The Tucson Temple Open House begins this week, a much-anticipated opportunity for the community to see inside what has turned out to be another glorious temple on Arizona’s landscape. Announced by President Monson in October of 2012, it will go into full activity at the end of this summer. The new temple district will rely on the service of members who have had to travel far to serve in the Mesa or Gila Valley temples.
Every temple is an architectural wonder built to reflect the region it will serve. Tucson’s temple sits in cactus-dotted foothills and its right angles and geometric accents fit the architecture of the area. When on the tour, be sure to look for the gold accents outside the structure. This floral motif, inspired by the blossom of the paddle cactus, repeats through the interior and in the stained glass throughout. One of the most striking elements of the design is the dome atop the structure where the angel Moroni is mounted.
“The tiles on the dome are zinc, made in Germany,” says Debbi Weitzell, a member of the team working on the open house. “They will maintain their beautiful bluish color for many years.”
The groundbreaking took place on October 17, 2015, and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf presided over the proceedings. At the start of the project, setting a tone of respect for the land, cacti and succulents on the site were carefully replanted in a temporary location and then used as part of the planned landscaping.
Construction progressed quickly, as the site went from scrub to pristine temple in under two years. While the architects of the project are based in Utah, the general contractor and subcontractors are local, lending their professional skills and pride in their home to making the final product a credit to their community. The angel Moroni statue, in this case 9 feet tall and made of fiberglass resplendent in gold leaf, was placed in position on July 7th, 2016, and the dedication will take place a year and a month from its installation.
In March, the president of the Tucson temple was announced. President James M. Moeller and Sister Marina Evelyn Harrison Moeller have already been hard at work preparing the temple for its open house, dedication, and full function for the Tucson district. President Moeller was born in Phoenix and has served in many positions within the church. He is a former Area Seventy and he served as president of the Salt Lake City Mission with his wife. Sister Moeller was born in Fortaleza, Brazil. She’s served in several positions at all levels, worked as a senior missionary, and partnered with her husband to lead and care for their Salt Lake missionaries.
The Tucson Arizona Temple Open House will begin June 3 and will continue until June 24, excluding Sundays. For more details, visit www.tucsonldstemple.com for their comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions page. The dedication will take place in August, and will be broadcast for member participation across the state.