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‘Mormon Land’: The loss of historic murals and the ‘live’ endowment through the tearful eyes of a Salt Lake Temple worker

The church has removed the wall paintings and will now use a film instead for this religious ritual.

(Image courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) An artistic rendering of the renovated creation room in the Salt Lake Temple, December 2019. The church says the mural had to be removed as part of the temple renovation.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced that it will discontinue the “live” presentation of a religious ritual known as the “endowment” in its iconic Salt Lake Temple.

Instead of members acting out the scripted roles of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, for instance, a film version used in other temples will be shown.

The faith’s governing First Presidency also said that historic wall murals, which help set the tone and understanding of the ceremony, had been removed.

Similar changes are planned for the Manti Temple, which houses a Mormon masterpiece by noted artist Minerva Teichert.

The moves sparked an outcry from preservationists and many church members.

On this week’s podcast, Jody England Hansen, who served as a volunteer ordinance worker in the Salt Lake Temple before it closed to undergo a four-year renovation, tearfully discusses the changes — how the live endowment and vivid murals enhanced the temple experience and what will be lost without them.

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