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When a fire tragically gutted the iconic Provo, Utah Tabernacle in December 2010, questions immediately arose about what to do with the remains and grounds of the building, which had been a city landmark for more than 100 years. The beautiful structure, built between 1883 and 1989, was venerated by Provo residents and generations of Brigham Young University students who used it for church meetings and concerts.
In October 2011 at the LDS Church’s 181st semi-annual general conference, Prophet Thomas S. Monson announced that the historic building would be remade into a temple. An audible gasp of joy filled the conference center.
Patterned after a similar situation with the 1997 dedication of the Vernal Utah Temple, which was built from the Uintah Stake Tabernacle of the early 1900s, this second Provo temple will include a complete restoration of the original exterior design of the Provo Tabernacle.
In recent months, the Church has acquired properties adjacent to the tabernacle. In August 2011, it announced the purchasing of land from two nearby businesses (Travelodge Motel and Los 3 Amigos restaurant). The following month, the Provo Municipal Council passed a vote to sell the Church the land on which the Hotel Roberts stood before it was demolished in 2004. The Church will own the entire block on which the tabernacle stands, with the exception of the property belonging to the U.S. Post Office, and has indicated no plans to pursue ownership of that portion of land.
The original Provo Utah Temple is currently the most-used temple in the world. The nearby Missionary Training Center and campus of Brigham Young University supply the temple with thousands of members eager to do temple work. This second temple will serve to ease the burden placed on the facilities and temple workers of the first, and to reduce wait times.