Around these here parts, we sure are happy to hear new temple news. Don’t get us wrong, the weekly updates on reopenings in the wake of COVID are great, but they are also expected. Today, we’re happy to learn about the location of Utah’s newest temple as well as the groundbreakings of temples in Texas and Arkansas, including a first peek at how they will appear.
First, the oft-predicted Bentonville Arkansas Temple will hold its groundbreaking in November 2020. Whether because the date itself isn’t locked down, or if the Church is giving itself some flexibility to hold the groundbreaking at a moment’s notice because of COVID, the vagueness here is keeping with other recently announced groundbreakings. Elder David A. Bednar will preside remotely over the event. He has lengthy ties to the region, having served as a stake president in the Rogers/Bentonville area on two different occasions.
Now onto the design:
Plans call for a single-story edifice of approximately 25,000 square feet. How would we describe the architecture? It’s fine. It seems to embrace this sort of faux-Florentine style the Church has embraced in recent years since the Tucson Arizona Temple was built, but never at quite that level of drama or success.
Still, it’s a perfectly lovely, Moroni-less building, and the temple will be a major blessing to the saints in the area, as northwest Arkansas has, by far, been the leading part of the United States to have a significant number of stakes yet remain more than 200 miles away from the nearest temple. This will be the first temple in Arkansas, leaving South Dakota, Wisconsin, Kansas, Iowa, Mississippi, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Maine as the only states without a temple. OK, so when I started typing that list, I thought it would be shorter, but that’s roughly 25% of U.S. states (but not 25% of U.S. population).
Not to be outdone, let’s head way south to the United States-Mexico border at McAllen Texas. The temple there, announced in October 2018, will be the fifth in Texas, and a groundbreaking will also be held sometime in November 2020, presided over by Area Seventy Elder Art Rascon. Apparently no one in the Twelve has personal ties to the region.
Hey, so, it looks the same as the Bentonville Temple! Kind of. The overall floorplan is clearly the same, right down to the 25,000 square feet of space it will occupy. The design, however, is taking its cues from the history of the border region and embracing some Spanish Baroque stylings. The Church has embraced this style before, perhaps most successfully in the Tijuana Mexico Temple (bot for our money, the upcoming temple in Puebla takes the cake).
According to the Church, there are over 350,000 members in the state, which is the fifth highest number in the United States.
Both temples will share their sites with a meetinghouse.