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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Temple Site Possibilities--Asia Area, Part Two: Potential New Temple Locations

Hello again, everyone! Having set the background in my last post about the current temples in the Asia Area that are in operation (with the one other that has been announced), I am now pleased to turn my attention to the future possibilities I see for new temples within that area. Let's dive right into that topic.

My study has shown that the following cities could potentially get a temple of their own, and that this could happen sooner rather than later: Phomn Penh Cambodia; Jakarta Indonesia; Taichung Taiwan; Ulaanbaatar Mongolia; Singapore; Hyderabad/Rajahmundry India. So why did each of these locations make my list? I'm glad you asked.

The Cambodian capital city originally made my list because my brother-in-law served his mission there. But as I did more studying on the prospect, the case for a Cambodian Temple is compelling for at least a couple of reasons. Saints in that nation currently travel to Hong Kong to attend the temple, an inordinate distance of 965 miles, almost five times further than President Monson's goal to have temples within 200 miles of every member.

When the Bangkok Thailand Temple is dedicated, that distance will be cut just about in half, to 436.6 miles. Even that is more than twice that of President Monson's goal. So Cambodia would qualify by distance alone from both its current temple district, and the one under which it would fall once the Bangkok Temple is dedicated. Additionally, Cambodia ranks as #9 of the top ten countries with the strongest LDS presence but without a temple.

Jakarta Indonesia is another location with a strong case in favor of a temple. Someone with whom I served in Aaronic Priesthood Quorums served his mission there, but the more compelling reason for a temple in this nation is once again the distance issue..Indonesian Saints currently travel a whopping 2,033 miles to attend the Hong Kong China Temple.

That distance will be cut only slightly (to 1,919.4 branches) once Indonesia is transferred to the Bangkok Thailand Temple District. But even then, the distance between the two is more than 9.5 times further than President Monson's goal. So an Indonesia Temple makes sense.

Though the Taipei Temple only covers 17 stakes (with 108 wards and 9 branches) the total 117 congregations there are spread throughout Taiwan. And the Saints in the Taichung area have to travel 104.1 miles to attend the temple. While that is below the 200 mile goal, I can certainly see the case for a Taichung Temple.

Ulaanbaatar Mongolia is another location in which a temple makes sense. In addition to the number of Church units which I cited for Mongolia in my last post, it is significant to me that the Saints in Mongolia have a journey of 1,805 miles to get to their currently assigned temple  Unless plans change, Mongolian Saints will continue to be served by the Hong Kong China Temple once other nations are shifted to the Bangkok Thailand Temple district. So based on mileage alone, a temple in Mongolia will likely be built sooner rather than later.

We next turn our attention to the possibility of a temple in the nation of Singapore. In addition to the information already cited about the number of Church units within that nation, I wanted to again note the distances involved. Right now, the Saints in Singapore are 1,609 miles away from the Hong Kong China Temple.

Once the Bangkok Thailand Temple is dedicated, that distance will be cut to 1,136 miles. That is still almost six times more distant than President Monson's goal. Additionally, President Gordon B. Hinckley publicly proposed a temple for Singapore in January 2000. As one who has followed temple developments extensively, I know that President Monson has announced several temples during his administration that were publicly proposed during that of his prophetic predecessor, so I could see a Singapore temple happening sooner rather than later.

Now, to the final possibility I have on my list: in India. In addition to the number of Church units already noted, it is significant to me that Elder Neal A. Maxwell publicly proposed a temple for New Delhi in June 1992. That said, both Rajahmundry and Hyderabad seem to have a stronger Church presence and therefore a better chance that either will be the better option for the first temple in India.

With the political unrest in India and with the bulk of the citizenry adhering to Hinduism, the Church may not yet  be mature enough in that nation to see a temple. Some have ventured their opinion that a temple in India is more likely 15-30 years down the road, That is why I have listed the India option last among these possibilities. The Lord can announce a temple wherever He wills and wherever the people are ready for it, and while I would love to see an LDS temple in India in the near future, it may be more distant than anyone thinks.

That does it for this post. Any comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Particularly, do you agree with my list, are there possibilities I should eliminate, or any that I may have overlooked? I look forward to the feedback. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Temple Site Possibilities: Asia Area--Part One: Current Temples

Hello again, everyone! As many of you know, around a month ago, I began a new series of posts to share my thoughts about future temple site possibilities within each of the Church's geographical areas and to ask for your input on those locations or any others I may have missed, with a view to refining that list prior to the next General Conference in April. Because of all I have been dealing with personally, and because of all the Church and temple news I felt needed to be more of a priority, my last post in that series was done on October 30.

I apologize that I have taken so long to continue the series. This post will discuss the current temples within the Asia Area of the Church. Due to the sheer volume of data I will be presenting about this area, I will be devoting this post to discussing current temples in the area, and will do a second post later on detailing the possibilities I have put together.

