Portable temples?


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We had a combined Branch meeting at church today to hear from the Temple President and his wife during both Sacrament meeting and Priesthood/Relief Society. From where I live, the temple of the Temple District of which I am a part of is more than 3,000 kilometers away. But our youth will not be going to this temples for their upcoming temple trip. They will be going to the Sydney temple which is almost 4,000 kilometers away because it is the only temple in Australia with patron accommodation.

During his talk I reflected on the fact that the ancient Israelites had a portable temple that they packed up and carried around with them. Christ, when He was here, wandered the dusty roads of Israel going to the people. The apostles travel the world bringing the gospel to the people, as do tens of thousands of missionaries. Baptisms can be done anywhere where there is enough water and Priesthood ordinations can also be done anywhere. It seems like a lot of the gospel goes to where the people are, but at the moment, temples do not go to the people. People must come to the temple.

What do you think are the pros and cons of having portable temples that could be packed onto a few trucks and be driven to anywhere where the saints are? Do you think this is a question that the brethren might have seriously considered? As we all know, its not the building itself that matters, its what happen inside the building that is important. 

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I've never heard the notion brought up as a modern thing, but I'm really interested.  Our church certainly preserves and gives life to a lot of Old Testament stuff the rest of Christianity doesn't - temples included.  Just thinking about it for the first time ever, I can't immediately see any reason why the church couldn't have a mobile holy-of-holies.

Time to dust off and read some Ezekiel, 2 Chronicles, and 1 Kings!

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I think its a great Idea.  Bring back the tabernacle. I’m sure that we have enough member that would be willing to travel, set up, staff, and disassemble the tent / portable structure (year long special service mission)?

Logistics would be exciting and challenging. Couple 747s dedicated by Elder Uchtdorf no doubt. Couple  of containers.  Legal permits, passports.  Do we buy land and dedicate it at each temporary site. Would be a great way to get into some countries. Also a great missionary tool and it would no doubt have a great presence.  

I have heard speculation that the BYU Jerusalem center was dedicated as a temple and that it was designed so that it could be easily converted to such.  

Edited by mikbone
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3 hours ago, askandanswer said:

What do you think are the pros and cons of having portable temples that could be packed onto a few trucks and be driven to anywhere where the saints are? Do you think this is a question that the brethren might have seriously considered? As we all know, its not the building itself that matters, its what happen inside the building that is important. 

I don't know that it's the case that the building of the temple doesn't matter, but only what goes on inside. On the contrary, the physical temple seemed to be a high priority to the Lord early in the Restoration, to the point that the revealed ordinances were to be shut down if the temple wasn't built, and at great sacrifice. The Israelite tabernacle was necessary for a purposefully nomadic people. Such is not the case with us.

I heard talk ten or so years ago about the Brethren investigating something like a cruise ship made into a mobile temple. I can only assume that they decided the idea was not appropriate, at least for the moment.

We have the means to build (small) temples at various spots around the world. That is the pattern that has been revealed to us, so I'm guessing that's the pattern we are expected to follow.

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This has been thrown around as a proposal among the GAs (according to my area seventy).

About a year ago, he gave a speech at our stake conference.  He mentioned the idea of building modular temples that could be prefabricated and delivered to site.  Local labor would be used to assemble the modules together.

I began picturing the reality of such a structure.  I had actually done something exactly like this for an industrial application.  But the one thing I couldn't get around was the baptismal font.  You'd have to dig a pit in just the right place and in the right way.  Because of the special requirements for foundations, I couldn't quite figure out how that would be done.

After the meeting was over, I went up to the rostrum to ask him about that issue.  He said that currently it is only an idea.  No one has actually fleshed it out yet.  I told him I had already done most of the design work for something like this.  But I just couldn't figure out how to deal with the font in the 15 min since his speech ended.

So, who knows if it will become reality?

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In the early years of the Restoration the city  Zion was the center place and the stakes of Zion were meant to be sort of embassy-cities engineered and organized after the Zion pattern. Each of these stake cities was intended to have its own temple. Sites for Independence, Kirkland, Far West, and Adam-ondi-Ahman we’re all dedicated before the saints gathered to Nauvoo.

