Welcome! How has it possibly been six months already? We’re excited for the upcoming General Conference, wherein we can be fed spiritually over the course of one weekend. Hopefully we’ll come out of it with a desire to be better.
As is tradition, this article (and podcast!) covers temple predictions for the April 2022 General Conference. We used to employ much more math to make our decisions, but now that we’re in an era of temples going up in areas with a single stake (and ones that are not even all that far from another temple), it’s a bit harder to pinpoint just where temples may go. Still, through a combination of statistical analysis, gumption, and humor, we’ll do our best—and we have a pretty solid track record up to this point.
President Nelson appears unlikely to take any breaks from temple announcements. Some might even feel we are oversaturating the market, but not us! Let the temples flow as they would in Aspen. After announcing 13 new temples in the last General Conference, President Nelson has now announced more temples than any other president in Church history. He revealed 20 new temples in April 2021, which stunned all of us. Who knows what the Lord has in store this time around.
We’ve changed up our approach this go-around. Instead of each author picking a handful of temples and the rest responding to them, Geoff, Joseph, and Cory have agreed on a few joint selections up front. After those, we’ll swing over to our individual picks, coupled with some discussion. It’s a minor distinction, but we thought it best to spend our efforts duking it out over the more out-there choices compared to everyone agreeing Mongolia is inevitable (come on, Ulaanbaatar!).
There are two competing metrics we can use to visualize areas “in need” of temples: Many years ago, President Thomas S. Monson noted that 85% of Church membership was within 200 miles of a temple. That percentage is likely higher today. This is why our map continues to show 200-mile-radius circles around a temple point – to illustrate potential gaps in coverage. However, President Nelson has also said he wants the saints to be no more than two hours away from a temple, and two hours in one location can mean something completely different in another. To help visualize this, some of our picks will include an image showing what is within a two-hour driving range of certain temples. Sometimes there is overlap. Other times, one metric tells a story that the other doesn’t. For example, Knoxville, Tennessee, is 196 miles from Franklin, Tennessee, the location of the Nashville Tennessee Temple. However, it sits well outside the estimated two-hour distance to that temple, as well as temples in Atlanta and Louisville. Chattanooga is in the same boat.
Please note: We are not considering ourselves prophets or general leaders of the Church. We’re just a few folks who are part of the broader temple prediction community, and we enjoy this exercise in pondering likely locations for future Houses of the Lord.
Six months ago, we nailed what some might have thought to be outlandish predictions like a second temple in Santiago, Chile. Let’s see how we fare in 2022. Alright, let’s hit the break and get to work! You can also stream a video of our discussion below or listen to it in podcast form in the box at the top.
Five years ago, we might have argued that Iquitos didn’t have the membership to support a temple, but the calculus has changed.
The last time we made predictions, Cory pushed hard for a temple on the north coast of Peru, a country that remains chronically under templed; Peru is one of 5 countries with more than 100 stakes, yet there are still only 4 temples in the country. President Nelson, a trailblazer on temple announcements, has never announced a temple in Peru.
Argentina, with its 78 stakes, has surpassed Peru in the number of temples. Every conference, we expect a temple in the Philippines, which now has twice as many temples as Peru despite only having 11 more stakes (and three times the total population – Peru is more densely Latter-day Saint).
Which brings us to the comparatively isolated city of Iquitos, located across the Andes Mountains in the Amazon basin. Iquitos is effectively an island to the rest of Peru. Travel to the temple(s) in Lima requires airfare or a ground journey by boat and then road. The city is well outside of 200 miles and/or 2 hours of the nearest temple. Other temples have been announced in more remote areas that only have one stake; Iquitos has three!
President Uchtdorf traveled to Iquitos in 2012 after dedicating a temple in Manaus, Brazil. He encouraged the saints to attend the temple as regularly as they could. Although a third temple in Lima would likely garner higher attendance numbers, it’s difficult to ignore these three lonely stakes in one of Peru’s most remote regions.
