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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Progress Reported on the Kinshasa DR Congo Temple; Full-scale construction for the Winnipeg Manitoba Temple to Begin Next Month

Hello again, everyone! I am pleased to be able to bring you all a status update on construction efforts for the Kinshasa DR Congo Temple. Before doing so, however, I have discovered from a few of my sources for temple updates that there has been big news for Winnipeg, where construction is anticipated to be fully underway at some point during April.

As many of you are no doubt aware, the groundbreaking for that temple was announced 2.5 weeks prior to being held, so that was a quick turnaround. But construction was first delayed for four months due to the very harsh Canadian winter conditions last year. Once those cleared, the governmental leaders apparently raised some concerns about the site plans, which had to be modified.

And by the time that hurdle was cleared, winter had returned to Winnipeg for this year. Since the winter season this year here in Utah has been unusually mild and dry, whether or not that was the case for Winnipeg this year (which I do not know for sure), apparently all obstacles have cleared, so full-scale efforts can begin there at some point next month.

Still no word on if or how the modified plans will affect the 20-month estimate that was originally provided for this temple's completion, but I am hoping it may turn out to be another Port-au-Prince in the sense that construction will be fast whenever it does start, in which case it may be able to be dedicated in either late 2019 or early 2020. Stay tuned for more on that as I become aware of it.

In the meantime, we turn our attention now to the progress on the temple in Kinshasa. In my last update on that temple (which was posted on March 1), I had noted that roof shingling continued, the driveway and parking areas had been outlined, and where stone and tile work were underway inside the temple.

New information provided today indicates that, while the installation of interior stone and tile continues, palm trees have been planted around the temple grounds. This progress is significant, but I don't currently see anything changing my recently expressed opinion that the dedication of the Fortaleza Brazil Temple and the rededications of the Memphis Tennessee & Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temples may all precede this temple's dedication.

But I continue to monitor all such developments and will also continue to post those here as 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.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Church News Releases Article Explaining the Principle of Common Consent Prior to the Solemn Assembly

Hello again, everyone! I just wanted to post to pass along this article from the Church News, which sets in context recent teachings of Church leaders regarding what it means to sustain our 13 (soon to be 15 again) in their callings as prophets, seers, and revelators. Among other highlights, it mentions that, as we know, the President of the Church is the only one recognized and sustained to receive revelation for the Church as a whole, although we have also had affirmations that the words of the other apostles likewise constitutes the word of the Lord.

There has seemed to be a mistaken idea put forth by certain individuals that this process is a "vote" and that, if they choose, they are free to vocalize their refusal to sustain the Brethren. There are also those that seem to be under the impression that if they pester the Brethren enough on certain subjects, that will somehow sway them to consider changing Church doctrine and policy.

But both are categorical falsehoods. The Lord has also said that those who refuse to sustain those He has put into place, and who refuse to accept the will of the Lord as expressed by the apostles will one day be held accountable before Him for rejecting those He has called, sustained, and ordained through His prophets and apostles.

So with these ideas in mind, I want to unequivocally testify that I know that the 13 current apostles and the other two that will likely be called within the next week are those the Lord needs in those positions at this time. Whenever there has been a vacancy in the Church presidency or the apostleship, as far back as I can remember, I have prayed in advance to know that whomever was called were the individuals the Lord wanted in those positions at that time.

And each time, as soon as the calls were announced, whether or not it was something I had personally suggested or considered, I have gained the instant confirmation that those calls to those individuals have come from the Lord.

As perhaps a few of you may be aware, I was honored sometime after last General Conference to discover that my thoughts on who might fill the apostolic vacancy were themselves a focus of a post on the Mormon Light blog. Despite my protests to the contrary, the most recent version of that article billed those thoughts as "mere speculation, but [something of which it was] wise to be aware of some of the possibilities".

