If you enjoy Meridian, please support us by making a one-time voluntary donation by clicking here.

Editor’s Note: A thank you to Daniel C. Peterson for bringing our attention to this article and rightly pointing out that despite a few minor errors, it is of note. 

The grand structure, white walls and soaring pillars reminiscent of Spanish Colonial times tower over Tijuana, a stark contrast to the gritty surroundings, where merchants sell fruit from worn carts and schoolkids play.

Emblazoned in gold at its entrance are the words “Holiness to the Lord; the house of God.”

Spurred by growth in Baja California, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is opening its first temple in Tijuana next month. At the foot of the city’s Cerro Colorado, it becomes the 13th Mormon temple in Mexico, a country whose ties to the faith date back centuries.

It’s expected to serve about 45,000 Latter-day Saints in the region. Until now, worshippers in Baja have had to travel to San Diego to visit the closest temple, in La Jolla. Some take 12-hour bus rides.

Mormonism has seen exponential growth in recent years among Latinos, many of whom say they’re drawn to its structure and emphasis on family.

“This embodies the family.… It goes a step further than other religions,” said Emily Ortiz Wichmann, a representative with the church’s San Diego-Imperial County Regional Public Affairs Council. “It’s given us the perspective of eternal values that we can hang on to.”

To read the full article on The L.A. Times, click here