Provo’s First Temple
Provo’s first temple, the Provo Utah Temple was built in 1972 and dedicated by President Harold B. Lee with President Joseph Fielding Smith presiding.
The dedication took place in two sessions. More than 70,000 Latter-day Saints attended. Church members participated at the temple and via live transmission to the Marriott Center, George Albert Smith Fieldhouse, Joseph Smith Building, Harris Fine Arts Center and Knight-Mangum Hall (for missionaries at the Language Training Mission). It was the largest temple dedication in history.
Co-author of “Utah’s Two Temples” book, Justin Robert Bray said the dedication of the first Provo temple had a lasting impact on the community.
“Members of the church throughout Utah County and beyond celebrated the announcement of the temple and showed their support by raising funds for construction, volunteering at the open house, and most importantly, attending the temple after its dedication,” Bray said.
The Provo Utah Temple became known as one of the busiest LDS temples after its dedication. The design of the temple included six ordinance rooms, allowing sessions to start every 20 minutes. The Ogden Utah Temple, Jordan River Utah Temple and the Washington D.C. Temple are the only other LDS temples to have as many ordinance rooms.
Provo’s Two Temples
Church members wept when the Provo Tabernacle went up in flames, only to weep with joy when President Thomas S. Monson announced in October 2011 that the tabernacle would be rebuilt into a temple.
“Having two temples in one town, I think, signifies a lot of trust by church leaders in the Latter-day Saints in the Provo area — both residents and those studying at BYU,” Bray said in an email.
Bray said there has been a lot of work required from people in the surrounding communities to support and run the temple. People have been asked to serve as patrons, volunteers, maintenance crews and security.
“A second temple is certainly a blessing and should lighten the load on the first Provo temple, but it also means more time, attention and commitment from the Saints in the temple district,” Bray said.
The renovation of the Provo City Center Temple included the highest constructional specification as of 2015 when the temple was completed. The exterior of the temple reflects the tabernacle’s original design and other salvaged remains were included to remember the building’s heritage.
This temple is the fourth temple built from an existing building and the second to be built from a tabernacle, according to LDS.org.