185th Annual General Conference Temple Predictions

Bangkok Thailand Temple
Geoff Openshaw

Geoff Openshaw

Every General Conference, we wait with bated breath for new temple announcements, but which areas, if any, will receive new temples this year?!

2. Bangkok Thailand or Phnom Penh Cambodia

Bangkok Thailand TemplePhnom Penh Cambodia Temple

Argument for:

I once felt that the fight for Southeast Asia was between Singapore and Bangkok, but Cambodia’s surging church growth has put it in a neck-and-neck race with neighboring Thailand.

A Bangkok temple would serve as a great regional hub in an area that is already a magnet for shipping, trade, and tourism. Current members have to travel to Hong Kong. Also, let’s assume Myanmar opens up to missionaries at some point in the next ten years. Thailand also has a surprising number of members for a country steeped in Theravada Buddhist tradition.

Cambodia has stunned me over the past year. Phnom Penh received two stakes in 2014 and has two more districts on top of that. There are an additional three districts elsewhere in the country. This is where the buzz is.

Argument against:

Thailand gets iffy with political stability. Civil society chugs along, but the country is pretty coup-prone by an overactive military. And while it received its second stake in 2014, Cambodia appears to be kicking its trash in the growth department.

Cambodia is a bit light on development levels. That’s not to say the Church doesn’t enter developing areas. Heck, the lion’s share of membership at this point probably lives in developing or middle-income countries. But when faced with putting a temple in Indochina, Thailand could win out just because of infrastructure.

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