Church History Library Set to Open
The property on North Temple Steet between State Street and Main Street in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA—just north of the Church Office Building—has been home to many buildings since the pioneers settled the Salt Lake Valley.
Originally owned by Heber C. Kimball (1801–68), First Counselor to President Brigham Young (1801–77), the land has been occupied by homes, a school, a mill, a blacksmith shop, a pharmacy, a cafe, an ice-cream shop, a dance academy, a bowling alley, an advertising agency, and the mission home—a precursor to the Provo Utah Missionary Training Center.
While the lot has hosted many buildings that have become a part of history, it will now host history itself.
The Church History Library
The newly finished Church History Library opens to the public on June 22, 2009. The 230,000-square-foot (21,000-square-meter) library will hold more than four million Church documents from around the world, ranging in date from 1830 to the present.
Christine Cox, director of customer service for the Church History Library, said that preserving Church history and making it available to members is important because it helps “them to increase their faith and to make and keep their sacred covenants. One of our main purposes … is to bless the lives of the members of the Church,” as well as to create “a great archival facility to preserve” Church materials as long as possible.
The five-floor building will hold 270,000 books, pamphlets, magazines, manuals, and newspapers; 240,000 original, unpublished journals, diaries, papers, manuscripts, and local Church unit histories; 13,000 historic photographs, posters, and maps; 23,000 audiovisual recordings and microfilm rolls; and 3.7 million patriarchal blessings.
The library has everything from last month’s Ensign to a board game called Mormonopoly; Brigham Young’s journal from 1844; a first edition copy of the Book of Mormon that Joseph Smith hand-addressed to Vienna Jacques, one of the three women referenced in the Doctrine and Covenants; and the Joseph Smith Papers.
A Growing Need
The Church History Library has needed a new home for some time. For nearly 40 years its documents have been housed in the east wing of the Church Office Building. However, the Church Office Building was not designed to be an archive. It does not have the appropriate seismic and fire protection or sufficient temperature and humidity controls.
In addition, the available space for employees, Church-service missionaries, and the collections has been dwindling because the library adds 500 to 700 archival collections—as well as some 6,000 published items—each year.
The Church announced plans to build the Church History Library on April 20, 2005, and broke ground on October 11, 2005.
A State-of-the-Art Building
Church History Department specialists and the company that designed the building consulted with international experts on records preservation and archival design in order to create a building that would best meet the needs of the Church.
The new building has wireless access, general-use and special collections reading rooms that are open to the public, 14 storage rooms, and a records preservation area.
The record storage vaults will have temperature, humidity, and lighting control and seismic and fire protection. Of the 14 main storage areas, 12 will be kept at 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees C) with 35 percent relative humidity. For color motion picture films, photographs, and records of special significance, the other 2 storage rooms will be maintained at -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees C) with 30 percent relative humidity.
None of the individual archival storage areas connect to one another, and reinforced concrete walls surround each compartment in order to limit damage to Church records in the event of a fire. The building has fire sprinklers for the 55-degree vaults and is equipped with smoke and heat detectors that constantly take samples of the air. The -4 degree rooms rely on an oxygen suppression system to immediately put out a fire before it can damage the valuable records.
Kevin Nielson, Church History project manager over the building, said the new library is prepared for the millions of documents it will hold. Its storage rooms contain 40,048 shelves that average 40 inches (106 cm) wide.
The structure is not only well-built, but it is also “green,” or environmentally Friendly, according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. 1 The building is designed to recycle waste, help control building temperatures with window shades, and use environmentally sustainable materials.
A Library for Everyone
The facility has an open stacks collection and a preservation collection. Documents from both of these collections are available for public viewing. Those from the open stacks collection are in the public library area. Staff members retrieve the documents from the archival preservation storage rooms for visitors upon request.
Access to the library is free and open to the public; however, since it is an archival facility, photo identification is required to request materials from the storage rooms.
“We’re trying to get the message out that we are open to everyone and we welcome people to come in and use the facility,” Sister Cox said.
A Design with a Message
The goal of the Church History Library’s design was to help explain why the Church keeps records.
The main foyer of the building will have replicas of the Laie Hawaii Temple’s bas-reliefs representing Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and current dispensations. The engravings symbolize how record keeping has been an important part of each dispensation. Brother Nielson said the bas-reliefs were positioned so visitors would be able to see a representation of record keeping in different dispensations and then be able to see the people in the library reading and studying records of this dispensation.
The Salt Lake Temple is in full view of the building’s main entrance and window-enclosed main foyer. Brother Nielson said the building’s position was chosen to communicate to visitors the important relationship between record keeping and making and keeping sacred covenants.
