First, to the trivia question from last time:
When debating before construction began over what to build the temple out of, what material did Brigham Young lobby in General Conference for?
D. Stucco-covered Sandstone
The answer is one that made me laugh out loud when I first found it—and then I was seriously confused until I found something else that to me explains it.
The answer: C-Adobe!
Why on EARTH would Brigham Young want adobe for the temple? To me, it made no sense. He had SEEN the temple in vision, right? Couldn't he TELL that it was stone?
He believed adobe was stronger than stone, saying that when all the other stones (San Pete rock, sand stone, marble, limestone) would be washed away by the river, "you will find that the temple which is built of mud or adobe, as some call them, still remains and in better condition than at the first day it was built."
Okay then . . .
Here's my theory:
In 1857 when Johnston's Army came marching into Utah to quell a supposed rebellion, Captain Tracy, one of Johnston's men, wrote, describing the homes and other structures in Salt Lake City, "The buildings were almost entirely of adobe, giving them the appearance of grey cut stone" (emphasis mine).
Aha! Turns out that their adobe LOOKED like gray stone! So when Brigham Young saw the vision of the completed temple, he probably thought he was seeing adobe, when in reality, he was seeing the rock that would eventually be cut from the Little Cottonwood Quarry.
Now for Manti!
1) The original plan called for the Manti Temple Hill to be terraced with walls of stone, so some major blasting of rock and leveling out the rough and barren hill was undertaken well before the temple was under construction. Eventually four walls were built up, terracing the hill, and then the temple construction began. Some people said that with the terraces and then the temple walls at the top, at times it looked like they were creating a major fortress. They planned to landscape the hill with the terraces, but that never happened.
2) The landscaping wasn't done for some time. Temple president Anton Lund compared the unfinished, sagebrush-covered hill with the gorgeous temple at the top to "a fair maiden of his native land, Denmark, dressed in a beautiful silk gown, but with clumsy wooden shoes on her dainty feet." The terraces were mostly ripped out in 1907, at which time the hill was graded to a cone shape and the landscaping was finally done.
3) The first winter spent in Manti was brutal. Many Saints dug out holes into the south side of what would become Temple Hill for shelter against the winds and storms. They even created vents to act as chimneys for their fires. The following spring they decided pretty quickly to move away from the hill, as they discovered it was infested with rattlesnakes. Fortunately, no one was bitten, even during the several days where pioneers used all kinds of things to try to kill the creatures, including torches, clubs, guns, and stones.
4) A few years later (before construction began), the hill became a place for children to play and young couples to spend their courtship. Sledding and picking wildflowers were popular past times, as well as hunting for arrowheads, fossils, and pretty stones the girls would collect.
5) In 1852, a stone was cut from the hill—the same stone used for the temple—and shipped to Washington, D.C. for use in the Washington Monument. The stone is there today near the top of the monument. Carved into it is the symbol of the Beehive and the word, "Deseret."
Now for the final trivia question:
What event briefly halted work on the Manti Temple?
A) The death of Brigham Young
B) The assassination of President Garfield
C) A stone quarry explosion
D) A grasshopper plague
See you next time!