LDS Church exploring two options for long-term MTC expansion

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  • elarue NEW YORK, NY
    May 3, 2013 7:44 a.m.

    I remember when I was in the MTC back in 1998 - I remember it being overcrowded then. And apparently, they had just completed an expansion then, too! If they need an expansion then, they certainly need it now with the influx of new missionaries with the lowered age requirements.

    @Brave Sir Robin
    A couple groups after mine, they implemented a "split" MTC period where missionaries would spend one month in Provo and one month in Sao Paulo. From what I heard, even in Sao Paulo, they went out of their way to ensure that the American missionaries had all their activities - classes, devotionals, temple sessions - in English. The missionaries were so disappointed that they didn't feel like it was worth it to be moved in the middle of their MTC time.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    May 2, 2013 12:17 p.m.

    Well, the church is opening a fourth mission in Ghana this year. International student enrollment at BYU is kept down by many factors, including the difficulties the US puts in the way of international students it sees as at risk to not retrun at the end of their studies. The cost and logistical problems in returning home also make it a much more difficult experience than for those who come from even the most distant parts of the US.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    May 2, 2013 12:11 p.m.

    Having the MTC close to a temple is generally considered a good thing. There is no temple in Tooele so I doubt that would be considered. Also, creating a new MTC would require a new set of leadership, which expanding the current one would not. Another consideration is many current MTC teachers get there by bus, so it needs to be an easily accessible place.

    The language issues at BYU-Idaho are not relevant since teachers draw on their experience as missionaries, not on college classes in the language. However there are strong logistical considerations in making new MTCs, and it is probably not worth doing so within the US.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    May 2, 2013 12:04 p.m.

    Having the MTC connected with BYU makes it possible to employ international students there in a way that would not be possible if they were not connected. Of course the connection does not demand a physical proximity. However the Church many years ago determined not to expand academic space at BYU, so there is really not a need to expand BYU onto the MTC property.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    May 2, 2013 12:02 p.m.

    Even if it was reasonable to open more international MTCs, that would not be a total solution. A-there is a huge number of missionaries called to serve in the US. b-This includes many foriegn missionaries who come to the MTC in part to learn English. c-Being adjacent to BYU provides the MTC with a clear supply of teachers. Having a ready supply of trained teachers is an issue that needs to be surmounted in building international MTCs. I am really not sure where else the Church could build additional MTCs. Maybe in Germany, France and Italy, but it is not clear that such would really alievate much demand on the one in Utah. They might try to build MTCs elsewhere in the US, but the logistical difficulty of such would probably be even greater than expanding the existent one.

  • snowman Provo, UT
    May 1, 2013 11:39 a.m.

    dustman:: If you are talking about the Beehive House, you are wrong. The beehive House was Brigham Youngs home.

  • Tilka PORTLAND, OR
    May 1, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    Why not build an MTC at the International Center? It is close to the airport so the cost of transportation for the missionaries would be greatly reduced. It is far enough out to discourage missionaries from getting out and into trouble. There are plenty of LDS returned missionaries in Salt Lake and Davis counties that could serve there for language training, or they could dedicate that facility to those who will be serving in English speaking missions.

    No temple for them to attend? How about building one within the MTC. It worked for the Hong Kong and NYC temples to be in multi use buidlings. Plus a temple out in the NW part of SL county would benefit Toole residents and those on the west side.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    May 1, 2013 9:02 a.m.

    President Hinckley's polar star vision, in which you would see this visual link between the MTC and the temple. which really the 3 fold mission of the Church.

    What a great idea from a person that lives in the area. Missionaries will have that experience to see the aligning of the three-fold mission in their stay at the MTC. Those that instruct and are leaders will have that more indelible in their minds, hearts, and soul. 900 East for missionaries should be doable as we still have people with the DNA of pioneers who can see something and as President Kimball said, "do it".

