"If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun." - Katharine Hepburn
Question #92342 posted on 06/12/2019 11:46 a.m.

Dear yayfulness,

Did you make an embarrassing mistake in Board Question #91271, and would you like to fix it?

-this is obviously not yayfulness


Dear obviously not yayfulness,

Yes, yes I did. Two embarrassing mistakes, in fact.

(If you’re actually reading this, I’m assuming you’ve already read my answer to Board Question #91271, so I’m not going to repeat myself. This answer probably won’t make too much sense without that context.)

The first mistake is named Tristan da Cunha, and it's a tiny blip of a volcano in the southern Atlantic Ocean with a permanent civilian population of about 250 and a fascinating history which I shamelessly binged about a month ago. It's also about 2,075 miles from the nearest temple in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The African coast is several hundred miles closer, and if a temple is ever built in Cape Town, South Africa, Tristan da Cunha will be evicted from the 2,000 Mile Club. Until then, though, I'd be remiss to deny it its rightful place.

The second mistake is that, in my zeal to find the furthest point from a temple in central Asia, I completely overlooked that the THIRD-LARGEST CITY IN RUSSIA IS THERE, TOO. Novosibirsk (population 1.6 million) is over 2,100 miles from the nearest temples in Finland and Ukraine. It's one of five (!) cities of over a million people in the 2,000-mile zone, the others being Krasnoyarsk, Russia (1.1 million), Almaty, Kazakhstan (1.6 million), Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (1.0 million), and Urumqi, China (3.6 million). There are seven branches in the Novosibirsk-Krasnoyarsk area plus one in Almaty; two of these branches, at Barnaul and Kemerovo, are 2,205 miles from the Helsinki temple and thus the two LDS congregations furthest from a temple.

Last year, I started working on a list of potential temple sites that could take places off the 2,000-mile list. Exactly one week after that answer got published, a temple was announced for Yigo, Guam, barely 1,000 miles from Pohnpei, Micronesia (formerly the second-most distant inhabited place from a temple outside of mainland Asia). Since then, I've refined the list quite a bit. I really wanted to illustrate it with a map somehow, but I spent the last two weeks arguing with QGIS and so far QGIS has won every time. So instead, here's a table. Temple sites to watch are places which meet three criteria: first, they have a substantial population; second, they have an established Church presence; and third, they are not close to an existing temple.

2,000 Mile Areas Temple Sites to Watch Countries to Watch
Central Asia Moscow, Russia; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Samara/Tolyatti, Russia; Saratov, Russia; Yerevan, Armenia1 Russia, Mongolia, Armenia2, India
Easter Island none none
Rodrigues Antananarivo, Madagascar3 Madagascar4, Mozambique, Malawi
Tristan da Cunha Cape Town, South Africa South Africa
Kullorsuaq and Nuussuaq Glasgow/Edinburgh, UK; Oslo, Norway; Belfast, UK; Newcastle, UK5 UK, Norway
Qeqertat none none
Al-Hofuf Bucharest, Romania; Yerevan, Armenia; Pskov, Bulgaria Bulgaria, Romania, Armenia, Russia, India

I'm reasonably confident that if a temple is announced within 2,000 miles of any of the areas in the first column in the near future, it will be built at one of the sites in the second column. I'm reasonably confident that any temple announced outside of the countries in the third column won't be within 2,000 miles of any of the areas in the first column.


1 All of these would reduce the size of the area, but none would eliminate it entirely
2 I'm using Hungary as my baseline expectation for when a European country receives its first temple: over 5,000 members and 22 congregations, at least some of which are wards.
3 Maputo, Mozambique could technically be on this list, depending on a temple's exact address. Rodrigues is 11 miles wide, Maputo is 14 miles wide, and the westernmost point in Rodrigues is 1,997 miles from the easternmost point in Maputo.
4 As the temple-having country in Africa with the smallest LDS presence, Kenya sets my baseline for the rest of the region: just short of 15,000 members and 50 congregations, at least some of which are wards.
5 Newcastle is within 2,000 miles of Nuussuaq but not Kullorsuaq