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‘Mormon Land’: The best and worst of Latter-day Saint temple designs

Prominent architect Allen Roberts, who worked on many of the faith’s most sacred buildings, discusses these “Houses of the Lord” in the wake of the Provo Temple redesign.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The Cardston Alberta Temple is one of architect Allen Roberts' favorite temples.

Temple work may have slowed due to the pandemic, but temple-building is moving forward at an unprecedented pace.

With The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announcing multiple new temples at each General Conference, architects are busy designing these holy edifices for locales ranging from Argentina to Zimbabwe and scores of places in between.

Besides creating new temples, the Utah-based faith is also renovating 10 existing ones, including the iconic Salt Lake Temple. Just last week, the church unveiled a new look for the 1970s-era Provo Temple and its Space Age design, one members have had a sort of love-hate relationship with through the years.

On this week’s show, Allen Roberts — a Utah architect who specializes in preservation and has worked on Latter-day Saint chapels, tabernacles and temples — discusses designs for these sacred structures, each of which members view as a “House of the Lord.”

(Courtesy of Allen Roberts) Allen Roberts, retired longtime architect who worked on many Latter-day Saint temples and other buildings.

He talks about how these temples are designed, the architectural styles that are employed and how some look similar and others differ. Roberts also reveals some of his favorites (19th-century temples like Manti and Logan top his list along with the ones in Cardston, Alberta, and Washington, D.C.) and some of his least favorites (the current Provo Temple, for instance).

Listen here:

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