Friday, February 14, 2020

Full-Time Missionaries Temporarily Withdrawn from Liberia

The Church announced yesterday that the remaining 99 young, full-time missionaries in the Liberia Monrovia Mission will be temporarily reassigned to other missions given the deteriorating economic situation in Liberia. On February 2nd, the Church reported that 23 missionaries who served in the mission that were nearing the end of their missions would return home early given the economic situation. Prior to these changes, there were 122 missionaries assigned to the Liberia Monrovia Mission.

The Liberia Monrovia Mission President has reported significant problems with a lack of supplies, particularly with fuel. The mission has been unable to obtain adequate amounts of gasoline to perform basic travel within the mission. As a result, the mission withdrew all full-time missionaries from cities outside of Monrovia earlier this month, including Buchanan, Cotton Tree, Ganta, Gbarnga, Greenville, Harbel, and Totota. This resulted in all missionaries being assigned to Monrovia where they were within close proximity to the mission home and the vast bulk of Church membership in Liberia. The onset of the current economic crisis in regards to the availability of gasoline appears to have occurred suddenly. For example, the mission just weeks ago underwent an exploratory trip in the Robertsport area. Although economic conditions have been poor for multiple consecutive years, these conditions have not significantly interfered with missionary work until the past 1-2 months. For more information about current economic problems, click here.

The Church in Liberia has had a significant history of disrupted missionary efforts due to war, disease, and political and economic turmoil. The original Liberia Monrovia Mission opened in March 1988, but full-time missionaries were reassigned to Sierra Leone in 1989 and the mission closed in 1991 due to civil war. Missionary activity was intermittent in the next two decades due to civil wars. Many Liberian Latter-day Saints fled the country, such as to the United States and Ghana. In Ghana, a congregation was organized specifically to administer Liberian members who lived in the Buduburam Refugee Camp. There are a significant number of Liberian Latter-day Saints in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, some of whom appeared to enter the United States during these civil wars. The Church organized its first stake in Liberia in 2000, but closed the stake in 2007 due to inactivity problems, leadership development challenges, and the departure of many active members to other countries to escape political turmoil and war. Missionaries were again withdrawn due to the Ebola outbreak from August 2014 until September 2015. In late 2017, approximately 60% of the full-time missionary force were Black Africans.

The Church has experienced membership and congregational growth in Liberia during the past decade that has ranked among the most rapid in the worldwide Church. Improvements in local leadership development and member-missionary activity appear primarily responsible for this reversal from slow growth rates to rapid growth rates. For example, one stake president shared that the area presidency's emphasis on preparing youth to serve full-time missions was a major catalyst that led to reestablishment of stakes in Liberia due to a surge in qualified leaders. Membership has nearly tripled from 5,251 in 2009 to likely over 14,000 as of year-end 2019. The number of congregations (i.e. wards and branches) has mushroomed from 12 in 2009 (all branches) to 53 in 2019 (38 wards, 15 branches). There are now five stakes in Liberia - all of which have been organized in Monrovia within the past four years. Sacrament meeting attendance is high throughout the mission and conferences are well attended. For example, the first stake conference of the Gardnesville Liberia Stake had 1,700 in attendance in November 2019 - only a few hundred less than total Church membership for the newly organized stake (most stakes in Liberia have the minimum of 1,900 members when they are first organized). Church attendance for most wards is between 100 and 200. Monrovia is a strong candidate for a future temple announcement given steady growth.

The Church's presence in Liberia has also significantly expanded. For example, the Church only operated in Monrovia from 1987 until 2008 when the first branches were organized in Harbel and Kakata. Additional cities and villages where the Church has organized its first branches include Buchanan (2018), Cotton Tree (2018), Totota (2018), Gbarnga (2019), and Greenville (2019). Member groups also operate in several additional cities, including Ganta, Harper, Kingsville, and Zwedru. Ganta was the most recently opened city to missionary work where the first missionaries opened a member group in October 2019. At most recent report, there were plans to have the group become an official branch due to rapid growth (50 people in attendance for Church meetings).

Although the temporary withdrawal of full-time missionaries will significantly disrupt missionary efforts in Liberia, this crisis provides an opportunity to test local leadership's self-sufficiency and ability to operate with minimal-to-no outside support. The current situation also presents opportunities for local members to find, teach, and prepare prospective members for baptism rather than rely on full-time missionaries for these responsibilities. Local leaders report that they have been given authority to prepare and baptize new converts while the full-time missionaries and mission president are evacuated. Nevertheless, the transfer of all full-time missionaries out of the country presents significant challenges to expand outreach into previously unreached areas as the Church strongly depends on full-time missionaries to accomplish this. Also, the current economic crisis may result in political instability if not properly resolved, and could therefore have long-term impacts on the growth and stability of the Church if another civil war arises. Local Liberian members have expressed the greatest challenge they have had has been in regards to a lack of employment opportunities in the country in order to become more financially self-sufficient. Further deterioration of the economy may result in another wave Liberian members who flee the country in search of better living conditions.

76 comments:

Unknown said...

Any commentary on the 120+ missionaries pulled from Hong Kong and Macau only last week because Corono-Virus? I personally didn't know that the church had a presense in Macau.

The description in ChurchNewsRoom hinted that it is currently for missionaries to visit people in their homes.

