SALT LAKE CITY – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints closes temples frequently to allow renovations. The closure of the Salt Lake Temple is a closure like no other given the temple’s 126-year history.
A temple area director says a renovation begins with a process called decommissioning.
The Salt Lake Temple is being decommissioned, meaning the building will no longer be considered a dedicated building.
The church says the decommissioning process will take weeks.
“Each time we renovate a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, decommissioning occurs to remove sacred items and turn the building into a construction site,” says Rich Sutton, the temple area director.
This same decommissioning process can happen whenever the church closes a temple for renovation.
Construction workers can enter a decommissioned temple without a temple recommend.
Among the sacred items removed are temple clothing and temple records. The church also removes items used in the temple ordinances.
A history like no other
The Salt Lake Temple has accumulated works of art, artifacts, stained glass, furniture, records, and much more since it was dedicated in 1893.
A Church Newsroom article states that some of the artifacts from the Salt Lake Temple will be on display at the Conference Center during the renovation.
Furniture from the Salt Lake Temple will be stored at various warehouses and other church facilities.
Experts are removing stained glass and other historic light fixtures that need to be protected during the construction and renovation.
Andy Kirby, the director of historic temple renovations the decommissioning process lets the church take care of what is inside the temple.
“Even as this temple becomes a construction site, we never lose sight of its sacred purpose and history,” Kirby says.
In addition to the decommissioning the Salt Lake Temple, the church is removing some walls around Temple Square and one of the visitor centers.
The renovation and seismic upgrade of the Salt Lake Temple is expected to take until 2024.