Baptistry at the Gila Valley Temple

Overview

Standing at the foot of the mighty Mount Graham, The Gila Valley Arizona Temple is a treasure for the many Saints with deep roots in the rural communities of Arizona's Gila Valley. The temple is highly accessible at its location on Highway 70 in the aptly named community of Central, located about halfway between Pima and Thatcher. Adjacent to the temple are a meetinghouse and two Church-owned recreational softball fields.

The Gila Valley Arizona Temple was the third temple built in Arizona, following the Mesa Arizona Temple (1927) and the Snowflake Arizona Temple (2002).

President Thomas S. Monson's announcement of the construction of The Gila Valley Arizona Temple and the Gilbert Arizona Temple was his first temple announcement as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Two of four Church-owned baseball fields in the community of Central were cleared to make way for The Gila Valley Arizona Temple and an adjoining meetinghouse.

The groundbreaking ceremony for The Gila Valley Arizona Temple was held on the 97th anniversary of Arizona becoming a state. The shovels were specially arranged so that ground was broken at the location where the Celestial Room would stand.

In attendance at The Gila Valley Arizona Temple groundbreaking ceremony were the current and four previous stake presidents of the Thatcher Arizona Stake, namely Presidents Brian Kartchner, Jay Layton, Kent Woods, Keith Crockett, and Arden Palmer.

On September 22, 2009, the spire and a shining gold-leafed statue of the angel Moroni were installed atop The Gila Valley Arizona Temple, taking the building to its final height and form.

A total of 90,865 visitors toured The Gila Valley Arizona Temple during its public open house period, resulting in 1,299 comment cards and 139 missionary referrals.


Temple History

President Thomas S. Monson jointly announced The Gila Valley Arizona Temple with the Gilbert Arizona Temple—his first temple announcements after becoming president of the Church.1

The Gila Valley Arizona Temple serves faithful Saints of southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, who previously traveled some 150 miles or more to attend the Mesa Arizona Temple or the Albuquerque New Mexico Temple. Located at the base of the soaring Pinaleño Mountains, the Gila Valley is best known among members of the Church as the home of President Spencer W. Kimball, 12th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Though born in Salt Lake City, President Kimball was reared in Thatcher from the age of 3. And after returning home from a mission and being sealed to Camilla Eyring in the Salt Lake Temple, the Kimballs settled in Safford to raise their children and run an insurance business. In the early 1980s, President Kimball initiated an unprecedented worldwide temple-building program—one of the hallmarks of his ministry.

On Wednesday, September 17, 2008, a petition for a height-restriction exception went before the Graham County Planning and Zoning Commission from the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop to allow a proposed 100-foot spire on the temple. The Commission voted unanimously to recommend the exception to the Graham County Board of Supervisors.2


Temple District

Cochise County

  1. St. David Arizona Stake

Graham County

  1. Pima Arizona Stake
  2. Safford Arizona Stake
  3. Thatcher Arizona Stake

Greenlee County

  1. Duncan Arizona Stake

Southwest New Mexico

  1. Silver City New Mexico Stake

Presidents

Notable presidents of the temple include:


Access

Temple access is available to church members who hold a current temple recommend, as is the case with all operating Latter-day Saints temples. An adjacent visitors center is open to the public. An LDS Church meetinghouse is across the street on the East, which is also open to the public.


See Also

References


Gila Valley Arizona Temple

Gilavalleytemple2.jpg

Standing at the foot of the mighty Mount Graham, The Gila Valley Arizona Temple is a treasure for the many Saints with deep roots in the rural communities of Arizona's Gila Valley. The temple is highly accessible at its location on Highway 70 in the aptly named community of Central, located about halfway between Pima and Thatcher. Adjacent to the temple are a meetinghouse and two Church-owned recreational softball fields.

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