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Monday, November 27, 2017

Areas of the Church which I have felt will not have any new temples in the near future

Hello again, everyone! To continue my series of posts on future temple prospects, I am temporarily turning my attention from locations within the Church's areas that I feel will get a temple to those areas which I have felt will not and the rationale behind that. Let's dive right in and discuss that.

With the 25 areas the Church has currently, I have felt that the following 6 areas likely will not get any temple in the near future: Asia North, Caribbean, Idaho, Middle East/Africa North, and North America West. Let me now detail the reasons I feel that way for each of those areas.

The countries within the Asia North Area are Japan, Micronesia, North Korea, Palau, South Korea, and Guam. There are currently four temples for the Saints to attend in that area: Fukuoka Japan, Sapporo Japan, Seoul Korea, and Tokyo Japan. The Sapporo Temple was dedicated just over a year ago, and the Tokyo Japan Temple is currently closed for renovation. While I don't know whether or not that renovation process will include an expansion of any kind (as it was originally built under President Kimball's smaller temple revelation), whether that happens or not, Japan seems to be well set for temples for now, especially once the Tokyo renovation process concludes.

Additionally, the Church has no significant presence in North Korea, so that nation will have to wait a while for a temple. In Micronesia, the Church does not have a mission, and only has 1 stake and 3 districts, which break down further into 5 wards and 17 branches. The Church may need to progress a bit farther there before a temple is built.

Guam has a similar issue, except it has 1 mission and 1 stake, with only 4 wards. There is a long way to go for the Church there before a temple is announced. And in Palau, only a single branch currently operates.

Now, just a word about South Korea. The Seoul Temple was dedicated in December of 1985, and since that time, the Church has added 2 missions, 2 stakes, and 4 districts.  No stakes, missions, or districts have been organized there since 2013. For all of these reasons, I feel that the Asia North Area may not get another temple for the foreseeable future.

Next, we turn to the Caribbean Area. There are two temples there currently, one in the Dominican Republic, and the one in Haiti that had a groundbreaking last month. I know that for a couple of previous General Conferences, I had San Juan Puerto Rico as a potential candidate city for a temple. But the recent upheavals of nature in the Caribbean give me reason to believe that the Church may hold off on announcing any other Caribbean temples until they can gauge how busy the new Haitian temple and the one in the Dominican Republic turn out to be.

I cannot rule out the Caribbean (specifically Puerto Rico) as a great candidate for a temple at some point, but I honestly don't see the Church announcing another Caribbean temple for the foreseeable future. That said, Puerto Rico is currently the third of the top ten nations in the world with the strongest LDS presence that does not have a temple in any phase. I see that happening sooner rather than later, but perhaps not as imminently likely as others.

The next area I want to discuss is Idaho. The Idaho Falls Idaho Temple was rededicated and the Meridian Idaho Temple was dedicated this year (becoming the fifth temple in that state), and President Monson announced a temple for Pocatello last April.The Boise district now serves 16 stakes, after the dedication of the Meridian Temple, which also serves 16 stakes. The Idaho Falls district covers 45 stakes. If the information I have is correct, that district will be cut roughly in half, and will be comprised of 23 stakes once the Pocatello temple is dedicated. The Rexburg temple district takes in 25 stakes. And the Twin Falls temple district covers 15 stakes. An argument could be made for a temple in Nampa, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

We now move on to the Middle East/Africa North Area. In response to the last post I did in this series, there was extensive talk about the potential for a temple to be built in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). While I would love to see a temple in this area sometime soon, I don't believe that will be possible in the foreseeable future. I have two reasons for saying so.

First, the prevalent religion in that region is Islam, and I don't think the people there would accept the idea of a temple there. Second, and slightly less important is the issue of staffing such a temple if it were to be built. That would be a major problem, primarily because the bulk of the Church membership in that area is made up of servicemen (and in some cases their families), and such people are only there temporarily.

Additionally, as one who had a brother-in-law that served in the armed services within that area, I know that the Church only has a few branches in the entire area, which is not an ideal situation for a temple. It is my hope that the tide might turn in the next 35-70 years to allow the Church to flourish, which would enable a temple to be built there, but a temple seems like a long way away for the moment. I would love it if the Lord proved me wrong in that regard, but barring a miracle, it doesn't seem likely.

I don't know how many of you know this, but Elder Holland is the apostle assigned to oversee the Church in this area, and he is assisted by two General Authority Seventies, Elders Wilford W. Andersen and Anthony D. Perkins. The three men administer the area from Church headquarters, and a single Area Seventy, Gary S. Price, who is living in Saudi Arabia, assists them as well.

And finally, we come to the North America West Area. Comprising California, Hawaii, and a tiny portion of Arizona, the area seems to be well covered by the temples already within it. As many of you may be aware, California has seen many congregational consolidations lately (I wouldn't be surprised if a few of the 20 missions there were discontinued and the boundaries of the rest realigned), and the 7 temples in that state seem to be sufficient to serve the 1,140 wards and 141 branches (a total of 1,281 congregations, which averages out to  183 congregations per district), especially since more consolidations are anticipated in the near future.

In the meantime, Hawaii has 2 temples (in Kona and Laie) that serve the 1 mission and 16 stakes on that island. There are 125 wards and 16 branches there, for a total of 141 congregations, and of those, 4 stakes (which comprise 29 wards and 6 branches, for a total of 35 congregations) are served by the Kona Temple. This means the Laie Temple serves 14 stakes and 1 district, which have a total of 106 congregations. Some have speculated that the Church could announce a third temple in Honolulu, but since the dedication of the Kona temple in January 2000, only two stakes have been created, neither of which are based in Honolulu.

With that last bit of information, that does it for this post. Any and all comments are always welcome and appreciated, particularly those that address your thoughts on the arguments I have presented here about each of these areas. I look forward to reading that 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.