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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Elder L. Tom Perry passes away.

Elder Lowell Tom Perry passed away at around 3:00 pm today due to cancer. Yesterday, it was learned that his cancer was terminal and would result in his demise in quick order. I just didn't expect it to happen this quickly. He had a good run. He was born on August 5, 1922. He became an Assistant to the Twelve (a now-defunct position) in 1972 and was ordained an apostle in April of 1974. He has now been reunited with his first wife, who died in 1976, and his daughter, who died of cancer when she was only in her 30's. He is survived by his second wife, the former Barbara Dayton,  whom he married two years after the death of his first wife, Virginia. Elder Perry was, at the time of his death, the oldest living apostle. Now that distinction belongs to Elder Russell M. Nelson.

Now the questions arise, who will be called to fill the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and how soon will that happen? It could be any time between now and the October general conference. I personally believe it will happen sooner rather than later. All but one of the currently serving apostles were called at conference time. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was called in the summer.

As to the question of who might be called to fill the vacancy, it could be any man currently serving in the Church but will more than likely be a general authority. Of the now 14 apostles serving, 2 have come from the Church membership at large (President Thomas S. Monson and Elder Dallin H. Oaks) one was an Assistant to the Twelve (President Boyd K. Packer), one was a Regional Representative (Russell M. Nelson), 6 have come from the Presidency of the Seventy (Elder M. Russell Ballard, Elder Richard G. Scott, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Elder Quentin L. Cook, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, and Elder Neil L. Andersen), 1 was the Presiding Bishop of the Church at the time of his call (Elder Robert D. Hales), 2 were serving in the First Quorum of the Seventy (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and President Henry B. Eyring (who had, previous to his call as a Seventy, served as one of Bishop Hales's counselors)), and 1 was an area seventy (Elder David A. Bednar). So it could be any of the General Authorities, though there's always a chance he could be called from the Church at large.

I will keep tabs on this matter and post news as soon as I can after I find out about it. In the meantime, if time and circumstances allow, I will post that general update I've been promising. Just had to share this sad news today.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Elder L. Tom Perry's cancer is terminal

Sad news today from the Church. Elder L. Tom Perry's cancer is reported to be terminal and has spread to other parts of his body. He will continue to receive treatment but has basically been sent home to die. He will be receiving hospice care at home. He will no longer participate in meetings of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles but will reportedly still be receiving visitors from the First Presidency and his fellow apostles, as well as close family. It appears that, by all accounts, Elder Perry is on his way out of this life. It is somber news, to be sure. I cried when I first heard it. Then someone at work with whom I shared the news put it into perspective for me. He said, "Well, I guess this means we'll be getting a new apostle next conference." It didn't make me any less sad about Elder Perry, but it did serve as a gentle reminder that, even when the leading brethren of the Church pass on, there is a provision for succession by those who are appointed by the Lord's prophet. If and when Elder Perry does pass on, someone else will be called in his stead that we will love and sustain as fully as we do Elder Perry. As stated in previous posts, I will not speculate about how long any of the Brethren will live, nor will I ever post a prediction about potential new apostles unless and until an apostle passes on. I know I promised that my next post would be the much-needed update, but this news warranted a post of its own. I anticipate that I will likely do that general update post at some point this weekend. I know I've been promising an update for a while and not delivering. I will get to that very soon, I promise. In the meantime, I've said enough.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Temple District Changes in Utah

I wanted to post about other important news about temples in Utah. Two changes have been made to temple districts here. Wording for these district changes has been taken verbatim from ldschurchtemples.com.

"In preparation for the Payson Utah Temple dedication next month when numerous temple workers will be transferred from the Provo Utah Temple, all of the stakes in Orem have been reassigned from the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple District to the Provo Utah Temple District." That update was posted on May 4, and my mom, who works at the Mount Timpanogos Temple, tells me that this change has taken effect already. All Orem residents serving temple workers at the Mount Timp. Temple had to reapply and be reinterviewed and set apart specifically to work at the Provo Temple. Hopefully the dust has settled there.