Also, have people there stopped attending weekly church services?

Nephi said...

Wow! I really hope this is short term and that the missionaries can get back soon. Why doesn't the mission president and maybe a senior couple stay behind to assist and also to be prepared for missionaries to return?

JMR said...

My wife is taking a religion class at BYU right now (Worldwide Church from 1900-present) and recently shared with me the fact that when WWII broke out and all the missionaries were evacuated from Europe, the church membership (in a vast majority of European nations) actually grew in strength because the Saints had to rely more on Heavenly Father and their testimonies to get through. I am sure that will be the case with these Liberian Saints.

Unknown said...

Yes Unknown, the church has one district opened in Macau. I believe there are 3 units in the district. So not that many missionaries in Macau proper.

Nephi, I would assume that is because they want all church people to be safe.

David Todd said...

During the mid 2010s when the missionaries were removed from Sierra Leone and Liberia we saw significant growth in priesthood leadership and member missionary work that lead in a large part to the influx of stakes in the past few years. Perhaps this will be another blessing in disguise.

Luke said...

With The Freeze in Ghana in the mid 80's we also saw similar case.

Tony said...

The local Liberian newspaper says the withdrawal is due to corruption in the church!

http://www.independentprobe.com/2020/02/15/latter-day-saints-church-temporarily-transfers-all-missionaries-from-liberia-due-to-deteriorating-conditions-but/

Matt said...

The assertions of corruption in the Church and information provided in this article by this unnamed "source" are totally unfounded and incorrect. First of all, the president of the mission is not Blair D. Hope, but it has been Gary S. Price (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/2019-mission-presidents-called-to-guatemala-india-uganda-and-more?lang=eng). Secondly, there are not "four districts" in the mission, but there are five stakes and one district (http://classic.lds.org/maps). Thirdly, missionaries pay their own way to serve and these funds are distributed equally to all missionaries. Fourth, the Church in Liberia has never been stronger, and local Liberian leaders currently oversea missionary work in the country while the mission president and full-time missionaries have been evacuated. Fifth, the main reason the missionaries were withdrawn was due to fuel shortages as it become unfeasible for mission leadership to visit and support missionaries in the mission. It seems this "source" or this news article has sought to deliberately tarnish the Church's reputation with incorrect information about the current crisis which has been an economic one. The Church continues to regularly organize new congregations in Liberia and often baptizes hundreds of new members each month.

Tony said...

Matt, you say , that missionaries pay their own way, that is not true of most African missionaries. They can't afford a mission so the church pays them a stipend. Also most Bishops are employed by the church so they can have an income.

Eduardo said...

I think I remember the New York Times in 1994, perhaps in April, featuring a young elder in Monrovia in a photo with the accompanying article about the missionaries being evacuated because of civil unrest and violence. That conflict moved into Sierra Leone and affected millions, costing a lot of lives, many brutally losing their limbs. It seems Sierra Leone shows much more promise than Liberia now.
However, it looks like Liberia will continue to grow in the Gospel. Hopefully Church bishop funds continue to do their work among the needy.
Those who accuse the faith of hoarding money do not understand how charitable acts work in places like Liberia. Or most other places.

Matt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt said...

Tony - the Church subsidizes the entire missionary program regardless of what country you serve from. This has been the case for several decades. Members from poorer countries pay much less than members from wealthier nations. Nevertheless, it is important for the Church to require members to pay at least some of their own way to serve or else there is often not much investment in their service. There have been instances when the Church has paid 100% for missionary costs or trips to the temple, and this has resulted in lackluster performance. One country in Eastern Europe (Albania) had no members who successfully completed a full-time mission until the members were required to pay part of their way. Now, that country has had dozens of member successfully serve full-time missions.

Also, most bishops in West Africa are not employed by the Church. In fact, most members of stake presidencies are not employed by the Church. I am not sure where you are getting the information to make this assertion, but it is totally false. Yes, the Church has had a disproportionate number of Church employees in local leadership positions in some countries, particularly in places in Papua New Guinea and Eastern Europe, but Sub-Saharan Africa has not followed this trend.

Matt said...

Here are some links to stake presidency members and their employment status for Liberia as an example:

Gardnersville Liberia Stake - no Church employees (https://www.thechurchnews.com/callings/2019-08-03/stake-presidencies-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints-155470)

Monrovia Liberia Stake - one Church employee (https://www.thechurchnews.com/archives/2017-06-17/new-stake-presidents-36-18303)

Paynesville Liberia Stake - no Church employees (https://www.thechurchnews.com/lds-church-news/2018-03-15/new-stake-presidents-10-13014)

Monrovia Liberia Bushrod Island - stake presidency members were never announced in The Church News.

Caldwell Liberia Stake - no Church employees (https://www.thechurchnews.com/lds-church-news/2018-03-08/new-stake-presidents-11-13126)

Eduardo said...

Church of Jesus Chris bishops paid as clergy? There are tens of thousands of them and they are all unpaid. Pro bono all the way. Is Tony thinking of another religion?

John Pack Lambert said...

There was a missionary serving here in Detroit who would tell people he was from Liberia. He had actually left on his mission from Chicago.

Also for the a time a past president on my branch had a young women from Liberia of college age living with his family. She was a member of the Church.

We also had a missionary from Trenton, New Jersey originally from Ghana but who had come to the US with his Liberian step mother.

