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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Church News Updates

Hello again, everyone! There have been a few new articles published on the Church News website and on Mormon Newsroom which I wanted to pass along. So let's get right into those. First, the Church News continued its' series of articles on the new leaders called during the April General Conference. Mot recently, an article was published about Elder Takashi Wada, and it was interesting to learn more about him and the path that led to his current assignment.

The Church News and Mormon Newsroom's blog both provided similar information about how the volume featuring discourses by Latter-day Saint women has now been made available in Spanish and Portuguese, which, after English, are the second and third most common languages spoken by Church members worldwide. And the translations of that volume are the first non-English volume published under the trademark Church Historian's press. This is yet another example of how the Church has expanded on a global scale.

I continue to monitor all Church and temple news and will do my level best to continue bringing word of those developments to you all as I receive them. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next pot, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Temple Updates Provided

Hello again, everyone! Some additional temple updates have been brought to my attention which I wanted to pass along today. So let's get right into those. I first wanted to provide an update on where the Church stands in terms of having 200 operating temples by Saturday April 6, 2030. Between today and that date, there are now 11.79 years remaining. With only 11 other temples needing to be announced for the Church to have 200 in any stage, and the 30 temples currently in various stages of construction, that will be possible as long as the Church dedicates roughly 3.48 temples per year.

Just to reiterate, the 2 temples that will be dedicated later this year will be below that average. But, as I also have previously noted, there are a total of 6 temples that will likely be dedicated next year (1 of which already has a dedication announced), which will be above that average.

And although it is rare to get through the first half of any year without a temple groundbreaking occurring, I would anticipate that the Church will announce the groundbreaking for at least the Bangkok Thailand Temple prior to the end of this year, and I have offered my opinion that it could occur in November. The Lord has also been known to surprise us with temple groundbreaking announcements that were not anticipated, so I am not ruling that out as a possibility either.

That said, let's officially get to the updates. The Facebook page for the LDS Church Temples site posted some photographs earlier today showing progress on the Rome Italy Temple, which can be found here.

The other two updates I wanted to note in this post relate to temples undergoing renovations. A report has come in noting that scaffolding is now in place around the exterior of the Oakland California Temple. In the meantime, the renovation process for the Mesa Arizona Temple has progressed as well, with demolition activities officially underway.

I continue to monitor all temple developments and will, to the best of my ability, pass word of those along to you all as I receive them. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

First Presidency Announces New Guidelines for Youth Interviews

Hello again, everyone! In this report released by Mormon Newsroom around half an hour ago, the First Presidency announced revised guidelines for youth interviews. As some of you may recall, in an earlier news release, the Brethren noted that these updated guidelines would shortly be published. And with the news release today, we got a look at what has changed.

Hopefully these revisions will enable the youth of the Church to be more comfortable and confident when such interviews are conducted. The guidelines also emphasize the importance of greater preparation on the part of youth, their parents, and the leaders who are conducting these interviews. There is also a specific paragraph advising all Church leaders to avoid circumstances that might be misunderstood.

I continue to monitor all Church news and temple updates and will continue to bring those to you all ASAP after I learn of them. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Church Issues Statement on Families Separated at the Border; Tabernacle Choir Embarks on "Classic Coast Tour"

Hello again, everyone! The Church News reported just a short while ago that the Church has issued an official statement on the separation of families at the US border. The full text of that statement can be found here. It is my fervent hope that the leaders of all governments, especially here in the US, will heed the petition for reason and fairness in this matter.

While Church leaders are typically neutral on political matters, they are justified in expressing their view that the separation of families at the border should not be occurring. It is my personal and fervent hope that both major parties in the US and their leaders will unitedly work to correct a situation that should never have arisen. It seems that the current approach, at least here in the US, is for both sides to shift blame onto the other side, while neither takes responsibility for affecting real change. And that is certainly not an ideal situation when families are needlessly separated from each other.

