Payson Utah Temple Open House Begins
Contributed By R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer
- The Payson Utah Temple open house began on April 21 and will run until May 23.
- An expected 400,000 to 500,000 people are expected to attend.
- The temple will be dedicated June 7 in three dedicatory sessions.
- A cultural celebration will be held June 6 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah.
“This [temple] is particularly beautiful. You’ve seen it as you’ve driven north on I-15 for a number of years now, and it was particularly noticeable as evening lights would come on and you could see this temple standing in its majesty next to the Wasatch Front [mountain range].” —Elder Kent F. Richards of the Seventy
In a placid setting of agrarian cropland and suburban homes bordered on the east and west by nearby mountains, the newly completed Payson Utah Temple was displayed to news media representatives April 21, beginning a series of public open house tours that will last through May 23, prior to the temple being readied for dedicatory services June 7.
Located about 23 miles south of Provo in the southwest section of Payson at 1494 South 930 West, the temple will serve some 93,000 Church members in south-central Utah living in 27 stakes ranging from Mapleton on the north to Delta on the south. The temple district includes cities such as Nephi, Spanish Fork, Santaquin, Eureka, and Salem.
“We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day,” said Elder Kent F. Richards of the Seventy and Executive Director of the Temple Department as he greeted news media. “And that’s kind of symbolic of the temple and the excitement of the spirit and the beauty and the warmth that we will feel inside as well as outside the temple.”
He noted that the new edifice will be the 146th active temple in the Church once it is dedicated.
“This one is particularly beautiful. You’ve seen it as you’ve driven north on I-15 for a number of years now, and it was particularly noticeable as evening lights would come on and you could see this temple standing in its majesty next to the Wasatch Front [mountain range].”
The temple was announced by President Thomas S. Monson on January 25, 2010. It has been under construction since October 8, 2011, when Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles broke ground and dedicated the site.
Elder Richards said the Payson area is rich in Church history. “The members have been here many, many years. They were actually sent here by Brigham Young to be kind of a way station.”
Latter-day Saints traveling from Salt Lake City to Provo to St. George and other points south would spend the night in Payson, he said.
The Church was established in the area in 1851, he said, and the settlement was initially given an Indian name, Peteetneet, for the creek that flowed through it. “But that was a little hard for them to say or remember, and so one of the earlier settlers was James Pace, and that became the origin of the name Payson.”
The Church has grown since the formation of a branch back then as the membership has continued to increase along the Wasatch Front, Elder Richards said.
He added that the temple will be a blessing to members in the new district, who have traveled to Provo or Manti for temple worship up to now.
Elder Richards said temples are created to be beautiful “in our reverence to our Father in Heaven and to His Son, Jesus Christ, whom we worship.”
Larry Duffin, chairman of the temple open house and dedication committee, said between 400,000 and 500,000 visitors are expected to tour the new edifice during the public open house. He said the tours “will give them the opportunity to feel and understand the great blessings associated with building a house to our Lord.”
A committee has been meeting since last December, organized into 16 subcommittees with about 300 standing committee members, Brother Duffin said. “And when this is all said and done, we’ll incorporate 20,000 volunteers that will help with parking, ushering,” and other services.
A cultural celebration involving more than 13,000 youth performers from the temple district will be held at 7:00 p.m. June 6—the night before the temple dedication—at LaVell Edwards Stadium on the Brigham Young University campus.
“A lot of friends and neighbors who are not members of our faith are joining in participating as well in this great celebration,” Brother Duffin noted.
The cultural celebration will be unusual, he said, in that so many will be able to attend live due to the capacity of the football stadium where it is being staged. Some 62,000 spectators, a capacity audience, are expected, he said. In past such celebrations associated with temple dedications, some family members and friends have had to watch the proceedings by satellite or Internet streaming.
During the news media tour conducted by Elder Richards, invitees entered from the west and viewed the baptistry with its font resting on the backs of 12 sculpted oxen, the central waiting area with adjacent administrative offices, the spacious east entrance with its recommend desk, the brides’ room, the chapel, three ordinance rooms, the marriage waiting room, the seven sealing rooms of varying capacities, and the celestial room with six chandeliers hanging from the domed ceiling and three on each of the side adjoining spaces.
Elder Richards said a motif of wheat and apple blossoms in progressive stages of development characterizes the décor and the art glass windows, produced by local artist Tom Holdman, a nod to the local environment, as Payson is known for its apple orchards.
Art in the temple includes 19 original pieces, including a painting by Ken Stockton in the chapel, which, like the mural in the baptistry copied from a work in the Calgary Alberta Temple, depicts deer in an alpine meadow. A painting by Elspeth Young shows a pioneer mother holding her daughter, and another painting, a copy of one hanging in the Ogden Utah Temple, depicts a young woman of African lineage.
Comprising 96,630 square feet on a 10.63-acre site, it is one of the larger temples in the Church, Elder Richards said.
Open house tours will be conducted from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Mondays and until 8:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday until May 23. No tours will occur on Sundays.
To make tour reservations, go to the Internet site at https://templeopenhouse.lds.org.
Visitors will first go to a reception tent, where they will see a copy of Danish sculptor Thorvaldsen’s famous statue of Christ, well known from Church visitors’ centers. Other features there include a time-lapse video showing temple construction; information panels about the gospel, temples, and family history; and a station at which visitors can have postcard-size pictures taken of themselves with a backdrop image of the temple.
Displays show construction features of the temple: sapele wood harvested from Africa, bronze hardwood locally fabricated, art glass featuring Utah flora and apple blossoms; crema marble quarried and shaped in Spain, and Empredor Light marble quarried in Spain and shaped in Lebanon.
The First Presidency will conduct the three temple dedicatory sessions on June 7 at 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. The sessions will be broadcast live to Church members at meetinghouses within the 27 stakes of the temple district.
The brides’ room in the Payson Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Morning light shines on the Payson Utah Temple, April 21. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.
Visitors enter the temple during the media briefing and tour of the Payson Utah Temple Tuesday, April 21, 2015. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.
Elder Kent F. Richards speaks during the media briefing and tour of the Payson Utah Temple Tuesday, April 21, 2015. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.
Grounds supervisor David Anson works in a flowerbed during the media briefing and tour of the Payson Utah Temple Tuesday, April 21, 2015. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.
Morning light shines on the Payson Utah Temple Tuesday, April 21, 2015. Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News.