple built with the film presentation of the endowment in mind. The modern design with a single spire was done in a “no-nonsense” period of architecture for the Church and has a “twin” temple in the Provo Utah Temple. In 2010, the Church announced it would significantly remodel both the interior and exterior of the temple. The completely new design featured updated systems, energy-saving equipment, and a more functional layout. The temple was rededicated on September 21, 2014.


The Nauvoo Illinois Temple was the second temple of the Church, but the first built with the revealed ordinances of the endowment in mind. Construction began in 1841 and was only half-completed when Joseph Smith was martyred in 1844. The temple was formally dedicated in a private ceremony on April 30, 1846. By September, all of the Saints had been driven from the city by mobs and the temple was vandalized almost immediately after. A fire in October 1848 destroyed the temple. After acquiring the temple lot bit by bit, the Church announced it would rebuild the temple in 1999 with the exterior being a replica of the original. The temple was dedicated on June 27, 2002.


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