LAYTON — Four months after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a temple would be built in Layton, Mayor Bob Stevenson claims to have as much information now as he did when the news was made public.
Stevenson said there’s been “excitement and a lot of curiosity” regarding the LDS temple, but there’s no way of knowing what to expect in terms of an overall timetable or when announcements regarding site location, construction and other details might be made — if they are made at all.
"Not unless [your] last name is Nelson," he joked, referring to LDS Church president Russell M. Nelson.
“We’re not even hiding anything. We flat out don’t know anything,” said Stevenson, who also is running for Seat A on the Davis County Commission in November’s general election.
There’s no shortage of speculation as to the location of the edifice, and one popular guess, according to Stevenson, is off Oak Hills Drive, which connects Gentile Street and Highway 89.
“Everybody’s pretty well guessed where they think the site is ... but the church has never come out and said, ‘That’s correct,’ or, ‘No, that’s not,’” Stevenson said.
Doug Andersen, senior media relations manager for the church, said there’s no additional information to add to the announcement and all decisions are “the purview of the First Presidency,” referring to the church’s highest governing body.
For those interested in the temple construction process, Andersen referred to an April 2014 article published on mormonnewsroom.org.
According to the article, the First Presidency selects a site after a temple has been announced for a particular city. From there, the size of the structure as well as potential exterior and interior designs are determined, a construction company is selected and construction begins.
The design process can take up to two years, while construction — not including the time taken to choose a builder — can take 24 to 48 months, the article states.
Many aspects of the exterior and interior design “are unique, tailored to the local people and area,” according to the article.
When Nelson announced the Layton temple in the church’s April General Conference, a semiannual gathering in Salt Lake City where leaders expound upon doctrine that is broadcast throughout the world, an audible reaction emanated from those in attendance.
Stevenson said one reason for the excitement is the fact that church members in Layton have recently bounced between the Bountiful and Ogden LDS temples.
Layton members were assigned to attend the Ogden temple until it was closed for renovations in April 2011. At that time, Layton members were assigned to attend the Bountiful temple. The Ogden temple was rededicated for use in September 2014, at which point Layton members returned.
But then the church reassigned Layton members to the Bountiful temple once more.
“If you take Layton City [members], we’ve been bounced back and forth like a ping-pong ball between these temples,” Stevenson said. “And I think Layton now has, like, 13 stakes, so it’s got a pretty good-sized, healthy population. Then you throw [in] Kaysville and Farmington and Syracuse and Clearfield and Clinton and those communities.”
There are currently 17 operating temples in Utah with two more announced, including the Layton temple. The church also has announced a temple will be built in Saratoga Springs, in Utah County.
The Layton temple will be the church’s second temple in Davis County, joining Bountiful.
The article provided on mormonnewsroom.org states that “temple sites are generally located in areas with enough members (there’s no required number) to warrant construction, or where great distances exist between temples.”
According to official church numbers, also provided on the website, Utah has a 300-to-1 congregation to temple ratio. The ratio for the rest of the United States, including the District of Columbia, is 142 to 1. More than 35 percent of all LDS congregations in the United States reside in Utah.