Monday, January 30, 2023

RENOVATION? Really? Latest on the progress of the Salt Lake Temple Project

The Church announced in 2019  that the Salt Lake Temple, a sacred historical structure of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would undergo a multiyear seismic upgrade and renovation project in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Renovation means the process of repairing a building so that it is in good condition again. 

However, despite only announcing to the members that the Salt Lake Temple would be a renovation project, almost ever building on Temple Square has been demolished and or completely gutted. Three more building will now go under "renovations" The Beehive House, The Lion House and the Joseph Smith Memorial Buildings. All of these building are now closed and will be for many years. Projected dates for completion is not until 2025.   Click for Church announcement LINK

Here is a recent Google Maps aerial view of Temple Square,-111.8913918,363m/data=!3m1!1e3

The Church released an article about the progress of the "renovation". Here are one of the comments that I read:

“This is the saddest thing I've ever seen, for Latter-day Saint heritage -- they basically decapitated, gutted, jacked up, and removed from its foundation -- one of America's most-iconic, most-recognizable, most-historic, and most-sacred structures. They put the interior through a wood-chipper. Almost nothing of the original exists now except that the granite is being re-used on the outside of an all-new steel and concrete building. I'm not diminishing the importance of a new temple to the living and dead members. I know that many people find joy in newness, and spiritual gratitude from more ordinances per day. But this is like shredding an 1830 original first edition Book of Mormon, to use the paper pulp to print a new replica, because the newly-printed Book of Mormon might convert a tourist. The old copy would have converted more. The theologians and marketers have their reasons, but legitimate historians should be horrified. I'm a Mormon material culture historian, not a theologian, in this context...I'm also a libertarian who thinks property owners have an ethical right to wreck their own historic property, as they did. But there are other moral stakeholders in a community, too. What in incalculable loss to the whole church, community, city, and country, and the pioneers, due to high-technology owners who do not seem to value preservation, architecture, or history. John Hajicek (Jan 25, 2023):

This project is MUCH MORE than just renovations. Not quite sure what all of this new construction is just North of the Salt Lake Temple? Looks bigger than the foundation of the Temple itself.

Friday, January 27, 2023


Most members of the Church have probably heard by now that once again there have been MAJOR changes made to the Temple Endowment this week and to other temple ordinances performed in the Temple. LINK: LDS temple ceremonies change again

From all of the online comments and from people I have talked to, all of them have been extremely happy with the changes. I am glad that so many people have found joy in worshipping in the Temple this week. I hope to just share a few thoughts from my perspective. I know I might be alone in my opinions. 

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:

“Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, 
for the salvation of men, 
are not to be altered or changed. 
All must be saved on the same principles.”
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

One thing that gives me comfort is that God is the same yesterday, today and forever despite what we do here in mortality. God does not change. The only thing that I think God wants to have changed is our hearts. 

One of the places where we learn more about God is in the Temple. Joseph Smith taught that sacred "ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world for the salvation of men are NOT to be altered or changed." We read in Isaiah 24:5 that in the last days, the earth will be defiled because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenants. 

President Russell M. Nelson in the gutted Salt Lake Temple Celestial Room on May 22, 2021

In the late 1980's, I took out my temple endowments in the Salt Lake Temple. SO MUCH has changed since then that I couldn't even begin to list all of them. 

Not only are there significant changes being made now to the actual structure of Salt Lake Temple but there has been significant changes to  ALL of the ordinances performed in the Temple. I remember one of the things that I loved about the Salt Lake Temple was moving from room to room and ascending upward in a clockwise direction. I have written a blogpost that describes more about this and the symbolic direction you faced in each room of the Salt Lake Temple. Here is the link to that post: Is your orientation aligned with God

I loved that each ordinance built on each other. Baptism in the basement, Initiatories on the first main floor and then each room of Glory was higher as you increased in light and knowledge and culminated in a Sealing Room for the sealing of the man and woman to become the Image of God. The Sealing Room was elevated and accessed by another flight of stairs from the Celestial Room. 

The Sealing Room in the Salt Lake Tempe was significant because not only is it above the Celestial Room, it is in the South East corner of the Celestial Room which is symbolic.

One of the new changes in the "renovation" of the Salt Lake Temple reported in the news by the Church a few weeks ago was that sealing rooms will be part of the addition just north of the Temple and on the lower floors will include new baptistries and sealing rooms. Sealing rooms on the lower floors? What?
"In the areas directly around the temple, work began on guest experience pavilions south of the temple, and on the three lower floors of the temple addition, which will be just north of the temple. The lower floors will include two new baptistries, sealing rooms, dressing rooms and administrative offices."