In the meantime, this update was posted on May 19. "Announcements were made on Sunday [May 17] to Layton congregations that the city's 13 stakes would belong to the Bountiful Utah Temple District which now covers 49 stakes. Layton had formerly belonged to the Ogden Utah Temple District, which now covers 63 stakes." I imagine that the temple workers from Layton who were serving in the Ogden Temple also had to reapply and be reinterviewed and set apart specifically to work in the Bountiful Temple.

I imagine we will see many more temple district changes in Utah as the Provo City Center Temple nears dedication and then the Cedar City temple is built and dedicated. I will keep an eye on such developments and keep you all informed.

In the meantime, since this weekend is a three-day weekend, I will likely post the long-promised personal update either tomorrow night or sometime Monday. Stay tuned for that. Until I post again, all the best!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Site Selected for the Urdaneta Philippines Temple/Temple Progres (Current and Future) analyzed

I am posting for a very exciting reason. The Church recently (not sure how recently, but within the last week) finally announced a site for the Urdaneta Philippines Temple. According to a new section on that temple's listing on ldschurchtemples.com, "The site selected for the Urdaneta Philippines Temple sits off the MacArthur Highway, just south of Urdaneta City." This brings to 9 the total of temples that may potentially have a groundbreaking ceremony either this year or next year, and cuts the number of temples that haven't yet had a site announced to 4. And, as previously noted, six more temples will have their dedication or rededication by the end of this year, although the Provo City Center temple may at any time be added to the list of temples to be dedicated before the end of the year. And nine or ten temples may be dedicated or rededicated next year. With all these temple developments happening so fast, I thought that I would provide an updated list of temple progress, so you can see how the Church is pressing forward in this regard. Here's the list:

Temples Undergoing Renovation:
26. Mexico City Mexico Temple: Scheduled to be rededicated Sunday September 13, 2015.
86. Montreal Quebec Temple: Scheduled to be rededicated Sunday November 22, 2015.
91. Suva Fiji Temple: Anticipated to be completed in early 2016.
33. Freiberg Germany Temple: Anticipated to be completed in mid-2016.
8. Idaho Falls Idaho Temple: Anticipated to be completed in late 2016.

Under Construction:
146. Payson Utah Temple: Scheduled to be dedicated Sunday June 7, 2015.
147. Trujillo Peru Temple: Scheduled to be dedicated Sunday June 21, 2015.
148. Indianapolis Indiana Temple: Scheduled to be dedicated Sunday August 23, 2015.
149. Tijuana Mexico Temple: Scheduled to be dedicated Sunday December 13, 2015.
154. Provo City Center Temple: Projected to be completed in late 2015-early 2016.
150. Rome Italy Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-2016.
155. Hartford Connecticut Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-2016.
156. Fort Collins Colorado Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-2016.
151. Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-to-late 2016. 152. Sapporo Japan Temple: Projected to be completed in late 2016.
157. Paris France Temple: Projected to be completed in late 2016.
158. Meridian Idaho Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-2017.
159. Star Valley Wyoming Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-2017.
153. Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Projected to be completed in 2018.

Announced:
160. Cedar City Utah Temple: Local government approval phase; site plan presented at January 2015 meeting; groundbreaking scheduled for Saturday August 8, 2015.
168. Tucson Arizona Temple: Construction approval phase; general contractor selected; groundbreaking pending.
161. Concepcion Chile Temple: Approval phase; temple and site design plans complete; groundbreaking pending.
165. Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Planning and approval phase; temple and site designs complete; groundbreaking pending.
162. Lisbon Portugal Temple: Planning and approval phase; land purchase finalized; groundbreaking pending.
169. Arequipa Peru Temple: Planning and approval phase; final piece of land for temple site acquired; groundbreaking pending.
164. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Planning and approval phase; groundbreaking pending.
167. Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple: Planning and approval phase; groundbreaking pending.
170. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Planning and approval phase; groundbreaking pending.
163. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Planning and approval phase; groundbreaking pending.
166. Durban South Africa Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
171. Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
172. Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
173. Bangkok Thailand Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.

