The St. George Utah Temple (formerly the St. George Temple) is a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in St. George, Utah. Completed in 1877, it was the church's third temple completed, but the first in Utah, following the westward migration from Nauvoo, Illinois, following the death of the church's founder, Joseph Smith.


The building is located in the southwestern Utah city of St. George. It was designed by Truman O. Angell and is more similar in its design to the Nauvoo Temple than to later LDS temples. The St. George Temple is the oldest temple still actively used by the LDS Church. The temple currently has three ordinance rooms and 18 sealing rooms, and a total floor area of Template:Convert. It was originally designed with two large assembly halls like the earlier Kirtland and Nauvoo Temples. The lower Assembly Hall was partitioned with curtains to provide the ordinance rooms for the Endowment Ceremony. In 1938, the lower Assembly Hall was rebuilt with permanent walls dividing it into four ordinance rooms. The four ordinance rooms were later changed into the present three rooms, at the time the endowment ceremony was changed from a live presentation to one presented on film.

In the 1970s, the temple was closed for extensive remodeling. LDS Church president Spencer W. Kimball rededicated it in 1975.

Temple construction and dedication

A temple in St. George was announced on November 9, 1871 by Brigham Young and was dedicated on April 6, 1877. Even though the Salt Lake Temple had been announced and commenced years earlier (1847 and 1853), construction on that temple was not completed until 1893. The St. George Temple was built to satisfy the church's immediate need for an appropriate place for temple ceremonies and ordinances. Because of the pressing need, the building's groundbreaking ceremony was held on the day the temple was announced. It was the third to be completed by the church and the first one in Utah.[1]

Young chose a Template:Convert plot as the temple site. Builders soon discovered that the chosen site was swampy with numerous underground streams. Young was consulted on moving the site, but he remained firm in the idea that this was the site for the temple. To deal with the swampy site, workers created drains to eliminate as much water as possible. Then they brought lava rock to the site and crushed it into a gravel to create a dry foundation for the temple. This led to a new problem: how to crush the rock. Someone suggested using an old cannonTemplate:Refn that the city had acquired. After creating a pulley system, the cannon was used as a pile driver to compact the lava rock and earth and create a firm foundation.

After stabilizing the foundation, work began on the structure. The walls of the temple were built of the red sandstone common to the area and then plastered for a white finish. Local church members worked for over five and a half years to complete the temple. Historians James Allen and Glen Leonard made note of the dedication shown by the pioneers in Southern Utah. The workers opened new rock quarries, cut, hauled and planed timber, and donated one day in ten as tithing labor. Some members donated half their wages to the temple, while others gave food, clothing and other goods to aid those who were working full-time on the building. Women decorated the hallways with handmade rag carpets and produced fringe for the altars and pulpits from Utah-produced silk. At its completion, it contained Template:Convert of lumber, which had been hand-chopped and hauled between Template:Convert. They also used 17,000 tons of volcanic rock and sandstone, hand-cut and hauled by mule teams.

In honor of the temple, the church's April 1877 General Conference was held there. The temple dedication ceremony took place on April 6, 1877. Young presided and Daniel H. Wells, his second counselor, gave the dedicatory prayer. The St. George Temple was the only temple completed while Young was president. Shortly after the dedication and the conference, Young returned to Salt Lake and died on August 29, 1877, at age 76.

Lightning Strike Transformation

However, as the temple neared its dedication date, President Young was not satisfied with the way the steeple of the temple looked, as he mentioned to his son Brigham Young, Jr. [2]

Happy to finally have a temple in the West, the Saints enjoyed using the St. George temple as it was until October 1878 when a severe thunderstorm rumbled through St. George. During the storm, lightning struck the tower, completely destroying tower but miraculously damaging no other part of the temple.

For years the tower underwent repairs until the Saints decided to heighten the steeple, consequentially giving the temple the look Brigham Young preferred.

