The Manhattan New York Temple
is the 119th operating temple
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , a temple is a building dedicated to be a House of the Lord, and they are considered by Church members to be the most sacred structures on earth. Upon completion, temples are usually open to the public for a short period of time...
of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). It is the second "high rise" LDS temple to be constructed, after the Hong Kong China Temple
The Hong Kong China Temple is the 48th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints....
, and the third LDS temple converted from an existing building. (The previous two being the Vernal Utah Temple
The Vernal Utah Temple is the fifty-first temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Located in Vernal it is the tenth LDS temple in the state of Utah....
and the Copenhagen Denmark Temple
The Copenhagen Denmark Temple is the 118th operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Copenhagen Denmark Temple is one of the few temples that have been converted from existing buildings....
The announcement of a temple in New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...
was made on August 7, 2002. News coverage was swift and widespread. Several months before, on March 24, 2002, at a special regional conference broadcast from Manhattan to surrounding stakes and districts, LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley
Gordon Bitner Hinckley was an American religious leader and author who served as the 15th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from March 12, 1995 until his death...
told those in attendance that he expected a temple to be built in the area in the next two years. It was widely assumed that this was in reference to the previously announced temple in Harrison, New York
Harrison is a village and town in Westchester County, New York, United States, located approximately northeast of Manhattan. The population was 27,472 at the 2010 census.-Establishment:...
, construction of which had been delayed for several years. The need for a temple in the area became apparent during the previous decade when local Mormon membership tripled to more than 42,000 members.
Groundbreaking and construction
A groundbreaking ceremony and site dedication were held on September 23, 2002, with construction beginning soon after. Temple architect was Frank Fernandez, who has worked on other large LDS Church building projects in Manhattan, as supervised by LDS Temple Department construction manager Cory Karl. As was done with the Vernal Utah Temple
The Vernal Utah Temple is the fifty-first temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Located in Vernal it is the tenth LDS temple in the state of Utah....
, the Church decided to adapt an existing stake center building—which stands on the northeast corner of the intersection of West 65th Street, Broadway
Broadway is a prominent avenue in New York City, United States, which runs through the full length of the borough of Manhattan and continues northward through the Bronx borough before terminating in Westchester County, New York. It is the oldest north–south main thoroughfare in the city, dating to...
, and Columbus Avenue
Ninth Avenue / Columbus Avenue is a southbound thoroughfare on the West Side of Manhattan in New York City. Traffic runs downtown along its full length...
, and is across the street from the Lincoln Center—into the temple. The original building was dedicated in May 1975 by LDS Church President Spencer W. Kimball
Spencer Woolley Kimball was the twelfth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1973 until his death in 1985.-Ancestry:...
and still houses a Church public affairs office on the second floor and a chapel, cultural hall, baptismal font, and classrooms on the third floor.
The temple currently occupies part of the first floor and all of the fourth, fifth, and sixth floors of the building. (Originally, prior to renovations announced in 2006, it occupied part of the first and second floors and all of the fifth and sixth floors, but none of the fourth floor, which floor had housed offices of the New York New York Stake since 1975.) The insides of these floors were completely renovated. Previously, the fifth and sixth floors constituted a second chapel and set of classrooms that were dedicated in 2002, which in turn were adapted from an early gym and sports club built as part of the neighboring apartment complex. The walls of the temple were designed to be soundproof so that the noise of the traffic outside would not interrupt temple patrons. The total floor area for the temple part of the building is approximately 20630 square feet (1,916.6 m²) and the temple houses two progressive ordinance rooms on the fifth floor and two sealing rooms on the sixth floor, along with a baptismal font on the main floor. Uncommon to some temples with two progressive ordinance rooms, the second ordinance room of the Manhattan temple is perpendicular to the first (due to the building's size limitations). The building's elevator system is unique, in that it is designed to service generally public floors for Sunday worship services and temple-only areas when the temple is in operation on other days of the week.