    1. Proclaim the Gospel: MTC

    2. Perfect the Saints : church attendance, temple attendance, church service, prayer, scripture study, family home evening, and other gospel principles and ordinances.

    3. Redeem the Dead: Temple

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints works very hard in the myriads of things that the Church does on a daily basis around the world and especially in Utah.

    The Presiding Bishopric have such a busy schedule in planning, coordinating, partnering, and doing so many tasks in those areas for meeting houses, temples, and other structures for the furthering work.

  • dustman Gallup, NM
    May 1, 2013 8:48 a.m.

    I think anytime someone wants to build close to my house or obstruct my view, I should be able to voice my opinion. As an LDS church member, I'm glad I'd be able to let my church leaders know that I'm not okay with them building in front of my house. I don't live in Utah, but I applaud those that stood up for themselves. I never felt right about the prophet Brigham Young taking that one guy's house in Salt Lake away from him after he put all that work into it. I'm sure Brigham needed a house, but to just take this dude's house? It's a good house. Its still standing in SLC next to the Joseph Smith building. As church members we can choose to say no. God is pro-choice, its called agency.

  • downtown424 CHICAGO, IL
    May 1, 2013 7:41 a.m.

    Serious question, why does this expansion have to be in Provo? We have MTC campuses all over the world, why can't the church build a second campus in another part of the state, the region, or the country? I can't imagine getting real estate in Idaho, Arizona, or even Virginia would be that hard, it creates another visible church property, and wouldn't be a burden on the local community. What am I missing? Why does it all have to be at one location?

  • Don Bugg Prince Frederick, MD
    May 1, 2013 7:26 a.m.

    Brave Sir Robin called it "The stated mission of BYU" to "provide an LDS atmosphere specifically to out-of-state and international LDS students who may not have had an atmosphere like that where they grew up."

    Really? Where has BYU or its sponsoring church EVER stated that as the mission of BYU?

  • Twin Sister LINDON, UT
    April 30, 2013 10:43 p.m.

    @Strider 303.

    You may not be aware that when the MTC was first built many years ago, the Church made a promise to those living in the neighborhood adjacent to the MTC that they would not build any buildings higher than four stories. Therefore, the residents in this neighborhood had every right to remind the Church of that promise. When this promise was brought to the attention of the First Presidency, the plans to build the nine-story building ended.

    The obstructed view that the nine-story building would have created was really beside the point. Property values in this neighborhood have always been the point and that is precisely why the promise about erecting buildings no higher than four stories was made in the first place.

    Additionally, it is a courteous, "good neighbor" policy of the Church to take into consideration the impact that building projects might have on any surrounding properties in spite of zoning regulations or their legal right to build.

  • BYU-Virginia Mesa, AZ
    April 30, 2013 8:03 p.m.

    I like the idea of an English-only MTC near the Rexburg Temple. Keep the language training in Provo. Back in the 70s, Scandinavian languages were taught at the Ricks LTM, while Asian languages were taught at the CCH LTM.

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    April 30, 2013 6:44 p.m.

    The best way is to build a center in Rexburg. Send the Elders to one and the Sisters to the other.

  • Chachi Charlottesville, VA
    April 30, 2013 6:17 p.m.

    I'm surprised that neighbors favor the northeast option for aesthetic reasons. The view from 900 East, looking from in front of the MTC to the temple, is beautiful, open, and unobstructed. It's an amazing view not just of the temple, but of the mountains behind it. Even short buildings would totally alter the feel of the place.

    And by expanding to the south, placing the new campus between the MTC and some BYU parking lots, on the current site of the laundry, maintenance, and auxiliary support buildings, the Church would be obstructing the view of...what exactly?

  • Shamal Orlando, FL
    April 30, 2013 5:50 p.m.

