Snowflake Arizona Mormon Temple
It was pioneers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that first settled Snowflake Arizona in 1878, as requested by President Brigham Young. The town of Snowflake was named after William Jordan Flake and Erastus Snow, two of the Church’s early leaders who helped supervise colonization of the area.
President Hinckley said, “We are thankful for those who laid the foundations of this and other nearby communities. They struggled so desperately for so long against adversities of many kinds. Now their posterity enjoy the sweet fruits of their efforts, and crowning all is this magnificent and beautiful temple.”
At the groundbreaking ceremony Elder Rex D. Pinegar of the Seventy told the members that, “the temple was the most sacred place on earth.” It is because of the sacred nature of temples that only worthy members with temple recommends are allowed to enter the temple after it is dedicated to the Lord.
Elder Pinegar also encouraged members to “dissolve any feelings that drew them apart and to gather in the temple where no differences exist.” In the temple members all dress alike in white to symbolize that they are all children of God, and so no distinctions can be made between them.
The new Mormon temple serves 35,000 members, many of them descendents of the first pioneers. The Snowflake temple is set on a knoll that has become known as “Temple Hill.” About eight feet was removed from the top of the knoll so the two-level temple could be built. The design of the temple is similar to the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple. The lower level is partially set into the knoll.
The temple grounds complement the natural surroundings and contain a beautiful water feature. The exterior of the temple is finished with two tones of polished granite imported from China. Much of the furniture has a pioneer appearance in respect for the area’s pioneer ancestry. Since the temple district incorporates a number of Indian reservations, “Native American patterns appear as painted stencil work on walls and sculpted into the carpet.” Items such as handcrafted rugs, baskets, and pottery also decorate the interior.
Jacob Hamblin, an early pioneer and Mormon missionary who helped develop Church relations with Native Americans, traded goods with Native Americans for peach pits, which he planted to grow peach trees. “A print depicting Jacob Hamblin meeting with Native Americans on horseback hangs in the temple as well as a console cabinet featuring a peach tree branch design on the doors.”
There are about 9,000 people who live in the Snowflake area, but more than 94,000 people attended the temple open house during February. As they viewed “an exquisite set of stained-glass windows depicting Christ instructing a circle of children and adults,” they could no longer doubt that members of the Church believe in Jesus Christ.
Temple president Leon T. Ballard believes that so many visitors came because of their ancestral ties to the area. Enthusiasm for the new Mormon temple did not stop after the dedication. “We offer 24 sessions a week, and nearly every one of them has been completely full,” said President Ballard.
President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Snowflake temple in four sessions on 3 March. It is Arizona’s second temple and the Church’s 108th.
1875 West Canyon Dr
Snowflake, AZ 85937-6014
P.O. Box 3100
Snowflake, Arizona 85937
(1) “Dedicatory prayer: ‘The sweet fruits of their efforts,’” Church News 9 Mar. 2002, 25 Jun. 2005
(2) 30 September 2000, Church News.
(3) 30 September 2000, Church News.
(4) Snowflake Arizona Temple Times Vol. II, pp. 1–2.
(5) Snowflake Arizona Temple Times Vol. II, pp. 1–2.
(6) “News of the Church,” Ensign, May 2002, 109