Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates Temple
Geoff: Honestly, I don’t entirely know why I stick with this one. Is it the romantic in me? Is it because Furious 7 forever changed my mind about Dubai’s rival?
I like to take the President McKay approach to temple construction: build them where you want the Church to grow, not where it is already established. That being the case, the Persian Gulf region is a very interesting one for the Church. We actually have two stakes in the area, with the Abu Dhabi stake containing seven wards in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Doha, and a handful of branches in the region. The Manama Bahrain stake is even more interesting in that its only ward listed is one in Kuwait. Then there’s a branch in Manama. Not to out anything, but the Church has groups in Damman, Saudi Arabia, mostly composed of expats in the petrochemical industry.
Basically, neither of these stakes is filled up with native Emiratis, Kuwaitis, or others. Rather, they are mostly made up of the aforementioned expat western folks, Filipinos, and Indians. Either way, the Church exists here, and the Abu Dhabi government is actually reasonably accommodating of our Church.
So while on paper, a temple may seem a ways off, it would make for a great regional hub, also bringing in saints from Pakistan and India. Granted this only makes sense of Bengaluru doesn’t happen. I can’t see a situation where both Abu Dhabi and India have temples in any remotely concurrent timeframe.
Joe: Is this a hope, Geoff, or a prediction? Because if it’s a hope, I’m right there with ya, buddy. But if it’s a prediction, I have to admit, it’s the Stretch Armstrong of stretches. And the city you chose of all the Emirates, is it because it’s the political capital of the country? Personally I’d go with Sharjah, it’s considered the cultural capital of the region and is more rich with history and architecture than its more modern neighbors. I mean, the architectural and design committee would have a blissful hey day with this location.
But more, Dubai is all glitz, and Abu Dhabi is all glamour (aka, fancy shopping centers). Sharjah also is considered more conservative than its island-building neighbor to the South with the world’s tallest building. Lastly, it has the American University of Sharjah. It’s a well-to-do conservative city with a certain measure of love for America. I mean, those are the qualifications for getting a temple, no?
Geoff: I think you’re mixing up the positive notions of conservatism in America, where a religious building would ostensibly be welcome, with conservatism in the Islamic world, which is a whole other thing.
No, I do not support Sharjah. Abu Dhabi is the capital. We have an awesome, huge stake center there. We have the presence. It makes sense in every way if we’re talking a UAE Temple.