    Twin Sister,

    Members of the community were engaged during a three-year planning process in which expansion several options were considered. The cramped all brick classrooms and other facilities needed to be replaced. A single consolidated building in place of some of the original buildings was the recommendation.
    After announcing their intentions, the church's needs were explained to "all concerned parties." Information and resources were put out online, in newspapers, city council and local community meetings and this went on for months. There was no shortage of invitations for input.
    The church not acting on the wishes of a few does not mean that their wishes were not considered. It is far more likely that during the three years of planning that significant resources were put forth to meet the church's needs and enhance rather than detract from the community.
    Your claim that members in the community were not notified and consulted before and after the announcement is false and disingenuous. The church has certainly been gracious. Despite the church's efforts towards dialogue, those apposed staged protests and sighted the fallibility of their leaders. To me they were arrogant. The church ultimately respected their wishes.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2013 5:47 p.m.

    The Church did not have to inform anyone personally about their plans to build the nine-story building. They went to the City of Provo and followed the rules by submitting plans and having them reviewed and approved. If the residents with the view have a beef, it is with their representatives on the city council. It is their representatives that set up and approved the zoning and building rules and procedures. I'll bet it was on the agenda of the planning commission and maybe even on line for all the world to see, if anyone cared to check.

    There is no "right" to a view, you have a right to do what you want to your property as long as you conform to the rules your representatives make. And that's an issue for another time.

    The Church would have been within it's rights to build the building as planned once all requirements were met and ignore the public hue and cry over a view. And if the new building did not meet the demand, they could build a second on on the land it owns.

    It's not your land folks, get over it!

  • Straitpath PROVO, UT
    April 30, 2013 4:24 p.m.

    I really lovetheopen field west of the Temple. It is beautiful and peaceful. Hope they don't build on it b

  • JohnInSLC Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 30, 2013 4:21 p.m.

    "Rexburg only teaches Spanish, French, Russian, German, Chinese--and of course, English."


    There are a few others. My son is taking classes in Arabic.

  • Eagles63 Provo, UT
    April 30, 2013 4:06 p.m.

    There is this principle called synergy. I know, cliches notwithstanding, it is real. The combination of MTC, Temple, BYU, linguistic support, regional hub airport, etc. is an obvious one. You would find no other place in the US with that combination. That isn't to say that alternatives aren't attractive in other states where you are focusing on that language, but for broad support, BYU is it. The only alternative, would be a place like U of U for English speaking missionaries, but that isn't going to happen given its build out issues.

  • Twin Sister LINDON, UT
    April 30, 2013 4:04 p.m.

    Correction: It was Elder Jeffrey R. Holland who stated in his talk that the Lord only has imperfect people to work with in His Church--except for His Perfect Son, Jesus Christ. "That must be very difficult for Him, but He deals with it." I mistakenly attributed that statement to President Monson. I suppose this is a case in point--I was mistaken.

  • snowman Provo, UT
    April 30, 2013 3:49 p.m.

    snowman:: correction that should say less than 1%

  • snowman Provo, UT
    April 30, 2013 3:34 p.m.

    thebigsamoan: It would be nice if more Provo residents could get into BYU. Right now less than 15 of the students at BYU are from Provo.

    April 30, 2013 3:14 p.m.

    When the age change announcement was made there were 2,800 missionaries in the MTC. The LDS Church expects to hit a high around 8,000 this summer. In what world does this stay at 6,000 missionaries, for the foreseeable future, in the MTC?

    It doesn't make sense that this is a permanent bump more than doubling the previous number of missionaries. Simply lowering the age means a one-time bump for a few years until things go back to almost normal. Of course, there will be some who will go on missions who wouldn't have before the age change, but to expect it to more than double the number of missionaries in the MTC going forward seems ludicrous to me. I would expect a more likely permanent baseline increase of 10% to 20%.

    But then, I don't receive revelation for the MTC!

  • thebigsamoan Richmond, VA
    April 30, 2013 1:34 p.m.

    @ Turtle,

    "The motto "The World is Our Campus" has real meaning and in the future it would be nice to see more international students get into BYU."

    Amen to that! We need more Ziggys from Ghana to give BYU more exposure Ansahs, lol! Hope the Church is sending more missionaries there.

