Vernal Utah Temple
51st dedicated temple in operation
© 2012, Rory Mele. All rights reserved.
Address170 South 400 West
Vernal, Utah 84078-2536
Telephone: (+1) 435-789-3220
ServicesClothing rental available
NO cafeteria food served
NO patron housing available
Distribution store nearby (Store Locator)
Announcement:13 February 1994
Groundbreaking and Site Dedication:13 May 1995 by Gordon B. Hinckley
Public Open House:11–25 October 1997
Dedication:2–4 November 1997 by Gordon B. Hinckley
Exterior Finish:Face brick
Architectural Features:Two attached end towers with an angel Moroni statue
Ordinance Rooms:Two ordinance rooms (two-stage progressive) and three sealing
Total Floor Area:38,771 square feet
Constructed within the shell of the pioneer-built Uintah Stake Tabernacle, the Vernal Utah Temple is a historic landmark of the Ashley Valley landscape. Located just two blocks south of Main Street, the domes of the temple and the steeple of the adjacent Vernal Utah Glines Stake Center are visible to travelers along Highway 191. Colorful flowers and beautiful mature trees on the temple grounds enhance the captivating architecture of the building.
The Vernal Utah Temple was the first temple built from an existing building—the Uintah Stake Tabernacle. A modern temple was built within the shell of the gutted tabernacle, which had fallen into serious disrepair and had not hosted a stake conference since 1983.
The Vernal Utah Temple was the tenth temple built in Utah.
At the dedication of the Uintah Stake Tabernacle on August 24, 1907, President Joseph F. Smith's words would prove prophetic when he said he "would not be surprised if the day would come when a temple would be built in your own midst here."
The Vernal Utah Temple is labeled 1907 and 1997, indicating the two years when the building was dedicated—first as a tabernacle and then as a temple.
The idea of converting the Uintah Stake Tabernacle into the Vernal Utah Temple was first proposed by leaders of the Vernal Utah Glines Stake to area authorities in 1984, but the proposal was eventually rejected by the First Presidency. Many other possibilities were pursued, and the building had even been put up for sale for a time. However, in 1993, the idea of a temple was proposed again. This time, it met with First Presidency approval.
During a five-day open house, over 18,000 people toured the tabernacle before it was closed for renovation to become the Vernal Utah Temple.
All of the furniture and fixtures salvaged from the Uintah Stake Tabernacle were sold at public auction on April 15, 1995. Everything available sold in 3½ hours.
Due to the narrowness of the building, a two-stage endowment room was innovated for the Vernal Utah Temple—a concept which has been used in many temples ever since.
The voices of the self-named "Vernal Tabernacle Choir" accompanied the services of the Vernal Utah Temple groundbreaking (or construction commencement) ceremony. The temple block was filled with throngs of people, nearly 12,000 in all.
At the groundbreaking ceremony for the Vernal Utah Temple, President Hinckley said that constructing a temple from an existing building was something "we've never done before and we are not likely to do again."
The Reader Home, a turn-of-the-century residence in Vernal, became the source of thousands of needed replacement bricks for the Vernal Utah Temple. The owner, a friend of another faith who planned to raze the home, agreed to donate it to the church instead. For two months, 16,000 bricks were painstakingly removed from the home and brought to the temple.
The old dome of the Uintah Stake Tabernacle was removed and renovated into a gazebo, located at the Ashley Valley Commnunity Park. The Vernal Utah Temple was given two domes instead of one, as was featured on the tabernacle.
The eastern dome of the Vernal Utah Temple features a gold-leafed angel Moroni statue added on September 16, 1996. In an experiment, the statue had originally been painted gold. After four months, however, it was decided that the statue should be given the traditional finish of gold leaf.
During its two-week public open house period, the Vernal Utah Temple was toured by approximately 118,700 visitors.
The Vernal Utah Temple was dedicated in 11 sessions over three days. President Gordon B. Hinckley, who dedicated the temple, reminded the assembled congregations of the sacrifices made by the early settlers to build the Uintah Stake Tabernacle and of the prophetic statement by President Joseph F. Smith that he believed a temple would stand in Vernal.