So I want to clear that point up right now. I never have and never will condone the idea of speculation, and I am just as fully willing to sustain any two Brethren to the apostolic call that may not be on my list as I would be to sustain and support the calls of either or both apostles that did make my list.

This is because I do have that witness, that such calls are divinely directed. President Nelson has been or will be led to the identity of the two men that should be called to the apostleship. And as the Church News article mentioned, although any two Brethren could be called to that assignment at any time, if either or both of those Brethren are not necessarily who anyone expects, that does not mean that any others who may have made the list of anyone else is any less worthy of the calling.

For that reason, I share my absolute conviction that I know the Lord has prepared the Brethren who will be called to the apostleship in just about a week. And there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that He will confirm again to me that those who are called were divinely appointed to join the ranks of the apostleship at this time.

Our current and past apostles and prophets have willingly given up any claim to prestige, acclaim, or success in their professional lives to serve a cause higher than themselves, and what will be said by them next weekend will truly represent the word of the Lord, the will of the Lord, the mind of the Lord, and the power of God unto our salvation.

I know that because I have sought to obtain and have received such a witness, which has sweetly been reiterated to me any time I have asked for such a reconfirmation. My hope and prayer is that all who read these words either have that witness or, if they do not, they will do that which is necessary to obtain such a witness for themselves, and I share these thoughts in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen,

Progress Noted on Concepcion Chile Temple/Church Releases Details of President Nelson's Multi-Continental Tour

Hello again, everyone! Late yesterday, a significant development was reported on the Concepcion Chile Temple, but I was unable to post about it then due to an extensive health issue I am trying to resolve. Nothing too worrisome, just something that demanded my attention more than this blog. So this post will report on those developments. I was also able to find some details on President Nelson's world tour which I will pass along as well.

First, I am pleased to be able to report that at the Concepcion Chile Temple, the cupola has been attached to the steeple wall. If I am understanding this correctly, this temple had previously had a placeholder on top while construction continued elsewhere, and now the permanent fixture has been placed. The next step will likely be topping the temple with the angel Moroni statue.

In the meantime, we turn our attention to the details of President Nelson's world tour. The visits will include meetings with missionaries and members and "other visits", which I interpreted to mean that perhaps looking at present or future temple sites might be involved. The official stops noted on the itinerary include London, England; Jerusalem Israel; Nairobi Kenya; Harare Zimbabwe; Bengaluru India; Bangkok Thailand; Hong Kong China; and will finish up in Honolulu Hawaii.

It does intrigue me that three of the stops on his itinerary are locations that have had temples announced, and that of those three, the artist's rendering was recently released for the temple in Bangkok, and that a groundbreaking had been anticipated in Harare in short order last year but had not taken place.

Let me be clear: I am not in any way trying to imply that I anticipate President Nelson will break ground for either or both of those temples while he is there. Until that is officially confirmed or denied, that may or may not be possible. What I am saying is that I do not find it coincidental that three of the stops on his itinerary are at cities that will someday be home to three new temples of the Church, however soon that might occur.

Having given the general locations of that tour, for specifics, I refer you to this release from Mormon Newsroom. And you can be sure I will continue to keep my eyes open for any additional Church or temple news and pass that along as I hear about 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 that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Updated Future Estimates for Known Temple Events

Hello again, everyone! As I promised to do, I have taken another look at the estimates I have previously provided for future temple events that are currently anticipated. Based on that additional research, I have made those changes that I have felt would be appropriate. So as to absolve myself of any trouble, I should throw out a disclaimer: I do not in any way have access to inside information that would prove the merit of the information below. 

What I have done is to use my knowledge of the progress (or lack thereof) on new temples and others undergoing renovation to gauge how close each might be to a dedication, then used any other facts I could find (including estimates mentioned by others whose opinions I greatly respect, information about climate-related concerns that might alter such estimates further, and even a few newspaper articles from well-respected publications covering progress on such projects on a local level).