    As for the MTC expansion plans, sounds like the thngs are going well and everyone concerned are please and happy. I'm sure the Lord is involved in the details of the plan so all will be well.

  • Disco Vega MoTown, CA
    April 30, 2013 12:55 p.m.

    I wish they'd put one in Modesto CA so we can at least one good thing in CA.

  • snowman Provo, UT
    April 30, 2013 10:57 a.m.

    amagnetick: Property values go up where there are church builds.

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    April 30, 2013 10:41 a.m.

    So there aren't enough languages supported at BYU-ID... um, then maybe there is a plethora of English speaking RMs there who could gain campus-type employment... the temple is basically on campus. Re: flying to mission fields - um, Idaho Falls (?) and there's always the 4 hour express available to SLC airport. Its no worse than what students there are face with addressing, if they don't drive personal vehicles. This approach could offload Provo issues and strength the weak employment situation BYU-ID students face.

  • Granny Saint George, UT
    April 30, 2013 10:37 a.m.

    The MTC needs to stay in its same location for a variety of reasons that have already been posted: close proximity to a temple, easy access to an enormous, qualified pool for foreign language and other MTC staff, an hour drive to a major airport which can handle the amount of missionaries departing, etc.

    There are other considerations as well. These could include the following which may already dovetailed into BYU functions: integration of security services, across-the-street-access to the BYU Health Center, food services and food suppplies, and emergency services. I suspect that the church has in place food storage to handle all missionaries and other security/emergency plans in place to handle these missionaries should evacuation or lock down occur.

    It would be hard to efficiently provide all services the MTC needs on a cost-efficient basis if it were relocated to another area.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    April 30, 2013 10:08 a.m.

    I'm not thinking about Tooele. I was thinking somewhere off-campus.
    And how often do they go to the temple?

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    April 30, 2013 9:43 a.m.

    It is absolutely essential that the MTC be next door to the temple, so the missionaries can attend regularly and participate in the ordinances. This further strengthens their testimony and reinforces the sacred covenants they make. An MTC in Tooele would not further this need. Too much instructional and learning time lost in transporting them to a temple. Those who will be living in the Wyview and Raintree apartments, I assume would be bussed to the temple, which would be a much shorter trip.

    Crossing 900 East would be very simple, Simply make underground passages as they have done on Temple Square in SLC. These passages would link the two campuses and be available only within the campuses. No outside access.

  • truebluecougar Orem, Utah
    April 30, 2013 9:13 a.m.

    I believe that proximity to an operating temple is essential for the MTC experience of preparing missionaries. To move the MTC to a remote location will take away from this spiritual strenthening instruction. Sounds like the Church has reached a good solution with the two alternatives that reside near the Provo Temple. Exciting times. These are great problems to have with so many young people heading the Lord's call to serve.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    April 30, 2013 8:38 a.m.

    The stone rolling forth to fill the earth? Not in my back yard.
    Seriously, I don't know how the locals put up with the whole BYU congestion.
    I suppose there is money to be made renting to students and the boost to the economy.
    But the MTC gives the locals nothing but lunches and congestion on intake day.
    If the church is going to invest in a building program they need to think about a completely new complex. The current site is not adequate for the big plans of the last days.
    Proximity to the temple needs to be discounted as a consideration. Put the new MTC far away from the current congested area. Plan for exercise areas.
    Once built the old MTC will not go to waste. BYU has always filled the vacuum before.

  • Mack2828 Ft Thomas, KY
    April 30, 2013 8:18 a.m.

    I wonder what they will do if they go forward with all of this expansion and then find after a few years that all of this excitement about going on a mission "early" dies out.

  • Twin Sister LINDON, UT
    April 30, 2013 7:41 a.m.


