Guatemala City Guatemala
Joseph: As Geoff and I layed out, rather convincingly I might add, in a previous TWiM article on the precedent of multiple temples in one city as a trend to watch for in the future, I’m going to claim that’s exactly what will happen in the Guatemala.
As is the case with many large cities in underdeveloped nations, the question of temple access becomes less of geographic distance, and more about population density, public transportation and the ability to afford to get there. This can make a temple on the other side of town cost prohibitive, especially when that “town” is literally millions of people. It can be a logistical nightmare that takes just as long as a journey to a temple far away would. But, you don’t have to take my word for it. Noted—nay—celebrated latter-day humanitarian, author, and former BYU professor Warner Woodworth commented as much on that Lima article.
“Many of us anticipated another Lima Temple, not so much because of the stakes or member numbers. It boils down more to the fact that many Peruvians can’t afford the bus fare to cross the whole city for a temple session. Now it’ll be easier, cost less, & allow members who work long hours all day to be able to occasionally do a quick temple session & get back to their busy schedules. In the future, we’ll see more of this occur in places like Sao Paulo, etc.”
So there you have it, with 32 stakes and 9 districts currently served by the Guatemala City Temple, most of those are clustered in the city itself. I think it stands to reason, then, that this Central American hub makes a great case to follow Lima and Manila, and become a home for not one, but two granite edifices with spires pointed heavenward.
Geoff: Whoa, whoa. First, you are assuming the temple will even get a spire! Those predictable days are gone, my friend. For all we know, a second Guatemala City Temple could be built in the vein of other, newer projects that lack said spire. Or a Moroni.
Amazing quote from Prof. Woodworth. He should probably write these predictions and not us. With the current temple on the southeast side of the city, a new one in the west would alleviate the burden for many. (And wouldn’t you know it, there’s an open lot right next to an existing meeting house in the northwest of the urban conglomeration, right along Anillo Pereférico.)
All of this speaks to a larger issue that we referenced at the beginning of this piece: we are shifting into a new era of temples where sacred edifices will go up in areas with fewer members and can be run with fewer resources. Just look at the temple in Guam. We’ve long called for a temple in nearby Kiribati, which could still happen, but Guam, with fewer members, has already broken ground on a small, functional building.
So maybe that will be the case in Guatemala. Or maybe it will shock us all and get 86,000 square feet of intensity.
Worth noting: the Church recently announced the closure of the Missionary Training Center in Guatemala City. I’m not saying such closures are a bellwether, but it might portend a decrease in investment in the area.