Freetown Sierra Leone
Geoff: Another mainstay of our lists, but the momentum has been shifting to Africa for some time. Consider the temple under construction in Cote d’Ivoire and the recently announced second temple in Nigeria (and we wouldn’t be shocked to see a third in the near future), to say nothing of temples in the works in Kenya and Zimbabwe and the freshly dedicated temple in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We know Africa is hot right now, and Sierra Leone and Liberia have both been growing quickly. The former’s six stakes and three districts have all been organized since 2010. Five of those stakes have come since 2015. That’s nuts.
Now, typically it makes sense to build the first temple in a country in the capital, largest city, or economic and cultural hub. In this case, Freetown is all of those things. Nevertheless, we can’t count out more centrally located Bo, which has three stakes and is significantly closer to the five stakes of neighboring Liberia.
The case could easily be made for Liberia to get a temple if we’re choosing between it and Sierra Leone, but I think Sierra Leone has the edge. Besides, they made that movie about it. Plus, my current bishop is from there, so we have to do it for him! For Freddy!
Joseph: Yes, the recent growth in Sierra Leone make a compelling case. And not to generalize, but some of the most faithful (I don’t mean dutiful, I mean like the raw power of faith to move mountains) members I have ever met came from this west African nation. For my dear friend Lahai, who served a mission to Kenya during a time when missionaries from Africa couldn’t even go to a temple before leaving to their mission field, I would love for his home country to get a temple.
This would be a very productive temple as well. The main staple in Sierra Leone is affectionately nicknamed “Six to Six” because if you eat it at six in the morning, you don’t need to eat again until six in the evening, so filling and hearty it is. Imagine, with that kind of energy and no need for lunch breaks, temple work could barrel along at a steady clip.
Geoff: Haha! So that is the reason newer temples have ditched the cafeterias!