In north-west Detroit there is a Liberian cultural association building but it may be abandoned.

The Bonnars, who have made some impact on the music scene in the Church and Salt Lake City with their eight singing children, were Baptist missionaries in Liberia before they joined the Church.

Immigrants and refugees I have known in Michigan from African countries have primarily been from Congo, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Senegal, Gambia and the Ivory Coast. However with some it is like pulling teeth to get a more specific designation than Africa, while people almost always designate more closely when from any other continent, so I do not know all the details.

I wonder if some of these missionaries have been assigned elsewhere to work where there are large numbers of Liberians. Evidently Minneapolis area has the largest number of Liberians in the US.

I had a friend who served in the Rocheser mission and he served in parts of the city where there were large numbers of Liberians some of whom had joined the Church.

John Pack Lambert said...

Of the remaining 40% of the missionary force is there any estimate kn where they come from? We live in a Church where a Tonfan has been president of the Zambia mission. We have started to see international assignments for missionaries coming from all parts of the world with probably exceptions for a few countries were only local missionaries are assigned.

twinnumerouno said...

JPL,

I assume you're referring to the New York Rochester mission- I don't think any of the other Rochesters have a mission. I lived in Rochester NY for 7 years (and previously went to school a couple hours away), and I am curious to know more about people from Liberia that are there.

While I was there we had a fireside by a couple of the Genesis Group leaders from Salt Lake, one of them did his talk about "Blacks in the Bible." I had known few blacks in my life, other than at college and my National Guard training. (There were also a handful of African-American members of my ward in Rochester, one of whom was a neighbor and very nice.) Growing up mostly in rural parts of the northern US, and even in Rochester I had never seen a church meeting that seemed to be predominantly non-white, also I was fascinated to see the diversity of people who came to hear him, including diversity of skin color and shade. In particular, I had never before met anyone whose skin was so dark it has a tinge of blue to it, as I believe comes from a particular region of northern Africa.

Christopher Nicholson said...

It really is stupid how we as humans have divided each other into binary "white" and "black" categories when virtually everyone (with the exception of albinos) is somewhere on a vast spectrum of brown. If I recall correctly, Africans have more genetic diversity than the rest of the world's population combined.

John Pack Lambert said...

The freeze in Ghana was 1990-1991. It was an extreme case, and while there were matters of growth it was not necessarily a,blessing in disguise. For one thing it was illegal to pay tithing during this period so this practice needed to be reestablished.

Emmanuel Abu Kissi in his book "Walking in the Sand" discusses several of the issues involved.

John Pack Lambert said...

Considering how costly it is to live in some areas, all missionaries in Liberia may be paying a higher percentage of their cost to live than any missionary is paying in some very expensive missions such as New York City or Hawaii. There may be some even more expensive missions.

The financing of missions is complex. With current youth earning power and education demands many missionaries do not pay the donations themselves but family or ward members do.

I think in the case of Liberia letting the stake presidents take fully leadership while the crises persists is wise. I think we underestimate the blessing these stakes are.

One issue is how those in units outside the stakes will get trmple reccomends during this disruption since it is mission presidents who issue temple reccomends in districts not district presidents.

I hope this is only a short crisis and missionaries return soon.

John Pack Lambert said...

While there are cases where members of bishopric and stake presidencies are Church employees, the two are not directly linked. Liberia also does not have as many Church employees as Ghana because that is where the area office is.

Unknown said...

Here is a news article about the fuel shortages in Liberia. To check out the photo of the long queue of taxies at the petrol station. Petrol Shortage in Liberia

John Pack Lambert said...

I did mean New York Rochester. My friend was there in roughly 2005. He was my home teaching companion (yes I am dating myself) I believe in 2012-2015. He was here in Michigan going to med school put from Arizona. I have lost touch with him.

John Pack Lambert said...

I think I know why Madagascar is not assigned to the Durban Temple. If I understand the article in the Church News the Durban Temple will have sessions in English, Portuguese, Zulu and Xhosa. While individual Malagasy speakers can probably get translations it was probably decided to do actual sessions in Malagasy at Johannesburg.

The ease of entry may bgg e higher at Johannesburg and since people will fly the cost of flight may be less to Johannesburg. Frequency of flights may also be a factor.

Christopher Duerig said...

In preparation for the May 17th, Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple dedication. Here is my educated guess / prediction list of these 29 Stakes + 5 Districts, from the Sao Paulo + Campinas Brazil Temple Districts, that could be reassigned to the new Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple :

Stakes
1075276 Arsenal Brazil
514357 Belo Horizonte Brazil
1026666 Belo Horizonte Brazil East
369977 Belo Horizonte Brazil Pampulha
522627 Belo Horizonte Brazil West
2000601 Betim Brazil
527785 Campos Brazil
467006 Cariacica Brazil
522171 Contagem Brazil
613118 Ipatinga Brazil
525979 Juiz de Fora Brazil
617288 Lafaiete Brazil
616184 Macaé Brazil
508624 Niterói Brazil
526606 Nova Iguaçu Brazil
515833 Petrópolis Brazil
506494 Rio de Janeiro Brazil
511838 Rio de Janeiro Brazil Andaraí
526479 Rio de Janeiro Brazil Campo Grande
1628577 Rio de Janeiro Brazil Engenho de Dentro
467111 Rio de Janeiro Brazil Itaguaí
527726 Rio de Janeiro Brazil Jacarepaguá
515884 Rio de Janeiro Brazil Madureira
527947 Sete Lagoas Brazil
2051338 Sete Lagoas Brazil East
527890 Teresópolis Brazil
523984 Vila Velha Brazil
518603 Vitória Brazil
527130 Volta Redonda Brazil

Districts
615293 Colatina Brazil
2029685 Leopoldina Brazil
2098970 Cabo Frio Brazil
2064286 Três Rios Brazil
616435 Nanuque Brazil

All from the Brazil Belo Horizonte, Juiz de Fora, Rio de Janeiro North + South, and Vitoria Missions.

