From all around the world, people visit Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. Most of these people do not belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but have read about Temple Square in magazines or history books or have seen pictures of it on television. Many people have heard recordings by the Tabernacle Choir or have seen the Choir on television, and they come to see and hear the Choir in person.
During the first week of April and the first week of October each year, most of the visitors on Temple Square are members of the Church. They are in Salt Lake City for the general conference of the Church. There is a peaceful, calm feeling on the square, and visitors can take time to enjoy the beautiful gardens, visit the buildings and monuments, and learn more about the history of the Church.
Work began on the temple in 1853, six years after the pioneers reached the Salt Lake Valley. The walls of the temple are made of granite blocks which were quarried in a canyon about 36 kilometers from the temple site. At first, the pioneers used teams of oxen to pull wagons loaded with the huge blocks from the canyon to the construction site. In 1873, the granite was shipped on a new railroad. The temple was completed and dedicated in 1893—forty years after it was begun.
The Tabernacle, completed in 1867, is the oldest building on Temple Square. The unusual domed roof is an amazing work of architecture. The general conferences of the Church are held in the Tabernacle, and the Tabernacle Choir rehearses and performs there each week.
The Assembly Hall was built as a meetinghouse for the early Church members. It was built from granite left over from the Salt Lake Temple. The Assembly Hall has been remodeled and was rededicated in 1983. It is now used for special concerts and programs. Also, several stakes in the Salt Lake City area use this beautiful building for their stake conference meetings.
People who come to Temple Square can go to the visitors’ centers for information and for guided tours of the square. A statue of the Christus—visible from the outside of the building—is located in the North Visitors’ Center. There are also beautiful murals showing scenes from the Old and the New Testaments.
Visitors can learn about the Book of Mormon at the South Visitors’ Center. There is also a presentation about the purpose of temples.
Made in England in the mid-1800s, this bell was sent as a gift to the Church from British converts. It was hung in the tower of the Nauvoo Temple. When the Saints left Nauvoo, they brought the bell to Salt Lake City. It was put in place on Temple Square in 1966, where it still strikes on the hour.