[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n the same day we learned about the design of a new temple in Guatemala, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has also blessed us with a look at the the upcoming Okinawa Japan Temple, the fourth in the archipelagic Asian state.
First off, you might not that despite the more imposing presence of this temple, the angel Moroni is, once again, missing in action. O Moroni, we love you so.
This temple has a terrific design, replete with many Okinawan accents, even down to the design of the windows and the front door. Well done, designers!
What is most interesting to me, however, is that despite being two stories, the temple is only going to encompass 10,000 square feet. Most temples that small are one story. A glance at the temple’s location, however, implies that the temple will be built in the parking area just west of the existing meetinghouse, and immediately next to a Korean BBQ joint. The site is boxed in, and going vertical appeared to be the optimal solution.
Also, that squiggly looking track northeast of the Church’s property? A driving school. The temple will also sit across the street from Kadena Air Base, run by the United States Air Force. The U.S. military has an outsize presence on Okinawa because of some disagreement or whatever between Japan and the United States in the 1940s.
While Japan has over 130,000 Latter-day Saints, the lion’s share remain on the main Japanese islands; Okinawa is home to a single stake and a district for military members, neither of which was organized more recently than 1980. Between this temple and that of Guam, the U.S. servicepersons in the Pacific will certainly have temples more conveniently located than in years past.
Will the Church offer temple ceremonies in Okinawan Japanese or, even better, in the Okinawan Language? Let us hope so, as dying languages benefit no one.