Benin City Nigeria Temple
Joe: It would be a bold move to announce another temple in Nigeria before the previously announced one has even broken ground, (18 months after its announcement, no less) but that’s just what I intend to predict. In one sense, it’s sort of symbolic of the growth of the church in this part of the world. That is to say it’s difficult to keep up with. With at least 18 new stakes organized in Nigeria since 2018, a quick glance at the scattershot of stakes throughout the current Nigerian temple’s district shows 8 stakes in Benin City alone.
Even with the aforementioned previously announced temple in that nation’s capital city of Lagos, which is sure to cull a number of stakes from the Aba temple’s district, Benin City is still a standout for being a strong contender. For one, geographically it’s stuck in the middle between two points, not conveniently close to either Aba or Lagos. Secondly, as I mentioned, the total membership in the city itself, to say nothing of the several stakes and districts within its 200-mile (or 2-hour) radius would make this a compelling prediction regardless of where in the world it was. It’s getting more and more difficult to find clusters of more than 10 stakes that don’t already have a temple. That’s a good thing, of course.
Personally, I think we’ll begin to see not just a few more, but an absolute wave of temple announcements in Africa in the coming years. Building temples in the obvious destinations now will only strengthen the foundation for smaller and farther afield temples in this region later.
Geoff: I straight up love this. You’re right, it’s nuts to think about announcing a third temple in a country that hasn’t even begun construction on its second, but your arguments are sound. The Lagos Temple will take in, what, like 10 stakes? Benin City has a more central location and could also take some weight off of the Aba Temple’s shoulders. The temple in Aba, once closed due to civic unrest, is a Hinckley-era “small” temple and cannot accommodate Nigeria’s exploding membership.
I’ve seen other mutterings about a second temple announced in Sierra Leone, a mere six months removed from one proclaimed for Freetown, and I think those mutterings are bananas. No, if you’re going the uber bullish route, go with Nigeria.
Joe: Another temple in Sierra Leone? I don’t think so. There could be a case for Liberia, perhaps, but recent unrest and anti-government protests there earlier this year would delay any announcements I’d imagine. No, Benin City makes a great guess regardless. Nigeria is booming.
Geoff: Yeah, a temple in Monrovia, even this conference, is not out of the realm of possibility, although having missionaries yanked from the country earlier this year due to economic unrest wasn’t a good sign.