President Thomas S. Monson Dedicates Phoenix Arizona Temple

Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News associate editor

  • 16 November 2014

President Thomas S. Monson greets children gathered for the cornerstone ceremony of the new Phoenix Arizona Temple. President Monson dedicated the temple Sunday, November 16.  Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver.

PHOENIX, ARIZONA

President Thomas S. Monson dedicated a new temple for the Church in the “Valley of the Sun” on Sunday morning, November 16.

The Phoenix Arizona Temple is the Church’s 144th worldwide and fifth in Arizona.

The 27,423-square-foot building sits on 5.19 acres and will serve 60,000 Latter-day Saints from 16 stakes.

Before dedicating the temple, President Monson greeted Church members and placed mortar on the temple’s symbolic cornerstone. President Monson also helped his great-grandchildren, Amelia Rose Dibb and Thomas David Dibb, put mortar on the cornerstone.

Also participating in the cornerstone ceremony were President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency; Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; other General Authorities, and the new temple presidency.

Crowds fill the grounds of the Phoenix Arizona Temple on Sunday, November 16, after it was dedicated by President Thomas S. Monson. Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver.

President Thomas S. Monson and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, visit with the crowd at the Phoenix Arizona Temple dedication cornerstone ceremony on November 16.

President Thomas S. Monson and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, with his wife, Harriet, visit with the crowd at the Phoenix Arizona Temple dedication cornerstone ceremony on November 16. Photo by Sam Penrod, KSL.

Elder Kent F. Richards of the Seventy and Executive Director of the Church’s Temple Department said the cornerstone ceremony is more symbolic than substantial. The cornerstone contains a history of the temple’s construction and other significant items, he said. It “brings to mind the Savior being the chief cornerstone,” he explained.

The temple, which highlights a motif of aloe stalk and desert tree leaves, is decorated in earth tones enhanced with terracotta and turquoise designs.

Elder Richards said the temple is a one-hour drive from the Mesa Arizona Temple, located on the other side of the valley. In addition to the Mesa and Phoenix temples, the Church has temples in Snowflake, The Gila Valley, and Gilbert. A sixth Arizona temple, in Tucson, has been announced. “That will adequately supply the need for temples in Arizona,” Elder Richards said.

The temples represent the growth of the Church in the state, where there are now more than 400,000 members.

John R. Peterson served as a bishop in Phoenix in the early 1960s; his ward encompassed much of the current Phoenix Arizona Temple district.

As a child he climbed the hills that now surround the temple.

Dan R. and Katie Morris also remember the temple site before growth impacted the area. “My brother farmed this land,” said Dan Morris. “This was all farmland, all dirt roads around here.”

One day earlier, thousands of Latter-day Saint youth, ages 12 to 18, celebrated Arizona’s rich cultural history through music and dance as part of the Phoenix Arizona Youth Cultural Celebration. (See related story.)

A father and son take a turn placing mortar on the cornerstone.

Members pose for a photo at the dedication of the Phoenix Arizona Temple. Photo by Tyler Harris.

A choir performs at the cornerstone ceremony for the Phoenix
Arizona Temple. Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf,
greet members waiting to attend the dedication of the Phoenix
Arizona Temple November 16. Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf,
at the dedication of the Phoenix Arizona Temple November 16.
Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver.

 

President Thomas S. Monson, center, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, left, and Elder Dallin H. Oaks stand outside the Phoenix Arizona Temple before the new temple was dedicated in three session on November 16. Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver.

The Phoenix Arizona Temple, dedicated by President Thomas S. Monson on November 16, is the 144th operating temple of the Church worldwide and one of five in Arizona. Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver.

The Phoenix Arizona Temple, dedicated by President Thomas S. Monson on November 16, is the 144th operating temple of the Church worldwide and one of five in Arizona. Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver.

Sun rises behind a cactus located near the Phoenix Arizona Temple. Photo by Sarah Jane Weaver.