Troubled man causes disturbance at church temple

| July 1, 2012

A troubled New Mexico man, who was possibly under the influence of a variety of substances, caused a disturbance at The Gila Valley Arizona Temple on Wednesday morning.

According to temple president Keith Crock-ett, the man, identified as Anthony Gonzales, 24, of Silver City, N.M., got lost while traveling to a rehabilitation facility in Tucson and was searching for peace and tranquility. He saw the temple, thought it to be a pretty building and sought refuge.

Temples are sacred to LDS Church members and only baptized members who have received temple recommends may enter after its dedication. Visitors are welcome to peruse the temple grounds and attend open houses prior to dedication. The Gila Valley Temple also has a waiting room adjacent to its main lobby/foyer visitors may utilize as well as visitor bathrooms.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dedicated The Gila Valley Arizona Temple on May 23, 2010, in three sessions. LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson and fellow church leaders, including President Henry B. Erying, first counselor in the First Presidency and Elder William R. Walker of the Seventy and executive director of the Temple Department, added mortar to the building's cornerstone prior to three dedicatory sessions. The temple is the third operating temple in Arizona (two are under construction in the Phoenix area) and is the church's 132nd temple operating in the world. Currently, there are 138 temples in operation worldwide with 14 under construction.

Members receive sacred ordinances in temples, including those that bind husband and wife together for eternity, as well as join children and parents. Participants also provide ordinances in the temple, such as baptism for those who have died without the opportunity to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ, according to information from, an official church Web site.

"It is the house of God," Monson states in a video about temples. "All that occurs within the walls of the temple is uplifting and ennobling. The temple is a place of tranquility. It is a place of kindness and love and light."

Crockett told the Courier that Gonzales initially spoke to a temple worker briefly and was escorted outside. He quickly returned, however, and ran past the greeting desk where members show their temple recommends and into the women's dressing room. There wasn't anyone present in the room when Gonzales entered.

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