Mormon Pavilions - World Fairs and Expositions

Temple Square hits the road on a whirlwind world tour lasting decades. Share your experiences of visiting the pavilions throughout the years and around the planet.

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A special edition of the Book of Mormon was printed for the Spokane worlds fair. It had a picture of Morom on the cover sitting next to the Gold plates, as if he just turned from writing on the plates. - 05/11/2003 - anon

The 1974 Spokane World Fair Mormon Pavilion

A pre-construction drawing of the Mormon Pavilion. The pavilion was in the shape of an open Book of Mormon, with two gold plates, joined by large gold rings. Outside was a statue of the angel Moroni, while inside, a movie called Ancient America Speaks was shown in two theatres. The movie told the story of American history as related in the Book of Mormon. Reed boats made by South American Mormons rounded out the exhibit.

I Actually Saw the Golden Plates

05/05/2002 - anon

Last time I was in Salt Lake, I stopped in the Visitors Center on Temple Square and they had the actual Golden Plates on display down on the basement level. I saw them with my own eyes! At least, that is what the nice young sister missionary from Russia told me. Or what I thought she was trying to tell me, her English was a bit garbled. They look just like I thought they did. TAKE THAT YOU APOSTATES!!!

One simple but effective way to win any argument is to question sources. In Court Cases, the key to prevailing is to understand the rules of admitting evidence and to control what evidence is allowed. It is always possible to claim that evidence has been altered and the truth been trampled upon. With control of sources, we control what we know and believe. None of us lives long enough or has the tools to actually verfy much of anything.

For example, how many of you out there could prove beyond any shadow of doubt that Joseph Smith ever even lived without relying on other sources which could become unreliable at some future date? It all depends on what you will accept as credible evidence. And you can't force me to accept any of it as evidence. I can sit here and claim the most preposterous things. We can not rely on popular opinion to guide us, as it is more fickle than personal opinion. It also feed the us versus them feelings. So where does that leave us?

We have to find common ground. Material that we all agree is accurate. This is why using accepted Mormon sources is critical. They can not be as easily disputed or dismissed by the defenders of the faith. But they can be altered or squirreled away by the Church. Still, I would advise most of you to frequent the church website, listen carefully to conference, read the Ensign, etc. if you want to be effective.

Effective in what? Just what, in the big picture, are we trying to accomplish here anyway? Entertainment? Perhaps various intents are held by many people. But if you think to destroy the Church by enlightening people and helping them to leave it one by one, I personally find this goal rather unlikely and overwhelming. It hasn't worked in the past. The Church has too many advantages, such as billions of dollars of income, 60,000 missionaries, etc. I just don't see the Mormons going away any time sooner than I see you critics all running for the baptismal font after hearing of my latest discovery in Salt Lake.

What might be a more reasonable goal would be to gradually transform the church into something better. Judging from most of the comments here, there is much room for improvement and so this should not be too difficult. Incidently, all but a few of you can have far more influence from the inside, than you can carping from the outside. The church struggles to control people and issues, but the truth is that they don't have as much control as you might think. I realize that some people are so terribly tramatized by the church that they need to get entirely away from it.

But most of us are not in that catagory. What I am saying is that I think most of us church critics should "repent," sincerely or otherwise, come back into the church, and work on transforming it to the extent possible. Remember, there is a reason why they excommunicate known apostates, they are far more dangerous than a lecherous monk in the nunnery. So be careful. Keep in mind that our life span of a few decades is short and we may not have that much individual influence. But collectively, if the few objective thinkers and questioners, and critics keep leaving, for generations and generations, the church is just going to become more and more dogmatic and set in its ways.

So I testify that I saw the gold plates and I don't really care if Joseph Smith was actually drilling my great-great-grandma with his you-know-what, and I've got to get ahold of that pesky Elder's Quorum President to give me a Home Teaching route. This months message: read the conference talks at www.latterdaylampoon.com/ whoops I mean....

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A special edition of the Book of Mormon was printed for the Spokane worlds fair. It had a picture of Morom on the cover sitting next to the Gold plates, as if he just turned from writing on the plates. - 05/11/2003 - anon

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11/23/2001 - Steve P
I may be wrong, but I believe that Book of Mormon with the gold cover was originally printed for the 1974 World's Fair in Spokane, Washington (however, the copy I have was printed in 1977, so the cover design must have been reprinted), at least that is when I first saw it being distributed. I was living there at the time of the fair, and my ex and I sang in the "Mormon Expo Choir", which performed various times during the exposition. I have a vinyl recording of that choir's numbers. The gold-covered BofM has alphabetic-appearing characters covering it, reproducing the "caractors" Joseph Smith offered up as proof that he had in hand an ancient manuscript on gold plates.

