Utah youth build replica of city of Nauvoo, temple

LINDON, Utah — In a celebration commemorating the 200th birthday of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the 175th anniversary of the re-establishment of the Church, youth in the Lindon Utah West Stake built a 1/8-scale replica of the Nauvoo Temple.

The goal of the event, held May 7, was to help more than 350 youth in the stake feel the spirit of the gospel and temple building, said Leslie Packer, who coordinated the activity.

For the celebration, stake leaders created a replica city of Nauvoo and invited the youth to take families on a "Church history tour." More than 230 youth also participated in a program during which a choir performed and stake members portrayed prominent people in Church history, including Joseph and Emma Smith and Brigham Young. Finally, youth constructed the replica Nauvoo Temple — the centerpiece of the celebration, held in the American Fork Amphitheater Park.

Many people — including 300 youth — worked numerous hours to prepare for the event, starting construction of the replica temple April 30. It was not an easy task, as there are "210 windows on the Nauvoo temple alone, besides balusters, reflective stars, window surrounds, and stained glass windows," explained Sister Packer.

When the youth "saw the actual size of the temple, they all gasped," Sister Packer added. "It wasn't the 'sugar cube model' they had been envisioning. The base was 10 feet across, 16 feet in depth, and the top of the tower rose to over 20 feet. It was substantial."

For the temple project, the youth marked windows, cut foam, installed the sunstones and moonstones, made balusters, colored stained glass windows, and cut out reflective stars. The temple eventually included stucco, a Moroni statue and three lighted crystal chandeliers in the front entry arches.

Everyone participating in the celebration spent time looking at the temple. Before participating in the evening performance, youth took families on a tour of the replica city of Nauvoo. "We had a tin shop, leather shop, blacksmith shop, candle shop, quilting bee, toy shop, hot scones and honey butter, gingerbread cookies, hatchet throw, log cutting, square dancing, games, and wagon rides. . . ," said Sister Packer. "Many stories and miracles could be told about the whole event but, suffice it to say, the goal of having our youth feel the Spirit was accomplished."