Latter-day Saint Temple Predictions – April 2021

april-2021-general-conference-temple-predictions
Geoff Openshaw

Geoff Openshaw

The temples are coming! But where, o' where, shall they be?

Here we are! Isn’t it interesting how swept up we can get in predicting temples? Why do we become so excited about new temples? They are beautiful buildings, sacred to us, and it is a wonderful blessing to have a new temple in one’s area. It also stands as a testament to the strength of the Church when a temple arises, a new foothold in a land.

President Russell M. Nelson loves announcing new temples. You can tell he can barely contain himself when he makes those announcements, even if COVID has resulted in no crowd to excite in the Conference Center (which can be for the best – let’s not forget when we were admonished for being a bit too irreverent with excitement at the news).

In case you’re new to our predictions, we have somehow lucked into a pretty good track record. Last time, for example, we correctly predicted a second temple in Sao Paulo, Brazil. We also forecasted temples in Kiribati and Bolivia, and a previous prediction list included the second temple in Guatemala City. Of course, we did not predict Lindon, Utah, of all places. You are worthy, Lindon!

Now a word of caution: There’s a major backlog of announced temples that have yet to commence construction. We’ve long wondered whether this would mean a pause in temple announcements, as President Monson once did, but President Nelson seems to be bullish about getting temples everywhere we can reasonably do so.

Speaking of President Monson, we’ve long used a popular metric he mentioned to gauge where temples might reasonably go. At the time, President Monson stated that 85% of Church membership was within 200 miles of a temple. Our map below reflects that, with each circle having a 200-mile radius.

Of course, simple miles don’t reflect the realities of infrastructure and other concerns for the saints, and President Nelson has offered a different view — he wants every saint within two hours of a temple. That’s an awesome goal, as two hours in one location can mean something vastly different than two hours in another.

While we have not bothered to estimate travel times around the world, we have stuck with our 200-mile map for the sake of visuals. It’ll help you get an idea where temples might go.

And a final note: We are not prophets. We don’t claim to speak for the church. We also don’t think predicting temples is wrong in any way. We’re simply looking at statistics and demographics and using that information to predict likely temple locations. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it just takes forever (hi, Arkansas). The one thing we do know is it’s increasingly unlikely any of these temples will be topped with a statue of the angel Moroni.

Now read below as This Week in Mormons’ editor-in-chief, Geoff Openshaw, and ja ja ding dong expert, Joe “Angie” Peterson, get into it. And big thanks to contributor Cory Ward, who has provided us with some great additional data points.

You can also stream our podcast covering this material in the Spotify box immediately below.

image/svg+xml Openclipart Salt Lake Temple Silhouette 2011-06-03T07:10:01 This is a silhouette of the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) made by my friend Jay and I. It is optimized for cutting on a Cricut. n nThis revised version is enlarged to match the page size and has some fixes in the spacing of the windows on the side towers. https://openclipart.org/detail/142003/salt-lake-temple-silhouette-by-sorenstoutner-142003 sorenstoutner Cricut LDS Latter-day Saint Mormon Saints Salt Lake City Silhouette Temple Utah

Belo Horizonte Brazil

Geoff: Joe, you shocked me last October with your prediction for a second temple in Sao Paulo, and then President Nelson announced it! I know you’re always on the lookout for likely locations for a second temple in a metropolitan area ever since Lima’s second temple was announced, but that was still some seriously good prognosticating.

My pick here is less audacious, but I pray you will honor my work.

Although the Rio de Janeiro Temple has been done for a year, it remains undedicated because of our friendly neighborhood COVID (and Brazil has been hit particularly hard). We don’t know that temple’s district, but I’m going to assume Belo Horizonte, currently assigned to the Campinas Brazil Temple, will swing over to Rio.

Obviously we don’t want to cripple the nascent Rio temple by immediately yanking away some of its stakes, but Belo Horizonte already sits outside the 200-mile zone, and there are five stakes in the immediate metropolitan area and at least three more in the surrounding region. This one is easy. Mr. Nelson, build that temple!

