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The sunstone seen here was once part of the temple in Nauvoo, Illinois, which was constructed under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The temple was still under construction at the time of his death in June 1844.

The interior was never fully completed before the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints left Nauvoo, beginning in February 1846.

The third or top level of the temple was dedicated as a place where Latter-day Saint faithful could participate in sacred ordinances. It is thought that about 5,600 men and women had that opportunity during a short eight-week period.

Each sunstone was placed on top of one of 30 pilaster shafts. Each stone was comprised of five separate stones weighing together over 4,000 pounds.

The sunstone located at the LDS visitors center in Nauvoo has been property of the state of Illinois for decades and, for many years, was in Nauvoo State Park. Several other sunstones are still extant, one in the Smithsonian and another in the Joseph Smith Historic Site, which is run by the Community of Christ, in Nauvoo. A variety of extant partial stones from the Nauvoo Temple are privately owned and not available for viewing.

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