The Provo Utah Temple is set to close on Saturday, Feb. 24. Students are finding a new appreciation for the temple and its history.
During the Sunday afternoon session of the October 2021 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson announced that the Provo Temple would close for reconstruction following the dedication of the Orem Utah Temple.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve dedicated the Orem Temple on Jan. 21.
In June 2023, the Church announced the Provo Temple will close after ordinance work on Saturday, Feb. 24. The release encourages members of the Provo Temple district to attend other temples as circumstances permit and to contact nearby temples to schedule living ordinances.
The Provo Utah Temple was the sixth temple built in Utah and the first built in Utah County. The First Presidency announced the temple in 1967. It is one of only four temples with six instruction rooms, according to the Church.
President Joseph Fielding Smith presided over the temple’s 1972 dedication. The dedicatory prayer was read by President Harold B. Lee, first counselor in the First Presidency and future Church president.
According to BYU religion professor J. B. Haws, President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency was president of BYU at the time of the temple dedication.
“At that time, President Harold B. Lee told President Oaks that he was worried BYU students might neglect their studies to go to the temple,” Haws said. “Lee wanted President Oaks to communicate to students that something as good as attending the temple should be kept in balance with other demands.”
J.B. Haws added that for many BYU students, the Provo Temple was the first chance to worship in a temple.
“When the temple was built … for many out-of-state students, this might have been their first or only chance to live close to a temple,” Haws said.
Cole Cummings, a temple preparation teacher, said he believes the temple reconstruction will help students find new appreciation for the temples.
“I think that the rebuilding of the Provo Temple will give us a greater awareness and appreciation for the temple,” Cummings said. “While we certainly won’t have a shortage of temples nearby since the Orem Temple will be open … I believe that the loss of the beloved temple will help us recognize how much it meant to us.”
For BYU freshman and elders quorum instructor Cy Packer, rebuilding the Provo Temple shows that the Church cares about these sacred buildings.
“I think with renovations to any temple, the Church is sending the message that they care about their temples; they want them well kept and up to code,” Packer said. “I believe the renovations are also a sign of consideration for the public’s experience inside and outside the temple. They want the styles and designs to create a modern, beautiful experience for those who approach or enter the temple.”
Many who attended the Provo Temple will be reassigned to the Provo City Center Temple during construction.
According to Tyler Peck, the senior manager of operations and logistics at the Provo Missionary Training Center, missionaries will be attending nearby temples.
“We are working with nearby temples to ensure that missionaries will still be able to attend the temple during their training here at the Provo MTC,” Peck said.