Filed Under Statehood

Mesa Arizona Temple

An intricately designed Temple in Arizona

Arizona's LDS community has been served by the Mesa Temple since 1927.

Prior to the construction of the Mesa Arizona Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, church members wishing to marry in a temple were required to make the grueling journey on the "Honeymoon Trail." The trail was named "Honeymoon" because, after marrying civilly in Mesa, the couple then spent their honeymoon traversing old wagon trails across northern Arizona, crossing the Colorado River at Lee's Ferry, and north though the "Arizona strip. Alternatively,they traveled via railroad to California, and then north, to St. George, Utah, the site of the nearest temple, to be "sealed" together in a temple ordinance. Members of the Church believe that in the temple, they are married not just until death but for all eternity.

Because of the distance and great effort required to reach the temple, especially in Mesa's earliest days before the advent of automobiles and graded roads, church leaders in Mesa began almost immediately to petition Church leadership in Salt Lake City to construct a temple in Mesa. Finally, in 1920, church president Heber J. Grant announced the construction of a temple in Mesa. The Mesa temple was the Church's ninth temple and Arizona's first (it has since been joined by temples in Snowflake, the Gila Valley, Gilbert, Phoenix, and Tucson). The temple was completed in 1927 at the cost of $800,000. After significant expansion and remodeling, the temple was rededicated in 1975 by then-president, and Arizona native, Spencer W. Kimball.

The temple was again closed for a major renovation in 2018 and is scheduled to reopen in 2020.

The temple's design was meant to reflect the Temple of Herod and ancient religious structures found on the American continent. The temple is only one of three built by the Church that does not have a spire topped by an angel.

Reflecting the pioneer heritage of the LDS community in Mesa, the eight friezes on the corners of the temple's roof depict various peoples gathering of Israel, or into the Lord's Church—from natives of the British Isles, and other various European nations, to the Native Americans and Pacific Islanders. For more detailed information, see the entry "Mesa Arizona Temple Friezes."

Images

Mesa Arizona Temple
Mesa Arizona Temple Photo of the Mesa Arizona LDS Temple at sunset Creator: Stephen G. Williams Date: November 12, 2016
Mesa Temple p.2
Mesa Temple p.2 The Mesa Arizona LDS Temple was dedicated in 1927. Front view of the temple at its dedication. Source: Utah State Historical Society; Widtsoe Family Collection, http://content.lib.utah.edu/cdm/ref/collection/USHS_Class/id/5526 Date: n.d.
Mesa Arizona Temple Today
Mesa Arizona Temple Today Today's front view of the temple. Compare to previous photo to see extensive first floor renovations completed during the 1975 renovation. Creator: Stephen G. Williams Date: November 12, 2016
Mesa Temple-Dedication p.1
Mesa Temple-Dedication p.1 Image shows LDS Church authorities and their wives at the dedication of the Mesa Temple. LDS Church President Heber J. Grant is seated on the front row, fourth from the right. Source: Utah State Historical Society; Widtsoe Family Collection, http://content.lib.utah.edu/cdm/ref/collection/USHS_Class/id/5533 Date: October 23, 1927
Mesa temple members 2
Mesa temple members 2 Sundry Church and local leadership in front of the Mesa Temple at the dedication of the building in October 1927. Church president Heber J. Grant is fifth person from the left. Source: Mesa Historical Museum Creator: Unknown Date: October 1927
Mesa temple members
Mesa temple members Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints surround the temple upon its dedication in October 1927. Source: Mesa Historical Museum Creator: Unknown Date: ca. 1927
Exterior view of the Mormon temple in Mesa, Arizona.
Exterior view of the Mormon temple in Mesa, Arizona. Photograph of an exterior view of the Mormon temple in Mesa, Arizona, [s.d.]. The temple is visible in the background at center. It consists of a low, wide first floor with a tall rectangular upper section in the middle. Small rectangular windows can be seen on the first floor, while tall, thin windows can be seen on the taller section. In the foreground, small bushes and plants cover the desert floor. Source: University of Southern California and the California Historical Society. Digitally reproduced by the USC Digital Library; From the California Historical Society Collection at the University of Southern California. Date: c.a. 1920-1926
Arizona Temple Plaque
Arizona Temple Plaque The plaque commemorating the construction of the temple on the Mesa City Plaza Heritage Wall located in front of Mesa City Plaza on Main St and Center Street. Creator: Stephen G. Williams Date: December 3, 2016

Location

101 S Lesueur, Mesa, AZ 85204 | The temple itself is open only to Latter-day Saints holding a temple "recommend." Visitors are encouraged to visit the visitors' center.

Metadata

Stephen G. Williams and Carson Junior High School, “Mesa Arizona Temple,” Salt River Stories, accessed May 19, 2024, https://saltriverstories.org/items/show/122.