April 20, 2022

Miracle of the Nauvoo Temple Blue Prints

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To rebuild the original Nauvoo Temple it took a lot of prep work finding information on everything Nauvoo Temple looked like. Getting the information about the original Nauvoo Temple took many years, and the stories are pretty amazing.

When Gordon B. Hinckley announced the rebuilding of the Nauvoo Temple the temple architects and designers did the best they could to get everything on the outside(and many things inside) as a replica of what the Nauvoo Temple looked like when the Saints built the Temple 200 years ago.

Pic Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Keith Stepan, the managing director of the Temple Construction Department said ”piecing everything together, we think the outside of the new temple is as close as humanly possible to the original.”

The principal architect Roger Jackson said ”In some of the fine points, like the shape of the molding or how this piece abutted to that piece, it wasn’t clear from the photographs, so we studied other buildings of the time. . . we feel good that we are 99%.

The work that went into making the new Nauvoo Temple a replica of the original Nauvoo Temple is really amazing. Knowing that, as you look at the new Nauvoo Temple, you are looking as close to the original as we can make it today.

There are a lot of miracles that happened(some people call them coincidences) to get all the information needed to rebuild the Nauvoo temple. There was miracle after miracle.

Nauvoo Temple Blueprints Miracle

How the blueprints of the Nauvoo Temple made it back to Salt Lake City 100 years after the original Nauvoo Temple was built, is truly a miracle. This story was told by Sister Marjorie Hopkins Bennion when she met the great-great granddaughter of William Weeks. William Weeks was the architect of the original Nauvoo Temple.

Sister Benion said: ”In 1948, a young missionary from Heber City Utah, Elder Vernon C. Thacker, was transferred to a small remote town of Boron California, in the Mojave Desert. While there he and his companion, Elder Frank Gifford, knocked on the door of the home of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie M. Griffin, who graciously greeted them. Mr. Griffin was not a member of the Church but he old the missionaries that he was the grandson of William Weeks, the architect of the ‘old Mormon Temple in Nauvoo Illinois.’ Although Leslie remembered little of his grandfather, he knew William was very proud of his role as [temple] architect. … The two Mormon missionaries developed a good relationship with the Griffin family. .… Before Thacker was to return home to Utah following the completion of his mission, Griffin turned the temple drawings over to him with the instructions for him to deliver them to Church headquarters in Salt Lake City. Thacker recalled the scene:

”’On our last visit to Mr.Griffin he excused himself for a few minutes and went into the rear part of his house. He returned with a large roll of papers about three feet long, ten inches in diameter, secured with a rubber band. He explained, ’These are the original architects drawings for the Nauvoo Temple. They have been in my family for nearly 100 years, handed down from my grandfather, William Weeks.” He opened the bundle. … There were exterior drawings, some interior, an angel on a weather vane, pencil sketches for circular stairways, circular windows, archways, etc. Even the measurements for various details of the temple were included in Williams handwritings. They were yellowed with age but in amazingly good conditions. Mr. Griffin knew I was returning home in a few days. He asked me if I would do him a favor of carrying these plans to the [Church’s] headquarters. I assured him that it would be a great honor for me to do so. He said he felt strongly that, after 100 years, these should be given to the Church. I subsequently left Boron with the plans tucked into the turtle back trunk of my Ford.’

Delivering The Temple Blueprints to Salt Lake City

“One week after returning from his mission, Thacker made an appointment with [Church Historian] A. William Lund. … and turned the drawings over to him. A short time later, Griffin received a letter of thanks from Lund. . . ”We appreciate your action far more than words can express.’”

What are the chances that these young missionaries would knock into this family ready for to hand these blueprints over to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints? There are no coincidences, the Lord is directing His church.

Nauvoo Temple Daguerreotype

There is a similar story that the Historians for the Church told of finding a well preserved image of the Nauvoo Temple. All these made building the Nauvoo Temple possible.

More Blog Posts:

10 Fun Facts about the rebuilt Nauvoo, Illinois Temple

Stain glassed Windows in the rebuilt Nauvoo, Temple Getting Christs Face Perfect

The Miracle of the Stained Glass Windows in the Nauvoo Temple


”Temples of the New Millenium” by Chad S. Hawkins

”Holy Places, true stories of Faith and Miracles From Latter-Day Temples.” By Chad S. Hawkins

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