Largest U.S. cities without a temple

I would like to link this list of the largest U.S. cities without a temple.

Top of the list is Miami, my former home, which is easily 4-5 hours from the Orlando temple on a Friday afternoon in traffic.  Also, please keep in mind that the Miami stake includes the surprisingly large and active Key West branch, which is 6-7 hours from the Orlando temple on a Saturday morning.

Just for grins, check out the schedule for the monthly temple trip by the Homestead stake if you are from Key West.

1:30 a.m.:  get up

2 a.m.:  start driving to Homestead (south of Miami) to catch the temple bus.

4:30 a.m.:  temple bus leaves Homestead chapel.

5 a.m.:  temple bus leaves Kendall chapel (also in Homestead stake).

9:30 a.m.:  temple bus arrives in Orlando.

4 p.m.:  temple bus leaves Orlando.

9 p.m.:  temple bus arrives at Homestead chapel.

11: 30 p.m. to Midnight:  Key West temple goers arrive back home.

For people from Key West, a temple trip takes them about 22-23 hours if they take the bus.  If they drive on their own, they could leave at 4 a.m. and get home at 10 p.m. and still put in a session and visit the book store.

Philadelphia used to be at the top of the list of big cities without a temple, but the Church recently announced a new temple there, despite the strenuous objections of my fellow M* permablogger John Mansfield.

As for Tampa (currently second on the list), you are only an hour away from Orlando, so no temple for you anytime soon.  Phppptt!!

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

12 thoughts on “Largest U.S. cities without a temple

  1. Indianapolis is 2 to 2.5 hours from the Louisville temple.

    One reason that we (Indianapolis) won’t get a temple soon is that the temples that surround us (Louisville, Columbus OH, Chicago) have low utilization. (And also consider Detroit, Nashville, St Louis, and Nauvoo if you add a couple hours of drive time.)

    If we were to get a temple, we’d end up pulling or transfering members away from the other temple districts in order to create our own temple district.

    So it’s not enough that the city could justify it’s own temple, the calculation needs to take into account the drawing-away effect on surrounding temple districts.

    I’d guess that the surrounding temple districts would need 75% or better utilization throughout the week in order for there to be a new temple district created which would draw members out of the old one.

    As baby-boomers start to retire now, there should be a bigger pool of retired temple-goers who can both staff and patronize temples throughout the week. (I wonder if Pres Hinckley’s, er, I mean the Lord’s plan in building all those temples in 2000 was partly to prepare for retiring baby-boomers?)

    As far as I know, one of the factors to consider is not just filling the sessions on Saturdays, but throughout the week.

    If you want a temple for your city, organize car-pools for retired members to go do sessions mid-week at your assigned temple. I think the best way to “get” a new temple is to fill up the one you have now, and the next closest one too.

  2. Book, if I were forced to make a prediction, I would also predict that Miami will not get a temple anytime soon based on activity rates, tithing rates and the other factors that Church HQ looks at when seeing how successful a new temple will be in a given area. Those folks in Key West will be making long, long trips for some time to come, methinks.

  3. Bookslinger,

    You have an interesting perspective but the factors you cite did not stop President Monson from announcing the Philadelphia Temple. It was a great surprise for those of us in southeastern Pennsylvania because the D.C. Temple is only 150 miles away and is very underutilized. The Manhattan Temple is only 100 miles away. It was never expected that Philly would have its own Temple (and an urban Temple at that!).

  4. Bookslinger, the reason Indianapolis won’t have a temple soon is that Cincinnati is the real Zion in the area between the current temples. 😉

  5. If folks living in Key West wanted to be close to anything, well, they wouldn’t be living in Key West. People choose to live on remote islands for a reason.

    Again, it is fascinating to witness this shift to routinization of temple worship, such that occupying a single, extremely long day for that matter can strike us as an absurd hardship.

  6. Here was the schedule when we lived in Brasil, with only the Sao Paulo temple yet built:

    10:00 p.m. catch the bus after a full day of work

    12 midnight arrive at the temple. Do two sessions. Catch a meal in the temple dorm cafeteria. They only served one meal most of the day, most every day: beans, rice, cabbage salad, a fresh orange, a roll.

    5 a.m. catch the bus back

    7 a.m. get off the bus and go to a full day of work

    It was very humbling. And I am sure they were thrilled when the Campinas temple was built.

  7. Michael: Correct. I would imagine that the Lord has his own reasons for where to put temples that are above and beyond what current needs, demographics, and trends might indicate on their own.

    I should have given a disclaimer that I was talking about factors that church leaders might consider before going to the Lord and asking “Wouldst thou want us to build a temple in __________?” Those factors I mentioned seem logical ones that would likely be considered by someone who is “studying it out in their mind.”

    The other end of the stick is a situation where the Lord might initiate the request, directing the Prophet: “I want you to build a temple in ______.”

    According to examples in the D&C, revelation can come either way, a human studying it out in their mind and going to the Lord; or the Lord spiritually tapping someone on the shoulder and initiating the communication of instructions.

    I’m willing to bet that the church has a confidential history of such directions. Most of the time we’re not told. But sometimes, as in the case of the new temples in Utah, President Hinckley came out and said that the demand for usage was there, and nearby temples were fully utilized.

    John Mansfield: good point about Key West. I concur.

    Geoff: by looking at the temple districts served by various temples at, my guess is that it takes 10 to 15 solid stakes to support a temple with sufficient workers and patrons. The Orlando temple has 23 stakes in its district, but it’s in the center of Florida. If south Florida grows about 5 more stakes, that are closer to Miami than to Orlando, it could be done.

    Speaking of church-growth, there is a vast untapped source for quick church growth: inactive members.

  8. As one who has never had to make a drive of more than 30 minutes to attend the temple, I feel blessed and privileged to live so close to The House of the Lord. Soon enough, there will be two temples within a 30 minute drive of each other, and I don’t even live in Utah!!

  9. Just a point of information regarding Key West: a large number of the branch members actually are members of the military from the nearby Naval base. Not sure we should blithely assume they are all aging hippies or conch fritter salesmen. This doesn’t mean we should build a temple in Miami just for them – my guess is that Miami is decades away from getting a temple based on activity rates there – it’s just a bit of info on the lovely Key West branch.

  10. Naismith, a lot of my former ward members in Rio still follow that schedule when going to the Sao Paulo or campinas temples. LOOOONG bus ride.

  11. Geoff, I think my point about people who like the idea of living on a remote island would also apply in some fashion to those who like the idea of signing up with an outfit that will deploy them at sea for months at a time or send them abroad or to places like Key West.

  12. I’ll add that I, too, find remoteness appealing and tempting. Around the time I took my current job, I also interviewed with a company on the Keweenaw Peninsula, part of Michigan that juts into the middle of Lake Superior, and probably more remote by any measure than Key West. It was very tempting, but weighing all the appeal against living 210 miles from the stake center in Green Bay, we decided not to pursue that option.

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