I love to watch the progress of temples. It is wonderful to think that by the end of next year, all temples currently undergoing renovation will likely be finished, and that the number of operating temples will go up to at least 156, if not more. And who knows how soon sites may be announced for Durban, Abidjan, Port-au-Prince, and Bangkok? Not to mention the possibility of groundbreaking for any or all of these temples by then. And now that it appears the hiatus of temple announcements is over, the list of temples could grow any time. I don't think the Church will have any difficulty having 200 temples by April 6, 2030, the 200th anniversary of the Church. I will keep an eye on these most important developments, and pass along any news as opportunity and time allows. Major general update to follow hopefully this weekend. Until then, all the best!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cordoba Argentina Temple Dedicated

I am posting today for a very important reason. The Cordoba Argentina Temple was dedicated Sunday by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. He was accompanied by Elder D. Todd Christofferson, just as I had predicted. Also in attendance were the South America South Area Presidency: Elder Walter F. Gonzalez (President), Elder Jorge R. Zeballos (First Counselor) and Elder Francisco J. Viñas (Second Counselor). Elder Kent F. Richards of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, who serves as the Executive Director of the Church's Temple Department, was also in attendance. The Church News wrote two excellent articles about the dedication. One of them almost made me cry, because it made reference to how those in attendance felt like Elder Richard G. Scott was with them. As you will recall from earlier posts, Elder Scott served in Cordoba Argentina as a mission president, and one of his missionaries was Elder Christofferson. Elder Scott is, sadly, currently dealing with memory issues due to his advanced age. He is unable to participate in Quorum meetings and business, so he couldn't be in attendance.

I post a link to both of those articles for your edification:

Cordoba Argentina Temple: Already uplifting spirits, changing lives
Cordoba Argentina Temple: Apostle returns 'home'

The Church now has 145 operating temples, with six or possibly seven to be dedicated or rededicated by the end of this year. I love to monitor the progress of temple building! And rest assured, all temple-related news will be posted on this blog. If you would like to visit the following website, it will have all the latest information on temples around the world:

LDS Temples - Mormon Temples

It should be noted that the site above is not an official Church website, but it does have information which has been made available to the webmaster by the Church. I go there first whenever I am looking for information about any of the temples, and I can recommend it highly.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Cordoba Argentina Temple to be dedicated this Sunday/BYU-Haiwaii gets new president

Just a reminder to those who may have forgotten: The Cordoba Argentina Temple will be dedicated this Sunday after a cultural celebration the night before, which follows a 15 day open house. The big question now: Who will be sent to dedicate this temple? President Monson may be struggling with some health issues, so he may not feel up to the trip to Argentina. President Eyring might be sent to do it. He's the most likely choice. He's only dedicated one temple, the San Salvador El Salvador Temple. President Uchtdorf might be asked to do it. He has dedicated four temples: the Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple, the Quetzeltenango Guatemala Temple, the Manaus Brazil Temple, and the Fort Lauderdale Florida Temple. Typically, members of the Twelve only rededicate temples. The obvious exceptions to this are the Regina Saskatchewan and Brigham City Utah Temples, which were dedicated by President Boyd K. Packer as Acting President and President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. So my vote's with President Eyring or President Uchtdorf. Of all the apostles, it is most likely that Elder D. Todd Christofferson will accompany whomever dedicates the temple. This is because Elder Christofferson served as a missionary there. Elder Richard G. Scott, who served as Elder Christofferson's mission president in Argentina, will more than likely not be there, as he is dealing with some health and memory issues. Another possibility for the accompanying apostle is Elder Neil L. Andersen, who presided at the temple's groundbreaking in 2010. These are the top two candidates to accompany whoever will preside at the dedication.

This seems to be a season for dedicating temples. Sunday's dedication in Cordoba will be followed three weeks later by the Payson Utah Temple dedication, which precedes the dedication of the Trujillo Peru Temple by two weeks. After that, the next temple dedication is in August. More to come on each of these dedications as information becomes available,

In other news, Elder Russell M. Nelson, who chairs the Executive Committee of the Church Board of Education, announced on May 12 that John Sears Tanner, currently serving as First Counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency, will become the 10th President of  BYU—Hawaii. It is unclear whether or not he will be released from his Sunday School Presidency assignment, but it is more than likely, since he'd have to otherwise split his time between Hawaii and Utah. While that would not be unheard of,it makes more sense to me to allow him to focus his entire energy on the assignment as a university president. But I will keep my eye on developments in that regard, and you can be sure to find the updates here.

