Spike in Activity Prompts LDS Church to Start Construction on New Temple in Sochi, Russia

SOCHI — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced this morning that construction has begun on Russia’s first temple.

The decision was made after sacrament meeting attendance reports showed the activity level in the area has more than doubled in the last few weeks.

“We’re seeing enormous growth over there,” Thomas Coburn, Managing Director of the Temple Department said. “At this rate, we might start thinking about building two [temples].”

Normally, temples are announced during a church-wide broadcast called General Conference, held twice a year in April and October, but since the growth is happening so quickly, the Church wants to start on construction as soon as possible.

This concept art of the temple promises to highlight Russia's architectural achievements.
This concept art of the temple promises to highlight Russia’s architectural heritage.

“Everybody in Russia is asleep right now,” Coburn said. “But when they wake up to the sound of jackhammers and bulldozers, we’ll give them the good news.”

The Church made construction on the Sochi Russia Temple its top priority, halting production on other temples around the world and redirecting their materials and supplies to go directly to Russia. The hope is that the temple will be completed in early March of this year.

“This is truly a miracle, and I feel really blessed to be a part of it,” Coburn added. “It sounds like the missionaries are really working hard out there.”

When asked if he thought the 2014 Olympic Winter Games had anything to do with the recent attendance boom, Coburn claimed he has heard of the event, but told reporters that he wasn’t really much of a sports guy.

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