Nauvoo-Temple from the Ashes

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Blended Old and New Nauvoo Temples

Part of lds.net’s 175th anniversary Nauvoo Celebration

The Nauvoo temple was the first fully-functional temple built in this dispensation.

While the Kirtland temple had been completed previously, it was built before many important doctrines had been restored. It was of great service to the Saints at the time, but would not be recognizable as a temple to modern Latter-day Saints. The Nauvoo temple was the first temple to perform baptisms for the dead, sealing ordinances, the endowment ceremony, and to feature the angel Moroni on its spire, the hallmarks of contemporary temples.

Nauvoo Temple Fire

But when the Saints were forced to leave Nauvoo, the temple was left behind. Over the next fifteen years, it caught fire, was knocked over by a tornado, and finally demolished by the city for safety reasons.

Then in 1999, fifteen years ago, President Gordon B. Hinckley announced that the Nauvoo Temple would be rebuilt! Restoring the one Latter-day Saint temple to ever be destroyed. The restoration of the Nauvoo Temple marked an important historical turn for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, now in a position to restore that which had been taken from them when they were a persecuted religious minority.

Cranes lift exterior pieces of the Nauvoo Temple

Construction began immediately.

Nauvoo Temple Interior

The exterior of the temple would be made to look like the original temple, while the interior would be adjusted in several ways, while maintaining the 19th century aesthetic to the extent possible.

Experts, using architect drawings found by missionaries in California, were able to restore the temple to a tremendous degree of accuracy.

Nauvoo Temple Cornerstone

On June 27, 2002, the anniversary of Joseph Smith’s martyrdom, Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the rebuilt Nauvoo temple! Latter-day Saints from all over the world were invited to watch the dedication from their local stake centers to celebrate Nauvoo- temple from the ashes!

Christopher D. Cunningham is the managing editor for Public Square Magazine and contributor to Third Hour. He loves emphatically celebrating the normal healthy development of his sons Albus and Whitman, writing about the Church of Jesus Christ, finding the middle ground on most controversies, and using Western Family generic brand lip balm. Christopher is a proud graduate of Brigham Young University-Idaho, and a resident of San Antonio, Texas.