The estimates below represent my best efforts to figure out how reasonable a suggested time-frame might be, and they follow below. 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 be with and bless you all in everything you do.

Future estimates for known temple-related events

First half of 2018:
April or May: Full-scale construction anticipated to begin for the Winnipeg Manitoba Temple
Note: This temple, which had a groundbreaking in December 2016, has been stalled in the approval process, which necessitated a plan modification. So I fully anticipate that, once winter 2018 clears Canada, construction will begin soon afterward.
Sunday April 22: Houston Texas Temple Rededication (private; date has been confirmed; President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, will preside at this event)
Sunday May 20: Jordan River Utah Temple Rededication/Mesa Arizona Temple Renovation Closure (both have been confirmed)
Note: Since the rededication Jordan River Utah Temple is the first public temple event of President Nelson’s administration, it seems to be a given conclusion that he will preside at this event, but it will be interesting indeed to see how soon he shares such duties with his counselors, which has seen some variation for each Church president in recent years.

Second half of 2018:
July: Hamilton New Zealand Temple Renovation Closure (confirmed; official date confirmation pending)
Sunday October 28: Concepcion Chile Temple Dedication (160th operating temple; confirmed)
Sunday November 18 or December 16: Rome Italy Temple Dedication (which would, if confirmed, make this temple the 161st or 162nd operating temple of the Church)
Note: In a recent Italian newspaper article, (if I interpreted the translation correctly), a construction worker assigned to this project indicated that Church leaders had set a date near the end of May by which the project would be turned back over to them. If that occurs on schedule, then I could easily see the dedication scheduled for one of these two dates. That said, because this temple has had other delays in its construction process up to this point, if those delays continue, that would push back the estimated timeline for this event.
Sunday December 9: Barranquilla Colombia Temple Dedication (161st or 162nd operating temple; date has been officially confirmed)
Note: With this temple’s dedication date confirmed, the one questions, as noted above, is whether or not the dedication of the Rome Italy Temple will be able to occur in late 2018. Until that is officially confirmed or denied, the numbering for this temple is tentative.

Final note on 2018: If the Rome Italy Temple dedication is delayed at all, that may push other events in subsequent years back as well. I have also heard that 2018 could potentially be a big year for groundbreakings of temples currently announced. With the Bangkok Thailand Temple having taken a major step forward towards its’ potential groundbreaking (as the site was announced and the architectural rendering was released on March 19, 2018), I will be watching that one. And with President Nelson set to tour Africa, Asia, and Europe, there may be a possibility that he could break ground for one or more of the announced temples that might be ready for that while he is there. I continue to keep my eyes open for anything official and will be sure to post such news as I receive it.

First half of 2019:
Mid-February: Fortaleza Brazil Temple Dedication (163rd operating temple)
Note: My main rationale for moving this temple up to this spot on this list is in the fact that, as of today, that temple has a similar status to that of the Concepcion and Barranquilla Temples, meaning it may be far enough along to be dedicated sooner than anticipated. I will keep my eyes open for information that could change my mind again, but for now, the rationale to move it up seems sound.
Mid-to-late March: Memphis Tennessee Temple Rededication
Mid-April: Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple Rededication
Early-to-mid May: Kinshasa DR Congo Temple Dedication (164th operating temple)
Mid-to-late May: Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple Dedication (165th operating temple)
Early-to-mid June: Raleigh North Carolina Temple Rededication

