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Hallowed Ground Sacred Journeys

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The Mormon Tabernacle



This is the home of the world renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Organ. It is known for its dome shape and exceptional acoustic qualities, making it one of the most remarkable buildings in the world.

When it was dedicated on October 9, 1875, it was the largest auditorium in the nation without a center support and still remains an architectural wonder. It serves as a venerable gathering place for conferences and concerts, eminent speakers and performing artists. With the exception of Joseph Smith, every President of the Church has spoken from the pulpit in the Tabernacle marking a history stretching from the era of Brigham Young through to the new millennium.

Old tabernacle and bowery on Temple Square 
Previous to the world-renowned dome-shaped Tabernacle, a gabled tabernacle sat on 
the southwest corner of Temple Square, where the Assembly Hall now stands. 
An additional open-sided bowery stood to the north
C. R. Savage courtesy of Richard K. Winters

The Saints often held Sunday meetings on Temple Square.  Looking to the future, the need arose for a tabernacle to shelter the Saints during large meetings.

After the Tabernacle was rededicated in 2007, President James E. Faust of the First Presidency explained: “Before his death, the Prophet Joseph directed that a canvas tabernacle be built to shelter the Saints during large meetings. In 1845, as the temple was nearing completion, Elder Orson Hyde of the Quorum of the Twelve was sent back East to raise funds and to buy ‘about four thousand yards’ of canvas to build what Brigham Young referred to as ‘the Tabernacle of the congregation in Zion.’

“The finished Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City has dimensions roughly similar to the canvas tabernacle contemplated for Nauvoo, and like the proposed Nauvoo tabernacle it also was situated just west of the temple. As with other matters, such as the great migration to the West, Joseph Smith envisioned a great tabernacle, and Brigham Young made it a reality.”

The middle spans of the Salt Lake Tabernacle were completed first and the ends of the roof added later 
Daughters of Utah Pioneers


Interesting Facts

- Constructed from 1863 to 1867, the Tabernacle is the oldest building on Temple Square.

- The Tabernacle is 150 feet wide and 250 feet long with semicircular ends and forty-four sandstone piers supporting the roof.

- The building was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1970 and as a National Civil Engineering Landmark in 1971.

- The Tabernacle Choir performes its weekly national broadcast Music and the Spoken Word each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. (MT) in the Tabernacle and rehearses Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Both are free and open to the public.

- Tabernacle organ recitals have been year-round Monday through Saturday at noon and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. An additional recital has been performed Memorial Day through Labor Day, Monday through Saturday, at 2:00 p.m. All are free and open to the public.


Bell Tower, Temple Squar Robert Hall

The Nauvoo Bell tower holds a bell that for years was thought to be the original Nauvoo Bell, which weighed 782 pounds. (When the original Nauvoo Bell cracked, it was going to be melted down and recast, augmented in weight, and hung in Brigham Young’s family school, which stood east of Eagle Gate. However, the bell was lost from history at this point, and it is not known what actually happened to it.) It was later discovered that the bell now on Temple Square was a bell sold to the Church’s tithing clerk in 1850 by a group of men traveling through to California and needing money. It was originally hung in a Presbyterian church in Iowa City by a Michael Hummer. The bell tower (campanile) on Temple Square was built in 1966 and is surrounded with scenes honoring the activities of the Relief Society. The bell is rung hourly as a symbol of religious freedom.



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Brigham Young University Religious Education presents
Hallowed Ground Sacred Journeys
Featuring BYU Religious Educators teaching about sites significant in
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
For more information, or to visit our interactive web site with dozens of additional sites to explore,
please visit VirtualTours.BYU.edu
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Hallowed Ground Sacred Journeys
is a co-production of
This blog is a public service of The Watchmen Institute
and is distributed by B.U.M.P. LTD.
All Rights Reserved

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"I have been sharing this information with friends around the world and the response is outstanding. These tours contain information that we could never access on our own and can be shared and treasured forever."
Frank M. McCord
National Chair
BYU Friends of Religious Ed.
Everett, Washington


Brigham Young University Religious Education presents

Hallowed Ground

Sacred Journeys

featuring BYU Religious Educators teaching about sites significant to
The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints.

"A great source for weekly Mormon Church History Videos"
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