Richmond or Hampton Roads Virginia Temple
Geoff: I try not to be biased here, living in DC. But we need a win. The beloved Washington DC temple is now closed for major renovations, and then the Raleigh North Carolina temple was closed and subsequently stripped to the studs. What, you want me to drive to Philadelphia? Have you driven I-95 between DC and New York?! (Potential upside: the Philadelphia temple is actually pretty close to mass transit.)
But I digress. Just look at the 200-mile map with and without those two temples. We are in a hearts-of-the-children desert!
Obviously a temple in Richmond or the Hampton Roads area would not be magically completed in time to bridge the gap while the other temples are closed—both will reopen before any new temple even has an open house—but this speaks to a slight weakness in coverage in the region.
The I-64 corridor is a fast-growing area, a temple here would keep most saints within an hour of sacred work, especially if it were in Richmond.
Downsides: Richmond is only 90 mins from DC. Hampton Roads isn’t much farther for Raleigh. The Washington DC Temple also lost about a third of its feeder stakes to the Philadelphia Temple and I’m not sure it’s looking to lose more. Saturdays were suddenly peaceful after Philadelphia opened.
Joe: I could easily see a temple in this neck of the woods, Geoff, just probably later rather than sooner. With major freeways that provide fairly easy passage to either the DC or Raleigh temples from places like Richmond or Newport News, I don’t see a temple in this area for a while. Unless of course we looked westward to LDS hubs like Roanoke or Lynchburg (and Beeeeyuna Vista, y’all!!). A temple there would almost be more understandable, servicing the heart of Appalachia, including almost all of West Virginia. It’s odd that neither of the Virginias have a temple. Perhaps it’s punishment for Thomas Jefferson’s deism.
Regardless, I’m more Hampton Roads than Richmond on this one, but an announcement of the Good News in Newport News would be pretty epic for the Mormons of the Eastern Seaboard. Imagine how many Duck Beach hopefuls, in brave acts of performative righteousness, would sneak away to do a “quick sesh” before heading back to the throes of unrequited love in the Outer Banks. Will marriage proposals go up over Memorial Day? You’d better believe it.
Geoff: “Fairly easy passage”? I hate to beat on this I-95 thing, but… I just….