Second half of 2019:
Early-to-mid August: Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple Rededication
Mid-to-late August: Lisbon Portugal Temple Dedication (166th operating temple)
Mid-September: Frankfurt Germany Temple Rededication
Note: While I would hope that the Saints served by the Frankfurt Temple, which has been closed since 2015, will not have to wait this long to have their temple operating again, at the same time, this temple has had numerous delays, while its’ US counterparts that have closed for renovation more recently have made much more substantial progress. If and when I see anything that would necessitate shifting this estimate again, I will do so.
Mid-to-late October: Durban South Africa Temple Dedication (167th operating temple)
Mid-November: Asuncion Paraguay Temple Rededication
Note: While this temple was the second one to close for renovation in 2017, it has not progressed beyond the securing of building permits. For that reason, while I hope to be able to move this estimate up once full-scale efforts are reported, for now, it has felt wise to be more conservative.
Mid-December: Oakland California Temple Rededication
Note: This temple closed for renovation on February 19, 2018 and the renovation process was officially underway as of February 28, 2018. When its’ closure was announced by the First Presidency, the announcement indicated that this temple would be rededicated in 2019. That said, it is an older temple, and if anything delays or prolongs that process, another adjustment to this estimate would be necessary.

Final note on 2019: As with 2018, I have heard that 2019 could potentially be another big year for temple groundbreakings. If that proves to be the case, there will be other temple-related events to add to this list for subsequent years.
First half of 2020:
Mid-March: Arequipa Peru Temple Dedication (168th operating temple)
Mid-to-late April: Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple Dedication (169th operating temple)
Mid-May: Winnipeg Manitoba Temple Dedication (170th operating temple)
Note: This estimate will only prove justified if, as widely anticipated, full-scale construction begins for this temple in April or May 2018. If that process is delayed for any further reasons, or if the 20-month construction estimate no longer applies, any subsequent adjustments that may be needed will be made.
Early-to-mid June: Tokyo Japan Temple Rededication
Note: While I previously noted that, because this temple is considerably smaller than others, the renovation would likely be concluded in early 2020, not much progress has been reported since the temple closed on October 2 of last year, which I have felt is sufficient reason to push this estimate back. If such progress is reported in the near future, I will be sure to change this estimate again.
Mid-September: Mesa Arizona Temple Rededicatiom
Mid-December: Washington DC Temple Rededication

Mid-to-late April: Hamilton New Zealand Temple Rededication

Final note: If, as noted above, several temples have a groundbreaking during the next two years, that in turn would necessitate adding their completion estimates to the list above. I continue to monitor all temple-related developments and will pass news of them along as I receive word of them.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Significant Update Noted on the Raleigh North Carolina Renovation Process

Hello again, everyone! I was made aware earlier today of a significant update that has been noted on the renovation process for the Raleigh North Carolina Temple, but this is the first opportunity I have had to report it officially on this blog. The new update indicates that the roof line has been raised for the altered exterior shell, and that the temple's exterior (including the roof line) has been sprayed with mold-resistant coating.

With the last update on the status of that temple reported on this blog on February 26 of this year, this update is a clear indicator that work is moving along at a very steady pace. With that in mind, not only does a general completion estimate for mid-2019 make sense, but it seems clear that, with the sheer amount of progress made on this temple's renovation since its' official closure on January 7 of this year, a more specific estimate of April or May for that rededication may be much more reasonable to assume than the later side of that estimate (which would be in August or September).

As time and current circumstances allow, I will be taking another look at the estimates I have offered and will hope to post updates to those later this week. 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 your all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

BREAKING NEWS: Church Releases Official Statement on Alleged Abuse Accusations Against a Former Mission President

Hello again, everyone! I wanted to post now with some breaking news from the Church. In response to a request for comment about an ongoing police investigation of charges that a former MTC president may have abused one of the missionaries under his stewardship, the First Presidency has released this statement.

What impressed me as I read it was how balanced it was, making it clear that abuse of any kind by anyone is cause for immediate disciplinary action if the allegations are subsequently verified, but also making it clear that since the recollection of the two people involved (the accuser and the accused) differ so much, and since the police continue to investigate, there is not much Church leadership can do unless and until this is settled one way or the other.

And I for one appreciate the balance. While this may not be true in other nations, in the US, someone is believed innocent until proven guilty. So for that reason, until the allegations are verified as true or false, the situation needs to be in the hands of the law enforcement members involved in the investigation, and if and when the claims are verified as factual, the Church would, of course, take the necessary action on their part.

