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See photos of progress made on the Salt Lake Temple renovation in October

by | Oct. 28, 2020

From the Church

This story will be updated throughout the Salt Lake Temple renovation. Click the links below for individual updates. Find more information at templesquare.org

Salt Lake Temple Renovation Updates

► You may also like: What Exactly Will Happen During the Salt Lake Temple Renovation? Here's What You Need to Know

Temple Square Publishes October Construction Updates

Temple Square published the following construction updates regarding work performed in October.

October 23, 2020

As we finish out the 10th month of the Salt Lake Temple construction project, work continues to strengthen the foundation system of the historic temple.

On the south side of the temple, a new tower crane has been installed and is functioning. It is 250 feet tall and will initially be used to assist in assembling the scaffolding for stone repair work and roof replacement.

On the north side of the temple, the deep excavation continues as well as shoring, lagging, and debris removal, sorted for recycling purposes. After excavation concludes on the north side of the temple, another tower crane will be installed.

Drilling is moving forward to create the secant wall on the north side of the temple. A secant wall is a type of retaining wall that is made of reinforced piles of concrete that interlock with steel columns. The purpose of the secant wall is to contain the existing foundations and soil under the foundations. The entire foundation system of the temple will be surrounded by a series of secant walls.

Dismantlement work continues on the west side of the temple where the excavation will lead right up to the edge of the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

October 9, 2020

This week on Temple Square, workers prepared and completed a large concrete pour that will stabilize a crane on the south side of the Salt Lake Temple. This crane will be able to reach higher than the highest tower of the temple.

On the north side, work continues forward to remove debris and prepare for a smaller crane to be placed.

Work also continues on strengthening the foundation.

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Image titleForty Years: The Saga of Building the Salt Lake Temple, written by master storyteller Mark Henshaw, tells the narrative of the building of that iconic temple—a place of worship and refuge forty years in the making. From the chilly February day in 1853 when the prophet Brigham Young drove a shovel into the soil to break ground for the Salt Lake Temple until its dedication in 1893, the Saints moved forward with faith to complete the temple that would become a symbol of their determination to serve the Lord. Available now at DeseretBook.com.

Temple Square Publishes September Construction Updates

Temple Square published the following construction updates regarding work performed in September.

September 29, 2020

We are approaching the end of the ninth month of construction on the Salt Lake Temple renovation project.

The process this month continues with additional shoring around the temple as well as removing debris, which has been separated out for recycling.

North of the temple, workers continue to dig and remove soil for the shoring walls.

On the south side of the temple, the footing for a large crane is being prepared. This crane is a general tower crane that will be used for reaching each of the towers of the temple.

The shoring for the tower crane footing is also being strengthened with beams.

Take a look at the current aerial view showing the south, east, and north sides of the temple.

The last image shows a current view of the north and west sides of the temple.

September 15, 2020

The end of August and beginning of September show a continuation of work on the shoring, drilling, and debris cleanup on the Salt Lake Temple renovation project. Development of the secant wall on the south side of the temple also continues.

This week, due to a storm in the area, work on the renovation project was paused for a time for the safety of the workers. The storm caused damage to many of the trees and some of the fencing on Temple Square. Many of our female missionaries who serve those visiting Temple Square volunteered their time alongside the garden staff to help with the cleanup of debris.

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Newsroom Publishes a Look at the First Nine Months of Renovation

Newsroom released a video looking back on the first nine months of renovation. You can watch the video below or read the full press release here.

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Temple Square Publishes August Construction Updates

Temple Square published the following construction updates regarding work performed in August.

September 1, 2020

Check out the progress from the last two weeks on the Salt Lake Temple renovation, with much of the work ongoing from previous updates.

On the north and east sides of the temple, the work will continue through the end of the year to strengthen and consolidate the foundation walls and footings.

