“President Hinckley Dedicates Snowflake Arizona Temple,” Liahona, July 2002, 127
President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the Snowflake temple—Arizona’s second and the Church’s 108th—in four sessions on 3 March.
“We are thankful for those who laid the foundations of this and other nearby communities,” said President Hinckley in his dedicatory prayer, referring to early Latter-day Saint settlers who came to the Snowflake area in 1878 as requested by President Brigham Young. “They struggled so desperately for so long against adversities of many kinds. Now their posterity enjoy the sweet fruits of their efforts, and crowning all is this magnificent and beautiful temple.”
Accompanying President Hinckley were Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Dale E. Miller of the Seventy, Second Counselor in the North America Southwest Area Presidency.
The new temple will serve Church members in northeastern Arizona and a small portion of western New Mexico. The temple district also includes members who live on Apache, Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni Native American reservations. Many Native American designs and furnishings have been included in the temple interior, items such as handcrafted rugs, baskets, and pottery.
Snowflake and the adjoining town of Taylor were settled in 1878 as part of the colonization effort begun by President Brigham Young. In 1880, Elder Wilford Woodruff, then of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, encouraged the struggling Saints to persevere by speaking of the possibility of a temple in their midst. Later prophetic statements were attributed to Church Presidents John Taylor (1808–87) and Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918). Faithful Saints clung to these promises, passing them from generation to generation.
“The history and legends of Snowflake are rife with these stories,” said temple president Leon T. Ballard, a native of Snowflake. “I have been raised on those things. That’s why I consider this a prophetic temple.”
“This temple is the answer to prophecies that were made,” said Dean Porter, Snowflake Arizona Temple committee coordinator. “It is a tribute not so much to us, but to our pioneer forebears, who were asked to leave their homes in Utah and eke out a living here.”
More than 11,000 members attended the temple’s dedication. Although only 9,000 people reside in the Snowflake area, more than 94,000 attended the open house on 2–16 February. President Ballard said that many thousands of visitors came because of ancestral ties to the area. “And in their enthusiasm, they brought their friends,” he said. This enthusiasm for the new temple has not decreased since its dedication. “We offer 24 sessions a week, and nearly every one of them has been completely full,” commented President Ballard.