I would invite all my readers to join with me in praying for those who are making the decisions in this regard, that reason and compassion will prevail, and that efforts will be made by all concerned to cooperate rather than continuing to squabble and play the blame game.

In happier news, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir embarked today on their 2018 "Classic Coast Tour", and the initial report on that can be found here. I continue to monitor all Church news and will do my level best to pass word of developments along as I receive it.

That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray thaat the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Temple Updates Provided

Hello again, everyone! I wanted to post again now to pass along some temple updates. To start off our discussion of those developments, I wanted to first note an update on something which I have referenced repeatedly on this blog. As long-time readers of this blog may recall, I have previously offered my opinion that the Church will likely have a minimum of 200 operating temples by or before Saturday April 6, 2030, which will mark the Church's bicentennial celebration.

As I have also noted, there are 30 temples currently scheduled for dedication, under construction, or announced, and the total number of temples in any phase has now reached 189. This means that, for the Church to reach 200 temples in any phase, only 11 others need to be announced. The amount of time between today's date and the date mentioned above is now 11.80 decimal years. That means that the Church would need to dedicate an average 3.47 temples per year.

By way of reminder, there will only be 2 temples dedicated prior to the end of this year (unless something unexpected occurs), which is below that average I mentioned. But next year, the Church has already scheduled one temple dedication, and 5 others will likely be dedicated during 2019 as well. So 8 temple dedications in a 2-year period of time puts 2018 and 2019 above that average.

And that is, of course, not taking into account that 3 temples so far are anticipated to be dedicated in 2020. Additionally, any announced temples that have a groundbreaking within the next 18 months may be dedicated in 2020 and in the following years, so I have no doubt that, whether or not the Church makes an official goal to do so, there will be a minimum of 200 temples operating by that time, or perhaps even more than that.

That said, let's talk about some updates on the status of a couple of temples. The Church has identified 11 stakes, 1 district, and 2 missions throughout Italy and the surrounding nations that will be served by the Rome Italy Temple once it is dedicated next year.

And there has also been a change in the status of the Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple renovation, where recent reports indicate that the spire is being sheathed. It appears that this temple is definitely on track to have its' renovation process completed within the first half of next year, and that a dedication will likely follow sometime between the beginning of May and the end of August.

While the LDS Church Temples site continues its' restoration process, all of us can easily keep up-to-date on temple developments via the Facebook page for that site. In the meantime, I continue to monitor all temple updates and Church News to the best of my ability, and I will pass those updates along to you all ASAP after I become aware of them.

That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

BREAKING NEWS: Church to Publish Unified New Editions of The Hymnbook and Children's Songbook

Hello again, everyone! Big news from the Church today. It has been announced that, in an effort to more fully unify Church members worldwide, plans are underway to completely revise both the hymnbook and the children's songbook. The intention is to provide one unified book of each that will have the same hymns or songs with the same numbers in all nations where the Church is established.

This also means that some of the lesser-known and more infrequently used hymns may be omitted in favor of hymns that are popular all around the world, and opens the possibility of some hymns and songs that are international staples being added to the new editions for all Church members.

For the first time ever, the Church is inviting feedback from members worldwide about this process. You can read more in this article, which was published by the Church News about 3.5 hours ago. I continue to monitor all Church and temple developments and will pass those along to you as I receive them.

That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Additional Temple Updates Provided

Hello again, everyone! As some of you may be aware, although the LDS Church Temples site is still undergoing a restoration and redesign process, updates have continued to be published periodically on the site's Facebook page. So I am pleased to be able to pass these updates along to you all now.

First, I wanted to note that there are now 11.81 years remaining between today's date and April 6, 2030, when the Church will celebrate its' bicentennial anniversary. Although there has been no change in terms of the number of temples which, on average, would need to be dedicated between today and that day in order for the Church to have 200 in operation by that time, I hope that this update may be of interest to some of you.

