According to the Mormon 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 hosts two visitors’ centers: the North Visitors’ Center and the South Visitors’ Center.
The centerpiece to the North Visitors’ Center is the 11-foot Christus statue of the Savior, an exact replica of the original in Denmark created by Bertel Thorvaldsen. The center also hosts "The Savior's Ministry," an exhibit that features the statue.
On the main level sits an interactive 14-square foot replica of Jerusalem in New Testament times. Visitors can press buttons along the perimeter of the model to see important biblical areas spotlighted amidst the approximately Visitors 4,000 miniature structures.
The center also features murals of scenes from the New Testament by Mormon and other Christian artists. Audio messages from a variety of current leaders of the Church are on display and visitors can also view presentations on scriptural stories from the Bible and the Book of Mormon, as well as the story of Joseph Smith.
The South Visitors’ Center provides a good view of the Salt Lake Temple. The exhibits there focus on the temple and the importance of families in the Lord's plan for His children.
The history of the temple, which includes a 1:32 scaled model, is 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. Visitors can also see the temple architectural plans, designed by head architect Truman Angell.