Likewise, the proximity of a temple closer to home will bless people like Annie Beckstead of the Souderton Ward, Philadelphia Pennsylvania Stake, who was visiting the site with two young daughters in tow. She must trade babysitting or arrange a long weekend away to attend the Washington D.C. Temple. Having the Philadelphia temple only 40 minutes away, she said, “will make it much more manageable for a day.”
The downtown location is more than historic, as it will also allow members in the city to access the temple easily via public transportation.
Corinne Dougherty, public affairs director for the Philadelphia Region, explained the benefits of an urban temple: “The ‘natives’ like me thought the temple would be built in the suburbs, perhaps near Valley Forge. But we are so thrilled that the temple is in the city. Our city members are a diverse group, and it would have been difficult for many of them to get to the suburbs, but it’s easy for us in the suburbs to get to the city.”
Georgia Waite, a member of the Logan Ward, Philadelphia Pennsylvania Stake, was baptized in Jamaica 27 years ago and has lived in Philadelphia for 15 years. She called it “wonderful and very economical” to have a temple near. The site is within walking distance for her. She doesn’t drive and has had to depend on others for a ride to the Washington D.C. Temple. When the new temple opens, “I won’t have to wait for a ride and nobody will have to wait for me,” she said.
The Philadelphia temple, the first in Pennsylvania, is one of 14 Latter-day Saint temples currently under construction. There are 143 operating temples around the world. Another 13 have been announced, but construction has not yet begun.