Joe: I’m just basking in what you deem so audacious of me. I think you overestimate my analytical ability here. But honor your work I do here and always, even if I disagree, like I might elsewhere on this list. But that is not the case in Belo Horizonte! This just makes sense. Five stakes in the city proper, another five in the nearby orbit of the city, and one could argue the three stakes in the Vitoria area along with that lonely district in Colatina could all flock to a temple in what could be Brazil’s 13th! Just one more after Belo and Brazil would be tied with Mexico for the most temples outside the U.S. 

Nay, Geoff, this is a fine pick! Rio and the rest notwithstanding, there seems to be what some would call a temple shortage in Brazil, at least statistically speaking. Like announcing Benin City the year after Lagos in Nigeria was announced, sometimes it just makes sense like that.

image/svg+xml Openclipart Salt Lake Temple Silhouette 2011-06-03T07:10:01 This is a silhouette of the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) made by my friend Jay and I. It is optimized for cutting on a Cricut. n nThis revised version is enlarged to match the page size and has some fixes in the spacing of the windows on the side towers. https://openclipart.org/detail/142003/salt-lake-temple-silhouette-by-sorenstoutner-142003 sorenstoutner Cricut LDS Latter-day Saint Mormon Saints Salt Lake City Silhouette Temple Utah

Fort Worth Texas

Joe: This one is my gimme, OK, Geoff? At a certain point, this here being my 10th temple prediction article I’ve joined you on, one runs out of ideas about how to start an argument for why any particular guess is a winner. Maybe it’s because Fort Worth itself, at least what I (don’t) know about it, doesn’t exactly inspire thoughts on a sense of place like many temples seem to channel. So you know what? Here’s the thing, I looked at the map. I saw 28 stakes. I slammed my hand on the desk and shouted, “Dallas! What are you doing with that many stakes!? It’s 2021 for crying out loud, You can’t hog all those stakes!” And this is where I zoomed in on the map and thought to myself, “I’m looking for a sub-cluster of stakes in the greater Dallas area that may form a tidy little temple district unto itself—without grafting too heavy a branch of the O.G. Olive Tree, mind you—” And there she was, kinda, Fort Worthy. A fine location for a house of granite and spirit. Or maybe it’s my cooped-up COVID isolation brain, thinking that if I were living in Fort Worth, my goodness, Dallas would just be too far to travel for really any reason.

The delicate fact is, while Fort Worth could handily claim 10 stakes for itself to feed into a new temple district, it probably couldn’t muster an eleventh anywhere nearby. Not by looking at where the stake centers are, anyway. So the question then becomes whether 10 stakes clustered on one end of a (grading on the curve) megacity’s forever-sprawl in these United States, which already hosts a larger temple, is enough to justify the need. But if we shift our paradigm here slightly, and in consideration of the fact that we’ve been on this temple-building bender for quite a while, wherein Russell M. Nelson has proven all too eager to pick up the pace of what Gordon B. Hinckley started, that the question becomes less and less of where a temple is needed, and more of where a temple is possible. And if that’s the metric, well, then I submit Fort Worth as quite the obvious possibility indeed.

Geoff: There’s kinda maybe sorta something to this, but I’m admittedly not sold. The Dallas temple isn’t midway in the Metropolex in Arlington or anything, but it’s not too out of the way for all involved.

The big upside to this is a Fort Worth temple could take in the Waco stake, and I am all about those silos, baby. Heck, put the temple in Waco. Make it the first temple encased in shiplap. I need this.

image/svg+xml Openclipart Salt Lake Temple Silhouette 2011-06-03T07:10:01 This is a silhouette of the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) made by my friend Jay and I. It is optimized for cutting on a Cricut. n nThis revised version is enlarged to match the page size and has some fixes in the spacing of the windows on the side towers. https://openclipart.org/detail/142003/salt-lake-temple-silhouette-by-sorenstoutner-142003 sorenstoutner Cricut LDS Latter-day Saint Mormon Saints Salt Lake City Silhouette Temple Utah

Smithfield Utah

Geoff: Another holdover from last year. While I am loath to award Utah even more temples, at least Cache Valley sits in the 435 and not the 801. And in this case, the numbers don’t lie. Throw in some cultural reasons for a potential temple (which I’ll get to in a minute), and a temple either in Smithfield or elsewhere in northern Cache Valley—even potentially across the border into Preston, Idaho—seems a likely possibility.

