Tower of temple that Brigham Young didn’t like destroyed by lightning after his death


stgeorge_templeThe St. George Temple was dedicated on April 6, 1877 and was the first temple completed by the Church after the exodus from Nauvoo. Upon completing the temple, Brigham Young was not completely satisfied with the tower and dome, thinking that it was too squatty. He wanted it fixed, but the Saints were so happy to have an operating temple, that he did not push the suggestion.

About a year after the dedication (and after Brigham Young’s death), on October 16, 1878, a large storm rolled through and a lightning bolt struck the tower, starting it on fire. The damage was severe enough that the tower had to be rebuilt. Members, knowing how Brigham Young wanted the tower to look, built it taller.

Whether the lightning strike was just coincidence or if Brigham Young really wanted a new tower will remain a mystery. But either way, Brigham Young got his way.

Brigham Young destroys temple after his death

2 thoughts on “Brigham Young destroys temple after his death

  • April 30, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    You forgot the “funnest” part of this legend! When the temple was finally lit with floodlights, the way the shadows fell on the tower made it appear that there is a man hunched over a desk. As a young person, I remember a visitor’s center guide pointing the shadow out, and, with a huge grin, state that it was the shadow of Brigham Young guarding “his” tower. The man’s grin told me just how truthful the story was (not!) but I still bought a postcard of the temple at night that “clearly” showed the shadow of President Young guarding his tower. I think maybe this legend got built by visitor’s center missionaries telling tall tales.

  • October 22, 2016 at 6:06 am

    This story first appeared in print in the 1970’s. The short tower had work done on it after the lightning strike, but the tall tower was not built for another 5 years. When it was announced in the newspapers that a taller tower would be built, no mention was made of Brigham Young. There is also no record of Brigham young ever publicly asking for a taller tower during his lifetime. For more info, read this summary here:

    Or a full body of research on the St. George temple spire (from which the summary was drawn) Here:


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