See inside Utah’s newest LDS temple, one that highlights an endangered species

Public tours of St. George’s Red Cliffs Temple will begin Thursday and continue through March 2.

The new Red Cliffs Temple in St. George draws inspiration from a flower found only in Washington County — a plant that’s on the list of endangered species.

The dwarf bearclaw poppy is the main motif inside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ structure, which opened to invited guests and media Monday. It opens for public tours Thursday.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Architectural details of the seating in the Red Cliffs Utah Temple.

The temple’s other motifs, according to a news release, include Indian paintbrush, cottonwood leaves and pomegranates. Succulents are featured in window designs, and the precast concrete exterior was inspired by southern Utah’s cottonwood trees and its numerous mountains and canyons.

The 96,277-square-foot temple sits at the end of a palm tree-lined boulevard on a 15-acre site northeast of the intersection of 3000 East and 1580 South in the Washington Fields area of St. George. The three-story structure includes four instruction rooms, six sealing rooms and one baptistry. Its single spire is topped by a golden statue of Angel Moroni, a character from the faith’s signature scripture, the Book of Mormon.

It is just over a mile from Utah’s first Latter-day Saint temple, the pioneer-era St. George Temple, which debuted in 1877 and was renovated, reopened and, last month, rededicated.

The Red Cliffs Temple was announced by church President Russell M. Nelson at the October 2018 General Conference, and ground was broken in November 2020

The public open house will continue through March 2. Free reservations can be scheduled online.

The temple is scheduled to be dedicated March 24 by apostle Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the church’s governing First Presidency.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) A crystal chandelier in the Celestial Room in the Red Cliffs Utah Temple.

St. George becomes the fourth city to have two Latter-day Saint temples, joining South Jordan, Provo and Lima, Peru.

There are currently 17 temples operating in Utah — Bountiful, Brigham City, Cedar City, Draper, Jordan River (South Jordan), Logan, Monticello, Mount Timpanogos (American Fork), Ogden, Orem, Oquirrh Mountain (South Jordan), Payson, Provo City Center (converted from the former Provo Tabernacle), Saratoga Springs (dedicated in August), St. George and Vernal. The Provo Temple is set to close on Feb. 24 to be demolished and rebuilt,

Two other Utah temples are scheduled to be dedicated in June — the Taylorsville Temple on June 2; and the Layton Temple on June 16.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The baptistry in the Red Cliffs Utah Temple.

The iconic Salt Lake and Manti temples are undergoing renovation, and six more — Deseret Peak (Tooele), Ephraim, Heber Valley, Lindon, Smithfield and Syracuse — are either under construction or in the planning stages.

Latter-day Saints view temples as houses of the Lord, places where faithful members participate in their religion’s highest rites necessary to return to live with God after this life.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The Celestial Room in the Red Cliffs Utah Temple.