Following Faith

City shifts gears, Mormon temple won’t be on Mercedes-Benz Drive

First Published      Last Updated Mar 10 2017 04:30 pm

It turns out Atlanta's Mormon temple will be able to steer clear of the Mercedes-Benz moniker after all.

The Sandy Springs City Council put the brakes on a plan to rename the suburban street where the temple sits after the German automaker.

When LDS leaders learned a proposed road-name change could force them to put "Mercedes-Benz Drive" on the religious site's official mailing address, they protested to city leaders.

Church spokesman William Maycock fired off a letter to "adamantly oppose the proposed renaming" of Barfield Road, which has been part of the temple's address since its 1983 dedication.

Maycock argued that including the name of the luxury-car maker in its address "would be inconsistent with the sacred nature of the temple and with the freedom of religion not to be required to endorse or be affiliated with a commercial business."

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a compromise has been struck. The council voted to rename a smaller stretch of the road for Mercedes-Benz, which is planting its future U.S. headquarters there. That means the temple and any other businesses in the area can keep their current addresses.

Descendants of the original road's namesake, William Monroe Barfield, a farmer who lived on the land, also opposed the name change along with other parties.

Members of the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints view temples as houses of God, places where faithful Mormons participate in their faith's highest rites.

Bob Mims