Santa Ana El Salvador
El Salvador’s only temple is in its capital city of San Salvador. Dedicated in 2011, the 28,000 square-foot temple takes in 22 stakes across the country, most of which are clustered around the capital. That might have sounded like a nice and tidy temple district 10 years ago – fairly accessible to most of the membership, and centrally located in the nation’s capital city. But if we’ve said it before, we’ll say it at least a few times more: we are living in different times when it comes to those old clues and data points. Now, 22 stakes is low-hanging fruit for a fresh new foundation. Luckily for temple predictors like us, there’s really only one viable spot in El Salvador that could feasibly support a new temple: Santa Ana!
Santa Ana, El Salvador’s second largest city, is actually not that far away—just 65 km—from San Salvador. But with nearly 380,000 inhabitants, the historic and touristy city is a hub in its own right, and one with a fine and majestic neo-Gothic cathedral. It’s always an alluring prospect to see what some of the dominant religious architectural clues there are in a place that may influence the design of a new temple in that same location. Like how all of the ancient history in Rome gave us a temple totally in line with that style.
But if we are to argue that having a minimum viable number of members is still an influential data point for selecting a temple location, we can’t overlook the four stakes in the immediate area of Santa Ana that would be the main administrator stakes for a temple here, the most recent of which was organized in 2017. But as Billy Mays would say, “that’s not all!” In fact, seven other stakes all south and west of Santa Ana along the Cordillera de Apaneca, and thus even further from San Salvador, would very naturally find an advantage in traveling a shorter distance to Santa Ana for their temple trips. Indeed, a temple in this region would spare local saints from a trek into their nation’s busy capital and it would nicely serve the future needs in the western part of El Salvador.
Charlotte North Carolina
Not much has changed since we last called for a temple in North Carolina’s largest city, the third-fastest growing major city in the United States. The newest stake in the area is still across the border in Rock Hill, South Carolina. And there’s still a temple in Columbia, South Carolina.
The spread of temples in this part of the Southeastern United States is curious. Raleigh has a temple. Columbia has a temple. But Charlotte, much, much larger than the other regions, does not. Obviously, mere population size does not directly correlate to a temple. If that were the case, Tokyo would have a few temples, and India’s upcoming temple would be in Delhi, not Bengaluru.
But work with us on this one. That temple in Columbia is a Hinckley-era “mini” temple (some of which wound up being a bit worse for the wear). It was surely not designed to support 17 stakes in total, with a district spreading from Kingsport, Tennessee—which is on the border with Virginia—to Savannah, Georgia. It’s an enormous geographic area all feeding into a temple that likely does not get overwhelmed simply for how impractical it would be for the bulk of its district to visit at the same time.
Charlotte is slightly inside the 200 mile range from the Columbia temple, but it is also about only a 90-minute drive. Still, in our era of modestly sized temples for a handful of stakes, a temple in Charlotte would make sense, particularly as the region continues to grow, and as a way for the saints as far away as Asheville and northern Tennessee to decrease their time to a temple – and increase their faith, amirite?
East Salt Lake Valley
The percentage of church members in the Salt Lake Valley has declined during the past few decades, now at 47%. But it is also true that the total number of members has been declining in the past decade despite the valley gaining in population during the same period. The Salt Lake area attracts residents from out of state, and members in the valley are increasingly moving to the surrounding counties with lower house prices (although Utah County recently overtook Salt Lake County in higher median home price). Despite these facts, Salt Lake County still has more members than Utah county (546,163 and 539,573 respectively as of year-end 2020). It is worth noting that Utah County is noted for its higher membership percentage (80% as opposed to Salt Lake County’s 47%) and likely much higher activity rate. In addition, if the 2020 trends hold, Utah County may have already overtaken the membership of Salt Lake County by this point in 2022.
