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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Two Important Posts from Matthew Martinich/The current apostles' initial witness of the Savior/My witness added thereunto.

Matthew Martinich, a fellow LDS blogger who has given me permission to share any and all of his posts from his blog, has done two blog posts significant to Church growth. The first, posted on General Conference Saturday in October, gives additions to his map of temple predictions for temples that might be announced in the near future. He added Queretaro, Mexico and Ulaanbaatar Mongolia. For his reasoning for adding these two locations, please see this link. I am grateful for what Brother Martinich posts regarding temples. I still believe we will see a day when Lehi, Utah, and Orem Utah will get their own temples.The second post, added a week ago yesterday, highlighted the potential new missions that may be created by the Church next year. The conversation that follows that post is instructive. To read the post and the comments on it, please see this link.

The Church has put together a video clip of the witness of the Savior each currently serving apostle bore at the commencement of his service, including testimonies from our three newest apostles, Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Elder Gary E. Stevenson, and Elder Dale G. Renlund. To watch this video clip, please see this link.

Seeing their testimonies made me think about my own testimony of the Savior, and if I could say as they do. So I thought that I would conclude this post by bearing my testimony of the Savior. I know that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten of the Father, who was foreordained before the world was to save the world from the burdens of sin, transgression, and infirmities of every kind. Before the world was, he stood in the premortal realm to volunteer to fulfill the Father's plan. He said, "Here am I, send me , , and the glory be thine forever." Born as a baby in Bethlehem, he "increased in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and man." At the age of 12, he shared his testimony of His Father in the temple before the religious scholars of his day. He was ever "about [His] Father's business. Most of the people who knew Him saw Him merely as "Joseph the carpenter's son", and asked "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" He lived as the only perfect man who would ever walk the earth.

Few recognized and many confused who He was and what He would accomplish. They looked for a savior who would redeem them with the power of a sword, rather than the power of God's word. Some recognized his divinity. When He asked his disciples, "Whom say ye that I am?" Peter replied, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of God." In the Garden of Gethsemane and on Calvary's cross, he worked out our salvation with fear and trembling. He prayed, "Father, if Thou be willing, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." He then suffered beyond the mortal man's ability to comprehend. Blood dripped from every pore as He prayed for and was granted the strength to finish His work. Betrayed into the hands of sinful men through the subtilty and greed of one of his own disciples, he was brought to judgement on false charges. At that time, even those closest to Him would deny him. Peter, his chief apostle, denied any knowledge of Him, as the Savior had prophesied he would, after which "Peter went out, and wept bitterly."  Jesus was brought before Annas and Caiaphas, the high priests of that day, and was brought twice before Pilate, the governor of Jerusalem, who twice questioned him and was led to declare "I find no fault with this man."

Giving in to the crowd's desire to crucify Him, Pilate delivered Jesus into the hands of Roman soldiers, who stripped Him of his apparel and then scourged Him. Forcing Him to carry his own cross until he dropped from exhaustion, they led him to Golgotha, the place of a skull, where he was nailed to a cross and hoisted up between two thieves, one of whom was promised by Him that they would meet again in Paradise. Of his persecutors, the Savior said: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Being in the greatest spiritual and physical anguish known to man, He cried out, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me" as even the comfort of His Father's presence was temporarily withdrawn, to enable the Savior to feel the full brunt of what mortal men would, in our Father's wisdom, feel from time to time. He was given vinegar to whet his thirst. Then, when He knew that He had accomplished fully his purposes here upon the earth, He said, "Father, into Thy hands, I commit my spirit. It is finished." He then left His mortal body and ascended back to His Father. During the three days his mortal body lay entombed, His spirit was with the spirits of all those who had been or would be, declaring unto them that they were saved from the effects of Adam's fall. He organized the work of salvation among those that were dead. He then rose again after three days.

He appeared to various people at various times. In 1820, in company with His Father, he visited the boy Joseph Smith to answer his questions about which of all the churches was right. Thus the dispensation of the fulness of times was ushered in, with a promise that the gospel would never again be taken from the earth. The prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon testified:

"And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God."

Further, I know, as the prophets have testified, that Christ's work on this earth is not finished. He will come again. Of that I have no doubt. In that day, I and everyone else in this world who has infirmities of any kind will be made perfectly well and whole.

When reflecting on my own witness of the Savior, the words of Bruce R. McConkie's final testimony come to mind. I feel I can say, as he did:

"And now, as pertaining to this perfect atonement, wrought by the shedding of the blood of God—I testify that it took place in Gethsemane and at Golgotha, and as pertaining to Jesus Christ, I testify that he is the Son of the Living God and was crucified for the sins of the world.

"He is our Lord, our God, and our King. This I know of myself independent of any other person.

"I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.

"But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way."

