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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Temple Site Possibilities: Pacific Area, Part Six--Potential Future Temples in American Samoa and Tonga; Area Wrap-Up

Hello again, everyone! I am back yet again with my sixth and final post about the Pacific Area to share my rationale behind supporting the idea of temples for Pago Pago American Samoa and Neiafu Vava'u Tonga. So let's dive right in and discuss those prospects, for which I provide some context.

First, for Pago Pago,, that was a recently added location which I put on my list primarily for two reasons. The most important one is that American Samoa ranks as the 7th of the top ten nations in the world that have the strongest Church presence but have not yet received a temple. Additionally, the Saints in American Samoa currently travel to the temple in Apia, which is 76.2 miles away. While that is not an inordinate distance by any means, it makes sense toa me that a temple could (and probably will) be announced sooner rather than later for this nation.


As for Neiafu Vava'u, the Saints in that part of Tonga currently journey 189 miles to get to their assigned temple in Nuku'alofa. While that is slightly below the 200 mile goal set by President Monson, it is close enough to it to make the idea of a temple there supportable.

Additionally, a second temple in Tonga would serve, at minimum, serve the four stakes in Neiafu Vava'u, and likely some in the surrounding region. But the biggest reason I see for a potential second temple to serve the Tongan Saints, the strongest reason is that the current district serves the 21 stakes and 2 districts based in Tonga, which further break down into 136 wards and 32 branches, or a total of 170 congregations. That is a lot for a single temple district.

With that said, this concludes not only my posts about future temple prospects within the Pacific Area, but also my coverage of the area as a whole. So that does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, especially to let me know about anything I missed or have not considered over these last six posts on this area. 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 evevrything you do.

Temple Site Possibilities: Pacific Area, Part Five--Rationale Supporting the Idea of a Temple in Port Moresby Papua New Guine

Hello again, everyone! I am back yet again, with my rationale for supporting the idea of a temple in Port Moresby Papua New Guinea. Aside from being another location for which the Church has reportedly had land set aside for an announcement when it is warranted, I also wanted to note that New Guinea comes in as the second in the current top ten list of those countries with the strongest Church presence that do not have a temple.

Additionally, it would appear that a temple in that area would, at minimum, take away from the Suva Fiji district those 2 missions in New Guinea (the first of which was established in the Papua region), along with the 2 stakes and 12 districts of the Church in New Guinea, which make up 10 wards and 70 branches, or 80 congregations, along with the one district (made up of 5 branches) based in the Solomon Islands.

That in turn would leave the Suva Temple district with the 4 stakes and 3 districts in Fiji, the 2 stakes and 1 district in Kiribati, and the 1 stake and 3 districts based in Vanuatu. Some have advanced the idea of a temple for Kiribati, and I have it on my list for the distant future (since it qualifies based on its mileage from Suva, and also as the fifth of the same top ten nations with the strongest Church presence but without a temple), but I don't see that happening as soon as some might think. As my study of foture temple prospects continues to evolve, I will be sure to post any updates that would lead me to add it as a more imminent possibility.

So that is the summation of my reasoning behind the selection of Port Moresby Papua New Guinea on my list of future temples. That does it for this post. Any and all 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.

Temple Site Possibilities: Pacific Area, Part Four--Overview of Temple Prospects and Exploration of Reasons for a Second Temple in New Zealand

Hello again, everyone! I am back yet again to wrap up my coverage of the Pacific Area by discussing the future temple prospects I see in the near future for this area. After providing the list of my personal picks, I will be commenting on the reasons for my selections of each. Let's get right to it.

I believe temples may be announced in the near future for the following locations (listed in order of likellihood): Auckland New Zealand, Port Moresby Papua New Guinea, Pago Pago American Samoa, and Neiafu Vava'u Tonga. Subsequent posts will explore the other possibilities on this list, but in this post, I wanted to focus on my reasoning for the selection of Auckland.

First, Auckland New Zealand has a couple of factors in its favor for a temple. The one temple in New Zealand serves the 3 missions, 30 stakes and 2 districts in New Zealand, which break down further into 173 wards and 51 branches, or a total of 224 congregations.

Auckland also has the best chances to be the location of the second New Zealand temple for two reasons. I got a tip about a year ago that the Church has held land in reserve for a temple in Auckland for several years. Auckland was also the city out of which the first mission in New Zealand was established.

Additionally, while the distance to their assigned temple is less than half of the 200 mile goal President Monson has set (being just 77.5 miles away from it), the size of the current district is compelling enough to venture an opinion that an Auckland temple is just a matter of time.

