Emil B. Fetzer

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Emil B. Fetzer
Emil B. Fetzer.JPG
Head architect of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
1965 – 1986
Called by David O. McKay
Personal details
Born Emil Baer Fetzer
(1916-01-04)January 4, 1916
Died November 2, 2009(2009-11-02) (aged 93)
Spouse(s) June A. Seyfarth
Parents John Fetzer Sr.
Margaret Baer Fetzer

Emil Baer Fetzer (January 4, 1916 – November 2, 2009) was an American architect and the head architect of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1965 to his retirement in 1986.

Architectural training[edit]

Fetzer received a degree in architecture from the University of Southern California in 1943. He then went to work for the architectural firm of Fetzer and Fetzer in Salt Lake City, Utah, which included his father John Fetzer, Sr. and his uncle Henry. Some of his first works were Brockbank Junior High in Magna, Utah, and Union High School in Roosevelt, Utah. On the campus of Brigham Young University he designed the Smoot administration building and the Spencer W. Kimball Tower.

Church architect[edit]


In 1965, Fetzer was appointed as the architect of the LDS Church by David O. McKay.[1] He was the architect for LDS Church temples on five continents. His temples outside the U.S. include the Mexico City Mexico Temple, Sao Paulo Brazil Temple, Santiago Chile Temple, Freiberg Germany Temple, Sydney Australia Temple, and the Tokyo Japan Temple. In Oceania, he designed the Nuku'alofa Tonga Temple and was the initial architect on the Papeete Tahiti Temple.[2] He was also involved with the planning for the first Apia Samoa Temple.[3] He was influenced in its design by ancient Mayan temples in his design of the Mexico City Mexico Temple.[4]

In the U.S., he designed the Atlanta Georgia Temple, Jordan River Utah Temple, Provo Utah Temple, Ogden Utah Temple, and Seattle Washington Temple. He was the general supervising architect for the Washington DC Temple.[5] Fetzer also designed the building that houses the Manhattan New York Temple, although the temple itself and spire were constructed 18 years after his retirement.

All of Fetzer's temples were designed with single spires (see Temple architecture (LDS Church)). Many of his temples (including the temples in Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti, Australia, and Chile) are similar in floor plan, but differ slightly for a locale-specific flair. The Ogden and Provo temples had nearly identical exteriors with large orange central spires that symbolized the pillar of fire by night set upon a large white building that represented the cloud by day, referring to the Israelites in their exodus from Egypt spoken of in Exodus 13:21–22. The spires of the Ogden and Provo temples were later painted white.

Other church buildings[edit]

Other buildings he designed include the South Visitors Center on Temple Square.[6] Fetzer was also the general supervisor of the refurbishing of the Salt Lake Assembly Hall.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Fetzer was the son of John Fetzer, Sr. (one of six architects for the Idaho Falls Temple) and Margaret Baer.[1] He was the brother of Primary song composer Elizabeth Fetzer Bates. He married June Alma Seyfarth on June 14, 1940, in the Salt Lake Temple. Fetzer died of causes incident to age.[1]

Selected works[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Obituary", Deseret News, 5 November 2009.
  2. ^ Church News, 18 November 2006/[full citation needed]
  3. ^ "FYI: For Your Information", New Era.[full citation needed]
  4. ^ "Plans Announced for Temple in Mexico", Ensign, May 1976.
  5. ^ Kathy England, "The Washington D.C. Temple", Ensign, October 1977.
  6. ^ Church News, 1 April 1995.[full citation needed]
  7. ^ Joann Jolley, "Century-Old Assembly Hall Is Renovated", Ensign, February 1983.