Sunday, May 23, 2010

LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson And Dignitaries Dedicate Gila River Temple In Arizona, Which Becomes The Church's 132nd Operational Temple

On May 23rd, 2010, the Gila River Temple in the city of Central, Arizona became the 132nd operational temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when President Thomas S. Monson, accompanied by Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency; Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve; Elder Claudio R.M. Costa of the Presidency of the Seventy; and Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy and Executive Director of the Church's Temple department, all showed up to officiate at the temple's formal dedication. The best media stories have been published by LDS Church News; the first story includes numerous photos of the General Authorities applying mortar to the final cornerstone, assisted by some local children, while the second story focuses more on the other activities. To effectively accommodate the large crowd, there were three separate dedication services.

However, the dedication was preceded the night before by a cultural celebration put on by 1,600 LDS youth. Presided over by President Monson, the youth retold — through song, dance and spoken word — the rich cultural history of eastern Arizona. In the final moments of the show, they themselves became the foundation stones of the temple, standing close together wearing white. The Angel Moroni statue, common on most LDS temples, completed the scene as it rose above the man-made foundation. KSL news video of this event embedded below:

Video Courtesy of

KSL also provided coverage of the Sunday dedication ceremony; additional news video embedded below:

Video Courtesy of

Because the late President Spencer W. Kimball was originally from this area, a couple of members of the extended Kimball family were in attendance. Andrew Kimball, who was President Kimball's son, said, "My grandfather, Andrew Kimball, was a stake president in the late 1800s. My father, Spencer W. Kimball, was a stake president in this area also. I'm sure he understood some way, spiritually, that there would be a temple here." And President Kimball's daughter, Olive Beth Mack, said this homecoming was a very special one. "It's such a privilege for me to come and I've loved everything," she said. "To come back home is fun, besides knowing that we have a temple here is wonderful."

Brian Duffin also attended one of the dedication services, and documents the experience on Millennial Star. Another Millennial Star post by Bill Stebbins has a boatload of media links.

The Gila River Temple is the second operational temple in Arizona, preceded by the Mesa Temple. Currently under construction is the Gilbert Temple, while construction will soon begin on the Phoenix Temple after it survived a contentious political debate. Opponents weren't opposing it for religious reasons, but had passionate esthetical and traffic concerns. As of December 31st, 2009, there were 381,235 LDS members scattered among 794 separate congregations in Arizona.

It was just a mere three weeks ago, on May 2nd, that President Monson dedicated the new temple in Vancouver, British Columbia. And the open house for the Cebu City Temple in the Philippines just began on May 21st and will run through June 5th; dedication is scheduled for June 13th. So President Monson will barely have time to catch his breath before he hits the road again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Correction: The Gila Valley temple is the third operating temple behind Mesa and Snowflake temples.