News Release

Renovated St. George Utah Temple Ready for Tours

Public open house begins for pioneer-era house of the Lord

An open house is set to begin for the renovated St. George Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in southern Utah. The pioneer-era house of the Lord has been closed for extensive renovation since November 2019. 

Downloadable B-roll & SOTs Media Kit PDF

This was the second major renovation of this historic structure, which was originally announced by Brigham Young, the second President and Prophet of the Church.

Media Day

The news media gathered at the St. George Utah Temple in St. George, Utah, on Wednesday, September 6, 2023, for a briefing and tour of the sacred edifice. Invited guests will get a chance to go inside this week and walk through the many rooms, including the baptistry, instruction rooms and celestial room, where patrons can pray and feel closer to their Father in Heaven.

“Today, we want to take you on a tour to the temple. But we hope that we can invite you to look beyond your curiosity. Learn about what we do and why we do it,” Elder Erich W. Kopischke, a General Authority Seventy, told the journalists during a news conference.

“We don’t build buildings like this for show or to demonstrate anything of any kind to the world,” said Elder Kevin W. Pearson, a General Authority Seventy and president of the Utah Area. “We build them to demonstrate to the Lord that we love him.”

“I have just been emotional all day thinking about what my forebears and their fellow citizens and fellow believers did in this community,” said Elder Matthew S. Holland, a General Authority Seventy.

“My mom and my dad are from St. George. And on my mother’s side, I’m the fifth generation that was sealed in the St. George Temple. So our affections and loyalties to this place are about as deep as you can get,” explained Elder Holland.

“I love how we’ve tried to kind of make it look more historic in nature. So you can go in and you can kind of maybe get a feel for how it could have looked like back in 1877 when it was first constructed,” said Matthew C. Godfrey, senior managing historian of the Church History Department.

Andy Kirby, director of the Church’s historic temple renovations, is excited for people to see the beauty of the renovated temple, which has been updated with a new mechanical system.   

“It has [an] all-new heating, air conditioning and cooling system … LED lighting and state-of-the-art high-efficiency systems throughout the temple, so it will operate in an efficient way for many years,” said Kirby.

“I think the pioneers who built this would be pleased with our work,” said Kirby. “They would be satisfied that we preserved their efforts and the beauty and the intent of their work.”

Kirby said the north and west additions to the temple have been rebuilt to match the original architecture of the building. The sacred structure is more accessible, with added elevators, better stairs, walkways and hallways. There is also a new baptistry entrance on the south side of the temple and a bride’s exit on the northeast corner.

“The interior design matches the historic temple and furnishings that would have been appropriate in the 1870s and 1880s,” he said.

The landscaping on the temple grounds now includes water-wise plants, and the irrigation system is enhanced with secondary water.

Public Open House

A public open house will start on Friday, September 15, and continue until Saturday, November 11, excluding Sundays and Saturday, September 30, due to general conference.

Reservations for the free tours can be scheduled online. The tours run from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Elder Pearson hopes people of all ages will attend the open house.

“Come. We welcome you. It will be a beautiful, personal, deeply meaningful experience. And it will be something that’s intimate to every individual who comes and enjoys it,” said Elder Pearson.

The St. George temple will be rededicated on Sunday, December 10, 2023, in two sessions.

The First Temple in the Western U.S.

“This is the first temple in the West,” said Steven E. Snow, former Church Historian and St. George native. “I think Brigham Young was very, very happy that finally a temple had been built in the West before he passed.”

Representatives of media outlets and invited guests on the grounds of the St. George Utah Temple for the media day on Wednesday, September 6, 2023. 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The St. George Utah Temple was originally dedicated in 1877 ahead of the Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City, which was also under construction in the Beehive State.

“This just happens to be my favorite temple because this is a temple [that] I've known all my life,” said Snow.

“I feel a connection to my ancestors, not only because they built this building but because we have a shared faith,” explained Dana Moody, the great-granddaughter of George Brooks, who carved stone for the St. George temple and the nearby historic St. George Tabernacle.

Moody said her ancestors “made sacred promises and covenants with God that can’t be done in other places.”

She continued, “We believe that as we make those promises and those covenants with God, it binds us together for eternity.”

This is the second time the St. George Utah Temple has received extensive renovation. “This temple now has stood for almost 150 years, and it was remodeled somewhat extensively in the mid-’70s,” Snow said.

The St. George temple was rededicated in 1975 by President Spencer W. Kimball.

Church President Russell M. Nelson announced the renovation of pioneer-era temples during general conference in October 2018. Detailed renovation plans for the St. George temple were released in May 2019.

“I anticipate that this temple will last for 50, 60, maybe even 75 years without a major renovation, if it's maintained well,” Kirby said.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.