A whopping 43 stakes feed into the Logan Utah Temple, one of the oldest temples in the Church. We’ve been making arguments elsewhere that temples can easily have 20 or so stakes supporting them, even in Utah, and even fewer stakes in more remote locations around the world. The 43 stakes assigned to Logan are one of the largest numbers in the Church. The Ogden Utah Temple has more stakes assigned to it, but the upcoming Layton and Syracuse temples are going to siphon off a significant number of those stakes. Cache Valley, on the other hand, is comparatively remote. The only place that might have took stakes from Logan already did so ― Brigham City. The remaining stakes are not likely to be picked off by another temple anytime soon unless that temple is in Cache Valley. Given the trends in temple construction in Utah, all metrics point to the need to dilute the number of stakes assigned to Logan and build a second temple in the area.

And this is partially where culture comes in. The Logan Utah Temple is one of the pioneer-era temples of the Church. For better or worse, the Church has announced major renovations of these temples, but no plans have been announced yet for the Logan temple, the one that arguably needs rehabilitation the most out of the four temples in question. However, closing the temple to renovate it might not be able to happen until a second temple exists in the area to help absorb the load. Those Cache Valley folks would overrun Brigham City.

I don’t love the heavy cultural and political influence the Church can hold in places like Cache Valley or Utah County, but it means a temple in Smithfield or a nearby area will likely be rubber stamped by the local authorities and work would begin quickly. If the Church announces a second Cache Valley temple this conference, we could see a site announcement and even a rendering before the next General Conference, with a groundbreaking within six months of that. In a worst-case scenario, the temple is dedicated in 2025. And then we close Logan for two or three years to fix everything they destroyed in the 1970s. I hate to be uncouth, but honestly the only thing I see working against this is whether President Nelson has the longevity to see it all through.

Joe: For some reason, a temple here doesn’t induce the same heavy sigh for me as another Utah prediction you make later. And while, yes, it’s in Utah, or possibly in the part of Idaho that is basically Utah, I think your argument about what surely lies in store for the Logan temple strengthens this prediction a considerable amount. Given what we’re currently seeing with Salt Lake, St. George, and Manti, particularly with the state of things in the Logan temple—an interior design disaster you’ve mentioned several times now in various TWiM podcasts and articles that it’s more or less an ongoing bit—I think a new temple in this highly-dense membership region would be a religious boon that in some sense feels a long time coming.

Not only that, as much as I cringe to say this, if the Logan temple is going to close in the near future for a remodel, I suspect I wouldn’t pinch a fit if the new temple in this greater Bear Lake area would be fast-tracked to the top of the timeline.

image/svg+xml Openclipart Salt Lake Temple Silhouette 2011-06-03T07:10:01 This is a silhouette of the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) made by my friend Jay and I. It is optimized for cutting on a Cricut. n nThis revised version is enlarged to match the page size and has some fixes in the spacing of the windows on the side towers. https://openclipart.org/detail/142003/salt-lake-temple-silhouette-by-sorenstoutner-142003 sorenstoutner Cricut LDS Latter-day Saint Mormon Saints Salt Lake City Silhouette Temple Utah

Jakarta Indonesia

Joe: In keeping with bold and trailblazing announcements President Nelson seems fond of, I should think a Jarkata temple would be up there with China and Russia in terms of truly frontier temple announcements. And yet, an Indonesian temple isn’t as far fetched as you might assume, even in an Islamic country.

With two stakes and a district on Java alone, temples (not many, but still) in other destinations have been built with less. Even with the expected temples within the wider region in Thailand, Cambodia, and Papua New Guinea, a Jakarta temple would see a lot of visitation from other nearby countries that may still find Jakarta a more convenient and closer destination, including the five districts in Malaysia, the stake in Singapore and Bru——wait, hang on, are there members in Brunei? The sultanate of sultanates? Not to mention it may even be a reasonable option for the isolated Aussies in Darwin. 

But there’s another reason beyond sheer membership numbers why an Indonesian temple could be an appealing precedent for church leaders looking to expand the stakes of Zion to international vineyards that wouldn’t have been entertained a decade ago. As the largest Muslim country in the world, Indonesia has shown itself to be somewhat unlike many of its peers of similar demographics. Foreign Affairs magazine reported that religious tolerance was on the ballot in Indonesia as recently as 2019 when “the government of incumbent President Joko Widodo (widely known as Jokowi) won by broadcasting a message of pluralism,” adding that “Jokowi preached an inclusive nationalism that transcended Islam.” So the iron may be hot here, and the timing may be right to establish a testament to a pluralistic society by building an edifice that symbolizes that pluralism within Indonesian society.