This testimony I have came to me at a very early age. My life experiences have only served to strengthen that witness. There is no doubt in my mind that he lived and died and lives again for me, and that in a not-too-distant day, He will come again. That coming will be glorious. It is my hope and prayer that we will be ready when that great day arrives, with the fires of our testimonies burning deeply within our hearts. I bear this witness and share this testimony with you in the sacred and holy name of Him who made salvation a perfect possibility, even the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

General Conference: Predictions results/3 new apostles/Subsequent Changes in General Church leadership

Hello all! This post will discuss everything related to the wonderful general conference weekend we enjoyed a week and a half ago.

The highlight of this conference was the appointment of 3 new apostles to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They are Elder Ronald Andersen Rasband, Senior President of the Seventy; Presiding Bishop Gary Evan Stevenson, and Elder Dale Gunnar Renlund, who has served in the First Quorum of the Seventy since 2009.

I am very pleased with whom the Lord has selected to fill the vacancies. They are all a little older than I thought they would be. Elder Rasband is 6 months and 3 days older than Elder Neil L. Andersen, who is Elder Rasband's seatmate. Elder Renlund is almost 6 months younger than Elder David A. Bednar. And Elder Stevenson, the youngest appointee of the three, was born the same year as my parents. It was so wonderful to see them take their places with the rest of the Quorum of the Twelve.

I had the instant confirmation I had been praying for that these were the men the Lord wanted appointed at this time. It was a very sacred and unforgettable experience, especially when I had been so sure about whom I thought the new apostles would be. But I was gratified in the sense that I was partially right in my predictions of who would be called: One came from the Presidency of the Seventy, one from the Presiding Bishopric, and one from the First Quorum of the Seventy.

I loved how they all explained in the press conference Saturday Afternoon their feelings regarding the call and how they fielded questions regarding the fact that they were all older and all American. They all agreed that they had international experience, having all served as members of area presidencies in other countries. And they all expressed that willingness to go and do as the Lord and those more experienced in the  apostleship had done. They all paid tribute to the three apostles that had preceded them. And they all bore a powerful witness of the Lord's work in their brief remarks during the Sunday Morning Session.

That being said, let me now turn my attention to a report on how my predictions panned out. Obviously, I couldn't have known that President Monson would once again only speak twice, or have guessed the extra speakers I didn't predict would speak. Here are the results of my predictions.

NOTE: I learned from looking at the last time we had new apostles that the regular General Conference speaking order might be altered. Accordingly, I have made this prediction in this particular way. The tables below list the possible changes in general Church leadership and the speaking order. There are some changes in general Church leadership that are definite because they have already been announced. The other changes are conditional based on who is released and sustained. The order may be altered in view of whoever might be called to be the new apostles and when they might be called upon to speak. On the subject of who might be called, I have had a good feeling about two particular names. I am not confident enough in my feelings about who the new apostles might be to add their specific names to my prediction, and Elder Scott’s death came so suddenly. I really haven’t had a chance to give any thought as to the identity of the first new apostle. I could be totally wrong in my feelings about who might be called, so, I will not be making my predictions for the new apostles known. Hope that makes sense. Here are my predictions for what changes might be made to general Church leadership, followed by my predictions for who might speak and when and in what order.

