Historic Salt Lake Temple to close for 4 years for renovations

The iconic Salt Lake Temple will reopen by 2024, church officials said.

(CNN)Salt Lake Temple will shut its doors by the end of the year and remain closed for the next four years as major renovations are underway, church officials said Friday.

The temple in downtown Salt Lake City, where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is headquartered, will close on December 29 to address safety and seismic concerns.
"This project will enhance, refresh, and beautify the temple and its surrounding grounds," Church President Russell M. Nelson said in a statement. "Obsolete systems within the building will be replaced. Safety and seismic concerns will be addressed. Accessibility will be enhanced so that members with limited mobility can be better accommodated."
The temple is expected to reopen by 2024 with a public open house, officials said.
    Only church members in good standing are allowed inside the temple. Unlike The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' meeting houses, temples are only used for special ordinances such as marriage and baptism of deceased ancestors.
    "We promise that you will love the results," Nelson said. "They will emphasize and highlight the life, ministry, and mission of Jesus Christ in His desire to bless every nation, kindred, tongue and people."
    Nelson added that "every reasonable effort will be made to honor and maintain the Temple's historic beauty."
      The Temple Square, where the building is located, is the most visited tourist site in Utah. It draws 3 million to 5 million people each year, CNN affiliate KLS reported.
      The construction of the solid granite temple began in 1853 and was completed 40 years later. It was the Church's first temple under construction in Utah but the fourth to be finished.