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St.George Utah Mormon Temple

The St. George Utah Temple was the first temple built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after the death of Joseph Smith, Jr. Located in the city of St. George, Utah, it was the first LDS temple built in the Rocky Mountains. It was designed by Truman O. Angell who also worked on the Kirtland and Nauvoo Temples and designed the Salt Lake Temple.

The announcement to build the St. George temple was given on November 9, 1871 and a groundbreaking ceremony was held that same day. Brigham Young, the Prophet and President of the Church at the time, personally chose a six-acre plot as the site for the temple. The afternoon of the groundbreaking ceremony the Saints immediately began construction for their new temple. Unfortunately, the Saints soon discovered that the site was swampy with numerous underground streams. They asked Brigham Young if perhaps they should move the site, but he remained firm that this was the site for the temple.

The Saints overcame the problem of a swampy site is an ingenious way. They decided to bring lava rock to the site then made drains to get rid of much of the water. They then crushed the lava rock and used it to create a dry foundation to build the temple on. The only problem was how to crush the rock. Someone suggested using the old canon that the city had acquired. This old canon itself, had an interesting history. It was made in France and used by Napoleon when he laid siege on Moscow. During Napoleon's hasty retreat the canon had been left behind. It was later dragged to Siberia, then to Alaska, and finally it ended up at a fort in California. Members of the Mormon Battalion acquired the canon, had it mounted on wheels, and brought it to Utah. The Saints rigged a pulley system and used the canon as a pile driver to create a good foundation. Today, the old canon is displayed on the temple grounds.

After finishing the foundation, work finally began on the structure itself. The walls of the temple were actually made out of the red sandstone so prevalent in the area and then plastered over so that the temple would be white. The Saints worked tirelessly over five and a half years to complete the temple. By the time it was finished the Saints had used a million feet of lumber, which had been hand chopped and hauled between forty and eighty miles. They also used seventeen thousand tons of volcanic rock and sandstone, which had to be hand cut and hauled by mule teams.

When the temple was completed, Brigham Young was not completely satisfied with the tower and dome, stating that it looked too short and squatty. He suggested having it fixed, but the Saints were so excited to have the temple finished that Brigham Young did not push the suggestion. The dedication ceremony took place on April 6, 1877 with Brigham Young presiding and Daniel H. Wells, his second counselor, offering the dedicatory prayer. The dedication of the St. George Temple was an important event in Brigham Young's presidency, because it was the only temple completed during his presidency. Shortly after the dedication, Brigham Young went home to Salt Lake and passed away on August 29, 1877. He was 76 years old.

About a year after Brigham Young's death, on October 16, 1878, a large storm rolled through St. George and a lightening bolt struck the tower of the temple, making it necessary to reconstruct the tower and dome. Brigham Young's feelings about the tower were well known and a new design was made for the tower, making it taller.

The St. George temple is the oldest temple still in operation by the Church. In the 1970s the temple was closed and underwent extensive remodeling. Spencer W. Kimball rededicated it in 1975. The temple is designed in a Gothic style, and is 110,000 square feet. It has three ordinance rooms and eighteen sealing rooms. This beautiful temple is in the center of St. George and stands as a beautiful reminder of the hard work and dedication that was required by the Saints for its building.

Temple District

The St. George Utah Temple serves members from 34 stakes headquartered in Southern Utah, Eastern Nevada, and Northern Arizona:

Washington County, Utah

  1. Bloomington Utah Stake
  2. Enterprise Utah Stake
  3. Hurricane Utah North Stake
  4. Hurricane Utah Stake
  5. Hurricane Utah West Stake
  6. Ivins Utah Stake
  7. La Verkin Utah Stake
  8. Santa Clara Utah Heights Stake
  9. Santa Clara Utah Stake
  10. St. George Utah Stake
  11. St. George Utah Bloomington Hills Stake
  12. St. George Utah Boulder Ridge Stake
  13. St. George Utah Crimson Ridge Stake
  14. St. George Utah East Stake
  15. St. George Utah Green Valley Stake
  16. St. George Utah Little Valley Stake
  17. St. George Utah Morningside Stake
  18. St. George Utah North Stake
  19. St. George Utah Pine View Stake
  20. St. George Utah Red Cliffs Stake
  21. St. George Utah Snow Canyon Stake
  22. St. George Utah Southgate Stake
  23. St. George Utah Sunset Stake
  24. St. George Utah Washington Fields Stake
  25. St. George Utah Washington Fields North Stake
  26. St. George Utah YSA 1st Stake
  27. St. George Utah YSA 2nd Stake
  28. Washington Utah Stake
  29. Washington Utah Buena Vista Stake
  30. Washington Utah East Stake

Kane County, Utah

  1. Kanab Utah Stake
  2. Kanab Utah Kaibab Stake

Eastern Nevada

  1. Mesquite Nevada Stake

Northern Arizona

  1. Page Arizona Stake


Temple presidents are called to oversee all activities performed at the temple. They serve voluntarily, usually for a period of several years. Following is a list of the current and former presidents of the St. George Utah Temple.