Still need to write that update I've been promising for a month now, but time and circumstances have left me unable to do more than quick updates. Perhaps this weekend, without the stress of work, I can finally take care of that. Until I write to you again, all the best!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Apostolic Health Update

The Church has issued an update on the health of two apostles, Elder L. Tom Perry and Elder Richard G. Scott. According to the update, Elder Perry was able to resume his workload this week and attend both meetings of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles this week, though he continues to receive treatment for his cancer. In the meantime, Elder Scott is at home after being hospitalized with gastrointestinal bleeding. An ulcer was found in his stomach. The bleeding appears to be under control without surgery. Elder Scott is unable to participate in meetings of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, though, due to experiencing a fading memory as a result of his advanced age.

I didn't know how to feel about this update. On the one hand, I am ecstatic that Elder Perry has resumed his workload. On the other hand, I am very worried about Elder Scott, particularly because he is having some memory loss issues. I still am keeping these brethren in my prayers. It will be heart wrenching for me when each of the apostles is called home. But I will be comforted by the knowledge that they will no longer suffer and that the Lord's pattern of succession allows for men equally as qualified to be called in their stead.

There is another bright side to this issue. I mentioned in another post the apparently endorsed "update" on President Thomas S. Monson's health. The update the Church provided on Elder Perry and Elder Scott contained a picture of President Monson with his counselors, President Henry B. Eyring and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, visiting Elder Perry at his home. President Monson looks very healthy. So I'm sure the "update" exaggerated the prophet's health. That was encouraging to see.

Some have speculated who might be called to succeed any apostles that pass on. I will not participate in such speculations unless and until an apostolic death takes place. And even then, I will be very careful to make it clear that these are merely my own thoughts and conjectures and do not represent an official Church-endorsed post. You can count on any further apostolic health updates to be featured on this blog. And I can assure you, this weekend at some point, I will be posting a much-needed general update on our lives, as I havenot done so in a while. Until I write again, "may peace be with you this day, and always."

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy Birthday, Joanna Stokes Hickman!

The final post I wanted to do today was a shout-out to my older sister, Joanna Stokes Hickman, who celebrated her birthday yesterday. (May 4). Throughout my life, she has been my defender, my friend, my confidant and my sister. She has supported everything I've ever done, even when she may have thought or felt I was doing the wrong thing.

Allow me to share a few memories. I have no recollection of this, but I have been told that when I was born, Joanna was extremely defensive of me. On one occasion, when the doctors were about to take me away for some needed surgery, Joanna put her hands on her hips and asked "What are you going to do to my baby?" No matter when I underwent surgery, Joanna was never far away, cheering me on to a speedy recovery. When Joanna was preparing to marry Lyle Hickman in 2004, I underwent four surgeries in a three-week period. Joanna willingly dropped whatever wedding plans she had left to do just to be sure I was okay through the ordeal. The knowledge of my sister's love was one of many factors that led me to a speedy recovery.

When I received a challenge to make my first date the Homecoming dance held shortly after the start of my Junior Year of High School, Joanna was right there with me. She helped me decide on several girls that I might ask. Then, when I had made my selection, she helped me ask the young lady out. Though she was in college at that time, she offered to double date with me. While that never happened, the offer was there. When I was preparing to get married, she was one of the first people to accept my bride-to-be as part of the family. When my younger brother got married, Joanna selflessly relieved us early from our duties in the kitchen just so Amy would have a chance to talk to her family that was there.

After I had decided on two part-time opportunities (the temple and working with Welfare Services, the Church's Humanitarian program) for my missionary service, my sister and I had a life-altering conversation, during which she expressed her concern about whether or not I was having enough of a spiritual experience as I served. Though at that time it bothered me a little, I now recognize the concern that went along with that, and I am most grateful.

I remember going with Joanna to a Young Single Adult fireside that she was dispatching for (she worked with the BYU police). At one point, I left the meeting feeling out of it and returned to where she was, where I  wound up lying down to take a nap. Joanna made sure I could still hear the fireside while simultaneously ascertaining that no one disturbed my rest.

