Mormon Temple

Nauvoo, Illinois, USA

Arson 1848

The Disappointed Tourist: Mormon Temple, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 24 x 18″ (61 x 46 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ second temple was built in Nauvoo, where the new religion settled after having been driven out of Missouri in 1839. The cornerstone for the temple was laid in 1843 and the temple was not entirely finished and had been in use for only 3 months when the community was forced to abandon Nauvoo in 1846 after the assassination of their leader Joseph Smith amid growing local hostility. In 1848, the Church sold the temple to David T. LeBaron. Shortly thereafter an arson fire destroyed all but the exterior walls of the temple. The ruins were then sold to Etienne Cabet who hoped to use it as a base for his “Icarian” communist utopia but was thwarted by its further destruction by a tornado in 1850. The last corner was demolished in 1865 on the order of the Nauvoo City Council. A replica of the original temple was erected by the Church on the site and dedicated on June 27, 2002, coinciding with the 158th anniversary of the death of Joseph Smith. The painting is based on a 1890 lithograph of the temple from the Library of Congress.

Requested by Anon.