In this first half of this episode I am pleased to introduce Jodhi Warwick and Meshwayla MacDonald. Both are members of the Temple View Heritage Society. Temple View is a small Mormon village on the outskirts of Hamilton New Zealand and lies at the foot of the NZ temple. The village grew up around both the temple and Church College of New Zealand, a school that was built by labour missionaries in the 1950’s. After 60 years of service the school closed its doors in 2009 leaving questions over the fate of the land. The Heritage Society have an interest in preserving the school buildings because, they argue, they are fundamental to the unique identity of their community, have provided essential community facilities, and they represent the sacrifice that theirs, and my own ancestors made to build it. For the Temple View Heritage Society the campus is more than just land; its spirit, memory, history, community, and identity.
But they have found themselves up against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Trust Board who have proceeded with plans to demolish the buildings and – as is the current plan – to develop the land. In opposing the church’s plans they have found themselves in opposition to the church in formal council hearings. Moreover they have had to endure questions about their faith in an increasingly divided LDS community – The Temple View Heritage Society and those for whom all that is required is to ‘sustain the prophet.’
This is a complex story and while it’s a New Zealand story it does point us to some very interesting dynamics at play in terms of the way the church works throughout the world as a corporation including shell corporations underscored with an ethic of plausible deniability. In the second part of this story I will discuss these dynamics with Salt Lake City US attorney, James Ord who has his very inquisitive finger on the pulse of both Salt Lake and New Zealand. James and I discuss the church’s overarching vision for its property holdings, particularly those close to temples, and the cultural frameworks it imposes upon places outside of the United States.
Some of us can be very challenged by the corporate operations of the church and so the purpose of this podcast is to look at a single case through the eyes of those affected, who have maintain their faith and loyalty to the church but are struggling to make sense of what the church is up to. James and I will look at this case again through commercial and legal eyes in order to get a clear perspective on just what these suited white shirted blokes are up to when they talk land and sustaining the prophet in the same breath.
Part One with Meshwayla and Jodhi is a discussion of the history of Church College of New Zealand
Part Two with Meshwayla and Jodhi is a discussion of the actions of the Temple View Heritage Society to preserve the CCNZ buildings
Part Three with James Ord is a legal, organisational and financial analysis of the machinations of the corporate activities of the LDS church and the signficance this has in terms of the future of the Temple View community.
This is a link to the Temple View Project
Ra Puriri has kept online records of some key documents associated with the repurposing of the site.