The fools-gold-covered book was a tie-in with the Mormon Pavilion, which was a building built to look like two stacks of gold plates, one shorter than the other, joined at the spine by rings, with the appearance of an open book. The pavilion rested on a pier that was built over the water (Spokane River). I have no idea why that was the case. I imagine the fair was short on space and the church was required to build a pier for their little building in order to get their advertising gimmick admitted.

A good number of the pavilions was hosted by nations, and the likes the Soviet Union, distributing propaganda. The Mormon Church was not at all out of place in this mass of disinformation: a fanatic little Utah sect, promoting a religious deception.

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Regarding the Spokane pavilion.

I didn't take any photos of the Spokane LDS pavilion. As a nonmember, I might have entirely missed the "design element" since I didn't even know what the golden plates were prior to viewing the film. It would have registered as a boxy building with arches in the middle. Most Gentiles would have had no idea. - 12/14/2009 - PtLoma

1964 Mormon Pavilion at New York World Fair pamphlet.

The 1964 New York World Fair Mormon Pavilion

1964 Mormon Pavilion at New York World Fair by J Hurst.Black white photo of 1964 Mormon LDS pavilion.Mormon LDS 1964 World's Fair Pavilion.

Mormon temple logo for 1964 World's Fair in New York City. The Mormon Church's pavilion's three towers were replicas of the east towers of Salt Lake City's famed Mormon Church and was illuminated by lights at sunset. A gilded statue of the angel Moroni was placed atop the center spire. The pavilion was set amidst flower gardens and a reflecting pool stood in front of the building.

Two twin exhibition halls containing 135 seat theaters, alternately showed 15 minute films on Mormon history and the Church of the Latter-day Saints. A nine-ton replica of Bertel Thorvaldsen's famous statue, The Christus, stood in one wing. Two 110 foot murals told the story of Christ and of the Latter-day Saints.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir at 1964 World's Fair. 1964 album recorded at the New York World's Fair. Richard P. Condie conducts the choir as they sing "Sing Unto God," "Waters Ripple and Flow," "How Excellent Thy Name," "Thou Art Repose," and more.

Map of 1964 World's Fair - LDS Pavillion is located at R9

Map of 1964 World's Fair LDS Pavillion is R9.

Comments Section

1964 New York World Fair - Mitt Romney - Where you there too?

As a twelve year old boy I was there with my TBM (True Believing Mormon) father and siblings from California. Mitt was 17 and there with his TBM father, George Romney from Michigan.

Too bad we didn't bump into each other. 12/19/2009 - by cricket

Mitt and his father, George Romney at 1964 World's Fair in New York

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I was at both fairs (1964 and 1974)

One thing I omitted: Romney was governor of Michigan by 1964. I can think of several reasons why the photo appears to have been taken near the Ford and Chrysler exhibits:

1. Romney's connection to American Motors (though no longer CEO in 64)

2. As governor of Michigan, he may have had to make some sort of tour/appearance of the Big Three displays. There are full online maps of all sectors of the fair, but I am pretty certain that the auto displays were at the south end of the fair and the LDS temple facsimile (pun intended) was north of the Unisphere and thus on the north end of the fair.

3. Some states had pavilions at the 64 fair. He may have had to attend the opening of say the Michigan pavilion.

If he only went to tour the LDS display, it wouldn't have played well back home. More likely is that he went on the state's dime in a quasi-official role, or less likely, as a guest of AMC as a courtesy to a former CEO. I don't remember if there was an AMC display, but the Ford and Chrysler exhibits were easy to identify. - 12/14/2009 - PtLoma

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Opening Day memories - 12/14/2009 - by scrabbler

In 1964 I was a TBM college student who was in the civil rights movement. Of course, I was acutely aware of the church's own shameful racism, but that's another story - at that time we had hopes that church leader Hugh B. Brown would speak truth to authority.

Anyway I was active in CORE(Congress of Racial Equality). Later that year three of us CORE members were murdered in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Many of us were beaten on the Freedom Rides.

I was one of many who demonstrated at the fair's opening day, April 22, 1964. Among our concerns was that blacks and Puerto Ricans were frozen out of the building trades.

I was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest (going limp). We were sent to Rikers Island jail, along with civil rights pioneers James Farmer and Bayard Rustin.

Hard to believe 45 years have passed.

Here is the story:

"UNIVERSITY STUDENTS ARRESTED AT FAIR: ONE HELD IN $2,000 BAIL ON ASSAULT CHARGE" R. S. Shapiro. Rutgers Daily TARGUM, Thursday, April 23, 1964.

WORLD'S FAIR, N.Y. - Seven University students and a former editor of the Anthologist were among those arrested for civil disobedience as part of CORE's demonstrations at the World's Fair opening yesterday. All seven students were charged with disorderly conduct and in addition three of them were also charged with resisting arrest when they refused to cooperate, when asked to walk to the paddy wagon.