This measured response from the First Presidency shows clearly how much they intend to keep the balance between the love of the Lord and the law of the Lord, as they mentioned in the press conference on January 16. In my opinion, this is the best approach they could have taken to responding about this issue.

If and when more details are determined about the case, subsequent releases will follow, I am sure. In the meantime, for any of my readers who may have been or are currently being subjected to abuse of any kind, I wanted to post some links to official Church resources on that subject.

You can find resources on that subject, among others, from the Church's page on that subject from the gospel topics section, from Mormon Newsroom's additional resource page covering the subject, and these General Conference talks as well.

Perhaps my all-time favorite among those is the most recent one, given in April 2008 by Elder Richard G. Scott, who, as some of you might recall, committed his talks to memory so he could focus on making sure he was always looking right into whatever camera was covering him. And since the Church has released this statement today, perhaps another talk or two from this next General Conference may be added to that list.

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, March 19, 2018

BREAKING NEWS: Artist's Rendering Released for Bangkok Thailand Temple

Hello again, everyone! Breaking news was just reported on KSL, which is partially or entirely owned by Bonneville Communications, the media entity that is in turn controlled by the Church. As confirmed by this official press release from Mormon Newsroom, an artist's rendering has been supplied for the Bangkok Thailand Temple.

It would appear that, rather than being a multi-purpose edifice as some members speculated, the temple itself will be a separate and distinct building from a dual office building and chapel that will be on the temple grounds. With this rendering released, and the site essentially confirmed, I feel reasonably certain that a groundbreaking will likely be announced in the near future.

I will be sure to keep my eyes open for news in that regard and will be sure to pass any updates along as 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.

Several Significant Temple Updates Reported

Hello again, everyone! I am posting in the early hours of this Monday morning to note some significant temple updates that have been reported from locations around the world. I would have gotten to this update sooner, but had some personal & health related issues that prevented me from doing so until now. So let's get right into those updates.

We start first with the Fortaleza Brazil Temple. My last update on that was received on February 1, which was that while exterior cladding continued, the interior was being painted, and ceilings and millwork were being installed. The new information of which I have become aware is that cladding is progressing around the exterior, interior finishes are also progressing, perimeter gardens are being planted, and sod is being laid around the meetinghouse parking area.

This brings me to an interesting thought: Some elements of the current status of the Fortaleza Brazil Temple are similar (if not exactly identical) to some elements an uof the statuses I reported for the Concepcion Chile and Barranquilla Colombia Temples on January 29 of this year, and a dedication for each of those temples was announced less than a month later (on the final day of February 28).

So it is my theory that the Church could take action to announce the dedication of that temple perhaps within the next few months. What will be interesting to see will be how and if the future dedication of this temple occurs before or after the dedications of both the Rome Italy and Barranquilla Colombia Temples. If any of you have any thoughts in this regard, let me know. I'd love to hear from you in the comments below..

We next turn our attention to the Lisbon Portugal Temple. Though I just barely reported on March 15 that scaffolding and netting had gone up around the temple's exterior, today I learned that while that is still the case, there has been a report that spire framework has been attached to the steeple walls. The last time I could find a report of that nature on any temple from my reports on this blog was when I reported that occurring for the Rome Italy Temple back in 2016.

And it turns out that many temples that were considered as being behind that temple in terms of their progress were dedicated firs, and we are still t. With that in mind, I can see why this temple's dedication is anticipated to be roughly 1.25-1.5 years away. Barring anything unexpected, I don't see that changing, although it is significant that its' estimated completion has moved up quite a bit from where it was.

Moving on now to Durban South Africa, I last reported an update on that temple exactly two weeks ago to the day, at which point I noted that precast concrete panels werere being attached to the exterior, while a ring beam had been poured for the front veranda of the missionary housing facility,  and that driveway curbing was being installed.

