Mormon Youth Build and Destroy Nauvoo Temple Replica

Nauvoo Temple Replica 1
In a powerful exercise, LDS youth construct a mini Nauvoo Temple and then are forced to watch it be destroyed. But there's more to it than that.

Nauvoo Temple Replica 1

With an object lesson that would make George Bluth Sr. jealous, 340 Mormon youth of the Cedar Hills Utah West Stake built a 27-foot replica of the Nauvoo Temple, sang and rejoiced, and then wallowed in sadness as a “mob” destroyed the temple the following morning.

The lesson: take the temple seriously.

And always leave a note. And don’t eat ice cream in the car.

The activity was organized as part of a pioneer trek adventure, as is custom in places like Utah, and stake leaders surprised the youth with the announcement of a three-hour endeavor to construct a model of the fabled temple.

Jeanette Bennett, Stake Young Women’s president of the Cedar Hills Utah West Stake said,

“We wanted the youth to understand how the saints prepared for their trek west. They met in Nauvoo as strangers from England, Canada and the Eastern states and experienced miracles as they built the temple together. The saints grew closer to God by building the temple and then making covenants inside. We envisioned our youth growing closer to God and to each other as they helped our beautiful temple arise out of a grassy field.”

Once the temple was constructed, the youth held a celebratory dinner around the 145 white flags they had perviously planted, symbolizing the 145 current temples in operation. Sorry, Trujillo Peru Temple, you just barely missed the cut.

But the next morning, “mobs” came into the campsite at 4:55 am, forcing the company to uproot and march off on an eight-mile handcart hike, while their temple lay in ruins behind them. Again, we return to President Bennett:

“It was more painful than I thought it would be to see our beautiful temple torn apart. But that was the lesson and the emotion we wanted the youth to feel. Those pioneers gave everything and walked away penniless and cold and hungry. But the temple gave the Saints strength to walk west and build a new temple and create a temple-loving culture, and we are all the beneficiaries of their foundation of faith.”

Nauvoo Temple Replica 2
Source: Matt Bennett/Utah Valley 360

This was a pretty potent object lesson on the importance of the temple, and many of the youth expressed dismay upon returning to their trashed temple site, wishing they could restore it. I’m usually one to lovingly jab at/mock pioneer recreation activities, but I can see the value in this exercise.

That said, the temple is toooootally not to scale. Also, the original Nauvoo Temple had no angel Moroni on top, at least not the widely-used iteration on temples today, so that was a bit of an anachronism. Thus, if we chose to be cynical jerks about this, we could easily see this temple representing the new Nauvoo Temple that does have a Moroni. Ergo, the youth destroyed a temple that currently stands, egged on by their stake president. There’s some food for thought.

OK, but I’m being a brat. I dig this venture. Kudos to everyone involved. You can see a time-lapse of the construction below. Twenty-three seconds of intensity!

Source: Utah Valley 360

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