Still, Utah County’s seven temples have blown past Salt Lake County’s five. Seven temples will serve 175 stakes in Utah Valley, whereas five temples will serve 182 stakes in Salt Lake county. If you’re doing some basic math, you’ll see that means there’s a temple for every 25 stakes in Utah County but one for every 36.4 stakes in Salt Lake County. Since 2010, one temple has been announced in Salt Lake County. Utah County has received five.
While it’s not a competition, the fact remains either Salt Lake County is under templed or Utah County is over templed. And since the Church isn’t going to rescind its announcement of a temple in Lindon, it might just be time for the Salt Lake Valley to receive another temple. President Nelson has shown no hesitation to announce new temples in California, where the church membership is also contracting, so we suspect the same is true for Salt Lake County.
A new temple in Taylorsville is currently under construction and will grab a sizable portion of the stakes from the northwest and central communities in the valley. (It’s basically a West Valley City temple without the cultural baggage.) It is also located right off of I-215, making it convenient for all involved – but perhaps slightly too convenient for members outside its planned district?
Look at it this way: Let’s say you live in Holladay or Cottonwood Heights. You’re assigned to the Salt Lake Temple. Even when it reopens from its lengthy refurb, is it easier to drive up to downtown Salt Lake City for temple work, or easier to hop on the freeway and zip over to Taylorsville? The Taylorsville temple might find itself with a sizable number of spiritual interlopers on the regular. The west side of the valley has the Taylorsville, South Jordan, and Oquirrh Mountain temples all in close proximity. The east side has Salt Lake and then nothing until Draper. Time to split the difference. A temple in the eastern-central portion of the valley could take in stakes from Sandy, Holladay, Murray, Midvale, and Cottonwood Heights.
Were we to guess, we’d place a temple in Cottonwood Heights despite its comparatively southern location. Like Taylorsville, the temple could occupy the site of a soon-to-be-razed meetinghouse. And as an interesting wrinkle, a fire tore through a meetinghouse in Cottonwood Heights a few years ago and the Church has not justified replacing the building. The only ward that used it moved to the chapel down the street, and the lot was put up for sale to developers. Nearby residents have expressed a desire to save the area as a park, but with a site as prominent as a location next to Big Cottonwood Canyon, the Church could reconsider the sale of the land and opt to temple-ize it. Probably the biggest hurdle would be getting approval for a driveway off Wasatch Blvd.
The Mount Olympus neighborhood is also a possibility, and one that could join the proud fraternity of truly elevated temples, a la Bountiful and Draper.
Las Vegas #2
As the Church continues to build second temples in the same city or metropolitan area—something we predicted long ago—greater Las Vegas seems poised to join the fray. The Dallas-Fort Worth metro just got its second temple. Similar to Las Vegas, the temple is about the same age as the Dallas temple, and the two temple districts are pretty close (with Las Vegas having a couple more). There are plenty of saints in the Las Vegas area.
The main issue is geography. Henderson, for example, is noted for being more densely LDS than other areas, but it also already sits in the eastern part of the valley, the same general area where the temple sits.
Which brings us to lovely, beautiful, master-planned Summerlin. Ah, yes. Summerlin. The Scottsdale of Las Vegas. The homeland of Sheldon Adelson (RIP). And the site of a future temple? It may sit almost exactly due west of the current temple, but the western valley is growing (three new stakes in the past seven years), and the Church will surely be happy to jump into a deal with some new land developers to build a temple next to some McMansions.
Prescott Valley Arizona
In the short time that President Nelson has been at the helm, there seems to have been a western expansion of sorts playing out, with smaller, modular temples (like we’re seeing in Montana) finding fertile ground in less prominent, regional cities in the western states that orbit Utah. Cities like Cody and Casper, Wyoming; Springfield, Oregon; Farmington, New Mexico; Grand Junction, Colorado; Elko Nevada; and others, have all had temples announced in recent conferences. These are not places where there are Utah levels of membership, but where there are also not an insignificant number of faithful and deeply rooted members, who for the most part have gotten used to the reality of driving two to four hours to visit a temple.
