Salt Lake Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

The Salt Lake Temple Photo courtesy Derek J. Tangren
The Salt Lake Temple
Photo courtesy Derek J. Tangren

The Salt Lake Temple is located on a 10-acre plot in downtown Salt Lake City that has become known as Temple Square . It is the first temple that the Saints began constructing after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley. On July 28, 1847, Brigham Young pushed his cane into the ground and said, “Here we will build the Temple of our God.”1 Having been forced to abandon two other temples due to persecution, it was not long before the Saints focused their attention on building another House of the Lord.

The construction of the temple took a total of forty years to complete, in which time three other temples were constructed in Utah. Work on the temple began with the dedication and groundbreaking on February 14, 1853 presided over by President Young. Two months later, the cornerstones were laid. Workers hauled large blocks of granite from the quarry at Little Cottonwood canyon and across the valley to the temple site. There, the stones would be hewn, shaped and put into place. It would sometimes take eight days to haul one stone from the canyon to the Temple Block.2 The process of transporting the stone was laborious until the railroad came to Utah and a line was built to the quarry in 1869.

Work on the temple moved steadily ahead until the approach of Johnston’s Army in 1857 when the Saints buried the foundation of the temple to make the area look like a plowed field. After the army moved out of Salt Lake and established Camp Floyd near present-day Fairfield, work on the temple resumed. However, upon uncovering of the foundation, defects were discovered and the completed portions were removed and redone to ensure the highest quality and stability of the temple. Brigham Young determined that this temple would “stand through the millennium.”3 However, President Young did not live to see the temple completed.

The capstone to the Salt Lake Temple was placed on April 6, 1892 by President Wilford Woodruff and afterwards work began on completing the interior. The work was miraculously finished in exactly one-year’s time. On April 6, 1893, forty years to the day since the placement of the cornerstones, the Salt Lake Temple was dedicated by President Wilford Woodruff, the fourth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is estimated that at least 75,000 people attended the dedication services which included daily sessions between April 6-23.4

The Salt Lake Temple stands today a symbol of the faith and determination of the pioneer saints who worked to bring to pass Isaiah’s prophesy “in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.”5


1 Susa Young Gates, The Life Story of Brigham Young (New York: Macmillan, 1930), 104 – 105.

2 Levi Edgar Young, “History-the Founding of Utah,” Improvement Era, Vol. 28, No. 1, (November 1924).

3 Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. (London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886), 11: 372.

4 B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1930), 6: 236.

5 Isaiah 2:2.

Map & Directions

View Larger Map

Hours of Operation : Monday – Saturday, 9 AM – 9 PM

Phone Number: (801) 240-4872

Admission: Free

Articles & Resources

Dedicatory Prayer of the Salt Lake Temple

Author(s): Wilford Woodruff
Type: Dedicatory Prayer
Source(s): James E. Talmage, The House of the Lord (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1968), 134-143.

Our Father in heaven, thou who hast created the heavens and the earth, and all things that are therein; thou most glorious One, perfect in mercy, love, and truth, we, thy children, come this day before thee, and in this house…

Various Accounts of the Dedication of the Salt Lake Temple