MESA, AZ — In just the third time in its 94-year-old history, the temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mesa, Arizona will be open for free public tours.
Breaking ground in the 1920s, Mesa has been the temple's home for 94 years — and the church's oldest temple in the state.
“It’s meant so much to many generations and it’s a great blessing to welcome again all who would like to come,” said Elder Gerrit Gong, an apostle for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Since 2018, the temple has been closed and undergoing extensive renovations, including its outside gardens and coveted worship rooms inside.
The temple also underwent major infrastructure improvements to its roof, drainage systems, as well as general mechanical upgrades, new furniture, and windows.
“I remember as a young person getting this really special opportunity to go inside the temple and see things that normally the public doesn’t get to see,” said Mesa Mayor John Giles. The church recently built and opened a new Visitor's Center near the temple.
“Since 1974, it’s been closed to the public — it’s been closed to the nonmember population — so we want to celebrate it with our friends of all faiths,” said Elder Ronald Rasband, an apostle for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
From Oct. 16, 2021, to Nov. 20, 2021, the temple will open for near-daily tours (there are no tours on Sunday). Tours will be open Monday - Saturday and reservations need to be made in advance. Reservations can be made here.
There is no cost to go on a tour. Photographs and video recording are not allowed inside the temple.
While the temple grounds have always been accessible to the public, the inside is reserved for members of the Mormon faith, and special highly coveted ceremonies, such as weddings (called sealing ceremonies) and baptisms.
“Every oxen, every piece of tile was custom made, and colored-matched and worked with, and then our project was really about preserving that,” said Emily Utt, the historic sites coordinator.
Traditionally when a new temple is built or opened, it will open to the public where people can learn about the various rooms, ceremonies, and design. It will then close to the public, undergo a spiritual dedication, and open again to faith members.
For the Mesa temple, it is the third time in its history that it has been open to the public.
“The Temple opened in 1927 and it’s the oldest in Arizona. Public tours were offered during the last two years of its construction and in 1975 following renovations then as well,” said Elder Rasband.
“We’re anticipating four to five hundred thousand visitors over the next five weeks," he said.
President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency will rededicate the temple on Dec. 12.