The new information I have on this temple shows that while the attachment of precast concrete panels is ongoing, first floor drywall is being hung, and at the missionary housing facility, roof trusses are being set. My mom, a native South African who came to the US on a "short vacation" that kept going until last year when she and my dad were able to visit there, has been kept in the loop about the progress (and at times the lack thereof, which doesn't surprise her) that has been reported on this temple. With that said, unless something unexpected occurs, I don't think the estimate for its' completion will be too far off, and this may be the last temple dedication held next year.

In connection with that, I may or may not have noted previously that the completion estimates for both the Arequipa Peru and Rio de Janeiro Templee have been pushed back to 2020. In the case of the Rio temple, that seems to be because it was determined that that temple would be bigger than originally thought. I still hope to see the Arequipa Peru Temple dedicated in late 2019, but we will have to see what happens.

Aside from these developments, there has been no other temple progress of which I have been able to learn. 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, March 17, 2018

Public Open House Tours Underway for Jordan River Utah Temple

Hello again, everyone! As St. Patrick's Day is marked today, public tours are officially underway for the Jordan River Temple, and, as previously noted, they will continue to be offered for 36 of the 42 days between now and April 28. In an earlier post, I had mistakenly noted that those public tours would begin yesterday (March 16). I apologize for the unintentional error.

I have also repeatedly offered my opinion that, since this is the first major temple event of President Nelson's presidency (I should perhaps say that it is the first major public temple event of his presidency, as the rededication of the Houston Temple is private), and since he is in very good health, it is likely safe to assume that he will preside at this event.

What will be interesting to see going forward is if, how, and how soon President Nelson will divide responsibilities for presiding at temple events with his counselors. They have all had experiences presiding at such events (I seem to recall that then-Elder Nelson, as a senior apostle, presided over one or two rededications prior to becoming the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in addition to presiding at the final session of the Provo City Center Temple dedication (with then-Elder Oaks presiding at the first two), and he (President Nelson) also presided at the dedication of the Sapporo Japan Temple.

But it is interesting to consider that during President Hinckley's tenure, he first delegated responsibility for presiding over temple dedications to his counselors and President Packer (then Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) around 4.5 years after he became Church president.

And it was around 3.5 years following President Monson's ordination that he began delegating the opportunity to preside at such events to his counselors (and later senior members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles), and the last temple event at which President Monson himself presided was around 3.5 years prior to his death.

If we go further back, President Hunter presided at both of the temple dedications held during his brief administration, and President Benson was only well enough to preside over the second and third temple dedications of his administration. President Kimball's health only allowed him to preside at temple dedications for the first 3 years or so of his administration.

I hope that gives some insight into how recent Church presidents have handled temple events of their administration, and how early in such administrations those presidents shared responsibility with their counselors for presiding over such events.

Whatever President Nelson might opt to do in that regard, you can find more information on all of that here 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 that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

BREAKING NEWS: Church to discontinue monthly First Presidency Message

Hello again, everyone! Big news has come from the Church, likely as recently as today. President Nelson requested that the remarks he made from the temple on January 16 be reproduced in the April 2018 Ensign, which seems to replace the traditional article introducing the new Church leadership.

But that is not the big news. At the end of that message, a note was included from those editing the Church magazines that indicated that this message would be the last First Presidency message included in the Ensign, and that any major messages from the First Presidency would be shared via social media and Church websites.

There is nothing as of yet to verify this, but it seems safe to infer that this also means that the Church will move the home teaching program more in the direction of what has been done for visiting teaching, and that, rather than a prepared message, the emphasis for home teachers will be to share a message as inspired by the Spirit based on the principles that should govern home teaching.

If that is the case, then it is plain that the Church is wanting to encourage all members to rely more on the promptings of the Spirit than a written message. In the meantime, for those interested, you can review President Nelson's message here.

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.