16. Vernal Utah Temple
Dedicated 1997 by Gordon B. Hinckley
President Hinckley proved himself quite a visionary when it came to temples. We’ve already seen the multipurpose building used for the Hong Kong Temple and the innovative, if cookie-cutter, “mini” temples that doubled the number of dedicated temples in just over a year.
The Vernal Utah Temple makes use of the old Vernal tabernacle and represents the Church’s first foray into repurposing existing buildings as temples. Copenhagen, Denmark and Provo City Center would follow.
15. Monticello Utah
Dedicated 1998 by Gordon B. Hickley
Monticello represents the first of the so-called “mini” temples of the early 2000s. Designed as an effort to get smaller, uniform design temples into locales with fewer members, the Monticello Temple represents a huge step forward in terms of bringing the temple to the saints.
The importance of these temples cannot be overstated. Sure, they involve what some might interpret as uninspiring, anonymous design, but by building these tiny temples (many barely over 10,000 sq. ft.), we were able to realize President Hinckley’s vision of having one hundred temples in operation by the end of 2000. And we did it. And now members in Perth, Australia don’t have to fly to Melbourne or Hong Kong.
14. St. George Utah Temple
Dedicated 1877 by Wilford Woodruff
Is it for once having a smaller steeple that was eventually struck by lightning and needed to be replaced with the larger one Brigham Young originally envisioned before the local saints pushed back on the extra effort? That’s a great story, even if some urban legend is wrapped up in it.
However, it’s also the longest-operating current temple and is the first temple dedicated in Utah. This temple represents the permanence of the Latter-day Saint movement.
Of interesting note, its interior was originally similar to Nauvoo in that the upstairs consisted of a large room with movable partitions. Later renovations brought the temple up to “code.”
13. Los Angeles California Temple
Dedicated 1956 by David O. McKay
She’s a beast. Before the annex to the Salt Lake Temple, the Los Angeles California Temple was by far the largest in the Church at 190,614 sq. ft., but it wasn’t always going to be that way. The temple was originally conceived in the 1940s, but World War II delayed construction (a similar fate awaited the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple). During the limbo, a full priesthood assembly room was added to the designs, as well as revisions that enlarged the ordinance rooms to an unprecedented (and still uneclipsed) capacity of three hundred patrons per room.
The land for the temple was purchased from a Los Angeles film studio, and the current lot is a massive plot of land containing the temple, a visitors center, distribution center, mission home, temple apartments, and a stake center.
12. Kyiv Ukraine Temple
Dedicated 2010 by Thomas S. Monson
Among the many things Ukraine possesses that Russia does not, including some modicum of rule of law, civil society, and democracy, it also boasts the only temple in the entire former Soviet Union. Sure, Russia now has a stake, but Ukraine had one first.
The Kyiv Ukraine Temple was announced way back in 1997, but plans stalled for about ten years before construction finally started. Even years after the first stake in the old USSR was organized, rumors swirled that the organization of the Kyiv stake was premature and area authorities were waiting to see if membership numbers would stabilize in the region.
Either way, this temple is a final outpost until the great swathes of Eurasia finally give way to Hong Kong. The next closest temple not in Europe is in Africa.