The Salt Lake Temple Grand Staircase
The grand staircase of the Salt Lake Temple is located in the center of the edifice and connects the first two floors of the temple. The elegant wood railing was crafted by hand in the late 1800's. The woodwork is remarkable considering the period tools used.
The staircase leads to the floor of the temple that houses the Telestial Room, the Terrestrial Room, some Sealing Rooms and sealing office, the Celestial Room, and the Holy of Holies. 'The grand staircase typifies mankind's upward progression back into the presence of God.
The landing at the top Salt Lake Temple grand staircase was the location of a special event in LDS Church history. On 2 September 1898, President Lorenzo Snow had received word that LDS Church President, Wilford Woodruff, had died. Snow was next in line for the presidency and the prospects of leading the church weighed heavy on his heart. He went directly into the Holy of Holies in the Salt Lake Temple and prayed for guidance, or as he described it: "pouring his heart out to The Lord". In his prayer he reminded the Lord how he had plead for President Woodruff’s life to be spared so that he might never be called upon to bear the heavy burdens and responsibilities of leading the Church. "Nevertheless," he prayed, "Thy will be done. I have not sought this responsibility but if it be Thy will, I now present myself before Thee for Thy guidance and instruction. I ask that Thou show me what Thou wouldst have me do."
After he finished his prayer he expected some sort of manifestation or special reply from the Lord. So he waited, and he waited and he waited but no reply came. No voice, no visitation, no manifestation. He left the altar and the room in great disappointment. He walked through the Celestial Room and out into the large corridor at the top of the grand staircase. There he finally received the glorious manifestation he'd had faith that he would receive.
Lorenzo Snow's granddaughter, Allie Young Pond, writes about what happened next in her journal.
"One evening while I was visiting Grandpa Snow in his room in the Salt Lake Temple, I remained until the door keepers had gone and the night-watchmen had not yet come in, so grandpa said he would take me to the main front entrance and let me out that way. He got his bunch of keys from his dresser. After we left his room and while we were still in the large corridor leading into the celestial room, I was walking several steps ahead of grandpa when he stopped me and said: "'Wait a moment, Allie. I want to tell you something. It was right here that the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to me at the time of the death of President Woodruff. He instructed me to go right ahead and reorganize the First Presidency of the Church at once and not wait as had been done after the death of the previous presidents, and that I was to succeed President Woodruff.'
"'He stood right here, about three feet above the floor. It looked as though he stood on a plate of solid gold.'
"Grandpa told me what a glorious personage the Savior is and described His hands, feet, countenance and beautiful White Robes, all of which were of such a glory of whiteness and brightness that he could hardly gaze upon Him."
"'Now granddaughter, I want you to remember that this is the testimony of your grandfather, that he told you with his own lips that he actually saw the Savior, here in the temple, and talked with him face to face.'"