Photos: See the inside of the new Cedar City LDS Temple as it opens for tours

Tuesday , October 24, 2017 - 5:15 AM

JANAE FRANCIS, Standard-Examiner Staff

CEDAR CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will begin holding an open house this week for the new Cedar City Temple.

From Friday, Oct. 27, to Nov. 18, visions will be able to go inside the temple for a free, guided tour of the main rooms, including the baptistry, an instruction room, a sealing room, the celestial room and the bride’s room.

Ticket reservations are available online at templeopenhouse.lds.org.

The open house will be closed for the Sundays of Oct. 29 and Nov. 5 and 12. 

“When they approach the temple, they'll be able to find different elements within the architecture that they'll find similar to some of the other historic buildings and temples that are in southern Utah,” said Mark Berry, project manager of the temple, in a news release from the church. “We tried to make sure that we brought that pioneer feel.”

The historic atmosphere is aided by two historic windows from the old Astoria Presbyterian Church in Queens, New York, that adorn each entry lobby, according to a fact sheet about the temple. Holdman Studios of Lehi, performed the restoration of the windows.

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“It was designed to reflect a kinship with pioneer temples and other historic buildings in the region and embodies a timeless quality,” the fact sheet says.

A history of the church says that members were sent to colonize Cedar City three years after Mormon pioneers arrived in Salt Lake City in 1847.

In 1851, Apostle George A. Smith led a group of settlers south, hoping to mine ore and end Mormon dependence on eastern iron products, according to church history.

In the next decade, many Native American Paiutes were baptized into the church in that area, according to the history.

The Cedar City Temple, which will be dedicated Dec. 10, will be the 159th operating temple of the LDS Church worldwide and the 17th in Utah, according to the temple fact sheet.

The 39,802-square-foot temple is visible from the north as it sits on a hill in the high desert of southern Utah. The temple is made of precast concrete panels with sections of gypsum fiber reinforced concrete and stands more than 260 feet high, including a 13-foot-tall angel Moroni statue atop a cupola spire, the news release said.

“The spire is reminiscent of ones that you would find on a tabernacle. It's more of a cupola type feel than the standard spires that we see on some of the other temples,” Berry said in the news release.

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About 4,500 local youth will participate in a cultural celebration Dec. 9 at the Southern Utah University America First Event Center. The celebration will feature stories of past and present pioneers of the Cedar City area, the news release said.

The temple will be dedicated the following day in several sessions and will be broadcast to members of the church at meetinghouses in the temple district.

According to the temple fact sheet, the temple features original artwork that depicts images found in local geographical features and captured by Utah artists. 

Some of the names of the original artwork include “Field of Choice” by Chris Manwaring, “Kolob Canyon Evening” and “Bryce Canyon” by David Meikle.

A painting called “Kolob Canyon” is by Linda Curley Christensen of Idaho. “Circle of Cliffs” is by Ken Stockton of California. “With Healing in His Wings” is by Michael Malm of Utah. “The Kolobs” is by Frank Magleby of Oregon.

• RELATED: Angel Moroni statue now adorns Cedar City temple's tower

Visitors from around the world visit Cedar City yearly to see national parks and attend the theater and the temple grounds will remain open for the public to visit once the temple is dedicated. 

The temple is located at 280 South Cove Drive on more than eight acres of land in a residential area in Cedar City.

You may reach reporter JaNae Francis at jfrancis@standard.net or 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at @JaNaeFrancisSE or like her on Facebook at facebook.com/SEJaNaeFrancis.  

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