East side of the temple


North side of the temple


Along North Temple Street, vertical shoring piles were previously installed. The lagging—which is made of large boards that fill the gap between the vertical columns—will continue being built up over the next few weeks in preparation for the extensive excavation work needed to accommodate lower floors of temple facilities.


The secant wall is just being formed along the south temple foundations. A secant wall is a type of retaining wall that is made of reinforced piles of concrete that interlock. The purpose of the secant wall is to contain the foundations and soil under the foundations. The entire foundation system of the temple will be surrounded by secant walls. 

Take a look at the current south side of the temple with the large drilling rig used for the secant wall. 


Demolition debris has been significantly reduced as crews worked to remove and recycle as much of the debris as possible on the north side of the temple.  


View a time-lapse video of the Temple Square construction from June to August 2020. (For optimal viewing, click the fullscreen button on the far right of the video player). 

August 14, 2020

We are now eight months into the Salt Lake Temple construction project.

As the project progresses, all foundation walls and footings of the Salt Lake Temple will be exposed and viewable. The east side is very prominent in this photo.


Exposing the foundations is part of the foundation strengthening effort, which is currently happening on the north side of the temple. The process involves drilling a 3-inch hole into the foundation footings at different angles, to depths of 8–14 feet on the north and south walls and 10–35 feet on the east and west walls (as the tower foundations are larger).


The hole is then filled with high-strength grout. This grout fills the drilled hole as well as pushes further into voids and joints in the existing foundation to consolidate the foundations. If you take a look at the north and south side foundations, note the inverted arches and the different types and sizes of stonework used.


On the north side of the temple, vertical shoring columns were previously installed. The lagging—which is made of large boards that fill the gap between the vertical columns—is being installed over the next few weeks to keep soil in place during excavation work.


On the north side of the temple where the sealing wing (used for marriages) and annex buildings were previously, workers are removing the large amount of debris—with recycling in mind. The materials are first sorted and then hauled away to recycle as many materials as possible.

In the interior of the temple, the foundation footings are also being exposed to the full depth of the foundation and will be strengthened by core drilling from the inside as well.

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Temple Square Publishes July Construction Updates

Temple Square published the following construction updates in July. 

July 29, 2020

Have you seen the work on Temple Square through the end of July?

  • • The original tower foundations on the west side of the Salt Lake Temple will soon be visible. The soil, debris, and structures on that west side elevation will be dismantled and removed so crews can begin the work of strengthening the tower foundations.

  • • On the north side of the temple, the sealing wing (used for marriages) and the north annex were previously removed. The debris from this dismantlement work will continue to be removed over the next few weeks. Now that the sealing wing is removed, the foundation on the north side of the temple is exposed for further seismic upgrade work.

  • • Inside the temple, the foundations are being uncovered as well. This is in preparation to further strengthen the foundation as part of the ongoing overall seismic upgrade.
  • • Have you thought about how many workers are helping this project move forward? On July 22 all project workers with Jacobsen Construction enjoyed a celebration to honor Pioneer Day and the legacy of the early pioneers and temple workers.

July 17, 2020

The past two weeks show considerable work on dismantling buildings on the north side of the Salt Lake Temple.

  • • The north annex chapel was previously dismantled. The office and other ancillary facilities such as the cafeteria are being dismantled. Workers continue to separate (or sort) and remove debris from the construction site for recycling purposes.
  • • The north side sealing wing (used for marriages) was recently separated from the historic temple walls. It was then dismantled, which now exposes the historic north side of the Salt Lake Temple. Debris from the sealing wing continues to be removed. The sealing wing will be rebuilt once the temple foundation is strengthened.

  • • Soldier piles (steel columns), which will be part of the retaining wall shoring, are now being installed on the west side of the temple construction site.