That said, let's talk about the updates I mentioned. To commemorate the start of the season within which the Mormon Miracle Pageant will be held in Manti, two articles have been shared, and you can find links to those on the aforementioned Facebook page. Next, I wanted to note that scaffolding has come down from the exterior of the Concepcion Chile Temple.

 Additionally, on that same Facebook page referenced above, you can view a panoramic video for the Barranquilla Colombia Temple, which was shot to show how it looked at night. And the final update I have found is that, although the extent of the progress is unclear, recent photographs, which were also posted on Facebook, show that work on the Fortaleza Brazil Temple continues at a steady pace.

It is worth noting here that, although I have taken more time in recent days to keep tabs on the aforementioned Facebook page so I can pass these temple updates along to you all, I have been giving myself an extended break from Facebook as part of my efforts to deal with some significant health issues I have been working to resolve. Some of those issues have included anxiety and depression, which I am working through to the best of my ability.

But long before President Nelson issued a challenge to youth worldwide to "take a break from fake" by participating in a seven-day "social media fast", I made the determination to cut back substantially on the amount of time I spend on Facebook. As a consequence, I have only been logging on to Facebook once or twice a month, if it has even been that frequently, and generally only long enough to pass along links to these blog posts. So if any of you have connected with me through Facebook and have wondered why I have not been on there recently, that is the reason.

I have found, however, that keeping tabs on Church and temple news and sharing those developments to the extent that I can has helped me in dealing with the anxiety, depression, and other health challenges. And I have certainly experienced more difficult things previously. So I am well enough for the moment, if not as well as I would like to be. And I will do my level best to continue to bring you all word of Church news and temple developments as I am able to learn more about them.

That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Additional Church News Reported: Part Two

Hello again, everyone! I am back with the second post I mentioned just a few moments ago, which will serve as the second part of my updates on recently reported Church News. So let's resume our discussion of those items.

Gerry Avant, who, as mentioned previously, is the recently-retired Church News editor, continues her series of articles taking a look back on highlights of her storied career. Although she will not be traveling with the Tabernacle Choir on their "2018 Classic Coast Tour", she shared how the Church's role in Russia was changed for the better through the Choir's 1991 European Tour.

Interestingly enough, then-Elder Nelson and his first wife Dantzel, who was a member of the Choir at that time, accompanied the Choir on their tour. As I have mentioned previously, for a number of years during his apostolic ministry, including during his tenure as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, President Nelson had the supervisory responsibility for the Europe East Area. In that capacity, he traveled to Russia many times.

It was likely his familiarity with Eastern Europe in general and Russia in particular that enabled him to be inspired to announce a temple for Russia, and I would not be surprised in any way if, because he has spent so much time there, he is able to facilitate expedited progress on finding a city and a specific site for that temple and the process of building it.

To round out the discussion of articles from the Church News, there are two more significant ones. In preparation for Father's Day this Sunday, the Church News published an article highlighting comments from the First Presidency about how their fathers had impacted their lives. And the Church News continued another series that has been published recently by sharing these highlights of Facebook posts by Church leaders.

Turning now to a few articles from Mormon Newsroom, this report highlights ongoing relief efforts underway by Church members following a volcanic eruption in Guatemala. Next, a Mormon Newsroom blog post highlights significant stories from the branches of Mormon Newsroom operating in other countries.

That same Mormon Newsroom Blog also shared this summary of a Family History event held at the Capitol building in California, which was held in honor of "Juneteenth." For those not aware of this, Juneteenth, which is observed on June 19th every year, marks the day on which a festival is held by African Americans to commemorate the emancipation of slaves on that day in 1885.

And finally, President Nelson continues to be honored for his prestigious career as a heart surgeon. Yesterday (June 15), the University of Utah's School of Medicine announced it had created the Dr. Russell M. Nelson and Dantzel W. Nelson Presidential Endowed Chair in Cardiothoracic Surgery.

