Monday, August 23, 2010

LDS (Mormon) Temple Opened in Kiev

For several years Kievites have been wondering, "what's that tall white building being built over there on the Okruzhnaya Road?" Well, now we know. It's a Mormon (LDS) temple, the first of its kind not only in Ukraine, but in all the former Soviet Union.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, claims 10,000 members in Ukraine after nearly 20 years of proselyting activity. There are some 13 million or so Mormons around the world with roughly 1 temple per 100,000 members (so ~130 temples). So now, instead of traveling to Germany (a little perk of membership) for temple service, LDS church members in the region will stay a bit closer to home.

The temple is highly visible right next to the Okruzhnaya Road on the southwest edge of Kiev. It had its public open house in August and from now on will only be accessible to church members with special passes. Regular Sunday worship meetings are held in chapels, which are open to the general public.

Other public activities held by Ukrainian Mormons include English conversation classes led by foreign missionaries, mostly from the U.S. Many students of English in Kiev have heard of or even attended these classes. They say they consist of general conversation by untrained teachers who tend to be replaced sooner than you can get to know them, followed by a brief proselytizing spiel. But they are free of cost.

I toured the temple during its open house along with hundreds or thousands of other Kievites and was impressed with the interior. I'm fairly sure it could be put in the top 100 buildings of Ukraine in terms of quality and neatness of interior design.

The landscaping was distinctly American / Western European, with a thick mat of uniformly trimmed bright green grass. "It's artificial," said someone who had never seen a proper lawn before. "No, it's real," I explained, a lawn expert by virtue of my U.S. citizenship.

No comments:

Post a Comment