The LDS Church begins a six-week public open house this Saturday for the Jordan River Temple, which was shuttered two years ago for extensive renovations.
The 148,236-square-foot edifice, resting on 15 acres in South Jordan, originally opened in November 1981 and quickly became one of the faith’s busiest temples.
Its exterior of cast stone with white marble chips, topped with a towering spire bearing a golden statue of the Book of Mormon’s Angel Moroni, made it a prominent south Salt Lake Valley landmark.
It shut down in February 2016 for a plethora of building reinforcements along with mechanical, plumbing, electrical and energy upgrades.
“Over time, temples tire. It’s like owning a car. After a few years, you have to change the tires,” Dean M. Davies, first counselor in the faith’s Presiding Bishopric, stated on Monday. “And so in a temple, over a number of years, we have systems that show wear — heating, ventilation, air conditioning, electrical systems.”
During the free open house, which concludes April 28, all visitors — Mormons and otherwise — will be welcomed to tour the facility. Complimentary tickets are available at https://templeopenhouse.lds.org/. After the temple is rededicated May 20, only members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in good standing will be allowed to enter.
LDS temples are considered houses of God, places where Mormons can participate in their religion’s highest ordinances, including eternal marriage.
Still, the renovators of the Jordan River Temple had temporal as well as spiritual concerns, among them energy efficiency. Chris Robbins, senior project manager, said the revamped structure includes new “cogeneration” technology.
“You can create your own power in your building to offset and save money by making your own electricity,” he said. “This was explored here at Jordan River for the first time in the church, and we implemented new [natural gas] micro-turbines.”
Robbins estimates the technology should cut the temple’s energy costs by as much as 60 percent. Renovators also have replaced escalators with stairs to further reduce electrical demands.
The Jordan River site is one of many older temples expected to receive upgrades and other renovations in coming years, according to Brent Roberts, managing director of the church’s Special Projects Department.
“We have a number of temples … that are aging,” he said, “especially those that are between 35 and 45 years old, including this temple, as well as other temples that just need to be refreshed — not so much refreshed on the interiors, but refreshed with mechanical, electrical and plumbing.”
As of Monday, 12 LDS temples around the world either are closed or are scheduled to shut down later this year for renovation.
Rededication ceremonies for the Jordan River Temple will be conducted May 20 at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m., with an as-yet-undisclosed contingent of top church leadership presiding.
The sessions will be broadcast to Mormon meetinghouses in that temples district — along with those of the Oquirrh Mountain and Draper temples — so members can participate instead of attending their regular Sunday services.
The day before the rededication, a cultural celebration featuring music and dance performances by area youths will be held.
South Jordan also boasts another temple farther south, the Oquirrh Mountain Temple, which debuted in 2009. The other south valley temple, in Draper, opened that same year.