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Mormon church will lower height of Phoenix temple

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  • Anonymous
    Jan. 28, 2010 3:29 p.m.

    john - take a break. you're our worst nightmare. a religious zealot that won't stop.

    you don't have a strap on vest do you?

  • Anonymous
    Jan. 28, 2010 3:23 p.m.

    JPL - Give it up. You should work for the church in the justification department. Or maybe the "square peg round hole" dept.

  • John Pack Lambert
    Jan. 28, 2010 3:18 p.m.

    If the Farmington pool is open less than 24 hours, six days a week, then their is already precedent for closing it. So what days and times it will be open is a matter of public policy, and all citizens of a city have the right to seek to influence public policy.
    Now if we were complaining about Jews seeking to have the pool closed on Friday, there would be a true analogy. If we were complaining about a group of Orthodox Jews who sought to have certain roads between their houses and their synagogues blocked off from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday so that they could more easily walk in large groups to Synagogue, or would not be disturbed in their reigious contemplation by load cars on their way to Synagogue, it would at least be analogous in some ways to the pool issue.
    If people sought to ban a baptist church from building a baptismal font because they feared mass baptisms on a Sunday were too like swimming and they did not want it to occur on Sunday, you would have an analogy to the temple issue that might make sense. However right now your comparison fails.

  • John Pack Lambert
    Jan. 28, 2010 3:13 p.m.

    To the 11:17 commentor,
    The only double standard is in how you analyze things.
    If there was a group of people who as their religion felt they needed to be swimming in the pool while at their religious services you might almost make sense.
    However, then there would be two issues. One, is that an appropriate use of the (I presume) public pool. 2- The city could rent the pool, and thus have the said religious group pay for it and not have to have any employees there.
    The issue is people do not think the city should force people to choose between their job and Church attendance. Another issue is people do not feel their tax dollars should be used to support a facility being open during a time when they never intend to use it.
    So one issue is about people using their own PRIVATE PROPERTY and having people object to it, trying to limit their rights of action on their property, the other is an issue of when city recreational facilities should be open. Is the pool open 24 hours a day, six days a week?

  • John Pack Lambert
    Jan. 28, 2010 3:06 p.m.

    However to fight a religious building in your neighborhood because it is a place of Muslim worship but to accept a Christian house of worship in your neighborhood is a clear case of trying to limit the free exercise of religion and therefore you can not use any governmental or semi-governmental body to carry this out.

  • John Pack Lambert
    Jan. 28, 2010 3:04 p.m.

    Let me explain what religious bigotry is.
    If you say, as I have seen some commenters saying "If this was a Christian Church I would support it, but I will oppose a Mormon Temple", than your position is in violation of the 1st Admendment, and thus you CAN NOT use the police power of the state to impose it. The fact that this is a false diachotomy, ignoring the fact that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christian has no legal relevance.
    You may be able to refuse to sell to a Muslim mosque but be willing to sell to a Jewish synagogue. However, if you are trying to use zoning laws to selectively keep out some religiouns you are in violation of the law.
    The problem is that an LDS Chapel, a baptists cahpel, a Catholic Church building, a Quaker meetinghouse and a Muslim mosque are not actually the same in size, uses or attendance. Since zoning laws deal with very specifics, and in some places any religious use needs a variance to occur in any zone, at times it is very hard to tell if non-religious issues are pretext or fact.

  • John Pack Lambert
    Jan. 28, 2010 2:58 p.m.

    To the 5:19 commentor,
    If what the petitioners DO NOT WANT is a MORMON TEMPLE, then they are in violation of the 1st Admendment, the 14th Admendment and RLUIPA in trying to use the police power of the state to prevent it.
    On the other hand if their objection is ONLY and TRULY on aesthtic grounds, than they have a legitimate objection.
    That said, their petition that they circulated was not against the spire height but the building height.
    To change the spire height they would have to first seek an ordinance to impose limits on religious building spire heights in Phoenix. Since there is NOT SUCH AN ORDINANCE NOW, they would have to do that first.
    I am not sure there is any legal way that they can prevent the spire though, since such an election would have to be no earlier than this fall, and I am not sure if they could apply the new rules to buildings approved before the change in the law.
    I am not a lawyer and definantly not one versed in the intricacies of Phoenix law, so I may be wrong and there might be a way to block the spire.