Geoff: Your last sentence is an interesting one, almost hinting that the Indonesian government would favor a temple as proof of the pluralism at work in the country. While I don’t think this is quite on the level of the government of Dubai practically sponsoring the temple there, I do like the idea of civic leaders at least welcoming the temple. But to be clear, I don’t see them pushing for it or anything.

I’m down with this, whether in Indonesia or a neighboring state. Singapore would also be a natural host to a regional temple despite the single stake in the city-state. Malaysia has seen surprising growth in membership over recent years, but a temple in Kuala Lumpur might not be as geographically ideal as other locations.

The only other question is if we do the Indonesian temple in Jakarta, as makes sense, or if we see the writing on the wall with the sinking city and put the temple on Borneo with the new capital, whenever that happens.

image/svg+xml Openclipart Salt Lake Temple Silhouette 2011-06-03T07:10:01 This is a silhouette of the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) made by my friend Jay and I. It is optimized for cutting on a Cricut. n nThis revised version is enlarged to match the page size and has some fixes in the spacing of the windows on the side towers. https://openclipart.org/detail/142003/salt-lake-temple-silhouette-by-sorenstoutner-142003 sorenstoutner Cricut LDS Latter-day Saint Mormon Saints Salt Lake City Silhouette Temple Utah

Cape Coast or Kumasi Ghana

Geoff: Along with pretty much assuming every General Conference will involve a temple announced for Utah and somewhere in the Philippines (throw a dart), I’m happy we are also in a place where binders full of temples are announced in West Africa. For years we had a temple in Nigeria and another in Ghana. Then the Church announced a temple for Cote d’Ivoire and the pace picked up. Now we’ve seen two more temples announced for Nigeria as well as another in Sierra Leone. I hardly think we are done.

The Accra Ghana Temple has a dense collection of stakes feeding it, as well as stakes in neighboring countries. It will lose many of those stakes as Cote d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone receive their temples, and there’s a chance the Lagos temple picks off the units in Togo and Benin. Regardless, Ghana has seen miracles in terms of Church growth, and a second temple in the country makes sense. Let us consult a little screenshot, courtesy of ChurchofJesusChristTemples.org:

cape-coast-kumasi-ghana-temple-min

Cape Coast itself doesn’t have nearly as many stakes as Accra, but along with Takoradi and Foso, you’d already have a temple with six stakes supporting it (red dots), to say nothing of the districts (blue dots).

As for Kumasi, I think it makes less sense on paper, given its comparative isolation from the other population centers, but that isolation is also what makes a temple there a logical play. The Kumasi metropolitan is the second-largest in Ghana, and barely shy of matching Accra’s size. There are four stakes there, and a temple could serve as something of an outpost and beacon to Ghana’s interior.

Plus they could do the right thing and have the temple sign and plaque written in Twi.

Joe: A temple plaque? How about a whole session in Twi! I think this is an excellent analysis. I wonder if a temple in Cape Coast would get those four stakes in Kumasi. I think there’s a slightly better chance of that happening than a temple in Kumasi getting those few stakes in Cape Coast and Takoradi. So even though Kumasi is the bigger city, with more stakes, I think Cape Coast might be the better guess. That is if we are looking to achieve the most geographically efficient temple. I also think just having four full stakes nearby for sustainable staffing and attendance goals might be an effective counter-argument as to why Kuamsi makes the better spot. Either way, I think it’s a good guess. My inkling leans toward Cape Coast, however. Ten stakes and fove districts? I’d almost call that a hearty non-Wasatchia temple district in this day and age.

image/svg+xml Openclipart Salt Lake Temple Silhouette 2011-06-03T07:10:01 This is a silhouette of the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) made by my friend Jay and I. It is optimized for cutting on a Cricut. n nThis revised version is enlarged to match the page size and has some fixes in the spacing of the windows on the side towers. https://openclipart.org/detail/142003/salt-lake-temple-silhouette-by-sorenstoutner-142003 sorenstoutner Cricut LDS Latter-day Saint Mormon Saints Salt Lake City Silhouette Temple Utah

