SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced some significant upcoming changes at its Salt Lake City and Manti temples Friday.
The Salt Lake City temple is currently under renovation for seismic upgrades and the Manti temple will undergo renovations later this year.
Both temples will no longer have multi-room "member experience" presentations by live actors. They will instead use single-room filmed presentations, allowing the temples to host more sessions each day.
As part of the changes, the murals at both temples are being photographed, documented and removed, but the historic staircases at both temples are preserved.
The Salt Lake City temple will have two additional instruction rooms, a second baptismal font on the lower level and the cafeteria will be replaced by additional facilities to accommodate the temple's increased capacity. There will no longer be a cafeteria at the Salt Lake City temple.
"We look forward to the day when the renovation is complete and we can welcome friends from around the world to tour the temple prior to its dedication, and then for members to once again worship in this beautiful house of the Lord," a news release from the church states.
The Manti temple's multi-year renovation will include mechanical updates and other changes to prepare the temple to serve for generations.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following Q&A about the Salt Lake City Temple's renovation:
Why will the temple no longer offer a live presentation endowment?
This decision allows for greater capacity and more temple ordinances, making it possible to hold more sessions each day. With this change, the temple will be able to offer endowment sessions in multiple languages, allowing those who speak a language other than English to have a more meaningful, uplifting, and sacred temple experience. Finally, this adjustment will help more members feel confident to serve as ordinance workers without the requirement for lengthy memorization.
How will this impact the number of sessions each day compared to prior to the renovation?
Prior to the temple’s closure, sessions took place each hour. With five instruction rooms operating after the temple is re-opened, this will provide the capacity to offer sessions approximately every 20–30 minutes, allowing members more flexibility in attending the temple.
How many instruction rooms and sealing rooms will there be, and what will be their capacity?
After the renovation is completed, the temple will have a total of five instruction rooms, each with a capacity for 150 people. There will be 23 sealing rooms (up from 13) with varying capacities of up to 75 people, making it possible to perform more marriages and better accommodate wedding guests.
Where will the baptistries be located?
Both baptistries will be located in the lower level of the new temple annex, north of the historic temple. The current location of the baptistry will make way for the two new instruction rooms.
Where will the instruction rooms be located?
Four instructions rooms will be located on the first floor of the temple, and the fifth will be on the second floor.
What will be in the temple annex north of the temple?
The new temple annex will house the support facilities needed for a greater capacity temple including a bigger chapel, larger marriage waiting area, two new baptistries, and additional dressing rooms.
How much time will this add to the project?
More information about a completion date will be provided as the project progresses.
How much will this increase overall capacity for the temple?
We anticipate the temple will be able to accommodate more than double the usual number of patrons.
Do these changes impact the renderings previously released to the public?
Some of the renderings we have previously released have been adjusted based on these new plans. The new renderings are included in this release.
Will General Authorities still have their meeting space in the temple with these new designs?
Does this impact other elements of the project, including the seismic upgrade?
The seismic upgrade, which is the principal purpose of the renovation, is proceeding as previously planned.
Why couldn’t the murals be preserved?
As the First Presidency said in their statement: “The addition of new instruction rooms, a new method of presentation, seismic strengthening, and changes to meet accessibility requirements meant that the murals in the temple would need to be moved and/or repainted. It was impossible to know whether the murals could be preserved during such a move. They were originally painted directly on lath and plaster walls, which had been repaired and repainted many times because of water damage and other deterioration. Further, the change to a film presentation meant that the rooms would be reconfigured. For all these reasons, the murals were carefully photographed and documented before removal, and some of the original portions are being preserved in the Church’s archives.”