LOCAL NEWS

Time Capsule Found In Salt Lake Temple Capstone Opened After 128 Years

Jul 29, 2020, 12:26 PM | Updated: 12:33 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A time capsule housed in the Salt Lake Temple capstone on which the Angel Moroni has stood for nearly 130 years has been opened.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Wednesday revealed what historians found inside. 

The capstone was placed on April 6, 1892.

On May 18, 2020, construction workers removed the granite capstone along with the Moroni statue as part of a seismic upgrade that began in January. Two days after the stone was removed, the Church’s First Presidency joined a small group of people at the Church History Library to witness the opening of the capsule.

TIME LAPSE: Here's the moment the Angel Moroni statue was lifted off the spire of the Salt Lake Temple and brought to the ground. It will be refurbished and placed back on the spire at a later date. More: https://ksltv.com/?p=437723

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Monday, May 18, 2020

“We did not expect to find much, because we knew that the contents of the capstone had not been insulated from the weather during the 128 years that had elapsed,” said President Russell M. Nelson. “We wanted to be there anyway, just to be close and to pay tribute to the leaders and courageous pioneer craftsman who against all odds built this magnificent temple.”

Some items found inside were in good condition, including a copper plate and an array of coins and medallions. Approximately 400 coins were found inside the concrete.

These coins were deposited in the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple on April 6, 1892. Some 400 coins—mostly nickels and dimes, some pennies, a few quarters—have been found inside the concrete. (Intellectual Reserve, Inc.)

These coins were deposited in the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple on April 6, 1892. Some 400 coins—mostly nickels and dimes, some pennies, a few quarters—have been found inside the concrete. (Intellectual Reserve, Inc.)

“One of the really delightful things was finding coins that had been engraved,” said Emiline Twitchell, a conservator at the Church History Library. “We have some coins that had been ground down on one side so that a person’s name could be engraved. We have dimes, we have one penny and we have a couple of nickels that were engraved. Some of them appear to have been done professionally and some of them [look] like someone just scratched their name onto a nickel.”

Other items, though, did not make it through the decades intact.

Emiline Twitchell, a conservator at the Church History Library, analyzes the copy of Parley P. Pratt’s "A Voice of Warning" that is fused with a copy of the Book of Mormon. The books were found inside the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple. (Intellectual Reserve, Inc.)

Emiline Twitchell, a conservator at the Church History Library, analyzes the copy of Parley P. Pratt’s “A Voice of Warning” that is fused with a copy of the Book of Mormon. The books were found inside the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple. (Intellectual Reserve, Inc.)

There was a collection of letters, notes, books and photos, all of which suffered significant water damage. Twitchell said since concrete will sweat and leach, the papers housed inside “essentially were sponges.”

The images on the pictures have been completely worn away. However, the photos were likely not originals, Twitchell said.

A list of all the items that were placed inside was published in the April 7, 1892, edition of the Salt Lake Herald-Republican.

The angel Moroni and capstone being removed by a large crane with artisan journeyman viewing in the background as part of the ongoing renovation of the Salt Lake Temple, May 18, 2020. (Intellectual Reserve, Inc.) Preservation specialists begin the process of cutting into and retrieving items from the time capsule within the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple on May 18, 2020, at the Church History Library.
Workers move the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple onto the loading dock at the Church History Library on May 18, 2020.
Emiline Twitchell, a conservator at the Church History Library, removes time capsule items from the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple on May 20, 2020.
Emiline Twitchell, a conservator at the Church History Library, shows contents from the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple to the First Presidency on May 20, 2020.
Emily Utt, historic sites curator with the Church History Department, explains to the First Presidency the significance of an item pulled from the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple on May 20, 2020.
The First Presidency joins a small group on the loading dock of the Church History Library on May 20, 2020, to witness the initial opening of the time capsule within the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple.
President Russell M. Nelson looks inside the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple on the loading dock of the Church History Library on May 20, 2020.
These items are from within the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple. In the foreground, middle, is a copper plate inscribed with the names of the Church General Authorities present for the laying of the temple cornerstone on April 6, 1853, as well as the names of Church General Authorities present at the laying of the capstone on the same date 39 years later.
These coins were deposited in the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple on April 6, 1892. Some 400 coins—mostly nickels and dimes, some pennies, a few quarters—have been found inside the concrete.
Emiline Twitchell, a conservator at the Church History Library, with half of the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple on July 7, 2020. Since May, Twitchell and others have carefully cut through the capstone’s thick granite and cement to retrieve the treasures that have sat in several cavities within for nearly 13 decades.
A copy of Parley P. Pratt’s "A Voice of Warning," fused with a copy of the Book of Mormon, were found inside the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple.
Emiline Twitchell, a conservator at the Church History Library, analyzes the copy of Parley P. Pratt’s "A Voice of Warning" that is fused with a copy of the Book of Mormon. The books were found inside the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple.
Emiline Twitchell, a conservator at the Church History Library, looks at a copy of letters exchanged between Latter-day Saint theologian Orson Spencer and the Reverend William Cromwell. The letters were found in the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple, which was sealed on April 6, 1892, and opened on May 20, 2020.
The items near the left hand in this shot are photos found in the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple. Newspapers in 1892 reported that the capstone contained photographs of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith and the Salt Lake Temple. The photos are laminated together because of the moisture from the concrete that was trapped within the capstone. Thus, no photographic image remains.
This photo was taken the instant the Salt Lake Temple capstone settled into place on April 6, 1892.
A crowd of 30,000 people gathered to witness the laying of the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple on April 6, 1892.
A crowd of 30,000 people gathered to witness the laying of the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple on April 6, 1892.
Workers stand atop the Salt Lake Temple after laying the capstone and placing the angel Moroni statue atop it in April 1892.
On April 6, 1892, a crowd of 30,000 people gathered around the Salt Lake Temple, with another 10,000 looking on from nearby streets, building roofs and trees, to witness the laying of the capstone.
Workers stand atop the Salt Lake Temple before the placement of the capstone in April 1892.
A crowd of 30,000 people gathered to witness the laying of the capstone of the Salt Lake Temple on April 6, 1892.
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Time Capsule Found In Salt Lake Temple Capstone Opened After 128 Years