Any opinions?

twinnumerouno said...

2 new and 9 reorganized stake presidencies were announced today- 1 counselor in Tahiti and 1 counselor in Sweden are the only ones listed as Church employees.

Interesting comment, Christopher.

James Anderson said...

Durban South Africa district if you infer from what the Church News about the dedication, consists of stakes and districts in South Africa, Lesotho, and Mozambique.

The last guests to go through were the king and queen of the Zulu, and their immediate families.

James said...

As I mentioned in another thread, the reason Madagascar is not included in the Durban South Africa Temple district is because the Saints in any of the stakes or districts in Madagascar are not as geographically close to Durban as they remain to Johannesburg. But even though they remain in the Jo-burg temple district, they are still a long ways away from any temple anywhere in Africa, due to the fact that Mdagascar is separated from the rest of that continent by a body of water. That, among other reasons, is why Madagascar is my top African candidate nation for a temple in the near future.

Above and beyond that, there have been a few interesting developments in relation to Church news, temple updates, and the ministry of our apostles which have warranted coverage on my blog. You can find those reports at the following web address:

https://stokessoundsoff.blogspot.com/

My thanks to Matt for continuing to allow me to share such updates here. Hope this information is helpful to all who read it. In the meantime, my thanks once again to you all.

Christopher Duerig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher Duerig said...

James Anderson, to be more precise, the article states ..."Temple district: The South African provinces of Kwa-Zulu Natal and Eastern Cape and the countries of Lesotho and Mozambique..."

https://www.thechurchnews.com/temples/2020-02-16/elder-rasband-dedicates-durban-south-africa-temple-people-jesus-christ-174570

In this case, the list provided by Rick's churchofjesuschristtemples.org would be accurate.

The additional 3 Stakes + 2 Districts I had predicted (Cape Town, Bellville + Bloemfontein South Africa Stakes) and (Phuthaditjhaba + George South Africa Districts), are located in the Provinces of Western Cape and Free State.

https://churchofjesuschristtemples.org/durban-south-africa-temple/district/

John Pack Lambert said...

What is surprising me is Swaziland is not assigned to the Durban temple. Or is that just an oversight in the article.

I am also surprised that Sesotho is not being fully accompdated. That is the official language of Lesotho and one of 1`1 in South Africa and 12 in Zimbabwe. It has about 8 million speakers just in South Africa. Lesotho does not yet have a stake though. The Book of Mormon was on track to be translated to Sesotho as of 2017, I am digging to see what else I can find about this project. Scripture tools suggests that that translation might not yet have been completed. This 2016 Ensign article talks about the Sesotho translation of the Book of Mormon.

Swazi has about 12 million speakers.

twinnumerouno said...

I recently learned that Swaziland has been officially renamed to the Kingdom of Eswatini- which has long been the local name for their country. A google search shows that the capital, Mbabane, is significantly closer to Johannesburg: in fact, Durban is about 1.5 times farther by road, if that is pertinent. (538 km compared to 354 to Jo'burg.) Maputo, Mozambique is almost exactly the same distance from the two cities in South Africa with temples.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

So, on a slightly lighter note:

Because it is nearly new temple prediction time, and we'll all be making out our lists, I thought it might be fun for the guys and gals who comment here to list all of the temples we have each individually been to. We could even make it a fun competition to see who's visited the most!

Mine will be somewhat comprehensive, by category:

Temples I've done Ordinance Work in:

Idaho Falls
Provo
Manti
Salt Lake
Spokane
Louisville, KY
Billings, MT
Bountiful
Brigham City
Jordan River
Draper

Temples whose Open House I've attended:

Idaho Falls
Cardston
Rexburg
Draper
Provo City Center
Spokane

Temples whose Dedication I participated in (Via Satellite):

Winter Quarters
Nauvoo
Provo City Center

Temples I've attended for Live Sealings Only (but not done ordinance work):

Logan
Mount Timpanogos
Oquirrh Mountain
Rexburg

Temples I have Seen From a Distance, or Visited the grounds but not yet had a chance to go inside:

St. George
Meridian
Boise
Twin Falls
Star Valley
Seattle
Columbia River, WA

Temples I've Visited the Most:

Idaho Falls
Provo
Ogden
Salt Lake City
Brigham City
Bountiful
Mount Timpanogos
Louisville, KY
Spokane
Billings, MT

Temples whose Towns/Cities I've Visited, but didn't get to see the actual temple itself:

Los Angeles (school trip)
Lubbock (drove through)
Dallas (drove through)
Houston (helping a friend move)
Denver (airport)
Chicago (airport)
Pocatello (drove through)
Las Vegas (drove through)