Edinburgh Scotland

Joe: I went back to all the temple prediction articles TWiM has published, and I read your earliest ones you solo-wrote before I joined you for the banter. And way back then in…2014(?) you posited Scotland as a viable pick. Geoff, all I have to say is that if it were a good pick then, it’s a GREAT pick now. There is ample precedent for a temple to have a smaller cluster of stakes adhering to its district, so much so, that the 6 or 7 potential stakes in Scotland and Ireland doesn’t even represent the lowest end of that scale. At all. As I said before, I present a Scotland temple prediction as a bonafide, real, and genuine guess for an area where I think it’s high(lands) time for a House of the Lord to find a rocky view and a sure foundation. But whereas before I singled out Glasgow, I think I’ll change it up and say Edinburgh, even though it’s clearly the inferior hamlet between the two.

Now, you had mentioned that there hasn’t been a lot of church growth there over the last few decades, but I think a stable, solid 7 stakes between Scotland and Ireland that have remained stakes in this day and age is a testament to the Saints in this area, and a good sign that while there might not be a growing number of members here, there is a stalwart bunch. Nah, those lifers in the highlands would attend the heck out of a nearer-by temple.

Geoff: I take major umbrage—Dolores Umbridge-level umbrage—with you arguing Edinburgh is the “inferior hamlet” between it and Glasgow. Literally the only good thing about Glasgow is its charming Tube system. You don’t go to Glasgow for any other reason unless you get stuck being part of a stag party that for reasons beyond all understanding has dinner at Tony Roma’s, and the chain lacks a location in Edinburgh. Yes, that is what I did on literally my last night in Scotland after living there for grad school.

Edinburgh is a world-class gem of a city unlike anywhere else I’ve seen. How dare you. How DARE you.

Hey, so, if this were a legal case, I’d have to recuse myself. It’s hard for me to be objective about Caledonia, and rightfully so. It’s a wonderful, enchanting place. You’ve made the case for a temple that I’ve made before. The stats haven’t really changed, but I do think this remains something of a hole on the temple map.

The question is to where a Scottish temple goes, as one in Edinburgh or Glasgow means more traveling for the saints up in Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness, etc. Stirling doesn’t have the membership in the immediate area, but it’s a more central point for all involved. Either way, I’d love to see Scotland get a temple as it slowly wrests itself from the clearly illegal Acts of Union.

image/svg+xml Openclipart Salt Lake Temple Silhouette 2011-06-03T07:10:01 This is a silhouette of the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) made by my friend Jay and I. It is optimized for cutting on a Cricut. n nThis revised version is enlarged to match the page size and has some fixes in the spacing of the windows on the side towers. https://openclipart.org/detail/142003/salt-lake-temple-silhouette-by-sorenstoutner-142003 sorenstoutner Cricut LDS Latter-day Saint Mormon Saints Salt Lake City Silhouette Temple Utah

Ulaanbaatar Mongolia

Geoff: My deepest love! Nothing has changed in Mongolia over the years I’ve been writing about a temple there. We’re still looking at two stakes and one district. But again, my math! Longtime readers might have noted my comparisons to some Southeast Asian countries that have temples announced for them. Unlike those countries, Mongolia is sparsely populated. On a per capita basis, Mongolia has more Latter-day Saints than Cambodia or Thailand (i.e. it is “more” LDS than those countries). And yet, despite its isolation, despite requiring its members to travel to Hong Kong for temple work (assuming that temple even reopens after mainland China has pretty much stripped the special region of its last vestiges of democracy), a temple has yet to be announced. Obviously, we’re not prophets, and we’re sure the brethren are asking these same questions, but perhaps this time we will finally get the temple! Maybe!

I swore last October I would treat Ulaanbaatar like my Arkansas temple – that when I formally disavowed it and did not predict it, the announcement would come. That worked for Arkansas, but I just can’t quit you, Mongolia!

Besides, I’ve done this so many times I can now correctly spell “Ulaanbaatar” without a spell checker.

