1. St. George Temple (1877)
2. Logan Temple (1884)
3. Manti Temple (1888)
4. Salt Lake Temple (1893)
5. Laie Temple (1919)
6. Cardston Temple (1923)
7. Mesa Temple (1927)
8. Idaho Falls Temple (1945)
The Manti Temple is probably the best-preserved example of pioneer architecture. Dedicated in 1888 and located in rural Sanpete Valley, it has remained relatively untouched from modern renovations.
Here is the basic floor plan of the temple, as found in Thomas Carter's Building Zion. This floor plan is based on how the temple was originally built. It is basically unchanged, except that the "Unknown Use" on the second floor is sealing rooms (and likely originally was), and the passage on the main floor now holds locker rooms.
You'll notice that, like the original Logan Temple, the Manti Temple's endowment rooms begin on the first floor and end on the second, meaning that the Garden and World rooms are kind of "in-between floors," something you can't notice from the outside. But first, you come in through the annex.
The annex hallway was constructed in a renovation during the 1900s, replacing the original annex. Still, I think it was done perfectly. It matches the actual temple's architectural qualities very well--in its doors, door knobs and hinges, moldings, and other characteristics.
C.C.A. Christensen (the same artist who painted the creation room mural) painted two murals of the temple hill in 1889. One of them shows the temple hill how it looked when pioneers first arrived in the Sanpete Valley. This one is located at the second stairway, where patrons go up or down for the locker rooms:
The other shows the temple completed. This one is located in the lobby. It
turns out that when they found this painting, green had been crudely
painted over the temple hill to make it look like the grassy knoll what
the temple actually sits on. When preservationists removed the green,
they were able to uncover the grant stairway leading to the temple,
which was in the original plans. Directly beneath the mural is the old sacrament table that used to stand in the Logan Temple's assembly hall.
The chapel that patrons sit in while waiting for a session to begin is also in the annex. It has a beautiful, large painting of Christ with children at the front, painted by John Hafen in 1906 (it's a copy of Benard Plockhorst's Jesus Blessing the Children, which you can view here) . The annex also has other interesting artwork on its walls--a Nauvoo-era temple apron belonging to Isaac Morley just past the recommend desk, a sketch of John Taylor by John Hafen in the men's locker room, a portrait of a contemporary Church leader by Dan Weggeland, also in the men's locker room...there is some beautiful artwork.
At the end of the annex hallway is the entrance into the temple proper. Going to the right leads to sealing rooms, the spiral staircases, and the baptistry. The baptistry has some wonderful murals, done by Robert L. Shepherd in 1948, when he was also painting the Garden Room.
Patrons attending an endowment session, as they enter the temple proper, immediately turn left to enter the creation room.
The creation room is the oldest surviving mural present in an LDS temple (the St. George temple murals came in the 1930s, the Logan Temple was gutted, the Garden and World room murals in Manti had to be redone in the 1940s, and the Salt Lake Temple came 5 years after Manti). This mural was painted by C.C.A. Christensen. In the early 1980s, conservationists noticed that this mural was in the worst shape of the three, and took measures to preserve it.
The book C.C.A. Christensen: Mormon Immigrant Artist provides some detailed pictures of this beautiful mural.
At the front of the room, on the left side, begins the creation story--the formation of the earth.
As you progress clock-wise around the room, each day of the creation is told in the mural. Here is the second day; the separation of the seas from the waters. The third day (the creation of heavenly bodies) is visible in the wide shot of the room above, just left of the door. The portion of the third day has been heavily painted over by later artists in attempts to restore the original.
On the right side of the door is the fourth day; the creation of plants. (The line down this photo is in the original book; I believe this is where the walls come together in a corner.) Christensen used hollyhocks (common in Utah and his home country, Denmark) in the foreground; in the back are lombardy poplars (a common tree planted by pioneers in Utah).
Finally, the back of the room and the left (east) side shows the creation of animals. This begins with some depictions of Jurassic-era creatures and ferns. I love that Christensen included these drawings. For an interesting look at the context of these creatures, see this article.
Here's a view of the front of the room:
From the garden room, patrons head up that staircase on the right into the world room. This mural were added in 1947 by Minerva Teichert. I have absolutely no information on the original world room mural, other than it was probably done by Dan Weggeland. Apparently, water damage also necessitated this mural having to be redone.
Last is the Celestial Room:
This sealing room is connected to the south side of the Celestial Room. It is definitely one of the most ornate sealing rooms in the Church (that I know of, anyway).
One of the most stunning parts of the temple are the two wooden spiral staircases in the west towers.
Like other assembly halls, there are two sets of pulpits: one on the west end and one on the east end, representing the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood, respectively.
