Friday, February 22, 2019

Temple Attendance Trends

I have received dozens of reports over the last couple of months that there have been significant increases in temple attendance in many temples around the world. It appears that the most significant increases have occurred in Utah although I have received reports from temples in places like Australia where there have also been significant increases in attendance. These trends appear augmented by changes at the beginning of the new year but appeared to begin in the latter portion of 2018.

I would like your feedback in terms of what you have seen in your temple. Has there been any changes in temple attendance that you have observed? Please comment.

52 comments:

JBod said...

Not sure if it has died down at all in the past couple of weeks but prior to that the Dallas Temple had been very busy - to the point that the parking lot was often completely full and people were parking along the street.

David Todd said...

That is excellent news for Dallas! That is my home temple district and I know in the past I had attended sessions where the handful I went with were the only ones there. The district is definitely big enough to merit splitting and getting a Fort Worth temple if attendance matches.

James Anderson said...

Dallas has five rooms with about 40 seats each, the fifth, at the south end, was added in when they put the addition in on the other end and space was thus made available to put another room in.

Justin York said...
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Justin York said...

If the trend started in the latter and of the previous year then there are two other possible influences not yet mentioned:

1. President Nelson's closing remarks in the October General Conference
2. Ordinances Ready, the new feature in FamilySearch that makes it easy to find names for relatives

The Accountant said...

It is very difficult to get a weekday morning session at the Indianapolis temple for any ordinance beside baptisms. I use to opt for these sessions because they are easier than Friday evening on Saturday sessions but now I am waiting about 2 weeks out to get in for a morning session.

I agree with the observation that it is possible this trend correlates with Pres Nelson's invitation and the change on Jan 1 with the endowment.

Unknown said...

I was at the Ogden temple last Saturday and had never seen the temple so busy. I couldn't find parking in the temple's overflow lot and had to wait for the next session once I entered the chapel.

TempleRick said...

Idaho Falls has been slammed, too. They were having to do "double sessions" for weeks, which is inserting sessions on the half hour between the regularly scheduled hourly sessions. That doesn't work too well in a progressive-style temple like Idaho Falls, but it's more doable than before with the shorter session length. They've backed off the double sessions now, but the temple still feels very full and abnormally busy. Lots of waiting.

Nik said...

St. Paul Minnesota temple has been packed on Saturday's the last few times I've attended, n both before and after the changes. Often there is a line out the door of people waiting to get in for baptisms and endowments- not very nice during the frigid winter we've been having. Endowment sessions are packed that they have to add folding chairs to accommodate the many patrons. Since there is no chapel you wait in changing rooms which are often lined with folks, both before and after a session- there are only 9 changing stalls. Weekday evenings are a little quieter- not sure about Friday though.

MainTour said...

San Diego Temple was exceptionally full last saturday. I thought it was because of the holiday weekend with many visitors coming down from Utah.

James said...

I have information on two temples, if I may provide it. My wife and I currently fall within the boundaries of the Provo Utah Temple district, and while our health has complicated our ability to attend, we have heard from a few people in our area that Provo remains swamped. And that was further verified by comments from my mom, who still lives within the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple district. According to her, when she went the other week to do initiatories, there was a wait of 0.5-1.5 hours. And she went recently on a session, where the wait was longer than that. I have mentioned on this blog seeing during my time as a temple worker those lines stretch from the chapel, to the marriage waiting room, down both sides of the grand staircase, and down the hall a bit further. So Mount Timpanogos appears to be jam-packed as well. If that, and what has been said in Matt's post and in previous responses is any indication, Church members are responding worldwide to the prophet's invitation, and I am sure that in turn will result in the announcement of several new temples during the April General Conference (which is now just about 6 weeks away). Hope this information is helpful.

Nephi said...

I was at the Logan Temple in late November. From the time I arrived till I left was almost 2 1/2 hours and I only did initiatories. A few weeks ago I went to the St. George Temple on a Thursday morning and barely got into the next session. The room was filled to capacity and about 1/4 of the people in the chapel had to wait till the next session. There were also people standing in the hall waiting to get into the chapel.

Chris said...

