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Monday, October 31, 2016

Update on the average ages of the Brethren

Since it has been a couple of weeks since I posted on the average ages of the Brethren, I thought I'd do that with this post, which, if I am correct, would be a great topic for this, my first post in November 2016.

As of this Sunday, November 6, 2016, the average age of the First Presidency will 82.88, with only President Uchtdorf being younger than that average. The average age of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will be 74.43, with exactly half each of those twelve being older and younger than the average. The average age of the 15 apostles will be 76.12, with 8 of the 15 apostles being younger than that average. I wanted to also report that the apostle closest to that apostolic average is Elder Quentin L. Cook, who will be 76.16 on Sunday. Just by way of other facts to make your head spin, we have 17 apostles of the 100 called that have lived to be over 90. If the apostles closest to that milestone live that long, the number of nonagenarian apostles will increase to 22 before the 200th anniversary of the Church. It is anyone's guess how many apostles reach that monumental milestone.

The averages mentioned in the paragraph above will be vastly affected by what happens to the face of Church leadership in the next several years. The average age of the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and apostles as a group will be lowered if, as I said in the last post, Elder Bednar is added to the First Presidency and a new apostle is called.

Hope you enjoyed this trivia. Thanks for your readership and friendship.

Star Valley Wyoming Temple Dedicated Yesterday/An Intriguing Theory and the Reasoning Behind It/Temple Construction Progress Update

The Star Valley Wyoming Temple was dedicated yesterday in three sessions. Much to my surprise, Elder David A. Bednar, who is the most junior of the top half of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) was asked to preside, instead of a member of the First Presidency or someone more senior. It  is unprecedented in Church history for someone who is not in the First Presidency or one of the three most senior apostles not in the First Presidency to officiate at a temple dedication. In fact, Elder Bednar is the sixth most senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and is the ninth in overall apostolic seniority. It is unheard of for such a junior apostle to be assigned to preside at a temple dedication. I will venture a reason for this unprecedented action in just a moment. Before doing so, however, I was delighted to learn of the most likely reason for Elder Bednar's assignment. His wife, Sister Susan Bednar, is a Star Valley native. In a magnanimous gesture, Elder Bednar, after inviting his wife to add mortar to the cornerstone, invited Sister Barbara Perry, a Wyoming native and the wife of deceased apostle Elder L. Tom Perry, to take a turn applying mortar. It did my heart good to hear of that. For articles about the temple dedication and cultural celebration, click here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Now, if I may, I'd like to make a comment about another very probable reason for Elder Bednar's assignment. I have long felt and said that though I feel President Monson will call an additional counselor in the First Presidency to compensate for his and (possibly) President Eyring's bad health (to say nothing of President Eyring's wife's condition), I would not mention who I feel it might be until we knew more about the health of the Brethren. Since this is unprecedented, and due to the fact that Elder Bednar did fill this assignment this weekend, I thought I would let you know that Elder Bednar is the one I feel will be called to that position, if and when that happens.

I have done enough Church history to state with knowledge to back me up that nearly every person who has been called to be a member of the First Presidency did go through a sort of "vetting" process by being asked to preside at an important event usually conducted by the First Presidency. In this way, apostles are tested as to how they would handle being more in the public eye. I know for sure that it happened that way with President Eyring before his call as second counselor to President Hinckley in 2007, and it happened with President Hinckley before his call as a counselor to President Kimball in 1981. So my theory is not without precedent.

Additionally, Elder Bednar is in the unique position of being the junior apostle to Presidents Eyring and Uchtdorf, so his status as still somewhat of a junior apostle is not an issue. Also, he is still the third youngest apostle, which would mean he would add youth and vigor to the Presidency and considerably lower the average age of that body. Given the health of Presidents Monson and Eyring and Sister Eyring, it would probably then be advisable to call a new member to the Quorum of the Twelve, which would need its full strength due to the age and health of some of that body's senior members, while Elder Bednar devotes his full energy to the work of the First Presidency, opening the odds of someone younger than him being called to take his seat in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and thus lower the average ages also of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as a body and of the apostles overall. I would welcome thoughts about my theory in the comments below.

