Ulaanbaatar Mongolia Temple
Geoff: Is this our new Rogers now that the Bentonville Arkansas Temple was finally announced last time around? Mongolia, I have crowned thee my perennial pick, as you have quietly, yet forcefully, moved into “there-is-no-rational-argument-against-a-temple-here-other-than-revelation status.”
For those new to this pick, Mongolia is awesome. While the large Asian country is quite underpopulated, the metropolitan area of its capital, Ulaanbaatar, is home to two stakes!
Latter-day Saints comprise over a quarter of the Christian population of Mongolia – a country of only three million people. Temples have been announced recently in other Asian countries, notably Cambodia and Thailand, that have a much higher ratio of population to stake. For example, Cambodia has roughly 2.7 million people per stake in the country. Mongolia? About 1 million. There are more Latter-day Saints per capita in Mongolia than in other countries that already have or will soon have temples.
Plus, it’s incredibly isolated. Saints in Mongolia are currently assigned to the (closed) Hong Kong China Temple. The Hong Kong Temple is pretty much the “All of Asia that’s not the Philippines, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan” Temple, at least until temples in India, Thailand, and Cambodia are completed, and if the saints in those nations are being given their own temples despite having proportionally fewer members, we can’t keep withholding from Mongolia. It is time to end their need to cross China to do temple work.
Mr. Nelson, tear down this Great Wall.
Joe: Ha! Nice Gorbachev reference. I must admit I’m perennially puzzled by the insistence of this prediction. And I don’t mean just from you. In the small corner of the Internet wherein people talk about future temple announcements, Mongolia pops up everywhere, and to be honest, I think there’s something I’m missing.
Taking in your reasoning, I see it two ways. The first is that perhaps I am more convinced with total numbers rather than proportional numbers of membership. At a certain point, if you can have 9 out of 10 people who are members in one place, but only 2 out of 10 in another, the value of that fades when in the first place you only have 20 people, and in the second you have a thousand. Temples need staff, and they need attendance. I think for those two needs, total numbers count for a lot more. And with a nation who only 4 years ago organized its second stake, It’s harder for me to see why this makes so much sense.
The remoteness however does change the math. A temple patterned after the one in Guam, for example, could not only be feasible here but emblematic of Russel M. Nelson’s temple legacy, particularly for how he seems to have taken up ol’ Gordon’s torch and adapted it for even more far-flung and lower member population areas. If that’s the case, our temple guessing game just got harder, and a lot more interesting. I’m a fan of this guess, even if I’m late to the party as to understanding why it’s a good one.