For those of us outside Utah and Idaho, getting to the temple can often be an adventure. Right after I joined the Church, I moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the closest temple was a six-hour bus ride away. When I got my endowments at the Sao Paulo temple, I heard the story of Brazilians from Manaus, Brazil. There are no roads to Manaus. So, the members there would take a boat for three or four days, then catch a bus for a week to get to the Sao Paulo temple. They would stay for several days and then head back. That, my friends, is sacrifice: a 3-4 week temple trip. (There is now a temple in Manaus).
When I moved to Miami the closest temple was 4-5 hours away in Orlando. Our stake included Key West, which is a 6 or 7 hour drive from Orlando. The temple bus would leave Key West at 4 a.m. to get to the temple by 10:30 a.m. It would leave again at 3 p.m., and the hearty Key West residents would get home by 10 p.m. or so. That is one long day on a bus. (Yes, they watched a lot of Church movies on that bus).
But of course Florida members who had been around longer remembered that the closest temple before Orlando was built was in Atlanta, and that is a 12-hour drive from Miami. And before that, the closest temple was Washington, DC.
Now, the Church is building a temple in Fort Lauderdale, which is just 45 minutes from Miami.
We now live north of Denver. The temple is only an hour and 15 minutes away. Somehow that still seems pretty far. We try to get there once a month but with kids and babysitting and business travel it’s more like 9 or 10 times a year, and the trip seems like an all-day trek.
But — hallelujah — the Church will soon break ground on the Fort Collins temple, which is only a half-hour from our house. So, the temple gets closer and closer.
Zion does exist in our fallen world, and it is closer every day.