This isn’t space related, but I wanted to mention this anyway. After all, the “boondocks” in Selenian Boondocks is a reference to my time I spent in the Philippines as an LDS missionary (boondocks is an Americanized version of the Tagolog word “bundok” which means “mountain”).
Last weekend, during General Conference, the LDS Church announced it was going to be building a new temple in Urdaneta City, Philippines. To me this is huge news, as Urdaneta City is only about a dozen miles from three towns in Pangasinan (a province near the Lingayen Gulf) where I spent most of my mission–Calasiao, Bayambang, and Binmaley, and only about a two hour drive from Bolinao. Here’s a google map of the area, for those of you who are curious:
It’s kind of hard to explain to someone who isn’t a member of the Church what this means to me, but it’s pretty exciting to me. Temples are special places for LDS church members, where we perform weddings (“sealings” in LDS jargon) for “time and all eternity” and not just “till death do you part”, and where church members perform proxy ordinances for ancestors who died without a chance to make those decisions in this life. Tiffany and I were sealed in a temple in Portland, Oregon and my parents were sealed in the temple in Salt Lake City. It’s an important part of who we are and who we want to be. It’s also a place of quiet meditation. For instance, it was in the Los Angeles temple that I got the inspiration to turn down the job offer I had gotten at SpaceX and stick with Masten for another two years (a decision I’m really glad I made!).
While there are a lot of temples in the US, there aren’t as many overseas. Previously, for members in Pangasinan, it was a 10-12hr drive to make it to the only temple in their country, located down in Quezon City, down by Manilla. Now they’ll have a temple right in their neighborhood.
Anyhow, I guess I usually don’t talk much about things like this on my blog, but this is a temple I’ve been hoping for and praying for for almost a decade now, and I thought I’d share my excitement. I’m hoping I can make it back to the Philippines for the dedication ceremony, whenever that will be.
Anyhow, I now return you to your normal Selenian Boondocks-y space nerdlichkeit.