RELIGION

Demolition work begins at Provo Temple ahead of eventual reconstruction

Apr 19, 2024, 4:52 PM | Updated: 6:32 pm

PROVO — A longtime landmark in Utah County is coming down.

Demolition work has begun on the Provo Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ahead of its eventual reconstruction.

This week, crews removed the temple’s Angel Moroni statue and steeple. Lee Cowan and his father, Richard Cowan, were there watching.

For them, saying goodbye to the Provo Temple, which was dedicated in 1972, brings mixed emotions.

“I was here for the groundbreaking and the cornerstone laying and the dedication,” Richard Cowan said. “It’s been a part of my life very definitely.”

“Provo Temple’s a pretty big part of our life,” said Lee Cowan, who took photos of the removal of the Angel Moroni statue Thursday morning. “The sun came up right between the canyons just in time to illuminate Moroni.”

Prominently placed in Utah Valley for more than 50 years, the Provo Temple has served generations of Church members, missionaries, and college students.

“Kind of sad to see it go,” Brigham Young University student Natalie Aldous said.

“It’s just such an iconic look,” fellow student and friend Mandy Honda added. “It’s unlike any other temple.”

Aldous and Honda took a walk Friday afternoon around the temple site to watch crews working. The two had been going to the Provo Temple together since their freshman year.

After demolition, the Church plans to rebuild the temple, making it seismically sound and energy efficient.

“We’re anticipating something greater coming in,” Lee Cowan said.

Church officials have not said how long demolition will take or when the new temple will be finished. But once it is done, in a nod to its location, it will be called the Provo Utah Rock Canyon Temple.

While it’s bittersweet to see the old temple go, Aldous said she looks forward to what’s ahead.

“I hope that the new one will be just as special as the old one,” she said.

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Demolition work begins at Provo Temple ahead of eventual reconstruction