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Om 6 October 2012, during the Saturday morning session of the 182nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Thomas S. Monson announced plans for a temple to be built in Tucson, Arizona - Arizona's second largest city.
The Tucson Arizona Temple will be the sixth Mormon temple in Arizona, the home of approximately 416,000 Latter-day Saints, meeting in over 800 congregations. The other temples in Arizona are the Mesa Arizona Temple (1927), Snowflake Arizona Temple (2002), Gila Valley Arizona Temple (2010), Phoenix Arizona Temple (2014), and the Gilbert Arizona Temple (2014). The Mesa Arizona Temple presents an Easter pageant every year that attracts tens of thousands of visitors. Cactus plants at the Tucson Arizona Temple site were transplanted to an on-site nursery and reintegrated into the final landscaping.
The Tucson Arizona Temple is larger than the Gila Valley Temple and smaller than the Phoenix Temple. The two-story, 34,000-square-foot mission-style building includes a dome-shaped cupola reminiscent of the famous dome that crowns Italy's Florence Cathedral.
The temple will serve approximately 33,000 members who make up the eight stakes in the Tucson area - from Sierra Vista, Wilcox, Avra Valley, Marana, Oro Valley to Nogales. The site for the Tucson Arizona Temple is in the Catalina Foothills, where East Ina Road curves into Skyline Drive.
History of the Church in Tucson, Arizona
Latter-day Saints first entered the area that is now Tucson in the winter of 1846 as part of the Mormon Battalion which was organized to help in the Mexican-American War. The trails they blazed across Arizona had started in Iowa and ended in California and ultimately became the “highways” for people headed west throughout the 1800s. Thirty-three members of the Battalion returned and settled in what is now Arizona. More members of the Church arrived in 1873, having been sent from Utah to establish settlements in Arizona. In 1899, Nephi and Jacob Bingham settled in the Tucson area near the Rillito River, and they named the colony Binghampton. Gradually, more members of the Church settled in the area, and the first branch in Tucson was formed in 1910. The first stake in the area was formed in 1956.
In 1912, Latter-day Saints who had settled in Mexico also relocated to Arizona, and 15 years later, Arizona’s first temple was dedicated in Mesa. In 1973, Arizona native Spencer W. Kimball became the 12th President of the Church and served until his death in 1985.
The Tucson Arizona Temple is anticipated to serve members from the following ten stakes: Marana Arizona Stake, Sahuarita Arizona Stake, Sierra Vista Arizona Stake, St David Arizona Stake, Tucson Arizona Stake, Tucson Arizona East Stake, Tucson Arizona North Stake, Tucson Arizona Rincon Stake, Tucson Arizona South Stake, and Tucson Arizona West Stake. A final determination will be made before the temple is dedicated.
On Saturday, 17 October 2015, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presided at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Tucson Arizona Temple. Services were broadcast live to area meetinghouses in English and in Spanish. Attendance at the ceremonies was by invitation only, however, the public was invited to view the proceedings live from local meetinghouses.
Open House Announced
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced that a free public open house for the Tucson Arizona Temple will begin on Saturday, 3 June 2017, and continue through Saturday, 24 June 2017, except for the Sundays of 4, 11, and 18 June 2017.
Cultural Celebration and Temple Dedication
The cultural celebration will be held Saturday, 12 August 2017. The temple will be dedicated the following day on Sunday, 13 August 2017, in three sessions at 9:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. The dedication will be broadcast to members of the Church in Arizona. The three-hour block of meetings will be canceled for that Sunday for those congregations to enable members of the Church to participate and focus on this sacred event.