‘Saints’ Volume 2 Released, Temple Exhibit Opens At Church History Museum
SALT LAKE CITY – The Church History Museum opened a new interactive exhibition to teach children about temples that will be in place during the renovation of the Salt Lake Temple. Also on Wednesday, Church officials released “Saints” volume 2.
The new book focuses on building temples in the West and addresses several more difficult periods in Latter-day Saint Church history.
“One of the things we’re trying to do with ‘Saints’ is to tell a global history of the Church,” said Matthew Grow, director of publications for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Grow oversaw the team of writers for this project.
“Saints” volume 2 covers Latter-day Saint history from 1846 to 1893, discussing the trek West, immigrants who strengthened the faith and Native Americans who helped the Saints. The complete title is “Saints: No Unhallowed Hand.”
Saints, Volume 2: No Unhallowed Hand
Grow said all four volumes have titles from Joseph Smith’s Wentworth Letter, explaining the faith to a journalist in 1843.
“There was a great effort in the second half of the 1800s of the American government (and) other people who opposed the Latter-day Saints and what they were trying to establish in Utah,” Grow said.
As with the first volume, this one focuses on some well-known individuals, such as Brigham Young.
Grow said Young was tough but was also accessible to the Saints.
“They didn’t call him President Young. They called him Brother Brigham, and there’s a great significance in that,” Grow said. “They believed that Brigham was one of them, that he knew them. He took time to understand their concerns, to answer their letters, to sit and counsel with them.”
Readers will also find the story of his daughter, Susa Young Gates. Gates was a suffragist, but struggled with an abusive husband, divorce, and child custody.
Grow said the story of “Saints” includes tragedy and mental illness – everything we experience today. The volume also tells the story of plural marriage.
“It’s one of the most difficult things for us to understand; it’s just so foreign to our own sensibilities,” Grow said. “But one of the things we tried to highlight is that they were engaged in plural marriage because of their faith.”
Grow said of those who practiced polygamy, some succeeded as families, while others did not. Many people also faced challenges and tests of faith when the Manifesto to end polygamy was issued in 1890.
The Mountain Meadows Massacre is also referenced in the volume.
In 1857, a Mormon militia slaughtered more than 120 members of a wagon train from Arkansas in southern Utah. Grow said this was a difficult chapter to write and read.
“When they were pushing their own agendas, when they were trying to save themselves or their own reputations, trying to cover up the bad decisions they’d already made, that’s when it got more and more tragic,” Grow said.
“Saints” volume 2 features the building of temples in the West – St. George, Manti, and Logan, and ends with the iconic structure in Salt Lake.
Grow said the writers did not know about the closing of the Salt Lake Temple for a seismic upgrade, but he believes readers will enjoy the history.
“So, there is this really interesting timing, all the things going on with the temple today and we have the back story in ‘Saints,’” said Grow.
‘Temples Dot The Earth’ Exhibit
Speaking of timing, a new children’s exhibit called “Temples Dot the Earth” debuted at the Church History Museum.
It begins with a painting of a young Jesus leaving the temple in Jerusalem with his parents then moves to a world map where children can identify countries and temple locations.
The brightly painted rooms have toys and activities for younger children, like stacking a spire and topping it with an Angel Moroni. For older children, there are computer games about temples, building Solomon’s temple and what happens in temples versus meetinghouses.
“We felt it was so important to learn through creative play, through activities, through artifacts about the temple and about why we build temples, why we attend temples, and why they’re so central to our faith,” said Maryanne Stewart Andrus, exhibits and education supervisor. Andrus was a team leader on the project, which took two-and-a-half years to complete.
There is history to learn in the exhibit as well, with temple artifacts.
“We’ve got some tools that were used in the design of the Nauvoo Temple,” said curator Alan Morrell. “All of the Utah temples are represented. We have some carpet from the Logan Temple.”
Part of the exhibit looks like a temple interior with an interactive model. Children can pick up a cardboard-backed photograph, each one representing a temple room somewhere in the world, and then slide it into an area of the model to make it 3-D.
Alan and Maryanne said they hope that families will enjoy the exhibit together as well as invite their friends of other faiths.
Both the book’s writers and exhibition curators said they hope each will provide the Saints with greater understanding and faith.
“Saints” volume 2 is now available as a book, online, and as an audiobook in 14 languages. The children’s temple exhibition will be at the Church History Museum for the next four years.
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