For most Utah members of the LDS Church, "traveling" for temple worship is not a lengthy task.
Especially along the Wasatch Front, a 20-minute drive will get most people to the nearest temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In some areas, if you're willing to drive 25 or 30 minutes, you could have the choice of two, or even three, temples to attend.
Even off the Wasatch Front, attending a temple session for a Utahn usually doesn't require a full day. Of 522 stakes in Utah, 521 are within a two-hour drive of the nearest temple.
The exception is Escalante.
"We look at it, at least I do, that in South America, in Mexico, how far they have to travel, and people spend their life's savings to go the temple," said Myron D. Cottam, president of the Escalante Utah Stake. "Three or three-and-a-half hours is not very long when you compare it to that."
The Escalante stake comprises six wards Boulder, Cannonville, Escalante 1st, Escalante 2nd, Henrieville and Tropic in central Garfield County, bordered by Bryce Canyon National Park on the west, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument on the south, Capitol Reef National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on the east, and the Boulder Mountains on the north.
The area is scenic. Urban it is not.
Almost 90 percent of Utah Mormons could drive to a temple, participate in a temple-ordinance session and then drive home in less time than most Escalante
Stake members can drive one way to a temple.
Escalante is officially in the St. George temple district; St. George is 185 miles away. Manti is a little closer, at 164 miles, but either will take about three-and-a-half hours one way, according to Mapquest.
President Cottam says the stake plans two stake temple days a year, and each month one of the six wards in the stake sponsors a temple day.
A typical stake temple day is a Saturday, with 60 to 100 people attending the 10:40 a.m. session at the St. George temple.
"We get together after the temple session and usually have a meal and socialize with one another," President Cottam said.
Temple baptisms is not an evening Mutual activity for young women and young men in the stake.
"It's a full day for the youth also," he said. Sometimes the youths schedule to participate on a stake temple day, sometimes on a different day.
"We're encouraging more and more temple work. We encourage people to set their own goals," President Cottam said. "I just think that if we can have a temple-attending stake, life will go better for us, and we'll receive blessings."
While the Escalante Stake is the only stake in Utah where the entire stake is more than a two-hour drive from a temple, there are a few other wards or branches more than three hours from a temple.
GARRISON, Millard County: The Garrison Branch is in the Ely Nevada Stake. Garrison is 180 to 200 miles away from the St. George, Manti or Provo temples, and each is between a three- to three-and-a-half-hour drive.
IBAPAH, Tooele County: The Ibapah Branch is in the Wendover Utah District. Ibapah is 181 miles from Salt Lake City, which would take three to three-and-a-half hours to drive.
GROUSE CREEK, Box Elder County: The Grouse Creek Ward is in the Oakley Idaho Stake. Grouse Creek is about 170 miles from either of the Ogden or Logan temples, with a travel time of three-and-a-half hours or a little more. When the Twin Falls Idaho Temple is completed later this year, Grouse Creek will be only about 100 miles from a temple, but most of the trip from Grouse Creek to Twin Falls is over mountainous dirt road, so the driving time would be no less than to Ogden or Logan.CALLAO, Juab County: The Callao Branch is in the Delta Utah West Stake. Callao is about 170 miles from either Manti of Provo, much of it dirt road. Travel time is more than four hours.
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