Discovering Great Mormon Buildings

Bountiful Tabernacle Chapel Interior

A very interesting interior image of this chapel was taken in 1975. This chapel contained quite an extensive shrine to Joseph Smith as the focal point of the chapel until 1976 when the entire rostrum was remodeled by Carpenter and Stringham architects to the layout seen today. Other items of interest from the pre-1976 chapel is the sacrament table located to the side amongst the pews and at a 90 degree angle to the front. And at the left side can be seen large accordion doors that opened to a Recreation Hall which was added in 1925 by architect George Cannon Young. It is unfortunate that more of the original rostrum could not have remained. Almost every thing about the original is more interesting and beautiful than than what is there now.

55 S. Main
Bountiful, UT
Built 1857-63
Architect: Augustus Farnham
National Register of Historic Places
Map Location of Building

6 responses

  1. Wow! I was just in this building over Christmas, and I just loved being in an old Chapel. It is actually my sister, brother-in-law, and friend’s ward building. I had no idea that it had changed that much. Where those accordion doors led to is now just a lobby, although a very nice lobby at that.

    January 22, 2012 at 11:10 pm

  2. seshat

    That Joseph Smith shrine is bizarre. Are there other photos? I am trying to figure out what he’s wearing. Is that a toga, like he’s some Roman military hero? The classical pilasters would at least make a classical bust of JS in classical garb slightly less incongruous…. I also suppose whatever he’s wearing could just be normal 19th century clothes that don’t read well from a distance, but it still looks very strange and very pagan. No wonder other people thought Mormons worshiped JS and weren’t christians, especially since JS occupies the focal point reserved in so many churches for a crucifix.

    Can’t help wondering if the guy who created Gilgal Gardens and carved Joseph Smith’s face on a sphinx drew some inspiration from this. Have you ever been there? One of the strangest collections of Mormon visual art I have ever seen–thoroughly uncorrelated. Take your kids there some day if you want to freak them out.

    I agree that the original pulpit and rostrum were more beautiful and elegant than their replacements. I don’t know the technical terms, but I especially regret the disappearance of the half-circle shell-looking thingies topping off the pilasters, and the embellishment above and between them. (What do you call all that?)

    January 22, 2012 at 11:48 pm

  3. Jim

    It is also interesting to see the 3 doors behind the rostrum. It looks like the far left door led to a hallway which is very unusual to have that there it seems.

    January 23, 2012 at 11:24 am

  4. The church we attended in Seattle had a similar configuration, with the cultural hall to the side of the chapel at a right angle. I hated it because the chapel itself was small, so if you arrived late you had to sit in the overflow which, because of the angle, prevented you from seeing anything. It is a beautiful chapel and I’d hate to see it remodeled, but it certainly was not big enough to accomodate an average contemporary ward.

    January 23, 2012 at 11:52 am

    • I think that is the Seattle 2nd ward building. I attended there when I was small. I still remember the set of stairs that led upstairs. Primary was downstairs

      January 9, 2015 at 2:57 pm

  5. Th.


    Any idea what the banner held by the naked babies says?

    January 24, 2012 at 9:47 pm

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