Manti Utah

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Manti Utah Temple Wiki


The Manti Utah Temple, Located in the city of Manti, Utah, is the fifth constructed temple, the third temple built west of the Mississippi River, and the third still in use. It was preceeded by The St. George Utah and Logan Utah. The Manti Temple was designed by William Harrison Folsom, who moved to Manti while the temple was under construction. It is one of only two remaining LDS temples in the world where live actors are used in the endowment ceremonies (the other is the Salt Lake Temple); all other temples use films in the presentation of the endowment.[1] Like the Original St. George and Original Logan Temples, it uses 4 progressive rooms to represent progression through life.[2]



Brigham Young announced the decision to build a temple in Manti  on June 25, 1875. The Salt Lake Temple had been announced in 1847, but construction was still underway and not finished until 1893. The Manti Temple was built, along with the St. George and Logan temples, to satisfy the church’s immediate need for temple work. The site for the temple was the Manti Stone Quarry, a large hill immediately northeast of town. Early Mormon settlers in the area had prophesied that this would be the site of a temple.


Construction of the foundation took 2 years. The Temple hill is solid rock which prevented a challenge for those digging the foundation. The process was sped up by Digging 2 shaped tunnels in the hill, and using gunpowder to break up the rock, loosing as much as 2,500 tons of rock at a time.[3]

Building or the rock was done only with rudimentary tools that could be made by the saints. Despite this the walls are smooth and straight, and constructed of the highest quality stone.

A well-known story recalls Edward Parry, the master mason, seeing one of the stoneworkers about to place a cracked stone on the building. “I will put the crack on the inside. No one will know it is there,” said the stone layer. “That is not quite right!” replied Brother Parry. “You will know it, I will know it, and the Lord will know it. Now remove the stone and replace it with one without flaws!”[4]

On another occasion, Edward Parry awoke in the morning to find that his mules were missing. Parry was in the habit of taking these two mules to the temple every day to assist in the construction work, hoisting rocks to different levels of the building. After anxiously searching all around, he finally walked to the temple site without them. When he arrived, his two mules were there, already in place, ready to be hitched up for the day’s work.[]


Ground was broken on 4 April 1877 by Brigham Young.


The temple was completed in 1888, and a private dedication was held on May 17, 1888, with a prayer written by Wilford Woodruff. Three public dedications were then held on May 21–23, 1888, and were directed by Lorenzo Snow.[5] This was the only temple dedicated by President Lorenzo Snow.

The Manti Temple was the location of the Holy of Holies until the Salt Lake Temple was dedicated. The room was then used for sealings until it was closed in the late 1970s.

Dedicatory Prayer

Dedication Order

The Manti Temple was the 5th temple built by the Church, and the 3rd still in active use. At the time of its dedication there was one other temple, the Salt Lake Temple, under construction.


1890s smoke from the furnace at the north end of the annex was discoloring the building. Thus, one of the first improvements was the construction of a new smokestack with a flue taking the smoke from the basement of the annex out to the hill on the east side of the temple.[3]


As part of this landscaping project, 3 massive terrace walls around the temple were removed. The hill was graded and grass was planted on the hill.[3]


Following the grading of the hill, begun the year before but finished in 1907, Construction of a great stone stairway leading up the hill to the west temple doors began.[6]


On the morning of August 26, 1928 lightning struck the east tower of the Manti Utah Temple, though the morning had been bright and sunny. A fire started at the south east tower that burned downward for three hours before it could be extinguished. Despite the length of time, little damage was done. Repairs cost a little over $700 dollars. Many people said “it was the slowest burning fire they had ever seen.” This heart-stopping episode encouraged the installation of a lightning rod soon after, a n addition that cost more than the repairs to the temple tower..[3]


In 1935 a new annex extension containing a Linen Room and Office space was added to the west side of the annex. a new small chimney was added at that time for the office as well.[3]

On 15 July 1935, the temple was fully lit at night for the first time.


On 18 March 1940 work was undertaken to remove the stone stairs and to beautify the grounds.[7]


Between 1944 and 1945 the annex, chapel, kitchen, Garden Room, and men’s and women’s areas were remodeled.[3]


On 31 July 1956 new annex entrance was  begun. The new entrance extended the annex 25 feet to the north. The Original chimney was removed and an entrance annex was built in that location. At the same time remodeling was undertaken for the cafeteria, enlarging the linen room, adding a nursery.[3]


Work was undertaken for remodeling the baptismal area, with additional dressing rooms, and lockers.[3]


The tunnel beneath the east tower of the temple through which wagons and cars could pass was closed off in the 1960s.



