Geoff: Another stalwart. I haven’t actually gone in depth on Mongolia for a few years, and while there isn’t much new to report in terms of stake growth, with the Ulaanbaatar East Stake organized in 2016, we still have to remember that expansive, underpopulated Mongolia has two stakes and a district. There are 11.5 million people per stake or district in Thailand and 2.7 million people per stake or district in Cambodia. Both countries have a temple announced or under construction. Why can’t Mongolia, where there are 1 million people her stake or district, get a temple? Plus, it would be a great regional hub for members in Russia and elsewhere.
We’ve said it before, but as we are clearly opening ourselves up to smaller temples again, a nice investment in the saints of Mongolia would make a ton of sense. Given how many Asian temples have been announced of late, it seems the action could be there.
Joseph: I think for the first time in the several years now we’ve been doing this, I can see this one happening. For your reasons above, yes, but also, is it just me or does this seem like the kind of destination that President Nelson has his eye on?
The most compelling part of a Mongolia prediction is really the question of access. It’s one heckuva remote city where an outpost temple would indeed be a boon and a blessing for the local saints there, as well as those spread throughout the region, provided they would be permitted the travel. A logistical privilege I doubt will yield very many patrons at all, if ever. No, a temple announcement in Ulaanbaatar would likely need to spur a surge in growth and activity, ramping up to the 5-10 years down the road when a dedication would see a burgeoning generation of Mongolian members.
Given how many announced but undedicated temples we have in our queue, I think that’s the kind of vision for the future that will inform predictions and announcements in the present. And in that frame of mind, this destination is quite convincing indeed.
Geoff: You hit it squarely on the head. A temple in Mongolia would galvanize the membership there and lead to further growth. Plus, the guy redoing my kitchen counters is from Mongolia, and he smokes, so I want to use this to bring him the gospel and save his lungs.