LEED is a certification program that evaluates and rates buildings on their impact on the environment and their use of sustainable resources.
Photograph by Matt Reier
Photograph by Matt Reier
Church Displays Selections from Eighth International Art Competition
The Church History Museum’s Eighth International Art Competition exhibit opened to the public in the Conference Center on March 23, 2009, and will run through October 11, 2009. The theme for the competition is “Remembering the Great Things of God.”
This year’s competition drew nearly 1,100 entries from both professional and amateur member artists. A jury evaluated the entries and selected 266 for display. Robert Davis, senior exhibit developer for the museum, said one third of the selected pieces came from outside of the United States; they represent 44 countries.
Jurors looked for new artwork centered on gospel themes and representing worldwide cultural and aesthetic traditions, styles, and media. Some of the media represented in the competition include painting, drawing, sculpting, needlework, and woodcarving.
One of the three-dimensional pieces in the exhibit is a bronze cast statue of two horses harnessed together in a field, where a bishop left them when he felt inspired to check on an elderly member in his ward. Another entry, from Syria, is an Armenian lace starburst. The lace represents the great things of the Lord the artist learned from her mother, who also taught her the lace-making art. A member from Uruguay entered a carved wood image representing temple marriage and the sealing power. A Hungarian member contributed a painting of a woman reading to her child from the Bible. The description that came with the painting was part of a song from the Children’s Songbook.
Brother Davis said that even though the artwork came in many forms, it all had the common subject matter of the gospel.
In the painting The Spirit of Prayer, which received a purchase award, Claudio Roberto Aguiar Ramires, from Brazil, painted three images of Nephi kneeling to pray. The first image shows Nephi kneeling to pray for help as he was building the ship. The second image depicts him tied to the ship during the storm as he struggled to kneel and pray. The third image portrays him praying after arriving at the promised land.
“[Nephi] was always thankful to the Lord and recognized His hand in his life,” Brother Ramires said, explaining why he had painted each of the images.
Adam Abram, from Utah, USA, who received a merit award for his painting, Gethsemane, said about his artwork, “This isn’t a painting about suffering, it’s a painting about getting through the suffering.” He said his hope for the painting is that people will look at their own struggles and trials in life and know that with the Savior’s help they can prevail.
The museum offered 18 Purchase Awards to add the pieces to its collection. The jury awarded 20 Merit Awards at a reception on Friday, March 20. Another three pieces will receive Visitors’ Choice Awards near the closing of the exhibit.
The Church has held the worldwide art competition every three years since 1987. The museum initially created the competition to increase its art collection.
“I’ve been associated with all of the shows, and it’s been very satisfying,” Brother Davis said. “It’s a good thing. I can think of nothing in the world that quite approaches this.”
In the past, the exhibit has been shown in the Church History Museum. However, with the growing response to the art competition, the exhibit moved to the Conference Center this year to allow it more room. The artwork will be displayed during both the April and October general conferences.
The exhibit is in the Grand Atrium Foyer of the Conference Center, 60 West North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah. Visitors may enter at door 15. Exhibit hours are Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
“It’s satisfying to see the way people express themselves,” Brother Davis said. “Art is a personal thing, and I think it draws from the divine. People have a uniqueness that comes out in their art, but they also serve as a witness of the gospel in many different ways.”
The Liahona and Ensign often feature many of the submissions. Selections from this year’s exhibit as well as past exhibits are also available on the Church History Web site at www.lds.org/churchhistory/museum/competition.
