A 5.7 magnitude earthquake in March literally shook up plans for future spire renovations at the Salt Lake Temple in Utah, and the 128-year old time capsule planted inside. The soaring statue of the angel Moroni was loosened by the quake, as well as the 3,800-pound granite orb Moroni has stood upon for years. That stone serves as a time capsule for the Church of Latter-day Saints. Renovation plans were moved ahead of schedule, but church leaders were happy to take a peek inside. Preservationists and stone masons worked tirelessly to open the well-sealed time capsule that was dedicated on April 6, 1892. Church conservator, Emiline Twitchell says it was a tough nut to crack since it was filled with concrete after four separate chambers of the orb were stacked with photographs, coins, books, bibles and historical documents. The church knew of the time capsule since Elder James E. Talmadge wrote in 1912 that it was created and installed to celebrate the end of almost 40 years of construction.
(Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
Church History Curator, Emily Utt told KSL News Radio that because of COVID-19 restrictions, the opening of the time capsule was low-key compared to when it was placed on the Salt Lake Temple in 1892. Utt says, "Our opening has been a few people on a loading dock with very small chisels. I don't know if [the people of 1892] could've imagined that kind of interaction." When the time capsule was put in place almost 130 years ago, big crowds gathered to watch. Utt said, "They had such fanfare. Our opening has been much quieter." Curators are still cataloging contents of the angel's orb and hope to display items in the future.