What Matters Endures

I’m not much of a temple guy myself, but when my tribe takes a building that was so much a part of the civil and religious topography a particular, historically meaningful place, accepts what was lost, and then rebuilds…well, it makes me happy. I see they kept the staircases, and I see Mt. Timpanogos in the Telestial Room, and it makes me happier still. Despite all that is worth complaining about, I look at this and I say: this is a good day. The Tabernacle is still there, and in a small but real way, that matters.

Comments

  1. I spent my last two years in Provo just two blocks from here. While part of me wishes they would have rebuilt and kept it a Tabernacle, I’m happy to see that they at the very least rebuilt it.

  2. Thank you, needed this reminder today

  3. Really stunning. Loved the video and the new temple. I was grateful to see appearances by two important people in the video, Emily Utt in the historical preservation department (at 5:00) and Bishop Caussé (at 6:06).

    I graduated from law school in the Tabernacle and attended many events there while a student at BYU, from community events to stake conferences. Really grateful that the building has been preserved and so beautifully rebuilt. And I’m glad for it to be repurposed as a temple in the rebuilding process. Very nice work!

  4. Yeah, I wish it had remained a tabernacle. What was once a place of gathering and togetherness for the whole community — not to mention a historic concert venue — is now an exclusive walled garden that has refashioned the building’s former uniqueness into window dressing for a cookie cutter experience.

    That said, I prefer this to demolishing the building. If making it a temple was what it took to save it, so be it.

  5. If making it a temple was what it took to save it, so be it.

    Yes, I agree with your comment and with this especially. Very unfortunate that one of the last functioning tabernacles as a place of community gathering — ironically so lacking in the Church, a Church-owned building that serves as a community center welcoming all regardless of religious adherence — now no longer serves that function.

    That is one big difference between the Mormon cultural zone and, say, the Anglican cultural zone — in Anglican towns and villages in England, the village Church is still the center of the community and invites all for community events, often timed to religious observances. We don’t have that anymore.

  6. Very unfortunate that one of the last functioning tabernacles as a place of community gathering — ironically so lacking in the Church, a Church-owned building that serves as a community center welcoming all regardless of religious adherence — now no longer serves that function.

    Are ordinary meetinghouses that alienating?

    Mind you, I have lived my entire life outside the Jello Belt (arguably I’m at its southern tip now in the Inland Empire, but that’s really stretching), so I find tabernacles quaint. Does/did the Church let them be rented out for completely secular functions? Could I go rent a tabernacle in Ogden or Logan, somewhere like that, and put on a drag ball or a death metal festival?

  7. APM, it was rented out for all kinds of concerts that weren’t church sponsored (though certainly the one you describe would have been vetoed).

    Also, ordinary meetinghouses are terrible venues for concerts.

  8. Could I go rent a tabernacle in Ogden or Logan, somewhere like that, and put on a drag ball or a death metal festival?

    No, and you couldn’t do that in a dedicated Anglican church either.

    As to meetinghouses, they are locked all week and even though they might have events to which the outside community is periodically invited, they are usually located deep within suburban neighborhoods. They are not a building owned by the Church right in the center of town, providing a large venue for gatherings.

  9. I fell in love with the tabernacle the year before it burned. I drove by it the morning of the fire and was so sad to see it go. I am very glad they managed to preserve what they did.

  10. Could I go rent a tabernacle in Ogden or Logan, somewhere like that, and put on a drag ball or a death metal festival?

    Though well outside the Jello Belt, the 1,600 seat Oakland Inter-Stake Auditorium adjacent to the Oakland Temple still functions a little like a Tabernacle might have in the past. In addition to Stake Conferences for various stakes in the Bay Area, the auditorium is regularly used for concerts and cultural and community events, especially during the Christmas season. http://www.templehillevents.com/. Most are Mormon related, but there is a “Temple Hill Public Affairs Committee” that coordinates the use of the Auditorium for other appropriate community events. These include school graduations, piano competitions, gospel, school and children’s choir events and many others. For tax reasons the Auditorium is not “rented” and there are restrictions on how tickets for events held there can be sold, so that also limits somewhat the kind of events that are held there. The Auditorium doesn’t have as wide a range as say the Oakland Masonic Auditorium. However, in 2001 the Auditorium was the site of the memorial service for legendary bluesman John Lee Hooker, which may have been a high water mark for “community” events.

    In addition, the Oakland Temple Hill grounds are a favored photo site, especially on Sundays, for fabulously dressed quinceanera girls and their uniformed escorts as well as non-Mormon wedding parties from various Oakland communities. To the everlasting credit of Temple Hill security personnel, these groups are not discouraged, the drivers of their their super stretch limos are merely requested to park discretely outside the Temple parking lot.

  11. MJP, I always wondered how many of the wedding parties I’d see at the Oakland Temple (we lived over the hill in Dublin for a couple of years) actually were LDS. It certainly is one of the most beautiful places in the Bay Area, not least because of the billion-dollar view.

    I wonder what stakes use the Inter-Stake Center these days for stake conferences and events. Pleasanton, Livermore, and Danville each had their own. Is it just the two Oakland stakes (one English-language, one Tongan) and San Leandro now? English-speaking membership in the interior East Bay has declined pretty significantly in the past few decades, although not as dramatically as on the Peninsula.

  12. it's a series of tubes says:

    APM, what years were you in Dublin? Always nice to see a fellow P-town stake member. I lived just down the street from the stake center off Valley for a number of years.

  13. APM, I think four or five stakes still use the Inter-Stake Auditorium for Stake Conference but I’m not sure. As for declining membership, I’m only personally familiar with the four wards in Oakland/Berkeley/Emeryville which are in the Oakland Stake and they are more vibrant than ever.

  14. Not too long ago, Provo built the Covey Center for the Performing Arts just down the street from the Tabernacle, which now fills (much better) the non-religious functions the Tabernacle might have at one time. At the same time, the need for more temple facilities, particularly for the youth, has been severe in the Provo temple district. I also enjoyed the Provo Tabernacle, as well as the Brigham City Tabernace of my youth, but I see nothing to lament here. Church and state are more specialized now than in the early days of our state and nation, which allows for more equality among faiths in the community. Our ward and stake buildings in Utah County are sometimes used for concerts and such, but there are usually better venues available. Multi-purpose buildings just serve all functions with equal mediocrity, as many who attended church in a BYU lecture hall might attest. Those of us in the new temple district are truly blessed, and I pray that all saints everywhere will have the same access to a temple one day.

  15. Owen, I live in Provo and share your sentiment.