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What Does It Mean to Decommission a Temple? Salt Lake Temple Starts Process

Construction crews now dot Temple Square as the Salt Lake Temple begins the process of renovation, starting with decommissioning. 

Church Newsroom released an article that details the process of decommissioning, which began after the Salt Lake Temple closed to patrons on December 29.

“The Salt Lake Temple is somewhat unique due to its size and the years of history dating back to 1893,” Emily Utt, curator in the Church History Department, told Church Newsroom. “This building has been carefully cared for and preserved for a long time, and it’s a sacred experience to be involved in preparing it for this next important step.”

Here is what is going on inside the Salt Lake Temple right now.

Removal of Sacred Items

During the decommissioning process, the Temple Department removes sacred items from the temple, including temple clothing, temple records, and other items used in the completion of temple ordinances.

Removal of Furniture

After the sacred items are removed, the temple is no longer considered a dedicated building and contractors are able to enter the building without a temple recommend. The furniture is removed from the building and taken to storage facilities, other church buildings, or in some cases, donated to help local nonprofit organizations. Historic finishes are protected. Other items including stained glass windows and historic light fixtures are also removed for protection. Throughout the renovation, some of these items will be on display at the Conference Center.

Preparing for Construction

After the items have been removed, the site will be prepared for renovation, including asbestos abatement and setting up temporary power and utilities.

“Even as this temple becomes a construction site, we never lose sight of its sacred purpose and history,” Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovations, told Church Newsroom. “The decommissioning process allows us to carefully take care of what is inside the temple so we can then focus on our job of fortifying and protecting this house of the Lord.”

Throughout the renovation process, updates will be available on TempleSquare.org.

READ THE REST OF THE STORY AT Church Newsroom.

Lead image from Church Newsroom
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Lindsey Williams

Lindsey Williams joined the LDS Living team with a passion to find the stories that matter most. Previous stops in her career include BYU-Pathway Worldwide, the Special Projects Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Utah Valley Magazine. When she's not searching for stories to write, the Colorado Springs native is most likely on a hiking trail. 

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