Temples whose Towns I've Visited Prior to them having a temple announced (this list will expand as new temples are announced for Utah and neighboring states):

Payson
Orem
Saratoga Springs
Taylorsville
Washington County, UT
Cedar City
Layton
Moses Lake, WA


And then to trim that list down to just the Total of Temples I've Been Inside of (for open houses, weddings, or ordinances) (I'm also counting dedication broadcasts via satellite, as the stake centers are considered extensions of the temple at that time.):

Idaho Falls
Provo
Manti
Salt Lake
Spokane
Louisville, KY
Billings, MT
Bountiful
Brigham City
Jordan River
Draper
Logan
Mount Timpanogos
Oquirrh Mountain
Rexburg
Cardston
Provo City Center

Winter Quarters
Nauvoo
Provo City Center


Total: 20


Now how about y'all?

Bryan Dorman said...

Temples I've been inside of (in order):

Dallas
Provo
Bountiful
Mexico City
Villahermosa
Tuxtla Gutierrez
San Diego
Salt Lake City
Oquirrh Mountain
Timpanogos
Oaxaca

Temples I've seen (in order)
Memphis
Ogden
Boise
Portland
Oakland
Reno
Jordan River
Draper
St George
Las Vegas
Redlands
Phoenix
Mesa
Gilbert
Manti


Christopher Duerig said...

Elder and Sister Uchtdorf just finished a 10 day ministry tour of Chile and Uruguay.

https://www.thechurchnews.com/leaders-and-ministry/2020-02-17/elder-uchtdorf-message-to-chile-have-hope-the-lord-knows-you-174611

Any thoughts?

(Maybe scouting future site for a possible future 4th Chilean temple and/or 2nd Uruguayan temple?)

Kenny said...

So far I am at 55 total.

In order:
Los Angeles
Salt Lake
Las Vegas
San Diego
Boise
Saint George
Manti
Provo
Oakland
Madrid
Winter Quarter
Nauvoo
Redlands
Newport Beach
Draper
Oquirrh Mountain
Mount Timpanogos
Jordan River
Columbia, SC
Vernal
Houston
San Antonio
Albuquerque
Monticello
Odgen
Payson
Lubbock
Palmyra
Washington DC
Boston
Manhattan
Philadelphia
Hartford
Columbus
Indianapolis
Saint Louis
Kansas City
Denver
Reno
Sacramento
Fort Collins
Oklahoma City
Memphis
Nashville
Raleigh
Atlanta
The Gila Valley
Tuscon
Phoenix
Gilbert
Mesa
Logan
Brigham City
Bountiful
Provo City Center

I've either been inside (ordinance work, open house), participated in dedication (physically or via satellite), or been on the grounds.

Eric S. said...

Fun question.

Temples that I have been inside of:

Salt Lake
Jordan River
Oquirrh Mountain
Draper
Bountiful
Mount Timpanogos
Provo
Provo City Center
Meridian

Temples that I have seen up close/been on the grounds of:

Logan
Brigham City
Ogden
Vernal
Payson
Manti
Cedar City
St. George
Portland
Newport Beach
San Diego
Las Vegas
Snowflake
Phoenix
Mesa
Gilbert
Gila Valley
Tucson
Boise
Twin Falls
Denver
Winter Quarters
Kansas City
St. Louis
Nauvoo
Chicago
Indianapolis
Columbus
Louisville
Raleigh
Washington D.C.
Palmyra

Cory said...

Recently, while doing some research for my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/latterdaysaintchapels/ - shameless plug,
I noticed that on the meetinghouse locator, a few weeks back, many chapels didn't have any congregations assigned to them. This was especially true in southern Santiago Chile, where dozens of Wards were discontinued last year. Their locations have now been removed. So, I attempted to quantify the number of meetinghouses that are likely going to be sold or re-purposed by grabbing screenshots of their street view image. There were around six chapels along or close to Avenida Padre Hurtado alone.

I also noticed that there were a few empty fields that have a meetinghouse location on them and do not report any congregations assigned to them. In some cases, there is a sign on the property that identifies the the owner as the church.

Here are two examples:
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/maps/meetinghouses/@-33.539750,-70.791585,18s&lang=eng&id=meetinghouse:5498937-01-01
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/maps/meetinghouses/@-33.655064,-70.904475,17s&lang=eng&id=meetinghouse:5498864-01-01

The signs are similar to the one that is on the potential site for the Antofagasta Temple, which also appears on the meetinghouse locator as an empty meetinghouse:
https://churchofjesuschristtemples.org/antofagasta-chile-temple/photographs/#Construction

I assume that when the church was at the height of its expansion in Chile, these sites were obtained in anticipation of future growth.
Also, there is a very large empty field in southern Santiago that has an empty meetinghouse location:
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/maps/meetinghouses/@-33.556672,-70.648856,18s&lang=eng&id=meetinghouse:5499151-01-01

If there were to be a second temple built in Santiago, I think this would be a good spot. It is on the opposite side of the city from the current temple. Logically it might seem contradictory to put a temple in a place that has recently had many congregations discontinued. However, the argument could be made that reducing the meetinghouse operating expense could make more room for a Temple, so anything could happen.
I do think other cities in Chile merit a temple in the more immediate future. Specifically Viña del Mar, Osorno/Valdiva, and Punta Arenas. Speaking of Punta Arenas, there is an empty field with an empty meetinghouse location in the south of the city, located on a slope, definitively a nice size for a small temple:
https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/maps/meetinghouses/@-53.176734,-70.947899,18s&lang=eng&id=meetinghouse:5498708-01-01

Joining in with the other conversation: Last summer I visited and participated in an endowment session in all 11 temples along the Wasatch Front. I reached all of these temples, without a car, only using public transportation and walking. Some places were hard to reach, but it is possible. Draper was kind of a hike.