If we look at these “just beyond” locations as a kind of subcategory of similar attributes and member demographics, we may be able to infer a strategy at play. These previously announced temples have come in fairly quick succession, haven’t they? What other towns and cities fit this bill? Take one quick glance at a map of the western United States, then, and you will find a glaring vacancy where no such recent temple announcement has been made: Northern Arizona.
Initially, Flagstaff sticks out and for good reason. It’s a city that has exploded in population in recent years and is the main crossroads of basically the entire part of the state north of Phoenix. But then, Flagstaff only has two stakes. And a temple here wouldn’t do well to rob the relatively small Snowflake temple district—of which it is a part—of any more stakes.
So we look westward to where the stakes of Zion are nearby but still far from their assigned temple. Smaller towns like Prescott, Prescott Valley, and Cottonwood have rich LDS history and long-established congregations. Those three towns each with their own stake plus the two in Flagstaff sound about right for this category of temple. Throw in the stake in poor, lonely Kingman and you have a solid district for the Colorado Plateau. And Laughlin!
Or heck, they could just put it in Sedona and try to compete with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Chapel of the Holy Cross in raising a holy edifice that reflects and complements the natural splendor around it the way Chapel Rock does. Nah, better stick with Prescott Valley.
Cory: This one is kind of an easy guess. Uganda is currently the country that has the most members of the church and no temple. As of the last time that the church released official membership statistics, there are 17,887 members in Uganda (which was year-end 2019, yeah it’s been a while). Uganda first appeared on the list of the top ten countries with the most members without a temple in 2015. Since then, all nine of the other countries featured on that list have had temples announced; Uganda is next in line. There are three stakes and three districts in the country. Yes, there is a temple under construction next door in Kenya, which will be a huge blessing considering that the country is currently assigned to Johannesburg. However, Nairobi is still at least 13 hours away, not including time to cross the border. So, considering the relative inaccessibility of Uganda to this new temple, the fact that the Nairobi temple will be comparatively modest, and the size of membership in Uganda, I think it is time for Elder Price to say “Hello” to a temple in Kampala.
Joseph: I can just see all the memes now with your Book of Mormon Musical reference should this temple be announced. But yeah, this one is pretty obvious, or at least it ought to be. You’ve built a solid case, here, Cory, and there’s not much more to add by way of cold hard facts. Anecdotally, I think there are a lot more members in this region than the records show. When I was in Ethiopia for a summer internship in 2008, it was part of the Kampala mission. Not only was the Church growing like gangbusters there with baptisms every week, but we heard reports from Church leaders of large worship groups in borderland areas or recent conflict areas meeting every week on an unofficial basis, unbaptized and bereft of any priesthood structure, but faithful just the same. Having more temples in this broader region would naturally bring more administrative infrastructure and the Church could very literally see waves of people line up to get baptized.
Cory: Wow, that’s so cool that you got to spend time in the region! A mission was created in Ethiopia in 2019, but it has had a rough start. The Church News ran a great story discussing, among other things, the hospitalization of the mission president due to COVID and the evacuation of the entire mission to Kenya due to civil unrest. It’s unclear if anyone has been able to return yet.
Geoff: Really, Joseph? “Literally see waves of people”? Do you understand that visual? Actual waves, composed of living, human bodies? And this, about a country that is landlocked, no less. My goodness.
It did take many years for Nicaragua to shed itself of that dubious honor of having the most members without a temple. I only say that to stress caution that sitting atop that list does not automatically a temple announcement make. Still, the next three entries on that list—Mozambique, Liberia, and Madagascar—do not have operational temples but all have temples officially coming. You have to get to the fifth entry on the list, my beloved Mongolia, to find a country with no temple announced.
