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News Release

President Oaks Rededicates Mesa Arizona Temple

Youth look forward to the temple’s reopening

President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rededicated the Mesa Arizona Temple following extensive renovations.

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“The Nauvoo temple strengthened the saints before they had the adversity of crossing the plains and going through what they went through in the pioneer period,” said President Oaks. “The building of temples throughout the world is likely to be serving the same purpose to prepare the covenant children of the Lord with the strength they need to face what is ahead.”

About 2,400 people came to the temple on Sunday, December 12, 2021, for each of the three rededication sessions. Chairs were set up in various rooms inside the temple for Latter-day Saints invited to attend the event in person. Local worship services were not held on Sunday so that local congregations in the temple district could attend the sessions that were streamed to 29 stake centers.

President Oaks and his wife, Kristen, were able to take a tour of the temple Saturday afternoon prior to Sunday’s rededication. They were joined by Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Susan; Elder Paul B. Pieper, a General Authority Seventy and President of the North America Southwest Area, and his wife, Melissa; and Elder Kevin R. Duncan, a General Authority Seventy and executive director of the Temple Department, and his wife, Nancy.

“We were astonished, impressed, gratified with what has been done to hold with the pioneer ancestry of this traditional great temple and house of the Lord to bring it into current technology and needs and configuration of rooms, all of which is essential for it to perform its service for decades to come,” said President Oaks.

“I think for me it was the beauty of the surroundings, the symbolism that’s associated with representing the work of the Lord to His children in the context of explanations of the Lord’s plan for His children,” the senior Church leader said. “We want that kind of surrounding to be as beautiful as possible in the artwork, the architecture, the furnishings, the murals. It all comes up to a very high standard.”

Over the past several years, the 94-year-old Mesa temple received interior and exterior upgrades and improvements. The temple grounds were also renovated and enhanced.

The decorative paint colors in the rooms throughout the temple are based on the original paint schemes for the temple, with over 50 colors.

“I think the colors were just incredibly magnificent,” said Sister Oaks. “I could not wait to come back and go through a session.”

The Mesa Arizona Temple was first dedicated in 1927 by Church President Heber J. Grant. This is the second refurbishment of the temple. It was rededicated in 1975 by President Spencer W. Kimball. In addition to the temple in Mesa, there are five other operating temples in the state, including the Gila Valley, Gilbert, Phoenix, Snowflake and Tucson temples.

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LaRee Moody, 96, recalls being sealed to her family in the Mesa Arizona Temple when it was dedicated in 1927. She attended the rededication of the temple with her daughter, Nancy, on Sunday, December 12, 2021. 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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LaRee Moody, 96, recalls being sealed to her family in the Mesa temple when it was dedicated. “I was just about three and can kind of remember waiting in the laundry room … We came on the train because my daddy worked out of Los Angeles for the railroads.”

Moody said her family soon relocated to Mesa to live close to the temple.

“Everything’s so different here,” said Mesa resident Erma Bodine, 101, who was also at the temple for its dedication in 1927 and was looking forward to seeing the renovation.

“It helps us connect the generations,” said Bodine’s grandson, Tom Kerr. “I’m the fifth-generation native Arizonan here. So grandma, her parents and grandparents were sent down by President Brigham Young in 1878. So we’ve been here a long time.”

Kristianna Crawford, 26, lives near the temple and was in the standby line to attend the rededication in person.

“My mom, she grew up right across the street and my grandparents were temple workers here for a really long time, so I think for me, it’s more of just … that reconfirmation that the temple is the house of God, and a lot of my family work has been done in this temple,” said Crawford. “My grandma just passed away earlier this year, so … it’s a tender temple for me.”

Youth and the Temple

As the Mesa Arizona Temple gets ready to reopen, a group of about 150 Latter-day Saint youth and their leaders from the Mesa area walked about four miles to the temple on Saturday.

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Youth from Mesa, Arizona, visit the Mesa Arizona Temple before its rededication on Saturday, December 11, 2021. 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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“I love being in the temple just anytime I can. It really helps me like feel peace and it’s just a good place to ponder about questions that you have and that kind of stuff,” said Eric Williams, a 16-year-old Mesa youth.

Abbie Rasmussen, 17, has been waiting for the temple to reopen. “I hope to be able to make some appointments to come and do baptisms. But I also hope to just continue to invite people to come and see it even not going in but just walking around and seeing the temple and just keep on inviting people to come and see.”

“The bride’s room is just such a special place, and it just really makes me want like to shoot for temple marriage and make sure that my life is like I’m living my life so that I can get married in the temple,” added Mesa youth Emma Shults.

Emma Wheeler will marry her fiancé, Nathan Volz, in the Mesa temple when it reopens on December 21.

“This temple has been a place of gathering for our family for generations,” said Wheeler. “My parents were sealed here. My grandparents were sealed here. My great grandparents have also made covenants here. It’s just one of those places that has always, for me, growing up, been a symbol of the temple. It’s always been my goal to be sealed here.”

“This temple being so historic has been a gathering place for Israel for a long time, and now we’ll be able to continue that legacy,” said Volz.

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Youth attend a devotional for the Mesa Arizona Temple rededication in Mesa, Arizona, on Saturday, December 11, 2021. 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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On Saturday night, youth filled meetinghouses in Mesa for a youth devotional for the temple rededication. Elder Gong surprised some youth and their parents by showing up to greet them at a couple of chapels before the broadcast.

Nearly 347,000 people attended a public open house held in the fall for the historic temple, including government leaders and representatives from Arizona’s interfaith community.

The Mesa Arizona Temple is the Church’s seventh operating temple and the first temple in Arizona. There are more than 250 temples announced, under construction or in operation around the world. 

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