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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Additional Church News Reported

Hello again, everyone! I am back again now to share the promised update covering the latest Church news. Let's get right into that topic. We will start with those articles covered both on the Church's Newsroom and on the Church News website, then move on to discuss only those stories shared so far elsewhere on the Church website, then end with articles either unique to the Church News or shared by that resource prior to their subsequent appearance on the Church's official website. Here we go.

First, as of yesterday, all of our 15 apostles have an official Instagram account. In a day when there have been more options to share inspiring messages on social media, the Brethren continue to be committed to utilize as many as feasibly possible to communicate with Church members and friends of other faiths in their ongoing efforts to minister to, inspire, and uplift everyone around the world, for whom they have that responsibility. More details on the Newsroom blog and the Church News.

Both the Church News and the Newsroom also shared the open house and dedication information that has been announced for the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple. Moving on now to stories unique to the Church website, there has been another edition published of "Latter-day Saints Around the World", which showcases stories from different countries' editions of the Newsroom website.

In the latest edition inspiring stories are highlighted from the following nations: Germany (sharing a report of Elder Cook's recent visit to Europe); Guatemala (sharing a report of Elder Soares' recent visit); Singapore; Australia; the United Kingdom; the Philippines; the Africa Southeast Area (which shares a report of the Angel Moroni being raised atop the Durban South Africa Temple).

There were two other stories published on the Newsroom that I wanted to mention as well, which have to do with what I have mentioned previously, that the Church has featured more coverage lately of the efforts of the women of the Church (particularly those 9 in the female-led auxiliary presidencies) as they minister worldwide. Those two stories deal with that subject, with this account of how Primary General President Joy D. Jones and her husband Robert, along with Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon and her husband Derek joined Elder Ian S. Ardern, First Counselor in the Pacific Area Presidency and his wife Paula, in addition to area seventy Carl R. Maurer and local leader Mark McNamee in a humanitarian service project.

In the meantime, Sister Reyna I. Aburto, Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, recently paid a visit to Native American Latter-day Saints living in the North America Southwest Area. The Newsroom shared this summary of that visit. And from elsewhere on the Church website, we have an announcement that Saroo Brierly (who was the inspiration for the movie "Lion") will be the keynote speaker at RootsTech next year.  Other speakers (including those from the general leadership of the Church) will be announced closer to the time.

The Church has also announced that Elder Dale G. Renlund and his wife Ruth L. Renlund will be the featured speakers at the first Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults in 2019, which will, as previously noted, be held on January 13 @ 6:00 PM MST. And the Church's #LighttheWorld Campaign, held annually in December, will not only focus on service to others, but will place special emphasis on ministering to others as the Savior would. More details can be found at the official website the Church has established for the campaign on (where an official name change is, of course, naturally still pending a determination).

There are other stories that have been shared on both the Church website and by the Church News. Among them are Elder Holland's address to the Mormon studies symposium in which he urged the organization to change its' name based on President Nelson's request in that regard, another symposium address from emeritus General Authority and former Church Historian and Recorder, Elder Marlin K. Jensen, who shared how he gained a testimony of the prophetic mission of Joseph Smith, and the address given by Elder Shayne M. Bowen at this week's BYU-Provo devotional.

We end now with content unique to the Church News, which may subsequently be confirmed on the Church's official website. First and most significantly, Church President Russell M. Nelson, accompanied by his wife, Sister Wendy W. Nelson, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife Susan K. Bednar, and Elder Adrian Ochoa, who serves as Second Counselor in the North America Southwest Area Presidency, and his wife, Sister Nancy Ochoa, are set to speak this Sunday at a devotional for Saints in the San Antonio Texas area. This continues our prophet's ongoing Global Ministry Tour.

Among other stories that are important are how Saints on social media are reacting to the devastating fire which occurred in Paradise, California (and for which other fire departments, including many right here in Utah, sent volunteers to help fight it), another report on how Latter-day Saints have been affected by that fire (which included the Church losing two of its' meetinghouses in the affected areas), and one other on Church members who have lost their homes as a result of those fires.

The Church News also reported on how a Church missionary died in the Ivory Coast at around the same time Elder Andersen was there last week for the groundbreaking of the temple in Abidjan. Another inspiring story covers how a couple found strength in each other at a time when the husband lost his faith and left the Church.