October 2015 Predictions for changes in General Church Leadership
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: Russell Marion Nelson sustained as Quorum President; Three new apostles sustained. (I think I know who two of them might be, but I’m not going to say just in case I’m wrong.)
NOTE: We know from previous announcements that Russell Marion Nelson should be sustained as Quorum President since he was set apart in that position on July 15. Three new apostles will be sustained to succeed Elder L. Tom Perry, President Boyd K. Packer and Elder Richard G. Scott.
RESULT: Russell Marion Nelson was so sustained. Three new apostles were called, namely: Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Senior President of the Seventy, Presiding Bishop Gary E. Stevenson, and Elder Dale G. Renlund of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Presidency of the Seventy: New member(s) sustained (if new apostle(s) come from the Presidency of the Seventy.
NOTE: We may see one of the new apostles come from the Presidency of the Seventy, though who it might be is beyond me.
RESULT: Elder Ronald A. Rasband was released as Senior President of the Seventy in view of his new calling as an apostle. Elder L. Whitney Clayton is now the Senior President of the Seventy, and a new member will be called to fill the vacancy in the Presidency, though it may take a while for the Church to announce who that will be.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: On October 6, 2015, it was officially announced by the Church that Elder Clayton had indeed become Senior President of the Seventy and that the new member of the Presidency of the Seventy is Elder Gerrit W. Gong, who has been a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy since April 2010.
First Quorum of the Seventy: Elder Don R. Clarke released and granted emeritus status; other member(s) possibly released if called to the Twelve.
NOTE: I believe Elder Don R. Clarke will be released and granted emeritus status because he will turn 70 at the end of the year, and it seems to be a common practice to release and grant emeritus status in October to First Quorum brethren that are or will be 70 by the end of any given year. I also believe that the third new apostle will come from the First Quorum, and will thus need to be released as well, but, as stated above, I won’t be revealing who I think that will be.
RESULT: Elder Don R. Clarke was released as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and granted emeritus status. Elders Ronald A. Rasband and Dale G. Renlund were also, in view of their new callings as apostles, released as members of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: Besides not having Elders Rasband and Renlund as members anymore, in view of his calling to the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Gerrit W. Gong is serving in the Presidency of the Seventy and is not numbered among those of the First Quorum any more. Also, Elder W. Christopher Waddell was released on October 9, to accept a calling as Second Counselor in the reorganized Presiding Bishopric. This makes four total men not numbered among the First Quorum anymore.
Second Quorum of the Seventy: Elders Koichi Aoyagi and Kent F. Richards and others possibly released if called to the Twelve.
NOTE: I believe that at least Elder Koichi Aoyagi will be released. Not so sure about Elder Kent F. Richards. He’s at an age and service length where a release could be expected, but as of September 13, he is still the Temple Department Executive Director, and any changes to Executive Directors of Departments are usually made by or before August 1. So either only Elder Aoyagi will be released (as he is unassigned and over 70) or both Elders Aoyagi and Richards will be released, and someone else will take on the role of Temple Department Executive Director. I do not believe we will see any other changes here.
RESULT: Elders Koichi Aoyagi and Bruce A. Carlson were released as members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy and became the first members of the Second Quorum to be granted emeritus status.  
Presiding Bishopric: Change(s) made if new apostle(s) come from the Presiding Bishopric.
NOTE: I believe the second new apostle will come from the Presiding Bishopric, but again, as stated above, I won’t be revealing who I think that will be. If any members of the Presiding Bishopric do become apostles, that would necessitate changes.
RESULT: No changes were made here. It may be a little while until a new Presiding Bishop is called, and in the meantime, neither Bishop Stevenson nor his counselors were released at this time.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: On October 9, it was announced that Gerald Causse, the former First Counselor to Bishop Gary E. Stevenson, would be the new Presiding Bishop, the first non-native English speaker to hold this position in about 50 or 100 years. Dean M. Davies, who previously served as Second Counselor to Bishop Stevenson, is Causse’s new First Counselor, and W. Christopher Waddell of the First Quorum of the Seventy has been called as the new Second Counselor.
Area Seventies: Releases and sustainings, especially if new apostle(s) come from currently serving Area Seventies.
NOTE: I believe we will only have a few changes here, as it seems to be typically the pattern for major changes to be made in April when President Dieter F. Uchtdorf presents the Sustaining of Church Officers and for only a very few to be made in October when President Henry B. Eyring presents the Sustaining of Church Officers. I’m not infallible, however, so I will just say that I believe there will be few, if any, changes here.
RESULT: 1 area seventy was released and none were sustained.
Sunday School General Presidency: John Sears Tanner released as First Counselor; Devin G. Durrant released as Second Counselor and sustained as First Counselor; Brian K. Ashton sustained as Second Counselor. Possible additional changes if new apostle(s) come from Sunday School General Presidency.
NOTE: We know from the Church’s June 12 announcement that these changes have been made and will most likely be ratified by sustaining vote during General Conference. I don’t believe there will be any other changes here.
RESULT: These changes were made. No other changes were necessary.
Young Men General Presidency: Change(s) made if new apostle(s) come from Young Men General Presidency.
NOTE: I don’t believe there will be any changes here.
RESULT: No change necessary.

October 2015 General Conference Speaking Order Predictions
Session
Conducting
Speaker
General Women’s
Bonnie L. Oscarson
Rosemary M. Wixom

[Linda S. Reeves]
Carol F. McConkie

[Carol F. McConkie]
Linda S. Reeves

[President Dieter F. Uchtdorf]
President Thomas S. Monson
Saturday Morning
President Henry B. Eyring
President Thomas S. Monson [President Dieter F. Uchtdorf]

[Elder M. Russell Ballard]
President Russell M. Nelson or
Elder Quentin L. Cook


Elder Richard J. Maynes


Neill F. Marriott

[Elder Larry R. Lawrence]
Elder Kim B. Clark

[Elder Francisco ViƱas]
Elder Quentin L. Cook or
Elder David A. Bednar

[Elder Quentin L. Cook
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Saturday Afternoon
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
President Henry B. Eyring (Sustaining of Church Officers)


Elder Robert D. Hales

[Elder Jeffrey R. Holland]
Elder M. Russell Ballard

[Elder Bradley D. Foster]
Elder Von G. Keetch

[Elder Hugo Montoya]
Elder Allen D. Haynie

[Elder Vern P. Stanfill]
Elder Hugo Montoya

[Elder James B. Martino]
Elder Vern P. Stanfill or
Elder Dallin H. Oaks

[Elder Dallin H. Oaks]
Elder Neil L. Andersen
Saturday Priesthood
President Henry B. Eyring
Elder David A. Bednar or President Russell M. Nelson
[Elder Neil L. Andersen]

[Elder Randall K. Bennett]
Bishop Gary E. Stevenson

[President Dieter F. Uchtdorf]
Elder Ronald A. Rasband

[President Henry B. Eyring]
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

[President Thomas S. Monson]
President Henry B. Eyring

[No one]
President Thomas S. Monson
Sunday Morning
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
President Henry B. Eyring
[President Thomas S. Monson]