Open House and dedication
The local temple committee, under the direction of Elder Glenn L. Pace
Glenn Leroy Pace has been a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1985. He as served as a member of the presiding bishopric and the First Quorum of Seventy and in 2010 became an emeritus general authority...
and later Elder David R. Stone, was headed by New York New York Stake President Brent J. Belnap and assisted by W. Blair Garff (later called as temple president), Stephen D. Quinn, and others. From May 8 through June 5, 2004, the committee hosted more than 53,000 people during the temple open house. LDS members and non-members alike viewed a 15-minuted introductory video and took a 40-minute walking tour through the first, fifth, and sixth floors of the temple. Many others experienced the LDS temple through worldwide media coverage. Local LDS members who were called to help, assisted by Mormon missionaries
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of the most active modern practitioners of missionary work, with over 52,000 full-time missionaries worldwide, as of the end of 2010...
, gave the tours. Special guests during the open house included two United States Senators and other national and local dignitaries.
On June 12, 2004, a cultural "jubilee celebration" was held at Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall is an entertainment venue located in New York City's Rockefeller Center. Its nickname is the Showplace of the Nation, and it was for a time the leading tourist destination in the city...
, entitled "A Standard for the Nations." It was a two-hour performance including more than 2,400 LDS youth from the area (the largest cast to ever perform on the stage of Radio City Music Hall). In attendance were President Hinckley and LDS Apostle Robert D. Hales
Robert Dean Hales is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . Currently, he is the eighth most senior apostle among the ranks of the Church...
. Master of ceremonies for the jubilee, which was broadcast to surrounding stake centers and was immediately followed by a youth fireside, was David Checketts
David W. Checketts is an American businessman, founder and chairman SCP Worldwide, sits on the board of JetBlue Airways, and is the owner of the soccer club Real Salt Lake.- Career :...
President Hinckley officially dedicated the Manhattan New York Temple for LDS member-use in four dedicatory sessions on Sunday, June 13, 2004. As part of the first dedicatory session, a special cornstone laying ceremony was held, during which a time capsule containing memorabilia from New York such as a copy of the New York Times
and other Church-related items, including a set of scriptures, a handkerchief used during the dedication ceremony, and sheet music, were placed within the cornerstone.
Architectural and design elements
The temple incorporates a variety of symbolic elements that evoke basic doctrinal beliefs of the LDS Church concerning Jesus Christ and his teachings as understood by Latter-day Saints, as well as symbols important within the local community. Manhattan temple design motifs include "living waters," beehives, olives and olive trees, grapevines, starbursts, and the Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886...
. Even the furniture upholstery tacks incorporate specific symbolic elements (e.g.
, crowns, stars, beehives, etc.). Carved into the medium-stain oak wood panels and molding are beehives, while door handle escutcheon plates
An escutcheon is a general term for a decorative plate used to conceal a functioning, non-architectural item. Escutcheons are most often used in conjunction with mechanical, electrical, and plumbing components and fixtures where a pipe, tube, or conduit passes through a wall [or other material]...
incorporate the Statue of Liberty torch together with fig or grape leaves and stars. Curved archways above ordinance room doors and mirrors contain design elements specifically adapted from the Salt Lake Temple
The Salt Lake Temple is the largest and best-known of more than 130 temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the sixth temple built by the church, requiring 40 years to complete, and the fourth operating temple built since the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo,...
On the main (first or ground-level) floor of the temple, directly in front of two interior bronze front doors that incorporate abstract starbursts, is a large art glass mural depicting the resurrected
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...
speaking with two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus
Emmaus was an ancient town located approximately northwest of present day Jerusalem...
. Also on the main floor is the baptistry, where vicarious baptisms
Baptism for the dead, vicarious baptism or proxy baptism is the religious practice of baptizing a living person on behalf of one who is dead, with the living person acting as the deceased person's proxy...
are performed. Above the baptismal font is a large mural showing the waters of the Jordan River
flowing down toward the font.
The fifth floor of the temple contains patron changing areas, a small chapel (which initially served as temple office space), and endowment ordinance rooms. The first endowment ordinance room (representing the traditional temple Creation Room, Garden Room, and World Room (or Telestial Kingdom)) incorporates wall-to-ceiling murals depicting the natural landscape and fauna common to the Hudson River Valley. The second endowment ordinance room (representing the Terrestrial Kingdom) extends approximately one and one-half floors high and contains two unadorned faux art glass windows and Ionic
The Ionic order forms one of the three orders or organizational systems of classical architecture, the other two canonic orders being the Doric and the Corinthian...