1985 Remodel. Annex entrance was removed and new 2 story entrance added instead. 2 Story addition made off east side of annex. Crenelations added to 1938 annex west side extension.

In 1981 church officials decided that the interior of the temple needed extensive remodeling. The renovation took four years, during which murals and original furniture were restored, offices were enlarged and remodeled,A separate entrance to the baptistry was made on the south side, water and weather damage were repaired, an elevator was installed, and locker rooms were improved among many other projects.

A two-story addition east of the annex, extending the annex north for a larger foyer was constructed. The entrance and the 1935 west annex addition had the exterior redone to match the stonework in the rest of the building. , and four new sealing rooms were constructed. An automatic fire sprinkling system was installed, and the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, heating, and cooling systems were replaced. The temple sewer system was tied into the city’s sewer system, and rainwater damage in the priesthood room was repaired. To top everything off, the entire roof of the temple was replaced.[3]

Open House

After the renovation was completed, 40,308 visitors toured the temple during a public open house held from June 6 to 8, 1985.


In June 1985, Gordon B. Hinckley directed the rededication ceremonies.

[8] [9]

In the rededicatory prayer, President Hinckley said of the temple:

“Almost a century has passed since this temple was first used. We thank Thee for the great and marvelous work done herein during those years. … With great care its former beauty, so carefully crafted by its original builders, has been brought back. Our present labors have increased our respect and love for those who built it originally and who sacrificed much in doing so.”[10]

Rededicatory prayer

Redediccation Order

At the time the Manti Utah Temple was rededicated there were 8 temples under construction, and 7 temples awaiting groundbreaking.

Under Construction   Awaiting Groundbreaking
Freiberg GermanyFrankfurt Germany
Buenos Aires ArgentinaGuayaquil Ecuador
Lima PeruLas Vegas Nevada
Johannesburg South AfricaPortland Oregon
Seoul KoreaToronto Ontario
Chicago IllinoisSan Diego California
Stockholm SwedenBogota Colombia
Denver Colorado


Exterior preservation efforts have also occurred since that time.


 Myths and Stories

There is a popular story passed around concerning the groundbreaking of the Manti Temple. The story goes that earlier that morning Brigham took Warren S. Snow with him to a corner of the lot. He said:

Here is the spot where the Prophet Moroni stood and dedicated this piece of land for a Temple site, and that is the reason why the location is made here, and we can’t move it from this spot.


The story is told in many places, including sources considered authoritative, including the Ensign, and Orson F. Whitney’s Life of Hebar C. Kimball. All of these sources point back to the story as told by Orson Whitney.

In 1987, John A. Peterson of the Acquisitions Department (now called the Church History Department) prepared a report for Jane A. Braithwaite of the Manti Destiny Committee (a private, non-profit organization promoting and preserving the history of Manti and the Sanpete Valley.) In this report he detailed his attempts to document the source of the tale. He had scoured all known pertinent records, including restricted temple records, looking for any confirmation. Included in his search were the following church records for the Manti Corner Stone Services, the private Dedication of the Manti Temple, Manti Temple Historical Record, Setting apart of temple workers, Temple Bulletins, Temple Attendance Roll, and records for a Temple Reunion in 1895

In none of these sources is there anything  that could be seen as supporting the story, although the story, if true, would have found a natural place in any of these records.

A request for information on the Church’s opinion on this story returned the following answer:

“…although several sources refer to it, knowledge of whether Moroni dedicated the temple is inconclusive. Thus the Church does not have an official stance on the story.


Though the Church has no official position on the matter, according to a representative of Central Utah Pioneer Heritage Board commented on a post about this story on popular LDS History blog Keepapitchenin that in 2014 the decision was made to remove a line referencing this tradition from the Manti Pageant. That Same year the church removed a painting depicting Moroni dedicating the hill from the temple.




President Lonnie B. Nally2015–
President George S. Grimshaw2012–2015
President Ed J. Pinegar2009–2012
President J. Bruce Harless2006–2009
President Archie M. Brugger2003–2006
President Jack H. Goaslind Jr.2000–2003
President Graham W. Doxey1997–2000
President Lee R. Barton1994–1997
President Garth P. Monson1991–1994
President Earl R. Olsen1988–1991
President Alma P. Burton1985–1988
President Wilbur W. Cox1978–1985
President June W. Black1974–1978
President Reuel E. Christensen1968–1974
President A. Bent Peterson1959–1968
President Lewis R. Anderson1943–1959
President Robert D. Young1933–1943
President Lewis Anderson1906–1933
President John D. T. McAllister1893–1906
President Anthon H. Lund1891–1893
President Daniel H. Wells1888–1891

The Manti Temple was the location of the Holy of Holies until the Salt Lake Temple was dedicated. The room was then used for sealings until it was closed in the late 1970s.