Just a preliminary note before I begin my analysis of those possibilities: the Asia Area was one where I had only listed a few possibilities initially for quite a long time. It was not until I received some advice from a few experts on temple-related matters (in which I was encouraged to expand my net) that I realized just how many great potential sites exist within the Asia Area of the Church. So, which temples currently cover the area? Let's dive right into that subject.

The main reason I have felt so strongly that the Asia Area may need many new temples is that there are currently only 2 operating temples within that area (in Hong Kong China and Taipei Taiwan). One other has been announced for Bangkok Thailand, and if member speculation is correct, an existing building housing Church offices will be rebuilt and renovated into a multi-purpose edifice that will continue to have Church offices, but will also serve as a meetinghouse and the temple, in the mold of existing temples in Hong Kong China and Manhattan New York. Depending on if and when that is confirmed, we could potentially see the Bangkok Temple dedicated within the next 3-5 years or less. I am keeping my eye on that and will pass along any new information as I have it.

For now, let's turn our attention to the size of the current temple districts in the Asia Area. First, I want to talk about the Taipei Taiwan Temple. That district  currently serves the 17 stakes that have been established in that nation, where there are also a total of 2 missions (in Taipei and Taichung) and where the 17 stakes break down further into 108 wards and 9 branches. That one temple may or may not be sufficient for the Taiwanese Saints, especially those living a fair distance from Taipei. So I have my eye on a candidate for Taiwan's second temple, for which I will be sharing my thoughts in my next post about this area.

In the meantime, once the Bangkok Thailand Temple is constructed and dedicated, that will split the Hong Kong China Temple District. How will that happen? Let me answer that by sharing some data about the current units comprising that district, and which of those units will likely be transferred when the Bangkok Thailand Temple is dedicated.

Currently, the Hong Kong China Temple District is comprised of the following countries, which have the following number of Church units at present.

Hong Kong: 1 mission; 6 stakes; 1 district (which break down into 33 wards and 9 branches, or a total of 42 congregations)
India: 2 missions; 4 stakes; 2 districts (which break down into 21 wards and 22 branches, or a total of 43 congregations)
Thailand: 1 mission; 4 stakes; 2 districts (which break down into 22 wards and 19 branches, or a total of 41 congregations)
Cambodia: 1 mission; 2 stakes; 4 districts (which break down into 10 wards and 19 branches, or a total of 29 congregations)
Indonesia: 1 mission; 2 stakes; 1 district (which break down into 15 wards and 9 branches, or a total of 24 congregations)
Mongolia: 1 mission; 2 stakes; 1 district (which break down into 12 wards and 13 branches, or a total of 25 congregations)
China: No missions; 4 districts; 16 congregations total (all branches)
Vietnam: 1 mission; 2 districts; 10 congregations total (all branches)
Macau: No missions; 1 district; 3 congregations total (all branches)
Sri Lanka: No missions; 1 district; 4 congregations total (all branches)

Total units in the Hong Kong China Temple district: 9 missions; 21 stakes; 25 districts (which in turn make up 123 wards and 153 branches (a grand total of 276 congregations)

When the Bangkok Thailand Temple is dedicated, that district, which is anticipated to include Thailand, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, will take in 6 missions; 13 stakes and 15 districts, which currently break down further into 78 wards and 102 branches, for a total of 180 congregations.

Removing those units from the Hong Kong China Temple district will leave Hong Kong to cover the remaining 3 missions; 8 stakes; 10 districts, which in turn will be comprised of 45 wards and 51 branches, for a total of 96 congregations.

Having shared that data, I also wanted to note that the one problem in the Asia Area is that because Asia is the largest of the seven continents, the nations within it are also substantially larger than anywhere else, and the distance between each of those nations and their assigned temples is fairly substantial. By that fact alone, the Asia Area is prime for many potential future temple locations. Where might those be? Stay tuned for my next post in which I will share my thoughts on that.

That does it for this post. Any comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Minor Progress Noted on the Fortaleza Brazil Temple

Hello again, everyone! I found out about an update on the construction status of the Fortaleza Brazil Temple either yesterday or the day before, but personal health issues kept me from posting about that before now. I wanted to note that stone cladding is progressing on the exterior of that temple, while the steeple has been attached to the adjoining meetinghouse. It has been interesting to see how quickly things have changed for this temple. After its 2011 groundbreaking, a 5-year delay ensued before full-scale construction could begin. Once this temple was able to get full-scale construction started (sometime last year), it progressed very steadily (and very rapidly, in some instances). As we know, this temple was originally anticipated to have its dedication in early 2019 or so, but that estimate has since been pushed back to sometime during mid-to-late 2019. I have always been fascinated by the process of temples progressing or being delayed in terms of their construction.

Aside from this update, there have not been any significant developments in terms of temple construction anywhere else. I am still waiting for news on what the Asuncion Paraguay Temple renovation process may involve, and now that we are four weeks from the day the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple had a groundbreaking, we still have no word on when full-scale efforts may begin. And though I have kept a faithful eye out for any other new temple news, not a lot has occurred in that regard.

That does it for this post. Any comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my nest post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.