David Todd said...

I have to think hard about this one. Should I count being in the guest waiting room as a child? I'll count it.

Been in:
Seattle
Columbia River
Salt Lake City
Dallas
San Antonio
Logan
Provo
Mount Timpanogos
Oquirrh Mountain
Detroit
Manti
Payson
Provo City Center
Los Angeles
Jordan River
Nauvoo

Made a special trip to visit the grounds:
Saint George
Oakland
Mesa
Phoenix
Draper
Rexburg
Denver

Seen from a close distance but never been on the grounds:
Saint Louis
Cedar City
Monticello
Gilbert
Bountiful
Ogden
Brigham City (I attended the dedication remotely, though)
Idaho Falls

As a kid, my family made a lot of trips through places like Portland, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Boise to name a few and I probably have seen those temples if not stopped and visited them, but I don't remember.

martinml said...

Wow these are impressive lists. I have only done ordinance work in:

Denver
Fort Collins
Provo
Seoul

I have been on the grounds of:

Bountiful
Salt Lake City
St George (I think when I was very young)

twinnumerouno said...

I like Jonathan's detail but may alter the categories a bit:

Temples I attended as a youth and did baptisms for the dead:

Washington, D.C.
Jordan River
St. George
Denver

Temples I have done other Ordinance Work in:

St. George
Bountiful
Salt Lake
Provo
Toronto
Palmyra
Washington, D.C.
Vernal
Fort Collins


Temples whose Open House I've attended:

possibly Seattle- we lived in the area but I was only 5 and don't remember for sure
Palmyra (probably)
Oquirrh Mountain
Brigham City
Payson
Philadelphia
Jordan River (before rededication)


Temples whose Dedication I participated in, in person:

Washington, D.C. - a family joke, I was there in the womb
Palmyra (I was in the cornerstone choir, not inside)

Temples whose Dedication I participated in (Via Satellite):

Winter Quarters (possibly)
Nauvoo (possibly)
Fort Collins
(I don't remember for sure if I went to either of the first two)


Temples I've seen while under construction

probably Seattle
Jordan River
Vernal (I had no idea then I would live near it and attend it regularly)
Draper
Ogden (during renovation)
Hartford

Temples I have Seen From a Distance, but not yet been on the grounds of:

Logan

Dedicated temples I have visited the grounds of, but not yet had a chance to go inside:

Manti
Mount Timpanogos
Montreal
Las Vegas
Boston
Lubbock
San Antonio


Temples I've Visited the Most:

Vernal
Palmyra
St. George
Toronto
Washington, D.C.
Bountiful
Jordan River


Temples whose Towns/Cities I've Visited, but didn't get to see the actual temple itself:

Chicago (drove through)
possibly Raleigh (may have driven through)
Atlanta (drove through)
Orlando (drove through)
Dallas (airport)

Temples whose Towns I've Visited Prior to them having a temple announced:

Portland (drove through, about age 4)
Medford (possibly drove through, ditto)
Moses Lake (we probably drove through when I was about 6)
Spokane (ditto)
Vancouver (drove through, age 6 when my family moved from Washington to Maine)
Calgary (drove through, ditto)
Regina (drove through, ditto)
Winnipeg (drove through, ditto)
Boston
Columbia, SC
Louisville (airport)
Memphis (airport)- it may have been Nashville
Indianapolis
Columbus (drove through)
St. Louis (drove through)
Kansas City (drove through)
Nauvoo
Winter Quarters- I may have visited the grounds on another trip but don't remember for sure
Detroit (layover on my way to and from my mission)
Montreal (my mission) (had also driven through on early trip)
Manhattan
Richmond
Orem
Cedar City

Total of Temples I've Been Inside of (for open houses or ordinances) (I'll leave out dedication broadcasts via satellite, as the only one I remember for sure is also one I've been to in person. Also, I will leave out Seattle, since I don't remember it):

Washington, D.C.
Jordan River
St. George
Denver
Bountiful
Salt Lake
Provo
Toronto
Palmyra
Vernal
Oquirrh Mountain
Brigham City
Payson
Philadelphia
Fort Collins

Total: 15 (16 if I did go in Seattle)
(Whoops, just caught myself, I almost counted Jordan River twice here.)
Hopefully I didn't forget any!

twinnumerouno said...

Sorry Johnathan, didn't mean to misspell your name.

twinnumerouno said...

I've also taken a tour of the Kirtland temple at least once.

Aaron and Kamyra said...