And this is merely a sample of all the many wonderful things my sister has done for me. I rejoice in the opportunity to be her younger brother. I rejoice in her successful marriage and family life, particularly the way she is raising my nephew Grant to be a wonderful, kind little man. I am somewhat saddened that the next chapter of her life will take place far away from me, but I know she is anxious for the opportunity for her husband to attend medical school. She departed with her family for the British-owned island of St. Kitts and Nevis late last night, and, thanks to me being involved with work, I missed the chance to see her off. I will miss her more than words can say. But I am grateful that modern technology will assure that she will never be too far away. And it is hoped that part of this new adventure will be giving birth to as many new lives as she and Lyle want. I have plenty of nieces and nephews on my wife's side, but only a niece and a nephew on my side, so I am hoping that being in a different place will help her to fulfill her desires in expanding her family.

I want to end this tribute to my sister with a simple declaration: I love you, Joanna, and no matter what may change in your life, I will always be here for you. Best wishes on your brand new adventure. Oh, and thanks for everything. I love you!

Cedar City Temple Groundbreaking announced

The Church also announced today the groundbreaking date for the Cedar City Utah temple. That sacred event that marks the commencement in the building process will take place on Saturday August 8. The event will be broadcasted via satellite to those in the temple district. Attendance at the site is by invitation. Based on the general 2 1/2 year estimate on temple completion, we can anticipate that the temple will be done sometime in early 2018.

So that brings us to the question of who will preside at the Cedar City Utah Temple groundbreaking ceremony. Any of the First Presidency could do it, though it would likely either be President Henry B. Eyring or President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, as President Thomas S. Monson's health may not be very good at the moment. Of all the 12 apostles who might be asked to do it, the most likely candidate is Jeffrey R. Holland, who was raised in St. George, a mere 51.2 miles from Cedar City. It could be any member of the Presidency of the Seventy (who hold joint presiding responsibility for areas in the US and Canada), with the most likely candidate being Elder L. Whitney Clayton, who presides over all areas of Utah. The temple will be in the Utah South Area. It could be any other general authority with ties to Cedar City, though the closest I've come to finding one has been Elder Kent D. Watson, who is a former member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy (released in October 2013), having been born there. So time will tell.

In the meantime, with all the temple news lately, I wanted to post my updated list of temple progress. In addition to the groundbreakings and announced dedications, I have altered the order of announced temples where appropriate so that temples closest to a groundbreaking are listed first. I had that mostly done, but there were one or two in the wrong place. Here's the latest:

Temples Undergoing Renovation:
26. Mexico City Mexico Temple: Scheduled to be rededicated Sunday September 13, 2015.
86. Montreal Quebec Temple: Scheduled to be rededicated Sunday November 22, 2015.
91. Suva Fiji Temple: Anticipated to be completed in early 2016.
33. Freiberg Germany Temple: Anticipated to be completed in mid-2016.
8. Idaho Falls Idaho Temple: Anticipated to be completed in late 2016.

Under Construction:
145. Cordoba Argentina Temple: Scheduled to be dedicated Sunday May 17, 2015.
146. Payson Utah Temple: Scheduled to be dedicated Sunday June 7, 2015.
147. Trujillo Peru Temple: Scheduled to be dedicated Sunday June 21, 2015.
148. Indianapolis Indiana Temple: Scheduled to be dedicated Sunday August 23, 2015.
149. Tijuana Mexico Temple: Scheduled to be dedicated Sunday December 13, 2015.
154. Provo City Center Temple: Projected to be completed in late 2015-early 2016.
150. Rome Italy Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-2016.
155. Hartford Connecticut Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-2016.
156. Fort Collins Colorado Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-2016.
151. Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-to-late 2016.
152. Sapporo Japan Temple: Projected to be completed in late 2016.
157. Paris France Temple: Projected to be completed in late 2016.
158. Meridian Idaho Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-2017.
159. Star Valley Wyoming Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-2017.
153. Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Projected to be completed in 2018.