Denver temple district here. I've attended 3 times since the start of the year. My observation is an uptick in attendance generally. The weekend saw a packed parking lot and street level with waits of up to 2 sessions (Denver typically doesn't have a wait--if you're on time, you get in the session you planned on). I typically go during "off" hours when my workday allows me to sneak off. I noticed a substantial uptick. I'll ask an ordinance worker if that's been consistent and report back.

James Anderson said...

I am also hearing of more full sessions in Tucson, reports of the parking lot being close to capacity as well which indicates to an extent the numbers inside. Not sure of the times this is observed but I saw parking 2/3 full when I went down for a wedding 6 weeks before the conference in October and about a month before Ordinances Ready.

Gilbert is jammed largely due to Mesa being renovated, but I anticipate that it will still be busy. A rumor has surfaced of property near the probable alignment of SR-34 in Gilbert/Apache Junction for a future as yet unannounced temple, James and I are both trying to track down things and understand the dynamics of East Valley growth to try to figure out if that is a plausible location as most of the housing construction is a few miles north or south of that.

Brian McConnell said...
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Brian McConnell said...

More on Denver: In early January, the number of sessions nearly doubled to every half hour, with sessions rather full. The temple, with 4 ordinance rooms holding 48 patrons, can accommodate half hour sessions with the shorter session length.

After the 2 week closure in January, the numbers aren't quite so packed, with some extra added sessions.

Bryan Dorman said...

Mexico City temple here.

There has likewise been an uptick here, but said uptick had been happening for the past year that provoked the necessity of President Nelson announcing a temple in Puebla. Last time I went (two weeks before the changes) the sessions were full.

If it has gotten any busier since then don't be surprised to see similar announcements for places like Querétaro, Pachuca, or Toluca.

Matt said...

One of the reasons that I made this post is because I firsthand saw a significant increase in attendance when I went to the Denver Colorado Temple a few weeks ago. My wife and I attended a session at 10 a.m. on a Friday and it was completely full. I was very surprised because usually when we attend the temple at times like that we are often the witness couple and there are less than 10 men. Thank you for all of your comments so far. Very interesting about Mexico City Mexico Temple. That's a temple that has historically had pretty poor attendance so this is very exciting news. The big question is whether or not these trends will be sustained. If they are sustained, we will probably see a significant increase in temple construction within the next 5 to 10 years. But I do not think that we will see a ton of temples announced right away until we know whether or not these trends are sustained.

Unknown said...

AUSTRALIA sorry all the attendance here is purported to be coming from the New Zealanders who currently have their own temple closed. All the talk in my ward of accommodating these members in our homes for short stays and reminding the Kiwis that our temple needs to be booked in advance because we do have smaller sized temples as opposed to NZ. Our local temple is overflowing...with visitors.

Jonathan Pugmire said...

Since November I've been to the Ogden, Draper, Payson, and Manti Temples and all have them have been packed even in snow. Some of it may have been due to holiday breaks or due to busy Saturdays. In January there were 2 hr waits for endowment sessions at the Ogden. All of them had packed sessions, lines for initiatory, large groups of dealings or limiting baptism names. We've increased our attendance going almost every week and the Temple Ready feature is awesome!

Jonathan Pugmire said...

And South Jordan.

Andrew Reed said...

Adelaide Australia Temple.... i can only speak of observations from my ward (Murray Bridge), but there seem to be an increase of attendance, even though its 1.5 hours drive each way. Dedication?.... and i agree the increase started around the October 2018 conference time.

Bradley said...
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Bradley said...

I have been to the Orlando temple several times this year and attendance has been increasing each time. Two weeks ago the security officer asked me to park at the Stake center across the street and walk over to the temple because there were no spots available. The trend seemed to start before the the shutdown back in December. Our ward is about an hour from the temple and each time I go I run into several different families or individuals from the ward.

Several sessions have been packed, the baptistry is exceptionally full on Saturdays and unless you time it right you have to wait a while for inititories.

Bunko said...

I work in the Dallas temple, and can definitely confirm this. I work one of the slowest shifts of the week - Friday morning. We have been splitting 3 endowment sessions per shift all year, whereas we used to only split 0-1 per shift. Baptisms are way up as well, as well as all other traffic. I don't think it picked up near the end of 2018, however. But I can't really remember.

Meagan T said...

Could this have anything to do with President Nelson challenging the women to attend the temple more in his address to the sisters? I sent information on my temple to Cumorah because I didn't want to give out my location.

