This is the first temple President Monson announced shortly after he became Church president in 2008.
Many Latter-day Saints said it was a joyous day, as they got a chance to be part of the dedicatory services for their new temple and to be with their prophet.
President Monson greeted dozens of children as he arrived at the temple Sunday morning. Then he and other church leaders sealed the cornerstone.
As always, he invited a few of the young ones to help.
"I put cement on the cornerstone," said 8-year-old Jared Reidhead. "[It was] awesome."
As Church leaders arrived in the Gila Valley Saturday night, they remembered with fondness Church President Spencer W. Kimball, who lived in the area for many years.
"He was quite a powerful man here on earth and maybe the Lord will let him look in tonight and tomorrow and see the temple in Safford, Arizona, which is a city he loved very much," said President Monson.