In the meantime, since it has been 9 days since I last posted my temple progress report and in light of the progress made since then, I thought i would end this post with the newest version of the report. Let me know your thoughts. I particularly want to get a feel for what you guys would think of my switching the Winnepeg and Arequipa temples in terms of when a groundbreaking might take place. It is an intriguing question as to which might happen first, and I could see listing them either as they are now or switched. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Temple Construction Progress Report (current as of 10/31/16)
Current Temple Status: 154 operating; 1 scheduled for dedication; 11 under construction; 3 undergoing renovation; 11 announced (As many as 3 groundbreaking announcements may be made soon).

Dedication scheduled:
155. Hartford Connecticut Temple: Preparing for dedication; dedication scheduled on Sunday November 20, 2016.

Under Construction:
156. Paris France Temple: Interior work underway; open house committee assembled; completion anticipated sometime during the first half of 2017.
157. Meridian Idaho Temple: Adding landscaping structures; installing fence posts and lamp posts; completion anticipated sometime in late 2017.
158. Cedar City Utah Temple: Installing sprinkler systems and planting bushes; completion anticipated sometime in late 2017.
159. Tucson Arizona Temple: Pouring concrete parking lot; adding landscaping structures; completion anticipated sometime in late 2017.
160. Rome Italy Temple: Interior work progressing; completion anticipated sometime in the first half of 2018.
161. Concepcion Chile Temple: Steeple framework going up; completion anticipated sometime in 2018.
162. Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple: Main level floors poured; completion anticipated sometime in 2018.
163. Durban South Africa Temple: Preparing to pour foundation; laying aggregate for parking; street entrance cut; hydroseeding sloped land; completion anticipated sometime in 2018.
164. Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Foundation walls going up; completion anticipated sometime in 2019.
165.  Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Erecting structural framing; completion anticipated sometime in 2019.
166. Lisbon Portugal Temple: Site clearing phase; construction fence erected; concrete bleachers removed; completion anticipated sometime in 2019.

Undergoing Renovation:
8. Idaho Falls Idaho Temple: Closed for renovation; finish work underway; resurfacing and restriping parking lot; rededication anticipated sometime during the first half of 2017.
20. Jordan River Utah Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication anticipated sometime in late 2017.
41. Frankfurt Germany Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication anticipated sometime in 2018.

Announced:
167. Arequipa Peru Temple: General contractor selected; construction anticipated to begin late 2016 or early 2017.
168. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Permitting phase; temple fireside held September 11, 2016; groundbreaking anticipated in either late 2016 or early 2017.
169. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Construction preparation phase; plans approved by local government; groundbreaking pending.
170. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
171. Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
172. Bangkok Thailand Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
173. Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
174. Quito Ecuador Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
175. Harare Zimbabwe Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
176. Belem Brazil Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
177. Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.

Key:
Bolded numbers and text denote temples whose numbers already exists (for renovations), or is certain due to a scheduled dedication, as well as information that is certain, such as dedication or groundbreaking dates.
Italicized numbers and text denote temples whose numbers may change based on the order in which future dedications and groundbreakings are scheduled.
Underlined numbers and text denote temples whose numbers may change based on progress towards planning, approval, and groundbreaking.
Red text denotes changes from the last posted temple progress update.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

PDF Version of the November 2016 Ensign Available/How My Predictions for the Table of Contents Turned Out

The PDF version of the General Conference editions of the magazines is now available. As per my usual tradition, I made a mock-up of what I felt the table of contents would look like for the General Conference Ensign. I was able to compare what I had prepared with what it actually looked like with the following results:

Possible Table of Contents for the November 2016 Ensign
Session
Page
Title
Speaker

2
Conference Summary for the 186th Semiannual General Conference


3
Indexes


4
Highlights from the 186th Semiannual General Conference

GW
6
I Will Bring the Light of the Gospel into My Home
Jean B. Bingham

9
The Master Healer
Carole M. Stephens

12
Rise Up in Strength, Sisters in Zion
Bonnie L. Oscarson

15
Fourth Floor, Last Door
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
SAM
19
O How Great the Plan of Our God!
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

23 (22)
“Come Follow Me” by Practicing Christian Love and Service
Elder Robert D. Hales

26 (25)
The Soul’s Sincere Desire
Carol F. McConkie

29 (27)
“A Choice Seer Will I Raise Up”
Elder Craig C. Christensen

32 (30)
The Lord Jesus Christ Teaches Us How to Pray
Elder Juan A. Uceda

34 (32)
Am I Good Enough? Will I Make It?
Elder J. Devn Cornish

37 (35)
A Witness of God
Elder Neil L. Andersen
SAA
41 (39)
The Sustaining of Church Officers
President Henry B. Eyring

