Saints in Southern Arizona Welcome Guests to Temple Open House in Tucson

Contributed By Jill Adair, Church News contributor

  • 6 June 2017

Tucson Arizona Temple.

Article Highlights

  • The open house goes through Saturday, June 24, except for Sundays.
  • The Tucson Arizona Temple will be dedicated on August 13, 2017.
  • Michael and Marina Moeller of the Tucson Rincon Stake will serve as temple president and temple matron.

“Not only is the temple a beautiful addition to an area, but Church members are better people when they are coming and participating in temple ordinances.” —Jana Cherrington, public affairs specialist

Calling it a “beautiful beacon” on the hill, Elder Larry Y. Wilson, General Authority Seventy and Executive Director of the Church’s Temple Department, welcomed a group of local media on a tour of the Tucson Arizona Temple May 30.

Gary Rasmussen, local committee coordinator for the event, agreed. “The ‘mountain of the Lord’s house’ is right here on this mountain,” he said.

Unique local character

The 38,216-square-foot structure sits at the base of the Catalina Foothills on 7.4 acres of pristine Sonoran Desert. As backdrop to the temple are the Santa Catalina Mountains, the most prominent mountain range in the Tucson area. The highest point in the Catalinas is Mount Lemmon at an elevation of more than 9,000 feet.

The temple overlooks the Tucson metro area south to the Mexico border about 60 miles away. Tucson, Arizona’s second largest city, is home to nearly a million residents, and there are more than 30,000 Church members in the area.

“Those who live here have long looked forward to this day, really, for many decades,” Elder Wilson said in remarks at a stake center at 939 W. Chapala Drive, where all temple tours will begin. The public open house began Saturday, June 3.

The temple will serve members of nine stakes, including Sierra Vista, Marana, Tucson, Tucson West, Tucson North, Tucson South, Tucson East, Tucson Rincon, and Sahuarita.

A unique feature of the temple is an elongated dome, reminiscent of the local county courthouse built in 1928 and nearby San Xavier del Bac, a historic Spanish Catholic mission built in 1797. It is also similar to the Duomo in Florence, Italy. The angel Moroni stands atop the dome.

“It’s different from other temples in the Church,” Elder Wilson said. “It reflects the character of local architecture.”

The temple grounds are also filled with native plants, and approximately a third of the site has remained in its natural state.

Elder Wilson explained carefully to the tour group the sacredness of temples to Latter-day Saints and answered many questions in and out of the temple. He also pointed out design features, including stylized patterns of the native ocotillo and prickly pear cacti shapes and blossoms and original artwork of the surrounding area.

Wall detail in the Tucson Arizona Temple.

Art and furnishings in the Tucson Arizona Temple.

“These are some of the things the Church does to tailor the temple to local environments,” Elder Wilson explained.

A long-awaited blessing

Jana Cherrington, a Tucson Church member and public affairs specialist, also spoke to the group inside the temple and said she’s often asked how a temple benefits a community.

“Not only is the temple a beautiful addition to an area, but Church members are better people when they are coming and participating in temple ordinances,” she said.

The Tucson Temple was announced by President Thomas S. Monson during the October 2012 general conference, and ground was dedicated and broken for construction by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, three years later.

The open house runs through Saturday, June 24, except for Sundays. Reservations can be made online at templeopenhouse.lds.org. More than 80,000 reservations have been made and another 20,000 time slots were made available this week.

The temple, which will be the 157th temple of the Church, will be dedicated Sunday, August 13, in three sessions and broadcast to members of the Church in Arizona. It will open Tuesday, August 15.

Michael Moeller of the Tucson Rincon Stake will serve as temple president with his wife, Marina Moeller, as temple matron.

A cultural celebration featuring more than 2,000 local youth will be held the evening prior to the dedication.

Brother Rasmussen said the event will not only celebrate the history and diversity of the area through song and dance but will also personalize each youth’s experience with the theme of “I will.”

“These youth are making ‘I will’ statements to prepare for the temple,” Brother Rasmussen said. “These are statements personalizing what each participant will do to prepare themselves to attend the temple.”

While seating is limited to the event, it will be broadcast to stake centers in the temple district.

Recommend desk in the Tucson Arizona Temple.

Sealing room in the Tucson Arizona Temple.

Art glass in the Tucson Arizona Temple.

Instruction room in the Tucson Arizona Temple.

Celestial room in the Tucson Arizona Temple.

The brides’ room in the Tucson Arizona Temple.

Waiting room in the Tucson Arizona Temple.

Building and window detail on the exterior of the Tucson Arizona Temple.

Window and furnishing details in the Tucson Arizona Temple.

Baptistry in the Tucson Arizona Temple.

Tucson Arizona Temple.

Angel Moroni on the Tucson Arizona Temple.

In the reception area following the tour, guests can get a photo of themselves with a large temple mural in the background. Photo by Jill Adair.

Michael Moeller, of the Tucson Rincon Stake, will serve as temple president with his wife, Marina, as temple matron. Photo by Jill Adair.

The temple overlooks the Tucson metro area south to the Mexico border about 60 miles away. Tucson, Arizona’s second largest city, is home to nearly a million residents, and there are more than 30,000 Church members in the area. Photo by Jill Adair.

Much of the temple grounds are filled with native plants, and approximately a third of the site has remained in its natural state. Photo by Jill Adair.

Elder Larry Y. Wilson, General Authority Seventy and Executive Director of the Church’s Temple Department, was interviewed by local media prior to the start of the temple’s public open house. Photo by Jill Adair.