Announced:
160. Cedar City Utah Temple: Local government approval phase; site plan presented at January 2015 meeting; groundbreaking scheduled for Saturday August 8, 2015.
168. Tucson Arizona Temple: Construction approval phase; general contractor selected; groundbreaking pending.
161. Concepcion Chile Temple: Approval phase; temple and site design plans complete; groundbreaking pending.
165. Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Planning and approval phase; temple and site designs complete; groundbreaking pending.
162. Lisbon Portugal Temple: Planning and approval phase; land purchase finalized; groundbreaking pending.
169. Arequipa Peru Temple: Planning and approval phase; final piece of land for temple site acquired; groundbreaking pending.
164. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Planning and approval phase; groundbreaking pending.
167. Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple: Planning and approval phase; groundbreaking pending.
170. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Planning and approval phase; groundbreaking pending.
163. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
166. Durban South Africa Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
171. Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
172. Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
173. Bangkok Thailand Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.

I am grateful for the mammoth progress on temples that we have witnessed ever since President Hinckley gave us his goal of having 100 temples by the end of 2000. Temple building isn't as fast as it was when we had that temple building boom as a result of that goal, but I have done some figuring. Assuming all the temples under construction were completed by the end of 2018, that would be 3 and 1/3 temples completed per year, or 10 every 3 years. Continuing at that rate, we could easily have 200 temples by or before the 200th anniversary of the Church. I look forward to seeing if that is possible.

Thanks for reading this post, in addition to all the others. Just one more for tonight.

Two Missions to repopen in July

KSL, a local news station, reported that the First Presidency had announced the reopening of two missions in two African nations after the Ebola crisis had been taken care of. Effective July 1, mission presidents that have already been called will reopen the missions in Sierra Leone and Liberia. And missionaries will finally be sent back to those two nations. 274 missionaries and their leaders had been removed from these nations last August. Now that the Church is reopening these missions, missionary work can begin again in earnest. I was touched by this news. I can't wait to see what results from this important development in the works. Miracles abound, and the Lord is so good to His work.

Church gives update on health of President Thomas S. Monson

I came across this next news item about the health of President Thomas S. Monson while I had some down time at work. I'm not sure whether to believe it or not. I'm torn. On the one hand, the article in question makes reference to a Church news release I can't find anywhere, so I don't want to believe it. On the other hand, it appeared in several reputable newspapers (the Salt Lake Tribune being one of them), so how can I do otherwise but believe it? I will let each of you form your own opinions.

The article quotes a Church news release. The release purportedly says, "President Monson is 87. It's natural that he and others in church leadership are feeling the effects of advancing age. However, he spoke publicly at General Conference [last] month and attended all the meetings. He comes to the office every day, attends all First Presidency and committee meetings, leads the discussion and makes decisions."

"The statement, the first to address directly Monson's health, also noted that 'the workload of the First Presidency is up to date.'

"President Monson has always been private about his health, but appreciates the prayers and sustaining support of church members, as do all of the First Presidency and the [Quorum of the] [T]welve [Apostles]."

The news release goes on to state that prophets are called for life and never released simply due to the effects of aging. Some (mostly Church dissidents) have proposed that an emeritus status be implemented for all apostles (at age 90). But this is not the Lord's pattern. Apostles serve to their very last breath. And it is a wonderful system that allows us to draw upon "the wisdom of the ancients" for as long as the Lord wants them to remain with us. I felt certain that President Monson would live to break President Hinckley's record as oldest living prophet, but now, in light of this article, I don't know what to believe or hope for. One thing I am certain of. President Monson will serve until his very last breath, whenever that may be. And I for one still accept and sustain him as our prophet today, no matter what anyone else says.

Now you have the facts about this, insofar as they are in my possession. On to the next post!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Area Leadership Assignments announced for 2015

The Church has announced area leadership assignments for 2015 that will be effective on August 1, 2015. Last year's assignments were highlighted in the August 2014 Ensign. The changes effective will be highlighted in the August 2015 Ensign. But while we wait for that to happen, I wanted to post about them. I only include in my personal list those seventies who will experience a change in their assignment. There are no changes to report in the Presidency of the Seventy. In August, Ronald A. Rasband will mark 10 years in the Presidency, which is significant, as members of the Presidency of the Seventy typically serve 5-7 years. He marked 5 years as the Senior President of the Seventy over April General Conference weekend, which is likewise significant. None of the Presidency are turning 70 or even close this year.

