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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended November 17, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 16Nov00

By Kent Larsen

LDS Church Cancels Temple Square Lighting Ceremony

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The LDS Church has cancelled its annual ceremony lighting Temple Square with hundreds of thousands of lights. The decision, reportedly due to safety and crowd control concerns, ends a 35-year tradition of celebrating the lighting of the square. Although the ceremony will not be held, the lights are still being put up and with the addition of the LDS Church's new Main Street Plaza and Conference Center, the number of lights used is larger than ever.

The tradition of lighting Temple Square and the accompanying lighting ceremony goes back to 1965 when 20,000 lights decorating the square were turned on for the first time. The idea for lighting the square came from then Deseret News publisher E. Earl Hawkes, who was surprised on arriving in Salt Lake City from Boston to find that so little holiday lighting was done in Salt Lake City.

Hawkes worked with Apostle Mark E. Peterson, who was chairman of the Deseret News, to secure the approval of then-LDS Church president David O. McKay, and then arranged for the display in just three months.

Since then the size of the event has grown substantially. Now more than 750,000 lights decorate the square, and the custom of lighting the grounds of Temples has spread elsewhere, including the Oakland Temple and the Washington DC Temple, where the lights are traditionally turned on by a foreign dignitary.


LDS Church Cancels Lighting Event
Salt Lake Tribune 15Nov00 N1
By Peggy Fletcher Stack: Salt Lake Tribune


Temple Square lights will go on sans fanfare
Deseret News 14Nov00 N1
By Lynn Arave: Deseret News staff writer


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