  • John Pack Lambert
    Jan. 28, 2010 2:52 p.m.

    To JoeBlow,
    People may OBJECT to the spire all they want. The problem is that THE SPIRE WAS ALLOWED UNDER ANY ZONING RULES IN PHOENIX. The vote proposed would have only been to rescind the rezoning, which was ONLY needed for the extra ten feet of THE BUILDING ITSELF.
    If you think that the definition of what counts as primary structure and what counts as spire or the aws on spire heights needs to be revised, you are legally able to advocate for their revision.
    However, to limit the spire on the Phoenix Temple you will have to revise the Phoenix city zoning laws. Spires are allowed on religious buildings at any height in Phoenix.
    You can seek to change that, but stop acting like the height of the spire has any LEGAL MERIT in this case. It has none. It is totally not a legal issue, especially since there is no legal movement afoot to revise these spire laws, or at least there was not as of yesterday afternoon.
    I would not be too surprised if the homeowners association will now start lobbying to change spire laws, but that is a different story.

  • Anonymous
    Jan. 28, 2010 11:17 a.m.

    So it's ok for the people in Farmington to protest the pool opening on Sunday, but for the people of Phoenix, this is a problem. Once again, double standards from the LDS.

  • Too Tall? No Problem!
    Jan. 28, 2010 9:29 a.m.

    How about a 90 foot Moroni statue standing in front? That ought to show the neighbor to be careful what they ask for. As an added bonus, his horn could blow every hour and half hour.

  • ksmrcl
    Jan. 27, 2010 8:35 p.m.

    To:
    RE: Jim | 3:17 | 3:56 p.m.
    "With so many people starving and other problems in the world, your church chooses to spend millions of dollars on a building when that money could be used to help so many people."
    Yes, we build temples with our tithes and provide humanitarian supplies with our fast offerings.

    But, unlike other churches, we do not have a paid clergy. We serve without monetary payment and are happy to do so.

    So, yes, we do have money to spend on beautiful temples that uplift the spirit and are built to glorify our Heavenly Father.

  • To Re: Jim
    Jan. 27, 2010 6:57 p.m.

    With that logic, why build any building at all? Our church builds the Temple with Tithing dollars, which is specifically for that purpose. Our church feeds the hungry with fast offering and humanitarian funds, which are set aside for those specific purposes.

    So because we're a religion we have to have bad accounting?

    Those individuals in San Diego, did they live in a shack and send all their earnings to the starving people? No? Oh, they aren't a church and therefore not required to meet the standards of charity upon which they stand to throw stones?

    Awesome.

  • Californian #1@94131
    Jan. 27, 2010 5:19 p.m.

    Is it the height of the spire that the petitioners were concerned about? My understanding was that they just didn't want the blight of a Mormon temple in their neighborhood.

    They certainly have a right not to. Heck, it's their neighborhood, after all. Wouldn't YOU rather have a gigantic Wal-Mart with traffic coming and going 8:00 a.m. to midnight 7 days a week, a live-in drug and alcohol detox rehab house, or a recycling center that pays people by the pound for all the bottles and cans they can scrounge off the street and bring in on their shopping carts?

  • John Pack Lambert
    Jan. 27, 2010 4:46 p.m.

    To the 3:56 commentor,
    Why did it stick with you? Did your neighbors even go to a Church? Did they donate any money to any charity?
    How much did it cost to build their place of worship?
    How much did those people's house cost?
    What basis do people have for saying they do not like how others allocate their money?

  • Red Hen
    Jan. 27, 2010 4:22 p.m.