42 (40)
Valiant in the Testimony of Jesus
Elder Quentin L. Cook

46 (44)
Look to the Book, Look to the Lord
Elder Gary E. Stevenson

50 (48)
“Abide in My Love”
Elder D. Todd Christofferson

53 (52)
For Our Spiritual Development and Learning
Elder W. Mark Bassett

56 (55)
Be Ambitious for Christ
Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita

58 (57)
Sharing the Restored Gospel
Elder Dallin H. Oaks
SPH
62 (61)
Emissaries to the Church
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

70 (68)
There Is Power in the Book
Elder LeGrand R. Curtis

73 (71)
Learn from Alma and Amulek
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

77 (75)
That He May Become Strong Also
President Henry B. Eyring

81 (78)
Principles and Promises
President Thomas S. Monson
SUM
82 (80)
The Perfect Path to Happiness
President Thomas S. Monson

83 (81)
Joy and Spiritual Survival
President Russell M. Nelson

86 (85)
The Sacrament Can Help Us Become Holy
Elder Peter F. Meurs

88
The Great Plan of Redemption
Linda S. Reeves

90
To Whom Shall We Go?
Elder M. Russell Ballard

93
The Blessings of Worship
Bishop Dean M. Davies

95 (96)
The Righteous Judge
Elder Lynn G. Robbins

97 (99)
Gratitude on the Sabbath Day
President Henry B. Eyring
SUA
100 (102)
“If Ye Had Known Me”
Elder David A. Bednar

103 (106)
The Doctrine of Christ
Brian K. Ashton

105 (110)
Serve
Elder Carl B. Cook

107 (113)
Lest Thou Forget
Elder Ronald A. Rasband

111 (116)
God Shall Wipe Away All Tears
Elder Evan A. Schmutz

113 (119)
No Greater Joy Than to Know That They Know
Elder K. Brett Nattress

115 (121)
Repentance: A Joyful Choice
Elder Dale G. Renlund

64
General Authorities and General Officers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


119
They Spoke to Us: Making Conference Part of Our Lives
(Not included)

121 (125)
Conference Story Index


122 (126)
News of the Church


128
Last Page in Conference Ensign



Thoughts?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Book Progress

Though I have not worked solidly on adding any scenes to my first book, a couple of developments have been made. I had originally titled the first book in the series "The Lord Looks on the Heart Book 1--The Teenage Years". But I felt that since this is a book about LDS teens growing up, I wanted something different that sounded better. In doing some research, I have come up with a better title. I thought I remembered in the scriptures something about someone "growing up unto the Lord." The more I thought about it, the more that made sense as a subtitle for my book. For those who aren't aware, I am writing a series of books chronicling the adventures of a group of friends. I had originally envisioned having this book encompass from the teenage years to when my characters paired off with other characters (in the book or yet to be introduced) in marriage, but when I shared what I had written with Brandon Sanderson, he suggested that I divvy up the book into a series: the first discussing the teenage years, the second on missions, the third on marriage, and so on to include their posterities. I liked that idea so much that this is what I am going to do. I will keep you posted on the progress I make towards making this series a reality. When I get closer to publishing it, I will plan on posting excerpts of the book on this blog. That's the latest on my writing. Thanks so much for your kind attention.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Average Ages of the Brethren

Hello, all! Though the next apostolic birthdays are not until next month (President Uchtdorf's 76th two weeks from today and Elder Renlund's 64th exactly one week later), I wanted to bring you up-to-date on the latest apostolic age averages. As of about an hour ago when Sunday the 23rd of October 2016 was born, the average age of the First Presidency is 82.84 (with just President Uchtdorf being younger). The average age of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is 74.39, with half of those 12 being younger than the average. Finally, the average age of the apostles overall is 76.08, with 8 of the apostles (53.33%) being younger than the average. Again, not sure how those averages compare historically with the average throughout the ages, but there it is, such as it is. Thanks so much to you all for your readership and support.