July 2, 2020

The past few weeks show significant changes on the Salt Lake Temple project site:

  • • Soldier piles (steel columns), which will be part of the retaining wall shoring, were recently installed on the north side of the construction site. The work of putting in soldier piles will now continue along the west boundary of the site and at other locations in the future. 
  • • The north annex of the temple is being dismantled. This includes the temple chapel as well as the office and main entrance areas. This work is scheduled to be completed by the end of July.
  • • The sealing wing (used for marriages) that was attached to the north side of the temple is now separated from the historic temple walls in preparation for dismantlement. Crews are working to protect the existing walls of the historic temple. The sealing wing will be rebuilt once the temple foundation is strengthened.


 

  • • In March, several finial stones on the towers were affected by a seismic event. The work of removing these stones is now complete. The large mobile crane used to remove them as well as the statue of the angel Moroni is no longer on-site. It will eventually be replaced by two tower cranes located on the south and north sides of the temple.

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Time-lapse Video Shows May and June Renovation Progress

A video on the Temple Square Facebook page shows a time-lapse of progress on the renovation project filmed from the Conference Center. The video, released July 13, 2020, shows significant work on shoring as well as the dismantlement of the north annex, according to the video description. 

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Deseret News Provides a Look at the First 6 Months of Renovation

Deseret News reported on some of the changes that have taken place during the first six months, which includes uncovering the foundation, demolishing and dismantling annexes, and removing ornate finials. Read the full article released on July 8, 2020, at Deseret News

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Temple Square Publishes June Construction Updates

Temple Square published the following construction updates in June.

June 18, 2020

Significant work is moving forward on the north side of the temple. These are the latest construction activities:

  • • On the north side of the temple, the process of removing the sealing wing annex has begun. The sealing wing roofing structure is currently being removed, and the interior of the sealing wing is being disconnected from the historic side of the templeThe sealing wing will be rebuilt.

  • • The underground facilities north of the temple, such as the locker rooms and cafeteria, are being dismantled to prepare for excavation work.

  • • To prepare for the deep excavation on the north side of the temple, shoring work continues along North Temple Street.

  • • The strengthening of the south temple foundation continues to move forward. 

June 5, 2020

The Salt Lake Temple has now been closed for five months in preparation for its structural and seismic upgrade.

The following are the latest activities in the renovation project:

  • • The removal of the upper finials (the highest point of the towers) continues. Each removed finial is carefully inventoried before being crated and stored. All finials will be reinstalled in their original positions. The towers now have additional scaffolding to complete this work.
  • • On the west side of the temple, the sidewalks and planter walls are being removed. This work is to prepare for future excavation of the area.
  • • On the north side of the temple, preparation is underway for shoring. This will prepare the site for excavation that will expose the north historic foundation. It will also prepare for a deep excavation for the new main temple entrance and other facilities belowground.
  • • The original temple windows continue to be removed on all floors.
  • • HVAC units have been added throughout the temple specifically for this project to control the air temperature and humidity as well as to protect existing woodwork and finishes.      

 

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New Video Shows Angel Moroni Statue Removal and Temple Foundation Strengthening

Church Newsroom released a video on May 18, 2020, showing the removal of the angel Moroni statue and capstone and explaining how workers are strengthening the temple foundation. The video and accompanying press release are below. 

In the latest stage of the renovation of the Salt Lake Temple, the angel Moroni statue and circular capstone beneath its feet were removed from the temple’s central east spire. These historic items were carried Monday morning through the air to the ground via crane for preservation and refurbishing. This will prepare both items for a later reinstallation.

“The Salt Lake Temple is the house of the Lord, and it is being shored up and strengthened to be able to stand for generations to come,” said Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovations. “Each aspect of this project plays an important role in helping this sacred structure to remain a symbol of permanence, optimism, and faith for people around the world.”

The removal of the statue and capstone had long been planned as part of the temple’s years-long structural and seismic renovation. The timeline for this portion of the project was sped up following a 5.7 magnitude earthquake in March 2020 that shook the trumpet out of Moroni’s right hand and caused other minor damage.

While no crew members were injured during the quake, Paul Lawrence of Jacobsen Construction said the trembling earth was a reminder of the importance of a seismic upgrade.