Elder Ronald A. Rasband


Elder Gary E. Stevenson


Elder Dale G. Renlund

[President Russell M. Nelson]
Elder D. Todd Christofferson or New apostle #3

[Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer; not predicted]


[Elder Claudio R. M. Costa; not predicted]


[President Henry B. Eyring]
President Thomas S. Monson
Sunday Afternoon
President Henry B. Eyring
Elder Dallin H. Oaks or
New apostle #2
[Elder D. Todd Christofferson]

[Devin G. Durrant]
Carole M. Stephens or
Elder D. Todd Christofferson

[Elder Von G. Keetch]
Devin G. Durrant

[Carole M. Stephens]
Elder Mervyn B. Arnold

[Elder Allen D. Haynie]
Elder Yoon Hwan Choi

[Elder Kim B. Clark]
Elder Kevin R. Duncan

[Elder David A. Bednar]
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

[No one]
President Thomas S. Monson
79/129=61.2% (Note that this percentage does not reflect when a speaker that I thought would speak was eliminated, or when an extra speaker that was not anticipated spoke. Taking those factors into account, I was perfectly within the 60-80% range that I usually get.
I enjoyed all the conference talks greatly. It was a wonderful conference, and I was so glad I could watch all the sessions. It was so neat to hear the wonderful prayers, beautiful, doctrinally-rich talks, and the inspiring majesty of the musical selections. I left General Conference with my spiritual tank completely filled, and in eager anticipation of the next General Conference in April.

The one thing I'm not sure of is whether or not President Monson and Elder Hales will still be living next conference. I have spoken to several who feel President Monson is on his way out. It will be so hard to lose these men. It always is. But I take comfort in the knowledge that their days are known to our Heavenly Father and that their years shall not be numbered less. And I also take comfort in knowing in advance that those who may be called to replace them will be the ones the Lord would have in those roles. God is at the helm of His work, and there is no doubt in my mind about the veracity of the process by which the Lord's servants are called and released.

That being said, I want to turn my attention to some important changes that have taken place in Church leadership. Elder Rasband's call left a vacancy in the Presidency that was filled by Elder Gerrit Walter Gong, who has been a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy since 2010 and is the first native Asian to be called to serve in the Presidency of the Seventy. His call marks the first time two members of the Presidency of the Seventy who are not native US citzens have served together in the Presidency of the Seventy.

Elder Rasband's role as the Senior or Presiding President of the Seventy was transferred to Elder Lyndon Whitney Clayton III. Though it hasn't yet been officially announced by the Church, there is no doubt in my mind that Elder Clayton has taken on Elder Rasband's assignment to assist in all areas and that Elder Gong has been given Elder Clayton's former assignment to preside over and direct the affairs of the Church in the three Utah areas. Right now the Presidency of the Seventy is undergoing a transition period, especially as Elder Gong had been serving as the president of the Church's Asia Area, which assignment will need to be handed off to someone else.

Also announced this week was the reorganization of the Presiding Bishopric. Gerald Causse, who had been serving as First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric is the new Presiding Bishop, the first non-American to hold that position in either a full or half century, only the third non-American Presiding Bishop, and the first Presiding Bishop whose native language is not English. He had been called as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 2008, and became a member of the Presiding Bishopric during the April 2012 General Conference.

Bishop Dean M. Davies, who had been serving as Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, is the new First Counselor. He has been serving as a general authority and as the second counselor to Bishop Stevenson since April 2012. Called as the new Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric is Elder W. Christopher Waddell, who has been a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy since 2011 and is currently serving as First Counselor in the South America Northwest Area Presidency, so there will also need to be a change there.

An article in the Deseret News quoted an Ensign article written about the Presiding Bishopric by Keith B. McMullin, who was serving as Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric at the time the article was written. Bishop McMullin stated:

The presiding bishop has responsibility for the temporal affairs of a worldwide church. The presiding bishop's load is really heavy. If there's a hymnbook you sing from or a church manual you use, temple clothing that you wear or words that have been translated for church use into your native tongue, it comes under the guidance of the presiding bishop and his counselors."

The article goes on to talk about the duties of the Presiding Bishopric, which include: "[Overseeing the] design, construction and maintenance of temples, meetinghouses, seminary and institute buildings and other real estate, the commercial farming enterprises of the church and its real estate investment properties such as City Creek in Salt Lake City, Utah. [They also direct] the church's welfare and humanitarian programs. Membership records and the collection of tithes and offerings also come under their purview."

Members of the presiding bishopric also have ecclesiastical duties. They hold the keys to the presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood. As Bishop McMullin stated, "Each member of the Presiding Bishopric is an ordained bishop and a general authority of the church who goes out on assignments, as do all general authorities, to officiate in stake conferences, to teach members of the church and to handle the various ecclesiastical administrative affairs they are called upon to handle."

The Presiding Bishopric meets every Friday with the First Presidency. Their efforts also focus on :"[t]hose who suffer from hurricanes, earthquakes and privations of various sorts."

