Cedar City Utah LDS Temple

A new LDS temple has been completed and dedicated in Cedar City, Utah. Another Utah temple may seem like overkill, but sites are selected by potential use statistics and corresponding travel reduction. It’s a remarkable design reminiscent of early Mormon temples. Here are some photos [all photos courtesy LDS Church]:

Elements of Nauvoo, St. George, and other early temples.



Celestial room

A sealing room


  1. I dig the windows. And the traditional door and window casing.

  2. I like it in general but not the Moroni on top — doesn’t really work for this style in my opinion.

  3. The tower is reminiscent of the tower on the Brigham City Tabernacle.

  4. We are so happy to have a temple in Cedar City! I was so fortunate to be on one of the dedication sub-committees, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of effort and work that goes into the open house, cultural celebration, and dedication. It may be overkill in Utah, but we’re so grateful! It’ll be so much safer to go in the wintertime than when we had to drive across the Black Ridge to St. George!

  5. Jack Hughes says:

    John–I agree that Moroni looks slightly out of place, or at least out of proportion. Almost like a gaudy hood ornament. Otherwise the design of the building is pretty nice.

    Since it looks as though the Church is on a trend of building grander, more ornate temples, I wonder if it would be too much to ask to renovate the exteriors and possibly expand, or even rebuild the many Hinckley-era mini-temples. My nearest temple is one of these, and while it does the job, it is rather cramped inside, and on the outside it is indistinguishable from any of the other temples of its era.

  6. Heptaparaparshinokh says:

    That’s a handsome temple!

    On the time savings tip: does the Church do any regional weighting on that score? My background is in transportation policy/economics; in that area, value of travel time savings is a hugely important number for determining the value of some projects over others. I’m really curious about the metrics the Church uses to determine the VTTS, and to prioritize Temple construction in general.

    Obviously the difference between transportation facilities and temples is that you can use tolling to reduce/eliminate congestion on the former, whereas I’m pretty sure that the entire Temple Square complex would be swallowed up by a previously undetected and geologically unprecedented sinkhole if the latter were tried on temples.

  7. Absolutely lovely wordwork and restraint.

    I wonder what is the meaning of the jellyfish-looking design on the baptistry glass? (series of shapes slowing changing) Maybe a flowerbud opening, but it’s upside down?

  8. Cynthia L. The shapes just aren’t well defined in the photo. They’re actually clusters of juniper berries. Cedar City is so named because when the Mormons came, they saw all of the trees that they thought were cedar, but in actuality are juniper trees. There are juniper berry clusters and columbine flowers all throughout the temple.

  9. Very Pretty Temple, I love the pioneer style temples, the wood work, door and window designs, and the stain glass windows. A nice small to medium size temple should serve that area well. Will have to make a trip over and see it sometime in the future.

  10. nobody, really says:

    VTTS would indeed be a great idea, but we know from sad experience that it is the nature of the Church to assume that the available time from members is an infinite resource. In my last stake, the presidency declared a particular Friday to be “Fill The Temple Day”, accompanied by a round-number goal and the admonishment “We would expect stake members with recommends to take a vacation day from work to attend the temple. We also expect stake members without valid recommends to take a vacation day to provide child care for those who will attend.” When the stake fell short of the goal by about 60%, we were treated to a good chewing-out in the following adult session of Stake Conference.

  11. With regards to the Hinckly era temples, both Memphis and Oklahoma City temples are going through major rebuilding. When complete the exterior will be quite different than what it was. I dont know why OK required the rebuilding, but Memphis suffered from an extensive mold problem. It will take them longer to rebuild the temple than it did to build it in the first place.

  12. @Jack Hughes: The church is already doing that: Montreal, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Asuncion, Raleigh, and Baton Rouge are all “mini temples” that have been or are slated for remodels. It seems to me like a lot of money spent for a very slight difference in external appearance, judging from the pictures.

  13. nobody, really:

    Shockingly, asking people to sacrifice in order to achieve completely arbitrary and meaningless goals tends not to have great results!

    While I’m a firm believer that every educated person ought to take a course in the history of 20th-century totalitarianism, this is especially the case for Latter-day Saints, who ought to be a lot more aware of the temptations of unrighteous dominion than they generally are. What your SP was doing reminds me of nothing so much as the Great Leap Forward; hopefully nobody starved to death.