Art Competition Award Winners
Adam Abram, Utah, USA, Gethsemane
Ruben Alfredo Cabrera, Uruguay, Together Forever
Jaimie Davis, Montana, USA, Schimmelbusch Family Quilt
Jacob Elton Dobson, Indiana, USA, Articles of Faith 2 and 3
Tracy Ann Holmes, California, USA, The Three Gardens
Irene Monson Jenkins, Utah, USA, Heirloom Blessing Dress
Lurain Lyman, California, USA, Garden Tomb
Donna Moyer, California, USA, Consider the Lilies
Nnamdi Okonkwo, Nigeria, Love
Kathleen Bateman Peterson, Utah, USA, The Child
Walter Clair Rane, California, USA, Blessed Are They Who Are Faithful and Endure
J. Kirk Richards, Utah, USA, The Greatest in the Kingdom
Randall Todd Stilson, Utah, USA, Salvador Mundi
Leroy Transfield, New Zealand, Joseph and the Boy Jesus
Lesa Udall, Utah, USA, Whenever I Hear the Song of a Bird
Rebecca Wagstaff, Utah, USA, Passageway
William Whitaker, Illinois, USA, Seven Generations: Rachel Wears Black
Sherri Williams, Utah, USA, Behold Your Little Ones
Blanche Wilson, Utah, USA, I Remember
Janis Lorene Wunderlich, Ohio, USA, Family Frenzy
Jubal Aviles Saenz, Mexico, We Will See Each Other Again on the Other Side
Cassandra Barney, Utah, USA, Atonement
Chin Tai Cheng, Taiwan, Many People Shall Go
Rose Datoc Dall, Virginia, USA, Flight
Ramon Ely Garcia Rivas, Ecuador, I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go
Filiberto Gutierrez, Texas, USA, Come unto Jesus
Michael Tom Malm, Utah, USA, Saving That Which Was Lost
Eréndira de Martínez Hernández, Mexico, With No Exception of Persons
Emily McPhie, Utah, USA, Windows of Heaven
Valentina Olekseeyeevna Museeyenko, Ukraine, As Sisters in Zion
Louise Parker, South Africa, Who Can Find a Virtuous Woman? II
Emmalee Rose Glauser Powell, Utah, USA, Joseph William Billy Johnson: Holiness to the Lord
Claudio Roberto Ramires, Brazil, The Spirit of Prayer
GayLynn Lorene Ribeira, California, USA, Bring Up Your Children in Light and Truth
Ai Meng Tsai, Taiwan, Teach Me to Walk in the Light
Colleen Wallace, Australia, Coming of Christ
Elspeth Young, Utah, USA, For Such a Time as This
Josephus Matheus Wilhelmus Van Gemert, Netherlands, I Am the Alpha and the Omega
Construction Begins on The Gila Valley Temple
Ground was broken for The Gila Valley Arizona Temple on February 14, 2009. It will be the third temple in Arizona. The first, in Mesa, was completed in 1927. In 2002, some 100 temples later, the Snowflake Arizona Temple was dedicated. With the dedication of the Draper Utah Temple in March, there are now 129 operating temples throughout the world. Another 16 are announced or under construction, including two others in Arizona.
Atlanta Georgia Temple to Close for Renovation
The Atlanta Georgia Temple is set to close on July 1, 2009, for renovations that will take approximately 18 months to complete. Members are invited to attend other temples, as their circumstances permit, while the temple is closed. Some nearby temples are open by appointment only, so patrons and priesthood leaders will need to contact the temple in advance. The Atlanta Temple was dedicated on June 1, 1983.
FamilySearch Releases 1900 U.S. Census
FamilySearch has now made the 1900 U.S. Census available on its online database. The census contains information on more than 76 million people, including many who left family in their home countries when they immigrated from around the world. The 1900 census included information such as how long an immigrant had been in the country along with their naturalization status. FamilySearch has digitalized and indexed census records for 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, and 1900.
BYU Professor Receives Religious Freedom Award
Brigham Young University law professor W. Cole Durham Jr. was awarded the First Freedom Center’s 2009 International First Freedom Award for helping to increase the constitutional protection of religious freedom. Brother Durham counseled with the Iraqi government about the current Iraqi constitution and was present when it was signed. He has also advised government authorities in Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Peru, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine on laws relating to religious freedom.
Which Was Your Favorite Ensign Article?
Maybe you’ve been an Ensign reader for only a year or two. Maybe you’ve been reading since the magazine began in January of 1971. Either way, we’d like to know: Of all the articles you’ve read in the magazine, what was your favorite?
In January of 2011, the Ensign, New Era, and Friend will celebrate their 40th anniversaries. If you will help us make a list, the Ensign would like to reprint in 2011 some of your favorite articles.
Maybe it was an article that taught you something new about the gospel. Maybe it was an article that helped you change your life or overcome a challenge. Send us the title and when it was printed by August 15, 2009.
Send your suggestions to email@example.com or to: Ensign Magazine, Room 2420, 50 E. North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84150-0024.
Editors of the New Era and the Friend may also want to reprint articles that stand out in the minds of readers who grew up with their magazines. If you remember a favorite article from the New Era or the Friend, please send your suggestion to NewEra@ldschurch.org or Friend@ldschurch.org. The mailing address is the same as that of the Ensign.
Guided on the Bus
Riding the bus to work one day, I read President Henry B. Eyring’s address “Our Hearts Knit as One” from the October 2008 general conference (Ensign, Nov. 2008, 68). There was wonderful symbolism with knitting and how it relates to gaining unity. No sooner had I finished reading the message than I looked up and there in front of me was a lady knitting! As I watched her, the symbolism President Eyring had used made even more sense to me. I count this as a tender mercy from the Lord. Of all articles to choose from that day, I feel I was directed to that one.
Brad Peterson Utah, USA
Please continue to publish articles about adoption like
Pam Brennan Arizona, USA