In 1926, Melvin J. Ballard, one of the two apostolic grandfathers of President M. Russell Ballard, visited South America in 1926 and made a remarkable prophecy that is still being fulfilled (one recent example of that is the call of the first South American apostle, Elder Ulisses Soares earlier this year). There was an electric feeling in the air when President Hinckley promised the Saints in Fiji a temple three years before he fulfilled that promise by announcing a temple in Suva.

The First Presidency has begun the process of announcing the new MTC presidents who will begin serving in January. This week's announced MTC presidents were all, with one exception, formerly area seventies. There was an account of lessons learned from the first South American leg of his ongoing Global Ministry Tour.

Some members of the Church in the curriculum department, along with members who were part of the Church's pilot program to test the new home curriculum. A Book of Mormon allegedly owned by Elvis has been proven recently to be a forgery (which is demonstrated by an article full of Elvis-themed puns).

This concludes the Church news updates I wanted to share. Thank you all for bearing with me through the sheer magnitude and volume of that report. I continue to monitor any and all Church news and temple developments, and hopefully I will get to the next Church news update before it becomes a massive one like this.

I also continue to monitor any and all temple developments and will pass any word of those along as I can once I become aware of them. In the days ahead, in addition to those topics, I hope to post and begin to invite comments on my April 2019 General Conference predictions, which I am still finalizing.

That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, on any post at any time. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly-added content, please feel free to subscribe. 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, November 14, 2018

Updated Future Estimates for Known Temple Events

Hello again, everyone! In view of the unexpected but welcome announcement made earlier today about the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple's open house and dedication, some subsequent adjustments needed to be made to other general and specific estimates. Most significantly, many of the sources I have available to me now note that, in view of that announced dedication for Haiti, the general completion estimate for the Fortaleza Brazil Temple has now shifted from early-to-mid 2019 to mid-2019.

What does that mean for my estimate of its' future dedication time-frame? Well, in my opinion, construction on the Fortaleza Temple has progressed fairly steadily in recent months. So my feeling currently is that that temple's dedication might only be delayed by roughly 2-4 weeks from what I previously suggested. I have set a more specific estimate for early-to-mid June on that one.

As I have also mentioned, the general completion estimates for temples undergoing renovation have been known to fluctuate quite a bit. Case in point: the Frankfurt Germany Temple closed in 2015, and was originally anticipated to be rededicated sometime last year. At the beginning of this year, it was thought that that temple could be rededicated in the early-to-mid point of 2019. And right now, many of the sources I have available have removed any mention of a general estimate, now merely noting that a rededication is anticipated to occur sometime in 2019.

In earlier posts I have done, I made reference to the fact that the Church had called new presidents for the Asuncion Paraguay, Frankfurt Germany, and Oakland California Temple, in anticipation of their service beginning early next year following the rededications for each of those temples. As we now know, the temple in Asuncion just barely had its' renovation process begin late last month, almost a year after its' original closure date. So that one may not be dedicated until sometime during late 2019 and early 2020.

I have already mentioned the situation of the Frankfurt Temple. The temple in Oakland is, according to my sources (among whom is a member living within that temple district) anticipated to reopen at some point next year (I believe the member mentioned that was anticipated at some point in mid-2019), but it is an older temple as well. So until we know for a fact that the rededication of each of these three temples will occur sooner than anticipated, I have felt a need to be more conservative in my estimates for those temples.

On the other hand, newer temples (such as Oklahoma City Oklahoma, Memphis Tennessee, Raleigh North Carolina, and Baton Rouge Louisiana) which were originally dedicated as part of President Hinckley's smaller-temple design program, have progressed fairly steadily, and for that reason, both general and more specific estimates for those temples are much easier to pin down currently.

There are two other elements involved here as well: First, as I mentioned in an earlier post, the construction process for the Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple is, according to a statement made by Elder Andersen at its' groundbreaking, only anticipated to take about two years. So a shift in my general and more specific estimates for that temple were also necessary. And the second element I wanted to mention is not knowing what to make of the situation of announced temples.

There are quite a few that seem to be fairly close to a groundbreaking, but it is not currently known as of yet whether any other temples will have a groundbreaking this year. I would be elated to see one, two, or even three more have that occur in the remaining weeks of 2018, but there is not enough known at the moment to draw any kind of conclusion in that regard.

