Two more locations for temples in the United States have been announced by the First Presidency. The new temples will be built in Detroit, Mich., and Spokane, Wash.
The announcement brings to 89 the number of temples in operation, under construction or planned. Seventeen have been announced since April conference.At that conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley said, "I take this opportunity to announce to the entire Church a program to construct some 30 smaller temples immediately. . . .
"If temple ordinances are an essential part of the restored gospel, and I testify that they are, then we must provide the means by which they can be accomplished. All of our vast family history endeavor is directed to temple work. There is no other purpose for it. The temple ordinances become the crowning blessings the Church has to offer."
Both the Detroit, Mich., area and Spokane, Wash., area have deep roots and a long history in the Church.
The Detroit Michigan Temple District will include four stakes and one district in Michigan and the Michigan Detroit Mission. Residing in the temple district are some 13,300 members.
The first missionary work in Michigan was done in the spring of 1831 by Lucy Mack Smith, mother of the Prophet Joseph Smith. She visited the family of her late brother Col. Stephen Mack, founder of Pontiac, Mich. An ardent missionary, she advanced the cause of the Restoration to many during her monthlong visit.
Joseph Smith himself visited Michigan in 1834 and spoke to large congregations. A number of branches were established, and many converts gathered with the Saints.
Later in the century, missionaries from the Northwestern States Mission began proselyting in Detroit in 1880, encouraging converts to gather to Utah.
The first permanent branch in Michigan was created in Detroit April 21, 1915, and the first chapel was dedicated there in 1928. Membership grew steadily. In 1952, the Detroit Stake was created with prominent member George W. Romney as president. Brother Romney was Michigan's governor from 1962-69.
Membership in Michigan at year-end 1997 was 35,000.
The temple in Spokane will serve some 13,200 members in four stakes and the Washington Spokane Mission.
Missionary work in eastern Washington also began early in Church history.
The first missionaries to what was then the Oregon Territory arrived in the 1850s but little permanent progress was made until near the end of the century. At that time members moved into the area from Idaho and Utah.
The first full-time missionaries were active in Spokane in 1896, and in 1897 the headquarters of the Northwestern States Mission was moved to Spokane. Still, progress was slow and opposition high. By 1898, Samantha A. Holden was the lone member in Spokane. Despite this, two years later an Eastern Washington Conference was held with 20 members and one missionary in attendance.
The first Sunday School in Spokane was organized in 1906 and a decade later was organized into a branch. With the onset of World War II, a great number of members came to the area to work in the defense industry, and the first stake was created in 1947. The Washington Spokane Mission was created in 1978.
Washington has a large LDS population, mostly on the coast, with 52 stakes and more than 219,000 members, more than Canada or England. Washington's first temple was completed in Seattle in 1980.
Evidence of the Church's recognition of the importance of temples is found in the number of projects to construct temples. Twelve temples are under construction in: Albuquerque, N.M.; Anchorage, Alaska; Billings, Mont.; Bogota, Colombia; Campinas, Brazil; Boston, Mass.; Colonia Juarez, Mexico; Cochabamba, Bolivia; Guayaquil, Ecuador; Madrid, Spain; Recife, Brazil; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Sites designated for 22 temples previously announced that are awaiting construction starts are in: Accra, Ghana; Bismarck, N.D.; Brisbane, Australia; Caracas, Venezuela; Ciudad Juarez, Mexico; Columbus, Ohio; Edmonton, Alberta; Fukuoka, Japan; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Hermosillo, Mexico; Houston, Texas; Kailua Kona, Hawaii; Kiev, Ukraine; Montreal, Quebec; Monterrey, Mexico; Nashville, Tenn.; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Regina, Saskatchewan; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.; Suva, Fiji; Tampico, Mexico; and White Plains, N.Y.