That said, here are the changes, followed by a couple of comments on them.

First Quorum of the Seventy:
Yoon Hwan Choi (who completes a two-year assignment as president of the Seattle Washington Mission in July) will be the new Second Counselor in the Asia North Area.
Edward Dube will be released as Second Counselor in the Africa West Area.
Larry J. Echo Hawk will be released as Second Counselor in the Philippines Area.
David F. Evans will be the new Second Counselor in the Africa West Area.
Carlos A. Godoy will be the new Second Counselor in the South America Northwest Area.
C. Scott Grow will be released as Second Counselor in the South America Northwest Area.
Allen D. Haynie will be the new Second Counselor in the Philippines Area.
Paul V. Johnson will be the new First Counselor in the Europe Area.
Patrick Kearon, the former First Counselor in the Europe Area, will be the new President.  
Jörg Klebingat, the former Second Counselor in the Europe East Area, will be the new First Counselor.
Michael T. Ringwood will be released as President of the Asia North Area.
Jose A. Teixeira will be released as President of the Europe Area and will be the new Second Counselor in the South America South Area.
Francisco J. Viñas, the former Second Counselor in the South America South Area, will be the new First Counselor.
Scott D. Whiting, the former Second Counselor in the Asia North Area, will be the new President.
Kazuhiko Yamashita (who completes a two-year assignment as president of the Japan Nagoya Mission in July) will be the new First Counselor in the Asia North Area.
Jorge F. Zeballos will be released as First Counselor in the South America South Area.

Second Quorum of the Seventy:
Wilford W. Andersen will be a new Co-Supervisor in the Middle East/Africa North Area.
Koichi Aoyagi will be released as First Counselor in the Asia North Area.
Randall K. Bennett will be released as First Counselor in the Europe East Area.
Bruce A. Carlson will be released as Co-Supervisor in the Middle East/Africa North Area.
Larry S. Kacher will be released as Co-Supervisor of the Middle East/Africa North Area and will be the new Second Counselor in the Europe East Area.
Larry R. Lawrence will be a new Co-Supervisor in the Middle East/Africa North Area.

A couple of comments on this.  There will be a likely reshuffle at Church headquarters. Elder David F. Evans, who will take an assignment as Second Counselor in the Africa West Area, currently serves as Executive Director of the Church Missionary Department. Elder Paul V. Johnson, who will take an assignment as First Counselor in the Europe Area, currently serves as the Commissioner of Church Education. In my early predictions for next conference, I predicted that Elder Wilford W. Andersen, who will take an assignment as Co-Supervisor in the Middle East/Africa North Area, would be released from the Second Quorum of the Seventy in October, along with the others who had been called to that quorum in 2009. I guess I was wrong. At least about Elder Andersen. So there you have it. Area Leadership Assignments for 2015. More to come in the next post.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Montreal Quebec Temple Rededication Announced/Star Valley Wyoming Temple Groundbreaking/Temple Progress

The First Presidency today announced the rededication date for the Montreal Quebec Temple. The 86th operating temple will have an open house from November 5-November 14, not including Sunday November 8. The open house date range surprised me because it is only 9 days. But I guess that's enough time for that area. A cultural celebration will be held on Saturday November 21, and the temple will be dedicated the next day in three sessions.. As with other temples dedicated this year, the dedication services will only be broadcasted to saints within the temple district. The temple serves saints in Quebec and Ontario Canada and the US state of Vermont. This brings the number of temples that will be dedicated or rededicated this year to seven, with one more possible (Provo City Center). Depending on whether or not the new Provo temple gets dedicated this year, next year we could see as many as 10 temples dedicated or rededicated.

Also, I neglected to report that ground was broken for the Star Valley Wyoming Temple last Saturday by Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy. It is anticipated that the temple will be completed in mid-2017.

