Church outlines Manti temple renovation; announces new temple for Ephraim, Utah
MANTI, Utah – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced an update to the major renovation and restoration project for the Manti Temple on Saturday.
At the same time, President Russell M. Nelson also announced a new temple for nearby Ephraim, Utah.
Church officials said the Manti Temple would close on October 1st of this year, for about 18-24 months. The renovation will include mechanical updates and improved accessibility. But the pioneer-era murals will be preserved. The historic staircases should also stay.
Members who are typically served by the Manti Temple are invited to attend any temple of their choosing while the Manti Temple is closed. And temple workers who currently work at the Manti Temple can serve in other temples as needed, including those in Payson and Cedar City.
The Manti Temple was dedicated in 1888. It covers 23 stakes in the temple district in Central Utah, including Sanpete, Carbon, and Sevier Counties.
“Now, may we turn our attention to Manti’s neighboring city, Ephraim. After much study and prayer, and with our deep gratitude for the Lord’s responding to our pleadings, I am pleased to announce that we have been impressed to build a new temple in Ephraim, Utah.”
— The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (@Ch_JesusChrist) May 1, 2021
Another announcement – Ephraim, Utah, to be the site of a new temple
In the same recorded message, President Russell M. Nelson announced a new temple for nearby Ephraim, Utah.
This is the first time in recent memory that a new temple has been announced outside of General Conference. Generally, new temple announcements are made at General Conference, which is held twice a year and attended by church members worldwide.
“This gives us kind of a jump, we don’t have to wait until Conference to do it,” said Brent Roberts of the Church’s special projects department. He was there for the announcement.
The Ephraim Utah Temple
Church officials said the new temple in Ephraim will be comparable in size to the temple in Brigham City. The schedule for the new temple will allow sessions to begin every 30 minutes, which will greatly increase the capacity to serve and worship in the temple.
Bishop W. Christopher Wardell of the Church’s presiding bishopric explained that the Ephraim Temple will be the 252nd temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the 27th for the state of Utah.
“I think it says a lot about the wonderful, faithful members of this area. This Manti temple has been very busy. It has had one session an hour, and the new temple in Ephraim will have two sessions an hour,” said Bishop Wardell.
Once the design and plans are approved, construction on the Ephraim Temple will take approximately two years. No site has been selected yet, but officials said they hope many members Church members, including those at Snow College, will be able to live within walking distance of the temple.
“We care about their well-being and their future,” President Nelson said.“Prior to the announcement of the Ephraim temple, plans were made to make significant enhancements to the Manti temple,” Bishop Wardell said.
“These were intended to add years to its life. But with the addition of the Ephraim temple, the scope of the work on the Manti temple has changed. It will take 18-24 months to complete.”
The announcement of the new temple in Ephraim means there will be two temples within 7 miles.
An emotional announcement
President Nelson became emotional when announcing the Ephraim Temple. He has ancestors from the area as does Elder Ronald A. Rasband, who also spoke on Saturday.
“We have given lots of thought for the sacrifice of the pioneers,” President Nelson said. “Over time, countless craftsmen, artists and laborers have created this unique treasure.”
Elder Rasband said his ancestors came from Denmark to this area of Central Utah. His great-great-grandmother is buried in the Ephraim cemetery.
“I have a deep impression today that not only is there rejoicing in this temple district, but there is rejoicing on the other side of the veil from many of our ancestors,” he said.
Pioneer-era murals in the Manti temple
Earlier, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said the pioneer-era murals which are housed in the Manti temple would be removed. But on Saturday, President Nelson said the murals can stay.
He explained that the pioneer temple needs upgrades to keep it useful and safe. It also needs to be revised to offer the revealed ordinances and covenants for members who speak languages other than English.
But the addition of the Ephraim Temple changed the scope and timeline of the Manti Temple. Adding more sessions in Ephraim means the inside of Manti did not need to be changed nearly as much.
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