The site for the temple was the Manti Stone Quarry, a large hill immediately northeast of town. Early Mormon settlers in the area had prophesied that this would be the site of a temple. When Young announced the building of the temple, he also announced that the 27-acre (110,000 m2) plot would then be known as “Temple Hill.”[12]

The Manti Temple combines the Gothic Revival, French Renaissance Revival, French Second Empire, and Colonial architectural styles.


Many aspects of the Manti Temple are unlike any of the other temples in existence. It used to be said that “the Manti Temple is the only temple you can go through without a recommend.” At one time, there was a large tunnel constructed under the east tower, and a person could actually come from either the south or the north and drive past both temple walls, thus going “through” the temple. However, the tunnel has since been closed.[3]

The temple’s water source is noteworthy. Originally, all the water came from a small spring located within a mile of the temple. President Young had purchased it from William K. Barton in 1870. It has been observed that, through the years, as the need for water has increased, the spring’s production has also miraculously increased. In 1981, the Church connected into the city water system to provide for the needs of the kitchen, but it still relies on the little spring to provide all the irrigation for the landscape.[3]


Its walls imitate castle parapets with their grooved tops.


Cream-colored limestone finishes the exterior of this majestic structure. The limestone came from the very area where the temple is now located, a site previously known as the Manti Stone Quarry, from the mountains east of the temple and from a quarry owned by the Parry brothers that was northeast of Ephraim.[3]






The two towers of the temple are 179 feet (55 m) tall, and

has two roof-capped towers, and its walls imitate castle parapets with their grooved tops

The Manti Temple, much like the Logan Utah Temple 200 miles to the north, has two roof-capped towers,



The temple has 100,373 square feet (9,325.0 m2) of floor space.


Within the temple are a baptistry, instruction rooms, sealing rooms (where marriages are performed) and a celestial room, which represents heaven on earth. Temple patrons still move through progressive instruction rooms as they did in the 19th century, rather than remaining in one or two instruction rooms, as is typical of modern temples. The Manti Utah Temple is one of only seven temples where patrons progress through four ordinance rooms before passing into the Celestial Room. The other six temples are the Salt Lake Temple, the Laie Hawaii Temple, the Cardston Alberta Temple, the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple, the Los Angeles California Temple, and the Nauvoo Illinois Temple.

The Manti Utah Temple is one of two temples that still employs live acting for presentation of the endowment. (The other is the Salt Lake Temple.)


In the temple’s two western octagonal towers are freestanding spiral staircases with no central support. The staircases wind up six stories, which required considerable skill to build.

Having no central support, the stairways are two of only three like them in the United States (the other in the Octagon in Washington DC).[] Standing at the top of the stairs and looking down is like looking into a large well, six stories deep.[] Not only is the support system of the stairs unique, but so are the railings, spindles, and paneling. Many have commented that the joints on the black walnut railings are so smooth that they cannot be felt.[3] Over five hundred baluster posts for the stairs were turned on the same lathe, with four stamped, walnut medallions glued to each.[15]


Hand-painted murals decorate the walls of the instruction rooms, where temple patrons learn and worship. Minerva Teichert, the prolific American painter, contributed a mural when parts of the temple were renovated in the 1940s. Her artwork adorns the walls of the world room, a room that represents the mortal experience. The mural, which she described as “a great pageant,”[16] covers nearly 4,000 square feet of renovated walls.

“What could be more significant or greater,” Teichert asked, “than to tell the story of mankind from the Tower of Babel to the Zion in the tops of the Rocky Mountains?”[17] Majestic figures appear, including Abraham, Joseph of Egypt, Moses, Esau, the Pilgrims, Columbus and, at the head of the room, an “Indian Brave as the symbol of the American Continent.”[18] These figures, rendered in Teichert’s impressionistic style with minimal detail, weave together in an expansive visual narrative of human history. The painting reflects some of the purposes of temples, which are to help Latter-day Saints come to a greater understanding of their earthly journey, commit to following Jesus Christ, and strive to live service-filled lives.

The Manti Utah Temple features beautiful hand-painted murals on the walls of its progressive-style ordinance rooms: Creation Room, Garden Room, World Room each have murals. The Terrestrial Room and Celestial Room do not have murals.


