From the Church

Why 97-year-old Pres. Nelson went up scaffolding to inspect the Salt Lake Temple roof

Nelson Temple
President Russell M. Nelson tours the renovation work at the Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 22, 2021.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

On a recent week’s episode of the Church News podcast, Brent Roberts, managing director of the Church’s Special Projects, discusses how very engaged President Russell M. Nelson has been in the renovation of the Salt Lake Temple. So engaged, in fact, that during a tour of construction last year President Nelson even wanted to inspect the roof.

“I’m not sure any prophet has ever done that before or been that high before,” Roberts says. “[As] we examined the roof … his questions, specifically about the roof trusses, were amazing. … He was very interested in that [and] every aspect.”

Roberts meets with the First Presidency and the Presiding Bishopric three or four times a month to discuss progress made on the renovations. He says President Nelson asks specific questions during those meetings so he can understand what is going on, and then provides direction “as only a prophet could.”

President Nelson’s careful involvement seems to be, in part, a fulfillment of a promise he made during the announcement of the project in April of 2019. He said, “We promise you that you will love the results. They will emphasize and highlight the life, ministry, and mission of Jesus Christ in His desire to bless every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.”

Roberts has seen firsthand how deeply committed President Nelson is to keeping that promise.

“When we have discussed the project, [President Nelson] reiterates to us that Temple Square itself needs to be focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. … That emphasis has helped each one of us look a little differently [at] this construction project,” he says. “Yes, the house of the Lord needs to be beautiful and needs to be done right, but it’s the beauty of the ordinances and the sacredness of what goes on in the temple that is truly important.”

Hear more from Roberts about his experience overseeing the Salt Lake Temple renovation on the Church News podcast.

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