Big news

As all of you who have been following my blog know, I lost my job in the middle of July. With my health not improving, and with Amy's health not being good as well, I have been praying about what to do to make money. The Lord has indicated to me that the time has come for me to turn my full energy to my writing. He has promised me that if I apply myself, I will finish my book in no time. In the meantime, I will be working on some minor writing projects to submit to the Church once they are accepting manuscripts again. I have one or two such articles already written. I am glad I will be able to focus on my writing. I know that the Lord will help me support my family through this, because I was promised in a pre-wedding father's blessing that I would be able to find a job to support my family. Now that I know what I need to do, it's just a matter of doing it. Because I will be focusing on my writing, I can't promise how consistent I will be in posting on this blog. But I believe everything will come together as I take this leap of faith and do as the Lord has instructed. Thanks to you all for your faith, prayers, and support at this time.

Important posts by Matthew Martinich

Matthew Martinich, who does many blogs, including one for LDS Church Growth, has done several important posts lately. Among the highlights have been the creation of stakes in Arizona (2), Florida, and Idaho, a new district in Brazil, a second stake in the Marshall Islands, and many more milestones. To review these posts, please click here. Thanks.

Church News Conglomeration

It has been a while since my last Church news update, so here goes!

Latter-day Saints have responded en masse to the Church's request for help following severe storms in the US and Caribbean. Click here for a report on the relief efforts.

The Church in South Korea recently celebrated its 60th anniversary. Click here to read about that.

In scriptural news, the Church announced the translation of  the triple combination into Croatian. The new Croatian tripe combination will be available at the end of March 2017. Also, the triple combination is now available for purchase in Russian and Icelandic. For more details, click here.

The Church announced recently that Rolando Villazon, one of the leading tenors in the world, will join the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square for their annual Christmas concert. Click here to read more.

Five apostles and two general women leaders spoke recently in a video on the subjects of diversity, love, inclusion, hope, and personal responsibility. To read what they said and to watch the accompanying video clips of their remarks, click here.

It is almost time for the PDF versions of the General Conference magazines to be available. In preparation for that, I have prepared a document showing what I think the table of contents for that magazine will look like. I will post that on this blog as soon as the PDF version of the magazine is available in full.

In the meantime, I will keep my eyes peeled for more Church news and let you know about all the good stuff as I can. Thanks.

Temple Construction Progress

Much has happened on the temple news front since Monday, so I thought I'd post my updated progress report. Let me know what you think.

Temple Construction Progress Report (current as of 10/22/16)
Current Temple Status: 153 operating; scheduled for dedication; 11 under construction; 3 undergoing renovation; 11 announced (As many as 3 groundbreaking announcements may be made soon).

Dedication scheduled:
154. Star Valley Wyoming Temple: Preparing for dedication; scheduled on Sunday October 30, 2016.
155. Hartford Connecticut Temple: Preparing for dedication; dedication scheduled on Sunday November 20, 2016.

Under Construction:
156. Paris France Temple: Interior work underway; open house committee assembled; completion anticipated sometime during the first half of 2017.
157. Meridian Idaho Temple: Adding landscaping structures; installing fence posts and lamp posts; completion anticipated sometime in late 2017.
158. Cedar City Utah Temple: Installing sprinkler systems and planting bushes; completion anticipated sometime in late 2017.
159. Tucson Arizona Temple: Pouring concrete parking lot; interior work underway; completion anticipated sometime in late 2017.
160. Rome Italy Temple: Interior work progressing; completion anticipated sometime in the first half of 2018.
161. Concepcion Chile Temple: Steeple framework going up; completion anticipated sometime in 2018.
162. Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple: Main level floors poured; completion anticipated sometime in 2018.
163. Durban South Africa Temple: Preparing to pour foundation; laying aggregate for parking; street entrance cut; hydroseeding sloped land; completion anticipated sometime in 2018.
164. Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Foundation walls going up; completion anticipated sometime in 2019.
165.  Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Erecting structural framing; completion anticipated sometime in 2019.
166. Lisbon Portugal Temple: Site clearing phase; construction fence erected; concrete bleachers removed; completion anticipated sometime in 2019.

Undergoing Renovation:
8. Idaho Falls Idaho Temple: Closed for renovation; finish work underway; resurfacing and restriping parking lot; rededication anticipated sometime during early 2017.
20. Jordan River Utah Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication anticipated sometime in late 2017.
41. Frankfurt Germany Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication anticipated sometime in 2018.

