Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Nauvoo Temple

Destroyed by arson fire in 1848; rebuilt in 2002
Nauvoo Temple


Nauvoo, Illinois
United States


August 1840

Construction Commencement: 

18 February 1841

Private Dedication: 

30 April 1846 by Joseph Young


1–3 May 1846 by Orson Hyde


4 acres

Exterior Finish: 

Light gray limestone quarried to the north and south of the city

Ordinance Rooms: 

Approximately sixty

Total Floor Area: 

50,000 square feet

Temple Locale

The original Nauvoo Temple, rebuilt in 2002 as the Nauvoo Illinois Temple
113th operating temple
Nauvoo Illinois Temple
, stood on a high bluff overlooking a bend in the Mississippi River. It occupied a city block bounded by Woodruff, Mulholland, Knight, and Wells streets. Just two years after its dedication, the Nauvoo Temple was tragically destroyed by arson fire in 1848 and toppled over by tornado-strength winds in 1850.

Temple Quotes

"I have seen in vision the splendid appearance of that building illuminated, and will have it built according to the pattern shown me." —Joseph Smith, Jr.

"I was in Nauvoo on the 26th of May, 1846, for the last time, and left the city of the Saints feeling that most likely I was taking a final farewell of Nauvoo for this life. I looked upon the temple and city as they receded from view and asked the Lord to remember the sacrifices of His Saints." —Wilford Woodruff

"The Lord has beheld our sacrifice: come after us." —Written by a group of Latter-day Saints on the wall of the assembly hall in the temple just before leaving Nauvoo

"Many were the blessings we had received in the house of the Lord, which has caused us joy and comfort in the midst of all our sorrows and enabled us to have faith in God, knowing He would guide us and sustain us in the unknown journey that lay before us. For if it had not been for the faith and knowledge that was bestowed upon us in that temple by the influence and help of the Spirit of the Lord, our journey would have been like one taking a leap in the dark. To start out on such a journey in the winter as it were and in our state of poverty, it would seem like walking into the jaws of death. But we had faith in our Heavenly Father, and we put our trust in Him feeling that we were His chosen people and had embraced His gospel, and instead of sorrow, we felt to rejoice that the day of our deliverance had come." —Sarah DeArmon Pea Rich

Temple Facts

The Nauvoo Temple was the first temple built in Illinois.

The Nauvoo Temple was the first temple to have an angel atop its tower. It is the only temple to have a horizontal (or flying) angel.

The Nauvoo Temple is one of two latter-day temples to have been destroyed and rebuilt. (The other is the Apia Samoa Temple
22nd operating temple
Apia Samoa Temple

The practice of baptisms for the dead was restored in this dispensation through the Prophet Joseph Smith in Nauvoo. Such baptisms were first performed in the Mississippi River until the baptismal font of the Nauvoo Temple was dedicated.

On May 4, 1842, the first full endowments of this dispensation were given in Nauvoo in the upper room of Joseph Smith's Red Brick Store, which was used as an endowment room until the Nauvoo Temple was completed. The Relief Society was organized there on March 17, 1842.

A series of private dedications were held as portions of the Nauvoo Temple were completed including a dedication of the basement and baptismal font on November 8, 1841; the attic rooms for ordinance work on November 30, 1845; the sealing altar on January 7, 1846; and the temple "thus far completed" on February 8, 1846, just prior to the Saints' exodus to the West.

The endowment was presented on the attic level of the Nauvoo Temple in the 88-foot by 29-foot central hall, which was divided by canvas partitions into separate areas. Saints contributed furnishings like potted plants for the area representing the Garden of Eden and splendid carpets and wall hangings on the east end in the area representing the Celestial Kingdom.