Therefore, while I once previously felt very comfortable with the idea of estimating time-frames for the groundbreakings and subsequent dedications of announced temples, my recent study indicates that is more speculation than I am comfortable making at this time. For that reason, only the currently-known time-frames for dedications and rededications will be included.

I also wanted to note that I still intend to do a post covering Church news updates, but between feeling unwell and having more pressing subjects to report on, I haven't been able to make that happen. I wanted to mention as well that I am also hard at work as I can be on my initial predictions for next April's General Conference. With any luck, you can look for those either later this week or sometime next week as I am able to get them done.

That said, the updated estimates follow below. So as not to disturb the flow of that information, I will end here and now as I always do. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, on any post at any time. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly-added content, please feel free to subscribe. 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.

Specific Estimates for Known Temple Events in the Near Future

Sunday December 9: Dedication of the Barranquilla Colombia Temple (161st operating temple; confirmed)
Note: Given President Nelson’s commitment to travel and be out among the Saints as much as he can, I would not be surprised if this event fit into a larger one (although it might be smaller than the two we have seen so far) as an extension of his ongoing Global Ministry Tour.

Final note on 2018: I had heard that this year would be a potentially big one for temple groundbreakings. Aside from the Abidjan temple, I am waiting for further word on the Urdaneta Philippines and Bangkok Thailand Temples as well, but it would not shock me if either or both only saw their construction begin in 2019.

Sunday March 10-Sunday March 17: Dedication of the Rome Italy Temple (162nd operating temple; confirmed)
Note: Given that the dedication of this temple will occur over an 8-day period, I would not in any way be shocked if attendance at this dedication was rotated through all 15 of our current apostles.
Saturday & Sunday April 6 & 7: 189th General Conference
Note: Because 19 temples were announced in 2018, and because President Nelson has expressed his commitment to continuing to bring temples closer to the Saints around the world, I am sure we will see several new temples announced.
Sunday April 14: Dedication of the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple (163rd operating temple; confirmed)
Note: In view of the facts that the dedication of this temple will occur after the April General Conference, and that following the April 2018 General Conference, President Nelson began his Global Ministry Tour, I could see President Nelson doing another leg of his tour in conjunction with this temple’s dedication, whether that tour starts or ends with this dedication, or whether a dedication is held sometime in the mid-point of that tour.
Sunday May 19: Dedication of the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple (164th operating temple; confirmed)
Note: On November 14, 2018, the First Presidency announced the open house and dedication for this temple. This means that the more specific timing for all other temple events next year needed to be similarly adjusted. President Nelson could dedicate this temple himself, or begin delegating that responsibility to his counselors. If President Nelson presides at this event, it would not shock me to find out that this dedication might be part of another leg of his ongoing Global Ministry Tour.
Early-to-mid June: Dedication of the Fortaleza Brazil Temple (164th operating temple)
Early-to-mid August: Rededication of the Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple
Mid-to-late August: Dedication of the Durban South Africa Temple (165th operating temple)
Early-to-mid September: Rededication of the Memphis Tennessee Temple
Mid-to-late September: Rededication of the Raleigh North Carolina Temple
Saturday & Sunday October 5 & 6: 189th Semiannual General Conference:
Note: Depending on what is done by this time to clear the existing backlog of announced temples, it seems more likely than not that several new temples will be announced during this weekend.
Mid-October: Rededication of the Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple
Early-to-mid November: Dedication of the Lisbon Portugal Temple (167th operating temple)
Mid-to-late November: Rededication of the Frankfurt Germany Temple
Note: On November 5, 2018, the Church of Jesus Christ Temples site removed the more general estimate for this temple and instead noted a completion was anticipated at some point during 2019. While I would certainly hope it will not be another year from now before this temple’s renovation is completed (since it began in 2015), until more is known, I have felt to be more conservative in my specific estimate.
December: Rededication of the Oakland California Temple
Note: On the same date noted above, that same site also removed the more general estimate for this temple, and it looks like a completion is still anticipated next year, but perhaps not as soon as many (myself included) thought. So given that new information, until more is known, I have felt it wise to be more conservative with this estimate as well. That said, since the First Presidency’s Christmas Devotional for 2019 has been set for the second Sunday in December rather than the first, the rededication of this temple could occur on either the first or third Sunday of that month.

