Latter-day Saint Life

3 Church history sites named in 100 most holy places on earth

Kirtland Temple
Wikimedia Commons

Recently, Patheos, an online interfaith platform for exploring religion and spirituality, announced the conclusion of its list of the top 100 holiest places on earth.

The initiative, titled “Sacred Spaces,” lists religious sites like the Sistine Chapel, the Temple Mount, the Great Mosque of Mecca, Mount Sinai, and the Mount of Olives in the top 10. But three sites significant to Latter-day Saints were also named in the top 100: the Kirtland Temple was ranked number 91, the Sacred Grove was listed at number 74, and Temple Square came in at number 51.

The list is a compilation of locations significant to major religions like Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, and was created to be a comprehensive guide to the world’s most sacred sites. Each location on the list is presented with historical context and outlines its religious significance “in hopes of a more unified understanding and acceptance of all faiths,” according to Patheos.

“Selecting only 100 of the most holy places on earth was the most challenging aspect of this initiative because there are so many sacred sites around the world.” said Travis Henry, senior director of content at Patheos. “We hope this ranking can serve as a library of holy sites and introduce these places to people of different faiths, fostering a continual journey to discover the diversity and significance of these locations.”

Each of the three pages about the Church history sites accurately inform and explain Latter-day Saints beliefs, likely in part due to the involvement of Dr. Alonso L. Gaskill, PhD, a professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University and a world religion expert.

For example, on the importance of temples, the Kirtland Temple entry reads: “The spiritual significance of [Latter-day Saint] temples is often hard for those outside of the faith to grasp. They are not traditional houses of worship but, instead, are set apart for sacred sacramental rites performed therein for the living, but also (by proxy) for their deceased ancestors. In their temples, Latter-day Saint Christians engage in holy ordinances through which they believe they enter into a covenant relationship with God. If kept, and through reliance on the grace of God, the Saints seek to dwell with God—and their families—throughout all eternity.”

On the First Vision, the Sacred Grove entry reads: “In other words, the ‘sacred grove’ is ‘holy ground’ because it stands as a testament that prophetic powers did not end with the close of the New Testament. Rather, with Joseph Smith’s call as a prophet of the living God, prophetic authority was restored to the earth and living prophets and apostles walk the earth today, informing the world that the heavens are open, and that God continues to speak to humankind in these latter-days.”

The entry for Temple Square states: “One of the things that sets Latter-day Saint Christians apart from many other denominations of Christianity today is their firm belief that the heavens remain open, that God continues to speak, that prophets walk the earth today, and that angels communicated on behalf of the Father—just as they did in biblical times. Part of Temple Square is the offices of the Church’s general leadership—consisting of the Prophet (and president of the Church), his counselors, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Their presence at the Square, their revelatory spirit, their very public testimony that Jesus is the Savior of all, and their revelatory gifts, sanctify this otherwise rather ordinary place.”

To see the full list of 100 sites and read more about the three Church history sites listed, visit

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