columns gilded with white gold leaf highlights. Above the veil is a long horizontal art glass window with olive fruit and branches. The Celestial Room is perfectly square. Flanking its walls are 8 Corinthian
The Corinthian order is one of the three principal classical orders of ancient Greek and Roman architecture. The other two are the Doric and Ionic. When classical architecture was revived during the Renaissance, two more orders were added to the canon, the Tuscan order and the Composite order...
columns (four half-columns and 4 quarter-columns), the capitals of which are lightly gilded with yellow and white gold leaf, plus 4 mirrors and two faux art glass windows with olive fruit and olive leaves surrounded by grapes and grape leaves. The height of the Celestial Room extends two stories and incorporates an upper-level balcony (which is non-accessible to patrons) that maximizes a sense of open vertical space. Above the balcony arches and art glass windows, on each of the room's walls, are four round abstract starburst windows.
The sixth floor of the temple has a long hallway and an open stairwell that lead to two sealing rooms, each of which contains two faux art glass windows similar to (but not exactly the same as) those found in the Celestial Room. The walls of the Celestial Room and the two sealing rooms are finished in cream Venetian plaster
Venetian plaster is a wall and ceiling finish using thin layers of plaster applied with a spatula or trowel which are then burnished to create a smooth surface with the illusion of depth and texture. Venetian plaster techniques include marmorino, scagliola, and sgraffito....
All interior art glass windows were created by Utah-based artist Tom Holdman. All are backlit in order to preserve a quiet atmosphere devoid of city traffic distractions. Along hallway walls are original works of art by noted landscape artists depicting scenes from nature as well as other artwork prints commonly found in other LDS temples and meetinghouses. Both the first endowment ordinance room and baptismal font murals were painted by Linda Curley Christensen.
The temple exterior retains much of the original travertine stone facade. Also on the temple exterior are large art glass panels depicting flowing water.
Steeple completion and later modifications
Just before the temple dedication it was announced that a statue of the angel Moroni would be added to the almost-completed steeple in the fall of 2004. On October 9, 2004, several thousand people came to watch the ten-foot gold-leafed statue be placed on top of the steeple. It is interesting to note that unlike the angel Moroni atop most LDS temples that face eastward, the angel Moroni on this temple points southwest, since the pre-existing building faced that direction.
In a local church conference on November 12, 2006, it was officially announced that the fourth floor, which at the time housed classrooms and stake offices associated with the third-floor chapel, would be converted to become part of the temple and that the stake center for the New York New York Stake would be moved to a new location on East 87th Street. This work was completed in August 2007. The temple baptistry continues to occupy part of the first floor of the building, and the rest of the temple occupies all of the fourth, fifth, and sixth floors. The third floor remains a chapel for local congregations, and the second floor continues to house a public affairs office as well as a small distribution center and multiple-use room.
During later renovations to the third floor meetinghouse space, the chapel windows, which had previously allowed in natural light but were sealed off during temple construction, were opened up again to allow in natural light through the art glass windows.
In 2010 the exterior of the temple was modified to add stone-clad support columns along the Columbus Avenue-side arcade. In early 2011, the sidewalk space between the support columns and the temple proper was upgraded to incorporate a series of stylized granite beehive medallions matching in appearance those found elsewhere within the temple.
Manhattan Temple in the news
Coverage of the Manhattan Temple open house was exceptional in comparison with most other recently completed temples. The temple was featured in most national newspapers, including the New York Times
, Washington Post
, Los Angeles Times
, Wall Street Journal
, and USA Today
, and in newspapers in Europe and Asia. It was also featured on CNN and on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien".
Anti-Mormonism is discrimination, persecution, hostility or prejudice directed at members of the Latter Day Saint movement, particularly The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...
protest attended by many thousands of gay rights activists converged outside the temple on November 12, 2008 to protest the LDS Church's position in support of California's Proposition 8. No vandalism against the temple was reported.
Presidents and Matrons
Temple president is a priesthood leadership position in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A temple president's primary responsibility is to supervise the affairs of an LDS temple in both an administrative and spiritual capacity....
and matrons of the Manhattan New York Temple are as follows:
- John R. Stone and Helen Stone (2004–2007)
- William J. Frost and Lois Ann Frost (2007–2010)
- W. Blair Garff and Sue Garff (2010–present)