By AUDREY WOOD
The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Detroit, Mich. and Spokane, Wash. as locations for two new “smaller temples”.
Members in both areas are excited about having temples located closer to their homes so they can avoid travelling long distances to attend temple sessions.
Nan Mastie, of Ann Arbor, Mich., said having a temple close by will unite the members of the Detroit area.
“It’s exciting to have one so close. I think we’ll have a connection with Detroiters that may help the growth of the church,” Mastie said.
Gary Borders, stake president of the Spokane, Wash. stake, said members will save time and money having a temple nearby.
“Right now it’s a four-and-a-half, five hour drive to Bellevue. It’s expensive. With a temple in Spokane, we’ll have more opportunities to do temple work and it will cost less,” Borders said.
The First Presidency has not yet announced where the temple lots will be located. However, Borders said, “We’re happy as long as it is in Spokane.”
Borders said Spokane area stake presidents responded to President Gordon B. Hinckley’s call to LDS leaders to inform church headquarters where smaller temples should be constructed.
“The Sunday when the announcement was read, heads nodded and people were smiling. It’s an answer to years of prayers,” Borders said.
Likewise in Detroit, members of the LDS church were awaiting a temple in their area as church membership continues to increase.
Mark Morris, a former missionary in the Detroit, Mich. mission said the members need to do what is necessary to see a temple built in Detroit.
“President Bithell once stood up in stake conference and said, ‘If you missed Noah’s ark; if you missed the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea, don’t miss the miracle of Detroit,'” Morris said.
Dates for groundbreaking ceremonies in Detroit and Spokane have not yet been announced by the First Presidency.
“As soon as they settle on a site, it won’t be long until the First Presidency announces groundbreaking ceremonies,” Don LeFevre, spokesperson for the LDS church, said.
The temples in Detroit and Spokane will each serve approximately 13,000 members from four stakes.
The announcement of the Spokane and Detroit temples will help fulfill President Hinckley’s goal to have 30 smaller temples by the year 2000.
Since President Hinckley’s announcement, during the October 1997 General Conference, 23 smaller temples have either been announced and/or constructed.
“This (announcement) is just another step in reaching that goal,” LeFevre said.