Also: Apostle Jeffrey Holland to rededicate the renovated temple in his hometown of St. George.
For the first time in nearly four decades, the general public will get a chance next year to tour the interior of Utah’s historic Manti Temple and see its cherished murals.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Monday that the pioneer-era edifice will have an open house from March 14 to April 5 ahead of an April 21 rededication.
The public tours will mark more than two years since the building, first completed in 1888, shut down for renovations, including safety improvements and mechanical upgrades.
Holland headed to St. George
Utah’s first Latter-day Saint temple, the glistening white building closed for nearly four years for an extensive makeover.
The assignment will be one of Holland’s first since assuming the role last week of acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a position previously held by M. Russell Ballard, who died Nov. 12 at age 95.
It also represents another step in the 82-year-old leader’s slow return to public life after six months of health challenges.
In addition to seismic, mechanical and electrical upgrades to the 146-year-old St. George Temple, annexes built in the 20th century were torn down to make room for other additions. Maple and poplar millwork, patterned after the original woodwork in the pioneer-built edifice, has been installed in the new sections.
Preserving Manti’s murals
After nearly two weeks of petitions, protests and phone calls arguing passionately against destroying the art, the church announced in late March 2021 that the murals might be preserved and displayed to the public at a later date.
Then, in May, the governing First Presidency changed course again, declaring that the murals would remain in the Manti Temple and that another temple would be built in nearby Ephraim.
“As we have continued to seek the direction of the Lord on this matter,” President Russell M. Nelson said at the time, “we have been impressed to modify our earlier plans for the Manti Utah Temple so that the pioneer craftsmanship, artwork and character will be preserved, including the painted murals loved by so many. We will leave those murals where they are located now — inside the Manti Utah Temple.”
The Utah-based faith previously announced it had removed murals from the iconic Salt Lake Temple — some that were painted by artists sent to study in Paris — and would discontinue the use of live religious rituals in the building. The six-spired structure is in the midst of a massive seismic upgrade and renovation project, which is expected to wrap up in 2026.
There are 28 existing and planned Latter-day Saint temples in Utah, home to nearly 2.2 million members.