New Show: Remembering the Salt Lake Temple: A Celebratory Exhibit

The story of the Salt Lake Temple is one of suffering, sacrifice, patience, love, commitment, talent, dedication, and joy.  Join us online and in person and follow the story from groundbreaking to dedication and on. 
First announced 28 July 1847, with the groundbreaking 6 years later in 1853, the Salt Lake Temple took an astonishing 40 years to construct. With its dedication on 6 April 1893—another significant date in the Church of Jesus Christ history, the day that Joseph Smith restored the Church in the latter days (6 April 1830)— to Latter-day Saints, the Salt Lake Temple stands as a fulfillment to the prophecy that Isaiah spoke about many centuries earlier. Since opening in 1893, Church members and non-members alike from all over the world have flocked to the House of the Lord, as written prominently on the façade to gaze upon the beautiful woodwork, murals, and designs that the early members labored so lovingly upon. The Salt Lake Temple cannot—and never will be—overlooked as a testament from the pioneers to their nation and God.
The legacy that the pre-renovated temple is leaving behind will forever be a part of the Church of Jesus Christ. In this exhibit, “Remembering the Salt Lake Temple,” which is truly a celebration, you will see photos, artifacts, and memorabilia of the early days of the temple. You will become a part of the construction and dedication. You might see photographs of elements that you have never seen before.   As we will soon make new memories in a renovated temple, together we will forever remember the past 167 years of the building and life of the celebrated House of the Lord. Now, come join and be a part of the construction and dedication which is truly a celebration of the early days of the temple.


Gobo Fango (1854)
After converting to the Church and surviving a long perilous journey to the Utah Territory, the black African immigrant Gobo Fango became an early and significant donor to the building of the Salt Lake Temple.
Born in South Africa, Young Gobo Fango’s sick and dying mother was unable to care for him. Aged three, she placed and left the child in a tree. He was found by Ruth Talbot, a white woman, who became a surrogate mother.
Not long after, the Talbot family were taught by LDS missionaries, joined the Church, and followed Brigham Young’s general counsel to help settle Zion. But, with the advent of the Civil War and having a young African boy in their care this complicated the journey.
The Talbot family’s first trial of faith was when the ship’s captain refused to allow a black child aboard. Gobo’s adopted Father, Henry Talbot had a daring, unconventional plan: hide young Gobo in a rolled-up rug.
Gobo spent much of the journey across the Atlantic hidden among the family belongings, tightly bound.
Once in the States, the family encountered more obstacles. Their wagon train wended through both Union and Confederate controlled territories, and as subject to surprise inspections. On one occasion, learning of the presence of a young black boy among white pioneers, Confederate soldiers ransacked the Talbot’s wagon while Ruth hid Gobo under her own voluminous hooped skirts.
According to his own accounts and those of his adopted family, Gobo showed remarkable faith, never doubting his adopted parents, who regularly reminded the boy that he “was a child of God and would be protected.”
In Utah, Gobo had a fulfilling life, marrying and raising a family, and making a career as a shepherd. Despite his relatively modest circumstances, Gobo had saved $500 — about $15,000 in today’s money. When Brigham young announced that the Salt Lake Temple construction was entering a new, costly phase, Gobo donated his savings to the Church. Then, nearly a decade later, together with Ruth and Henry Talbot, he entered the Temple and was sealed in a ceremony that could only be performed in a Temple to his adoptive parents as a family.
Paraphrased from article written by Tess Hilmo “Gobo Fango” from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints website


