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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Temple Construction Progress Update

Hello again, everyone! Hope you all are well. I began writing this post yesterday, but had to wait to finish it until today, due to some health issues that needed to be taken care of. With today marking the last day of August, we know that the Memphis Tennessee and Tokyo Japan Temples will officially close for their renovations in just under a month.

As previously noted, the Memphis renovation will change both the interior and exterior appearance of that temple. In the meantime, the Tokyo renovation will mostly involve upgrading the electrical and mechanical systems of the temple. Additionally, we also know that, as previously announced, the Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple renovation is set to begin on October 14, and that the Asuncion Paraguay Temple will officially close just over two weeks later, on October 29, which will, as we know, be the day after the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple groundbreaking.

There are also five other temples that are set to close next year. While it is true that we do not yet have any information on the exact dates of those five closures, and that we do not have any solid information about how extensive these renovations will wind up being, what we do know is that, among those five, three of them are older temples, and the stated purpose of those renovations are to have their electrical and mechanical systems upgraded.

In the meantime, there have been significant developments with several temples that I wanted to share as contained in the newest version of my report on temple construction progress. That report follows. Any comments continue to be welcome and appreciated, In the meantime, thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord be with you all until I post again. Until that time, I wish each and every one of you all the best.

Temple Construction Progress (current as of 8/31/17)

NOTE ABOUT FUTURE TEMPLE CONSTRUCTION: As referenced in previous version of this report, Elder Larry Y. Wilson, the Temple Department Executive Director, stated in an interview given as the open house for the newly renovated Idaho Falls Idaho Temple got underway that the Church currently has around 80 sites under consideration for a subsequent announcement within the next 15 years. While some, if not at least a majority, of those 80 sites will make it to a subsequent announcement, it is significant to think about. That would put the number of temples in any phase at around 260 or so in 2032. It is not hard to believe, therefore, that whether or not the Church makes an official goal to do so, we could see a minimum of 200 operating temples by or before the bicentennial (200th ) anniversary of the restoration of the Church (which will take place on Saturday April 6, 2030. With the Church only having to announce 18 additional temples and completing the other 25 in any phase, all it would take to reach that milestone is for 3-4 temples being dedicated in each one of the 12.66 years between now and then, which works out to 3 or 4 temples that will need to be dedicated each year. Since the Church will be maintaining at least that average amount for the next 3 years at minimum, it seems very feasible. For my part, I will be keeping my eyes open for any developments and will pass such news along as I hear of it.

CURRENT TEMPLE STATUS: The Church has 182 temples in any phase. There are 157 operating temples, with 2 more that have construction wrapping up prior to their already scheduled dedications later this year. There are additionally 9 others are in various construction phases and 1 more that had a groundbreaking last year, with full-scale construction anticipated in the very near future (hopefully before the end of this year). 1 other has a groundbreaking scheduled (which will take place in just under 2 months. Of the temples that have been, are now, and will shortly be undergoing renovations, we have 1 that has a rededication scheduled (for the middle of next year), while 1 other is undergoing renovation (with completion anticipated sometime in either late summer or early fall next year), and another 4 have had their closure dates set before the end of this year, in addition to 5 others that we know will be closing early next year (the actual dates for each of those will be set closer to the time). The remaining 12 are announced (with either a site announcement or groundbreaking pending).

Construction nearing completion; dedication scheduled:
158. Meridian Idaho Temple: Finalizing landscaping and interior work; open house reservations
will be accepted beginning on Monday September 25, 2017 (the open house will run for the three weeks between the Saturdays of October 21 and November 11, except for the obvious exclusion of the relevant Sundays); dedication scheduled for Sunday November 19, 2017.
159. Cedar City Utah Temple: Hanging interior light fixtures; installing art glass; open house reservations will be accepted beginning Monday October 2, 2017 (the open house will run for just over three weeks: between the Saturdays of October 21 and November 11, with the obvious exclusion of the relevant Sundays); dedication scheduled for Sunday December 10, 2017.
NOTE: As noted on the last version of this report published on this blog, it appears that the work of landscaping for the temple grounds has concluded, signifying that this temple is that much closer to its dedication.

                                                      
Under Construction (completion anticipated within the next 1-2 years):
160. Rome Italy Temple: Interior and exterior work progressing; construction office trailers donated to community organizations; office space relocated to patron housing; completion anticipated sometime during mid-2018.
NOTE: In view of the plans announced to rededicate the Jordan River Temple, and because this temple has progressed more consistently than the Frankfurt Germany Temple, it is my feeling that this temple will be dedicated at some point before the annual July recess of the General Authorities. If I receive information that changes that belief, I will be sure to pass it along.
161. Concepcion Chile Temple: Cladding progressing on tower and east and west walls; decorative fence installation underway; hanging doors and installing millwork inside; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
NOTE: This temple has moved up and down on this list a great deal since its groundbreaking in mid-October 2015 by Elder Walter F. Gonzalez. In the temple construction progress report I posted two days ago, this temple had been anticipated to be the third temple dedicated this year. I was very much surprised and gratified to find that this temple would likely be finished sooner than expected.
162. Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple: Roof decking attached; baptismal font concrete to be repoured; searching for landscaping palm trees; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
163.  Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Pouring concrete curbing and walkways; preparing to clad tower; completion anticipated sometime during late 2018.
164. Durban South Africa Temple: Temple roof slab poured; brickwork continues at missionary housing; waterproofing and backfilling entrance buildings; completion anticipated sometime during late 2018-early 2019.
NOTE: Further general study on my part on traditional timeframes for construction has shown that, barring anything unexpected, this temple will more than likely be dedicated closer to the end of 2018 than the beginning of 2019. If anything changes my thoughts in that regard, I will be sure to pass that update along.

