Summarized by Kent Larsen
Temple Changing Nauvoo
By(New temple is a monument to history, faith - and hope)
By Raad Cawthon: Inquirer Staff Writer
NAUVOO, ILLINOIS -- The Philadelphia Inquirer looked at the project to
rebuild the Nauvoo Temple and the effect it will have on the town of
Nauvoo, which with just 1,100 residents has less people than when the
original Temple was built. The town itself is facing a lot of change
because of the building, but also stands to reap a lot of benefits.
The historic significance of the temple is expected to at least double,
to 500,000, the number of tourists visiting Nauvoo each year and more
aggresive estimates suggest the number of visitors could reach 1
million. Steve Sanders, non-LDS president of the Nauvoo Chamber of
Commerce, says, "It is going to turn this town inside out. It is going
to change this town completely."
He has received dozens of contacts from people looking to develop real
estate in the area. Plans include condominiums, retirement villages,
hotels and restaurants. "The only way you can get here is to drive," he
says. "Half a million people. How many cars is that? You do the math."
The interest has led land prices to double since President Hinckley
announced the reconstruction.
LDS Church officials agree. "We have doubled the value of the city,"
says Elder Loren Burton, PR Director for Nauvoo Restoration Inc., the
LDS Church-owned company that operates the Church's historical sites in
Nauvoo and which is rebuilding the temple.
Many in Nauvoo are similarly excited at the changes, "This is like
their Jerusalem," says Nauvoo Tourism director Ginger Reese. "You can't
help but get excited about that." Local bookstore owner, Estel Neff,
71, also agrees, "When the temple is finished, there are going to be
more foreigners here than on the streets of Chicago."
But other Nauvoo residents express a sense of helplessness at the
changes. Mayor Tom Wilson, thinks Nauvoo may see growth of 10 percent a
year for the next 10 years, but, "we can't control anything," he says.
The city council recently adopted its first zoning and land-use
ordinance in an attempt "to keep things residential residential and
things business business."
But some town officials see some resentment. Chamber of commerce
president Sanders says, "It's a very conservative town. Some people are
not happy with what is happening. I have heard the word cult. But as a
businessman, it's the best thing that ever happened to me." And Mayor
Wilson observes that while for him the Mormons are "all right as long
as they leave me alone and don't start preaching to me," not everyone
likes the Mormons.
"Every now and then I get someone in here who just doesn't like Mormons
and that's all there is to it," he says. "They just don't like Mormons
because their father told them they shouldn't like Mormons."
But Elder Burton says he hasn't seen it, "I have been here two years,
and we have been welcomed with open arms," he says. "It's history now.
Those [anti-Mormon] feelings have mended. The temple is a monument to
the sacrifice that happened here. But bridges of understanding have
been built. A lot of the early persecution was about people not
But Mayor Wilson, reflecting a sentiment that is less optimistic, says
of the temple, "It's going to be tall. And it's going to be lighted."