President Thomas S. Monson, prophet and leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced yesterday a temple is to be built in the small Utah town of Payson.
This is big news. It makes me feel vindicated. I’ve said for years that eventually they’d build a temple in southern Utah county. Certain people, who, because I know they check this blog on a regular basis, shall remain nameless, dismissed the idea because they thought it would take away from the Manti Temple district.
While I’m happy for the people of Payson, and the surrounding areas–this will cut the travel time to the nearest temple by 20-30 minutes, I can’t help but mourn, too. The Winnipeg, Manitoba temple has yet to be announced.
The story went, when I was on my mission, that the Church owns the land, most of the supplies needed, and a blueprint prepared for a temple to be built in Winnipeg. Furthermore, when President Gordon B. Hinkley visited central Canada in 1998, everybody expected the temple to be announced. But he addressed the members of Winnipeg, and no announcement was made. He then traveled to Regina, and drove around the city with the stake president. (I heard this story directly from the stake president of the Regina Saskatchewan stake). When he addressed the members of Regina, he announced that the city needed a temple, and one was to be built.
I don’t know why Regina got the temple and Winnipeg didn’t. There are two stakes in Saskatchewan, but only one in Manitoba, but there are three wards in Winnipeg, and only two in Regina. Winnipeg is the larger city. I guess it all boils down to the residence of Regina being ready for a temple, while the residence of Winnipeg are not.
I remember sitting in a Relief Society lesson in the London ward of Winnipeg, while a ward temple trip was being planned. The presenter mentioned how lucky they were to have a temple so close–Regina is only a six hour drive from Winnipeg. My first thought was how odd–growing up in Utah, I have never lived more than 90 minutes away from a temple. My next thought was, okay–prior to the temple in Regina, the next nearest temples to Winnipeg were in Edmonton, Alberta, or Toronto, Ontario–both about a 24 hour drive away. My third thought was, the sisters need to be doing everything they can to bring a temple to Winnipeg.
I don’t know when the temple will be built in Winnipeg, but I know it will be. My time to be helping the members of Winnipeg prepare for the blessings of the temple has long since past, but I still ache for the wonderful friends I made to have the blessing of a temple in their city.
Winnipegers, especially LDS Winnipegers, if there are any reading this–please make use of the Regina temple. The best way to bring a temple to Winnipeg is to show that you are using the one you have now. I don’t know how much things have changed since I was a missionary there in 2002-2004, but at that time, you didn’t realize the blessings you were missing out on by not having a temple in your city. Please, do everything you can, and I promise you that you will be blessed.