And a potential temple in Auckland would, at minimum take in the 13 stakes based in Auckland, which break down into 85 wards and 2 branches, for a total of 87 congregations at minimum. And since I don't know much about geography generally or that of New Zealand in particular, I would imagine that an Auckland temple would serve other congregations in the surrounding regions, which would split the Hamilton temple district roughly in half.

So that is the reasoning behind my selection of Auckland. That does it for this post. Any and all 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.

Temple Site Possibilities: Pacific Area, Part Three--Composition of Current Temple Districts

Hello again, everyone! Having set the background information about the Pacific Area in general and the history of its 10 temples, we now shift our focus to a discussion of the composition of each of those 10 temple districts. As I did in the previous post, I will start that discussion by covering the 5 Australia temples in their chronological order, followed by a discussion of the other 5 temples in their chronological order. So let's get right into all of that.

With the dedication of the other four temples in Australia, that leaves the district of its first dedicated temple (in Sydney) with 12 stakes and 3 districts from the New South Wales region. Not a large district by any means. The second Australian temple (in Adelaide), now has 3 stakes from South Australia and the district located in Australia's northern territory. Neither of these districts seem likely to split.

The district of the third temple (in Melbourne), serves the regions known as Victoria and Tasmania, with the former having 8 stakes and 1 district and the latter having 2 stakes. With that district only covering 10 stakes and 1 district total, it is not likely to split anytime either.

The Perth Australia Temple district is likewise small, having only 4 stakes, all based in Perth (which are located in Western Australia). And the final temple in Australia is the one Brisbane, which serves the 11 stakes and 3 districts in Australia's Queensland region.

With these districts seeming to be fairly manageable in size, I don't see much need to split any of them. But if there is a potential for any additional temples to serve the Saints in Australia, let me know. The driving factor would likely be the distance from each stake to their currently assigned temple, which I don't have the time to calculate currently.

We now move on to the other five temple districts within the Pacific Area. The Hamilton New Zealand Temple is substantially larger and therefore likely to split, as it takes in 30 stakes and 2 districts located in New Zealand, as well as the 1 stake in New Caledonia. I will be offering my thoughts about how that district could be split in my next post.

Coming to the Apia Samoa Temple, its district is also quite substantially sized, as it covers 20 stakes in Samoa, and 5 others in American Samoa. I have a temple prospect in mind that would split this district as well.

Another large temple district for which I have a prospect in mind would split the Nuku'alofa Tonga Temple district, which is currently comprised of Tonga's 21 stakes and 2 districts. Next I wanted to note that the temple in Papeete Tahiti has another small district, with 9 stakes and 3 districts in French Polynesia, and 1 additional district located in the Cook Island region.

And rounding out the discussion of the current temple districts, we note that the Suva Fiji Temple district is also a large one that is likely to split as well. It is currently composed of 4 stakes and 3 districts in Fiji, 2 stakes and 12 districts in New Guinea, 2 stakes and 1 district in Kiribati, 1 stake and 3 districts in Vanuatu, and the 1 district in the Solomon Islands. The grand total for this temple district comes to 9 stakes and 20 districts, which is large any way it's considered.

So there you have it, a look at the composition of the 10 temple districts currently within the Pacific Area. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post (which should be up in the next half hour or so, covering the specifics of the future temple prospects I referenced above), 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: Pacific Area, Part Two--Temple Overview and Dedication History

Hello again, everyone! Having done a post covering the Pacific Area's composition last night, I next want to turn to a discussion of the history of temples within it. While I had planned when starting the discussion of the Pacific Area to cover it in three parts, as I got into this second post, I realized that I would need  to focus it on an overview and dedication history, then follow that up with the third post for this area that will cover the current composition of this area's temple district and the fourth discussing other potential prospects.

So in getting into the history, I wanted to note that there are 10 such temples in this area currently, 5 of which are in Australia (in the cities of Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney), with 1 each in Samoa (Apia), New Zealand (Hamilton), Tonga (Nuku'alofa), Tahiti (Papeete), and Fiji (Suva). We will discuss the current temple districts for this area almost in that same order, the only difference being that, in the case of Australia's temples, I will be detailing their districts in chronological order. So let's get started with all of that.

We start first in Australia. The chronological order in which the 5 Australian temples were dedicated is as follows: Sydney was the first (which was dedicated over four days from September 20-23, 1984, by President Gordon B. Hinckley, who was the only functioning member of the First Presidency at that time; under the direction of the First Presidency, then-Elder Russell M. Nelson would be sent roughly seven years later to rededicate a portion of the temple that was added, which occurred on November 24, 1991).