Joe: C’mon Geoff, It’s two A’s, two A’s, one A, crooked letter crooked letter, eye, crooked letter crooked letter, eye, humpback humpback, eye! But truly, you’ve been an exemplary and vociferous advocate for a temple in this extremely isolated locale for years now. I hope this is the season it happens. What was that one catch-phrase talk at General Conference a few years back? “But, if not…” Which in our case might be: but, if not…we’ll just have to keep a place for it on our semi-annual temple predictions list. Our chair for Elijah, as it were.

image/svg+xml Openclipart Salt Lake Temple Silhouette 2011-06-03T07:10:01 This is a silhouette of the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) made by my friend Jay and I. It is optimized for cutting on a Cricut. n nThis revised version is enlarged to match the page size and has some fixes in the spacing of the windows on the side towers. https://openclipart.org/detail/142003/salt-lake-temple-silhouette-by-sorenstoutner-142003 sorenstoutner Cricut LDS Latter-day Saint Mormon Saints Salt Lake City Silhouette Temple Utah

Daegu South Korea

Joe: Most folks who prognosticate on such things typically think Busan, that southern city on the Korean peninsula, is the de facto destination for South Korea’s would-be second temple, but I’m here to tell you that while it might be a stop on the last train to Busan, for this prediction Daegu is the end of the line. Geoff, this isn’t a new argument for me as you may recall. It’s the east Asian version of my Kananga, DRC logic that failed to convince you last year. But if I may try again, I think Daegu is a more central point in the scattering of stakes outside the orbit of Seoul, South Korea’s bustling capital and home to the country’s first and only temple.

In total there are just 12 stakes and 6 districts that are Team Seoul, and please, let me be the first to say that’s not a critical mass of church units to rush to divide. But a temple in Daegu is really fairly central to exactly half of those 12 stakes and 6 districts, and would certainly be viable as a temple-sustaining city, even if it isn’t urgently so. Then again, the train to Seoul from Jeonju, which by geography alone would seem to be much closer to Daegu, is actually a little shorter in travel time due to its direct route. But that isn’t necessarily the case with other cities in the southern half of this nation of 190mph trains. High-speed rail, man, must be nice. We should do that here in the United States. Can you imagine? You think there’s a lot of Latter-day Saints in Disneyland now? Just picture what making that gap between Salt Lake and Space Mountain a mere 3.5 hour train ride would do! Gosh, I would go just to get beignets from the Jazz Kitchen. Mmmmmm. Beignets. … what were we talking about?

Geoff: I just, um, uh. Insert that Nathan Fillion GIF.

image/svg+xml Openclipart Salt Lake Temple Silhouette 2011-06-03T07:10:01 This is a silhouette of the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) made by my friend Jay and I. It is optimized for cutting on a Cricut. n nThis revised version is enlarged to match the page size and has some fixes in the spacing of the windows on the side towers. https://openclipart.org/detail/142003/salt-lake-temple-silhouette-by-sorenstoutner-142003 sorenstoutner Cricut LDS Latter-day Saint Mormon Saints Salt Lake City Silhouette Temple Utah

Cape Town South Africa

Geoff: Every time we do this we get to choose some amusing long shots. Cape Town is mine.
There are few metrics that lend themselves to a temple announcement for South Africa’s second-largest city other than geography. Once more, let’s look at a map from Rick Satterfield’s labor of love:

cape-town-south-africa-temple

Cape Town is assigned to the Johannesburg South Africa Temple. As you can see, the bulk of the South African stakes for that temple are in and around Jo’burg itself. Cape Town is isolated! It’s a 15-hour drive to Jo’burg. (For comparison, it’s roughly the same distance as driving from Flagstaff to Minneapolis.) Sure, you can fly. But now we’re in a situation where temple patrons are flying within their own country just to get to the temple.  This is not a sustainable situation.

The obvious arguments against include the lack of membership or significant growth in the Cape Town area. After all, a temple there will only have two stakes and the district in the main Cape Town area, plus the George South Africa district. In addition, all of Zimbabwe is assigned to Johannesburg, and Zimbabwe will soon have its own temple in Harare, picking off even more stakes. In addition to that, all of Kenya and Uganda are assigned to Johannesburg, and a temple was announced for Nairobi four years ago, although there has been little movement or announcements about it since then.

