First Presidency: Work underway on Salt Lake Temple renovation project ‘is truly remarkable’

Two years into the renovation of the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the First Presidency has announced a new estimated completion date — noting the temple and its surroundings will be completed in 2025.

“Inspired modifications and additions to the project and scope have been made so the temple and Temple Square can serve many generations yet to come,” wrote President Russell M. Nelson and his counselors, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring, in a statement released Monday, Dec. 13.  

The Salt Lake Temple closed Dec. 29, 2019, for the renovation. The Church Office Building plaza closed just over a year later, in February 2021, for an upgrade. 

In the statement announcing a new estimated completion date for the temple renovation project, the First Presidency said the “seismic strengthening of the Salt Lake Temple and the extensive remodel of the temple and surrounding area are sacred and significant undertakings.”

The secant wall surrounding the temple is uncovered to prepare for the three future floors underground, Salt Lake City, Utah, September 2021.
The secant wall surrounding the temple is uncovered to prepare for the three future floors underground, Salt Lake City, Utah, September 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

As the project has progressed, Church leaders have learned a great deal about the condition of the temple and its surroundings.

“The work is truly remarkable and is being guided by the First Presidency,” President Nelson, President Oaks and President Eyring wrote. “We look forward to welcoming the world at that time to visit, tour and learn about this sacred temple and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

The site for the Salt Lake Temple was identified by Brigham Young soon after early settlers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847; construction on the building began in 1853 and was completed 40 years later.

The Salt Lake Temple has been renovated many times since its original dedication in 1893, including an extensive renovation from 1962 to 1966.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, center, and his counselors, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, left, and President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, right, walk through the South visitors' center prior to a press conference in Salt Lake City on Friday, April 19, 2019.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, center, and his counselors, President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, left, and President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, right, walk through the South visitors’ center prior to a press conference in Salt Lake City on Friday, April 19, 2019.

Joined by other senior Church leaders, President Nelson announced the current massive and historic temple renovation and preservation efforts during a press conference held April 19, 2019.

“We promise you that you will love the results,” he said. “They will emphasize and highlight the life, ministry and mission of Jesus Christ in His desire to bless every nation, kindred, tongue and people.”

President Nelson said the project would enhance, refresh and beautify the temple and its surrounding grounds and also make the temple more accessible to those with limited mobility. “Obsolete systems within the building will be replaced. Safety and seismic concerns will be addressed.”

Earlier this year, the First Presidency announced additional modifications to the temple renovation project — included adding a second baptistry and additional instruction and sealing rooms. The March 12 announcement also noted the temple cafeteria will be discontinued.

“From the time our pioneer forebears arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, the vision for, construction of and worship in the Salt Lake Temple have held a special place in the minds and hearts of Church members,” they wrote in the statement. “The building is a symbol of our love for the Savior Jesus Christ.”

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tours the Salt Lake Utah Temple in Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 22, 2021.
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tours the Salt Lake Utah Temple in Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 22, 2021. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Before the Church’s October 2021 general conference, President Nelson personally inspected the temple site, using three words to describe the historic project: “massive, amazing and inspiring.”

It is thrilling to see the work of craftsmen who can make the temple strong and firm while preserving its history, he explained.

“To see that we can actually prolong the life of what Brigham Young and his colleagues did in the 19th century — well, it’s just been a thrill from start to finish,” President Nelson said.