  14. iAlex:

    The Church will forever struggle with temperature and humidity control in its buildings, not least because it has a longstanding history of not adapting designs to local conditions.

    Most meetinghouses east of the Rockies start to smell mildew-y within 10 years of opening.

  15. Aussie Mormon says:

    It’s hard to regulate temperature when you have half the attendees in suits, and the other half in dresses/skirts.

  16. nobody, really:

    Interesting your stake would set specific goals on temple attendance etc. and ask how many went. That practice is 100% against the guidance in Handbook 1:

    3.2.3 Quotas for Temple Attendance

    Priesthood leaders encourage members to set personal goals for temple attendance and to go to the temple as often as circumstances allow. However, leaders should not set quotas for temple attendance for wards, stakes, or individual members. Nor should leaders establish reporting systems for temple attendance.

  17. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    My experience, having lived in multiple areas at the time a temple was opened, is that a short time after the dedication, there begins to be increasing pressure to attend. Basically, the area Stakes justify their need for a temple, based upon projected attendance, and when those projected numbers aren’t fulfilled (and they never are) they start to take heat from Salt Lake and there is pressure to ratchet up attendance. Then, eventually, the very expensive building ends up with reduced hours, maybe even being closed on certain days of the week, because people just aren’t showing up. Finally, when you decide to attend with your spouse, you are guaranteed to be the witness couple because nobody else is in the session, and they’ll ask you to stay to help with sealings and/or initiatories, and the whole process will become so cumbersome that you’ll think twice the next time you consider attending. Sorry, that last part turned out to be a bit snarky. Anyway, justifications for building temples are often overly optimistic, and that leads to problems after the temple opens.

  18. Turtle, there is a pressure similar to what you describe that has developed in the LA temple, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing exists in the DC temple. Both are very big and were designed to be monuments that would establish a church presence in a satellite area away from SLC. Both were also at one time the only option for temple attendance for a very large geographic area. As newer temples have been built that cut into the LA temple district attendance has naturally dropped. But it’s a big building with high fixed costs and heavy symbolism, so I imagine there is intense pressure from headquarters and area presidencies to maximize it’s use. This has in turn created an almost unrelenting pressure on members to attend monthly stake temple days, to attend assigned sealing assignments that are frequently during the daytime on weekdays, and to more fully utilize the temple in addition to those “required” uses. It flies in the face of the handbook instructions quoted by MGM.

  19. Left Field says:

    I would say that if people are bellyaching about small temples not being open full time with full sessions, perhaps they should be reminded that that isn’t what the prophet intended when he announced the small temples in 1997.

    “These structures would be open according to need, maybe only one or two days a week—that would be left to the judgment of the temple president.”

  20. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    These are BIG temples I’m talking about.

  21. Heptaparaparshinokh says:

    Turtle, where are these infrequently used big temples that you’re talking about?

    I mean, yeah, Washington D.C. is empty a lot of the time, but that’s because its temple district has reduced in size by 95% since it opened. Same thing for Chicago, Atlanta, and Dallas (smaller percentages, of course).

    Is the Church building giant temples in Utah that aren’t getting used? That’d be rather scandalous if it were the case, because for those of us in “the mission field” (a term that, thank God, seems to have been proscribed by the Correlation Committee) it’s a bit galling to see temples being built in places like Draper and Payson to save a few minutes of travel time.

  22. nobody, really says:

    I used to think that building another temple in Utah seemed like a waste. Then one day I tried to go to a session and had to sit on the floor in the chapel for four hours before getting into a session. I was on a folding chair in the back because the room was about 50 people over capacity.

    If it’s maxed out, go ahead and put another one in. Boise/Meridian, or Idaho Falls/Pocatello/Rexburg would be similar examples.

  23. Heptaparaparshinokh says:

    This is what appointment systems are for. (Or demand-sensitive pricing, like airline and movie tickets, but as I was mentioning about that sinkhole…)

    And let’s be honest: as wonderful and important as temple worship is, there’s a lot of service that could be done with those hours, even in wonderful, prosperous Zion. (Let alone Mesa/Gilbert/Glendale: there’s some serious human deprivation in the Valley of the Sun.)

