According to the Church Newsroom, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates visitors’ centers throughout the world to help explain the Church’s beliefs to the public. These free visitors’ centers are usually located near a temple or historic site.”
- Each visitors’ center is unique, but all of them highlight the commitment of Latter-day Saints to follow Jesus Christ. Other subjects include the purpose of life and the importance of families. These beliefs are communicated through displays, audiovisual presentations and interactive kiosks. There are also Church missionaries available at each center to answer questions. Visitors can spend as much or as little time as they would like at the center, depending on their schedules.
Visitors’ Centers are found adjacent to Church historic sites such as the Hill Cumorah; Independence, Missouri; Nauvoo, Illinois; Kirtland, Ohio; and various temples including Laie, Hawaii; Los Angeles, California; London, England; Mexico City, Mexico; Washington, D.C.; and New Zealand.
Temple Square in Salt Lake City once hosted two visitors’ centers: the North Visitors’ Center and the South Visitors’ Center. In January 2020, crews demolished the South Visitors' Center as part of a Temple Square renovation that will conclude in 2024. The North Visitors' Center was decommissioned in June 2021. All art, exhibits and artifacts in the building—including the 11-foot Christus statue of the Savior, an exact replica of the original in Denmark created by Bertel Thorvaldsen—were removed and will return to Temple Square at the end of the renovation. On November 19, 2021, the North Visitors' Center was demolished. The area will be replaced with open gardens and space for contemplation, which should be completed by 2023.
The history of the temple, which includes a 1:32 scaled model, was on display. In the model, the south and east walls of the replica have been cut away to show depictions of many of the rooms in the temple, including the large assembly hall and rooms where the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles meet. The baptistery and other ordinance rooms are also depicted. Close attention is paid to detail, and even paintings, furniture and working chandeliers and lamps imitate those found in the actual temple. Peter McCann Architectural Models of Toronto was commissioned to create the replica. The temple architectural plans, designed by head architect Truman Angell, were also available for viewing. The model is on display in the Conference Center.