Gila Valley Arizona Mormon Temple
The Gila Valley Arizona Mormon Temple was announced on 26 April 2008, and the groundbreaking took place on 14 February 2009. The temple is located at 5291 West Highway 70, Central, Arizona, United States.
The site is 17 acres and includes an adjacent meetinghouse and recreational area. The exterior finish of the temple will be architectural precast stone. The temple is a classic modern, single-spire design. It has two ordinance rooms and two sealing rooms and comprises 18,561 square feet.
This is Arizona’s third temple, and a fourth and fifth have been announced, to be built in Phoenix and Gilbert. Arizona has a large, active Mormon population, and has since the early days of the Church. The Gila Valley Arizona Temple serves the faithful Saints of southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, who traveled some 150 miles or more to attend the Mesa Arizona Temple or the Albuquerque New Mexico Temple. The temple serves approximately 32,000 members from seven stakes of the surrounding area.
Gila Valley is located at the base of the Pinaleño Mountains, and it is known in the Church as the location where prophet Spencer W. Kimball was raised.
In December, 2009, the First Presidency of the Church announced a public open house prior to the dedication of the temple. The public was welcomed to visit the temple beginning on Friday, 23 April 2010, through Saturday, 15 May 2010, excluding Sundays. About 90,000 people attended the open house, while only 40,000 people live in the county.
The temple was formally dedicated on Sunday, 23 May 2010, by President and Prophet Thomas S. Monson, in three dedicatory sessions. In conjunction with the temple dedication, a cultural celebration of music and dance throughout the region was held on Saturday, 22 May 2010 at Mickelson Stadium at Eastern Arizona College. More than 1,600 young people ages 12-18 retold — through song, dance and words — the rich cultural history of eastern Arizona.
On Sunday morning, a cornerstone ceremony was held. President Monson put mortar along the edge of the cornerstone, then asked church leaders accompanying him to do the same. President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency; Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve; Elder Claudio R.M. Costa of the Presidency of the Seventy; and Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy and executive director of the church’s Temple Department followed. Then a few children were invited up to add mortar.
Now that the temple has been dedicated, only worthy members of the Church will be allowed to enter. Exalting ordinances are performed in the temple, all with the aim of sealing families together for eternity.
More information: LDS Church Temples.com