There are three locations in Las Vegas for Deseret Book, the LDS Church’s bookstore: one on the far east side of town, and two on the far west side.  Well, just the two on the west side now, apparently. 

The one on the east side is gone.  The space that it occupied for many years is now vacant.  It was located in a Mormon-themed strip mall just down the road from Southern Nevada’s only temple, so location couldn’t have been a problem.  If anyone finds it disconcerting that an outlet for things like scriptures, oil for priesthood ordinances, and the works of current Apostles is no longer economically viable, don’t worry: that strip mall’s credit union, fancy bread store, and hair salon are all still open for business.

2 comments on “Priorities

  1. I enjoyed a visit to the Las Vegas Temple some time ago – at least I enjoyed my actual time on the grounds of the temple. The neighborhood in the immediate vicinity of the temple is typical of what’s around most LDS temples, but the area beyond the immediate temple influence is not. I can understand why the bookstore moved/closed. I was surprised at how rough things looked along the roads into the temple neighborhood!

    Did I just take a wrong turn, or are things really that bad on the east side of Las Vegas? Don’t tell me that it’s just a “working-class” area – that’s not a valid reason for the appearance of the area. The scenery on the way in from the freeway (and out again) on the east side looked neglected and depressing. It appeared that the city wasn’t paying attention, infrastructure-wise, and that the residents/business owners just don’t care.

    Maybe it was just me….

  2. DC, it wasn’t just you. Vegas is usually thought of as being in four quadrants: Northwest, Southwest, Southeast, and Northeast. The temple is in the lower part of the Northeast. While the other three parts of town have had their respective major booms of growth in the last twenty years, the northeast has really missed out. Yes, there have been some nice developments out there, especially in the farthest areas, but not nearly what the rest of the city has enjoyed.

    Part of it does have to do with the “working class” status, sort of: along with downtown itself, it’s the oldest part of the city. The Air Force base is out there. The population of Las Vegas’s east side is home to sizable immigrant populations. Since it’s so old and established, there just wasn’t as much room to grow or interest in developing it as there was for the rest of the valley in the last twenty years. Actually, most of that Northeast quadrant falls into North Las Vegas, a seperate municipality from Las Vegas. NLV’s leadership has had their budget strapped just keeping up with developing those areas on the north and west borders of their “quadrant,” the ones that look the least like the squalid older parts. (Las Vegas’s current mayor actually has a solid reputation for redeveloping older pats of town).

    For a few years at the beginning of this decade, I worked at a school on the east side, not far from the temple. I noticed that the newsstands by bus stops tended to be either neglected or actively trashed. After a while, most of the ones along my commute were just taken out. The message was strong: literacy doesn’t sell on the east side. I suppose the closing of Deseret Book might tie into that trend. I’ve written before about how the Latter-day Saints are one of America’s last literate subcultures; alas, perhaps that, too, is going the way of the dodo.

    I remember when the Las Vegas temple was built, the members in Southern Nevada, who donated very generously to construct it, expected it to be built on the west side, where most of the affluent population lives. There was quite a bit of shock and consternation when the site was announced as on the east side. The ruffled feathers abated, though, and attendance was very strong. For a while.

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