In Salt Lake City for October 2022 general conference? Check out what to do on Temple Square

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September 23, 2022
By jenny
Reading Time: 9 minutes

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In Salt Lake City for October 2022 general conference? Check out what to do on Temple Square

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September 23, 2022
By jenny
Reading Time: 9 minutes

Share this Post

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In Salt Lake City for October 2022 general conference? Check out what to do on Temple Square

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September 23, 2022
By jenny
Reading Time: 9 minutes

Share this Post

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The Salt Lake Temple is closed for construction, but many places are open in the five city blocks around it, with events, activities and tours

By Mary Richards  23 Sept 2022, 3:06 PM CDT

The Conference Center and Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.
   |  Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

When people ask what they can see or do on Temple Square, Sister Joy Covington, a missionary in the Utah Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission, has a quick answer — it depends on how much time they have. 

She tells visitors to go first to the historic Salt Lake Tabernacle, Assembly Hall and Conference Center. If they have more time, the Family History Library, Church History Museum, Church History Library, Beehive House and Brigham Young Family Cemetery.

Missionaries lead tours at the top of the hour and on the half-hour at the Conference Center and at Temple Square. “It’s a great way to walk through and explain the history,” said Sister Covington.  

Jason Mitchell, the director of in-field operations for the Church’s Missionary Department, wants to make sure people know that during construction, Temple Square is still open.

“Please come,” he said. “It’s an historic time to come and see the renovation and restoration of the Salt Lake Temple, and there’s so much to do.”

For those taking a self-guided tour or deciding how to spend their time, here are the activities, events and places open on Temple Square right now. See templesquare.org for updated hours, parking information and other details.

Map of construction zones on Temple Square in Salt Lake City as of September 2022.
 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Conference Center

Besides hosting general conference sessions semiannually, the Conference Center is also the main visitors’ center for Temple Square, explained Mitchell. It is located on North Temple Street directly north of the Salt Lake Temple and includes exhibits and films to help guests learn more about Jesus Christ, the Church and the Salt Lake Temple. 

Guests can see a statue of Jesus Christ — which is a replica of the sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen’s famous Christus statue — and spend time reflecting and feeling the peace of the Savior. Another spot for contemplation is the Gallery of Artwork of the Savior Jesus Christ, which includes multiple exhibits showcasing images of the Savior from the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

Visitors pause at the replica Christus statue during a tour with a missionary in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.
 Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Other artwork galleries include the Leadership Portrait Gallery, with portraits of the Church’s current leadership, and the Book of Mormon Gallery, with Arnold Friberg’s paintings of the ancient prophets of the Americas. 

Guests can see many photos, artifacts and information about the temple’s original construction at the “Temple Square Artifacts Exhibit,” including:

  • Tools that were used to build the temple.
  • Door hardware and a key from the temple.
  • An original altar from the temple.
  • A cane used by Brigham Young to designate Temple Square as the center of the new community.
  • A microphone used to record annual and semiannual general conferences as well as performances by The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.
  • Temple Square and early Salt Lake City video footage, which includes leaders of the Church and others in the 20th century.
  • cutaway scaled model allowing visitors to view the inside of the temple before its seismic renovation began in 2019
A view of temple construction from the roof of the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.
 Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

From that display, visitors can go to the Conference Center Roof Gardens and Conference Center Observation Deck to see an elevated look at the north side of the temple and the current renovation work and construction of the new addition.

“One of the best views of what’s happening during the renovation is from the third-floor observation deck,” Mitchell said.

Films include the Conference Center Film, an 18-minute film in the main auditorium that shares the history of the Conference Center and how the building is used. It starts every hour on the hour, and the Salt Lake Temple Orientation Film, a 17-minute film in the Conference Center Little Theater, starting every 30 minutes. It provides information about the construction of the Salt Lake Temple and a welcome to Temple Square.

The Conference Center is open every day between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. However, it will be closed for tours from Wednesday, Sept. 28, through Monday, Oct. 3, because of the October 2022 general conference. Operating hours for this and other venues on Temple Square will be updated on www.templesquare.org.

Salt Lake Tabernacle

A missionary talks with visitors in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.
 Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The historic Salt Lake Tabernacle, built between 1863 and 1867, is home to The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square and has the iconic 11,623-pipe organ as a backdrop. 

The world-famous Tabernacle Choir performs in the Conference Center over the summer but has now moved back to the Salt Lake Tabernacle for “Music & the Spoken Word” performances each Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

On most Thursday nights, visitors are welcome to watch the choir rehearse in the Tabernacle at 7:30 p.m.

Each day at noon, 30-minute organ recitals are open to the public. The centurylong tradition includes recitals from Tabernacle and Temple Square organists and guest organists.

Linda Margetts practices the organ in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.
 Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Visitors can walk in and look inside by themselves or visit with a tour run by the Temple Square missionaries.

The Salt Lake Tabernacle is open daily 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Due to construction on Temple Square, the Tabernacle and Assembly Hall can be accessed by the gates on West Temple. A current map is available here.

Assembly Hall

The Assembly Hall is a historic building finished in 1882 using stone from the same quarry as the Salt Lake Temple. It sits on the southwest corner of Temple Square and is used for lectures, concerts, Ensign College devotionals and as an overflow for general conference and for other meetings. 