Final note on 2019: Given what I have heard about 2019, it seems more likely than not that several temples will have a groundbreaking at some point during that year. If nothing happens for the Urdaneta Philippines and Bangkok Thailand Temples by the end of 2018, those would top the list for next year. I am also anticipating that a groundbreaking for the Pocatello Idaho Temple will be held in early 2019. Additionally, based on what I know at the present time, I am keeping my eyes open for information on the Saratoga Springs Utah, Nairobi Kenya, Lima Peru Los Olivos, Harare Zimbabwe, Brasilia Brazil, and Greater Manila Philippines Temple, most (if not all) of which could have a groundbreaking by the end of 2019 years.

Mid-February: Dedication of the Arequipa Peru Temple (168th operating temple)
Mid-March: Rededication of the Asuncion Paraguay Temple
Saturday & Sunday April 4 & 5: 190th Annual General Conference
Note: Barring anything unexpected, I would anticipate several new temples being announced during this weekend.
Mid-to-late April: Dedication of the Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple (169th operating temple)
Mid-to-late May: Rededication of the Tokyo Japan Temple
Mid-August: Dedication of the Winnipeg Manitoba Temple (170th operating temple)
Saturday & Sunday October 3 & 4: 190th Semiannual General Conference
Note: Temple announcements are always possible, so it is not hard to believe that a few could be announced during this General Conference.
Mid-October: Rededication of the Mesa Arizona Temple
Mid-November: Dedication of the Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple (171st operating temple)
Note: At the groundbreaking for this temple (which occurred on November 8, 2018), Elder Neil L. Andersen, who presided at this event and gave his remarks in French, noted that construction of the temple was anticipated to take around two years. For that reason, I am moving my previous estimate for this temple’s dedication up to this point. As full-scale construction begins, based on how consistently that process progresses, I will make any future adjustments which may be needed to this estimate.
Mid-December: Rededication of the Washington DC Temple

Final note on 2020: Some of the announced temples that will have a groundbreaking between now (early November 2018) and the end of 2019 could potentially be dedicated during this year. And several other announced temples (I currently have 7 on my radar) could have a groundbreaking during 2020 as well.

Saturday & Sunday April 3 & 4: 191st Annual General Conference
Note: Depending on what happens between now (early November 2018) and the dates for this General Conference, I could easily see several new temples announced.
Mid-to-late April: Hamilton New Zealand Temple Rededication
Mid-September: Dedication of the Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple
Note: If what I have heard about the size of this temple and the duration of the construction process for it is correct, then a dedication could happen at around this time. But I am hoping that could occur sooner. Since there will hopefully be several other temples that will have a dedication occur before that happens for this temple, I am not currently assigning a number to it for now.
Saturday & Sunday October 2 & 3: 191st Semiannual General Conference
Note: I am hoping that by the time this particular General Conference weekend rolls around, the temple construction program of the Church will have progressed to the point where some temples will continue to be announced every six months.

Final note: I am hoping that by the end of 2021, there will be several more temple events to list here. Until more is known, I prefer not to provide too much conjecture about the future events we could see. But one thing is certain: If what I have heard about President Nelson’s plans to expand the number of temples and to accelerate the speed at which they are constructed, then we will likely be in for an unprecedented season of temple events in the future.

BREAKING TEMPLE NEWS: Open House and Dedication Dates Announced for Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple

Hello again, everyone! I am back with some breaking temple news. The First Presidency announced today that an open house and dedication has been set for the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple. The open house will take place from Saturday April 20-Saturday May 4, excluding the Sundays of April 21 and 28. As per the newly-established tradition, a youth devotional will be held on Saturday May 18, and the dedication of the temple is set to occur the following day in three sessions (at 9:00 AM, noon, and 3:00 PM Haiti time, which is 7;00 AM, 10:00 AM, and 1:00 PM Utah time).

It appears that this temple's dedication will occur before that of the Fortaleza Brazil Temple, but I would anticipate that we will soon hear news on the dedication of that temple as well. I am not shocked that the temple will be dedicated within 1.5 years of the time its' construction began, and I was pleased to bring you word of this development.

I continue to monitor any and all Church news and temple developments and will do my level best to pass word of those along to you all as I receive it. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, on any post at any time. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly-added content, please feel free to subscribe. 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.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Elder Dale G. Renlund Marks His 66th Birthday

Hello again, everyone! I am back, as promised earlier, with a post in tribute of Elder Dale G. Renlund, who, as noted, is marking his 66th birthday today. Let's get right into all of that. Elder Dale Gunnar Renlund was born on this day in 1952 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Mats Ake and Marianna Andersson, who had emigrated from Finland and Sweden respectively in order to be married in the temple. In view of that, Elder Renlund grew up primarily speaking Swedish (the fact that he did not speak English as a primary language gives him international appeal). In his teenage years, Elder Renlund lived with his family in Sweden while his father was a building missionary.