The article concludes with brief biographies of the new Presiding Bishopric members and names the two other Presiding Bishops who have not been from the United States and are not native English speakers, namely: Charles W. Penrose, who served from 1907-1925 when he became a member of the First Presidency, and who was born in Scotland, and Victor L. Brown, a native Canadian, who served in the Presiding Bishopric from 1961-1985 (being Presiding Bishop from 1972-1985, and was a member of the Seventy from 1985 to his death in 1996, following his tenure in the Presiding Bishopric.)

I am grateful for all of these inspired changes and can and will sustain these newly called leaders with all my heart. I testify that each of their callings and all of the inspired messages from General Conference come directly from the Lord, and that we will be blessed as we sustain and follow the counsel of all of our leaders, and I bear this testimony and share this post in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Our New Place

Hey, everyone! Sorry it's been so long since my last post. Things have been kind of crazy. We are very nicely settling in to our new place in the trailer in Orem. We are so thrilled with this move! Things have been so much better since we started living here.

My work attendance has been spotty lately again. As I feared, the distance from the job has lulled me into a false sense of security about my attendance at work. The last two weeks, I have clocked in about half as much time as I did the previous two weeks. We're hoping I can work every day the rest of this week, including putting in some time on Saturday, But we'll have to see what happens.

I had a chance to speak to our new bishop on a rare weeknight when I was at home. I let him know of my Celiac Disease and a need for a separate tray, and he very kindly informed me that he was fully aware of what that entailed because his sister-in-law has it. He said that I just needed to bring my bread in a bag, like I've been doing, and they would make sure it got to me. He also got our records transferred over to our new ward that same night.

Unfortunately, we arrived at Church last Sunday after the meeting started, so I didn't get a chance to get the priests my corn tortilla piece. Thankfully, we got there in well enough time to partake of the sacrament, and the good news is, I didn't have any reaction of any kind to the bread with gluten in it. Church was great. For the first time in several years, I was able to attend Gospel Doctrine with Amy. That was great. I then went to Priesthood Opening Exercises, where, for the first time since we were on the 11 am Church block with the AF 21st Ward, we began the meeting with a hymn. The lesson was one we'd already had in my previous ward. I met a lot of good brethren and felt right at home. After Church, for the first time in a while, we had deacons stop by for Fast Offerings. I felt bad about turning them away. We were also able to fill out a form for our new ward that the bishop had gotten us. It was great. We're going to be just fine here, and the ward instantly felt comfortable to us.

We've had kids stop by volunteering to mow our lawn for us and selling stuff for money for their school. We hated turning them away and agreed that, when we can afford to do so, we would gladly give money to help out with stuff like that. We are thrilled with the neighborhood. I have been going to Walgreens pharmacy to get my prescriptions and have been quite impressed with them.

With my dad's help, we were able to get our TV working with just a converter box (no antenna needed), our washer and dryer going, and a new dishwasher installed. It needs new parts, though, so we will have to wash dishes by hand for the time being. We were grateful for his kind assistance.

I spent today sick at home after throwing up early this morning. My stomach settled down easily, thankfully, but I guess I must have been wiped out from all the nights during which  haven't slept well or at all. I slept the day away, only getting up and ready for the day @ around 6 pm. I have been grateful for my sweet Amy helping me and even going the extra mile for me in the midst of all this. Have I mentioned  how amazing this wonderful wife of mine is? Words aren't enough to adequately express how I feel about this sweet, wonderful woman, who sacrifices so much to help me whenever I need it. I love her more every day. She is truly my better half, my life, my love, my all, my everything. With her by my side, I can face anything and everything life throws at us.

My next post will focus on general conference. Until I write that one in a few minutes, I wish you all the best! Thank you all for your readership, interest, and support.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Report: Funeral Services for Elder Richard Gordon Scott/We will start moving in tomorrow! (Wednesday's the big day!)

I wanted to post about a couple of things. First, to get it said and out of the way of the more important item, I wanted to let my readers know that the current owner of the trailer is planning to have all her stuff moved out by tomorrow. We have to go over and retrieve the bill of sale, so we will be moving in some of the smaller stuff at that time. We will also get me set up so I can pick up my prescriptions in the future from Walgreens, which is on the same road as the trailer court. I think I will be happy with Walgreens' pharmacy, which opens an hour earlier and closes an hour later during the week than Fresh Market does. Only problem is, it closes at 6 pm on Saturdays. But I've considered my options very carefully, and Walgreens just seems to make the most sense.

My purpose in mentioning all that is leading up to the fact that I will be taking a bit of time off work tomorrow to get these things taken care of. And I have been granted approval to have Wednesday off to help move the bigger things, even though I may not be able to get much done that way.

