Weber Historical Society to Discuss Myths and Facts of Salt Lake Temple

OGDEN, Utah – Jacob W. Olmstead, curator of historic sites with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Church History Department, will discuss myths and facts about the Salt Lake Temple at 7 p.m., March 20 at Weber State University’s Hurst Center Dumke Legacy Hall.           

As a building, the Salt Lake Temple is a paradox in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On one hand, it has become an icon both inside and outside the Church — a symbol of Mormonism to believers and non-believers alike. On the other, it is probably the least understood structure in the contemporary church. As a result, the Salt Lake Temple has become the subject of legends.

Many of these stories originate from misunderstandings about the building’s construction. Olmstead will present some new findings that tell a far different and more interesting history than those spun from myths and tales.

“I hope attendees might gain a greater appreciation and understanding of the meaning and significance of Mormonism’s most-sacred historical site — the Salt Lake Temple and its surrounding landscape,” Olmstead said.

Olmstead received his Ph.D. in American history from Texas Christian University in 2011, where he studied civic memory and identity in the American West. In 2007, he was awarded the J. Talmage Jones Award by the Mormon History Association for his article “The Mormon Hierarchy and the MX” published in Journal of Mormon History. He has served as book review editor for the Mormon Historical Studies since 2007.

The Ensign Peak Foundation, formed in 1992, helped preserve and create the Ensign Peak Park in Salt Lake City. Later, the foundation worked to preserve the rich historical heritage of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The foundation’s name subsequently changed to the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation. The foundation works to raise awareness to significant site in LDS history.

The Weber Historical Society Lecture Series is sponsored by the WSU Alumni Association, the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, WSU’s Department of History and Stewart Library. All Weber Historical Society lectures are free and open to all.

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Gene Sessions, history professor
801-626-6709 •

Jacob W. Olmstead, curator of historical sites
801-240-2277 •


Ivonne Dabb, Marketing & Communications
801-626-7925 •