Editor’s Note: The author grew up in the Yorba Linda area and has a totally, absurdly biased view of the temple going in there. But he’s still going to be objective about it.
Update: The article originally stated incorrectly that only one ward met in the meetinghouse when there are in fact two. We regret the error.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced the site for the Yorba Linda California Temple, one of 20 temples announced in the April 2021 General Conference. After much speculation from the locals about whether the temple will be built on Church property atop a hill on Fairmont Ave (very swanky, very prominent) or be situated on an expansive property already owned by the Church that contains a meetinghouse and a baseball field (less prominent, more sensible), Salt Lake has gone with the latter.
The temple will be located at the intersection of Bastanchury Road and the not-named-for-those-famous-Latter-day-Saints Osmond Street.
Not much else is known about the temple at this point, and no renderings have been released, but it will comprise a single story across approximately 30,000 square feet, or similar in size to upcoming temples in Farmington, New Mexico; Grand Junction, Colorado; Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Tallahassee Florida, McAllen Texas, Bentonville Arkansas, and maybe Moses Lake Washington temples. And we’ll assume it’ll be square in design with a central, Moroni-less spire.
Let’s take a look at the satellite view.
You can see the meetinghouse – currently used by two wards – and the baseball field behind it. The Church made no announcement regarding the fate of either piece of the property even though we’ve seen an increasing trend of meetinghouses being razed to make way for temples. Building the temple where the field is would place it in a less prominent location, but there is certainly not enough room immediately to the east of the existing meetinghouse to construct a 30,00 square foot building. Even a Hinckley-era 10,000 square foot “mini” temple would not quite fit there.
The area around the temple is already zoned for religious buildings, with a Baptist church across Bastanchury from the temple lot, and a Danish Lutheran church and evangelical church and school just up the street. Ecumenism shall prevail!
While the Bastanchury location is not as prominent as the oft-rumored Fairmont one, it is certainly more accessible (and also barely in Yorba Linda; we were so close to a Placentia temple, instead. Dreams!), given its location off Imperial Highway, a major thoroughfare in the region, proximity to Carbon Canyon, which connects the temple to its presumed membership in Chino Hills, and a relatively quick drive from either the 57 or 91 freeways, depending on how traffic feels that day.
Uncharacteristic of these sorts of announcements, the Church release did mention there will be 21,000 saints within the temple’s district. Although it did not go as far as to announce which stakes would comprise that district, it’s rare for Salt Lake to reveal much of anything about stake assignments this early in the game.
(I’d like to take this moment to note the temple would have been in my home stake – Placentia California – had that stake not been discontinued earlier in the year. Yes, a temple is going up in an area where Church numbers are actually declining. Let this be the clarion call!)
The Yorba Linda California Temple will be the 9th Latter-day Saint temple in California and the second in Orange County, following the Newport Beach California Temple. Yorba Linda, known as the “Land of Gracious Living,” is regularly on lists of the best places to live in the country. It’s also the birthplace of former US president Richard Nixon, whose place of rest will now be mere minutes from the House of the Lord.
There’s also that little urban legend about the time Arnold Schwarzenegger allegedly built a home in the hills and then backed out of the whole deal because the city wouldn’t let him install a helipad.
As for me, I’m mostly excited about the proximity to Del Taco and Rich Farm Ice Cream.