Pocatello Idaho Temple
Planning and approval; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking not announced
The Pocatello Idaho Temple is currently in the planning stages. No groundbreaking date has been announced.
Renderings of the Pocatello Idaho Temple and site plan have not yet been publicly released.
No site location has been officially announced for the Pocatello Idaho Temple. However, a 10-acre Church-owned parcel located east of the stake center for the Pocatello Idaho Highland Stake is among the considerations. The east bench property offers a hillside location, as is generally preferred by the Church, and is highly visible to interstate travelers. On April 6, 2017, this land was annexed into the City of Pocatello.
Idaho's sixth temple, the Pocatello Idaho Temple, was announced by President Thomas S. Monson on April 2, 2017, in his opening remarks at the Sunday Morning Session of General Conference. There are four operating temples in the state including the Boise Idaho Temple, the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple, the Rexburg Idaho Temple, and the Twin Falls Idaho Temple. An extensive renovation project on the Idaho Falls temple, which reduced the temple's seating capacity, has recently been completed. The temple will be rededicated on June 4, 2017. Idaho's fifth temple, the Meridian Idaho Temple, is under construction in the Boise metro area and will be dedicated on November 19, 2017.1
There are approximately 450,000 members of the Church in Idaho—nearly a third of the state's population of 1.7 million people—organized into 129 stakes. There are 11 stakes in the Pocatello-Chubbuck metro area with another 10 stakes located in surrounding communities.
In the 1930s, when Church leaders determined that the next Latter-day Saint temple would be constructed in Idaho, leaders from various stakes throughout the state urged that their respective communities be considered for the honor. Ezra Taft Benson, who was a counselor in the Boise Stake presidency, presented a particularly stirring argument for the state capital to be considered.2 In time, however, a hillside site was seriously investigated in the booming railroad town of Pocatello. The community's surrounding mountains made a beautiful setting for a temple in a city with excellent interstate transportation and a growing population—the second highest in the state. However, a depression-era economy had left the local government so poor, it would not pay to extend water and utilities to the west-bench location.3 In the meantime, the Chamber of Commerce in Idaho Falls, located 50 miles north of Pocatello, donated a prime parcel of land on the banks of the Snake River, bordering an LDS hospital. And that became the site of Idaho's first temple.
As the years passed, Pocatello experienced a series of economic setbacks, producing a local joke among members that the city was "cursed" for passing on the temple. Nevertheless, the hope never died for a House of the Lord to be constructed there. Decades after Idaho's first temple was constructed, a second temple was announced in 1982 for the state capital, the Boise Idaho Temple. In 1997, land on Pocatello's east bench, visible from I-15 and I-86, was acquired by the Church for the anticipated purpose of building a temple. However, it was the Rexburg Idaho Temple that was announced in 2003, two years after the announcement that Ricks College would become Brigham Young University–Idaho. And months later, the Twin Falls Idaho Temple was announced to serve members in the South Central region of the state. Pocatello Saints patiently waited through the perennial rumors. In 2011, the Meridian Idaho Temple was announced as the fifth for the state to serve the rapidly growing Boise metro area. Other communities near Pocatello received temples, as well, including the Brigham City Utah Temple and Star Valley Wyoming Temple. The Saints of Pocatello rejoiced in each new temple, grateful that faithful Saints would be spared difficult travel. In 2017, Pocatello's wait came to an end when President Monson announced that Idaho's sixth temple would be built in that community.
The Pocatello Idaho Temple will be the sixth temple built in Idaho.
1. "President Monson Announces Five New Temples," The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints News Release, 2 Apr. 2017.
2. Richard O. Cowan, Temples to Dot the Earth (Springville, Utah: Cedar Fort, Incorporated, 1997) 141–142.
3. Paul Menser, "Idaho Falls, Pocatello - Tale of the tape: Longtime rivals learning to cooperate," Post Register 21 Jul. 2002.