All of the wood for the temple, except for that used in the staircases, came from locations very near the temple. Manti boasted four sawmills. A site just northwest of the city, known as Devil’s Kitchen, grew timber so straight that the settlers were able to cut poles sixty to seventy-five feet long, which they used for the scaffolding.[15]

The Scandinavian background of the workers was obvious in the construction techniques they used. It one point in the construction of the temple, a Norwegian boat builder was in charge of designing the roof. He had never built a roof for a large building before and was not sure how to go about it, so he simply used the design of a boat and turned it upside down.[3]


When the main structure of the building was complete, work moved to decorating the inside. The Saints took great care in the details of everything. One unique feature of the Manti Temple is the carpet in the celestial room, which contains twenty-seven different colors all woven together.[3] Also of note is the symbolic hardware, which contains writing and symbols in both Arabic and ancient Egyptian. John Patrick Reid specialized in designing the door catches, hinges, and knobs. His grandson, Hugh W. Nibley, described the designs on them. The following is his analysis of just one small artifact within the Manti Temple.

A circle is surrounded by botanical motifs and is circled by small rings. One of these rings instead of a simple circle or ring is an Ankh, or Crux Anasta, the best known of all ancient symbols, as it stands for life. (In the usual salutary title placed after the names of initiates, Ankh, Djed, Seneb, the Ankh symbol represents an umbilical cord and the three words mean health to the naval and marrow to the bones and strength, often in the royal tombs the last of the three is the Was-symbol which means, according to Gardnier, “power in the Priesthood.”) In this drawing the Ankh sign is at the top of the circle. A quarter of the way around, right next to the hole for the screw is the Egyptian Hetep symbol meaning peace and salvation. On the opposite side of the circle from the Ankh sign is the Shen sign, the personal seal and sign for eternity, one everlasting round.[3]


Since 1967, the temple grounds have been used for a summer performance. For eight nights each June, the north side of the temple transforms into an enormous outdoor stage for the Mormon Miracle Pageant. This pageant is a historical drama with live actors portraying scenes from the Restoration of the Church in the 1800s, stories from the Book of Mormon, and the journey of the Sanpete Valley pioneers. Far from city lights, the pageant seats up to 14,000 viewers under the stars. Admission to the pageant is free and approximately 100,000 visitor’s see it each year. In Late October of 2018 the Church announced that the various pageant through out the world would be scaled bark or discontinued. It was announced at that time that the last year for the Mormon Miracle Pageant would be the summer of 2019.

Project Manager

Architect William H. Folsom
Contractor Member Built

Sources and Links for the Manti Utah Temple

External links

  • Manti Utah Temple at (official)
  • Manti Utah Temple at (official)
  • Manti Utah Temple at (official)
  • Manti Utah Temple at
  • Manti Utah Temple at Wikipedia

Additional Articles


  1. [1]Satterfield, Rick, “Manti Utah Temple”, Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,, retrieved 2012-10-11
  2. [2] Boyd K. Packer. The Holy Temple, p. 35
  3. [3] Victor J. Rasmussen, The Manti Temple (Provo, UT: Community Press, 1988).
  4. [4]Dennis Lyman, History at Temple Hill: Manti, VHS (Sandy, UT: Temple Hill Video, 2003).
  5. [5]“May this delightful location be known as a holy hill of Zion, among Thy people”, Church News, Jan 1, 1950
  6. [6] Hart, John L. (May 7, 1988), “Manti Temple 100 years old, in mint condition for centennial”, Church News
  7. [7]Hart, John L. (May 7, 1988), “Manti Temple 100 years old, in mint condition for centennial”, Church News
  8. [8] “News of the Church”, Ensign, August 1985
  9. [9]Cause Thy Holy Spirit to enter and pervade all of its rooms and facilities”, Church News, 23 June 1985
  10. [10]Manti Utah Temple rededicatory prayer, in Church News, June 23, 1985,–Cause-Thy-Holy-Spirit-to-enter-and-pervade-all-of-its-rooms-and-facilities.html.
  11. [11] “Two temples scheduled for exterior preservation”, Church News, June 24, 1995
  12. [12] “The Manti Temple”, Ensign, March 1978
  13. [13]Tyson Thorpe, “Response to your question” Email to Brian Olson, 16 February 2018
  14. [14]Ardis E. Parshall’ “Moroni’s Purported Rambles,” keepapitchinin, comment 76, 25 August 2015
  15. [15]Thomas Weston Welch, “Early Mormon Woodworking at Its Best: A Study of the Craftsmanship in the First Temples of Utah,” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1983), 42.
  16. [16]Doris R. Dant, “Minerva Teichert’s Manti Temple Murals,” BYU Studies, vol. 38, no. 3 (1999), 16,
  17. [17]Dant, “Minerva Teichert’s Manti Temple Murals,” 17.
  18. [18]Dant, “Minerva Teichert’s Manti Temple Murals,” 25.

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