City Creek Mall
Church leaders are commissioned to hold up a banner to the world, and to assure that areas surrounding temples, like Salt Lake City, provide a safe environment for patrons.
The LDS Church, like others churches, has many investments. By directing some of those funds to develop the downtown area of Salt Lake City, the investments serve a double purpose by revitalizing the vicinity around the temple and Church offices and also producing profits that can be used to further other Church responsibilities.
If Salt Lake City had followed the path of many other larger United States cities whose downtown areas are dominated by vacant buildings, with crime, poverty, drunkenness, and homelessness common, the safety of temple patrons and members coming to visit the Church offices might have been threatened.
LDS leaders believe they have a responsibility to fulfill prophecies regarding the temple in the last days:
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. (Isaiah 2:2.)
And to raise a banner, an ensign, and a standard to the world.
This [is] the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness--clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners. (D&C 5:14.)
And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly: (Isaiah 5:26.)
All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye. (Isaiah 18:3.)
Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles. (Isaiah 13:2.)
Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. (Isaiah 62:10.)
Behold, this is the preparation wherewith I prepare you, and the foundation, and the ensample which I give unto you, whereby you may accomplish the commandments which are given you; That through my providence, notwithstanding the tribulation which shall descend upon you, that the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world; (D&C 78:13-14.)
The City Creek project has revitalized the area surrounding the temple and Church offices.
Religious observance does affect the City Creek Mall, where the shops, except for the restaurants, are closed on Sundays.
Jason Mathis, executive director of Salt Lake City’s Downtown Alliance, observed that the Church is “an interesting landlord. They’re not worried about the next quarter. They have a much longer perspective than many other investors would have had. They want to know what the city will look like in the next 50 or 100 years.”
Poverty is not a virtue. Joseph Smith lived in the nicest house in Nauvoo (the Nauvoo Mansion) and Brigham built himself one of the nicest home in Salt Lake City. But in both situations, those edifices were also used to conduct Church business.
The Church has used its influence to maintain areas around other temples including those in Ogden, Utah, and Mesa, Arizona.