By Kerry Smith
Many of us know lots of things about temples. For spiritual reasons, we spend a lot of time inside them, learning about what takes place there. Many things we don’t share outside the temple because they’re sacred and must be kept special.
But there is also much we can talk about with family, friends, and others who don’t attend. Sometimes, it’s also just fun to learn about the temples: facts, interesting tidbits of information, geography, and such. In fact, people who aren’t members of the church often like to know about one of our church’s temples in their city or country.
See if there are a few fun facts here you didn’t already know or might share at dinner as “temple table talk” or with a friend who’s interested:
LDS Temples by Size
Which is the biggest temple? You may have guessed Salt Lake, which is correct. Did you know it has a total floor area of 253,015 square feet?
Which is the smallest temple? If you guessed the Colonia Juarez Chihuahua Mexico Temple, which has 6,800 square feet, you are right!
Which was the first small-size temple to be constructed? Many of us remember the announcement that Monticello, Utah, would receive such a temple as President Hinckley announced the inspired plan to build smaller temples to “dot the earth” and hasten the opportunities to build more temples near more members.
Which temple is built upon the most acreage? If you’ve seen the Washington D.C. Temple, you know it’s pristinely set on a hill surrounded by lots of space. How much space? 52 acres of beautiful temple grounds, majestically lit at night.
Did you also know the newly renovated DC Temple two-month open house is scheduled for this April-June? If you happen to be visiting the area, you’ll want tickets.
Temples and Angel Moroni
How many temples do not have the angel Moroni statue on top? A lot–65 by one count. The statue used to adorn most temples as a sign of respect for Moroni has been increasingly omitted from recent temple designs.
For those temples that do have angel Moroni, which direction is the statue typically facing? Whenever possible the figure is placed facing eastward since scriptures state the Savior will come from the east at the Second Coming (see Matthew 24:27).
In case you didn’t know, there are several variations of the angel Moroni atop temples. The first, featured on the Nauvoo Temple, was designed as a weathervane and lay horizontally with an angel (not Moroni) holding a horn to his lips and a book in the other hand. In a variety of subsequent designs, angel Moroni statues feature him with a horn, the gold plates, or holding a scroll.
Only five temples feature Moroni holding the plates: Los Angeles California, Washington D.C., Seattle Washington, Jordan River Utah, and Mexico City Mexico.
Which was the first temple to not use English as the main language? Members familiar with the Bern Switzerland Temple will know this answer. It was built in 1955 and was the first temple in Europe. It was also the first temple to use film for endowment instruction rather than live acting.
Incidentally, the Meza Arizona Temple was the first to present ordinances in another language: Spanish.
Which temple is at the highest elevation? Cochabamba Bolivia Temple at 8,697 ft above sea level.
Name the temple that is not a stand-alone building. If you thought of the Hong Kong China Temple, you are correct. The temple is on the top floors, while other functions are housed on the lower floors. When various locations originally sought for the temple weren’t plausible, President Hinckley prayed fervently for an answer. In the nighttime hours, he received inspiration and sketched out a plan for the temple. It was dedicated in 1996. Today it is under renovation and is expected to be rededicated in 2022.
Which temple was built from an existing building? The Vernal Utah Temple was constructed within the shell of the pioneer-era Uintah Stake Tabernacle.
Celebrating Temple Work
Which is the busiest temple in the world? If you guessed the Jordan River Utah Temple you are correct! It’s also interesting to note that this temple is the first to have been constructed and maintained for years entirely by member donations. The site was also gifted to the church. South Jordan, Utah, is also the first city in the world to have two temples. The Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple is also located there.
As of April 2021, how many temples have been announced, are under construction, or are operating? The number jumped by 20 when President Russell M. Nelson added to the list in General Conference, bringing the total to 251 temples! His announcement marked the largest amount of temples announced in a single day.
“We are building now for the future,” said President Nelson. “We want to bring the house of the Lord even closer to our members, that they may have the sacred privilege of attending the temple as often as their circumstances allow.”
We receive comfort from the words of our beloved prophet and leader. Temples are an especially vital, physical reminder as we build for the future. Let’s share about them!
Kerry Griffin Smith is a visually impaired author who enjoys uplifting those around her. She is a former writer and editor for Church Magazines. You can find her sharing impactful, clean books at mrsladywordsmith.com.