16 Little-Known Facts About LDS Temples

Temples are sacred places of worship for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

With over 143 operating LDS temples around the world, there are bound to be some stories and facts you haven't heard before. Our first article in this series covered 20 interesting things about temples, and here we present 16 additional little-known facts about LDS temples.

1. The tallest temple is the Washington D.C. Temple with a 288-foot spire.

2. There were 34 temple dedications in 2000, the most in any single year.

3. The current Nauvoo Illinois temple was dedicated on the 158th anniversary of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

Nauvoo Illinois Temple

4. The Salt Lake Temple was the first to be topped with an angel formally identified as Moroni. The angel was designed by Springville, Utah resident Cyrus Dallin, who was not a member of the church. Then-president Wilford Woodruff asked him to design it. He told his mother he didn’t think he should accept the job because he didn’t believe in angels. “Why do you say that?,” asked his mother, according to LDS.org. “You call me your ‘angel mother.” Dallin went on to say this about the experience: “I considered that my ‘Angel Moroni’ brought me nearer to God than anything I ever did,” he said. “It seemed to me that I came to know what it means to commune with angels from heaven.”

Salt Lake City Temple

5. The Colonia Juárez Chihuahua Mexico Temple is the smallest in the world at 6,800 square feet. It has just one ordinance room and one sealing room.
Colonia Juarez Chihuahua Mexico Temple

6. The first temple in Europe was the Bern Switzerland Temple, dedicated in 1955. It was also the first temple not to have English as its primary language.
Bern Switzerland Temple

7. The London England Temple was the second European temple, dedicated in 1958. Europe didn’t get another temple until the Freiberg Germany Temple, built in 1985.

8. Three temples do not have any towers or spires and resemble Solomon’s Temple: the Laie Hawaii Temple, the Cardston Alberta Temple and the Mesa Arizona Temple.

Cardston Alberta Temple
9. Endowments for the dead were first performed in the St. George Utah Temple.

San Antonio Texas Temple
10. LDS artist Tom Holdman designed every window on the San Antonio Texas Temple. His stained glass artwork from Holdman Studios also appears on the Palmyra New York Temple, the Nauvoo Illinois Temple, the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple, the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple, the Manhattan New York Temple, the Laie Hawaii Temple, the Draper Utah Temple, the Twin Falls Idaho Temple, the Rexburg Idaho Temple, the San Salvador El Salvador Temple, the Gilbert Arizona Temple. His work will also be featured on the Rome Italy Temple, and he has seven more new temple projects in the works.

Gilbert Arizona Temple Celestial Room featuring Tom Holdman's stained glass
11. Lightning struck and damaged the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple in June 2009, ruining Moroni’s arm, face and trumpet. The replacement made it atop the temple by August, ten days before the dedication.

Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple
12. Only two LDS temples have been completely destroyed. The Nauvoo Illinois Temple was destroyed by arson fire in 1848, then rebuilt and rededicated in June 2002. The Apia Samoa Temple, dedicated in 1983, was destroyed by fire in 2003. It was rebuilt and rededicated in September 2005.

Apia Samoa Temple
13. The first 50 temples were dedicated in a span of 120 years. The next 50 dedications happened in just 3 years.

14. Because real estate is costly and limited in Asia, the Church has taken down mission homes and rebuilt temples in their place, including the Fukuoka Japan Temple, the Tokyo Japan Temple, the Hong Kong China Temple, the Seoul Korea Temple and the Taipei Taiwan Temple.
Hong Kong China Temple
15. The Boston Massachusetts Temple was dedicated without its steeple and Angel Moroni because of a dispute with local residents over the need for the steeple. A judge originally ruled that the “steeple was not a ‘necessary element of the Mormon religion.’” The Supreme Court overruled the judge’s decision over a year later, noting "A rose window at Notre Dame Cathedral, a balcony at St. Peter's Basilica, are judges to decide whether these architectural elements are 'necessary' to the faith served by those buildings?" The judges concluded that, "It is not for judges to determine whether the inclusion of a particular architectural feature is 'necessary' for a particular religion." The steeple and Angel Moroni statue were subsequently added to the temple.
Boston Massachusetts Temple
16. Four new temples will be dedicated in the coming months: the Córdoba Argentina Temple will be dedicated in May 2015. The Payson Utah Temple will have an open house in April and be dedicated in May. The Trujillo Peru Temple will be dedicated in June and the Indianapolis Indiana Temple will be dedicated in August.

Placement of Payson Utah Temple's Angel Moroni. (Photo: Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)
*All photos via LDS.org unless otherwise noted.

Tracie Snowder is a web producer for KSL.com and mom of two girls. She received her broadcast journalism degree from BYU. She spent the first 18 years of her life in California, the next nine years in Utah and now calls College Station, Texas home while her husband attends Texas A&M for grad school. She enjoys reading, writing, yoga, sports, music and loves the beach.


  1. #12. The temple of Montréal-Québec is still currently in work and has been actually almost destroyed as heavy issues have been found in the footing and the underground of the temple. There will be nothing common between the old temple and the new one, except his plan.

  2. I love temples, although it is no financially impossible for me to visit every single one.

  3. Hi Tracy - Thanks for these (and the previous 20) Temple Facts. In the next go-around you should include some facts about The Hague, Netherlands Temple. It has at least two unique facts and some others that are unusual and might also be unique. Email me (carytalbot@gmail.com) and I'll share them with you.

  4. Thank you!! Keep the info coming. Every trip we go on, I research all temples we can possibly visit during our travels to do work in. So far hubbie & I have done work in 24 temples & counting!!! I love the temple!!

  5. This made my day. I'm currently living/teaching in China no where near Hong Kong and I have such a better appreciation of the temples close to my home in South Eastern Idaho.