The seven are Michael Padwee '64, chairman of Rutgers-Douglass CORE; Jan Braverman '65; Jacques Marchand, graduate student of history and faculty advisor to CORE; Michael Greenberg, graduate student of economics; David Crowner, graduate student of German; and William Miller, graduate student of history. The identity of the seventh, an undergraduate, was withheld because he is a minor. According to an officer at the 110th Police Precinct in Queens, Padwee was brought before a Queens court last night and his bail was set at $2,000. He was charged with felonious assault and disorderly conduct.

According to a report received by Mrs. Crowner, her husband was charged with disorderly conduct and his bail was set at $500.

The National CORE organization had promised to post bail for all those arrested during the demonstrations.

Information on the other students was not available as of 10:30 last night.

THE SEVEN WERE AMONG 29 who were arrested for siting on the ground in front of the United States pavilion at the Fair. About half of the 29 refused to walk to the police wagon. These included Padwee, Marchand, Greenberg and the minor.

A total of 23 University students demonstrated at the Fair.

No University student is known to have participated in Brooklyn CORE'S projected stall-in.

Nine Rutgers undergraduates, seven Douglass College students and seven graduate students participated in the demonstration at the U.S.A. Pavilion.

All of the 350 total arrested at the Fair were brought to the 110th Precinct in Queens and were arraigned later in the day on charges of resisting arrest (when such charges were appropriate) and disorderly conduct.

The arrests of the University students outside the U.S. Pavilion were made entirely by municipal policemen.

When asked last night if the University would take any action concerning the arrested students, Dean of Men Edgar Curtin said, "They're on their own."

The University demonstrators joined Queens (N.Y.) CORE members in a picket line in front of the U.S.A. Pavilion. They began chanting "Jim Crow must go" in rapid, exciting pitch. Then they shouted "Freedom Now!" as the "Star Spangled Banner" played in the background over a public address system.

Then the group of 29 left the picket line and sat down on the ground on the side of the road.

Marchand and Greenberg held signs which read: "CORE Demands a Fair Share" and "World's Fair - Peace Thru Understanding; America's Fair - No Peace Without Equality." When the police began arresting the group, those who declined to walk to the paddy wagon were carried by policemen into the wagon. Also several sitdowners were dragged along the ground to the wagon.

The former editor of the Anthologist, Norman Fruchter '59, was arrested for blocking the entrance to the New York city pavilion along with James Farmer, National Director of CORE, Bayard Rustin, Rev. Donald Harrington and Michael Harrington, author of "The Other America."

Fruchter is the author of the novel "Coat Upon a Stick" which was published in 1962. As an undergraduate at the University he helped to organize the Trenton Crusade, was responsible for getting a march of 600 University students on Trenton in 1958 demanding a restoration of appropriations to the University which had been slashed by the legislature.

Fruchter sat down with seven others outside a side door to the pavilion when the sitdowns had commenced at the site at about 9:30 in the morning. He was not arrested until over an hour after Farmer and those sitting with him at the center door to the pavilion were taken into custody. As Farmer's group and groups in front of other doors were arrested, new sitdowners took their places.

The arrests of the Farmer group were made by club-bearing New York City Policemen, assisted by club-poking Pinkerton men.

More than 2,000 of the 63,000 who attended the Fair were civil rights demonstrators. Many demonstrators picketed state pavilions, some coming from as far as Mississippi and Chicago."UNIVERSITY STUDENTS ARRESTED AT FAIR: ONE HELD IN $2,000 BAIL ON ASSAULT CHARGE" R. S. Shapiro. Rutgers Daily TARGUM, Thursday, April 23, 1964.

WORLD'S FAIR, N.Y. - Seven University students and a former editor of the Anthologist were among those arrested for civil disobedience as part of CORE's demonstrations at the World's Fair opening yesterday. All seven students were charged with disorderly conduct and in addition three of them were also charged with resisting arrest when they refused to cooperate, when asked to walk to the paddy wagon.

The seven are Michael Padwee '64, chairman of Rutgers-Douglass CORE; Jan Braverman '65; Jacques Marchand, graduate student of history and faculty advisor to CORE; Michael Greenberg, graduate student of economics; David Crowner, graduate student of German; and William Miller, graduate student of history. The identity of the seventh, an undergraduate, was withheld because he is a minor.

According to an officer at the 110th Police Precinct in Queens, Padwee was brought before a Queens court last night and his bail was set at $2,000. He was charged with felonious assault and disorderly conduct.

According to a report received by Mrs. Crowner, her husband was charged with disorderly conduct and his bail was set at $500.

The National CORE organization had promised to post bail for all those arrested during the demonstrations.