Were I to pick another African nation for a temple this round, I’d go with #7 on the most-members list: Republic of Congo. That would be extra cool because not only are the capital cities of the two Congos (a relic of French and Belgian colonialism) immediately across the Congo river from one another and thus the two capital cities in the world closest to one another, it would mean two temples in two sovereign capitals closer to each other than anywhere else in the world. That that prospective factoid to your next pub quiz.
Geoff: Texas is fresh off an announced temple in Fort Worth, and the McAllen Texas Temple is also well underway. One might think Texas is properly served by temples at this point, and I’m almost inclined to agree. But other than our oft-predicted temple in far-flung El Paso, there’s another area that I think deserves a temple despite its proximity to others: Austin.
That’s right, Texas’ capital and answer to San Francisco deserves its own temple no matter its closeness to San Antonio, which has had a temple for about 15 years. While we don’t know if the Fort Worth temple will pull in many areas to the south, such as you-think-it’s-cute-because-of-Magnolia-Farms-but-it’s-really-not-that-great-plus-the-schools-are-bad Waco, an Austin temple would easily handle the six stakes in the greater Austin region—three of which aren’t even 10 years old—and it could take in the Kyle Texas Stake, which covers San Marcos. That’s seven stakes, which is the same number of stakes San Antonio would be left with.
Austin doesn’t sit more than 200 miles from the San Antonio temple, and it’s also less than a two-hour drive, but those rubrics don’t apply everywhere (hello, Utah), so I say we bless the land of Whole Foods and Dell with its own house.
Cory: Yep, this is the best argument since I made it six months ago. Like I said, everyone is moving to Austin – it’s the place to be. The area is destined to get more stakes. Joseph played his cards right by going with Fort Worth before Austin, but I don’t think Austin is far behind and might even be overdue at this point; maybe property is difficult to find.
Joseph: The fact as you point out, Geoff, that three stakes in the Austin area have been organized in the last decade is a rate of growth that carries a lot of merit all on its own. Certainly as the metro area continues to grow, and the suburbs like Round Rock and Pflugerville likely fill with Latter-day Saint transplants, that corridor between Austin and points north like Killeen and Waco are going to be especially well served by a temple that isn’t as far south as San Antonio, or as far north as the DFW temples.
Des Moines Iowa
Joseph: File this as a prediction only possible under President Nelson, but nonetheless, as he is the current president of the Church, I humbly submit the capital of Iowa as my own wildcard guess. Iowa is interesting because half of its stakes are assigned to the Nauvoo temple to the south of its eastern border, and the other half to the Winter Quarters temple, on its western flank. Talk about being right in the middle of some epic Pioneer history. But the thing is—OK, the fact is—what I want to say about Iowa that coul—alright maybe I’m not sure what I was thinking when I thought, yup, picking Des Moines. So I’ll own that. But we’re here now aren’t we? So let’s make our best case for it.
Consider! Iowa does not have a temple. And so long as Iowa doesn’t have a temple, a General Conference speaker can’t say we have temples in every state. You know…should they ever want to say that.
Consider! Cedar Rapids is literally closer to Des Moines than it is to Nauvoo. I looked it up. It’s one hour and 59 minutes to Des Moines from Cedar Rapids, where there is one stake. And it’s a full two hours to Nauvoo!! Do the math! I think the Saints in Cedar Rapids, blessed with the fresh smells of roasted oats from the Quaker Oats factory in the heart of the city, need also to be blessed with a *much* closer temple. Besides, the Nauvoo temple is really more for the Church History tour buses that pass through, isn’t it?
Consider! Carving the two stakes in Des Moines (two!), and the one in nearby Ames, from the Winter Quarters temple district would make Omaha barely bat an eye. With a full eight remaining stakes from Sioux Falls to Lincoln, Winter Quarters and its tiny temple wouldn’t even miss ‘em. And finally:
Consider! Iowa has nothing. OK? Look at how big a deal they make out of the date on the calendar they hold a pre-election election. Please, they have so little to impress the world with. Nothing to write home about. The Wells Fargo Wagon left long ago and what’s left? Shipoopi, that’s what.
