Christmas 1956: The Nauvoo Mormon Temple

Nauvoo, IL

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The Nauvoo Mormon Temple woodblock print

The card’s interior

“The Nauvoo Mormon Temple, the largest and finest building in the West at the time it was built, was destroyed in 1848, the victim of religious intolerance.”

The Nauvoo Temple was the second temple constructed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and was designed in the Greek Revival style by Mormon architect William Weeks, under the direction of Joseph Smith.

Construction was only half complete when Smith was assassinated in 1844. As mob violence increased during the summer of 1845, Brigham Young encouraged the Latter Day Saints to complete the temple even as they prepared to abandon the city.

Upon dedication, the Nauvoo Temple was in use for less than three months. When church members were forced out of Nauvoo in the winter of 1846, the church attempted to sell the building, finally succeeding in 1848. In early October, 1848, the temple was set on fire by an unknown arsonist. The temple was gutted with only four exterior walls standing. A new temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints opened in Nauvoo in 2002. The Turners’ full research on the Temple is accessible in their Christmas 1956 note.

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