Mormon Temple in Tucson offers rare public tours
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The new Mormon Temple in the foothills is offering public tours for the next three weeks from June 3 to June 24, excluding Sundays.
It's a tradition for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to offer public tours of its sacred temples when they open for the first time or go through a major renovation.
Those renovations happen every 40 to 70 years, meaning this will be the only public offering in Tucson for decades.
Some invited guests, including surrounding neighborhood residents, have been given private tours this week, including Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey.
Reservations can be made at https://templeopenhouse.lds.org There is also more information about the temple at Skyline and Ina roads. 85,000 people have already made reservations. The church has added another 20,000 to meet demand.
Tucson's Mormon Temple is one of a kind because it sports a dome rather than a steeple or spire.
The dome is within Pima County's zoning requirements and also fits into Tucson's architectural environment and some of its most iconic buildings.
"In particular San Xavier del Bac, the oldest religious building in Tucson has a dome on it, Pima County courthouse has a dome on it," said Larry Wilson, a church elder. "So we decided to put a dome on our LDS temple."
It is the sixth temple in Arizona and sits on seven acres in the foothills. It's 38,216 square feet and will be formally dedicated in August.
In the meantime, the public will be able to tour specific parts of the temple, however some of its rooms and features will still remain off limits.
TV cameras were not allowed in the temple because it is considered sacred.
Renovations are rare and that is expected to be the case in Tucson because of the craftsmanship used to construct the temple.
"We do expect this building to stand for centuries," Wilson said. "We're not trying to build something that might be taken down in 75 to 100 years."
Inside the church, opulence abounds in the crystal chandeliers, ornate windows, plush rugs and marble flooring.
Some of the Art Decco style and art work depicts southern Arizona, it's environment and vegetation.
"We want people to see it, we want them to come enjoy it and see what's inside," said Jana Cherrington, public relations director. "To us this is the most sacred place on earth."
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