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Hallowed Ground Sacred Journeys

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LDS Conference Center



One of the largest indoor halls of worship in the world.


LDS Conference Center - Copyright Intellectual Reserve, Inc.


Filling the entire block immediately north of temple square is one of the largest religious auditoriums in the world, a facility known simply as the Conference Center. Twenty-one thousand people have an unobstructed view of the podium, pulpit, choir loft, and organ pipes. 

 Interior of auditorium - photo courtesy Intelectual Reserve, Inc.

The grandeur of this impressive building, along with the beauty of the surrounding grounds and gardens, are evidence of the Church’s commitment to excellence. 


The LDS Conference Center as seen from the Church Office Building observation deck - photo by Robert Hall

Built under the visionary leadership of President Gordon B. Hinckley, the Conference Center was designed to replace the Tabernacle as the site of general conference sessions and other religious and cultural events.

The entire podium can be moved for stage productions, as was done during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

President Hinckley said while it was being constructed: “It is a bold step we are taking. But this boldness is in harmony with the tremendous outreach of the Church across the world. We have no desire to outdo Brigham Young or his architects. . . . We wish only to build on the tremendous foundation which President Young laid in pioneering this marvelous work here in the valleys of the West.”

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Conference Center organ - photo courtesy Intelectual Reserve, Inc.

The Conference Center includes a custom built organ with five keyboards and over 7,600 individual pipes.

There are fountains, rooftop gardens, marble-lined walking paths, beautiful art, facilities for meetings to be translated simultaneously into as many as sixty languages, a state-of-the-art high-definition broadcasting facility, and a four-level underground parking lot with 1,300 spaces. 

Conference Center Auditorium - photo by David M. Whitchurch


Construction of the Conference Center
Before construction could begin, the entire block had to be cleared of older buildings, including the Deseret Gym. Ground was broken on July 24, 1997, 150 years after Brigham Young entered the Salt Lake Valley.

Less than three years later, the April 2000 general conference of the Church was held here, and in October 2000 President Hinckley officially dedicated the edifice.

On that occasion, he said: “Today we shall dedicate it as a house in which to worship God the Eternal Father and His Only Begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We hope and pray that there will continue to go forth to the world from this pulpit declarations of testimony and doctrine, of faith in the Living God, and of gratitude for the great atoning sacrifice of our Redeemer. . . . It is not a museum piece, although the architecture is superb. It is a place to be used in honor to the Almighty and for the accomplishment of His eternal purposes. I am so grateful that we have it.”

He also commented: "As I contemplate this marvelous structure, adjacent to the temple, there comes to mind the great prophetic utterance of Isaiah: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

“And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. . . . “O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:2–3, 5).

"I believe that prophecy applies to the historic and wonderful Salt Lake Temple. But I believe also that it is related to this magnificent hall. For it is from this pulpit that the law of God shall go forth, together with the word and testimony of the Lord."


Glimpse of Temple spires through Conference Center roof-top grove - photo courtesy Intelectual Reserve, Inc.


The Conference Center seats twenty-one thousand in the main assembly hall and one thousand more in a separate theater. A Boeing 747 airplane could fit inside the auditorium with plenty of room to spare! The Conference Center has been designed and built acoustically so that those in attendance can hear the speakers and music clearly.

The Conference Center auditorium filled to capacity
 photo courtesy Intelectual Reserve, Inc.


There are no pillars supporting the two balconies; they are completely supported by cantilevers.

Photo courtesy of Brigham Young University

The pulpit was made from a black walnut tree planted in 1964 by President Gordon B. Hinckley at his home.


Meadow greens and granite, Conference Center roof top - photo courtesy Intelectual Reserve, Inc.


The Conference Center’s roof is landscaped with a waterway, trees, shrubs, and grasses to blend into the surroundings and complement the majestic Salt Lake Temple.

The Conference Center covers ten acres and the interior is 1.5 million square feet. It is constructed of stone from the same quarry that provided granite for the Salt Lake Temple. It took three large construction companies and eighty subcontractors to handle the mammoth project. Often one thousand workers were at the site each day.

The Deseret Gym was located on the northwest corner from 1965 until construction began on the Conference Center in 1996. The Deseret Gym was an important facility and social center for the community. Its barbershop provided thousands of haircuts over the years to newly called missionaries entering the old Salt Lake Mission home (formerly located across the street north of the Church Office Building—an earlier mission home was also located on the Southeast corner of the Conference Center block).

The Primary Children’s Hospital also stood on this site from 1922 to 1952.

 Primary Children’s Hospital - photo courtesy of the Utah State Historical Society

On the southwest corner of the Conference Center block sat the large home of John M. and Elizabeth Barker Bernhisel (1799–1881). John was a medical doctor who joined the Church in New York City in 1837 and subsequently served as a bishop there. He moved to Nauvoo in 1843 and lived with Joseph Smith and his family where he assisted the Prophet. It was to John Bernhisel that the Prophet Joseph said shortly before his martyrdom, “I am going as a lamb to the slaughter.”

