Joseph: It hurts my soul to include this armpit of California here among these notable and deserving locales, but someone should. Although I suppose I could be grateful for Bakersfield, being from Mesa, AZ myself, it’s always nice knowing that there’s someplace worse.
Indeed, Bakersfield is a town where I only needed visit once, to determine that was more than enough. Odd because I typically find myself appreciating, even becoming enamored with some aspect of everywhere I visit, but Bakersfield had no redeeming qualities. Perhaps a house of the Lord can be its first? Let’s dive into the data.
Geoff: OK? So, uh, you’re just asking me to do the work for you on this one? Like Monica Geller before me (or Thanos?), I will happily not delegate and do everything myself.
Look, Bakersfield has three stakes, which is nice, I guess? But as with much of California, none of the stakes are particularly new. Indeed, the most recently organize stake was in 1986. The first was back in the 1950s! So as we can see, it appears the gospel, much like the general populace, is avoiding Bakersfield.
Still, there’s that Bakersfield sound, among the best in country music.
So let’s try and make a case for the unloved red-headed stepchild of an already forgotten Central Valley family. The one stake in Ridgecrest could easily be a part of things, and you could maaaaybe make a case for Palmdale and Lancaster being brought into a new temple district to avoid the messy drive down to Los Angeles.
But I still can’t get there. Stakes farther to the south, even in Ventura County, are much better served by heading to Los Angeles. And venturing north to Hanford or Visalia already puts one in much closer proximity to Fresno, already home to a temple. Hacking off the high desert and lower Central Valley stakes from the Los Angeles Temple district is just unnecessary cleavage. (Incidentally, that could be both the name of a 1988 metal band or a section of the next For the Strength of Youth pamphlet.)