Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and visitors have a newinstitute of religion and meetinghouse to gather in on the campus at Arizona State University. Dedication ceremonies for the ASU Polytechnic Campus in Mesa, Arizona, were held on Sunday, April 19, 2015.
“We are thankful to have this location to have this building,” said Elder Andersen, who hopes it will attract the community. “I pray we will open it up to the other students here and that other people can feel comfortable, not of our faith, and they can come in and play basketball if they want or sit quietly.”
“We are not a secular university; we are not a religious university,” said ASU President Crow. “We are a democratic university built on the principles of religious liberty. I hope this institute helps us to fulfill those objectives.”
“As a community, we couldn’t be more grateful to the Church for bringing this beautiful building to campus,” said Mesa Mayor John Giles. “We look forward to educating a lot of kids here at Arizona State University.”
In addition to encouraging Mormons to acquire secular knowledge, the Church has established extensive programs to help young students gain religious knowledge. Accordingly, the Church provides numerous opportunities for postsecondary students to receive religious instruction through its institute of religion programs.
“We cannot educate the whole Church at BYU (Brigham Young University) or BYU–Idaho,” explained Elder Andersen. “We are thankful to see worthy and righteous young men and women who put their roots here and find their educational lives here.”
Elder Andersen called two Mormon students from the audience to speak at the dedication. Gilbert Flores said, “As a convert to the Church, I didn’t get to attend seminary like most other (high school) students, but by attending institute (for college-age students) I now have the ability to see how the teachings at institute help me grow and open my mind to new ways of thinking.” Aubrey Heniger said, “With all the decisions we as young adults have to make, it helps to learn more about the Savior and the doctrines of the gospel. Institute helps us be happy and joyful. It’s like time away from the world.”
The new building is located on the northwest corner of Innovation Way North and South Sterling Avenue in Mesa. The exterior of the facility was built with two-tone brick and a flat roof so it blends in with the other buildings on campus. This is the second ASU campus to house a Church institute of religion. The other campus institute is located in Tempe.
The meetinghouse includes a chapel for worship services, a large cultural hall for activities and sports, classrooms for religious instruction and offices. Several congregations will gather at the facility. About 1,250 students from the ASU Gateway Campus, Chandler Gilbert Community College and ASU Charter School will attend the new institute building.
The Church’s 2,500 institutes of religion around the world provide opportunities for religious instruction, community service, social interaction and leadership training for single and married students. About 350,000 students are currently enrolled globally. All institute classes are open to the public age 18 and older and are free of charge.