Cory: I’m all about playing up that pioneer history. We have the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple and the Nauvoo Illinois Temple, Mount Pisgah Iowa Temple anyone?
Joseph: I learned to do water witching on Mount Pisgah! Consider!
Geoff: Okay, okay…I’ll consider! Geography gets me here. If we put up a little graphic showing how far one can get by car (is there anything else in the Plains?) from the temples surrounding the Hawkeye State, we see Des Moines really does sit just outside of nearly everything. If Cody, Wyoming gets a temple (and above somewhere like Sheridan, no less), Des Moines might deserve some love.
Coeur d’Alene Idaho
Cory: This will be my wildcard. But hey, Rexburg North was considered unthinkable for most of twitter during the run up to last conference. You may ask: Isn’t Coeur d’Alene really close to the Spokane Washington Temple? The answer is yes. However, Spokane’s temple is also a beloved “mini” from the turn of the century. For the number of stakes in its temple district, it is probably one of the most utilized of this generation of temples. A temple in Moses Lake is shaving stakes off the Columbia River Washington Temple, which has a similar size and district to Spokane.The most logical way to split this temple district would be to divide the Idaho stakes and the Washington Stakes. A temple in Coeur d’Alene would be the central point for six stakes in Northern Idaho (Lewiston, Moscow, Coeur d’Alene, Hayden Lake, Sandpoint, and the brand-new-for-2022 Post Falls Idaho Stake). That would leave Spokane with seven stakes.
Geoff: I think this is a super interesting choice. I will fully admit that anytime I see someone speak of a temple in Coeur d’Alene, I immediately think, “Oh please. It’s basically Spokane metro, which already has a temple.” But you make some compelling points. Six stakes for a new temple can totally work, even if this temple sits well within the ideal geographic and travel time criteria for temple attendance.
Granted, I served my mission with an Elder from Coeur d’Alene, and he did not spark joy! I think the entire Northern Idaho area might need to suffer and go without a temple just because of this one fact, except for Silverwood Theme Park, which will stand as a beacon of hope in an otherwise doomed hinterland.
Joseph: Cory you can’t help but make an extremely reasonable case, so I wouldn’t necessarily call this a wild card, especially since your Rexburg II temple prediction was such a bullseye. But alas I agree with Geoff, if perhaps for a slightly different reason. Coeur d’Alene is gorgeous but let’s work on deconstructing the white supremacy so prevalent in that area first. Readers, please direct hate mail to the TWiM Facebook page. 😉
Cory: Yes, you cannot discuss northern Idaho without bringing that up. Idaho is known for its potatoes, but Northern Idaho is known for Nazis. Perhaps a temple can begin to redeem their reputation.
Geoff: Please direct hate mail to Joseph on Twitter.
Spanish Fork Utah
Geoff: I’ve argued for a temple in Spanish Fork a few times, and I am only becoming increasingly emboldened! My argument also hasn’t changed. There are no new stakes; the Mapleton Utah West Stake remains the newest in the area, from 2016. The Payson Utah Temple takes in 30 stakes, most of which are in the populated corridor of Utah County. Although it is a large temple, it could easily lose the 13 stakes between Spanish Fork and Mapleton, Provo City Center could drop Springville’s 8 stakes without breaking a sweat. This would mean a Provo City Center Temple with 21 stakes, a Payson temple with 16 stakes (and more to follow given the rate of new construction in the area), and a Spanish Fork temple with 21 stakes. It balances the load and saves the saints in the area, uh, 15 minutes of driving time.
Pure numbers don’t make the only case for a temple, but with Orem and Lindon both receiving temples, the Church does not appear afraid to super-saturate Utah County. The southern stretch of the county is not as densely populated as the Provo-Lehi corridor, but it remains a likely target.
Cory: Honestly, I expected a temple here before a temple in Lindon or even Payson! President Nelson has not passed a conference without announcing a temple in Utah, so it’s a great prediction. Mapelton could also be a nice area for a temple. It is described as heaven on earth by the people that live there. Although that is easy to say when the median income is just below Draper and most of the houses are on half an acre.