“The earthquake loosened some of those pieces [on top of the temple],” said Lawrence, the renovation’s seismic project manager. “And in order to make the surrounding area safe, we’ve simply had to move those activities forward and take them off now instead of later. The recent event that we had simply reinforces the vision and direction that we’ve been given to strengthen the temple.”

The renovation of the historic building will include the installment of a base isolation system to help the building withstand a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. Lawrence said this system connects the base with the temple roof through secure rods and cables in the towers to protect the building from further damage.

“We create a safe zone around the perimeter of the building where that building can move,” Lawrence said. “It allows the building to move with the earthquake up to four or five feet in any one direction.”

Before the base isolation system can be installed, workers are drilling to strengthen the stone foundation of this structure first completed in 1893. Crews are pumping grout into the foundation’s gaps—a process that increases its solidity and strength as well as the appreciation of Lawrence and his team for the fine work of those 19th-century pioneer builders.

“I feel a reverence for the craftsmen and individuals that have gone before us and built this wonderful structure,” said Lawrence, who plans to retire when this temple renovation is complete. “To be a part of what they did so many years ago and everything that they had to sacrifice—that hit me when we uncovered the original foundations and saw the markings and the evidence of the work they did.”

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Angel Moroni Statue and Capstone Removed from Salt Lake Temple

Daniel Woodruff, spokesperson for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, released the following statement to the media on May 18, 2020:

This morning, crews on Temple Square are working to remove the angel Moroni statue and capstone which stand atop the Salt Lake Temple. This has long been planned as part of the temple renovation, but the timeline to do so was accelerated following the earthquake in March. The statue and capstone will be preserved and refurbished before being reinstalled at a later date. Work also continues to remove stones from the upper spires of the temple for preservation during the project. Those stones will be reinstalled in the future.

The angel Moroni is being removed as part of the ongoing renovation of the Salt Lake Temple, May 18, 2020. © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Workers prepare to remove the angel Moroni atop the Salt Lake Temple, May 18, 2020. © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The angel Moroni and capstone being removed by a large crane as part of the ongoing renovation of the Salt Lake Temple, May 18, 2020. © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.  © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.  © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Construction workers gently remove the angel Moroni and capstone with a large crane as part of the ongoing renovation of the Salt Lake Temple, May 18, 2020. © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The angel Moroni and capstone being removed by a large crane as part of the ongoing renovation of the Salt Lake Temple, May 18, 2020. © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The angel Moroni and capstone touch down on the ground, a part of the ongoing renovation of the Salt Lake Temple, May 18, 2020. © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Workers removed the Angel Moroni and capstone as part of the ongoing renovation of the Salt Lake Temple, May 18, 2020. © 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Temple Square Publishes May Construction Updates

Temple Square published the following construction updates in May.

May 15, 2020

The following video shows progress of the renovation from the south of the temple over the past month. Time-lapse videos will continue to be released regularly throughout the duration of the project.

May 11, 2020

Main construction activities over the past two weeks include:

  • • Strengthening original foundations on the south side of the temple. This work is accomplished by drilling into the foundations at different angles to create a core through the stones, which is then filled with high-strength grout. The grout not only fills the drilled core but also fills voids and joints of the existing foundation.
  • • Continuing asbestos abatement (removal) work in the additional buildings north of the temple in preparation for the dismantlement of all exiting facilities at that location, including offices, the chapel, the main lobby, and other structures.
  • • Continuing removal of tower finials. Each removed finial is carefully inventoried before being crated and stored. All finials will be reinstalled in their original position.
  • • Installing scaffolding around the towers to allow for the removal of additional stone and decorative elements in preparation for additional seismic retrofit work.

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Temple Square Publishes April Construction Updates

Temple Square published the following construction updates in April.