Joe: I think if they went with a Kinshasa-style temple here, this one isn’t so hard to imagine. A 15-hour journey is the stuff of General Conference legends of yore. Cape Town can make it happen. I mean, it probably won’t happen, but this is a good long shot. Let’s put it in the bin where we’ve stuffed Oslo, Jamaica, and Heber Valley to take out later and refurbish for stronger predictions in days of future past.

Geoff: Yes, but Kinshasa itself has 11 stakes right there, to say nothing of members across the Congo in Brazzaville or elsewhere in the DRC.

image/svg+xml Openclipart Salt Lake Temple Silhouette 2011-06-03T07:10:01 This is a silhouette of the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) made by my friend Jay and I. It is optimized for cutting on a Cricut. n nThis revised version is enlarged to match the page size and has some fixes in the spacing of the windows on the side towers. https://openclipart.org/detail/142003/salt-lake-temple-silhouette-by-sorenstoutner-142003 sorenstoutner Cricut LDS Latter-day Saint Mormon Saints Salt Lake City Silhouette Temple Utah

Osaka Japan

Joe: I pretty much want to just re-up this one from a previous prediction. Here’s what I wrote when I first picked Osaka:

“I know that trains are very fast and efficient in Japan, making it easier for cross country travel to a temple that may still look like quite the journey. Take Osaka, for example. The distance to Tokyo, where the temple is, is about 317 miles, a nearly seven hour car ride. The Nozomi bullet train gets you there in just two and a half hours, but that can be expensive and still take the whole day, round trip, to do a session.”

I continued by making the requisite case with membership stats: “The short of it is, the seven stakes which could easily orbit a temple in Osaka, Japan, are more than enough to consider Osaka a deserving locale. I could easily see a Hong Kong or Manhattan-styled temple that has a small land footprint. But in a city known for its iconic plum, peach, and cherry blossom trees, perhaps the Church would splurge on a plot of what must be very expensive land in order to have what I imagine would be stunning temple grounds.”

But it was in reviewing my previous Osaka prediction that I stumbled upon this line that did NOT age well: “At the very least, the mural artists for an Osaka temple would have a heyday, or should I say blossom-day, depicting the natural landscape.” To which I say, NEVERMIND! *sobs*

Geoff: Alright, I still think this is OK. I feel like the temple in Sapporo might be the last “big” temple in Japan for some time, and the incoming one in Okinawa is great, but it definitely serves a more remote population, plus U.S. service individuals.

Besides, this could be a great addition to Super Nintendo World, which recently opened at Universal Studios Japan. 

image/svg+xml Openclipart Salt Lake Temple Silhouette 2011-06-03T07:10:01 This is a silhouette of the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) made by my friend Jay and I. It is optimized for cutting on a Cricut. n nThis revised version is enlarged to match the page size and has some fixes in the spacing of the windows on the side towers. https://openclipart.org/detail/142003/salt-lake-temple-silhouette-by-sorenstoutner-142003 sorenstoutner Cricut LDS Latter-day Saint Mormon Saints Salt Lake City Silhouette Temple Utah

Spanish Fork Utah

Geoff: Alright, we predicted this one last time around. And at the time it seemed like something of an outside possibility, particularly as I wrote this line:

“With a temple in Orem recently underway, putting up another temple so close might be overkill, at least for the time being. So if not here, I say let’s finally give the Heber Valley some love.”

This was before a temple was announced in Lindon, a city directly to the north of Orem. Therefore, the bets are off. Let us venture to the booming southern environs of Wasatchia and propose a temple that will rightfully fit between Provo City Center and Payson.

Neither temple mentioned above is particularly old. Payson was dedicated in 2015 and Provo #2 in 2016. But again, the Orem and Lindon temples don’t even exist yet, and those temples will presumably pull from the Provo #1 and Mt. Timpanogos districts. At the time of writing, there are nearly 30 stakes serving the Payson Utah Temple, and most of them are in the immediate area. There are 13 stakes among Spanish Fork and Mapleton—both assigned to Payson—and 8 stakes to pick off from Springville, which is part of the Provo City Center Temple. Think of how this balances the load: Payson continues with 16 stakes (and at the rate of home construction out there, more will follow), Provo City Center keeps 21 stakes, and the new Spanish Fork Temples gets… 21 stakes. If that’s not equitable, I don’t know what is.