    Let us not be like the Israeli Haredim who think that the time they spend in prayer and Torah study entitles them to be excused from military service.

  24. I worked in the Oakland Temple back in the early 90s. The temple was overflowing with people and it was Work to keep up with them. There’d be rows of grooms/brides waiting to take their photos and absolutely no parking.

    We went back to the Oakland Temple for a wedding last summer on a Saturday morning. The temple was so empty my first thought was that we’d arrived on the wrong day.

    The Oakland Temple has several things working against it. Bay Area traffic has gotten so bad it’s hard to get there. And the Sacramento Temple gets the patronage of most of northern Calif. (We live closer to Oakland, but it’s faster/easier to drive to Sac).

    I wonder what other large temples have these same problems. I guess I don’t begrudge Utah getting more temples if they have waiting lines to get in, but the cost sure is high.

  25. The Montreal, Regina and Edmonton, Canada Temples have all been renovated and the Montreal Temple was re-dedicated

  26. Ok, this probably won’t be a popular comment, but here goes:

    Meh. Not loving the architecture and interior.

    It feels as though even our architecture is “correlated”- stuck with the same elements once novel, are now recycled monotonously in a rameumpton-ish way. It looks like an architect rolled out the blue prints from a few temples and cut and pasted them together. The 19th century shape looks naked without the architectural detail seen in older temples-obviously an effort to contemporize the style, but it simply looks undone and bland.

    I wish our architects felt unfettered to create anew, to demonstrate our focus on expanding intelligence and arts in our millennialistic work.

    I wish we felt empowered to expand sacred geometry, harmonize local natural landscapes with architecture as “Falling Waters” does.

    I wish we could innovate the structure and design of new shapes, acoustics, and visual perspective as the Italian Renaissance architects did.

    I wish our new designs struck our hearts as being designed by angels and revealed to inspired architects and Prophets.

    I wish we felt empowered to create new symbols that communicate our values and story.

    I wish we had the boldness to fail, the freedom to create something like the Provo and old Ogden Temples.

    Instead, this is a “safe”, boring, and stripped down remake. It is not a new song composed, but a comfortable hymn, only “shaken up” by having the women sing one verse, the men sing the next, everyone returning at the end.


  27. Mortimer, I like the Cedar City design, but I can’t dismiss your points. The Church is conservative and hesitates to try new messages. Correlation streamlined our architecture, programs, music, etc. and now we like its familiarity. We know what the Church looks and feels like in all places and culture. It is comfortable and reassuring, like returning home. But how much of this uniformity design is from efficiency, continuity, or risk mitigation? And does it begin to feel stagnant or cautious? And don’t we feel a breath of fresh air when something new happens in the Church? We sometimes try new things, like the recent temples Tijuana and Philadelphia and Tucson, and I hope we can give ourselves permission to go even further.

    I think I like our modern meetinghouses. They’re fine. They’re very safe. Their handsomeness is also diminished from being carbon copied everywhere, sometimes on adjacent properties in Utah (in the Starbucks model). But I really like the variety and experimentation of Mormon architecture from the early 20th century. They were born from mixed motivations: local availability of talent/materials, pioneer tradition, aspiring to be mainstream Americans, modernizing of the progressive era. Some favorites are the Alberta Temple, the Paris Idaho Tabernacle, the Lehi Tabernacle, the Ogden Pioneer Tabernacle (1896 redesign), the Grant Stake Tabernacle, the Blackfoot Tabernacle, the Wilshire Ward Chapel, the Riverton Ward Meetinghouse, and the 19th Ward Meetinghouse. Put those side to side. The variety is stark.

  28. Heptaparaparshinokh says:

    ReTX: I suspect it’s more that the LDS population of the Bay Area has declined pretty significantly as a result of skyrocketing real estate prices, especially in places like San Jose and Fremont, even though employment and wages have grown significantly. Older folks have sold the houses they bought for $100k in 1980 for ten times that (and for which they paid $2k/year in property taxes–thanks, Prop 13!) and retired to Utah. Even highly educated young people can’t afford to buy, and so after getting a few years with one of the big tech giants on their resumes, they go back to Utah (or maybe somewhere like Denver or Portland or Austin, but nowadays usually Utah) at a distinct advantage over those who’ve never left the Wasatch Front.

