POCATELLO — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has yet to release many details about its planned temple in Pocatello and as of Monday city officials said they had not received any permit applications.
Still, ldschurchtemples.org — an unofficial church website — is reporting that the temple could be one of the bigger ones.
“The Pocatello Idaho Temple is expected to be a larger temple, according to an interview with Elder Larry Y. Wilson, Executive Director of the Temple Department,” the website states. “He pointed to the Meridian Idaho Temple as a recent example of a larger temple design.”
The new Meridian temple, which will be dedicated in November, has a total floor area of 65,960 square feet, according to ldschurchtemples.org.
Jim Johnston, a Pocatello city councilman and Mormon, said the church builds both small and large temples depending on the needs of its congregations throughout the world.
He, too, anticipates that the Pocatello temple will be one of the larger ones in order to accommodate more people.
The Pocatello temple could serve up to 22 stakes — church-created units comprised of multiple congregations — in Southeast Idaho, according to ldschurchtemples.org.
Church President Thomas S. Monson announced plans to build a temple in Pocatello in April. It’s something that area Mormons had hoped for over many years.
“Latter-day Saints consider temples to be the ‘house of the Lord,’ the most sacred places on the earth. Temples differ from the meetinghouses or chapels where all are welcome to attend Sunday worship services,” according to www.mormonnewsroom.org. “In the temple, the teachings of Jesus Christ are reaffirmed through marriage, baptism and other ceremonies that unite families for eternity.”
Church officials have not yet said what the temple will look like or when or where it will be constructed. There has been speculation that the church could build the temple on recently annexed land near east Satterfield, but officials have not yet confirmed that location.
Johnston is not campaigning for any particular site. He says that — as a Mormon, a councilman and a realtor — he’s just happy that a temple is coming to the community.
“As a member of the City Council, I know it will enhance the quality of life in Pocatello,” he said, adding that he believes it will also bring economic benefits to many local businesses and help improve area property values.