Several years later, Elder Renlund returned to Sweden, this time as a full-time missionary. Following his missionary service, Elder Renlund continued his scholastic endeavors at the University of Utah, where he earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry and his M. D. Approximately 3 or 4 years after he concluded his missionary service, he met and married his eternal companion, Ruth Lybbert, who was the daughter of another General Authority Seventy, Merlin R. Lybbert.

Elder Renlund went on to do a three-year cardiology residency and a three-year fellowship in cardiology, both at Johns Hopkins University, and served as a bishop while he did so. Simultaneously, his wife was earning her law degree. During that same busy time period, they gave birth to their only child, a daughter, Ashley. At some point in 1986, Elder Renlund became a professor at the University of Utah. From 1991 to the time of his call as a General Authority Seventy in 2009, he served as the medical director of the Utah Transplantation Affiliated Hospitals Cardiac Transplant Program. 

In 2000, he was also appointed the director of the Heart Failure Prevention and Treatment Program at Intermountain Health Center headquartered in Salt Lake. At the same time, his wife served as a law partner in the firm of Dewsnup, King and Olsen. In the Church, in addition to serving as a bishop, Elder Renlund also served locally as ward Sunday School president, high councilman, and as a stake president. From 2000 to 2009, Elder Renlund served as an area seventy. He became a general authority seventy in April 2009, at the same conference Elder Neil L. Andersen was sustained as an apostle.

The August after his call, Elder Renlund began serving in the Africa Southeast area presidency, headquartered in Johannesburg South Africa. He concluded that service by serving as the area president from 2011 to 2014. Just over a year after concluding that service (during which time he served in other general capacities at Church headquarters), he was the third man to be called to fill the three vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve in the wake of the passing of President Boyd K. Packer and Elders L. Tom Perry and Richard G. Scott. 

Some have claimed (rightfully so, in my opinion) that since Elder Scott was the last of the three to pass away, Elder Renlund, as the last of the three new apostles called, was the one filling the apostolic vacancy occurring from the death of Elder Scott. Others may disagree on that, as is their right, but I think that is a fair statement.

Elder Renlund's apostolic call was significant for a few reasons. His call (in conjunction with those of his senior seatmates Elders Ronald A. Rasband and Gary E. Stevenson), made them the 98th, 99th, and 100th members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles called in this dispensation. There have been more men ordained as apostles, but only 102 have officially served in the Quorum of the Twelve. 

There is another significant aspect of Elder Renlund's call. As most of you are probably aware, at times in the past where 2 or more apostles have been called, tradition is that they will be called, sustained, and ordained according to their age, from oldest to youngest. That tradition, as has been the case a couple of times before, was slightly adjusted, as Elder Stevenson, almost three years younger than Elder Renlund, was called, sustained, and ordained as the senior apostle to Elder Renlund. That kind of thing is not in any way unprecedented, but it is a significant anomaly to note.

As some of you are also aware, the Church has previously come under fire for a lack of cultural diversity in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. While all apostles from Elder David A. Bednar to Elder Renlund were born within the United States, almost to a man, each has had varying degrees of international experience. In January of this year, we saw President Nelson mention that there would be "more flavors in the mix", and his first apostolic appointees were the first Asian American (Elder Gong) and Latin American (Elder Soares). But as was observed in this article, Elder Renlund's diverse background certainly qualifies him as having strong international ties and experiences.

Elder Renlund had 2 opportunities to speak in General Conference prior to his apostolic call (1 of which occurred six months prior to his first address as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles), and gave his 7th talk as an apostle just over a month ago. You can review any of those 9 addresses at your convenience. While I doubt Elder Renlund will ever read this personally, I am grateful to have been able to offer this birthday tribute in his honor, and am also grateful for his service. I gladly sustain him and the other 14 apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators.

I do continue to monitor any and all Church news and temple developments and will keep doing my level best to bring word of those to you all as I receive it. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, on any post at any time. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly-added content, please feel free to subscribe. 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.