The building has original stained-glass windows and a 3,489-pipe organ. Guests can walk in on a self-guided tour between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. every day or see it on a tour with the missionaries.

nsign College students listen during a program in the Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.
 Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Family History Library

The Family History Library is always a big draw for anyone visiting Salt Lake City — it’s the largest genealogical library in the world, with research specialists, volunteers and missionaries who can help patrons and guests in 14 different languages. 

Lynn Turner, the library’s executive director, said patrons and guests can get one-on-one help.

“Maybe you have questions or reached the end of a line for a family and need new ideas or extra help to try to discover them,” Turner said. “We have people that can sit down with you, work you through that and give you different ideas or perspectives on how to face different problems.”

Children, youth and adults will enjoy the Family Discovery Experience. The interactive exhibits use technology and mobile devices to discover more about one’s roots and ancestors.

Other floors in the library include thousands of books, films, archives, recording booths and countless other tools to do genealogical research.

Deanna Ouimette works on genealogy in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.
 Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

“The biggest regret I hear from people who are coming from out of town is, ‘I should have come earlier,’” Turner said. “Those that came for 20 minutes wished they had planned two hours. Those that had two hours wish they had four.”

Sister Covington as well tells people to plan for spending time in the Family History Library.

“It’s nice to tell people FamilySearch is free; people are really excited about that,” she said, adding that she’s had some people come find her on Temple Square after their visits to the Family History Library and tell her, “It really is free.”

Currently, the Family History Library is open on Mondays 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Tuesday–Thursday: 9 a.m.–8 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m.–6 p.m., but hours may change on conference weekend, so guests are encouraged to check familysearch.org/en/library/visit for hours.

Church History Museum

Located next to the Family History Library, the Church History Museum is also free and offers interactive and engaging experiences for visitors of all ages to discover the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the legacies of its members around the world. 

The recent work of 148 Latter-day Saint artists from around the world in the 12th International Art Competition is on display with the theme, “All Are Alike Unto God.”

Artwork for the 12th International Art Competition is pictured in the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 9, 2022.
 Deseret News archives

“Temples Dot the Earth” is an exhibit designed for children ages 1-11. The hands-on experience allows children to learn about temples, inside and out. The “Mormon Trails” exhibit shows the trails and stories of the pioneers who traveled to the Salt Lake Valley between 1846 and 1890. 

Visitors can also view a six-minute film in the First Vision Theater that draws on all accounts of the First Vision.

The Church History Museum is open Monday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday–Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and closed Sunday.

Church History Library

The Church History Library, on the northeast corner of North Temple and Main streets, is the Church’s primary archive — designed to collect and preserve materials about the Church, its history and its members.

The library is free and open to the public. The large reference room has open stacks, computers for patron use, and a reference desk. Materials from the library’s collection are accessible in the library’s reading room on an appointment basis.

A first-edition of the Book of Mormon from 1830 is on display as part of the Foundations of Faith exhibit in the Church History Library in Salt Lake City on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021.
 Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The library has several free exhibits, including “Foundations of Faith,” which showcases some of the earliest records from the Church, including journals, pamphlets, manuscripts, letters, hymnals and more.

An exhibit dedicated to “Joseph F. Smith’s Vision of the Redemption of the Dead” includes items related to President Smith, his family and the vision of the redemption of the dead. 

They include:

  • Joseph Fielding Smith’s journal, where he mentioned recording the vision.
  • Joseph Fielding Smith’s copy of the scriptures.
  • A special insert printed in 1976 so Church members could add the vision to their personal copies of the Pearl of Great Price.

The Church History Library is open Monday through Friday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and closed Sundays.

Other things to see

The Beehive House is on the corner of State and South Temple streets. The three-story home was the official residence of three Presidents of the Church — Brigham Young, Lorenzo Snow and Joseph F. Smith — and has been restored to its 19th century appearance. The Beehive House is open Mondays through Saturdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and closed Sundays.

Next door is the Lion House, the family home of Brigham Young, but it is closed at this time to the public. 

The Brigham Young Family Cemetery, 140 E. 1st Ave., is open daily to the public. Directly east of Temple Square across State Street is Brigham Young Historic Park.

A view of Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.
 Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The grounds surrounding the Salt Lake Temple include the Joseph Smith Memorial BuildingChurch Office Building and Relief Society Building. Depending on construction work, visitors may also be able to see the Base and Meridian, which is a small statuette on the southeast corner of Temple Square. This spot is the point from which all city streets were named and numbered in Salt Lake City. 

In between the Family History Library and Church History Museum on the west side of Temple Square is Deuel Cabin, an original pioneer-era home built in 1847. The inside is temporarily closed.

Missionaries watch temple construction in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.
 Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Visitors can also look through windows in the wall surrounding the temple site and watch the work being done on the expansive renovation project.

Mitchell said he hopes that as guests come to Temple Square they will experience peace, reverence and excitement as they witness the renovation and restoration of the Salt Lake Temple.

“We hope they will feel God’s love for them and be assured that His plan of salvation is for each of us,” he said. “And the Savior is at the center of it. It’s truly a sacred space, and we invite all to come and to see it and experience it for themselves.” 

Sister Covington knows people cannot easily see every building or exhibit in one trip, so she makes sure to tell them to come back. She hopes they will be able to get an idea of the history and significance of Temple Square — especially the purpose and majesty of the Salt Lake Temple.

And she is looking forward to when the temple is finished and the world is welcome inside to see the renovation.

“We invite everyone to come back for the temple open house,” she said.