Sitting atop of a bluff known as Temple Hill in Snowflake is the second temple to be built in Arizona. Known as a sister temple to, and patterned after, the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple, the two-level temple’s lower level is partially set into the hill. Unlike a customary stake center or Church meetinghouse, this temple is adjacent to a golf course and is flanked by cedar trees.
The Saints in this temple district include 12 Arizona stakes in Snowflake, Taylor, Eagar, St. Johns, Pinetop/Lakeside, Show Low, Flagstaff, Tuba City, Holbrook, Winslow, and Chinle. These include Church members residing on the Navajo, Hopi, White Mountain Apache and Pueblo reservations. The temple was dedicated for service on March 2, 2002.
Snowflake has a rich pioneer heritage and the temple design and decor reflect that. The exterior of the temple is finished with polished Empress White and Majestic Grey granite.
Well-known early pioneer and missionary Jacob Hamblin traded goods with local Native Americans for peach pits. He then he planted the pits to grow peach trees. Inside the temple is a cabinet featuring a peach tree branch design on the doors. Other pieces are carved with Native American designs. Much of the furniture is reminiscent of the pioneers.
The surrounding landscape embraces the natural beauty of the site. A flowing water feature greets patrons as they enter through the front door. Many residents speak of being able to see the splendor of the temple, especially at night. Jessica Carlson, a member of the 5th Ward, Snowflake Arizona Stake, says, “I love being able to see the temple at night from my home and when we are out driving about.”
The current temple president is George Merlin Hancock of the Heritage Ward, Centennial Arizona Stake. His wife Sherylin, a native of Snowflake, is the temple matron. Richard Q. Miller and his wife Linda serve as the first counselor and the assistant to the matron. The second counselor is David W. Scott. His wife Diane also serves as an assistant to the matron.
A smaller temple, the temple offers neither a cafeteria nor clothing rental. This does not deter the patrons. The Snowflake Temple is always busy. Temple recorder V. Blaine Hatch says, “A large majority of the proxy work being accomplished in the temple is provided by patrons who provide the names of deceased family members.”
From the very beginning, it was made known that this would be a temple that would unite people. At the groundbreaking ceremony, Elder Rex D. Pinegar of the Seventy encouraged members to dissolve any feelings that drew them apart and to gather in the temple where no differences exist.
Stephanie and Jacob Abney recently moved to Idaho from the 9th Ward, Snowflake Arizona Stake, after living there for seven years. Stephanie says, “We loved being able to see the temple from our yard. It’s a beautiful reminder of where our hearts, thoughts, and actions should lie. The temple was always full. The interior decor depicted Native Americans, desert lands, animals and more. It added to the beauty and sacredness of the house of the Lord, reminding us that we are all the Lord’s children, no matter our color, ethnicity, or geographical location. He is aware of us, knows us and loves us all.”