    One of your points is in error. It is a fact (My parents live in this neighborhood, therefore, I know whereof I speak.) that the Church did not include the people who live in this neighborhood in their plans to build the nine-story building. This decision was announced to the public (this neighborhood included) and the press after the Church had made the decision to build a nine-story building. Those living in this neighborhood had no input in this decision nor any knowledge of these plans prior to this announcement.

    As President Monson reminded us in our recent General Conference, imperfect people belong to and run the Church. Mistakes are made. A mistake was made when the Church's committee failed to notify and include the neighbors in the first building decision.

    What the Church did right the second time was to invite all concerned parties in making the decision about the needed expansion of the MTC. Again,I applaud the Church this second time around for including all concerned parties in the decision making process. All is well!

  • Turtle Owasso, OK
    April 30, 2013 7:04 a.m.


    Springville, Ut

    Re: Claudio

    The comments made by Brave Sir Robin were spot on. The BYU experience is often the only one that people who live out of state can have. My children all grew up in the mission field and going to BYU was a great opportunity. Sir Robin was suggesting that your kids can go to one of several institutions in Utah other than BYU and essentially have the same experience w/o having to deal with out of state tuition. The motto "The World is Our Campus" has real meaning and in the future it would be nice to see more international students get into BYU.

    I would hope that you would have some sympathy for those who live outside your boundaries. This is somewhat like the Perpetual Immigration and Perpetual Education funds which allows members to help others. I do not believe we should ever make statements to the brethren about how tithing is to be spent...

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    April 30, 2013 5:34 a.m.

    Build it out in the Tooele valley. Close to the airport, no distractions, lots of room. Kinda simple.

  • Shamal Orlando, FL
    April 30, 2013 3:14 a.m.

    Twin Sister,

    Some of us are still mortified by the reaction of our neighbors in Provo after they were invited to support the decision to move forward with the project and saddened the church felt the need to scrap it. If only claiming love and loyalty was enough to make it so.
    In stating how thrilled they are about the process the church has followed this time around, the implication is that they were not sufficiently considerate the first time around. How arrogant! Does anyone believe that a great deal of effort and care were not exercised in both planning and discussing the project? I'm sorry but if the church makes a proposal, goes through multiple iterations of dialogue with neighbors, makes a decision and then invites them to support the decision, the conversation is over. It's time to be counted. Some have a hard time understanding that not getting what you want is not the same as not being listened to. In this case the church took the high road in accepting the wishes of a small number of arrogant members.

    I believe Mr. Johnson's enthusiasm is genuine. His view won't be obstructed...

  • CWEB Orem, UT
    April 30, 2013 12:26 a.m.

    oh! New MTC hy 7-Peaks...something to do on P-Day!!!

  • CWEB Orem, UT
    April 30, 2013 12:23 a.m.

    Why not make a new MTC somewhere else in the outlying area. Move all English speaking to one, and all foreign language to another?

    Move the entire dirt/gravel/storage operations toward springville, and Build new MTC where the old Agriculture land is.

  • earthquakejake Logan, UT
    April 29, 2013 10:49 p.m.

    Why do they have to add to the Provo MTC? They fly the missionaries out of the SLC airport. There's plenty of land in-between Provo and SLC to build a new MTC.

  • Arizona1 Tucson, AZ
    April 29, 2013 10:43 p.m.

    Rexburg doesn't currently teach many language classes in comparison to BYU--hence few student workers. Rexburg only teaches Spanish, French, Russian, German, Chinese--and of course, English. Aside from English and Spanish, you can only go as high as a minor in each of the other languages if I'm not mistaken. That doesn't create the best-qualified instructors.

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    April 29, 2013 10:37 p.m.

    Re: Brave Sir Robin

    Hmm, that's funny. Last time I drove by BYU I was pretty sure their mission statement hadn't changed to implicitly exclude the tithe payers of Utah. I was pretty sure the mission statement went something like "Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve." Here I was thinking my kids had just as much a right as anyone else to attend the school which is in part subsidized happily by my tithing. What an egregious error I made!

