President Thomas S. Monson Dedicates Phoenix Arizona Temple
Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News associate editor
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.
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.)