Plans to construct small temples in remote areas of the Church that have a small LDS population and additional traditional temples in areas of greater Church membership were announced by President Gordon B. Hinckley at the priesthood session Saturday evening, Oct. 4.
He announced that two more traditional-sized temples would be built, in Houston, Texas, and Porto Alegre, Brazil.Of the small temples, President Hinckley said, "We are planning such structures immediately in Anchorage, Alaska, in the LDS colonies in northern Mexico, and in Monticello, Utah."
"There are many areas of the Church that are remote, where the membership is small and not likely to grow very much in the near future," President Hinckley said as he made the announcement. "Are those who live in these places to be denied forever the blessings of the temple ordinances?
"While visiting such an area a few months ago, we prayerfully pondered this question. The answer came bright and clear.
"We would construct small temples in some of these areas, buildings with all of the facilities to administer all of the ordinances. They would be built to temple standards, which are much higher than meetinghouse standards. They would accommodate baptisms for the dead, the endowment service, sealings, and all other ordinances to be had in the Lord's House for both the living and the dead.
"They would be presided over by local men called as temple presidents, just as stake presidents are called. They would have an indefinite period of appointment. They would live in the area of their own homes. One counselor would serve as temple recorder, the other as temple engineer. All ordinance workers would be local people who would serve in other capacities in their wards and stakes. Patrons would be expected to have their own temple clothing, thereby making unnecessary the construction of very costly laundries. A simple laundry would take care of baptismal clothing. There would be no eating facilities.
"These structures would be open according to local demand, maybe only one or two days a week," President Hinckley continued. "That would be left to the judgment of the temple president."
Where possible, he said, such a temple would be placed on the same grounds as a stake center, using the same parking lot for both facilities, thereby effecting a great saving.
President Hinckley explained that one small temple could be constructed for about the same cost as it takes just to maintain a large temple for one year, and it could be constructed in a relatively short time - several months, he said.
"I repeat that none of the essentials would be missing," President Hinckley explained. "Every ordinance performed in the House of the Lord would be available. These small buildings would have at least half the capacity of some of our much larger temples. They could be expanded when needed.
"Now as you hear me say these things, I think stake presidents in many areas will say, `This is exactly what we need.' Well, let us know of your needs, and we will give them careful and prayerful consideration. But please do not expect things to happen all at once. We need a little experience with this undertaking."
He noted that the operation of such temples will require some measure of sacrifice on the part of local Church members. "They not only will serve as ordinance workers; it will be expected that they will clean the buildings and take care of them, but the burden will not be heavy," President Hinckley said.
"In view of the blessing, it will be light, indeed. There will be no paid employees. All of the work of operation will represent faith and devotion and dedication."
President Hinckley said that in areas of greater Church membership, "we are developing plans that will reduce the cost without any reduction in terms of the work to be performed therein. We are determined to take the temples to the people, and afford them every opportunity for the very precious blessings that come of temple worship."
In his address, President Hinckley also noted that with the dedication of the St. Louis Missouri Temple last June, there are 50 working temples. That number will soon increase to 52: the Vernal Utah Temple is scheduled to be dedicated Nov. 2; the next temple dedication after that is scheduled for June 1998 in Preston, England.
He reviewed the status of 14 other temples. He reported that work is moving forward either in planning or in various stages of construction on 11 of them: Colombia; Ecuador; the Dominican Republic; Bolivia; Spain; Recife and Campinas Brazil; Mexico; and in Boston, New York and Albuquerque.
Of three other temples, he said: "Our previously announced plan to construct a temple in Venezuela is also going forward and we are hopeful of acquiring a site in the very near future. We continue to work on permits of various kinds for temples in Billings, Mont., and Nashville, Tenn.
"All of this speaks of our great interest in vigorously moving forward this important work," President Hinckley said.
Locations of new temples announced
Porto Alegre, Brazil
LDS colonies in Northern Mexico