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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Temple Site Possibilities: Europe East Area

Hello again, everyone! I am continuing my series of posts on potential future temple prospects, and this post will discuss the current and potential future temples in the Europe East Area of the Church. Again, I have no desire whatsoever to cut off or end the discussion of possibilities in previous areas; I very much hope that will continue. But I wanted to open up for discussion my thoughts on this area as well.

The Europe East Area contains the following countries: Armenia, Azerbajan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. The Church does not yet have a significant presence in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Additionally, while the members of the Church living in Belarus are very steadfast, the Church has not seen much growth in that region. In Bulgaria, the Church only has one mission, and 9 branches that are administered by that mission. There is only 1 district (comprised of 4 branches) in Estonia. The Church in the Eastern European country of Georgia only has 2 congregations, both branches, and there are also just 2 branches of the Church in Kazakhstan.

The Church's presence is slightly stronger in Latvia, where 5 branches operate. There are also 5 branches in Lithuania, and the Church is strong enough there that those units are organized into the Vilnius Lithuania district. The interesting thing about Vilnius is that Elder Ballard proposed a temple there in May 1993. Obviously, that will not happen until the Church is more established there, but that is something to look forward to perhaps within the next 30-50 years, if not sooner. And finally, Turkey has 1 mission (called the Central Eurasian Mission), and 8 branches.

Having summarized the situation of the countries in this area with a small or nonexistent Church presence, I can now move on to discuss the one temple in the Europe East Area. That is the Kyiv Ukraine Temple, and its district covers the 3 stakes and 16 districts scattered throughout Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Moldova, and Romania. Since the dedication of the Kyiv Temple in 2010, only 6 districts have been established. That said, the Moscow Russia district was upgraded to a stake in June 2011, and the Saratov Russia district was upgraded to a stake just 2 years ago this month.

With all of that in mind, I wanted to note that, as recently as the beginning of this week, I did not have any potential candidate cities from this area for a future temple. But as I did more research on all of that, I added one very likely possibility to my list: Moscow Russia.

I added that location for a few reasons. First, there are 6 missions in Russia, along with 3 stakes and 9 districts, which further break down into 17 wards and 83 branches. Anywhere the Church has a minimum of 100 congregations (which is the exact number in Russia), there is reason to look at a temple.

Next, with Moscow being located more than twice the 200 mile goal President Monson has set for Church membership worldwide (it is 536.5 miles exactly from Kyiv), Russia qualifies by that metric. But perhaps most significantly, Russia ranks as the 4th of the top ten nations in the world with the strongest Church presence that does not yet have a temple in any phase. For all of these reasons, I think a Moscow temple may be announced very soon.

Having shared these thoughts, I want to hear from you. How did I do? Did I overlook any other possibilities in this area? What are your feelings on Moscow's chances of getting a temple? It's your turn to sound off in the comments below.

That does it for this post. 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, Europe Area--Part Two: Potential Future Temple Locations

Hello again, everyone! I am back with my list of possible future temple sites that may be announced in the near future within the Europe Area. I have four on my radar at the moment, and they are as follows: Praia Cape Verde, Budapest Hungary, Vienna Austria, and Edinburgh Scotland. Let me now detail my reasons for including these locations.

First, I wanted to talk about the potential I see for a temple in Praia Cape Verde. The Saints in Cape Verde currently fall under the Madrid Spain Temple district, and have to travel 2,125 miles to get to it. Once the Lisbon Portugal Temple is dedicated, the Cape Verde Saints will have a journey of 1,861 miles to travel. Even then, that is more than 9 times the distance goal of 200 miles that has been set by President Monson. Additionally, Cape Verde ranks as the 10th of the top 10 nations with the strongest LDS presence that does not have a temple. So I feel a temple there will happen sooner rather than later.

Next, as I have previously mentioned, I was told by a few people that the next European temple would be built in Budapest Hungary. The case for a temple in Cape Verde seemed more compelling, but I think we will see a Hungarian temple sooner rather than later. The Church units in Hungary currently fall under the Freiberg Germany Temple district, and Hungarian Church members currently travel 436.6 miles to get to that temple. So Budapest qualifies for a temple just based on the distance involved in allowing Saints of that nation to worship.

The third temple on my list is Vienna Austria. My wife served her mission there and I hope someday to be able to take her back for a visit. I am more than slightly biased in my choice of this location. The Saints in Austria currently travel a distance of 324.1 miles to get to their assigned temple in Frnakfurt. So again, we have another site that makes sense, at least in that regard.