    How bout this for helping? Already sent to Haiti 225,000 pounds of relief supplies such as food, medical supplies, tents, water filtration units, blankets, new born kits, wheelchairs, first aid kits. 3 truckloads of supplies purchased in the Dominican Republic already been sent in. 9 Mormon meeting houses left largely undamaged that now serve as relief centers for as many as 5000 people in those local communities. Two medical teams already sent in by their church.

    More aid is on the way from the "Mormons" and their leader has sent out a plea to the almost 14 million strong world wide membership to help send continued aid to Haiti through it's Humanitarian Services Emergency Response site. I guess they can do more than just build temples.

  • Rbert Watson
    Jan. 27, 2010 4:18 p.m.

    Jim in your comment concerning the building of temples - vs starving people. One answer would be "can we do both?" Be informative about the church's wellfare/humanitarian outreach. Yes we do both - build temples and we also feed the hungry.

  • RE: Jim | 3:17
    Jan. 27, 2010 3:56 p.m.

    "From my experience, most people who oppose temples, usually retract their comments after they go through them prior to their dedication."

    In preparation for the open house for the San Diego Temple, my parents invited every neighbor on our cul-de-sac to tour the Temple. After the open house, our neighbors two doors over made a comment that still sticks with me, "With so many people starving and other problems in the world, your church chooses to spend millions of dollars on a building when that money could be used to help so many people."

    Yes, yes, a Temple is the House of the Lord and dedicated to him - but, that comment is still with me all these many years later.

  • @Zadruga Guy | 2:00
    Jan. 27, 2010 3:36 p.m.

    There you go looking through your "LDS-colored" glasses again and forgetting that there are such things as zoning and planning departments in most cities across the U.S.

    The point of such zoning is to prevent mis-steps like a rendering plant or something of that ilk being built in a residential neighborhood.

    As as fellow Mormon, I do my best to follow the 12th Article of Faith and recognize that I am subject to "kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law." If you want to see zoning and other restrictions changed, get involved with your local government. That is what the residents of the area did - and that is their right based on the local government ordinances. If you aren't a resident of the area, you have no standing in relation to the local government. Period.

  • Jim
    Jan. 27, 2010 3:17 p.m.

    I find it interesting to see that most of the signatures gained on the petition were gathered by people standing outside the mega churches. I doubt that the 16,000 plus signatures were from actual residents of that area.

    From my experience, most people who oppose temples, usually retract their comments after they go through them prior to their dedication.

  • Just Sayin'.....
    Jan. 27, 2010 3:16 p.m.

    So the temple height issue has been resolved, and despite anti's doom-and-gloom prediction, the LDS church gave them what they wanted. Gee, imagine that.

    So, any guesses on how long it will be before the anti's find another issue to complain about on the Phoenix temple?

    "Windows?! You want windows, too?! We said you could have doors, but now you want windows? And you have to have xeriscape landscaping that uses cactus but your cactus is from southern Utah, not Arizona!"

    And on and on and on and on.....

  • Re: Instereo
    Jan. 27, 2010 3:00 p.m.

    I don't see a double-standard. First, the Church is working solutions WITHIN the law. Second, I've heard no official representative of the LDS Church complain about minority rights, religious freedom, and such regarding this issue. I think the Church is being quite gracious and flexible in addressing these concerns.

    As for the opinions written here, they are just that: opinions.

  • to Instereo | 1:40 p.m
    Jan. 27, 2010 2:41 p.m.

    Who said anything about a majority of the residents being against the temple?

    Regardless, no one from either side is calling for judicial review of the case or for a popular vote. To compare the two is disingenuous.

  • Levi
    Jan. 27, 2010 2:29 p.m.

    Instereo - excellent point! Hear hear!

    Sidebar: While the look of a mormon temple does not offend me, they are hardly something that a non member would be interested in having to look at daily. I pass by a sikh temple, a synagogue and a scattering of xian churches every day and if one was propsed for my neighborhood, I would protest till I went hoarse.

  • Zadruga Guy
    Jan. 27, 2010 2:00 p.m.