During the time he remained in Nauvoo, John Bernhisel delivered Emma Smith’s last child, David Hyrum, born a few months after Joseph Smith had been killed. After the Prophet’s death, John Bernhisel crossed the plains to Salt Lake City. He served as Utah’s first congressional delegate, an office he held for ten years.


DUP Display - photo by Robert Hall




On the south side of the Conference Center, from the center of the block extending east to the corner, was the former property and homesite of Orson Hyde (1805–78). Orson served in the Quorum of the Twelve for over forty years (1835–78), presiding over the Quorum from 1847 to 1875. It was during his service in the Twelve that Brigham Young reordered the seniority of members of the Twelve based on temporary disaffections that occurred many years earlier. Orson Hyde was called on a missionary journey to dedicate the Holy Land for the return of the Jewish remnant, which he did on October 24, 1841. Today a beautiful park and stone-sculptured walkway on the Mount of Olives commemorates Orson Hyde’s prayer.
Orson Hyde - photo courtesy Daughters of the Utah Pioneers

___________________________________________________________________
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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
______________________________________________
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
___________________________________________________________________


And the hits just keep on coming!

Thanks to the efforts of our viewers, BYU Virtual Tours passed another milestone this week with 500 fans on Youtube and 500 Twitter followers.  Our videos have been viewed more than 19,000 times, with interactions from all over the world.


This week's video is all about the Conference Center at Temple Square, be sure to watch and comment!

Thanks to all of you for sharing with your friends.

Here's a list of how to get involved:




___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
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
______________________________________________
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
___________________________________________________________________

Salt Lake Temple Square Arch - City Creek



A stream ran through it

Across the street, east from the Deuel Cabin, just to the north of the west entrance to Temple Square, is an archway built into the lower part of the wall that surrounds Temple Square. This marks the place where water diverted from City Creek exited Temple Square.

Closeup of City Creek arch in Temple Square wall • Kathie and W. Jeffrey Marsh

When construction began on the Salt Lake Temple and the tabernacle, the pioneers redirected some of City Creek to flow through Temple Square.

A legend evolved stating that for a short time after the Tabernacle was completed, a water wheel was placed in the creek to help pump air into the magnificent Tabernacle organ, but no evidence has been found documenting the use of a waterwheel to power the Tabernacle organ. The organ pump had to be worked by hand until the advent of electricity.

In 1914 City Creek was moved underground along North Temple Street, where it flowed west to the Jordan River, which empties into the Great Salt Lake.

 In 2000, well water was pumped into a small creek on the north-side of Temple Square to symbolize the original City Creek.

The Historic City Creek Center, south of Temple Square, includes fountains and man-made streams to represent the historic South Fork of City Creek surrounded by approximately six acres of gardens and open space.

___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
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
______________________________________________
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
___________________________________________________________________

This week's News: 10k downloads


BYU Virtual Tours is very pleased to announce that this week, thanks to the efforts of our fans, our Youtube videos passed the 10,000 downloads mark.  Our Youtube channel is very popular as well.

Our fans have been sharing our LDS Church History videos and posts with their friends, and we are seeing the results.

 We have over 170 fans on Facebook and more than 400 followers on Twitter.

Thank you for your efforts, and stayed tuned to our blog for the best in LDS Church History articles and videos.

Click here to help us spread the word.



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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
______________________________________________
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
___________________________________________________________________

The Beehive House

Discover how Brigham Young and his large family lived in the 1800's.




The beehive house was the official residence and office of President Brigham Young.  Like the activities of a beehive, this home reveals the strong work ethic espoused by Brigham Young and the industry and cooperation exhibited by family members. 

Beehive House: Note the small stone pillars and chains that still stand in front to which horses were tied in earlier times - Photo by David M. Whitchurch

First, it was the home of Mary Ann Angell Young and her children. Then, in 1860, Brigham’s wife Lucy Ann Decker Young was given charge of the home and moved in with her children while Mary Ann moved to the “White House.” Lucy Ann enjoyed the public role of entertaining the many visitors to the home, while Mary Ann lived east of the schoolhouse on the other side of the Eagle Gate and across the street east of the Beehive House.

Young family china, including a chicken originally owned by Brigham Young's mother - 
photos by John P. Starrs




Beehive House bathtub - photo by John P. Starrs


Beehive House - courtesy Brigham Young University
 

During much of that time, other Young families lived in the newly added Lion House built in 1856 next door. President Young conducted business and received official visitors in the Beehive House from 1854 to 1858 while he was both President of the Church and governor of the Territory of Utah.

