6. Ulaanbaatar Mongolia

Argument for:

Mongolia has one stake and two districts. There are only approximately 9,000 members of the Church out of a total population of about 3 million, or .3 percent of the country, but if we look at things strategically, there’s a large bear looming across the northern border. A district was recently organized in nearby Irkutsk, Russia, and Novosibirsk, the third-largest city in Russia is reasonably close. (And by “reasonably,” I mean about 1,500 miles.)

There are also untold number of members in China. That’s a more complicated political situation than we’ll get into here, but there are certainly members. And a temple isn’t going in mainland China anytime soon, lest we have a miracle along the lines of Freiberg.

Having a temple in reasonably isolated Mongolia could be a great rallying cry for members in the area. Plus, it puts a temple in what is basically Asian flyover territory. A trip to Mongolia beats a trip to Seoul or Kyiv.

Argument against:

One stake and two districts does not a temple people make. That said, there are numerous locations throughout the Church with a temple serving fewer than five stakes or districts.

Mongolia’s growth rate is slowing down. While the Church doesn’t peg temple announcements to economic data, it does care about permanence of a people. Economic growth has chipped away at nomadic life among Mongolians. If the economy tanks, so too might the long-term presence of residents.