This is a well-deserved honor. Although President Nelson had pioneered newer, better, and more effective heart surgery procedures, it was his first wife Dantzel who, following the demise of one of the patients he had operated on, encouraged him to continue to operate and perfect that process so that others would not have to experience the grief that he was going through. And this honor is fitting since he was able to perfect life-saving practices that had not been successfully employed prior to that.

I continue to monitor all Church and temple news and developments, and will do my level best to bring those to you as I become aware of them. That does it for this post. Aneny and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Additional Church News Reported: Part One

Hello again, everyone! There were a few other noteworthy Church News stories that have recently been reported, so I thought I would share those in this post. The Church News reported a few days ago that Presiding Bishop Gerald Causse was in New Zealand recently to supervise the transition of the position of the director of temporal affairs for that nation. You can find a report of that trip here.

Next, we have two articles about FamilySearch developments. That organization is bringing a museum focusing on the American Revolution to a location next to the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple. More specific information on that is provided in this article.

It has additionally been reported that  Also, in an effort to ensure that all are more fully able to find members of their family tree, FamilySearch additionally noted that they will begin to provide records of same-sex couples starting next year, as explained here.

If you all will indulge me for a few minutes, I want to interject some editorial comments here. Some critics of the Church may be inclined to ask why this genealogical arm of the Church is doing this when the Church has continued to affirm its' opposition to same-sex unions.

The fact of the matter is that the Church has had a long-standing practice of encouraging everyone to trace their familial connections. And while the Church does not condone, support, or sanction such unions, the Church also believes in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law.

So because such unions have been sanctioned as legal here in the US, and are legal in other parts of the world, those who may in any way be considered as a product of such unions have an equal right to trace their family lines that is no different from that of anyone who has no same-sex couples in their ancestry. You can read more about the reasoning behind this move and what it will involve in this article/

The Church News continues its' series "From the Vault", which takes a look back at important addresses given by Church leaders in years gone by. This week, that address was given in February 2000 by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. The setting was a BYU devotional, and the title of his remarks was "How Do I Love Thee?"

I have had a couple of opportunities to read that address, and it is a real masterpiece. You can either read the summary of that address in the Church News or the full address from the BYU Speeches Vault. And if you are really ambitious, it may be illuminating to read both.

The Church News also took the opportunity to share further responses from the youth of the Church worldwide as a result of President Nelson's address to them on June 3, this time passing along some feedback from young women.

The Church News additionally noted that an update of the Church's Media Library app is now available. And the articles about newly called Church leaders have continued as well, with one published earlier today about new General Authority Seventy Elder Juan Pablo Villar.

As some of you may know, President Boyd K. Packer lived in Brigham City Utah for many years, and he taught seminary there and was a big part of the process of getting a temple built and dedicated in that city. The Church News published an article about how an organ that was beloved to President Packer was restored by a former plumber.

There is more news to cover, but I will do so in a new post so that this one doesn't become too cumbersome. That does it for now. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everyting you do.

Friday, June 15, 2018

New President & Matron Announced for the Trujillo Peru Temple

Hello again, everyone! This will be just a very quick post to pass along news that the First Presidency has called a new president and matron for the Trujillo Peru Temple. This brings the total number of temples that have had a new president announced this year to 54, which cuts down the number of temples that may still get a new president to 3 or 4 (as I have the Cordoba Argentina, Taipei Taiwan, Veracruz Mexico, and (possibly) the Washington DC Temple on that list).

I would also anticipate that, at minimum, the Church may soon announce the first presidents for temples that will be dedicated within the next year. Right now, that would include Concepcion Chile, Barranquilla Colombia, and Rome Italy Temples, but depending on when the dedications of the Kinshasa DR Congo, Fortaleza Brazil, and Port-au-Prince Haiti Temples are announced, those are also on my list of temples that may soon have a new president announced.

I continue to monitor all temple developments and will do my level best to pass those along to you all as I receive them. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.