The second and third temples for that nation were dedicated on consecutive days, with both presided over by President Gordon B. Hinckley as he dedicated the Adelaide temple on June 15, 2000, and then traveled 451.4 miles after that dedication to be in Melborne on June 16, 2000 for that temple's dedication.

Less than a year later, President Hinckley returned to Australia to preside over dedicatory services for the Perth Australia Temple on May 20, 2001. Then, 2 years and 26 days later, the fifth Australian temple was dedicated in Brisbane by President Gordon B. Hinckley which also marked three years to the day from the dedication of the Adelaide temple (June 15, 2003).

Since there have not been any other temples constructed in Australia, we now move to the history of the other five in the Pacific area. While running the research, I changed my mind on the order in which I would discuss these 5, and I will be discussing each of them in chronological order as well..So let's talk about each of those.

We start with the Hamilton New Zealand Temple, which was somewhat significant in its' groundbreaking, as it appears that was conducted by three Melchizedek Priesthood holders representing the Church Building Department rather than any of the General Authorities which were serving at that time. It became only the 11th operating temple when it was dedicated by 9th Church President David O. McKay from April 20-22, 1958.

Next, we turn our attention to Apia Samoa Temple, dedicated August 5-6, 1983 by President Hinckley (as you might have noticed, many of the current temples within the Pacific Area were originally dedicated by President Hinckley), and he returned to rededicate that temple on September 4, 2005, after it was rebuilt as a result of the original temple's destruction by fire.

That brings us to the Nuku'alofa Tonga Temple, which was originally dedicated by President Hinckley between August 9-11, 1983, and rededicated on November 4, 2007 by then-Elder Russell M. Nelson, who was the third most senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at that time, as well as the fifth most senior in the overall apostolic seniority at the time.

As for the Papeete Tahiti Temple, it was dedicated October 27-29, 1983, again by President Hinckley. Following a renovation process, the temple was rededicated by Elder L. Tom Perry (who was the second senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the fourth in apostolic seniority at that time) on November 12, 2006.

Wrapping up our discussion of the current temples, the last one to cover is the Suva Fiji Temple, which was dedicated on June 18, 2000, again by President Hinckley. Following its' renovation (which involved changing the exterior look of the temple to match the other temples from this period that have been renovated, which includes the three undergoing renovation in Memphis, Oklahoma City, and Asuncion).

This concludes my overview of the current temples and their dedication histories in the Pacific Area, so that does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post (which should be up later tonight and will cover the composition of the temple districts within the Pacific Area, followed up by the final one for this area which will share the possibilities I see for future temple prospects), 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: Pacific Area, Part One--Area Overview

Hello again, everyone! After a four day hiatus (although I did a couple of posts to clarify potential temple locations), I am back to discuss the next area in my series of posts exploring future temple prospects. This post will serve as an overview to the next area I will cover, which is the Church's Pacific Area.

Other posts discussing this area will follow either in the early hours of the 21st or else will be put up tomorrow afternoon. This post will serve as an overview of this area, then I will do a second post discussing the current 10 temples already operating within the boundaries of this area, and cap it off with a third discussing the temple prospects I see within this area.

If the posts start to be too cumbersome in their length and breadth, I may wind up subdividing them further, but for now, I am just planning on three posts to cover this area. That said, let's dive right in to the discussion of the countries, nations, and territories comprising this area.

The Pacific Area, as some of you may already be aware, comprises 20 main regions, referred to as nations or islands. They are as follows: Australia; Fiji; Kiribati; Marshall Islands; Nauru; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Samoa; Solomon Islands; Tonga; Tuvalu; Vanuatu; American Samoa (a territory owned by the US); Cook Islands (a free associate of New Zealand).

The French Polynesian region comprises the bulk of the remaining islands that are part of the Pacific Area, and the Church has a presence in the following regions from among those islands:  the French-owned island nations of Tahiti and New Caledonia, Niue (an island in New Zealand that recognizes itself as belonging to Great Britain's monarchy), and Tokelau, which is essentially defined by its locals and the government of New Zealand as a nation, though the UN declared in 2007 that it was a non-self governing territory. For purposes of simplification, I will only be focusing in this series on those regions covered by a temple district.

That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. I will be back (probably tomorrow) with the remaining posts discussing the current and potential future temples within this area. 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.