10 Temples and the Amazing Treasures in Their Cornerstones

by | Jan. 05, 2017


Salt Lake Temple Cornerstone

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Image retrieved from lds.org.

Dedicated on April 6, 1893, by President Wilford Woodruff, the original Salt Lake Temple cornerstone contained historical documents and artifacts, including a set of Deseret gold coins, a Book of Mormon translated in French and Italian, and old copies of the Deseret News—among other publications.

Because older temples filled hollowed out stones with artifacts for the cornerstone rather than stainless steel boxes, moisture crept in and destroyed many of those artifacts. After 136 years, conservators drilled a small hole into the side of the cornerstone to insert a proctoscope, borrowed from a local hospital, to see what remained of the artifacts.

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Conservators try to identify fragments of the 1857 artifacts. Image retrieved from Deseret News.

When they saw the deteriorating condition of the artifacts, they decided to drill a 16-inch hole into the cornerstone to extract the remaining contents and preserve them. Many of the preserved fragments are now in the Church History Library, including the section of the cornerstone they drilled out to reach the artifacts.

Other Time Capsules

However, time capsules aren't just found in temples. Many of the Church's historical tabernacles, monuments, and buildings include time capsules or cornerstones, including the two listed below:

Conference Center

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To commemorate the year the Conference Center was completed, a special time capsule was placed in the cornerstone, which included a set of scriptures signed by the First Presidency, a carved wooden beehive made from the same walnut tree as the podium, a hard hat used during construction, the conference editions of the Church magazines from 2000, information about the building's king truss, and pictures of the first ticket holder to enter the Conference Center to attend general conference. (Source: lds.org)

Image retrieved from lds.org.

The Moroni Statue on Salt Lake Temple

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Underneath the angel Moroni atop the Salt Lake City Temple resides another time capsule. According to Scott Woodward, this time capsule contains a list of names of every general authority at the time of the temple dedication, engraved on a polished brass plate; sheet music from original hymns written for the temple dedication; the books Voice of Warning, Spencer's Letter, Key to Theology, and a hymn book; photographs of Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith; and a picture of the temple on the day of its dedication.

Image retrieved from lds.org.
Lead image from Mormon Newsroom

Understanding symbols templeLearn more about other temple symbols in Understanding the Symbols, Covenants, and Ordinances of the Temple, available at Deseret Book and deseretbook.com.

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