The news that one of 20 temples to be built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be in Burley took many church members and the community by surprise.
Church officials said the temple will bless their members and benefit the entire community — and economic development officials agree.
“There will absolutely be a significant economic impact coming from the temple being built here,” Burley Economic Development Director Doug Manning said. “There is something called the temple effect that happens, especially in non-metropolitan communities and it will have a serious impact on the economy.”
Mini-Cassia Chamber President and CEO Penne Main said restaurants and hotels will likely see a boost in business due to the temple.
“It will bring people here from out of the area,” Main said.
Devout church members also migrate towards temples when they retire, she said, and the Burley temple will likely draw more retirees to the area.
“Overall,” she said, “It will have a positive influence in the community and I think it speaks volumes that the church is making that investment here in our area. I think it shows that the area is safe, strong and economically sustainable. It’s a high compliment that it is coming to Burley”.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Brad Wilson, who is the spokesperson for the seven Mini-Cassia stakes, said each temple is designed to fit in with the community where it’s built.
From the architecture to the finishes, the building will reflect Mini-Cassia.
“The aura of having a temple in the community just can’t be described,” he said. “The change was palatable in Twin Falls when the temple was built and even when it was being built. It raises the spirituality in the community.”
The temple will draw people from all over, he said, and there are people who specifically go on tours to visit the temples in various communities because each temple is different.
“Having a temple built here is amazing in many ways,” Wilson said. “For members of the church, it is a symbol of God and of our faith.”
The highest church work is performed at the temples, he said, and many Mini-Cassia church members faithfully volunteer at the Twin Falls Temple.
“And driving there during the winter months can be perilous,” he said. “We are so grateful to have a temple this close.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Burley West Stake President Matt Cook watched as the church’s temple was built in Houston, Texas.
“It had a profound impact on members and the community as a whole,” he said. “People will see a temple being built in the area and the area will flourish.”
Temple details still under
Wilson said there is a lot of speculation in the community as to where the temple will be built but the details of where and when have not been officially released yet. Timelines for construction and the temple opening dates can vary.
He heard about the plans for the Burley temple for the first time during the church’s April General Conference.
“I’ve talked with several members and we feel so blessed. We didn’t anticipate it. There are other temples pretty close to us so we really didn’t think it would happen at this time,” Wilson said.
Generally, he said, there are about five to seven wards or congregations of church members included in each church stake.
The Burley temple will be Idaho’s seventh temple. The state is home to over 460,000 members of the church in about 1,200 congregations.
Along with the temple in Twin Falls, there are temples in Boise, Idaho Falls, Meridian and Rexburg. Another is under construction in Pocatello.
Cook had an inkling that a temple might be built in Burley, he said, but he didn’t know for sure.