No, not in my backyard!

I’m angrier than a temp without an assignment over all of this, although it will probably be delayed anger.  Yesterday, the Mormon church held its annual General Conference and Albany-area members eagerly await their city to be named as the home of an upcoming temple.  Joy turned to tears as the church’s president glossed over the Capital Region.

Mormons think the “joy” of having a temple come to Albany is, for now, dead and buried, but the day soon could come when Albany’s name will be called.  We’ll know in October, assuming that they announce temples then.  Although this is bad news for members, I say that it’s good news for the rest of us.

Hear me out.

The temple might be built in Albany proper, or it could be built in a suburb such as Colonie.  No matter where it’s built, you don’t want a Mormon temple in your backyard.  Why?  The Mormons are such a peaceful, loving bunch, right?  Well, maybe, but that’s not important right now.

You see, you can expect the following if a temple is built in your neighborhood, no matter how nice they come across as at the mandatory zoning meeting:

Increased traffic, especially on Saturdays, will become the new normal.  At times, it will be more than one can bear.  On Saturdays, groups of members, especially the youth, will be there to perform what they say is sacred work in behalf of the deceased.  The adults will be there to perform sacred rites for themselves.

Groups of youth will be going in and out throughout a given Saturday.  That means a lot of vehicles.  Do you really want that around you?

And throughout the week, adult groups will be going through.  They, too, will bring increased traffic to the neighborhood, although it won’t be as bad as Saturdays…or summers. 

All of this traffic will be originating from all over the area, depending on what the new temple district will indicate.

A typical lot of a Mormon temple is the temple itself, which could be one to three stories.  Then come the parking spaces.  Not only that, but traffic patterns will change so that the temple can be accommodated. 

No, the Mormons are not there to hurt you.  The church has a “good neighbor” policy and they will make a genuine effort to be peaceful, quiet and friendly.  But some things just cannot be helped.  Hell, Mormon culture is downright funny!

All this and more could be yours if the church reads off the name, “Albany, New York!” when it tells the worldwide membership where new temples are going to be.  Now, assume that it’s October, and Albany’s name has been called.  Construction won’t start tomorrow.  No, they announce the city before a lot has been purchased, through Church employees have almost certainly scouted out potential locations in secret.

The church will propose a lot to the zoning committee and then it will have to show what the lot will look like; the structure and proposed parking spaces and so forth.  This process could take a while.  In many ways, it’s much like proposing a meetinghouse (where regular church services and activities take place).  In those cases, traffic will be an issue on Sundays but not so much the weekdays, depending on the size of the congregation or congregations that use that building.  Given a choice, I’d rather have a meetinghouse in my backyard than a temple.

But I do know that I don’t want a temple in my backyard.  Although the church will make every effort to blend into their surrounding, I know the congestion and inconvenience that will be caused.  This experience comes from over thirty years in the church that ended in 2022 in favor of Catholicism.

It’s important to note here that I have no problem with the religion.  Everyone has the right to worship how they please or don’t please.  I am not proposing that their rights be infringed upon.  All I’m saying is that if they are going to be in a neighborhood, the residents should have the right to stand up and literally say, “not in my backyard!”

The bottom line is that from announcement to dedication, it could take five years or more for the temple to be a reality. That’s assuming that all of the necessary approvals occur.  After all, if concerned citizens hold protests and if they show up to zoning meetings to oppose the proposal, the church could find itself unwelcome in their desired area.  If that occurs, they wouldn’t give up on Albany, but they’d find themselves literally going back to the drawing board.

But relax.  We got a six-month reprieve.