The Provo City Center Temple is a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) on the same site as the former Provo Tabernacle in Provo, Utah. Completed in 2016, the temple utilizes much of the external shell of the tabernacle, all that remained of the original building after a fire in December 2010.
The intent to construct the temple was announced by church president Thomas S. Monson on October 1, 2011, during the church's semi-annual general conference. The temple was announced concurrently with those to be built in Barranquilla, Colombia; Durban, South Africa; Kinshasa, DR Congo; and Star Valley, Wyoming, along with the temple in Paris, France which had been previously announced. At the time, this brought the total number of temples worldwide (either completed, under construction or announced) to 166 and the number of temples in Utah to 16. Provo thus became the second city in the LDS Church to have two temples, the first being South Jordan, Utah, with the Jordan River and Oquirrh Mountain temples. It is the second tabernacle in Utah to be converted to a temple, the first being the Vernal Utah Temple, and the fourth LDS temple converted from an existing building. (The three previous being the Vernal Utah Temple, the Copenhagen Denmark Temple, and the Manhattan New York Temple.) It is one of only two LDS temples not to include the name of the state/province or country in which the temple is located (the other being the Salt Lake Temple).
Old Provo Tabernacle
"The Old Tabernacle," a building of timber, adobe, and stone that faced Center Street, was completed in 1861. Brigham Young dedicated the facility in 1867, publicly acknowledging that it "was entirely too small." Work on the new tabernacle began in 1883 under the direction of President John Taylor. By 1885, the $100,000 building was in use and even hosted the 1886 and 1887 general conferences. The edifice was finally dedicated in 1898. The tabernacle was built with seating for 1,500 and featured a brick exterior, octagonal towers at all four corners, a high-pitched roof, frosted-glass windows, spiral staircases, and exquisite woodwork including a hand-carved rostrum. Over the years, the tabernacle was remodeled and refurbished, culminating in a rededication in September 1986.
The tabernacle has hosted both presidents of the Church and presidents of the United States, the first being William H. Taft in 1909. It has been the venue for numerous and varied musical performances, school commencements and convocations, high-profile funerals, interfaith gatherings, and community patriotic events.10
After standing unharmed for 125 years, the Provo Tabernacle met tragedy on December 17, 2010, when a four-alarm fire, reported at 2:43 a.m., engulfed the building—ripping through wooden pews, organ pipes, a rented Fazioli piano, priceless pioneer craftsmanship, and original pieces of art. For hours, a crew of approximately 25 firefighters subdued flames and doused the building with water. Around 5:00 a.m., the roof began to collapse, giving way completely within the hour and dragging with it portions of the front parapet and wall. Crews were still drenching hot spots by mid-afternoon, but felt encouraged by the still-standing exterior walls. Tearful crowds gathered throughout the day, looking on in reverent dismay as black smoke billowed from the iconic edifice.11
After three and a half months of investigation, a 135-page report by the Provo Fire Department concluded that a series of human errors led to the merciless blaze that destroyed the interior of the Provo Tabernacle. The events were set into action when a lighting technician, making room for temporary stage lighting, removed two 300-watt light fixtures in the attic and set one on a wooden speaker box without removing the bulb. The night before the fire, the light came on with the rest of the house lights at 7:00 p.m. when performers arrived for a rehearsal of Lex de Azevedo's Gloria. The report estimates that the hot bulb ignited the speaker box by 9:30 p.m. and continued burning by the time everyone left at 11:00 p.m. Signs of a fire were passed off or mistaken by observers until a security guard at Nu Skin saw smoke coming from the tabernacle roof at 2:39 a.m. Fire dispatchers soon received a call.12
Perhaps the most remarkable discovery made among the ashes the day after the fire was a giclee print of The Second Coming by Harry Anderson, which depicts Jesus Christ coming through the clouds with heralding angels on either side—a picture frequently featured in LDS temples. The tabernacle painting, which sat inside the east front door, was completely blackened by residual fire except for the untouched figure of Jesus Christ himself with hands outstretched. Those who saw the painting in person were awestruck. Officials directed the print to be removed immediately for conservation and stabilization. It was handled with the greatest care, wrapped in plastic, and loaded into a waiting truck. The extraordinary occurrence was dubbed by some to be a "Christmas miracle."13
The Provo City Center Temple serves members from 29 stakes headquartered in South Provo and Springville:
- Provo Utah Stake
- Provo Utah Bonneville Stake
- Provo Utah Central Stake
- Provo Utah East Stake
- Provo Utah Freedom Stake
- Provo Utah Married Student 3rd Stake
- Provo Utah North Park Stake
- Provo Utah South Stake
- Provo Utah Sunset Stake
- Provo Utah West Stake
- Provo Utah YSA 1st Stake
- Provo Utah YSA 3rd Stake
- Provo Utah YSA 5th Stake
- Provo Utah YSA 7th Stake
- Provo Utah YSA 12th Stake
- Provo Utah YSA 13th Stake
- Provo Utah YSA 14th Stake
- Provo Utah YSA 15th Stake
- Provo Utah YSA 16th Stake
- Provo Utah YSA 17th Stake
- Provo Utah YSA 19th Stake
- Springville Utah Stake
- Springville Utah Dry Creek Stake
- Springville Utah Hobble Creek Stake
- Springville Utah Hobble Creek West Stake
- Springville Utah Kolob Stake
- Springville Utah Spring Creek Stake
- Springville Utah Spring Creek South Stake
- Springville Utah West Stake
- Alan L. Wilkins 2018–
- Allen C. Ostergar Jr. 2016–2018
- Template:Cite news.
- Although some other temples vary from the official naming guidelines, all of them except Provo City Center and Salt Lake include at least the name of the state/province or country. For official guidelines, see "Temples renamed to uniform guidelines," Deseret News, October 16, 1999 (accessed October 27, 2015). Since that article was published, the temple in Omaha, Nebraska, has been renamed to "Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple" (see Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple page at LDS.org).
Provo City Center Temple
The Provo City Center Temple is the 150th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is on the same site as the former Provo Tabernacle in Provo, Utah. Completed in 2016, the temple utilizes much of the external shell of the tabernacle, all that remained of the original building after a fire in December 2010.