Neighbors in a northwest Phoenix neighborhood are trying hard to keep the first Mormon temple in the city from going up because of a lighted tower that would rise three stories above the church.
"To light up that spire like a torch until 11 p.m. is a severe detriment to us," says resident Tasha Cady, who has lived in the residential area for 28 years. "They are Johnny-come-latelies. Why should they be able to steal our quality of life?"
There's the Mormon temple in Mesa, of course -- and about 40 Mormon churches in the Valley -- but this would be the only temple within Phoenix's city limits. There are three temples in Arizona, including one in Snowflake. Temples are considered holier places than churches in the Mormon religion.
Mormon Church spokesman Don Evans tells New Times he's optimistic that the project will continue:
"These kinds of things have happened in other places across the country. If they would look at what has happened in other places, they would see that, in many cases, property value has gone up with the presence of a church. And a lot of times crime goes down."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is proposing that the temple be built near 51st Avenue and West Pinnacle Peak Road. Plans call for it to be four stories tall with the tower -- hardly high enough, Evans argues, to block much of anything.
The temple, Evans says, is needed because the religion is growing. Most Valley members have traditionally resided in the East Valley, but now there is a large membership on the west side who desire a closer temple, he says.
His point is that, even with God on your side, it's a long drive from Glendale to Mesa.
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