Manti Utah Temple open house begins, Church leaders share testimonies

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The Manti Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reopened its doors after being closed for a few years of light renovation work.

Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson reflected on the pioneers of the past who faithfully built this temple with everything they had.

The Manti Utah Temple open house had a day for the press March 11, 2021. Relief Society General President Sister Camille Johnson attended and shared her testimony of the historic temple. (churchofjesuschrist.org)

“Consider with me the Latter-day Saints who while nurturing families, establishing farms, managing livestock, caring for those in need and building these communities constructed a temple worthy of the presence of the Lord. Of course over the decades, they sacrificed worldly wealth, their time and their talents to build and adorn the Manti temple which was first dedicated in 1888,” President Johnson said.

President Johnson explained that while the craftsmanship of the temple is exquisite, such as the beautiful woodwork and pinpoint needlework on the seats of the sealing room, their faith in Jesus Christ was most compelling to her. 

She explained that those devoted saints had “faith in every stitch” as they worked to build this beautiful offering to the Lord. 

Church Historic Sites Curator Emily Utt shared her favorite features of the temple. She described herself as a “lifelong nerd” when it came to history, especially the historic temples found within the church. 

The Manti Utah Temple has two spiral staircases, ascending five stories on either side. Utt said this was a unique feature of the Manti temple. (churchofjesuschrist.org)

“What I love most about this building is the way that you become almost immersed in the story of the world, that you start in creation and you are enveloped and surrounded by this historic mural, and then you keep ascending up … It’s a great way for me to visualize the path that all of us are on in life, that we are created, we came to Earth, and then we keep moving,” Utt said.

One of the temple’s unique features are the spiral staircases ascending five stories up on either side of the temple. These stairs, as well as the stairs separating each instruction room, create a metaphor of God’s children living righteously and preparing to return to His presence.

Renovation work in the temple was minor, Utt said. It involved fixing leaking water on the east wall, installing technology for audio/film presentations, a fresh coat of paint and preserving historic murals.

One historic mural is Minerva Teichert’s work in the worlds room. The piece details several different cultures and biblical events, such as the Tower of Babel, Joseph being sold into Egypt, and the Israelites and Gentiles moving toward the Zion early Saints built in the Rocky Mountains. 

Utt shared that this nearly 4,000 foot mural took Teichert only 23 days to complete.

Another mural involved in the renovation effort was the creation room mural done by C.C.A. Christensen in 1886, Utt said. It is the oldest temple mural in the Church. Christensen was swept up in the scientific discoveries of the time, namely the discovery of dinosaur fossils. The murals includes scenes from early planet formation onward, even showing prehistoric animals as part of creation. 

General Authority Seventy Elder Hugo E. Martinez attended the press open house with his wife Sister Nuria Martinez, who shared her feelings as she walked through the temple.

“It’s something that happens to me in temples, but in this one specifically, I have felt the faithfulness of a people who maybe lived in a small house, but then they gave their everything to build the house of the Lord,” Sister Martinez said. 

The Manti Utah Temple will be open to the public beginning Thursday, March 14 through Friday, April 5. The open house will be followed by a rededication ceremony on Sunday, April 21. To make a free reservation online, visit the Church’s website here.

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