Eric S. said...

I believe I mentioned this in a past comment, but I can attest to seeing both Jordan River and Oquirrh Mountains Temples keeping busy this year. Went to a session at Oquirrh Mountain earlier this month on a Friday mid-afternoon and it was nearly full, only a few empty seats. When I was leaving I overheard people coming into the temple that the next session was already full about half an hour before it started and people were already lining up for the later evening sessions. The parking lot was also full when I left and I noticed a steady stream of youth coming in and out of the baptistry entrance both when I arrived and left the temple.

Jordan River Temple is the one I attend most often. I usually attend Friday mornings and those sessions keep busy. Back in the latter half of 2018, I attended an early morning Saturday session and it was packed. Had to wait for the next session and many people in the chapel had to wait for the following session after the one I got in to. I have also heard of people being asked if they can do sealings when thy arrive at the temple since the sessions keep very busy in the evenings. From what I have heard baptisms also keep busy with large groups, especially weekday evenings.

I also heard recently from a relative who lives in the Philadelphia Temple district. They attended the temple recently on a Saturday morning and it was very packed. So much so that they were asked to be there an hour and a half before the session started to make sure they got a spot. In addition, all the lockers in the changing room were full that they had to put their clothes in a large bag with their names written on a piece of tape. He mentioned this increase at Philadelphia may be due, in part, to the D.C. temple being closed.

Unknown said...

I live in Idaho Falls. Makes me wonder how full it will get once Pocatello gets their temple. Rexburg is always full. Even early morning sessions can be. I think Hinckley was the one who made the comment that one day there could very well be another in the small city.

James Anderson said...

Need also data on middays on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for many temples, as traditionally that is the slowest part of the day from like 1130am to about 330-400pm.

Eduardo Clinch said...

From what I know the endowment session is shorter by 10 to 20 minutes. Sound right?
Sounds like thousands of more names (kindred dead) per temple day.
What are the temples to be dedicated this year?

James Anderson said...

Midweek middays are nearly full at Tucson, seemed to jump after the first of the year but have not showed signs of slowing down. Sessions are 2/3 to 3/4 full, the temple serves 10 stakes and is a midsized temple about 30k square feet.

Eric S. said...
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Eric S. said...

Temples scheduled to be dedicated this year:

Rome Italy (March 10-12)
Kinshasa DRC (April 14)
Fortaleza Brazil (June 2)
Port-au-Prince Haiti (September 1)

Temples that are very likely to be completed and dedicated later this year:

Durban South Africa
Lisbon Portugal
Arequipa Peru

Temple that may be completed and dedicated later this year based on construction status:

Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Unknown said...

I've been trying varying times and varying days of the week and different temples as well. Provo, Provo City Center, Mount Timpanogos, and Ogden are all swamped every time I try. (at least an hour wait to get into Initiatory, hard to find parking, etc).

I used to go every week on Tuesday. It was much easier to get in to any of those temples until about two weeks before general conference! Now it's harder to go every week because I have to make sure I have at lease 3 hours blocked off no matter what.

It's great to see that so many people are going to the temple though!

Unknown said...

I know temple workers at the Provo Temple and Ogden Temple that have said that it has been busy basically all day everyday. Ogden often has waiting lines to get into endowment sessions.

Meagan T said...

Thinking about my comment, and looking at yours Matt, I'm wondering if it's really due to a recent talk by the prophet then the chances of it being sustained may be small--it's not like there's another Great Awakening/Religious Revival in America right now--we tend to be strongly affected by those cycles (in the mid/early 1800s, mid 1800s, early 1900s, mid/early 1900s, and latter quarter of the 1900s--those are fun to learn about). While everyone is excited by the changes and pseudo changes (yes, let's be honest some of them were always there but just got brought up again or relabeled--we were talking about hastening the work in early 90s conference talks, and flexible ministering and devoting sundays to gospel study have been emphasized a lot in the past)--eventually the novelty of making progress in the church will wear off (see the Book of Mormon after Christ's birth). But I secretly hope lots of temples will be announced in the meantime for the sake of many isolated saints even if temples don't get used super well once they're built.

