Rapid City South Dakota

Joe: My take here is simple: There’s a big gap in the lower contiguous, yea, verily even the biggest gap on the map of the 200-mile-radius circle things, and in that gap lies Rapid City, South Dakota. There are other cities in that gap as well, not many, but let’s pretend for a moment that temples are still going to require some local membership to attend and worship there as a prerequisite.

Compared to the other population hubs in, well let’s just call it the Prairie Gap, okay?, Rapid City simply fits the bill better than any others, albeit just barely. But what makes this destination more convincing is that due west of Rapid City, and just barely inside the 200-mile radius for the Billings temple is Gillette, Wyoming with its own reasonable population of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And Gillette is closer to the South Dakotan “megalopolis” than to Billings by more than a country mile. Plus—not to pile on—South Dakota is one of a small-and-shrinking number of states in the U.S. that is bereft of any temple at all. Appreciating that fact would make an announcement here a nice notch on the belt for those who care about things like state borders and counting what’s inside or outside of them.

Geoff: I went to a McDonald’s once in Gillette while cruising through Wyoming, listening to “The Baddest” by the erstwhile “Krispy Kreme.” Compared to me, Jay Z is lazy.

Joe: OK, since you’re being cheeky—everyone knows “The Baddest” is the best—one more thing I want to mention that fails to get any play in these predictions: the tourism market! Travelers who are also members of the Lord’s Restored Church™ LOVE to make temple visits part of their travel adventures. Rapid City being an amenity and hotel hub right between famed western town, Deadwood, and Keystone, the gateway charmhole just outside Mt. Rushmore, would give a seasonal boost to temple attendance and grounds visitation beyond what the local membership population might suggest.

Hey, this is a new era of temple predictions and it’s hard to know what to expect, so without a Liahona of any kind, I’m going to go out on a limb and call this not only a great guess, but submit it as my top prediction! Because, why the Dirty Diet Coke not?

Geoff: First of all, Keystone, South Dakota, you are on notice. There was no room at the inn there, or any of the inns for that matter, when I went there, and I was forced to sleep in a field. That said, sleeping in a South Dakota field in the middle of the summer is one of my fonder memories.

Anyway, it’s not about me. The Church numbers in this area are not huge, but we’ve seen temples built for less (Hey, Star Valley! ‘Sup, Winnipeg!), and I have a sneaking feeling that the calculus for what defines temple construction readiness is about to change.