In the meantime, the more important news is that funeral services were held today honoring the life of Elder Richard Gordon Scott. President Henry B. Eyring conducted, just as I had predicted, and, in doing so, offered his brief tribute to Elder Scott., who he said had embraced him with open arms and sound advice when President Eyring first became an apostle.The invocation was offered by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and the benediction by Elder M. Russell Ballard, who now sit with only Robert D. Hales between them after the three apostolic deaths this year. I was spot on in predicting the speakers. Michael Scott did represent the Scott family and paid a beautiful tribute to his dad, mainly focused on the fact that he was with his beloved Jeanene now, along with the two children they had earlier lost. Elder D. Todd Christofferson gave a special tribute in representation of all the missionaries who had served under Elder Scott and his wife. President Russell M. Nelson reminisced about his travels with Elder Scott. And President Thomas S. Monson concluded the service with a beautiful account of his last visit with Elder Scott, wherein he gave him a blessing and told him how much he and the other apostles, and indeed the whole Church, love him. Each spoke in joyful anticipation about a future reunion with their beloved associate in the work of the Lord. It was truly a celebration of life rather than focusing on the sadness of it. The Tabernacle Choir provided beautiful music, closing the service with Mack Wilberg's stirring arrangement of Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing. I was grateful I had made the effort to get up and watch it.

Now all that remains is to wait for moving day to get here, get the stress of that over with, and then look forward to our first General Conference not only in our own home, but also marking the calling of three new apostles of the Lord. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but the third apostle called will bring the number of members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in this dispensation to an even 100. With all the moving, I haven't given any more thought to who might be called. Whether I'm right or not in feeling the way I do about who might fill the apostolic vacancies, the important thing is that I know these men, whoever they may be, will be the ones the Lord would have called to the apostleship at this time. It is my hope and prayer that we will with all our hearts and our uplifted hands sustain these new prophets. seers and revelators as fully as we strove to sustain President Boyd K. Packer, Elder L. Tom Perry. and Elder Richard G. Scott while they were still here with us. If they were among us still, that is what they would ask us to do.

I will get through the next couple of days and then perhaps be able to post pictures of both the old and new dwelling places. I am excited to dedicate another home, just as I did with this place. I am grateful to have been raised in a home where that happened every time we moved. It has definitely made a difference in my life. Well, that's all for now. More to come as time and circumstances allow. All the best until I write again!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Report on the General Women's Meeting

Hello, all! Just posting about the latest in Church and personal news. On a personal note, we are still working towards moving day on Wednesday. Today was our last Sunday in our current ward. It was a very emotional experience for me. I was surprised that Amy and I were again not released from our callings today. I did find out, however, that our ward clerk, Brother Kurt Walker, who was one of the two I had trained to substitute for me in recording the Sacrament Meeting (the other was the Executive Secretary, Logan Day, who is a good friend of Joanna and Lyle and was my home teaching companion for a time while in the ward), had been asked to take over my duties in recording and editing the Sacrament Meetings and burning them on to disks for the homebound. So I turned over the recording device and the wires with it to him today. Tonight if time allows, or tomorrow, I will be contacting Brother Walker via e-mail and turning over to him all my files of Sacrament Meetings and all the notes to the homebound members that I have written. He will stop by and pick up the other supplies (CDs and CD sleeves) sometime this week. Going to Elders' Quorum was very difficult today. I commented a lot during my last meeting with these good friends. And I volunteered to give the closing prayer, invoking the blessings of the Lord upon these good brethren. And so passed our final Sunday in our current ward. Our first Sunday in the new ward will be the week after general conference.

In the meantime, moving day is Wednesday. My parents have pledged to help as much as they are able to. Amy's brother Troy has consented to help, as has my brother Neal, and both are bringing trucks on Wednesday to help us move the big stuff. Neal will bring his wife Sammi to help as well, and he even said his little daughter Sage, whom they will pick up midday Wednesday, was good at helping with moving things. I am grateful they are raising her to be a helpful young lady, but I can't help wondering how much help a 2 or 3 year old can be. No offense intended, of course. We may even be able to move some of the smaller stuff into our new place on Tuesday night. But Wednesday's the big moving day. My Elders' Quorum is on call to help us if we need them. We hope to be able to move everything that needs moving on Wednesday with only one trip, but that remains to be seen.

That being said, it's time for a brief Church News update. The General Women's meeting was held last night, as I said. I touched briefly on that meeting in my last post but wanted to give a more detailed summary of who spoke and what was said. The Deseret News gave a good report on the meeting. You can read that at this link. In summary, Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary General President, talked about discovering the divine identity and purpose each individual has. Linda S. Reeves, Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, spoke about recognizing and claiming the blessings that come from the making and keeping of sacred covenants, through baptism, the Sacrament, and temple worship. Sister Carole F. McConkie, First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, spoke of the righteous cause for which we are here on earth to serve. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave a parable of a young lady visiting her great aunt and discovering the reasons for her aunt's happiness. The Church website gave excellent summaries of these address, which can be found by following this link.

