Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Blinded by the Light

On May 22, I posted about the Tooele Utah Temple, and how the Brethren were wanting to develop a residential community to surround the temple. I questioned the church's motives, which was for the 446 homes to "protect" the 70,000 square foot temple. 

"I've never heard of real estate being an effective protection for temples. I think most would expect that to be God's job," I opined. [1]

Well, today, I must give credit where credit is due. After significant public opposition (development opponents had gathered enough signatures to put a referendum on the ballot to reverse the rezoning), the church rescinded its development plans. [2]  I can say this: the church is pretty diligent in maintaining its reputation. It's rare to see it back down from a planned real estate development (I believe the last back-down was when neighbors complained about a proposed 9-story, above-ground Provo MTC).

Even though the development is history, plans to build the Tooele Utah Temple are still alive. [2]

Question: If Clark Griswold would travel hours and hours to see the largest ball of twine, how far would he go to look through the world’s largest amateur telescope?
Answer: A long way.

Sometime when you get a minute, Google this phrase: "the largest amateur telescope in the world."

Actually, I'll spare you the Googling time. The top of the Google search results shows one item: "Stansbury Park Observatory" (Complex), or the SPOC.

The SPOC is operated by the Salt Lake Astronomical Society for use by amateurs. It has four fixed telescopes: an 8" refractor, 16" and 32" reflectors, and a 70" reflector. When there isn't a pandemic happening, patrons hold Star Parties there, to which members and others bring their own telescopes. Anyone can attend those events and look through the telescopes. In other words, SPOC is a superb educational institution. It has also been the site of the discovery of several supernovae and at least one asteroid.

The SPOC is also located very, very close to another soon-to-be-famous location: the afore-mentioned Tooele Utah temple.

This has raised some concerns among the neighbors, who say the temple will add significant light pollution to the area and render the SPOC essentially useless.

My wife and I love to go where nighttime light pollution isn't a problem, and gaze at the stars at night. For us, it's an opportunity to gaze at God's works. 

Unfortunately, the good patrons of the SPOC may soon see their view of God's natural creations obscured and overridden by man-made, artificial light.


QUESTIONS

Based on the aforementioned facts, I have the following questions:

  • Who (or what) will be protecting the temple now that the residential development isn't a consideration?
  • Area residents organized to stop the church's development as well as the proposed Provo MTC building. Would SPOC patrons need to organize as well to ask the church to choose a different site for its temple?
  • Just why is the church in the business of real estate development in the first place?

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