 Early Toys: The Beehive House offers daily tours by Temple Square missionaries who show period furniture and typical toys of the Brigham Young era  - photo by John P. Starrs 
 Typical Home: A sitting room in the Beehive House shows typical furnishings and a piano from the mid to late nineteenth century  - photo by John P. Starrs 


A Warm Home
Family, friends, and visitors recorded warm memories of their experiences with President Brigham Young in the Beehive House. For example, Clarissa Young Spencer, a daughter of Lucy Ann, recalled with fondness her association with her father:

"Throughout my childhood and early girlhood I had the opportunity of being closely associated with my father. This was somewhat unusual, because in a family as large as ours, consisting as it did of nineteen wives and fifty-six children, it was not possible for each member to spend a great deal of time with him. It was my happy lot to do so because Father had his sleeping room and always ate his breakfast in the Beehive House, which was the home of my mother and her family exclusively.
Let me give you some idea of my father. No child ever loved, revered, and cherished a father more than I did mine, but how could I do otherwise, knowing him as I did? 
"My mother looked upon him as the embodiment of all that was good and noble. He had the affection and tenderness of a woman for his family and friends. He was good to look at, and I fail to recall an instance when he was not immaculate in person and dress. He had well-shaped hands and feet, a clear white skin, and blue eyes—the kind that radiate love and tenderness—and a mouth that was firm, commanding the respect of all with whom he came in contact. Few could resist the wonderful personality that made him so beloved of his people. He was of medium height, rather large, with beautiful light brown curly hair, a high brow that was broad and intelligent, a long straight nose, and a chin that denoted character and firmness.

"Each day of my childhood stands forth in my memory as one long round of happiness. The family used to eat an early breakfast, but I always waited until ten o’clock when Father had his, so that I might be served with him. In those days he wore quite a long beard, and it was my duty to tie a bib over it in order to protect it from stray crumbs.

"I suppose one of the principal reasons why I enjoyed having my breakfast with Father was because he always had the things I liked. To be sure, there was corn-meal mush and milk, which was no great treat, but there were also hot doughnuts and syrup, codfish gravy which Mother was very adept at making and which Father loved, squabs from the pigeon house, and some little delicacy from our own garden. Brother Staines the gardener was a genius at making things grow under glass, and the first and finest strawberries or other fruits of the season naturally found their way to Father’s table. His only hot drink was composition tea made from herbs and spices. We seldom enjoyed our breakfast in peace,
for there was invariably a stream of people calling to see Father about something or other, since he was not only their spiritual leader but their adviser in many temporal problems as well. I rather liked having them come in, however, for they certainly brought a variety of stories and problems."

Referring to the big porch that runs the length of the front of the house, Clarissa continued, “In later years, when I grew up to young womanhood, and the boys would come at midnight to serenade me, this porch was a most convenient place to step out onto, listen to the songs, and thank the serenaders. I would gather my ‘wrapper close’ around me and stand i
n the shadows of the veranda while the romantic ballads of the seventies floated up on the night air.”

 A hat and cane belonging to President Young - photo by John P. Starrs 

Books and spectacles rest on a table in the sitting room of the Beehive House  - photo by John P. Starrs 

Sitting Room, Beehive House.  Modern Eagle Gate can be seen outside - photo by John P. Starrs 

Once the residence of Brigham Young, the Beehive House was named for the distinctive beehive structure on the roof. The beehive suggests the importance of industry and cooperation in the society envisioned by President Brigham Young.
 photo by John P. Starrs

___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
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
______________________________________________
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
___________________________________________________________________


Salt Lake Eagle Gate


An interesting arch was erected in 1859 to mark the entrance to President Brigham Young’s property. The original twenty-two-foot gate has undergone several remodeling projects over the years and now stands as a seventy-six-foot span. It serves as a reminder of Brigham Young’s strength, patriotism, and integrity.

The Eagle Gate shown with cobblestone wall
around the Brigham Young properties.
L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University

Modern Gateway
The present bronze gateway, its eagle a scale enlargement of the original, has been erected as a tribute to the visionary and patriotic pioneers who founded Salt Lake City
© by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Modern Eagle Gate, photo by John P. Starrs

Modern Eagle, photo by John P. Starrs

Modern Eagle Gate, photo by John P. Starrs

Original wooden Eagle in the DUP Museum Salt lake City, photo by John P. Starrs


An early view of the Eagle Gate, courtesy Daughters of the Utah Pioneers

___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
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
______________________________________________
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
___________________________________________________________________

Temple Square Visitors' Centers

The visitors' centers at Temple Square are gateways to learn about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
North Visitors' Center
The North Visitor’s Center sits in the northwest corner of Temple Square where the Endowment House once stood. The center domed area houses the Christus. - © by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Both visitors’ centers on temple square are designed to convey the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the importance of the family, and explain the teachings and history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They feature short films, interactive displays, and beautiful artwork, as well as many places to just sit and ponder.

The north building features a marble reproduction of the eleven-foot Christus by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen, an interactive exhibit of the Church’s welfare and humanitarian aid efforts, and a tabletop map made of four thousand miniature pieces depicting Jerusalem as it might have been at the time of Jesus. The south building features interactive displays emphasizing the Church’s commitment to strengthening families and building temples. Free tours are offered in each center.

The Christus
A replica of the Christus, as sculpted by Danish Sculptor, Bertel Thorvaldsen. Jesus Christ is the centerpiece of the message of the Restoration of the gospel.
David M. Whitchurch

___________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________
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
______________________________________________
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
___________________________________________________________________

"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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