In November, a new temple presidency will begin serving in The Gila Valley Arizona Temple.
Mark Clayton Herrington, 63, of Safford 1st Ward, Safford Arizona Stake, has been called as the new temple president. His wife, Nona Kay Udall Herrington, will serve as temple matron.
Thomas Biggs, also of the Safford Stake, will serve as first counselor, with his wife, Susan, as assistant to the matron. Second counselor will be Calvin Allred, of the St. David Stake, and his wife, Susan, will serve as assistant to the matron.
The Herringtons will succeed President Jay G. Layton and Sister Diane Layton, who began their service in 2012. Prior to that, President Keith Crockett and Sister Kathleen Crockett were the temple’s first president and matron.
The Gila Valley Arizona Temple, dedicated in 2010, was the third temple in Arizona. Located on Highway 70 in the small community of Central, the temple serves seven stakes, including the Silver City New Mexico Stake and the Sierra Vista Arizona Stake.
“Many faithful temple workers come from the far reaches of the temple district. Patrons, too, come from Silver City to Sierra Vista and everywhere in between,” says President Herrington.
The Herrington’s call to serve in the temple came just months after they completed couples’ mission in Durban, South Africa.
Since then, “We’ve tried to go to every single session and to meet every single ordinance worker,” says President Herrington.
Sister Herrington is “overwhelmed, humbled and very excited” about her call. “Already, as we’ve gone to the temple with new eyes, I’ve been thrilled to see the patrons and workers and their sacrifices. I can’t help but be inspired and motivated by them.”
Sister Herrington was born in Mesa, to Lee Kenyon and Leona Udall. She serves as a gospel doctrine teacher and temple ordinance worker. In the past, she’s been a stake and ward Young Women president and ward Relief Society and Primary president.
President Herrington was born in Ogden, Utah, to Norman Clayton and Betty Irene Herrington. A Sunday School teacher, temple ordinance worker and temple sealer, in the past he has been a stake president, mission president’s counselor and bishopric counselor.
As a young father, he was serving as a high councilor, when the stake president, Terry Jo Bingham issued a challenge.
“He said I should go to the Mesa Temple 36 times that year,” says President Herrington. “My immediate thought was, ‘You don’t know my circumstances.’”
A father of eight, he was working a large farm and serving on various agricultural committees, in addition to his Church assignments—and it took six hours to drive to the Mesa Temple and back.
Still, without making excuses, “I told President Bingham I would do it.”
President Herrington would leave at 1 a.m., drive to Mesa, do five sessions in a row, then drive home. “I’d get home at 1 a.m.,” he says. “Some thought I was crazy, but I was taught and inspired beyond anything I could ever imagine. I am still thankful to President Bingham. I learned the importance of the temple. I really learned to love the temple.”
“For sure, there is no greater blessing, no greater sanctifying power than to go to the temple,” says President Herrington.
“We are happy as can be to be serving in the temple.”