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Future of the LDS Church’s visitors center in Mesa unknown

Mesa LDS Temple (Flickr/Ken Lund)

SALT LAKE CITY — On the heels of last week’s announced closing of two LDS Church temple visitors centers, the long-term future of a third — the Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors’ Center — is now uncertain.

The visitors’ center will close on May 19, the same day the Mesa Arizona Temple closes for extensive renovations, said Daniel Woodruff, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a statement released Tuesday morning.

“At this point, the future use of that building is undetermined,” he added. “Church leaders will make a decision based on the needs and demands of the area.”

The closing of the Mesa Arizona Temple — a second renovation for the temple originally dedicated in 1927 — was announced last summer. The temple, first renovated in the mid-1970s, is projected to reopen in 2020.

The Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors’ Center is located just north of the Mesa temple on the city’s Main Street. In addition to exhibits, displays, films and a Christus statue at the center, the grounds are used annually for the Mesa Easter Pageant and extensive Christmas lighting.

On Jan. 30, the church announced it was closing temple-adjacent visitors centers in London, England, and Hamilton, New Zealand, as well as a prominent family history center in Park City, Utah. Unlike uncertainity of the Mesa facility, those three centers will no longer function as such.

The New Zealand Temple Visitors’ Center, located across the street from the Hamilton New Zealand Temple, will close in July 2018, at the same time as the nearly 60-year-old temple closes for extensive renovations, including a seismology upgrade. The church is projecting a 2021 reopening of the temple.

In December 2017, the London Temple Visitors’ Center closed as a traditional visitors’ center; it remains open and used as a waiting area for non-temple patrons. The LDS Church points to its Hyde Park Chapel Visitors’ Center as a site to welcome guests visiting the London area.

“These decisions have been made after considering the best use of the church’s resources as well as the needs and demands of each area,” said Woodruff last week after the London and Hamilton changes were announced.

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