This puts its anticipated completion date ahead of that of the Fortaleza Brazil Temple. The anticipated Brazilian temple has experienced delays in the commencement of construction initially because of local opposition that the Church had to get around. Once that was quelled, it had to be redesigned to fit in with the city's plans for the area in which it will be built. Only just now is a construction team being assembled. So hopefully the Church will be able to meet its goal of completing it by sometime in 2018, if not sooner.

As I mentioned before, all but five temples announced have a site announced. (Urdaneta Philippines, Durban South Africa, Abidjan Ivory Coast, Port-Au-Prince Haiti and Bangkok, Thailand.) Of the temples that have had a site announced, three are very close to having a groundbreaking announced. (Tucson Arizona, Cedar City Utah, and Concepcion Chile). The remaining six announced could have their groundbreaking either this year or next year.

Also, the Church News has started posting about those called as new temple presidents for this year. Except for those temples that will be completed at some point this year, all new temple presidents will begin serving on or around November 1. Not counting any temple presidents that may be announced in the latest edition of the Church News that will be featured in the Deseret News tomorrow, 15 new temple presidents have been called thus far.

After having given the above updates, I feel it appropriate to post the latest edition of my list about temple construction progress. It's something I enjoy doing very much, and it is my hope that this list can be informative and instructive to my readers. All temple status updates are reworded from information on ldschurchtemples.com, which, though it is not an official Church website, nevertheless has all the latest information about temples. Since the webmaster of this site has a pipeline to Church headquarters, I trust the site implicitly, though some may be unwilling to trust it at all because it is not an official website of the Church.

That said, here's the list:

Temples Undergoing Renovation:
26. Mexico City Mexico Temple: Scheduled to be rededicated Sunday September 13, 2015.
86. Montreal Quebec Temple: Scheduled to be rededicated Sunday November 22, 2015.
91. Suva Fiji Temple: Anticipated to be completed in early 2016.
33. Freiberg Germany Temple: Anticipated to be completed in mid-2016.
8. Idaho Falls Idaho Temple: Anticipated to be completed in late 2016.

Under Construction:
145. Cordoba Argentina Temple: Scheduled to be dedicated Sunday May 17, 2015.
146. Payson Utah Temple: Scheduled to be dedicated Sunday June 7, 2015.
147. Trujillo Peru Temple: Scheduled to be dedicated Sunday June 21, 2015.
148. Indianapolis Indiana Temple: Scheduled to be dedicated Sunday August 23, 2015.
149. Tijuana Mexico Temple: Scheduled to be dedicated Sunday December 13, 2015.
154. Provo City Center Temple: Projected to be completed in late 2015-early 2016.
150. Rome Italy Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-2016.
155. Hartford Connecticut Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-2016.
156. Fort Collins Colorado Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-2016.
151. Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-to-late 2016.
152. Sapporo Japan Temple: Projected to be completed in late 2016.
157. Paris France Temple: Projected to be completed in late 2016.
158. Meridian Idaho Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-2017.
159. Star Valley Wyoming Temple: Projected to be completed in mid-2017.
153. Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Projected to be completed in 2018.

Announced:
167. Tucson Arizona Temple: Construction approval phase; general contractor selected; groundbreaking pending.
169. Cedar City Utah Temple: Local government approval phase; site plan presented at January 2015 meeting; groundbreaking pending.
160. Concepcion Chile Temple: Approval phase; temple and site design plans complete; groundbreaking pending.
161. Lisbon Portugal Temple: Planning and approval phase; land purchase finalized; groundbreaking pending.
168. Arequipa Peru Temple: Planning and approval phase; final piece of land for temple site acquired; groundbreaking pending.
164. Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Planning and approval phase; temple and site designs complete; groundbreaking pending.
163. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Planning and approval phase; groundbreaking pending.
166. Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple: Planning and approval phase; groundbreaking pending.
170. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Planning and approval phase; groundbreaking pending.
162. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
165. Durban South Africa Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
171. Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
172. Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
173. Bangkok Thailand Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.

I think I've "sounded off" enough about temple news for now. It's late, and I need to get to bed. Hope you all are doing well and enjoying my blog posts still. Stay tuned for a general update that will be written either tomorrow or Sunday. Thanks for your readership. I love being able to share my thoughts about my life and Church news with all those interested. Until I write again, all the best!