“Miracles happen every day in the work of the Church and in the lives of its members.“ - Dallin H. Oaks
There was a great urgency to get a temple for the saints in New York. The membership of the New York Saints had tripled the decade before the temple was announced, and those members needed a temple. The membership of the New York Saints was 42,000 at the time of the announcement of the Manhattan, New York Temple.
The biggest problem with getting the New York City saints a temple was the cost. Real-estate in New York is expensive and real-estate the size that was needed for a temple would have been way above budget for what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints could justify.
President Hinckley announced a temple in Hartford, Connecticut that would serve the New York City Saints. There was a lot of opposition for the temple in that area, and they did not find land that would be suitable for the temple in Hartford, Connecticut at that time. President Hinckley said he knew the members of Connecticut would be sad, but it was just not working out.
The Miracle Happened
President Hinckley went to tour some properties in downtown New York and found some that would be good for ward buildings. He went through the church owned property in Lincoln. President Hinckley had an idea of changing the Stake Center in downtown New York City to serve as a temple, like they had done in Hong Kong.
This was recorded in President Hinckley’s journal "We then went to our Lincoln Center property," he said. "I went all through this very carefully with the thought that the upper portion might be converted to a beautiful and serviceable temple. The more I saw of it, the better I felt about it. We would do here what we have done in Hong Kong."
He recorded in his journal that he prayed about it and then wrote ”I feel enthusiastic.”
In President Hinckley journal he recounted that he told members this the next day: "The only reason I have come here," he said, "was to see what we could do to move along a temple in this area. . . . We have had so much trouble. . . . We must do something. I cannot foretell what will happen, but I can only give you this promise that somehow whether it is there or some other place, I am going to see that we get a temple built in this New York area while I am still alive."
President Hinckley said that he told the members that ”within two years we will have a temple here for dedication.”
It took a little longer than two years to get the Manhattan Temple dedicated, and this is what President Hinckley said about that: "I have come back to fulfill that promise. I am sorry that I am late. I said that I would be back in two years. I meant roughly two years."
Truly, a miracle had to happen to get a temple for the New York Saints. Sometimes things seem impossible, but with time, faith and prayer the Lord guides us to the right solution for our needs. In a talk entitled ”Miracles,” Elder Dallin H. Oaks said miracles have been defined as: “a beneficial event brought about through divine power that mortals do not understand and of themselves cannot duplicate.” Finding real-estate that would work for a temple in Manhattan seemed like something that would virtually be impossible, but with the Lord nothing is impossible and He shows His people miracles every day(if we are looking:)).