Perched above the point where Ina Road turns into Skyline Drive, the new temple for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints looms large in front of the Catalina Mountains.
That was intentional, said Elder Larry Wilson, executive director of the church’s Temple Department, on Tuesday’s media tour of the temple.
The tour preceded the public open-house tours that begin Saturday, June 3, and continue through Saturday, June 24, except on Sundays.
After a cultural celebration on Saturday, Aug. 12, the temple will be dedicated on Sunday, Aug. 13, and closed to the public.
The temple only opens again to the public when renovations are needed, roughly 40 years or more from now, Wilson said. Only members of the Mormon church in good standing and with a recommendation from leadership can enter what Mormons consider their most sacred space for worship.
As of Tuesday, the temple had already received more than 85,000 reservations for its open house, said Jana Cherrington, a Tucson church member and public affairs worker.
Volunteers will donate thousands of hours during the open house, said Gary Rasmussen, coordinator of the open house and dedication committees.
You can make a reservation at templeopenhouse.lds.org to tour the temple. The tour begins at the meetinghouse at 939 W. Chapala Drive with a short film. Visitors are then bused to the temple.
The temple, the sixth built in Arizona, will serve about 30,000 Mormons in the area. The 38,216-square-foot temple at 7281 N. Skyline Drive sits on a 7.37-acre property.
The dome, covered in zinc shingles, is unique to the Tucson temple and draws from landmarks such as the Pima County Courthouse and Mission San Xavier del Bac, Wilson said.
Although the grandeur inside is meant to draw the focus heavenward, outside influences do enter into the interior design. Muted greens and teals and…