The mural in the "world" room, as you describe here, was most fascinating during my first and only visit to the Manti temple weeks ago. Being Chinese baptized into the church in Taiwan, I was most surprised to find Chinese people depicted in that mural. I felt it had to do with the gathering of the saints unto Zion. The welcoming Native American chief has a gesture like that of the Saviour in a popular Second Coming painting. I will go to the BYU studies paper you recommend here. Thank you so much for sharing your observations and research.ReplyDelete
Thank you! I'm glad I could provide some more information. That mural is definitely one of my favorites.Delete
Thank you for your post! It's really wonderful.ReplyDelete
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it!Delete
What a wonderful blog this is!ReplyDelete
Thank you! I hope you enjoy it!Delete
I was surprised and impressed to see in one of the Christensen murals that, as you pointed out, there are Jurassic era creatures included. Fascinating! Thank you for a wonderfully informative blog.ReplyDelete
It's really unique! For background information on the Jurassic-era creature, see here: http://juvenileinstructor.org/things-i-did-not-know-dinosaurs-in-the-manti-temple/Delete
Curious if you have any info on the painting of Jesus and the children in the chapel?ReplyDelete
Hi Scott--I know what you're talking about. I haven't been able to find any pictures of the painting, or find out who it was done by. (I really should just walk to the front of the chapel the next time I'm there and see if I can spot a signature.) It looks like it is an older painting. I'm wondering if Dan Weggeland had a hand in it; it looks like his style. I'll keep digging and see if I can find any other info.Delete
I found that the painting of the Savior blessing the children was given to the temple by Bishop John B. Maiben. Still trying to find other information on it.Delete
I love this temple. The terrestrial room is one of my favorite in any temple.ReplyDelete
In the Baptitery I seem to remember the workers telling me that there uses to be a quote on the wall that has since been removed from the Doctrine and Covenants. Do you have any info or pictures?
I have loved reading your blog by the way. You provide wonderful information. Glad I stumbled across it.
Hi Brower Family,Delete
I haven't heard anything about an old scripture on the baptistry wall, but that doesn't mean that it wasn't there. Maybe I need to poke around the baptistry and ask the workers next time I'm in town. :)
Glad you enjoy the blog!
Wonderful comments on the Manti Temple. I plan to attend a session here soon while on vacation. Your comments will enhance our visit.nReplyDelete
Glad to hear it, Kathleen! Have fun!Delete
I have loved reading your blog! I am a painter and love hearing about the history of the murals. do you have more information about the murals in Meza? what artists where involved in the renovations of the murals in the 1990's?ReplyDelete
Sorry I missed this comment, Anon! For more info on the Mesa Temple, see here: http://ldspioneerarchitecture.blogspot.com/2017/05/mesa-temple-interior.html.Delete
My wife and I had a great time at the Temple. My friend in Springville who's great, great grandfather did the Muriel in the creation room and the picture as you walk in.ReplyDelete
That's a good connection to have, unknown!Delete
the sealing room off the celestial room was the holy of holies for pres woodruffReplyDelete
That's correct, Anon. All temples, not just the early ones, have a room that can be used as the Holy of Holies, when needed.Delete
I really enjoyed this blog! Manti is one of my favorite temples. My favorite thing to talk about is the drive through that was originally there on the east side. I always go to the south east side to see where it use to be. You can also see remnants of it by the entrance to women's locker room. It's an amazing temple for sure!ReplyDelete
The tunnel was pretty unique, and I wish I could find more information about why they chose to include that. (Was a major road planned up there?)Delete
It was used as a pull through area for carriages, like a covered driveway. Your carriage driver would pull in, drop you off and then continue through to the other side. It was closed off to allow for additional space inside the temple the north opening is covered by the annex. You can still see where the south opening was. The archway is still there.Delete
I was sealed in what the Manti temple workers called the "Tower Room," which is in fact the sealing room with the blue cushions you included. It was about the same size as the smaller sealing rooms in more modern temples (not cramped but not big). One of my favorite memories is trying to avoid stepping on my bride's train as we descended the stairs after our sealing.ReplyDelete
Thanks for confirming, Unknown. It's probably not used as often because people tend to have more guests for live sealings, but it's a great chance to see those staircases.Delete
My second great-grandfather, Hans O Magleby was one of the chief carpenters on the Spiral staircasesReplyDelete
They are amazing, DBittner! That's a nice connection to have!Delete
The World Room in the Manti temple is one of my absolute favorite temple rooms. Instead of just depicting a desert, it depicts the world as mankind tried to create it but of course failed because they were doing it would divine guidance. This has always made a huge impression on me; more so than "just another desert". This room and its amazing artist set a standard.ReplyDelete
It's one of my favorites as well. You have the juxtapositions of the Israelites on the south wall and the Gentiles on the north wall, and then they all meet at the front of the room in the New World, with Zion in the back. It speaks to the unique dispensation of the last days and the need for all of God's children to work together to build Zion.Delete
I find all of this so very fascinating! In beginning my adventure into genealogy I discovered only 1 day earlier that the husband of my 1st cousin 3 times removed took part in building the staircase. In all his children's memoirs, it is noted that David Emmanuel Brown was very gifted with his skills of carpentry. This is an excerpt regarding the staircase, "Just prior to the year 1888 father spent a work-mission on the Manti Temple, working as a carpenter. His special assignment was on the winding stairs and other decorative adornments. The winding stairs is built to stand independently of wall support and runs from the main floor to the very top of the west tower. At the dedication of the Temple, the whole family was taken to Manti to be present, May 1888." This led me to more research and your blog. I would love to see this one day. Thank you for your writings!ReplyDelete
I know a daughter in law of Minerva Teichert. I’ll ask her if Minerva painted on top of existing murals. I’ll let you know what I find out.ReplyDelete
Thanks L Harlow. From what I've been able to find, there were no original world room murals, and Teichert's were the first. It's odd because Logan definitely had murals in their world room, as did Salt Lake, so Manti seems to have been an exception. (St. George had some type of murals added to their original ordinance rooms in the basement, but I'm not sure of the timing).Delete
I was sealed to my husband by his Mission President in the Tower Room in 1987. Would you know of any images of the room from that year?ReplyDelete
I don't, and unfortunately haven't found many rooms of the tower room at all. I'll let you know if I find any.Delete