Mesa Arizona Temple
The Mesa Arizona Temple is the seventh operating temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The 113,916 square foot temple is located at 101 South LeSueur, Mesa, Arizona on 20 acres just east of the original Mesa Townsite which was settled by Mormon pioneers. There are four ordinance rooms and six sealing rooms in the temple. A public visitors' center shares the meticulously manicured grounds of the temple, which feature a cactus garden and large reflection pools.
- 1 Brief History, Groundbreaking Ceremony, and Temple Dedication
- 2 Mesa Arizona Temple Facts
- 3 Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors' Center
- 4 Light Display and Nativity Scene Remind Visitors of True Meaning of Christmas
- 5 Mesa Arizona Temple at Sunset
- 6 Mesa Arizona Temple to Close for Renovations
- 7 Renderings from inside the Mesa Arizona Temple
- 8 Videos of the Mesa Arizona Temple
- 9 External links
- 10 Other Temples in Arizona
Brief History, Groundbreaking Ceremony, and Temple Dedication
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, however, the start of World War I stopped plans for a while. The Mesa Arizona Temple was finally announced on 3 October 1919. A 20-acre site was selected and purchased in 1921, and the site was dedicated shortly thereafter on 28 November 1921 by then President of the Church, Heber J. Grant. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on 25 April 1922 with President Grant presiding.
Instead of a formal open house, tours were offered during the last two years of construction of the Mesa Arizona Temple to any interested visitors. Approximately 200,000 people were able to tour and see the inside of the beautiful edifice. The temple was officially dedicated on 23 October 1927 by President Grant. Baptisms for the dead were performed the afternoon following the dedication, and the next morning, endowments and sealings were being performed.
Mesa Arizona Temple Facts
The Mesa Arizona Temple, originally named the Arizona Temple, was the first temple built in Arizona. The architects chosen to construct the temple had recently designed the Utah Capitol Building. The temple was designed around a grand staircase that leads to the Celestial Room, occupying the highest level of the temple. The Mesa Arizona Temple is one of four temples built with no towers or spires (the others are the Laie Hawaii Temple, the Cardston Alberta Temple, and the Paris France Temple.) Carved friezes decorate each corner of the top of the temple, depicting the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy that the Lord would gather His people in the last days from the four corners of the earth. For many years, the Mesa Arizona Temple was known as the "Lamanite Temple" ("Lamanite" being a term that Mormons use in reference to the native people of America), as it was the destination of annual temple excursions for Hispanic and Native American members of the Church, in particular Mexican Saints. There is also a mural in the temple that helped it get this nickname. The mural depicts Joseph Smith teaching the Lamanites. 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.
Before the temple was constructed, Latter-day Saints living in Arizona attended the St. George Utah Temple to perform temple ordinances. Because of the numerous bridal parties that traveled the wagon road between St. George and Arizona, the well-trod path became known as the Honeymoon Trail.
The Mesa Arizona Temple was the first temple to present the endowment in a language other than English. The first non-English endowment session was presented in Spanish in 1945.
The temple was closed in February 1974, for extensive remodeling that equipped the ordinance rooms for motion-picture presentation of the endowment and that added a new entrance and an additional 17,000 square feet, providing much larger dressing rooms and increasing the number of sealing rooms. After the renovations were complete, it was reopened and the general public was allowed to take tours. This was the first time public tours were given after a remodeling of the temple. The temple was redicated by President Spencer W. Kimball on 15 April 1975.
Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors' Center
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. 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. During the Christmas season there is a light display and a nativity scene.
Light Display and Nativity Scene Remind Visitors of True Meaning of Christmas
The Christmas season is upon us, and the magnificent light display at the Mesa Arizona Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one of the largest displays of Christmas lights in the state, is again lighting up the sky. Each year the display attracts over a million visitors to the beautiful and serene temple gardens.
Added features to this year's light display include a new life-size sculpture of the Nativity that appears to float in a reflection pool, and stands that will have interactive QR codes linking to videos about the eight scenes presented throughout the gardens. The spectacular annual display, provided by volunteers, is free of charge and is open to the public every evening from Friday, 27 November through Thursday, 31 December. The lights will be turned on each evening from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Concert performances by local musical groups will be presented nightly from Saturday, 1 December through Christmas Day. Concerts begin promptly at 7 p.m. and last approximately 30 minutes. Early seating is encouraged.
The Mesa Arizona Temple and Visitor's Center is located at 525 E. Main Street, Mesa. The temple is within walking distance of the new Valley Metro Light Rail stop on Main Street and Mesa Drive.
Mesa Arizona Temple at Sunset
Seven photographers—Karyann Hoopes, Brooks Crandall, Richard Webb, Jason Miller, Jimmy Paderta, Lance Bertola, and Rory Wallwork—from Arizona and Utah came together to capture breathtaking images of the Mesa Arizona Temple at sunset. The temple will close for renovations on 19 May 2018, and will reopen in 2020. According to LDS Living, "[The photographers] hope by publishing these photos, they can share the spirit of this building with those who love the Mesa temple, the first temple dedicated in Arizona."
The pictures in the gallery below are seen online at ldsliving.com.
Mesa Arizona Temple to Close for Renovations
Detailed plans of major renovations for the historic Mesa Arizona Temple were released Thursday, 10 May 2018, days before the sacred edifice is scheduled to close for a two-year renovation. According to Mormon Newsroom, extensive work will be done, including site improvements, exterior maintenance, interior finishes, and building system maintenance of the HVAC systems. The temple grounds will also be renovated and enhanced. The public will be invited to tour the temple before it reopens, which is expected to be in 2020.
As part of the renovation, the visitors’ center will also be demolished, and a new center will be rebuilt across the street on the southwest corner of Lesueur and Main Street. The new visitors' center will be home to various interactive exhibits and events, historical information about the temple, and family history research and teaching facilities.
The Mesa Arizona Temple is one of six Latter-day Saint temples in the state of Arizona. It was originally dedicated by President Heber J. Grant in 1927, and was the first Latter-day Saint temple that implemented Spanish services, which benefited Latter-day Saints outside the United States. This is the second renovation for the 91-year-old temple. It was rededicated in 1975 by President Spencer W. Kimball after being refurbished.
Mormon Newsroom also reports that roofing and drainage systems will be replaced, and new windows will be installed to provide better temperature control and conserve energy. Improvements will also be made to make the temple more accessible to people with disabilities. The temple grounds will also undergo major changes to make them more consistent with the character of the landscape design immediately around the temple. The visitors’ center and the water feature on the temple’s north side will be replaced with a new reflection pool and side gardens, opening a more generous view toward Main Street. The reflection pool at the temple entrance will be repaired and remain in its current location.
The Mesa Arizona Temple site will also be improved to better accommodate the annual Easter pageant — a tradition in the community since 1928 — and make the area more accessible and enjoyable with new paths and walkways.
Renderings from inside the Mesa Arizona Temple
For the first time ever, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released renderings of what a temple under renovation will look like once the renovations are complete. The following gallery of pictures is being shared online at LDS Living.com:
Videos of the Mesa Arizona Temple
- Mesa Arizona Temple (Wikipedia)
- Mesa Arizona Temple Garden Christmas Lights
- Mesa Arizona Easter Pageant
- Mesa Arizona Temple page
- Mesa Arizona Temple Dedicatory Prayer
- 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)