Been in;

Sydney Australia
Brisbane Australia
Hamilton New Zealand
Palmyra NY
Kirtland...well did the tour
Kansas City Missouri
Salt Lake City
Bountiful


On grounds of;

Melbourne Australia
San Diego
Newport Beach
Manhattan NY
Nauvoo ...was to go in but it was closed for reno's
Draper
Provo
Provo City
Jordon River
Mt Timpenogous
Logan Utah
Oquirrh Mountain Utah
Brigham City Utah
Orem Utah

Far West Temple plot
Independence Temple plot
Auckland NZ not under construction yet

Would most like to see Rome Italy temple and go it

That was fun

Nancy said...

Temples I've been inside for ordinances:
Provo
Ogden
SLC
Logan
Seattle
Portland
Columbia River
Boise
Meridian
St. George
Jordan River
Bountiful
Draper
Oquirrh Mountain
Mt. Timpanogas
Provo City Center
Payson
Vernal
Manti
Brigham City
Monticello
Denver
Las Vegas
Los Angeles
Oakland
San Diego
Phoenix
Mesa, AZ
Gilbert, AZ
Albuquerque
Columbia, SC
Washington DC
Sao Paulo
Mexico City
Villahermosa
Merida
Tegucigalpa
London
Temples I've been on the grounds of:
Spokane
Cardston AB
Cedar City
New York
Reno
Ft. Collins
Twin Falls
Rexburg
Tuscon
Palmyra

Fun to wrack my brain, remembering so many special temple visits.

Xavier Raveau said...

Been in:
Bern, Switzerland
Preston, England
Salt Lake City, Utah
Twin Falls, Idaho
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Paris, France
Rome, Italy (3 hours from where I live)

Gnesileah said...

Temples I Have Visited:
Anchorage
Vancouver
Edmonton
Calgary
Cardston
Regina
Seattle
Spokane
Columbia River
Portland
Medford
Sacramento
Oakland
Fresno
Los Angeles
Redlands
Newport Beach
San Diego
Reno
Las Vegas
Phoenix
Mesa
Gilbert
Tucson
Gila Valley
Snowflake
St George
Cedar City
Manti
Monticello
Vernal
Payson
Provo City Center
Provo
Mount Timpanogos
Draper
Oquirrh Mountain
Jordan River
Salt Lake
Bountiful
Ogden
Brigham City
Logan
Meridian
Boise
Twin Falls
Pocatello (temple site)
Idaho Falls
Rexburg
Billings
Star Valley
Fort Collins
Denver
Albuquerque
Lubbock
San Antonio
Houston
Oklahoma City
Winter Quarters
Bismarck
St Paul
Nauvoo
St Louis
Far West (temple site)
Adam-ondi-Ahman (temple site)
Detroit
Columbus
Kirtland
Nashville
Memphis
Baton Rouge
Birmingham
Atlanta
Columbia
Raleigh
Washington D.C.
Manhattan
Palmyra
Boston
Madrid

Additional Temple Cities Visited:
Moses Lake
Yuba City
St George (Washington County Temple)
Orem
Saratoga Springs
Taylorsville
Erda
Layton
Dallas
Kansas City
Independence
Chicago
Indianapolis
Bentonville
Philadelphia
London

80 temples/sites
17 additional temple cities
97/221 total temples/historic temple sites/temple cities

Gnesileah said...

I forgot Louisville...
81 temples/sites visited

JMR said...

I'll keep my list simple. Temples in which I've participated in ordinances:

Bountiful
Brigham City
Cedar City
Manti
Mesa
Mount Timpanogos
Nauvoo
Newport Beach
Oakland
Ogden
Oquirrh Mountain
Payson
Columbus Ohio
Denver
Draper
Idaho Falls
Jordan River
Provo
Provo City Center
Salt Lake
San Diego
St. George
Vernal
Washington D.C.

Total: 24

Temples I've only attended a live sealing in:

Logan

It's fun to plan vacations around temple visits.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Chris:

I certainly hope we see a 4th Chilean temple and 2nd Uruguayan temple soon!

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

Holy Cow, Kenny! You've been to quite a few!

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Cory:

Pretty impressive feat of reaching all 11 on feet!

Also, I hope your conjecture about the empty plot in Santiago is true, ans we get to see another temple there at some point.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

It's okay, Twin. That's the original biblical spelling, anyway.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_and_Jonathan

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

You've been to a heckuva ton, too, Nancy!

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Xavier Raveau

Nice to see Europe represented on the list. :)

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

Wow, Gnesileah, you may have won the prize (though I haven't personally counted up all of the lists myself).

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

Thanks for all the responses, friends and neighbors! It was fun to see where everyone has gone. Glad to see the temples are being kept busy by you all.

John Pack Lambert said...

My temple list.

Temples I've done ordinance work in (by order of when done):
Toronto
Provo
Detroit
Las Vegas
Salt Lake City
Jordan River
Mt. Timpanogos
Manti
Boston

Temples I have been in just for an open house:
Chicago

Temples I've been to the grounds pf:
Oakland
Mesa
Hermosillo
Winter Quarters

Temples I've been on grounds of before built:
Nauvoo

John Pack Lambert said...

I forgot to mention I had sung in what is now the Provo City Center Temple. I may have also walked the Palmyra Temple grounds before it was announced.

John Pack Lambert said...

I also drove right by Bountiful and Gilbert Temples. I may also have been very close to the site of Layton Temple but long before it was built.

I forgot also that I was in the Atlanta Temple for my cousin's sealing.

John Pack Lambert said...