April 24, 2020

Workers continue to make progress on the removal of stone finials, clearing the north side of the site and exposing foundations on the south side of the temple. Efforts from the past week include:

  • • Continuing to clear the temple grounds of landscaping and sidewalks in preparation for dismantlement of temple annex facilities.
  •  • Ongoing removal of the upper tower finials. As finials are removed, each is carefully labeled and inventoried for reinstallation. All 12 upper finials on the west towers have been removed. Upper finials on the east towers are also being removed. The image on the left highlights a finial being removed.
  • • Preparing for drilling the first several sections of existing foundation stones on the south side of the temple. This work will strengthen the existing foundation in preparation for base isolator installation in future phases of construction. The image below shows a portion of the exposed historic foundation.
  • • Retiring and removing the flags and flag pole located west of the temple.

April 15, 2020

  • • Work is underway to remove the upper tower finials. This work was planned for a later phase of the project but was brought forward following the seismic event of March 18. A large crane was installed on-site on April 2 to complete this work. Learn more about the process of removing the finials here
  • • Abatement work to remove lead and asbestos from the existing temple annex on the north side continues.
  • • Backfill of the excavated South Visitors’ Center continues.

 

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Time-Lapse Video of First Three Months of Salt Lake Temple Renovation Project 

Progress on the Salt Lake Temple renovation project continues. Watch a time-lapse video captured during the first three months of construction released by Church Newsroom on April 16, 2020. 

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Stone Removal Set to Begin at Salt Lake Temple After Earthquake

Church spokesman Daniel Woodruff released the following statement to media April 2, 2020 regarding the next phase of work on the Salt Lake Temple renovation:

“Workers at the Salt Lake Temple project site are installing a crane on the temple's south side to begin removal of some of the stones on the temple spires that were displaced during the recent earthquake in Salt Lake City. Workers will then remove additional stones from the east and west sides of the temple for preservation during the project. They will also temporarily remove the angel Moroni statue. Scaffolding will be constructed around the temple spires for better access for workers. This work is expected to last several weeks.”

► Related content: Angel Moroni’s Trumpet Falls in Salt Lake Earthquake

Please see the accompanying renderings for an idea of what this phase of work will look like. 


An artist's rendering depicts a crane placed on the south side of the Salt Lake Temple on Thursday, April 2, 2020, to begin to remove stones displaced in last month's earthquake as part of the temple renovation. 
An artist's rendering of a crane removing stones from the Salt Lake Temple that were displaced during an earthquake in March 2020.

An artist's rendering of a crane removing stones from the Salt Lake Temple that were displaced during an earthquake in March 2020.

An artist's rendering of a crane removing stones from the Salt Lake Temple.

► Related content: 10 Things You May Not Know about the Angel Moroni Statue

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Temple Square Publishes March Construction Updates

Temple Square published the following construction updates in March.

March 27, 2020

Following a seismic event on March 18, the Salt Lake Temple and site were thoroughly inspected and work has resumed as normal. Over the past several weeks, construction crews have:

  • • Made progress on abatement work inside the temple.
  • • Removed the final set of historic temple doors for preservation.
  • • Continued installing HVAC units in the upper floor of the temple.
  • • Continued removal work of stone facing on the temple chapel on the north end of the grounds.
  • • Begun installing a project fence with viewing windows on the east side of the job site, near the reflection pool on the Main Street Plaza.
  • • Begun working to backfill and compact the ground where the South Visitors’ Center was removed.
  • • Begun demolition of a pedestrian tunnel at the south end of the temple, exposing the existing temple foundation.