Joe: I’ve said it before, Geoff, but I do think that what often makes a compelling case for a temple numbers-wise (which you’ve absolutely done, here), isn’t always as sure a thing in Utah. At least not along the Wasatch front, perhaps rightly so. The temples in Utah are often much bigger than elsewhere simply because they typically accommodate a much larger base of temple-going members than do the temples that service farther flung locales. So it’s along those same lines that I think a 20-stake temple district **on the Wasatch Front** shouldn’t quite pass muster. Payson can absolutely handle it with how big they made that thing. Moreover! As I said last October regarding a Spanish Fork temple, “I have a suspicion that the absolute explosion of new temples announced and built in Utah is starting to taste a little bitter to the Latter-day Saints in the rest of the world in this here global religion of ours,” and I still stand by that. Plus, it does kind of seem like Utah is getting preferential treatment when the temples that are newly announced in the Beehive state, move to the top of the list for getting built. Nairobi is still waiting!

There may come a time, particularly in the wake of that population growth you mention, that a Spanish Fork temple would be more needed to relax the attendance strain on temples nearby, but I don’t know, man, I say let’s wait for that. Then again, with the queue what it is, it may take that long anyway.

Geoff: That “bigness” of Utah temples is the real kicker here. Unless something north of 70,000 square feet can go in, I don’t see them doing it at all.

image/svg+xml Openclipart Salt Lake Temple Silhouette 2011-06-03T07:10:01 This is a silhouette of the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) made by my friend Jay and I. It is optimized for cutting on a Cricut. n nThis revised version is enlarged to match the page size and has some fixes in the spacing of the windows on the side towers. https://openclipart.org/detail/142003/salt-lake-temple-silhouette-by-sorenstoutner-142003 sorenstoutner Cricut LDS Latter-day Saint Mormon Saints Salt Lake City Silhouette Temple Utah

El Paso Texas

Geoff: With Bentonville out of the way, I’m not sure which hill I want to die on more, El Paso or Ulaanbaatar. I’ve made compelling, mind-bending cases for each temple over the years. Let us now, once more, make Beto O’Rourke proud.

One of the United States’ coolest, safest cities deserves its own temple, particularly because of the complicated politics at play in the region. El Paso represents only about one-third of the international metropolitan area it shares with Ciudad Juarez, across the border in Mexico. Juarez has a Hinckley-era mini temple. So sure, there’s a temple right there across the way.

El Paso might be easily inside the 200-mile zone, but that doesn’t mean its residents are going to skip on into Juarez to do temple work. And with COVID and immigration crises at the border, this becomes increasingly unlikely even though El Paso’s three stakes are actually assigned to Juarez.

Lastly, as I’ve argued before, Fort Bliss is in El Paso. Fort Bliss is a massive U.S. Army base. Within the U.S. Army are many Latter-day Saints. Now one would not organize entire stakes or build temples because of a transient Latter-day Saint population at a military base, but what Church members are there aren’t even allowed to cross into Juarez; they presumably have to travel to Albuquerque for temple work, some four hours away.

I’ll never call this one a slam dunk, but if Pittsburgh can have a temple, so can El Paso.

Now that we’ve both called for new temples in Texas, they’ll probably announce one in Austin, instead.

Joe: Ironically enough, while you’ve made several compelling bullet points in favor of an El Paso temple here, the one that blares the loudest and is perhaps the most convincing is “if Pittsburgh can have a temple, so can El Paso.” 

Sure the numbers may not quite add up, and the proximity to a temple may not be very far at all, but Pittsburgh stands as a relevant precedent, and your extrapolations of the nuances make complete sense why this is a viable possibility. But, um, seconded on Austin.

image/svg+xml Openclipart Salt Lake Temple Silhouette 2011-06-03T07:10:01 This is a silhouette of the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) made by my friend Jay and I. It is optimized for cutting on a Cricut. n nThis revised version is enlarged to match the page size and has some fixes in the spacing of the windows on the side towers. https://openclipart.org/detail/142003/salt-lake-temple-silhouette-by-sorenstoutner-142003 sorenstoutner Cricut LDS Latter-day Saint Mormon Saints Salt Lake City Silhouette Temple Utah

Honorable Mentions

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

More Good Stuff

Stay current with all things Latter-day Saints

Give Us Your Sacred Email

We don’t spam, unless you consider emails from us recapping stuff to be spam.