I wasn’t sure what I was seeing at first, it was definitely strange and unrecognizable.
Having visited the Salt Lake Temple and been inside many times, I had never seen it in this condition.
The following pictures that were posted on the Church Newsroom show the current state of the temple, as crews are removing all of the furnishings as part of the remodeling of the temple that will take four years of hard work.
The Salt Lake Temple and Temple Square are undergoing serious renovations. The temple renovation will involve replacing the historic building’s aging mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, as well as a significant seismic upgrade to help the building withstand a large-magnitude earthquake. Other details and project renderings were previously shared at a news conference in April 2019.
Demolition work began today on Temple Square to prepare for excavation around the Salt Lake Temple, furthering the progress of the significant four-year-long renovation of the temple and grounds. https://t.co/ICp2rEExyA pic.twitter.com/hQJe7xe8kG
— The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (@ChurchNewsroom) January 18, 2020
Renovating the Salt Lake Temple also requires careful historical considerations. The building, which took 40 years to construct and was first dedicated in 1893, will be preserved and, in some cases, restored to its original design and feel.
“Preserving and restoring the temple requires a combination of the newest technologies and historic construction techniques,” said Emily Utt, Church History curator. “This project will highlight and honor the work of past craftsmen while making the temple safe, functional, accessible and beautiful for future generations. Experts in preserving historic stone, murals, plaster, wood and metal have been consulted in every stage of design and will complete much of the work required in the historic building.”
The renovation is expected to be complete in 2024 and followed by a public open house and rededication.
Workers got busy transitioning the sacred structure from a working temple to a construction site. This process, known as decommissioning, takes several weeks. It is an important first step in the yearslong project that will restore and refresh the historic temple and help strengthen it against earthquakes.
During the decommissioning, the Church’s Temple Department works to remove sacred items from the building, including temple clothing, temple records and other items used in the completion of temple ordinances. As soon as this is completed, the temple is no longer considered a dedicated building, and a recommend is not needed for renovation crews to enter. Simultaneously, workers clean out the temple laundry, offices and custodial closets.
The next step is to remove furniture from the temple. Workers thoughtfully ensure that all furniture is taken to the most appropriate places, which can include storage warehouses or other Church facilities. In some instances, relevant furniture items can also be donated to help support local nonprofit organizations.
“Even as this temple becomes a construction site, we never lose sight of its sacred purpose and history,” said Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovations. “The decommissioning process allows us to carefully take care of what is inside the temple so we can then focus on our job of fortifying and protecting this house of the Lord.”
Thanks to LDS Daily, Latter-day Saint Life Hacker, and LDS Living for mentioning this story.