Natural Stone vs Man-Made Concrete:
From the days of the Old Testament, the Lord has commanded His people to build temples, sacred structures where He could teach, guide, and bless them. Our Temples have always been a sacred building to symbolize our devotion to the Lord and a place where we make covenants with Him.
Symbolically, it has been important to use natural stone to build our temples. Stones have a special significance. In building of Solomon’s Temple, the people were commanded to bring “great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation” of the Lords house.
Similar to ancient times, Our modern temples have been constructed using stone. The Salt Lake Temple is built using large granite stone. The Ogden Temple as well as the Bountiful Temple are also built with granite stone. The St. George Temple is built from native red sandstone. The Manti Temple as well as the Logan Temple are both built with Limestone. Usually the stone used is native to the area surrounding the temple, the Draper Temple was built with white granite shipped in from China.
Yesterday at the Brigham City Temple dedication, Elder L Tom Perry stated in his opening remarks that we no longer build with stone, but use concrete now. Concrete is a manmade building material which combines cement, water and an aggregate (crushed up rock or sand).
We believe that Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone of our religion. If a temple is oriented correctly, the cornerstone is on the southeast corner of the temple where sunlight will hit no matter the season. In memory of marking this sacred part of temple, the cornerstone, President Boyd K Packer ceremonially used mortar to put into place the precast concrete “cornerstone”. Mortar is not needed with concrete, but it was done only symbolically prior to the Brigham City temple dedication yesterday. Other things in the temple are administered only symbolically as well these days.
I am not sure, but my guess would be that we don’t use stone anymore because it is probably easier and more convenient to use concrete that having to use natural stone from the earth.
and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall"
II Nephi 28