For many, the Manti temple holds a very special place in the heart. Traveling 800 extra miles, my parents were married there in 1951 and my mother always purred over the lovely pioneer, Victorian style that sets a particular stage for the wonderful ceremonies celebrated there. Like the Salt Lake temple, the Manti temple was built with the blood sweat and tears of sacrifice of poor people with great faith and the stories are truly inspiring… not the least of these being Brigham Young’s quote that Moroni dedicated the land for this temple during his lifetime (https://www.lds.org/ensign/1978/03/the-manti-temple?lang=eng).
This temple is the only temple with pioneer art murals by C.C.A. Christiansen in the Creation Room. Dan Weggeland originally did murals in the Garden but the East wall, which was built into the hillside, leaked water, the mural was damaged and not knowing how to restore the mural the Church had the room repainted with other murals by Robert Shephard (who did an exquisite job!). The artistic masterpiece is the World Room by Minerva Teichert, who was painting the same time Shephard was painting in the next room. The story goes that Shephard was so inspired by Teichert’s energy and style, he went to the 1st Presidency with a proposal for changing his murals but they held him to their contract. Read more about Teichert’s painting of the World Room here: https://ojs.lib.byu.edu/spc/index.php/BYUStudies/article/viewFile/6578/6227 Here’s a preparatory sketch of her work for one of the walls that is on exhibit at the Church History Museum
I think it was in about 1982 that the Manti Temple had an annex added and other renovation work done. The addition was to be place on the East side of the temple in an area to be dug out of the hillside, on the other side of the wall from the Creation Room with original pioneer murals by CCA. Great insights on the part of the Historical Dept. as to what damage the vibrations of the bulldozers might cause prompted a request for me to inspect the murals before excavation began. How fortunate we were to have taken a look! Approximately 40% or more of the plaster layers along that East wall were detached from the rock wall and should there have been excessive vibrations, the whole could have ended up on the floor.
Our work in the Creation Room at that time consisted of consolidating the plaster layers (reattaching them to the rock), cleaning,d king minimal inpainting and varnish. In the Garden Room, there were unsightly yellow drips in the varnish that had badly discolored. So that room was cleaned of the old varnish and revarnished. The World Room just had surface grime and so we removed that and revarnished. With contraction immanent, we then covered the murals with plastic.
Now, its 30 years later and I’m being asked again to visit the Manti Temple and have a look at the murals and formulate some proposals and budgets. Some work is anticipated maybe next year but I don’t know what it will be yet. I’ll hoping it means a reunion with some old friends on the walls of one of the LDS Church’s most beautiful buildings.
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