Now all that remains is to wait for this next weekend. I am always excited about General Conference, but this go round I am especially anticipating it not just to see how right my predictions for changes in general church leadership and the speaking order I put together are, but also to hear the messages from all those who will speak, especially our 15 prophets, seers, and revelators, three of whom will be newly called to their positions. And that's aside from any other major announcements, such as more temples or other items like unto that. I will be particularly looking forward to President Monson's remarks, whether he speaks just a couple of times or gives his traditional four addresses. You can be sure to count on my report of all general conference proceedings here on this blog as time and circumstances allow. In the meantime, this week will mark a move for us. And that will include finding a new pharmacy. I will keep you updated on all the good stuff as time and circumstances allow me to do so. Until I write again, all the best!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Personal/Church News

I am posting today for some very exciting reasons. First, regarding our personal lives, we signed the papers and handed over the money for the trailer in Orem on Friday. So, effective Tuesday night after the current occupant vacates it, we will be able to starting moving in. We may not get much done then, however, so the major day to move stuff will be Wednesday.

Amy's brother Troy has agreed to help us, as he is the only one of Amy's brothers who is physically able to handle moving stuff. He will bring a truck with a trailer so we can have that to move stuff in. I have also spoken to my parents, who will do what they can. At my mom's suggestion, I checked with my brother Neal to see if he would be available to help us move some of the heavy stuff on Wednesday. He said we could count on his and his wife Sammi's help on that day. He will also be checking at work this week to see if he can rustle us up any spare boxes they have lying around, and he will be bringing his in-law's truck to help cart stuff. I told him we had been thinking of renting a U-Haul moving truck, but he said, "James, you know you can count on us to be there, and I'm sure I can get my in-laws to lend us their truck, so why would you go to the expense of renting a U-Haul?" I am grateful for his support. I'm glad we have people nearby who can help us.

In so many ways though, I can't help feeling very guilty about the fact that I physically can't handle helping to move some of the bigger, heavier stuff. Deep down, I know it's not my fault I'm unable to assist my own family in moving our stuff. It's just the hand I was dealt. But a little voice in my head keeps screaming at me that I should be able to help out and that it is my fault I am not able to. I guess I just have to learn that it really is something that's out of my control. But it's times like this I wish I had been born healthy and strong and that I could do more and take the load and dependency off the backs of those who will have to do what I am not able to. Don't worry about me getting to feel too guilty, however. None of my family or Amy's family holds it against me that I have to rely on them to do things I cannot. And because I am not able to do them, I should be grateful there are those who can assist us with things like this.

All going well, this will be our last Sunday in the American Fork 21st Ward, American Fork East Stake, and our first Sunday in the new ward will be October 11. It was harder than I thought it would be to let everyone in the ward know. I couldn't hold back the tears as I made the announcement last Sunday. Some stopped us after Church to say how much they would miss us. We will miss this stake as well. But I take comfort in knowing that, ASAP, we will be back in this stake, perhaps with a couple or a few children in tow. That's not an announcement, by the way. We are actually hoping that we might have better success starting our family in a place that's ours, where the only noisy neighbors are outside our trailer.

We are very excited to be moving in to our new place, which with we can do whatever we want, as long as we don't violate the park rules. We found out that the park management are Hispanic. It will be interesting to see what the cultural makeup of the park is.

In the meantime, on the Church News front, I failed to mention that Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was in Philadelphia last week at the World Meeting of Families, attended by many of the world's religions. Elder Christofferson, with the help of two LDS families in the area, gave a presentation on the importance of the family, and why the Church supports traditional marriage and families. He did very well, from what I've read about it. For more on what he and the families said, please see this article.

When I read about that, I thought, that must be the reason Elder Scott's funeral was scheduled for Monday. The other 11 apostles surely want Elder Christofferson back so he can speak at Elder Scott's funeral (Elder Scott was Elder Christofferson's mission president).

I think I am correct in what I wrote in the previous post about who will likely speak at Elder Scott's funeral. But either way, we'll find out on Monday.

Here's an interesting tidbit of temple news. Yesterday (Saturday), site clearing was held for the Rio de Janeiro Temple site. That temple has not had a groundbreaking date officially announced, but if they are doing that, then an announcement about a near future groundbreaking is imminent. And also, it appears that the temple to be built in Port-au-Prince Haiti is in the design process. Not sure how close they are to announcing a site for that temple, but it is something. No other noticeable activity in temple construction is happening.

The General Women's meeting happened tonight. I watched it live. It was a great meeting. Amy missed half of it because she was out doing errands, but we are going to rewatch it probably tomorrow. All of the speakers I had projected spoke, except that Sister McConkie and Sister Reeves were flip-flopped from the order I had predicted. Additionally. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke instead of President Thomas S. Monson.

President Monson looked all  right tonight, but many feel he's at the beginning of the end of his life. I certainly hope not. I have been hoping that he will live a good long time. Whether he does or not, we can rest assured that the Lord's pattern of succession is such that the Church will always have the leadership of apostles and prophets. The Lord can build up the Church faster than Satan can tear it down. And we have the scriptural promise that the fulness of the everlasting gospel will never again be taken from the earth.

The bigger question in my mind is, how many times, if at all, will President Monson speak to us next weekend? I'm hoping he'll be able to give his traditional 4 talks, but, if nothing else, I anticipate he will at least speak twice, once on Saturday and once on Sunday.

