The Mesa Temple in Arizona, considered one of the legacy temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has been under renovation since 2018.
On Friday, the First Presidency, which includes President Russell M. Nelson and his counselors Presidents Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring, announced the date for the temple’s rededication.
The temple will be rededicated Dec. 12. President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency will preside at the temple’s rededication during three sessions, at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m., according to church information.
This historic temple has been closed since May 2018 for major renovation. It is the second refurbishment for the 94-year-old temple. It was rededicated in 1975 by President Spencer W. Kimball, who was raised in Arizona, following expansion and remodeling. It was originally dedicated by President Heber J. Grant in 1927.
The public open house for the Mesa Arizona Temple will be held from Oct. 16, through Nov. 20, except for Sundays.
A youth devotional for the Mesa temple is scheduled for Dec. 11. The rededication sessions and youth devotional will be broadcast to congregations in the Mesa Arizona Temple district.
Additional details of the temple rededication will be announced later, according to the church.
In addition to the temple renovation, the area immediately around the temple has undergone redevelopment. A new temple visitors’ center, which includes a family history center and housing, has revitalized the city’s downtown.
And in the blocks around the temple, new shopping and retail spaces have been built, similar to the City Creek shopping experience in Salt Lake City.
The Mesa Visitors’ Center will be dedicated at 7 p.m. Aug, 12 (PDT) in a broadcast to Church meetinghouses throughout Arizona.
The Mesa Arizona Temple was the seventh temple built by the church and the first temple in the state of Arizona.
In addition to the temple in Mesa, there are five other operating temples in Arizona. They are the Gila Valley, Gilbert, Phoenix, Snowflake and Tucson temples.
The Arizona Temple has a great pioneer connection with many generations of church members in the Western United States, particularly in Utah.
Some of the first members of the church in Arizona marched with the Mormon Battalion, a group of Latter-day Saints preparing to fight in the Mexican-American War, in the winter of 1846-47. Other members arrived in 1873, sent from Utah to colonize the area. More settlers in 1876 built a fort, dug canals, built dams and struggled to adjust to the dry land. During the exodus from Mexico in 1912, Arizona became a place of refuge for many Mexican Latter-day Saints.
Many community members visit the temple grounds every December to see the Christmas lights. Since 1938, church members have presented an annual Easter pageant on the temple grounds. The performance, “Jesus the Christ,” has attracted approximately 80,000 people each year.
The Mesa Pageant has not been held since renovation of the temple began in 2018. After the temple renovation is complete, the pageant will continue annually under area leadership.
According to church statistics, there are 436,521 members of the church in Arizona with 115 stakes — similar to a diocese — and 926 congregations. There are six missions, and 74 Family History Centers in addition to the six temples.