1. Abidjan Côte d’Ivoire
Welcome to #1, Abidjan. Last year we had you at #3, but the times are a-changin’.
There are eight stakes in the country. There were five when we wrote our last temple prediction post a year ago. The Abidjan Mission also split into two in 2014.
Membership continues to grow by nearly 10 percent year-over-year, retention is solid, and activity rates are excellent.
Lastly, temples serve as anchors in their general areas. Yes, there’s currently a temple in Accra in neighboring Ghana, but plopping down a temple in Côte d’Ivoire could be a boon for other francophone countries in the area while also making temple trips from burgeoning Sierra Leone and Liberia easier.
Religious violence has sparked two civil wars in the country, but the last one ended in 2011 and things have settled down since then. Still, the Church has demonstrated reticence to manage temples in unstable areas. The Aba Nigeria Temple closed from 2009-2011 due to violence in the area.
Like I said before, the Accra temple isn’t super far away, and infrastructure in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire is better than most neighboring countries, so while long trips are certainly still an undertaking, it’s not as much of a hassle as somewhere like Burkina Faso.
- Rogers Arkansas – Arkansas has no temple, and though Little Rock is the seemingly obvious choice for a new house of worship, Rogers actually anchors a multi-state, multi-stake area that is one of the farthest in the United States from any temple.
- Richmond or Williamsburg Virginia – Richmond or Hampton Roads topped last year’s list. Members throughout Virginia must attend the Washington DC Temple, which is many hours away. (Seriously, Roanoke doesn’t look that far until you realize it’s a five-hour haul.) Richmond is a nice central point for the rest of Virginia, but Williamsburg would make access from Hampton Roads just a smidge easier.
- Singapore – Decent membership. Could also anchor a growing membership base in Malaysia.
- Hyderabad India – India is growing. Even though Mormons are an extremely small minority, this would also be a great regional temple that could stimulate missionary efforts in India while making temple trips less arduous for members in neighboring countries.
- Yorba Linda, CA – Not really going to happen, but I wanna give a shout out to the swanky neighbor next door to my ghetto homeland, Placentia. The spirit of Nixon will bring a temple to north OC!