Announced:
167. Arequipa Peru Temple: General contractor selected; construction anticipated to begin late 2016 or early 2017.
168. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Permitting phase; temple fireside held September 11, 2016; groundbreaking anticipated in either late 2016 or early 2017.
169. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Construction preparation phase; plans approved by local government; groundbreaking pending.
170. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
171. Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
172. Bangkok Thailand Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
173. Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
174. Quito Ecuador Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
175. Harare Zimbabwe Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
176. Belem Brazil Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
177. Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.

Key:
Bolded numbers and text denote temples whose numbers already exists (for renovations), or is certain due to a scheduled dedication, as well as information that is certain, such as dedication or groundbreaking dates.
Italicized numbers and text denote temples whose numbers may change based on the order in which future dedications and groundbreakings are scheduled.
Underlined numbers and text denote temples whose numbers may change based on progress towards planning, approval, and groundbreaking.
Red text denotes changes from the last posted temple progress update.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Temple Construction Progress Update

As the Fort Collins Colorado Temple was dedicated yesterday, and in light of the progress made in temple construction within the last few days, I am posting my updated list of construction milestones. Just wanted to note that we should hear shortly about the opening dates for the Paris France temple. Also, I am considering changing the listed order of temples whose groundbreaking may be announced soon. To me, it seems like Winnipeg may be ahead of the Arequipa Peru temple. Let me know what you think.

Temple Construction Progress Report (current as of 10/17/16)
Current Temple Status: 153 operating; scheduled for dedication; 11 under construction; 3 undergoing renovation; 11 announced (As many as 3 groundbreaking announcements may be made soon).

Dedication scheduled:
154. Star Valley Wyoming Temple: Preparing for dedication; scheduled on Sunday October 30, 2016.
155. Hartford Connecticut Temple: Public open house tours underway through Saturday October 22; dedication scheduled on Sunday November 20, 2016.

Under Construction:
156. Paris France Temple: Interior work underway; open house committee assembled; completion anticipated sometime during the first half of 2017.
157. Meridian Idaho Temple: Adding landscaping structures; installing fence posts and lamp posts; completion anticipated sometime in late 2017.
158. Cedar City Utah Temple: Installing art glass; dropping posts for decorative fencing; completion anticipated sometime in late 2017.
159. Tucson Arizona Temple: Pouring concrete parking lot; interior work underway; completion anticipated sometime in late 2017.
160. Rome Italy Temple: Interior work progressing; completion anticipated sometime in the first half of 2018.
161. Concepcion Chile Temple: Steeple framework going up; completion anticipated sometime in 2018.
162. Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple: Main level floors poured; completion anticipated sometime in 2018.
163. Durban South Africa Temple: Preparing to pour foundation; laying aggregate for parking; street entrance cut; hydroseeding sloped land; completion anticipated sometime in 2018.
164. Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Foundation walls going up; completion anticipated sometime in 2019.
165.  Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Forms and rebar set in anticipation of pouring foundation walls; completion anticipated sometime in 2019.
166. Lisbon Portugal Temple: Site clearing phase; construction fence erected; concrete bleachers removed; completion anticipated sometime in 2019.

Undergoing Renovation:
8. Idaho Falls Idaho Temple: Closed for renovation; finish work underway; resurfacing and restriping parking lot; rededication anticipated sometime during early 2017.
20. Jordan River Utah Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication anticipated sometime in late 2017.
41. Frankfurt Germany Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication anticipated sometime in 2018.



Announced:
167. Arequipa Peru Temple: General contractor selected; construction anticipated to begin late 2016 or early 2017.
168. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Permitting phase; temple fireside held September 11, 2016; groundbreaking anticipated in either late 2016 or early 2017.
169. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Construction preparation phase; plans approved by local government; groundbreaking pending.
170. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
171. Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
172. Bangkok Thailand Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
173. Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
174. Quito Ecuador Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
175. Harare Zimbabwe Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
176. Belem Brazil Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
177. Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.

Key:
Bolded numbers and text denote temples whose numbers already exists (for renovations), or is certain due to a scheduled dedication, as well as information that is certain, such as dedication or groundbreaking dates.
Italicized numbers and text denote temples whose numbers may change based on the order in which future dedications and groundbreakings are scheduled.
Underlined numbers and text denote temples whose numbers may change based on progress towards planning, approval, and groundbreaking.
Red text denotes changes from the last posted temple progress update.