I did mention to Cumorah that my temple had a policy change from scheduled appointments to walk-ins and saw a change in attendance directly--is this a church wide policy? If it is then maybe attendance will be sustained after all.

DJarvis87 said...

Can someone answer me this question? Besides the fact, the Church needs to scout a suitable location for a plot of land to build a temple. But I don't understand why the construction can take such a long time if not years for the temple structure to be built. I understand there are very precise materials in building a temple. But in comparison to other larger-scale building projects, 5-10 does seem rather bazar

Derrill Watson said...

As of this week, Dallas was still packed full on a midweek morning, when I used to be one of 3-4 brothers. That's a LOT fuller than it was in November, and slightly down from being so packed in January that they had to run 3 sessions in the place of one because of the overflow of people.

James Anderson said...

There will be a slight taper, but it could be sustained--and grow again. After this week I think things will pick up for family history and the resultant temple work. Thursday is the temple and family history leadership meeting, and Saturday Elder Bednar will give a demonstration on how to find cousins from the 'down lines' from our ancestors using descendancy research as part of their Family Discovery Day as part of Rootstech.

We will be able to view both presentations either live or on-demand after the fact.

FamilySearch is deploying new tools and things regularly to make things easier. Bug fixes are deployed seemingly every few minutes on Family Tree, and new features are being developed all the time, and the three biggest partners are doing about the same but in diferent ways. We will not always have access to the partners for free, so take advantage of the opportunity now to advance your own work, MyHeritage has been particularly good, and FindMyPast is proving helpful in British Isles research, Ancestry has extensive US and a growing international area too.

Architect said...
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Architect said...


I’m an architect and can answer this for you. There are many reasons why it can take so long to construct a temple:

1. The church values exacting precision over speed. (Almost to a fault, they aren’t a pleasant client to work with)
2. The construction materials used typically require a slower schedule. Most temples use cast in place concrete instead of a steel structure. Concrete is super durable, but takes much longer to construct.
3. It actually takes the church a long time to approve a design for temples. My office is working on a temple project (in Utah) that was announced years ago, but we still don’t have an approved design.

James said...

I have some additional insights to share, if I may. The question was asked earlier in this thread what the mid-day mid-week shifts were like. I have fond memories of working the Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd shifts at the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple. I have already addressed my experience with the latter shift, so with the former, by comparison, it was not all that busy. I distinctly remember how our patron counts for such shifts were very small. I think the smallest session we had contained 7 people. And the largest during that shift was only around 30 or so. Generally, the trend for afternoon shifts, especially those mid-week tend to be less busy all around, which I have confirmed through talking with several of my former colleagues, some of whom have worked in multiple temples in such scenarios.

As to the question of whether the current level of activity will be sustained in temples, here is what I know: President Nelson has been consistent in his messaging that temple attendance is vitally important, and in both General Conferences last year, he extended invitations to those on both sides of the veil to learn of the gospel's truth and the vital importance of temple ordinances. So to some degree or another, I think quite a few temples will retain a sustained increase in the activity levels. By all reports, Mount Timpanogos and Provo continue to be busy, and I have family and friends who have attended other temples within the US and outside it and have reported sustained activity levels as well.

Going forward, I think that President Nelson's messaging (and that of his apostolic colleagues) will continue to be focused on temple worship, so the trends in that respect could easily be sustained for the foreseeable future. And we must also factor into that equation the many who do not have easy access to the temple but who, within the last year and longer, have made a concerted effort to increase their temple attendance, regardless of the sacrifices needed to do so.

James said...

Architect, I was intrigued by what you said above about the length of time it takes to construct a temple. There have been delays, to be sure, and part of that is finding a suitable site for each temple. The ultimate location where the Urdaneta Philippines Temple will be constructed is (if memory serves) the third or fourth (at least) for which the Church tried to get approval. And conditions of the site that will be used are swampy, so it may be a while before full-scale efforts can begin for the Urdaneta Philippines Temple.

By contrast, it appears that the quick approval granted for the Yigo Guam, Praia Cabo Verde, and San Juan Puerto Rico Temples may have been due to the Church already owning land for each temple. And I get that some people may be frustrated with the speed at which each temple might be built, the reason the Church values exacting precision over speed is that these are not just regular projects. These are temples built with the intent to be houses of the Lord, and, as such, require the finest material and the greatest care in the details thereof.

