SPOKANE, Wash. The new smaller temples of the Church are not small buildings, President Gordon B. Hinckley declared between dedicatory sessions of the Spokane Washington Temple Aug. 22.
"They are rather large buildings, and they are very well built of the finest materials. And we're very happy with them, and I think the people are very happy with them. They're just a wonderful way of making it possible for people in many areas of the world to have within a reasonable distance of where they live a temple in which they can work. All of the ordinances can be performed in these temples just the same as in any larger temple."
President Hinckley made these observations during a Church News interview between dedicatory sessions of the Church's 59th operating temple and the fourth of the smaller temples. The Church president dedicated the Spokane Washington Temple in 11 sessions Aug. 21-23. The first of the smaller temples was dedicated in Monticello, Utah, in July 1998; the second in Anchorage, Alaska, in January 1999; and the third in Colonia Juarez, Mexico, in March 1999. (See article on page 3.)
"This is a very important movement," the Church president explained, "because it is making it possible to extend the temples to many, many more people."
In addition, he explained, the smaller temples can be built rather quickly. "[Construction of] the average [smaller] building is about 10-12 months, and that's in contrast with two or three years for a larger temple. We build them in connection with stake centers wherever we can and thereby benefit from having one single parking lot that will accommodate the temple patrons during the week and the membership of the Church on Sundays. In areas where it snows, we have to clear the snow from only one lot instead of two lots.
"Furthermore, these temples are manned by a presidency who serve in a double capacity. The counselors do. One serves as temple recorder. The other serves as temple engineer so we don't have to have those posts filled by others."
Speaking of members' reception of the concept of a smaller temple minus laundry and clothing facilities, and a cafeteria President Hinckley said he's pleased with the enthusiasm shown by members of all ages. Through these smaller temples, many more youth of the Church can participate in baptisms for the dead. "We're hopeful that will keep them closer to the Church, as I believe it will."