I remember being asked to be a witness couple with my wife as well as seeing my parents being a witness couple. I enjoyed the live session to see the Temple workers present the endowment to the best of their abilities. I personally believe that since the endowment had to be memorized, there were very few changes ever made to the endowment. The Church has officially ceased all "live sessions" in the Temple to a digital presentation.  Changes can now be made easily and more frequently.


 There is a disclaimer that is now read at the beginning of Endowment Session from The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve to make sure the temple patrons know that the changes are not changes but are "adjustments".  No mention of a revelation was given as to why these changes were made. (I wrote about the difference between adjustments and changes in this blog post: Additional Procedural Adjustments. 

After sitting through the endowment session this week, I don't think it is right to call the changes in the  new endowment as only adjustments. They are SIGNIFICANT CHANGES. For me it was like listening to one of my favorite songs and having the lyrics changed. Not only that, no one is an active participant during the session but only a passive observer. We watch other receive things that we used to receive. I personally feel that was one of the most important parts of the Temple Experience.  What if we were to watch someone else get baptized.. could we then say we have received baptism as well?

I think I will probably stop there. Once again I am sad to see so many things about the Temple go down the Memory Hole... never to be experienced again. 

I know MOST if NOT all (except me) are thrilled with the new endowment. It is amazing what peppering images of Jesus Christ throughout the presentation with music will do for people.  Bring tissues if you plan to go and are susceptible to emotion. 

Addendum 01:

The residents of Heber City in Wasatch County have a dark sky policy. They have laws in place for the businesses and residents to reduce man made light in order for them to look into the heavens and see the stars at night without light pollutions. However, the LDS church wants that laws to change so they can shine brighter light onto the Temple to be built. Such lighting would violate the current county code adopted in 2002 intended to preserve dark sky.

Addendum 02:

Another Utah Temple that Has Angel Moroni pointing in the wrong direction, The Red Hills Temple which is the second Temple to be build in St. George has now placed the crowning Angel Moroni on top. It is not facing East but it is facing North. The reasons behind this is because aesthetically it looks better. I cant help but think that a lot of these changes the Church makes are for aesthetic reasons, but what we lose are the deep rooted symbols that point us to the something bigger and more heavenly. 

Friday, January 13, 2023

Signs and Seasons

On the fourth day of creation,  God said,  "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so."

These "lights in the firmament" include the sun, the moon, and the stars.  The lights of heaven were given to us first as “signs” and secondly as “seasons.” I believe we are not very good at looking for and understanding these "signs." It is my opinion that the most important "signs" in the heavens occur when there the lights in the firmament join together creating a specular heavenly event. For example, the alignment of the sun and the moon causing an eclipse creating one single "sign." 


  • August 21, 2017 
  • Oct. 14, 2023
  • April 8, 2024
 In the upcoming months there will be important signs in the heavens we should pay attention to. These signs are solar eclipses. One has already occurred on August 21, 2017.   It was called the Great American Solar Eclipse. I briefly posted about that event  here on this post. It was interesting to see what happened shortly after that ellipse, like damages to the LDS Temples which I reported on this post and on this post.  

I do not believe that ellipses are good signs. I think they are signs of warnings.  Time magazine published a recent article about solar eclipses.  The research reported that throughout history, humans believe that a solar eclipse is a sign of heavenly disapproval and have influenced tragic events that happened years later.  Even today, an eclipse of the Sun is considered a bad omen in many cultures.


This year on Oct. 14, 2023, an annular solar eclipse will cross the United States in North America and well as though Central and South America. It is nicknames a "Ring of Fire". See photo below.

What makes this sign important is the Path of Totality. It will pass through not only Utah but through much of the United States, Central America and then South America... ending though the city of Natal, Brasil where I served for about 6 months. Natal means "relating to the place of time of one's birth. It is also the Portuguese name for Christmas.



Probably the most important of the Total Solar Eclipses will be on April 8, 2024. I have posted about that event HERE in this post. 

Only God could create this event. It was recently described by a friend of mine in these words: 

"From the surface of the earth, the sun occupies a place in the firmament exactly the same as the space occupied by the moon. The sun’s diameter is 109 times the earth’s diameter. The moon is 1/4th the size and less than 1/80th the mass of the earth. From the surface of the earth the sun and moon occupy an identical area in the firmament. Their matching size and location are both located on the ecliptic, making it possible for both an eclipse of the sun and the moon. This was ordained by God to testify in the heavens and about Him and His work."

I find it interesting that one of the cities in the Path of Totality is Kirtland, Ohio.  Preparations are being made for a conference to be held in the Kirtland Temple that weekend of April 6th, 2024 just days before the solar eclipse.


