President Hinckley introduced the smaller temple concept to church members during General Conference October 4, 1997. This historic announcement not only changed the concept of the temple’s structure but consequentially reduced the size and landscaping needs of temple grounds. Many of the smaller temples are built on “extra” property which was once exclusively used by a meetinghouse. This extra ground came with the property purchased to facilitate the needs of a chapel only. Through the years this surplus property has been left untouched or occasionally utilized by church members for recreational activities or parking. In one instance, a temple was built where a baseball diamond was once located.
In many locations where a temple now stands, church leaders went to great lengths to try to sell off the excess property. In every instance, something inhibited the selling transaction. Now that dozens of exquisite temples stand on these locations, many small miracles can be seen by those with eyes to see. The fact that the necessary acreage was a part of the initial church property transactions and then remained in church ownership is a testimony that the Lord directs this work for today and tomorrow.
Bismarck North Dakota Temple
In 1976, the church began looking for property to build a chapel for the Bismarck Branch and accommodate future expansion. The dimensions of the site were somewhat odd, forming the shape of the letter L. Although the church acquired the property , some saints in the area wondered what to do with the one leg of the property, which seemed useless. Reed E. Barker, branch president at the time, explained that others, however, including himself, “felt differently about it, without ever having a confirmation of what it was to be used for.” Each time they considered selling the land, the district presidency received strong impressions that the land should not be sold, but they did not know why.
When the Bismarck North Dakota Temple was announced, the purpose for preserving this extra piece of land became clear. Unlike the seemingly endless delays and struggles that had been experienced with other temples throughout the world, very little effort was required for this temple to receive approval from the city. When the building permit request was submitted, the city employee simply asked, “You own the property don’t you?” The answer was affirmative, “Then we don’t see a problem.”
Lowell L. Cheney, a counselor in the stake presidency, shared his thoughts on these events: “Though individually each of these events may not have seemed exceptionally significant, an overview of what has transpired gives profound assurance of the Lord’s awareness of His children in this part of His vineyard and the desire for them to receive His choicest blessings. If we will but follow as directed by the Spirit, even though we may not see the whole picture, we can be confident that the work will go forth, for the Lord surely directs His work to completion.” (Lowell L. Cheney, Miracles of the Bismarck North Dakota Temple Site, Unpublished; copy in cornerstone of Bismarck North Dakota Temple) (Holy Places, Deseret Book, Chad Hawkins)
The Bountiful Utah Temple has the distinction as being the one site personally chosen by President Ezra Taft Benson. No other temple site has been selected when all three members of the First Presidency were present at the time of selection.
Posted in Interesting Facts
For the third time in as many October general conferences, LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson has announced plans for five new temples.
The five announced temples — two in the U.S. and three internationally — will be in Hartford, Conn.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Tijuana, Mexico; Urdaneta, Philippines; and Lisbon, Portugal.
The new temples will be the first in Portugal and in the states of Connecticut and Indiana.