The City of South Jordan, Utah held, for a few years anyway, the unique distinction of being the only municipality in the world with two Mormon temples within its borders: the Jordan River Utah Temple and the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple. Now, Provo also has two temples in its midst, and Lima, Peru will receive a second temple sometime in the future.
However, for the past two years, the denizens of South Jordan have been reduced to single-temple status, as the Jordan River temple has been closed for extensive renovations, serving as something of a harbinger for the many temples currently closed for hardcore refurbishment. But that will all change again in a few months, when balance is restored!
Much to our delight, the First Presidency has announced the rededication of the Jordan River Utah Temple on May 20, 2018, following a lengthy, six-week open house. You can check out photos below.
Bishop Dean M. Davis, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, the LDS Church’s leadership body tasked with building maintenance and construction (among other things), stressed the importance of maintenance of these buildings beyond cosmetics refreshes:
“Over time, temples tire. It’s like owning a car. After a few years, you have to change the tires. And so in a temple, over a number of years, we have systems that show wear — heating, ventilation, air conditioning, electrical systems.”
Not to be outdone, Brent Roberts, managing director of the church’s Special Projects Department, hinted that we can expect more temple closures in the future:
“We’re entering a unique period of time…. We have a number of temples, of course, that are aging, especially those that are between 35 and 45 years old, including this temple, as well as other temples that just need to be refreshed — not so much refreshed on the interiors, but refreshed with mechanical, electrical and plumbing.”
Of interesting note, Bishop Davies explained that the Church uses these refurbishments as an opportunity to optimize the buildings and reduce operating costs. He said that the Jordan River temple employs a technology called cogeneration that is saving “50-60 percent” of the energy costs for the building. As you might imagine, a building with escalators has demanding energy requirements.
The public can tour the Jordan River Utah Temple from March 17 through April 28. You can get free tickets here. Unlike at two brand-new temples, there will be a cultural celebration, which we can only hope recognizes that the area near the temple has gained an IKEA and lost a state prison in the years since the building’s original dedication in 1981.