Joseph: I’ve made a stink before about how I think we need a moratorium on more Utah temples, but the fact that every conference has seen at least one announced in the beehive state, and even a non-conference announcement with Ephraim, I have to concede that should another temple be announced for Utah, southern Utah County is as likely a spot as we’ll get. That Payson temple is a massive structure however, and I’m sure it’s well situated to take in as many stakes as it currently has allotted to it, so maybe Price fits the bill this round in the way Heber Valley did last conference.
Joseph: Valdivia, Chile. Or in other words, Joseph’s latest random guess in Chile that isn’t Valparaiso. And sure, I had success last round with a second temple in Santiago, but there may still be other locations in Chile that I think make a stronger case for a new temple (pssst, check our honorable mentions). Nonetheless! Valdivia is an extremely good guess and I shall tell you why.
Nestled entirely within the Concepcion temple district, Valdivia presents a good middle point for taking in the southern parts of that district starting with Tamuco, and sweeping up all points south to the very southern ends of the earth, including a couple of western Argentinian stakes along the way. Others have ventured Osorno to be the better option for this region, but I disagree. I think those who say Osorno may not be including Tamuco with its two stakes, because if the temple were in Osorno, that would be too far from Concepcion to change districts over. What I’m looking at is a more equitable divide of the 23 stakes and 9 districts that are currently assigned to Concepcion temple, and as it stands, I think the better location is Valdivia. A temple there would be a full hour closer to the stakes in Temuco anyway than they currently are to Concepcion.
And Concepcion’s temple is not that large either for a district of that many stakes. Just 23,000 square feet puts it barely in the medium-sized category. As striking as it is, I’d venture to guess that Concepcion’s temple was meant to be a temple for Concepcion and its immediate environs. I think another edifice of similar size and room number (2 instruction rooms, 2 sealing rooms) would be able to be sustained by the cities that orbit Valdivia, and sure a couple far flung outposts. As for Valdivia itself, while not a large city, it has two stakes in its immediate vicinity. I know that isn’t a lot, but as the center point of that southern cluster reaching down from Tamuco, it’s fairly distanced to all the other medium-sized cities that would feed into it. So it solves the question of distance needed to travel better than any of the other viable locations.
Geoff: You are obsessed with southern Chile. Obsessed, like at a Mariah level!
I get where you are going with this, but I still think a temple farther south would be in Osorno or maybe even Puerto Montt, the latter a much larger city. Osorno could get the win only because it also has two stakes and the longstanding Osorno mission is headquartered there. It’s not the Valdivia mission, sir.
It’ll be interesting to watch Chile in the next few years. It is heavily LDS, but has needed work to boost activity rates, hence why its second temple only showed up a few years ago. Since then, we’ve started work on a temple in
what is rightfully Bolivian Antofagasta and announced the second temple in Santiago. Maybe someday there will be a temple in La Serena, as well as others in your beloved Valparaiso and the little tease you mentioned in the honorable mentions.
Cory: Yeah, there are a number of cities in Chile with two stakes (Valdiva, Osorno, Temuco, Los Angeles, Chillán, Rancagua, La Serena, Arica). Any of them could support this new generation of mini-temples; it’s going to be increasingly difficult to pinpoint future temples in Chile. Six months ago I argued for Punta Arenas and its one stake, so can’t argue that Valdiva is too small. I like the idea that Valdiva is more central than Osorno. Valdiva also has 10 wards in its city proper versus Osorno’s 8 wards. But Geoff points out that the mission is headquartered in Osorno, likely due to its central location. Thinking in the long run, a temple in Osorno AND a temple in Temuco or Los Angeles may provide greater accessibility to more people.
Colorado Springs Colorado
Geoff: What do you give the land of Air Force cadets, NORAD, and evangelical megachurch headquarters? You give them a temple – preferably with Moroni just to make a statement.