I think it’s also worth observing that the Kirtland house of the Lord was the first meeting house in the modern Church. 

With this in mind, I can imagine stake centers getting add-ons for temple ordinances. The chapel would double as the Assembly Room, perhaps the restrooms on one side would have adjoining initiatory facilities, with a third hall/corridor for the instruction room, celestial room, and sealing room. Or a second story for temple ordinances excepting baptisms. For that scenario if there’s going to be a second baptismal font then it could be an add-on for the ground floor.

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9 hours ago, askandanswer said:

We had a combined Branch meeting at church today to hear from the Temple President and his wife during both Sacrament meeting and Priesthood/Relief Society. From where I live, the temple of the Temple District of which I am a part of is more than 3,000 kilometers away. But our youth will not be going to this temples for their upcoming temple trip. They will be going to the Sydney temple which is almost 4,000 kilometers away because it is the only temple in Australia with patron accommodation.

During his talk I reflected on the fact that the ancient Israelites had a portable temple that they packed up and carried around with them. Christ, when He was here, wandered the dusty roads of Israel going to the people. The apostles travel the world bringing the gospel to the people, as do tens of thousands of missionaries. Baptisms can be done anywhere where there is enough water and Priesthood ordinations can also be done anywhere. It seems like a lot of the gospel goes to where the people are, but at the moment, temples do not go to the people. People must come to the temple.

What do you think are the pros and cons of having portable temples that could be packed onto a few trucks and be driven to anywhere where the saints are? Do you think this is a question that the brethren might have seriously considered? As we all know, its not the building itself that matters, its what happen inside the building that is important. 

One thought that I have is that we believe in a literal gathering, and permanent temples comport with that idea. 2 Samuel 7 teaches that while the Lord was happy to walk in the portable tabernacle (vs. 6 - 9), it was now time to plant and build a people and a house to His name (vs. 10 - 13, 16, 18 - 19).

Edited by CV75
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2 hours ago, CV75 said:

One thought that I have is that we believe in a literal gathering, and permanent temples comport with that idea. 2 Samuel 7 teaches that while the Lord was happy to walk in the portable tabernacle (vs. 6 - 9), it was now time to plant and build a people and a house to His name (vs. 10 - 13, 16, 18 - 19).

I agree.  There seems to be something a little incongruent about eternal covenants being made in a place that is theologically representative of the nexus between Heaven and earth, within a structure that is intended from the get-go to be temporary and transient.

Additionally—and I recognize that what I’m saying is sort of a half-baked idea, but . . . I think temples are too accessible as it is.  There were fewer than 3,000 members in Kirtland when they were commanded to build the temple there.  I think we lose something, as a people, when we aren’t making extraordinary sacrifices to build a house to the Lord in our own localities.  Obviously this creates a disparity between places where the church is long-established and already has a temple, versus places where it isn’t and doesn’t; and it’s always easy for us “haves” in Utah to speak condescendingly of the blessings of being a “have-not” out in the “mission field”.  But even so, I’m not convinced that the central Salt Lake hierarchy sweeping in and drawing from its monumental store of assets in order to build a temple (whether permanent or temporary in nature) for the locals is the best thing for us, spiritually speaking.

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3 hours ago, mordorbund said:

In the early years of the Restoration the city  Zion was the center place and the stakes of Zion were meant to be sort of embassy-cities engineered and organized after the Zion pattern. Each of these stake cities was intended to have its own temple. Sites for Independence, Kirkland, Far West, and Adam-ondi-Ahman we’re all dedicated before the saints gathered to Nauvoo.

I think it’s also worth observing that the Kirtland house of the Lord was the first meeting house in the modern Church. 

With this in mind, I can imagine stake centers getting add-ons for temple ordinances. The chapel would double as the Assembly Room, perhaps the restrooms on one side would have adjoining initiatory facilities, with a third hall/corridor for the instruction room, celestial room, and sealing room. Or a second story for temple ordinances excepting baptisms. For that scenario if there’s going to be a second baptismal font then it could be an add-on for the ground floor.

