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  • Writer's pictureNathan Augustine

Suspended Construction

Updated: Mar 8

Did you know that the Church sometimes stops work on building certain temples? It might be obvious but it is worth pointing out that the Church sometimes faces opposition when building a temple. In fact sometimes the Church has so much opposition that they stop actively building the temple in question. This isn't the only reason why the Church stops actively pursuing some temple projects. Sometimes the needs of the Church change between announcement and the start of construction. Since revelation comes "line upon line" sometimes further revelation clarifies the Lord's will. What ever the reason, any of these temple projects should be considered temporarily suspended, not canceled. As you will see below the Church is a very patient organization, willing to wait until the time is right and the Lord tells his prophet to move forward.

The Temple Lot in Independence. The Community of Christ's Temple is in the background

Joseph Smith received a revelation (D&C 57) telling him that Independence Missouri was “the center place; and a spot for the temple…” Church leaders laid cornerstones for the temple but were driven out of Clay County Missouri before they could do any further work. The lot is currently owned by The Church of Christ (Questions and Answers about the Temple Lot in Independence, Missouri).

Monument at the temple site in Far West

Joseph Smith received a revelation (D&C 115) telling him to build a temple in Far West Missouri. Church leaders laid cornerstones for the temple. They also selected a site for a temple in Adam-ondi-Ahman (Spring Hill) Missouri. However they were driven out of Missouri before they could do any further work on either temple. The Church owns both sites (Far West and Adam-ondi-Ahman, Far West Temple Site and Adam-ondi-Ahman).

The Church completed the construction of the Kirtland and Nauvoo temples but abandoned both (Building the Kingdom in Kirtland, Ohio and Faith in Every Footstep).

Kirtland Temple

The Kirtland Temple was owned by the Community of Christ for more than a century (Wikipedia: Kirtland Temple) until March 5, 2024 when they sold it, along with a number of buildings in Nauvoo to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Responsibility and Ownership of Sacred Sites and Historic Documents Transfer to Church of Jesus Christ).

LDS Artist C.C.A. Christensen's painting of the Nauvoo Temple burning

The original Nauvoo Temple was destroyed by fire and a tornado (Nauvoo Temple: Timeline). In 1937 the Church re-purchased the lot and eventually included the site as part of the Old Nauvoo visitor experience. In 1999 the Church announced that they would rebuild the temple. The new Nauvoo Illinois Temple, which was dedicated in 2002 (Nauvoo Temple), matches the exterior of the original. The original interior consisted of two assembly rooms (see my previous post on Assembly Rooms). The Church used the attic for live endowments. The new temple has all the rooms necessary to function like a modern temple. However it has the traditional four stage progressive instruction rooms like the pioneer era Utah temples, including murals. In fact Nauvoo Illinois is the only temple the Church dedicated after Los Angeles California with the traditional four Instruction rooms and it is also the only temple with four stage progression that has never presented the endowment live (see my previous post on Progression).

Nuku'alofa Tonga Temple

The Church announced a temple for American Samoa in 1977 (Temple to Be Built in American Samoa) and selected a site in Pago Pago. Then in 1980 replaced it with temples in Apia Samoa, Nuku'alofa Tonga and Papeete Tahiti (Church Launches Worldwide Temple-Building Emphasis with Announcement of Seven New Temples). In 2019 the Church announced a new temple for Pago Pago American Samoa (Eight New Temples, Historic Restorations Announced).

Hartford Connecticut Temple

The Church announced a temple for Hartford Connecticut in 1992 (Plans are announced for 3 more temples) then in 1995 replaced it with temples in Boston Massachusetts and White Plains (later Harrison) New York (Of Missions, Temples, and Stewardship). In 2010 the Church announced a new temple for Hartford Connecticut which they dedicated in 2016 (Hartford Connecticut Temple Fact Sheet).

Manhattan New York Temple

As mentioned above, in 1995 the Church announced a temple for White Plains New York (Of Missions, Temples, and Stewardship). However the property they eventually purchased was in Harrison and they changed the name of the announced temple to the Harrison New York Temple (Temples renamed to uniform guidelines). A group of residents organized to oppose the temple over its size, traffic, lighting and environmental impact (Mormonstoday: White Plains Temple Opposition Intensifies (Harrison Opposition)). They caused seven years of delays in the town’s building approval process leading the Church to file a civil rights lawsuit (Church sues N.Y. town over temple size limit). The town settled the lawsuit after the Church made a second set of size, lighting and use concessions (Karen Pasternack, "Harrison feared losing to Mormons in court," The Journal News 1 May 2002). However in the meantime Church membership in New York City had increased and to serve the members there the Church built a temple in Manhattan, just 30 miles from Harrison. They eventually stopped work on the Harrison New York Temple, though the Church still owns the property (Church Of Jesus Christ Temples: Harrison New York Temple).

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