I’m three for three with choosing temples that sit neither more than 200 miles nor over 2 hours from the closest temple, but I think the Springs’ time has come. There are an impressive five stakes in the immediate Colorado Springs area, plus a stake in Pueblo and one out in Garden City, Kansas. The Denver Temple survived losing its northern environs to the Fort Collins Temple. It can surely handle losing additional stakes to its south. And the upcoming Grand Junction Colorado Temple should have zero effect on a potential Colorado Springs temple district.
Moreover, there is reportedly already land set aside for a temple in Colorado Springs in the Northgate area, just off highway 83. The only thing that surprises me about this alleged location is that it sits on the northern periphery of the Springs, and the Denver temple is in the southern fringes of its metropolitan area, thus putting the two sites closer to one another. The Colorado Springs area does not fan out equidistantly from the center of the city, instead spreading in an imbalanced way to the north and east (U.S. military installations also occupy significant territory south of the city, and the Air Force Academy sits to the northwest), so a temple in that general direction is not totally out of line, but Northgate is more or less on the edge of civilization. Next stop: Castle Rock.
Joseph: I’ve passed through Garden City, Kansas before. I never want to do it again. But I think Colorado Springs fits the strategy alluded to in the Prescott Valley prediction. It’s a sizable population hub in a western state, so a temple it must have. This would be the 4th temple for the state that folks say is just like Utah sans Mormons. And that may be partly true, because for a state with nearly double the population of Utah, I can’t see where another temple would possibly go in The Centennial State for the foreseeable future.
Cory: I was really surprised by a temple in Grand Junction before Colorado Springs. Distance was probably a factor there. If two stakes can support a temple there, then Colorado Springs is a shoo-in.
Not every temple makes the list for deeper analysis. Nevertheless, a number of our honorable mentions have been featured in previous issues of our predictions, and there’s always a chance one of them gets the call over conference weekend.
- Ulaanbaatar Mongolia – Always a bridesmaid
- Punta Arenas Chile & Fairbanks Alaska – “The Ends of the World” (But for real, we could have a temple with the mailing address of North Pole. I mean… come on, we need this)
- Tacoma Washington – Same argument as Las Vegas #2
- Knoxville Tennessee – Basically too far from Nashville, and stakes on the outer realms of their respective temple districts (Chattanooga, Kingsport) would benefit from something closer. Also, Dollywood.
- Lehi Utah – Swig-loving Church members for days, plus, recent plans for a redevelopment of the Micron campus have many wondering if a temple is meant to be included in the project. We cannot stop until every municipality in Utah County has a temple. Looking at you, Woodland Hills.
- El Paso Texas – Hard to quit this one
- Cancun Mexico
- Barcelona Spain – A curious major gap in Western Europe temple coverage. Even on a high-speed AVE train, it’s 2.5 hours between Barcelona and Madrid, and that’s between train stations
- Scotland – Long overdue despite plateaued growth
- Dublin Ireland – Only merited in these, the “temple for one stake” days
- San Luis Obispo California
- Bakersfield California
- Reykjavik Iceland – Going all in on the smallest ratio of church membership to temple announcement; there are three branches in all of Iceland – and yes, this is about as likely as a temple in Riyadh
- Jackson Mississippi
- Wichita Kansas
- Brazil! – After the Vitoria announcement, the field is wide open with viable candidates. Just book a flight to Brazil, plant a Title of Liberty, and a temple shall be built.
- Christchurch New Zealand – can we really be a Christ centered-church without a temple here?
- Green Bay or Madison Wisconsin
- Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo
- Jakarta Indonesia – Number could make sense here, but would it be too much too soon with Singapore barely announced (Bangkok and Phnom Penh – hold our drink)
- Literally anywhere in the Philippines – Put up a map of the Philippines on a wall, get blindfolded, ask your friend to spin you around, and then just BOOM! pick a place