1975 Remodel

After remodeling of the interior, the temple was rededicated on November 11, 1975.[3]

2019 Renovation Plans

The temple will close November 4, 2019, as crews begin extensive structural, mechanical, electrical, finish and plumbing work. The renovation is expected to be completed in 2022. [4]

Temple District

The St. George Utah Temple serves members from 34 stakes headquartered in Southern Utah, Eastern Nevada, and Northern Arizona:

Washington County, Utah

  1. Bloomington Utah Stake
  2. Enterprise Utah Stake
  3. Hurricane Utah North Stake
  4. Hurricane Utah Stake
  5. Hurricane Utah West Stake
  6. Ivins Utah Stake
  7. La Verkin Utah Stake
  8. Santa Clara Utah Heights Stake
  9. Santa Clara Utah Stake
  10. St. George Utah Stake
  11. St. George Utah Bloomington Hills Stake
  12. St. George Utah Boulder Ridge Stake
  13. St. George Utah Crimson Ridge Stake
  14. St. George Utah East Stake
  15. St. George Utah Green Valley Stake
  16. St. George Utah Little Valley Stake
  17. St. George Utah Morningside Stake
  18. St. George Utah North Stake
  19. St. George Utah Pine View Stake
  20. St. George Utah Red Cliffs Stake
  21. St. George Utah Snow Canyon Stake
  22. St. George Utah Southgate Stake
  23. St. George Utah Sunset Stake
  24. St. George Utah Washington Fields North Stake
  25. St. George Utah Washington Fields Stake
  26. St. George Utah YSA 1st Stake
  27. St. George Utah YSA 2nd Stake
  28. Washington Utah Stake
  29. Washington Utah Buena Vista Stake
  30. Washington Utah East Stake

Kane County, Utah

  1. Kanab Utah Stake
  2. Kanab Utah Kaibab Stake

Eastern Nevada

  1. Mesquite Nevada Stake

Northern Arizona

  1. Page Arizona Stake


Temple presidents are called to oversee all activities performed at the temple. They serve voluntarily, usually for a period of several years. Following is a list of the current and former presidents of the St. George Utah Temple.

  1. Wilford Woodruff (1807-1898): 1877–1884 (LDS Apostle and future president of the church)
  2. John D. T. McAllister (1827-1910): 1884–1893
  3. David Henry Cannon (1838-1924): 1893–1924 - David and his wife Wilhelmina are famous for the St. George Sego Lily Flower story.
  4. Thomas Punter Cottam (1857-1926): 1925–1926 - Former Mayor of St. George
  5. Edward Hunter Snow (1865-1932) 1926–1932
  6. George Frank Whitehead (1863-1961) 1932–1937
  7. Harold Stafford Snow (1897-1972): 1937–1963
  8. Rudger Clawson Atkin (1904-1989): 1963–1970 (Former president of St George and St George East Stakes)
  9. Reed Whipple (1905-1986): 1970–1976 (Former President of Las Vegas Stake and Boulder Dam BSA Council)
  10. Grant M. Bowler (1912-2002): 1976–1981
  11. John M. Russon (1911-2000): 1981–1986
  12. Thomas L. Esplin (1914-1998): 1986–1989
  13. J. Thomas Fyans (1918-2008): 1992–1995
  14. Kenneth R. Metcalf (1927-2014): 1995–1998
  15. Malcolm S. Jeppsen 1998–2001
  16. L. David Muir 2001–2004
  17. Harold H. Hiskey 2004–2007
  18. Robert F. Orton 2007–2010
  19. Bruce Clark Hafen (1940): 2010–2013 (President of Rick's College and General Authority Emeritus)
  20. Dale H. Larkin 2013–2016
  21. Randy W. Wilkinson 2016–

See Also


St. George Utah Temple


St. George Utah Temple is a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Completed in 1877, it was the church's third temple completed, but the first in Utah, following the migration west of members from Nauvoo, following the death of the church's founder, Joseph Smith making it the oldest continually operating temple of the church. It will be closing in 2019 for a major two-year renovation program.