A few weeks ago was the Winter Solstice. I look forward to this day every year.  There was an email  response to question posted on a blog with the following information about the solstices as well as a future temple that needs to be built. Here are some excerpts from that email.  The Winter Solstice is a day of “light winning over darkness.” It is based on natural ebb and flow of sunlight on this planet. The longest night and shortest day are the day before the Solstice. ...The beginning of light returning, and lengthening daylight, is the Solstice.

In response to a question about God not presently having a house on earth, it should be clear this is not a reference to men as the temple of God. God does dwell with some now living.

Nor is it a reference to the various synagogues, cathedrals, chapels, temples and religious facilities constructed by all the various religions in which men practice their rites and devotions to God. Some of those are lovely, quiet and filled with reverence and beauty.

It is a reference to a House God will visit and accept as His. He will appear there, send His messengers (angels) to visit and open a fiery corridor between heaven and earth. Or, in other words, a place where a pillar of fire will dwell.

This was not a criticism of places of worship used by men today. It is an observation of present conditions and a description of what will need to be built and accepted prior to the Lord’s return. It will need to be constructed strictly, in accordance with the pattern God requires, and not something men presently construct as their places of worship.

Everything from the location to the details of the design must be according to God’s instructions. It will be proof on the earth for heaven to behold, showing to the Powers of Heaven that mankind (however few) are listening to Him and are now willing to do what He asks. God will control if and when it will be done, and who will be permitted to construct His House. This will not be a volunteer project. God alone will bring it to pass, using means determined by Him.

There must be a site prepared, and an invitation extended, before the Lord’s return. That place must be hallowed. It is a necessary precondition for His return. It is from that site the sanctification of the earth will proceed. Eventually the whole earth will be renewed.

Until there is a House of God that will be accepted as His to observe this important events, I try and observe it in nature which requires a hike in the snow. This year I hiked to a suspension bridge up in th foothills of the Wasatch Mountains above the Bonneville Shoreline. Here are a few photos. I am always amazed at how nature responds to those who faithfully observe the marked days of the seasons.

Monday, January 9, 2023


In October 2018, President Nelson announced a change to the 3 hour block for Church. For decades and decades since 1980, members would attend Sacrament meeting, Sunday School, then Priesthood and Relief Society. Every meeting began and ended with prayer. 

All of that was changed once President Nelson became prophet. Not only were our meetings reduced down to 2 hours, but we also were told to eliminate having a prayer and a hymn to begin the second hour of church. Even though the Sacrament Meeting began and ended with prayer, once the second block of church began, the teacher was to just begin teaching without having an open prayer and/or hymn. When this was announced, there was no reason given for the elimination. It wasn't due to time constraints since we gained an extra 10 minutes for that second hour.

However, the Church just announced another reversal to a previous decision made by President Nelson. Here is the headline:

Beginning immediately, Sunday School, Elders Quorum, Relief Society, Aaronic Priesthood quorum and Young Women are to start with opening prayer

From the article:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is reinstating the practice of opening the second hour of Sunday meetings with a prayer, effective immediately. 

It reverses a change announced in 2018, when the Church implemented a new and simplified Sunday meeting schedule. At the time, direction was given that Sunday School, elders quorum, Relief Society, Aaronic Priesthood quorum and Young Women classes would no longer open with a hymn and prayer but would continue to conclude with a closing prayer (see enclosure to the First Presidency letter dated October 6, 2018).

The announced also includes the requirements for the prayers to be given. Prayers should be brief and simple and include the pronouns, Thee, Thy, Thine, and Thou.  The full article of instruction can be read here from the official Church newsroom article. Church Reinstates Opening Prayers in Sunday Second-Hour Meetings

Another change:

Different from previous years, print copies of “Come, Follow Me — For Individuals and Families” will no longer be sent to units free of charge. Members will need to order and buy their own copies  at They are about 4 dollars each. However, some wards might pay the bill for their ward members out of their yearly budget. 

The good news is that in case members can't afford to buy a new manual, they can still use the old 2019 "Come Follow Me" manual. A notice was send to all ward and stake leaders stating that "print copies of the 2019 manuals may be used, though the dates on each outline would need to change to align with the 2023 calendar." 

Basically, we will be studying the exact same scriptures and quotes from four years ago. The updated changes include a new cover and a different font with the different dates to reflect the 2023 calendar.

Here is the content outline from the 2019 manual and the new 2023 manual. 


For those who still have the 2019 manual, I think it is interesting to see that on the instead of the cover the copyright dates for the 2019 Come Follow Me manual for the English version was in February 2017. The reason why I think this is interesting is that President Nelson didn't become the President until 2018. However, the Come Follow Me study program of Home Church has been used as an example of his Prophetic abilities to foresee the future even though this Come Follow Me program was well underway and completed in English while President Monson was the Prophet.