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Numerous colonies were set up in Arizona by the Mormons during the last half of the nineteenth century. Plans were being discussed for a temple in the area as early as 1908, but the start of World War I stopped plans for a while. The Mesa Arizona Temple was finally announced on October 3, 1919. A 20-acre site was selected and bought in 1921 and the site was dedicated shortly after on November 28, 1921. On April 25, 1922 the groundbreaking ceremony took place with President Heber J. Grant conducting.
When construction was finished on the temple the public was able to take tours through it. Two hundred thousand people were able to take a tour through the Mesa Temple. The temple was dedicated on October 23, 1927 by Heber J. Grant. By that afternoon, the temple was being put to use. Baptisms for the dead were performed and the next morning endowments and sealings were preformed.
The Mesa temple is nicknamed “The Lamanite Temple” ("Lamanite" being a term that Mormons use in reference to the native people of America) because it was the first temple to offer ordinances in another language (Spanish). The Spanish ordinances were first offered in 1945. There is also a mural in the temple that helped it get this nickname. The mural depicts Joseph Smith teaching the Lamanites.
In the 1970’s the temple was closed and underwent comprehensive remodeling. Following the renovations, it was reopened and the general public was allowed to take tours through the temple. This was the first time public tours were given after a remodeling of the temple. On April 15, 1975, President Spencer W. Kimball rededicated the temple.
The temple does not have spires, one of only three made with this design (the Laie Hawaii Temple and Cardston Alberta Temple are the other two). On the outside walls are depictions of the gathering of God’s people in the Old and New World and on the Pacific Islands. The temple design is similar to ancient buildings found in the Southern U.S. and South America. It was also designed to look similar to the descriptions given in the Bible of Solomon’s Temple. The Mesa Arizona Temple has a total of 113,916 square feet, four ordinance rooms, and nine sealing rooms. In March 2002 a second Mormon temple was dedicated in Arizona, this time in the city of Snowflake.
The general public can go to the visitors' center, which is just north of the temple. In the visitors' center people can enjoy murals, videos, displays, and other activities. The public is also welcome to walk on the temple grounds and enjoy the well-kept gardens. During the Christmas season there is a light display and a nativity scene. At Easter a free outdoor pageant is presented on the grounds near the visitors' center. The pageant is called Jesus the Christ and celebrates Christ’s birth, teachings, atonement, and resurrection.
- Mesa Arizona Temple (Wikipedia)
- Temple Garden Christmas Lights
- Mesa Arizona Easter Pageant
- Official LDS Mesa Arizona Temple page
- Mesa Arizona Temple page
- Mesa Arizona Temple page
- Photos of the Mesa Arizona Temple
- A video about the Mesa Arizona Temple
- Map of LDS Temples in the Phoenix, AZ Metro Area
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Arizona (Wikipedia)