March 6, 2020                                              

This week, Jacobsen and the construction team primarily worked on the area south of the temple and within the temple. Specific accomplishments from this week and plans for next week are as follows:

  • • Debris from the South Visitors’ Center was removed from the site to be recycled and repurposed.
  • • Construction began on a utility bridge on the west side of the temple. It will supply temporary power and water to the temple during the renovation.
  • • Lead paint and asbestos abatement have been successfully completed in several areas of the interior of the temple. This work continues in other areas of the temple.
  • • A project fence has been installed on the west side of the site. It includes windows to allow visitors on Temple Square to view the construction activities from various points. These same features will be present on the fence on the east side of the site when it is in place in the coming weeks.
  • • The first devotional for the construction workers was held on March 4. Emily Utt, Church historic sites curator, was the featured speaker and discussed “a sense of the sacred.” The following is an excerpt from her remarks:

“High on the east tower of the Salt Lake Temple are carved the words ‘Holiness to the Lord.’ That phrase is a reminder to everyone who walks past that it is a holy building. A sacred building. The temple isn’t a common public building. It was built for a higher purpose.

“Holiness to the Lord is also a testimony from those who built the temple. Their work wasn’t just about building a wall or digging a trench. The temple was a statement about their belief in God. It was a statement about how they could give their very best to Him. The temple was the place where they would make sacred promises, called covenants, with God. It was the place they would create relationships that would last forever. Even if they didn’t live to see it completed, the temple would be a place of holiness for their children and the generations after.

“That same attitude can direct our work on the temple. Every day we walk under the sign stating that this building is holy. Keeping a sense of the sacred is giving our very best to the project. It is taking the time to do the job right even if no one sees it. It is asking for God’s help as we work. If we approach our problems with a sense of the sacred, we will be guided to the right solutions. Even though this is a messy and noisy construction site, we can keep this a holy place. Your daily efforts to keep a sense of the sacred will keep this temple holy until it is rededicated.”

—Emily Utt (construction team devotional, Mar. 4, 2020)

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Temple Square Publishes February Construction Updates

Temple Square published the following construction updates in February.

February 28, 2020

Construction teams have made significant progress over the past two months. Trees, shrubs, and statues surrounding the Salt Lake Temple have been removed from the site. The South Visitors’ Center has also been removed along with portions of the historic Temple Square wall.

Accomplishments from this week include:

  • • Temporary scaffolding installed on the south side of the temple to place mechanical equipment and remove several windows on the fifth floor.
  • • Windows on the first and fifth floors removed, packed, and transported to be refurbished.
  • • Historic exterior doors removed through a carefully planned process. Temporary doors are in place until the historic doors return following restoration.
  • • Temporary utilities installed to supply utilities to the site.
  • • Excavation underway to remove a tunnel south of the temple to allow excavation work to begin, which will expose the existing foundations of the temple.

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Pictures Show Temple Furnishings Removal

On January 17, 2020, Church Newsroom released photos that show the progress of furniture removal inside the temple. 

The Salt Lake Temple Celestial Room

The Salt Lake Temple Chapel

The Salt Lake Temple Assembly Room

The Salt Lake Temple Assembly Room

The Salt Lake Temple Assembly Room


The Salt Lake Temple Assembly Room

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Demolition Begins on South Visitors' Center, Statues Removed

On January 17, 2020, demolition began on the South Visitors’ Center.

Statues south of the temple, including statues of Hyrum and Joseph Smith—each of which weighs approximately 18,000 pounds—were removed and put into storage.

Trees and vegetation were also removed from the site.

“We are working to carefully preserve some of the trees, transplant them and then replant them at the end of the project,” Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovations, told Church Newsroom. “We will also plant additional trees when we finish the renovation, so there will be more trees on Temple Square than there were when this project began.”

Special care is being made to preserve the Cedar of Lebanon tree, which was planted more than 70 years ago.

Excavation around the Salt Lake Temple to install the base isolation system will begin soon.

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Decommissioning the Temple


Church Newsroom released a story on January 7, 2020, that explained the Salt Lake Temple was undergoing decommissioning. The process involves removing items from the temple, including temple clothing, furniture, temple records, and other items used in the completion of temple ordinances. Additionally, preparations were made for construction with temporary power and utilities and asbestos abatement.

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Images from Intellectual Reserve, Inc. 
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