This is very similar to the Hong Kong temple. Before the renovations, the same building housed a chapel, a stake centre, and a temple. I'm not sure if this is still the case. It also sounds a little similar to the ENdowment House which, from what I recall, was used for several purposes, only one of which was related to temple ordinances. 

Edited by askandanswer
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28 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

But even so, I’m not convinced that the central Salt Lake hierarchy sweeping in and drawing from its monumental store of assets in order to build a temple (whether permanent or temporary in nature) for the locals is the best thing for us, spiritually speaking.

But of course the temples don't exist only for the living. Perhaps a divine decision has been made that the interests of those awaiting baptism in the spirit world outweigh any benefits that might come from maintaining a certain level of sacrifice for the living to attend temples. 

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2 hours ago, CV75 said:

One thought that I have is that we believe in a literal gathering, and permanent temples comport with that idea. 2 Samuel 7 teaches that while the Lord was happy to walk in the portable tabernacle (vs. 6 - 9), it was now time to plant and build a people and a house to His name (vs. 10 - 13, 16, 18 - 19).

The time certainly did come to plant and build a people and a house to His name. I think that with 167 temples we have certainly done that. The Lord has 167 houses to walk in.   

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I think if the Church were going to do this it would have been done a long time ago. With the building of each new temple around the world such a need grows smaller. At this point it would probably be easier just to finance the travel for members who are still so far away from the temple. Of course that would eliminate much of the sacrifice and it's attending blessings. But who knows. Maybe as conditions in the world grow worse we may yet see a time when building temples is no no longer feasible.

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11 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

I agree.  There seems to be something a little incongruent about eternal covenants being made in a place that is theologically representative of the nexus between Heaven and earth, within a structure that is intended from the get-go to be temporary and transient.

Additionally—and I recognize that what I’m saying is sort of a half-baked idea, but . . . I think temples are too accessible as it is.  There were fewer than 3,000 members in Kirtland when they were commanded to build the temple there.  I think we lose something, as a people, when we aren’t making extraordinary sacrifices to build a house to the Lord in our own localities.  Obviously this creates a disparity between places where the church is long-established and already has a temple, versus places where it isn’t and doesn’t; and it’s always easy for us “haves” in Utah to speak condescendingly of the blessings of being a “have-not” out in the “mission field”.  But even so, I’m not convinced that the central Salt Lake hierarchy sweeping in and drawing from its monumental store of assets in order to build a temple (whether permanent or temporary in nature) for the locals is the best thing for us, spiritually speaking.

I like the symbolism you described about permanence, physical/temporal and spiritual/eternal. I think those in "the mission field" have their own set of probations that warrant access to the temple without building one themselves, just as each successive generation in Utah sacrifices less for the building of physical temples, but faces other troubles equal in testing to that of their forbearers before they can rightly qualify to enter those temples. One of the blessings of building Zion is that the faithful can have access to resources of all kinds so they can do more than they might have otherwise done alone, and certainly more than their ancestors.

Edited by CV75
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10 hours ago, askandanswer said:

The time certainly did come to plant and build a people and a house to His name. I think that with 167 temples we have certainly done that. The Lord has 167 houses to walk in.   

Yes; the context of 2 Samuel 7 is that He walked with the people as they sojourned in the wilderness, something He did not intend to last forever: "Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar? ...Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime, And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house." The chapter goes on the explain that the Lord's "house" is a physical temple and also a kingdom and a people.

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54 minutes ago, laronius said:

I think if the Church were going to do this it would have been done a long time ago. With the building of each new temple around the world such a need grows smaller. At this point it would probably be easier just to finance the travel for members who are still so far away from the temple. Of course that would eliminate much of the sacrifice and it's attending blessings. But who knows. Maybe as conditions in the world grow worse we may yet see a time when building temples is no no longer feasible.

https://philanthropies.churchofjesuschrist.org/temple#:~:text=Therefore%2C the Church has established,the House of the Lord.