Any construction team can complete a project quickly, and in most cases, would be obligated to do so. But with the intent being to ultimately present such edifices as places where the Lord Himself could potentially visit, it is surely worthwhile for the Church to devote such time and care as is needed to create spaces where the Lord would feel welcome. He was rejected at least twice in His own time.

Remember "there was no room in the inn", so He was born in a stable and cradled in a manger. And He Himself rightly said: "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." With that in mind, yes, the Church needs to focus on providing a welcoming environment so the Lord will sanctify the labors therein and, if He chooses to do so, He could reveal Himself to His people in places dedicated as His houses.

There are really only a couple of options for the temple to which you are referring: either the Saratoga Springs Utah Temple (which is apparently in the government approval phase) or the Southwest Salt Lake Valley site which has been announced in General Conference (back in 2005) that has not yet been officially identified by name or location. But in either case, perhaps the Church is wanting to ensure that all possible obstacles are cleared before work officially begins on whichever temple you are talking about.

James said...

With that in mind, what you call the Church not being "a pleasant client" to work with may simply be the Church taking the care that is needed to ensure that the most durable, long-lasting, visually appealing, and highest-quality materials are used, and yes, that does take time. Perhaps the material to be used doesn't matter as much in relation to other projects you may have worked on for "more pleasant clients", but when talking about a house of the Lord vs. any other every-day run-of-the-mill project, more care is certainly needed, and for that reason, the process ought to be appreciated.

I know enough about temple construction to know that there are many possible construction firms with whom the Church could contract for each project. The fact that they have stuck with your office through this process indicates to me that they want to give your firm the business of this project, and they like where things are headed in that regard, but that they want to make sure this project gets done in the right way.

I hope these insights, such as they are, are helpful to all who read them, and I likewise hope no one takes offense at the length, tone, or content of my comment here. I certainly intended no ill will or offense to any of you who might read this. Either way, what I have heard seems to indicate that the Church has been and will yet be instituting something that will accelerate these processes going forward, and that will be encouraging to see. We may well be seeing an end to the days when it takes the Church 2-3 years to get a temple from announcement to groundbreaking, and some acceleration of the construction process as well.

Eduardo Clinch said...

DJarvis: zoning issues and acquisition can be reallt difficult. The original Connecticut venture spent a lot of money and time (a million, a year) but ended up for a no go at the time.

James Anderson said...

The 'not pleasant to work with' comment does not mean obviously that they are unpleasant, but rather it is simply a lot of very exacting work to draw up plans and drawings for a temple. There is a Mormon Channel program on what goes into preparing to build a temple, and a conference talk that talks about the end result a few years later titled 'Temple Standard'.

GaryIF said...

January was a very busy month for baptisms. Speculation is that the increase was from all of the new young Deacons and Beehives, which may now occur as a new pattern every January in the future.

Eduardo Clinch said...

Oh, temple baptisms! I was thinking converts...

James Anderson said...

Provo City Center sees large numbers at the baptistry every Tuesday night, and the same is said to be true on other nights, the workers there say easily 1,000 names are completed each time and they do not all get done with things until sometime after 10pm almost every time. And that was going on prior to the December announcements on age groupings.

James said...

I don't if this will help to further the discussion, but I was just thinking about this: When I worked at the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple for six years, I calculated that, on an average week, between my two shifts (Thursday mid-day and Friday evening), I was personally assisting 100 patrons, almost every time. And my mom told me recently that, due to the increased levels of patron activity at that temple, the temple presidency had gotten permission to take the 3 6-hour shifts each day the temple was open and have workers do 4 4-hour shifts. The intent seems to be to create less of a time commitment for each worker, so that more people who might be interested in being a temple worker will take the opportunity to do so. And that also leads to less workers being burned out on days when the temple is more swamped. That makes a lot of sense, to be sure. Hope this additional information proves useful and valuable to at least some of you.

James Anderson said...

The Family History Leadership Meeting on February 28th also may add to things in terms of temple workers, some may come on for brief periods before their missions, and they may do more regarding YSAs after they come back from missions as well as also noted in that same meeting.

Unknown said...

Spokane temple is packed. They keep adding shifts and you still have to call a month ahead for baptisms and almost 3 weeks for other ordinances.