    @JoeBlow:
    It is not difficult for me to understand that you believe that temples are "out of place in a neighborhood setting" because they are "such an imposing structure." What is difficult for me to understand is why you believe that a structure meant to glorify God is out of place in ANY setting.

  • Instereo
    Jan. 27, 2010 1:40 p.m.

    It amazes me how when we talk about Prop 8 we're happy with what the majority of people say but when we talk about LDS temples, it's about rights of the minority, religious freedom, interpreting laws, or how much money can be made. I see a double standard here.

  • JoeBlow
    Jan. 27, 2010 12:20 p.m.

    "On top of that the spire tapers to a point that is only a few inches wide."

    While I understand that statement, it is misleading.

    Much of the structure that makes up the spire and the steeple are MUCH LARGER than "a few inches wide".

    The average "non-member" would hardly want such an imposing structure across the street, regardless of the religious denomination.

    And while I think the temples are a pleasing looking structure, it is out of place in a neighborhood setting. It is certainly not what the zoning commission had in mind when they set the limit at 30 feet for a "neighborhood church"

    Why is that so difficult to understand?

  • John Pack Lambert
    Jan. 27, 2010 11:45 a.m.

    The land was REZONED. Thus, the current zoning of the lot where the temple is planned is for a 40 foot building.
    This might be a question of wodring. They could say "will be built no higher than the 30 foot zoning of the surrounding properties".
    However as the Arizona Republic worded this article, it is incorrect.

  • So, will the local residents
    Jan. 27, 2010 11:04 a.m.

    now say, "Thank you for listening to us. Move forward with your plans"? Or will they come up with another excuse to oppose the construction? I hope it's the former.

  • For JoeBlow
    Jan. 27, 2010 10:47 a.m.

    If you'd been following this story all along you'd actually know that the spire and steeple structures do not fall under the same height considerations. On top of that the spire tapers to a point that is only a few inches wide. Honestly, it will enhance the view of the skyline.

    I wish I lived in that neighborhood. Their property values are about to get a very nice boost, despite their protests.

  • To JoeBlow
    Jan. 27, 2010 9:44 a.m.

    You can rest assured that the city planning commission knows its zoning codes. The height restrictions apply to occupied building space. Purely decorative elements like the steeple are not covered by the 30 ft. height limit and are governed by different codes.

  • Chachi
    Jan. 27, 2010 9:15 a.m.

    Although I by no means sympathize with the neighbors, and although I see this as a basic issue of religious freedom, I wasn't a big fan of the architecture as shown in the rendering, and I hope that the Church takes advantage of the redesign process to come up with something less boxy.

  • lots to say now--how about then?
    Jan. 27, 2010 9:01 a.m.

    Someday, when the temple is built, there will be many who will say:

    "Hey, whats with the squaty, stocky, stumpy, out-of-proportion smashed down look of this Temple?"

    Will these whiny people who are insisting on the lowered height be willing to stand up and take credit for the less than perfect look (that they could have had if they had minded their own business) as vocally as they are clamoring now?

  • nonsense
    Jan. 27, 2010 7:54 a.m.

    The church is bending over backwards to accomodate the complaints of a few thousand people who signed a petition, not because their properties will be affected in the least by this beautiful temple, but because the "Mormons" want to do it. Let's call this what it is -- religious prejudice. Yes, I'm an Arizona resident.

  • JoeBlow
    Jan. 27, 2010 6:14 a.m.

    I just read the complete story in the Az Republic.

    On the surface, this seems to be an issue of only 10 feet of height.

    According to the article (graph) the maximum allowed height in the zoning district is 30 feet.

    The proposed temple is 126 feet.

    The steeple and spire are certainly not INSIGNIFICANT structures.

    So based on my math, the proposed temple is exceeding zoning by a mere 96 feet or 3 TIMES THE LIMIT.

    Is that what they call "fuzzy math"?



  • Anonymous
    Jan. 27, 2010 1:49 a.m.

    Good to see the church is being a good neighbor and complying with the zoning. People in Phoenix love their outdoor views and prefer not to have them cut off by very tall buildings.