    For kids who aren’t on the university track, if they do end up staying in NorCal at all, they end up in the Central Valley, often still commuting into the Bay Area from absurd distances. The adult son of a woman I knew from my ward in the Tri-Valley was driving into San Jose for construction jobs every morning from Los Banos. A lot of the nurses at UCSF Medical Center (where my wife briefly worked before we realized that the commute was impossible) rode vanpools in from Vacaville or even Sacramento.

  29. Heptaparaparshinokh says:

    rich jj: The Wilshire Ward building you’re talking about is the Los Angeles Stake Center on Manhattan Place near Pico/Western, right? I love that building so much.

    One of my favorite LDS meetinghouses is the Swiss chalet-style La Cañada Flintridge building right by the 210.

  30. Heptaparaparshinokh says:

    BTW ReTx, you’re aware that a lot of people take wedding/bridal pictures at the Oakland Temple who aren’t members, right? It got to the point that they banned limousines from the parking lot and driveway.

    I’ve been there on a number of Saturdays and seen brides wearing wedding gowns that definitely aren’t “temple ready” getting pictures taken with bridesmaids wearing taffeta sheath dresses in colors that definitely don’t exist in nature, except maybe for a few nanoseconds during a supernova…

  31. Yes, that Los Angeles Stake Center is the Wilshire Ward Chapel, although I first heard it called the Hollywood Stake Tabernacle (such a cool name, but a bit south of where I think of Hollywood). And it is indeed gleamingly beautiful, looking like it belongs in an art deco California dreamland. It has some common elements with other LDS buildings of that time, but it is just so bold and bright, not really what we’re going for today.

  32. Heptaparaparshinokh says:

    I’d be curious as to whether any former LDS meetinghouses in Los Angeles still stand, and what they’re being used for. The 1950s USC Ward building on McClintock Avenue was eminent-domained by the (late, unlamented) Community Redevelopment Agency back in the ’60s when it declared a big swath of West Adams “blighted” and sold it to USC for a dollar. The meetinghouse was a USC office building for a while, and then was torn down within the past few years and replaced with the usual red brick Romanesque USC hoo-hah.

  33. it's a series of tubes says:

    Mortimer – you make some interesting points. One of the things I most love about the Oakland temple, the first temple I attended, is its unique architecture. Not to mention the view. Worth the drive from Pleasanton anytime.

  34. Heptaparaparshinokh says:

    The heavy Japanese influence on the exterior and (especially) interior of the Oakland Temple is something I really love. Same with the subtle hints of Aztec architecture at Los Angeles. (As opposed to the un-subtle ones in Mexico City. ;) )

  35. Rich JJ,
    The answer to each of your rhetorical questions is a resounding YES. Part of correlation was standardizing meetinghouses to create equality and efficiency. Decades ago many Pioneer meetinghouses and tragically- Pioneer tabernacles – were sold or bulldozed. Tremendous and irreversible cultural loss. As mentioned above, much of this old architecture and interior art reflected the worldwide cultures crafted by pioneers. That’s largely been scrubbed. Most temples today aren’t even built by LDS companies or hands!!!! Talk about a loss of connection and care!

    It’s a series of tubes- I agree, Oakland is beautiful. Several temples are. The new cookie cutter ones are lacking. Two things about temples make my heart sink these days….1) seeing intellectually lazy cookie cutter architecture and 2) flying or driving through SLC after 10 pm( or whenever it is) and seeing all the lights of the SLTemple turned off. The temple used to shine like a beacon all through the night with that warm or orange glow…a beacon and landmark seen throughout the valley. Now it dissapears in the dark..closed and shut up, hidden behind skyscrapers. Makes me weep. Yes, it’s green, but tell me that our bright BYU people can’t figure out an energy positive way to keep the lights on at night. it’s possible.

  36. Weren’t many of the buildings with great architecture built with private money (donations to the ward/temple building fund)? Would we have to go back to those days or raise tithing to 15% to fund new, interesting architecture?

  37. Aussie Mormon says:

    Nah, we’d just need to get the public putting in complaints about the proposed temple design.

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