 41 sessions were held over a two-week period with more than 75,000 people in attendance
On the day of the dedication the Saints knew that the devil was going to try and disrupt their joyous celebrations and solemn sessions. The wind howled, the rain fell down in torments, snow storms blew and blew. Saints stood outside waiting for hours in the freezing snow, just to hope for a seat inside. To hear the prophet. To feel the Spirit that they knew was going to be present.
And it was. The Spirit was strong. Even with the winds howling and before the meeting even started. Members all joined in a special fast to feel the spirit. On 18 March 1893, they all clamored for a renewed spiritual feeling. They stopped their bickering, confessed to their sins, forgave, and prayed in thanks for the wonderful temple they worked so selflessly on.
Paraphrased from “The Power of God Was with Us” but LaRene Gaunt, Assistant Editor
 Choir member, Bardella S. Curtis saw: “the veil between mortality and high heaven drawn aside.”
 Bardella Shipp Curtis, Autobiography 1874–1957, Archives Division, Church Historical Department,
 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah; hereafter cited as LDS
 Church Archives.
“The Heavenly Host were in attendance at the [first] dedication [service], If the eyes of the congregation could be opened they would [have] seen Joseph and Hyrum [Smith], Brigham Young, John Taylor and all the good men who had lived in this dispensation assembled with us, as also Esaias, Jeremiah, and all the Holy Prophets and Apostles who had prophesied of the latter day work. ... They were rejoicing with us in this building which had been accepted of the Lord and [when] the [Hosanna] shout had reached the throne of the Almighty,” - President Woodruff
 Andrew Jenson diary, 7 April 1893. The author acknowledges Richard N. Holzapfel, who gathered
 much material for the article “The Power of God Was with Us”
 Susa Young Gates, the stenographer for the dedication, wrote, “I was sitting on the lower side of the east pulpits, at the recorder’s table. Almost as soon as President Joseph F. Smith began to address the Saints, there shone through his countenance a radiant light that gave me a peculiar feeling. I thought that the clouds must have lifted, and that a stream of sunlight had lighted on the President’s head. . . . I looked out of the window, and somewhat to my surprise . . . there was not the slightest light in the heavy, black clouds above the city there was not a gleam of sunshine anywhere. . . . whence had come the light that shone from the face of President Smith? I was sure that I had seen the actual Presence of the Holy Spirit, focused upon the features of the beloved leader. . . . I cherish the occurrence as one of the most sacred experiences of my life.”
 Susa Young Gates, “More Than a Halo,” The Juvenile Instructor, 15 Nov. 1907, pp. 683–84.
  “This shout of Hosanna thrilled the hearts of the vast multitude, and echoed grandly through the magnificent building. So exultant and enraptured were the saints in their rejoicing that their faces beamed with gladness, and the whole place seemed glorified and sanctified . . . on that never-to-be-forgotten occasion.” - Emmeline B. Wells
 Emmeline B. Wells, “Temple Dedication,” Woman’s Exponent, Apr. 15 and May 1, 1893, p. 156.
17 April 1893, Brother Andrew Smith wrote, “I saw a bright light appeared above his (President Cannon’s) head and behind him from his shoulders upwards. This light remained in that position a few moments and then raised until I could see the face of a personage in the midst of it. It was the countenance of President Brigham Young. I turned my gaze away from a moment . . . and then I beheld the person of President John Taylor. . . . I also saw a personage whom I took to be Hyrum Smith . . . then Orson O Pratt, whom I at once recognized. . . . when the prayer was concluded and just before and during the sacred Joanna shout, I noticed a bright halo of light surrounding several of the brethren. . . . I was overcome and wept for joy. Having my head bowed for a short time I saw nothing more for a few moments. One raising it again I saw a brilliant light over the head of each member of the First Presidency while they sat upon the stand. Whichever way any of the speakers turned while addressing the people, the light followed every movement made by them.”
 “Temple Manifestations” Contributor, 16 (Dec. 1894): 116–17.
Eleven-year-old George Monk told his mother about how he saw “a man appear at the south-east circular window of the assembly hall of the Temple. This personage looked into the interior. Two other angels moving . . . across the upper part of the hall from south to north . . . and fine others who had entered the large compartment and were ranged upon the wide ledge which runs along the wall under the row of circular windows. They were described as the prettiest men.”
 “Temple Manifestations” Contributor, 16 (Dec. 1894): 116–17.
"Auld Lang Syne” - 1788 Robert Burns poem put to song
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot, and old lang syne?
CHORUS: For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, we'll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne. And surely you'll buy your pint cup! And surely I'll buy mine! And we'll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
 We two have run about the slopes, and picked the daisies fine; But we've wandered many a weary foot, since auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream, from morning sun till dine; But seas between us broad have roared since auld lang syne.
And there's a hand my trusty friend! And give me a hand o' thine! And we'll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne.

Charles Savage Photographs

Charles R. Savage wrote, “My Soul was filled with peace and my whole nature replete with satisfaction . . . I never felt nearer to the invisible powers than while in the Temple.”
 Charles Roscoe Savage Journal, 6 Apr. 1893.
Annie Wells Cannon, “Some say that places so beautiful, so chaste, so sacred are fit dwelling for angels.”
Annie Wells Cannon, “Passing Thoughts,” Woman’s Exponent, 15 Apr. and 1 May 1893, p. 157.
  Eight-year-old Alice Minerva Richards wrote she, “Heard beautiful music, beyond anything she had ever heard elsewhere . . . and saw angels.”
  Alice Minerva Richards [Tate Robinson], Book of Remembrance, in private possession of George F. Tate, Orem, Utah.
 Brother Sleight wrote, “I felt that I stood in the presence of God and a feeling of reverence came over me that I never experienced before.”
 Thomas Sleight Diaries, 7 Apr. 1893, LDS Church Archives.

Contemporary Renderings 

The Spirit of God like a fire is burning! The latter-day glory begins to come forth; The visions and blessings of old are returning, and angels are coming to visit the earth. We’ll sing and we’ll shout with the armies of heaven, Hosanna, Hosanna, to God and the Lamb. Let glory to them in the highest be given, Henceforth and forever, Amen and amen!
Key Dates
Site Identified by the Twelve
July 28, 1847
February 14, 1853
  Cornerstone Ceremony
April 6, 1853
Covering of Foundation Due to Threat of War
Capstone Ceremony
April 6, 1892
April 6, 1893
Closed for Renovations


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