Information on the other students was not available as of 10:30 last night.

THE SEVEN WERE AMONG 29 who were arrested for siting on the ground in front of the United States pavilion at the Fair. About half of the 29 refused to walk to the police wagon. These included Padwee, Marchand, Greenberg and the minor.

A total of 23 University students demonstrated at the Fair.

No University student is known to have participated in Brooklyn CORE'S projected stall-in.

Nine Rutgers undergraduates, seven Douglass College students and seven graduate students participated in the demonstration at the U.S.A. Pavilion.

All of the 350 total arrested at the Fair were brought to the 110th Precinct in Queens and were arraigned later in the day on charges of resisting arrest (when such charges were appropriate) and disorderly conduct.

The arrests of the University students outside the U.S. Pavilion were made entirely by municipal policemen.

When asked last night if the University would take any action concerning the arrested students, Dean of Men Edgar Curtin said, "They're on their own."

The University demonstrators joined Queens (N.Y.) CORE members in a picket line in front of the U.S.A. Pavilion. They began chanting "Jim Crow must go" in rapid, exciting pitch. Then they shouted "Freedom Now!" as the "Star Spangled Banner" played in the background over a public address system.

Then the group of 29 left the picket line and sat down on the ground on the side of the road.

Marchand and Greenberg held signs which read: "CORE Demands a Fair Share" and "World's Fair - Peace Thru Understanding; America's Fair - No Peace Without Equality." When the police began arresting the group, those who declined to walk to the paddy wagon were carried by policemen into the wagon. Also several sitdowners were dragged along the ground to the wagon.

The former editor of the Anthologist, Norman Fruchter '59, was arrested for blocking the entrance to the New York city pavilion along with James Farmer, National Director of CORE, Bayard Rustin, Rev. Donald Harrington and Michael Harrington, author of "The Other America."

Fruchter is the author of the novel "Coat Upon a Stick" which was published in 1962. As an undergraduate at the University he helped to organize the Trenton Crusade, was responsible for getting a march of 600 University students on Trenton in 1958 demanding a restoration of appropriations to the University which had been slashed by the legislature.

Fruchter sat down with seven others outside a side door to the pavilion when the sitdowns had commenced at the site at about 9:30 in the morning. He was not arrested until over an hour after Farmer and those sitting with him at the center door to the pavilion were taken into custody. As Farmer's group and groups in front of other doors were arrested, new sitdowners took their places.

The arrests of the Farmer group were made by club-bearing New York City Policemen, assisted by club-poking Pinkerton men.

More than 2,000 of the 63,000 who attended the Fair were civil rights demonstrators. Many demonstrators picketed state pavilions, some coming from as far as Mississippi and Chicago.

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We took our four year old son to it and we took him into a lot of the pavilions.

The Mormon pavilion showed a movie that scared him to death. The thing that I remember the most was the missionaries who were in there made fun of him for crying. It was the only pavilion that scared him and the only pavilion that treated both of us with such disrespect. - 10/29/2005 - Browniebutton

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too bad the spires were not around when the they came to ny to fly into the twin towers.. this temple mock up would have been an excellent target...and very symbolic - 05/30/2003 - anon

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I was a missionary at the World's Fair for the first year only

When I was there that first year. We DIDN'T wear name tags, but DID have pavilion patches on our pockets (this may have changes later).

There was NO turnstile, but a missionary had a hand counter that he'd push with his finger (this may also have changed the next year when I wasn't there).

The long murals were over the doors to the theaters and the art was terrible! The art in the wings was exceptionally good however.

Every few days they flew in flowers to float in the reflecting pond.

The cloud machine hardly ever worked.

On referral cards, if the person filling it out was black we but an "N" on the corner for "negro". If the person was a nun we put a "O" for "zero" (zero = none or "nun"). I don't know if this was official policy, I think we just did it for our fellow missionaries in NYC to save them time when card tracting.

The most coveted position in the pavilion was the Book of Mormon diorama where books were given to the most promising people (or were they sold, I forget). But it was like the BIG SALES place.

We lived at a place called Lefrac City in 18 story buildings (I believe). The missionaries use to climb up the balconies from floor to floor because all our apartments were directly over each other. This was very dangerous.

Richard Eyer was the Bis Shot missionary. - 12/30/2006 - Was There

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Referals from the "64 Worlds Fair - I was a missionary in Argentina in 1964. We got stacks of referral cards from the World's Fair. I remember plodding the streets of Mar del Plata, Argentina, looking for the addresses. "Whoops! Another one six block out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Guess we won't go there." I think there were one or two converts from referrals, but I do remember that many of the addresses written on the cards were bogus.

As far back as 1964 people were aware of the ways of the Mormon Church. " - 12/20/2006 - PhantomShadow

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