Latest from Mormon Land: Why a Latter-day Saint chapel faces foreclosure

Also: Temple predictions for General Conference; revisiting the “September Six”; Latter-day Saint appears with Pope Francis; and more Missouri land sales.

The Mormon Land newsletter is The Salt Lake Tribune’s weekly highlight reel of developments in and about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Support us on Patreon and get the full newsletter, exclusive access to Tribune subscriber-only religion content and podcast transcripts.

Meetinghouse has a stack of bills

As is well known by now, the church has billions upon billions of dollars in reserve funds. So how is it that a fairly typical Ohio chapel is in foreclosure and faces more than $240,000 in back taxes?

Well, it all began eight years ago with an unpaid water assessment of $2,101 on a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse in Massillon, The Canton Repository reports, which led to the church unwittingly losing its tax exemption.

From there, the property tax bills piled up on the 13,000-square-foot building, valued at $1.6 million.

Now, the newspaper reports, church headquarters in Salt Lake City is working to fix the issue, an outcome Stark County officials desire as well.

“Relative to the foreclosure case, the action is not stayed,” county Auditor Alan Harold told The Repository. “But should the expected resolution (payment, exemption reinstatement) progress, I would expect the case to be dropped. That is certainly our mutual goal, and we are agreeable to working to that end.”

Will Mongolia get its temple?

(Mark Schiefelbein | AP ) In this July 16, 2016, photo, the sun rises over the city in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Will the country's capital get its first Latter-day Saint temple?

Among a world of possibilities, according to independent church tracker Matt Martinich, the following 10 cities appear “most likely” to have a temple announced at the approaching General Conference:

• Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (it’s becoming a staple on this list; is this its year?).

• Spanish Fork (this would be Utah’s 29th existing or planned temple after the state has gone three straight General Conferences without gaining a new one).

• Angeles or Olongapo, Philippines.

• Colorado Springs (Martinich’s hometown).

• Kampala, Uganda.

• São José, Brazil.

• Viña del Mar, Chile.

• João Pessoa, Brazil (if these two temples are named, it would put South America’s largest nation one behind Mexico, which has the second most of any country, after the U.S.)

• Santiago, Dominican Republic.

• Maracaibo, Venezuela.

(Read more about Martinich’s latest temple forecasts at ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com.)

The latest ‘Mormon Land’ podcast: The ‘September Six’

(The Salt Lake Tribune) Members of the "September Six," who were disciplined by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in September 1993. Clockwise, from top left: Lavina Fielding Anderson; D. Michael Quinn; Avraham Gileadi; Lynne Kanavel Whitesides; Paul Toscano; and Maxine Hanks.

Author Sara Patterson, a professor of theology and gender studies at Indiana’s Hanover College, discusses her new book, “The September Six and the Struggle for the Soul of Mormonism,” and the part that purge played — and still plays — in the church’s quest for doctrinal “purity.” Listen to the podcast.

Latter-day Saint appears with Pope Francis

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Pope Francis speaks at an ecumenical gathering in the Hun Theater in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023. Latter-day Saint Tuvshinjargal “Tuvshin” Gombo, second from right, and representatives of other faiths listen.

A Latter-day Saint added her voice to that of other interfaith speakers at a forum with Pope Francis in Mongolia, according to a news release, saying Jesus expects all Christians to “seek understanding and compassion, and to strive for harmony amidst our diversity.”

“In our shared journey, which can be challenging at times,” said Tuvshinjargal “Tuvshin” Gombo, the only woman on the panel, “we can create a world where love prevails, where families are strengthened and where all God’s children find hope, acceptance, purpose and peace.”

From The Tribune

• After more than five weeks in a hospital, apostle Jeffrey Holland is recuperating at home and looking forward to “resuming active service in his ministry.”

• A few weeks after putting more than 1,800 acres up for sale south of Independence, Mo. (the faith’s once and future Zion), the church is doing the same with 500-plus acres in the nearby Kansas City area.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) President Russell M. Nelson looks at birthday cards sent to him for his 99th birthday in his office at the Church Administration Building in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. He turned 99 on Saturday, Sept. 9.

• Church President Russell Nelson is now a full year older and a full year closer to the century mark after turning 99 on Saturday. We revisit major changes and developments during his five–plus years guiding the global faith.

• Here’s yet another church fund worth billions — one that you may not know about — and it, too, is coming under scrutiny.

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

• Religion News Service columnist Jana Riess reflects on her conversion 30 years ago, when the “September Six” purge was taking place, and why she sticks with the faith.

• The mark of “cane,” a Moroni myth, Napoleon’s cannon and Brigham’s lightning — Tribune guest columnist and ace history digger Ardis E. Parshall mines legends about the newly renovated and reopened St. George Temple.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The recently renovated St. George Temple, left, and an architectural drawing of the temple in 1871 with a different proposed spire.

• A fellow guest columnist, Eli McCann, ventures into the wacky world — at least to outsiders — of Latter-day Saint lingo, including this spooky gem: “The Holy Ghost goes to bed at midnight.”

• While the lighting issue — to preserve those dark skies above — has been put to rest, the planned Heber Valley Temple faces another challenge, this one from below: groundwater.