Biblical tabernacle replica open for tours on campus

Dani Jardine
A realistic Israelite tabernacle replica is set up on the BYU campus. Students and visitors can schedule free tours of the replica until Oct. 30. (Ty Mullen)

Ancient history is now at BYU as a life-sized replica of the biblical tabernacle will stand in the heart of campus until Oct. 30. Students and the general public will be able to tour the historically accurate tabernacle to view the religious symbolism and learn of the ancient Israelite culture.

The tabernacle will mostly be used for educational purposes, but on evenings and weekends the general public will be able to tour it as well.

The creation of the replica has been an amazing experience according to Julie Carr, who is primarily in charge of the set up of the tabernacle.

“Craftsmen in our stake were assigned something to build. They weren’t told how to build it, they were just told which scriptures to read and they got inspired,” Carr said. “The men who built the instruments inside the tabernacle truly had a great experience.”

The tabernacle replica has been touring the country for the last few months, according to Carr. The tabernacle was originally built in California in her home stake and has traveled as far as Michigan as requests for its presence have poured in.

“We originally just built this as a learning experience for the youth in our stake,” said Carr. “But it became something more, and people from all over have been wanting to see it.”

Dana Pike, BYU associate dean and professor of religion, is in charge of the committee that worked to bring the tabernacle to the BYU campus. He feels the replica offers a great opportunity for students.

“We brought it here with the primary objective of education for students. A BYU education should be both ‘spiritually strengthening’ and ‘intellectually enlarging,’ and the tabernacle will hopefully provide both for students,” said Pike.

Students are getting involved as well. BYU student Luke Green helped set things up and will also be one of the students providing tours through the tabernacle. Green said it was a great experience for him to help unload the replicas of the ancient relics. He said with each box he opened he felt a sense of wonder as he looked at what really seemed like ancient artifacts.

“It was awesome to unload all the pieces and see the furniture that would go in the tabernacle. It all felt realistic,” said Green.

Regardless of background or age, the tabernacle provides everyone with an opportunity to learn more about Jesus Christ and his church.

“We believe that every part of the tabernacle points to Christ. That’s why we made this replica and that’s why we do these tours. We want people to walk away feeling closer to Christ,” Carr said.

In order to enter the tabernacle, visitors need a ticket, which can be reserved on the BYU religious education website. Tickets are free for everyone.

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