  1. Wilford Woodruff (1807-1898): 1877–1884 (LDS Apostle and future president of the church)
  2. John D. T. McAllister (1827-1910): 1884–1893
  3. David Henry Cannon (1838-1924): 1893–1924 - David and his wife Wilhelmina are famous for the St. George Sego Lily Flower story.
  4. Thomas Punter Cottam (1857-1926): 1925–1926 - Former Mayor of St. George
  5. Edward Hunter Snow (1865-1932) 1926–1932
  6. George Frank Whitehead (1863-1961) 1932–1937
  7. Harold Stafford Snow (1897-1972): 1937–1963
  8. Rudger Clawson Atkin (1904-1989): 1963–1970 (Former president of St George and St George East Stakes)
  9. Reed Whipple (1905-1986): 1970–1976 (Former President of Las Vegas Stake and Boulder Dam BSA Council)
  10. Grant M. Bowler (1912-2002): 1976–1981
  11. John M. Russon (1911-2000): 1981–1986
  12. Thomas L. Esplin (1914-1998): 1986–1989
  13. J. Thomas Fyans (1918-2008): 1992–1995
  14. Kenneth R. Metcalf (1927-2014): 1995–1998
  15. Malcolm S. Jeppsen 1998–2001
  16. L. David Muir 2001–2004
  17. Harold H. Hiskey 2004–2007
  18. Robert F. Orton 2007–2010
  19. Bruce Clark Hafen (1940): 2010–2013 (President of Rick's College and General Authority Emeritus)
  20. Dale H. Larkin 2013–2016
  21. Randy W. Wilkinson 2016–

LDS St. George Historic Sites

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) operates a great many church historic site attractions in this area.

  • LDS Church History Map of St George Utah - Interactive Map: Latter-day Saint Places of Interest, St. George and Santa Clara.
  • Encampment Mall Memorial - Tribute to LDS Church Pioneers that settled St. George in 1861-62.
  • Jacob Hamblin Home LDS Church History Site. The Hamblin Home in Santa Clara, Utah, is the place where Jacob Hamblin, Southern Utah Indian Mission president, lived with his family from 1863 to 1868. Because of Hamblin’s service among the American Indians in the region, the home functioned as the headquarters for the mission. Today it is a historic site and is open for public tours. The home and furnishings have been restored to reflect their 1860s appearance.
  • Temple Quarry Trail - Hike St. George): From 1871 to 1877, Latter-day Saints used local materials to build the St. George Utah Temple. They hauled volcanic rock from this nearby hill for the temple’s foundation. Today an out-and-back hiking trail curves around the hill. In total, it is a 2.2-mile hike.
  • Sandstone Quarry Trail (Hike St. George): From 1863 to 1877, Latter-day Saints used local materials to build the St. George Tabernacle and St. George Utah Temple. They quarried sandstone from this nearby hill for the exterior walls of those buildings. Today an out-and-back hiking trail takes visitors to the site of the quarry next to the Red Hill Golf Course in downtown St. George. In total, it is a 0.6-mile hike.
  • Brigham Young Winter Home and Office - LDS Church History Site. From 1870 to 1877, President Brigham Young lived in St. George, Utah, during the winter months. Beginning in 1872, he and members of his family lived in the place that is now called the Brigham Young Winter Home. From this home, he directed the affairs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Today this historic site is open to the public year-round. The home and adjacent office have been restored and furnished to reflect their 1870s appearance. Tours tell about Brigham Young’s family life in St. George and about his role in directing the settlement of southern Utah, including the construction of the St. George Utah Temple.
  • St. George Tabernacle LDS Church History Site. The St. George Tabernacle is a historic meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It has functioned as a place for worship and community gatherings since 1869—before its completion in 1876. In addition to Latter-day Saint worship, the tabernacle has also been used on occasion by other faiths.
  • St. George Temple Visitors Center LDS Church History Site. In 1871, President Young announced that a temple would be built in St. George, Utah. Latter-day Saints completed the temple in 1877. The St. George Utah Temple became the first temple to be completed since the Saints left Nauvoo in 1846 and the first where endowments for the dead were performed.
  • Pine Valley Chapel- LDS Church History Site: The Pine Valley Chapel is located in Pine Valley, Utah, about a 45-minute drive north from St. George, Utah. This historic meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was built by settlers of the valley in 1873. Tours daily during summer months.

See Also


External links

Other Temples in Utah

The Hill Cumorah by C.C.A. Christensen.jpeg
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