Like Oprah in her prime giving away cars to everybody in her studio audience, Pres Nelson seems to be on a Temple giveaway splurge. Seventeen new temples were announced last week, bringing to 100 the number of temples he has announced (though less than a handful have been dedicated).
To lend some rationale behind this building binge, I have some “hearsay evidence” on that is going on. From a friend of a friend (actually my son-in-law’s father), he told me last month (before Conference) that in a recent Area Coordination Council meeting, the Area Authority 70 told the assembled Stake Presidents from the area that Pres Nelson has placed having a Temple nearby for every member as a higher priority that having a chapel, and that the building program would put emphasis of Temples over meetinghouses. The 70 also said Nelsons goal is to announce 150 new temples in the next five years.
The quick math on that says that there will need to be fifteen new temples announced every conference for the next five years. Again, this was told to me before conference, so the 17 announced last week collaborated this.
Could this be the answer to the cryptic Wendy Nelson statement where she related a recent conversation with her husband ““Oh, I wish I could tell you one of the decisions we made today, it will be thrilling.” I said, “Well, when will I know?” “Oh, you’ll know in about 50 years.” Great. Can’t wait.” If you add another 150 temples to the 100 already announced, it will probably take 50 years to build 250 temples.
I recently listened to a podcast where somebody knew somebody in the Temple Department, and spilled the herbal tea on what was going on there. He said the department was in chaos because of all the new temples that Pres Nelson has announced.
He (the anonymous temple dept. employee) said that there used to be a set of rules that were followed when selecting a location for a new temple. These rules included number of active members, location of next closest temple, how often members travel to attend the temple, and how far they had to travel. Well guess what, Pres Nelson has thrown all these rules out the window, and does not follow them. One could argue that since Nelson is the boss, he can change the rules. But they were there for a reason, and to ignore them creates new problems.
One problem is how do you staff them. This same person said the missionary department is struggling to call senior missions to fill all the staffing requirements. I read that in one of the small temples in Europe, it is often closed when it is scheduled to be open, with a hand written note on the door explaining that not enough temple workers showed up to open. The teller of the story said they now have to call ahead to make sure it is open.
Now everything I have written so far is just third hand and hearsay. But let us assume that what the 70 told the assembled Stake Presidents, and the anonymous person said is true, What do you think is going on? Hawkgrrrl blogged about all the temples last year, and came up with several reasons for all the new temples.
I believe the reason behind this is that the Q15 have statistics that show that members that have a temple with an easy commute are more likely to attend, and thus more likely to pay tithing and remain active.