Finally, I have Edinburgh Scotland as a possibility. When I first put Scotland on my list of future possibilities, I was torn in regards to whether that nation or Ireland might better serve the people in both nations. But my research shows that Scotland is more likely. Scotland currently falls under the Preston England Temple district, and the Scottish Saints have to travel a distance of 185.4 miles to get to their assigned temple. Perhaps that is not as arduous a journey as the Saints in other countries in this area might have, but it seems a bit too close to President Monson's 200 mile goal, so I could see it happen.

There you have it. Hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on the potential new temples that could be constructed in the Europe Area. Do I have any on this list that might be more unlikely than I think? Have I overlooked any other locations that could use a temple within this area? It is now your turn to "sound off" in the comments below.

That does it for this post. 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.

900th Blog Post: Temple Site Possibilities: Europe Area, Part One--Current Temples

Hello again, everyone! While I have no desire whatsoever to halt the ongoing discussion of future temple locations in the areas of the Church I have already covered (I actually hope those will continue), I have felt inclined to get the next post in the series up on this blog. If the numbers I'm seeing are any indication, this series of posts has wide interest. The previous posts in this series, even those that have been up less than 48 hours, have double-digit readership already. That means a lot to me.

That said, I want to now turn our attention to the Europe Area. Because there is so much to cover in terms of this area (which, unless I am mistaken, is the second largest in the Church), I am dividing this area into two posts, the first to discuss the current breakdown of nations in this area, and the second to discuss the possibilities for future temples that I see for this area in the near future.

The Church defines the Europe Area as covering a whopping 44 countries or territories, and the Church has a presence in all but two of those, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Vatican City, headquarters of the Catholic Church and the Pope's residence. Because there are that many countries and territories, I will not be covering each one individually. It would just be too time-consuming. What I can and will do is focus on the 13 current temples in that area, and the number of Church units that are covered in each of those temple districts..

That will include the Bern Switzerland, Copenhagen Denmark, Frankfurt Germany, Freiberg Germany, Helsinki Finland, London England, London England, Madrid Spain, Paris France, Preston England, Stockholm Sweden, and The Hague Netherlands Temples. The Lisbon Portugal and Rome Italy Temples are under construction. Let's talk about each of these temple districts.

The Bern Switzerland Temple district covers 19 stakes and 1 district in Italy, Switzerland, France, Albania and the Jerusalem district in Israel. Once the Rome Italy Temple is dedicated (in early 2019), that temple district will likely take in the 10 stakes in Italy, which would leave the Bern temple with 9 stakes and 1 district.

The Copenhagen Denmark Temple district takes in the 2 stakes in Denmark, 1 in Southern Sweden, and the 2 branches in Iceland.And while the Frankfurt Germany Temple is being renovated, ordinance workers from the Hamburg German & Neuminister Germany stakes have been reassigned to this temple. That information is not relevant to the general subject of current temples, but I thought it was an interesting tidbit.

The Frankfurt Germany Temple district is comprised of 16 stakes and 5 districts located in Western Germany, Austria, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Croatia, Cypress, Serbia, and Slovenia, making it another relatively small district. The Freiberg Germany Temple district covers 5 stakes and 7 districts in Eastern Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia, meaning it is also a small district.

The Helsinki Finland Temple district covers 3 stake and 4 districts located in Finland, Northwestern Russia, Estonia, and Lithuania. The London England Temple district takes in 22 stakes and 2 districts located in the regions of Southern England and the English Midlands, Wales, Ireland and Jordan. The Madrid Spain Temple district covers the 23 stakes and 10 districts in Spain, Portugal, and Cape Verde. That district will shrink somewhat in 2019 when the Lisbon Portugal Temple is dedicated.

The Paris France Temple, dedicated last May, Its district covers 7 stakes. The Preston England Temple district covers Northern England and the English Midlands, Scotland, Ireland, and Northern Ireland. The Stockholm Sweden Temple district covers Sweden, Norway and Latvia, and contains 5 stakes and 2 districts that have been organized within those nations.

Finally, the Hague Netherlands Temple serves the 5 stakes located in the Netherlands and Belgium. As you can see from this data, for the most part, because there are so many temples in this area, the temple districts are very small. The main consideration that has led to a new temple being announced and built within this area is proximity, but other factors include the sheer breadth of each of the nations and the arduous distances the saints within that area have had to travel

That said, I do see a few very viable and likely candidate cities for future temples in this area, and I will be detailing those in the next post. 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.