Cory I did go to Boston Temple without a car. I can't remember for sure if it was all by public transit or if part was by taxi. It was back in June of 2004 so I don't remember all the details.

Taylorsville is below its peak in Church units both for the city and the temple district, so that does not preclude a sec ok and temple in Santiago.

Considering some temples like Bangalaru, I am less convinced than ever that a small cite means a small temple.

With Durban now dedicated I have Cape Town on my list for temples to announce in April. Along with Maputo and Beira in Mozambique, Antanaraivo in Madagascar, Lumbumbashi, Kampala, Benin City, Abuja, Youmosoukro, Daloa and Bo. OK, I will be filled with unending joy if all those temples are announced.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

That's right, JPL! It had totally slipped my mind about counting visits to Provo City Center when it was still a Tabernacle. In that case, then, it joins the list as one of the temples I've visited the most.

twinnumerouno said...

I forgot to include Provo City Center as one I had seen while it was under construction. The stilts they had under it were a bit mind-boggling.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

Yeah, Twin! I was really impressed by that feat of engineering myself (though I only saw pictures of it online).

Also, I forgot that I had stayed in the old Provo Travelodge Motel at least once (whose footprint is now part of the City Center's grounds), so I've been there even more times than I had originally thought.

coachodeeps said...

My temple list:

Temples in which I have participated in ordinances:
Salt Lake (received own endowment) and been several times for several ordinances
Idaho Falls (sealed to my wife) and other ordinances
Jordan River (sealed to my 2 adopted children) and many, many other ordinances
Logan
Brigham City (my current assigned temple)
Ogden (old and new)
Bountiful
Oquirrh Mountain
Draper
Mount Timpanogos
Provo
Manti
Vernal
St. George
Las Vegas
San Diego
Guatemala City (country where I served my mission, been back with my wife once, too)
Rexburg
Twin Falls
Laei Hawaii

Temples I have visited/been on the grounds only:
Boise
Star Valley
Seattle
Los Angeles
Orlando
Portland (twice, both times it was during its closure)
Cardston
Edmonton
Denver
Meridian
Pocatello (just outside construction site twice)

Open house walk through only:
Provo City Center

Seen only:
Oakland
Payson

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@coachodeeps

Hey man, I'm in Ogden! We're neighbors.

miro said...

My Temple list

ordinances:
Bern Switzerland (my temple)
Frankfurt Germany
Preston England
London England
Bountiful
Provo City Center
Ogden
Salt Lake City

open houses:
Paris France
Rome Italy

Dedication video broadcast:
Nauvoo
Freiberg Germany

been on the grounds or seen from further away:
St. George
Cedar City
Provo
Mt. Timpanogos
Draper
Oquirrh Mountain
Jordan River
Brigham City
Star Valley
Idaho Falls

Other temple cities i have been to
Orlando
Miami
Los Angeles
Pocatello Idaho
Fresno California (no temple at the time)
Sacramento
Reno Nevada (no temple at the time)
Las Vegas (I dont' think i have seen the temple, but at one visit I was young)
Chicago (airport)
Atlanta (airport)
Washington DC (airport)
Sidney Australia
Melbourne Australia
Aukland New Zealand
Johannesburg South Africa (airport)
Lima Peru ( airport and Hotel)
Arequipa Peru (no temple at the time)

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@miro:

Nice to see Africa at least partially represented in our Temple Lists. Maybe I missed it, but has anyone else who commented here visited an Africa Temple?

Unknown said...

I have done ordinance work in the Johannesburg temple.

I'm late to the conversation but here is my temple list. I only count temples I have done at least one ordinance in.

Albuquerque
Payson
Provo City Center
Provo
Mount Timpanogos
Draper
Jordan River
Oquirrh Mountain
Salt Lake
Bountiful
Ogden (only the new one)
Manti
Monticello
St. George
Denver
Phoenix
Gilbert
Tucson
Gila Valley
Snowflake
Las Vegas
Rexburg
Vancouver
Johannesburg
Madrid

Total: 25

I also got to visit what will likely be the site of the Harare temple last summer. One of the stake presidents gave a tour of the site and told several neat stories.

Unknown said...

I don't know why the name on that last post was "Unknown" but my name is Croft just so you all know.

James Anderson said...

Thanks, and the fact that you had to comee in as Unknown points to a technical problem with Blogspot and Google Account, or just Blogspot. Several others have had to do the same because of the same issues.

Mon Chou said...

When I went to the Paris Temple (only a year after it was dedicated), there was on big graffitit side of one of the buildings that said, "Yankees, Go Home." When will the world recognize us as an international/global faith in stead of an American one? Funny thing is... Neither my spouse nor I are American and one of us is actually French.

Indie-n Summer said...

I'm super late to the sorry but...
My temple list:

Johannesburg, South Africa (Home temple)

Durban, South Africa (open house and dedication)

Hong Kong

Manilla, Philippines

Cebu, Philippines

London,England

Paris, France (open house and dedication)

Madrid, Spain

Rome, Italy

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Campinas, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (visited the site while under construction)

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Mon Chou

Maybe they were just Red Sox fans? ;P

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Croft & Indie-n Summer:

Oh, good! Good to see the Africa Temples getting some love. Nice to see some more from Asia and Europe, as well.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Mon Chou:

Seriously though, was the graffiti on the temple itself? If so, that's unfortunate.