Story by Nathan Williams
Tours of the Provo City Center Temple are well underway after two years of renovation of the tabernacle. Its construction was announced by President Thomas S. Monson on Oct. 1, 2011, after the tabernacle caught fire. Today, we want let you in on 5 facts you probably didn’t know about the soon-to-be dedicated Provo City Center Temple.
1. The Provo City Center Temple is the only temple in the world with its main entrance located underground, according to Deseret News. Since the Provo City Center Temple is a renovation of the old tabernacle, contractors and architects had to build their way down in order to preserve the shell of the tabernacle. In fact, about 53,000 square feet of the temple is below street level.
2. The Provo City Center baptismal font has an elliptical shape, according to Deseret News. Traditionally, baptismal fonts in temples are circular in shape and built underground. This is not the case for the one in the Provo City Center Temple baptistry. Elliptical shaped baptismal fonts are very rare because they are difficult to make. The baptismal font is also unique because it is made of rose gold granite from India.
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3. Construction workers found the earliest known baptistry of the latter days while excavating the temple grounds in 2012, according to Deseret News. The baptismal font that was found was believed to have been built around 1875. Richard Talbot, director of the office of public archeology at BYU, said that the site of the discovered baptismal font was hallowed ground for the Mormon pioneers and that it was the first place the Saints could be baptized in a real font rather than in a cold river or lake.
4. There is a large stain-glassed piece behind the reception desk portraying the Savior as a shepherd, according to Deseret News. This piece is a part of 3-piece collection that was first placed in a presbyterian church in New York almost 120 years ago. A member of the Church bought the collection pieces and had them cleaned and restored. The other two pieces in the collection are being considered for placement in future temples.
5. Much of the temple’s architecture contains elements that were typical of the late 1800s, according to Herald Extra. In particular, this temple has gothic arches similar to ones you would find in cathedrals. Elder Larry Wilson of the quorum of the seventy said there is no other temple designed this way. He said, “I’m trying to think of any temple where we have gothic arches, and I can’t think of any.”
There you have it: 5 things you probably didn’t know about the Provo City Center Temple. But, we want to hear from you. If you’ve toured the Provo City Temple or know other interesting facts about it, leave a comment below.