"As the population of the Church continues to expand in the world, there are more and more dedicated saints who live in remote and impoverished locales and lack the means to attend a temple even once in their lifetimes. Therefore, the Church has established the Temple Patron Assistance Fund to provide financial assistance to those who otherwise could not afford the travel expenses associated with attending a temple and participating in the sacred blessings available only in the House of the Lord."

The paragraph before this one says, "As the population of Church members continues to grow worldwide, there is an great desire among the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles to bring temple worship and its associated blessing closer to the people. The Temple Building Fund was created to provide those who have desires to help with this vital program with the opportunity of doing so."

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It's been a nice handful of decades for the Lord's people.  We're not a roving bunch of refugees looking for a home.  There was a big call to gather to Zion, and then the whole world seemed to quiet down enough, that it became safe and practical to just stay where we happened to be and build Zion wherever we happened to live at the time.

It's often fun to speculate about God's plans for us, and how they may change over time based on our circumstances.  I speculate that there won't be any portable temples unless we get some old-timey wandering-in-the-desert-esque stuff happening to us as a people.  We're far from those times, although who knows if they may return.  As things stand now, the whole world just seems to respect private property rights too dang much to make a portable temple necessary.  

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In the 40's the church considered converting a ship into a mobile temple, in the 70s they considered a 747. Both of these options were found to be too cost prohibitive for the berthing and runway storage fees. They decided that just building actual buildings would be cheaper in the long run. Eventually temples will be built closer to the saints, but it will take some time to do that. At least we have planes and vehicles that can make the trips, frustrating, but necessary at this time.

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On 8/28/2022 at 2:45 PM, Carborendum said:

This has been thrown around as a proposal among the GAs (according to my area seventy).

About a year ago, he gave a speech at our stake conference.  He mentioned the idea of building modular temples that could be prefabricated and delivered to site.  Local labor would be used to assemble the modules together.

I began picturing the reality of such a structure.  I had actually done something exactly like this for an industrial application.  But the one thing I couldn't get around was the baptismal font.  You'd have to dig a pit in just the right place and in the right way.  Because of the special requirements for foundations, I couldn't quite figure out how that would be done.

After the meeting was over, I went up to the rostrum to ask him about that issue.  He said that currently it is only an idea.  No one has actually fleshed it out yet.  I told him I had already done most of the design work for something like this.  But I just couldn't figure out how to deal with the font in the 15 min since his speech ended.

So, who knows if it will become reality?

 

This is an interesting item with Baptismal fonts.  I think, if I recall right, the Atlanta temple did NOT have a baptismal font below ground and was somewhat different than what you see elsewhere for many years.  It wasn't really built in the fashion that other temples have either, though it was renovated to look and appear more like what you see with the other temples eventually. 

The original Temple in Jerusalem supposedly had a font as well, but also probably above ground. 

It was from Joseph Smith that we get the idea of where we should build the font, and that it was supposed to be placed underneath, and as a similitude of the grave.  This is why they are normally built lower in the temples.  It may be possible to build a tabernacle of the modern day and have a font that is transportable and not necessarily lower than the rest of the building/tent so a pit or other item would not have to be built. If that were so, I expect that this would have to come via revelation to the prophet and it would be the prophet who would need to specify how this was done and how it would be accomplished. 

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5 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

I think, if I recall right, the Atlanta temple did NOT have a baptismal font below ground and was somewhat different than what you see elsewhere for many years.  It wasn't really built in the fashion that other temples have either, though it was renovated to look and appear more like what you see with the other temples eventually. 

The Sydney temple was the same. When it was constructed, the font was above ground. Many years later, at least a decade, the temple was expanded, and a a new font was created in the lowest part of the temple. It was probably below ground level.

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It is best practice to have font built below ground due to the symbolism that can be taught to the individual. However, it is absolutely not necessary. There are people still baptized in above ground swimming pools; either due to building regulations, or, because membership in some countries is growing faster than the church can build the chapels.

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20 hours ago, askandanswer said:

The Sydney temple was the same. When it was constructed, the font was above ground. 

If that is ok to do, then it is certainly logistically feasible.

SOMEONE Call Salt Lake!  Let them know I've already got a building design ready for them. :) 

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