  • washcomom Beaverton, OR
    April 29, 2013 10:23 p.m.

    @Russell - while a thoughtful idea of putting an MTC in Idaho, there is a fall-out issue, which is the fact that there is not a sufficient airport to accommodate the new missionaries' flight statuses. Having an airport near an MTC (within an hour's time) is one essential thing for the missionary training to succeed.

  • Russell Howes Los Angeles, CA
    April 29, 2013 10:09 p.m.

    Build an MTC in Rexburg. Provo is overcrowded, Idaho is not, and I can't imagine there being a lot of jobs to go around for RMs up there. Maybe MTC jobs in Rexburg would reduce the number of BYU-I freshmen trying to get into BYU-Provo after their missions, and if you moved the MTC entirely up there, you'd have more space for BYU academic buildings.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    April 29, 2013 10:05 p.m.

    They should put one in Bountiful so Davis County could get some blessings too.

  • Twin Sister LINDON, UT
    April 29, 2013 9:53 p.m.

    For those who didn't read the article carefully, the Church said that their original plan for building the nine-story building became obsolete with the new announcement of the age change for missionaries. One new nine-story building never would have accommodated the current, huge influx of missionaries. Scraping the nine-story building plan turned out to be a GOOD thing.

    Why the judgmental, sarcastic remarks about what the neighbors are quoted as saying in this article? I don't live in this neighborhood, but I know some of the people who do live there, and their comments in this news article are sincere. Church officials, BYU officials, Provo City officials, and the residents of this neighborhood are all happy with the two current alternatives for expanding the MTC that will now support the new tremendous need for expanded housing and training for the new missionaries. All concerned are happy with this win/win situation, but some people can't seem let go of their vindictive attitudes.

    I applaud the LDS Church, BYU, Provo City, and the MTC neighbors for coming to an amiable resolution that takes into consideration the needs of all concerned.

  • AlanSutton Salt Lake City, UT
    April 29, 2013 9:36 p.m.

    It's never wrong for members to object to a church building proposal. Years ago, when members were asked to contribute to a ward budget or to donate to a ward building fund, the Handbook of Instructions clearly stated that leaders should encourage members to express their thoughts without fear of recrimination. That should be the case here. However, once leaders make a decision, after taking all comments into consideration, it's considered good etiquette for all members to support the decision.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    April 29, 2013 9:13 p.m.


    The stated mission of BYU is to provide an LDS atmosphere specifically to out-of-state and international LDS students who may not have had an atmosphere like that where they grew up. LDS kids in Utah don't need that. They can go to other in-state schools or go out of state.

    Really what the church needs to do is open more international MTCs. Those are a better solution for missionaries who are learning a language, because even when you do "total immersion" in the Provo MTC, it's not truly total immersion because you still order your food in English, go to church in English, go to the temple in English, etc. True immersion would be better served by sending missionaries to MTCs where they have to do everything in that foreign language.

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Salt Lake City, UT
    April 29, 2013 9:13 p.m.

    I loved the original plans. I'm sorry to see that they won't be realized.

  • amagnetick AV, CA
    April 29, 2013 7:15 p.m.

    Yeah, I'm all for Missionary work and expanding the MTC. I support it 100% as long as it doesn't affect my view or property values.

  • wer South Jordan, UT
    April 29, 2013 6:35 p.m.

    Are these the same Utah county residents that strongly objected to the first plan last year that led to this overcrowding condition now?

    Gee, we hope their view of Utah Lake isn't affected by what the church is trying to do in spreading the gospel beyond University Ave.

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    April 29, 2013 6:32 p.m.

    The obvious answer to Trekker is that the foreign language classes and many other employment opportunities are handled well by BYU students. Moving the MTC to another part of Utah wouldn't make any sense at all.

  • trekker Salt Lake, UT
    April 29, 2013 6:14 p.m.

    Why not build a new MTC in another part of Utah. Let BYU use the current MTC property to expand and allow for more locals to attend BYU.