LOCAL NEWS

Crowds Pack Temple Square In Advance Of 4-Year Closure

Dec 27, 2019, 5:49 PM | Updated: 9:25 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City has been busy as the rush to get inside the Temple takes place before it shuts down for four years.

KSL spoke to Jim and Shelley Olsen – members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – who were married in the temple more than 45 years ago.

“We just needed to come one more time. We will really miss it big time, but we know that it’s inevitable. We will be anxious for it to open again, but four years is a long time,” Shelley Olsen said Friday.

The temple closure was announced in April by President Russell M. Nelson. The plans call for an overhaul of Temple Square and a major earthquake renovation that would allow the temple to withstand a 7.5-magnitude earthquake.

The temple will also undergo a complete makeover inside, bringing back the look in the 1890s.

Temple worker Terry Bird said it was very busy inside. 

Normally, we start the sessions on the hour – and right now, as soon as we get enough people, we are starting a session. Normally, this morning we would have done five sessions. Weve done seven, Bird said. It’s been extremely busy, but it has been so much fun. Everybody is in a good mood. They are happy. There are people in tears all over the place.”

Weddings have started very early in the morning and gone throughout the day.

“It’s a special day. It’s a special place, so we are just really excited,” said newlywed Annie Stoll.

Her new husband, Raymond Weymouth, said they booked their date in September.

“There were three slots open on this day. (It was) very busy, and honestly, it was a miracle that we got in,” he said.

Mitch and Haylee Rice were another couple who just got married Friday.

“The Salt Lake Temple is special. It’s been here for a long time. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into building it,” said Mitch. “We’ve been waiting since August. We called the temple way in advance.”

“I’m glad we called. We called before we got engaged actually,” said Haylee.

The temple closes Sunday, and isn’t expected to reopen until sometime in 2024. At that point, the a public open house will be held where anyone can go inside and look.

President Nelson said the purpose of the project is to “enhance, refresh and beautify the temple and its surrounding grounds.

Aging mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems will be updated.

The visitor experience will also be enhanced. Much of the large wall around Temple Square will be taken down and modified to allow more inviting views and better access to temple grounds.

The existing South Visitors Center will be demolished and replaced with two new guest visitor pavilions to either side of the temple.

Throughout the construction, the North Visitors Center, Tabernacle and Assembly Hall will remain open and missionaries will still give tours of Temple Square.

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Crowds Pack Temple Square In Advance Of 4-Year Closure