I am hoping he will be well enough to announce and lead off in the sustaining of President Russell Marion Nelson as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the three new apostles, whomever they may be. If he can't, though, I'm sure they'll either move the Sustaining of Church Officers to the Saturday morning session to end the speculation, or have either President Eyring or President Uchtdorf lead off in sustaining the changes to the Quorum of the Twelve's leadership and membership at the commencement of the Saturday Morning Session. We will have to see.

If nothing else, I hope President Monson can at least speak during the Saturday Priesthood and Sunday Morning sessions to give his keynote addresses. I will keep you posted on all that good stuff as I hear about it.

Well, the hour is late, and I must be getting up in a few hours to make it to our 11 am Church block, so I will close now. Until I post again, all the best!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Funeral of Elder Richard Gordon Scott announced/Three New Apostles

The LDS Church announced today that funeral services honoring the life of Elder Richard Gordon Scott would be held Monday September 28. I have pondered who the speakers might be, and I think I have a fairly good idea. President Henry B. Eyring is likely going to be asked to conduct the funeral, as he conducted the funerals for both Elder L. Tom Perry and President Boyd K. Packer. Michael W. Scott, a son of Elder Scott, seems to be the designated spokesperson for the Scott family, so it wouldn't surprise me if he was asked to represent the family at the funeral. Other speakers might be President Russell M. Nelson (since it's common to have the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak at the funeral of his fellow apostles, though obviously that didn't happen with funeral services for either Elder Perry or President Packer), Elder D. Todd Christofferson (who was one of Elder Scott's missionaries), and President Thomas S. Monson. I won't be surprised, of course, if other apostles or First Presidency members are asked to speak, but it seems to be a fairly sensible guess.

My team leader at work, John Thomas, and I were discussing general conference earlier this week. I told him of my predictions, and he said he'd love to follow along. So I got him a copy of them. But Elder Scott died before I could get that to John, so I had to redo my predictions, including the three new apostles, whomever they might be. John talked to me a bit about why I enjoyed making such predictions, and that led to him asking who I thought would be the new apostles. I told him I felt they would all be younger men and that at least one of them would be international. I'm kind of hoping all three will be from foreign countries, but that remains to be seen.

My purpose in telling you all about this is that I have come to a decision. I said earlier I would not be posting any additional speculation or guesses about who the new apostles might be. However, I have had some feelings on the matter that I just had to share.

Before Elder Scott's passing, I had pondered the two apostolic vacancies, and two particular brethren came to mind: Bishop Gerald Causse of the Presiding Bishopric, and Elder Michael John U. Teh of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Both of them are younger, and, in Elder Teh's case, I have a precedent for believing he will one day become an apostle, whether or not it happens this time.

As I prayed prior to the April 2008 General Conference, I had a distinct feeling that Elder Teh would be called as the new apostle. Obviously that didn't happen, but I never have quite been able to shake off the feeling that he will be called this time.

As I pondered additionally who might be called to fill the third vacancy, the name of Ulisses Soares of the Presidency of the Seventy came to mind. If I'm right, we will get three international apostles who are all under 60.

John asked me if I thought we might get a black apostle this time, as there are two black brethren serving as members of the First Quorum of the Seventy (Elder Joseph W. Sitati, and Elder Edward Dube). I said I didn't think the Church was ready for a black apostle.

If the three men mentioned above are called, Elder Soares would be the first Brazilian apostle and the first from South America, Bishop Causse would be the first French apostle, and Elder Teh would be the first Filipino apostle. Each of them would be historically significant, and any of them might one day subsequently preside over the Church.

I want to make this next declaration very clear: These are just my own thoughts, and should not be taken as gospel truth. While I don't know why the Lord would reveal to me who the new apostles will be before He tells President Monson is beyond me. But feelings like this are not unprecedented in my life.

When the bishop of my ward that had seen me through my Aaronic Priesthood years and interviewed me for my ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood was released, I had a distinct feeling about who the new counselors in the bishopric would be, and I was right. After leaving that ward when I transferred to the Singles' Ward, and several years after my marriage, that ward bishopric was going to be again reorganized. Again, I had a feeling that a particular brother would be called as the First Counselor in the new bishopric, and so it was.

To prove that I am by no means infallible, I will also say that when I knew the General Primary Presidency was going to be released in 2010, I had a feeling that Mary N. Cook, then serving as First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, would be called to be the new Primary General President. Obviously, that didn't happen. And the fact that Elder Teh was not called to the apostleship when I thought he would be says volumes about how reliable my inspiration can be. But the more I think about it, the more these three above named brethren make sense as the new apostles. Now all that remains is to wait a week and a half and see just how right (or wrong) I am about my feelings regarding the identity of the new apostles. Since I recognize my own infallibility, I will by no means be surprised whether or not the above named brethren are called. And whoever the new apostles are, they will have my whole-hearted sustaining vote and prayers. I just wanted to get my feelings on the matter down while I was thinking about it. Time will tell just how right (or wrong) I am. Hope you enjoyed this post. Can't wait for Conference. More to come on the outcome of my predictions as well as the new apostles when such information becomes available. Until I write again, all the best!