Dedication of the McAllen Texas Temple
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South Texas originally saw slow growth, starting with convert Dan Smith, who was baptized along with his wife and two daughters in the 1920s. The family crossed the U.S.-Mexico border each Sunday to attend church in Matamoros, Mexico, even though they didn’t speak Spanish.
By the 1940s, the Latter-day Saint population in the area had grown to a congregation of about 20 people. By the 1950s, there were enough members to create the Rio Grande Valley Branch. And by the time a temple in McAllen was dedicated in 2023, the state had approximately 378,000 Latter-day Saints comprising 78 stakes and 744 congregations.Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated the McAllen Texas Temple on Oct. 8, 2023. He was joined by Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella
, General Authority Seventy; Elder Jose L. Alonso
, General Authority Seventy and first counselor in the North America Southwest Area presidency; and Bishop W. Christopher Waddell
of the Presiding Bishopric. Their wives were also in attendance.
The temple, located less than 15 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, serves Latter-day Saints in both countries. The temple monument sign in front of the house of the Lord even has the name of the Church and temple in both English and Spanish.Elder Uchtdorf said
the nearby border wall “is a sign of individual problems and challenges, but here at the temple you are in a place of peace. The Spirit and your love for one another have no borders.”
That’s why, said the Apostle
, Latter-day Saints need to continue to build bridges in a world with a lot of walls. “The temple is a beautiful symbol for that peaceful effort, and it will radiate throughout the community here, ... and it will spread out all across the world.” The restored gospel didn’t stop at political or social boundaries, he said
. “It expanded on both sides of the Rio Grande.”
Jason Solis, who served on the temple dedication committee and later as the temple grounds supervisor, said
McAllen is a city “in between” for some members of the Church. “There are many Saints that are unable to go north because of their immigration status, and they can’t go back south to Mexico to the nearest temple, so they [live] in between.” Now these Saints can strengthen Zion, on both sides of the veil, right where they are.Dedicatory prayer excerpt:
"We ask Thee to touch the lives of the people who live within the reach of this holy edifice so that their hearts will be drawn unto Thee. Bless them with a desire to seek out the message of the restored gospel and Church of Jesus Christ. ... May a mantle of holiness come upon this sacred edifice. May it be a beacon of everlasting truth and light, and an invitation to come unto Thee."Read the dedicatory prayer of the McAllen Texas Temple here.
The McAllen Texas Temple was announced Oct. 5, 2019, by President Russell M. Nelson
. The groundbreaking and site dedication were held on Nov. 21, 2020, and presided over by Elder Art Rascon
, an Area Seventy.
After a public open house from Aug. 25 to Sept. 9, 2023, the McAllen Texas Temple was dedicated by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on Oct. 8, 2023.
Architecture and Design of the McAllen Texas Temple
The McAllen temple, built of steel with a precast exterior, covers an area of 27,897 square feet and is built on a site of 10.61 acres. The exterior was inspired by Spanish colonial architecture in the area and citrus crops grown in and around McAllen. Such patterns include designs of scrolls, ribbons, citrus blossoms and barbed quatrefoils.
Inside the house of the Lord, general areas use soft-gold broadloom carpet. Some rooms feature an area rug with blues, golds and greens. Doors are made of mahogany, with bronze handles that have an antique bronze finish.
Shrubs and dozens of palm trees adorn the temple grounds. The site also includes a new meetinghouse constructed with the temple.
Interior Photos of the McAllen Texas Temple