Under construction, completion anticipated within the next 2-3 years:  
165. Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Applying waterproofing membrane to temple exterior walls; meetinghouse exterior walls rising; completion anticipated sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: If, as noted above, the Durban South Africa Temple is indeed dedicated before the end of 2018, then it is more than likely, in my opinion, that we will likewise see this temple dedicated closer to early 2019 than the middle of it. I will pass along any changes to that line of thought.
166. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Construction underway on temple substructure; completion anticipated sometime during mid-2019.
NOTE: While it was once thought by many, myself included, that this temple and the one set to rise in Winnipeg Manitoba could be interchangeable in terms of their likely future completion estimates, the subsequent lack of progress in Winnipeg has solidified my opinion that this temple, and the two below, may be finished well in advance of the one in Winnipeg. If my thoughts in this regard change, I will note that in future versions of this report.
167. Lisbon Portugal Temple: Preparing to pour main floor slab of temple; meetinghouse cladding progressing; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: While most sources available to me have indicated that the Lisbon temple will be dedicated closer to the end of the year than the middle of it, I also know that the unexpected can happen and almost always does. That said, I will be keeping an eye out for any and all developments on this front and will pass along any updates.
168. Arequipa Peru Temple: Setting rebar for second floor structural walls; completion anticipated sometime during late 2019.
NOTE: While this temple has continued to make steady and significant progress, the temple for Winnipeg, which will, by comparison, be significantly smaller, has not been able to see full-scale construction begin. Therefore, it is very likely indeed that 

Construction pending:
169. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Groundbreaking held Saturday December 3, 2016; awaiting full-scale operations; acquiring building permits; completion anticipated sometime between late 2019-early 2020.
NOTE: As previously noted, once full-scale construction begins on this temple, because it is a somewhat smaller edifice (being built to currently serve just the one stake in Manitoba for now), construction is anticipated to take roughly 20 months. With that in mind, this temple will need to have full scale construction begin by no later than April or May of next year in order for it to be completed on the very latest side of this estimate. As always, once more is known, I will pass that along.

Groundbreaking scheduled:
170. Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple: Ground being cleared; preparing for groundbreaking ceremony, which is scheduled for Saturday October 28, 2017; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2020.
NOTE: Barring anything unexpected, full-scale construction on this temple is anticipated to begin on the Monday following its groundbreaking. Also, because this temple is anticipated to be somewhat comparable in size and design to the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo, construction is anticipated to last for around 2 years and 7 months or so, which is 1.5 years shorter than the construction of the only other temple in the Caribbean Area, the Santo Domingo Dominican Republic Temple was (as the construction process for that temple took 4 years and 1 month).

Scheduled for rededication:
20. Jordan River Utah Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication scheduled for Sunday May 20, 2018.

Undergoing Renovation (rededication anticipated within the next year or so):
41. Frankfurt Germany Temple: Closed for renovation; roof slab poured for basement addition; rededication anticipated sometime during mid-2018.
NOTE: This temple appears to be on track to be dedicated sometime after both the rededication of the Jordan River Utah Temple and the dedication of the Rome Italy Temple. Once more is known about how soon that might be, I will pass the information along.

Renovations Scheduled (official closure dates announced):
80. Memphis Tennessee Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on September 29, 2017; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: As mentioned in previous versions of this report, all that is known about the renovation process for this temple is that it will alter both the interior and exterior appearance of it. While my study of the prospects for expansion of temples scheduled for renovation is ongoing, I learned in the last month that it may not be as likely as I thought that this temple’s renovation will involve an expansion. Once more is known, I will pass that along. Either way, the renovation begins in just under a month.
18. Tokyo Japan Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on September 29, 2017; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2020.
NOTE: As previously mentioned, the stated purpose for this temple’s renovation is to bring electrical and mechanical systems up to date and up to code. While it is a smaller temple from the Kimball era, an expansion does not seem likely for this temple.
95. Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on October 14, 2017; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: As noted above on the Memphis temple, an expansion does not seem likely for this temple either. If I find information that suggests that is part of the plan, I will pass it along.
112. Asuncion Paraguay Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on October 29, 2017; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: As this temple is the most recently dedicated of those scheduled for renovation, it is anticipated that the renovation process will be swifter. As mentioned above on both the Memphis and Oklahoma City temples, an expansion of this temple does not seem likely. Once more is known, I will pass that along.

Temples that have a renovation closure announced, but no official date made known yet:
68. Raleigh North Carolina Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in January 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: While a closure date has not yet been announced for this temple, it is possible that the closure could happen within the last week of 2017. In the meantime, as noted above on temples that will close in 2017, and based on feedback I received from a contact in North Carolina, an expansion for this temple does not seem to be in the plans. If I find information that changes my thinking on that, I will be sure to pass it along.
94. Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in February 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: This temple is listed above the Oakland one for now because they are in alphabetical order. Whenever a more precise closure date is known for either, I will pass that along. For now, as noted on other temples scheduled for renovation, I don’t know how likely it is that this temple could be expanded. Once I know more, I will pass that along as well.
13. Oakland California Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in February 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: When the renovation closure for this temple was announced, the Church stated it was necessary because the electrical and mechanical systems needed to be brought up-to-date. So it seems doubtful that anything else will be done during this renovation. Once we know more about what will be involved (including the exact closure date), I will pass that along.
16. Washington D. C. Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in March 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2020.
NOTE: The stated purpose for this temple’s renovation is to bring electrical and mechanical systems up-to-date. Because this temple is larger than both the Tokyo Japan and Mesa Arizona Temples, I am estimating that it will be the last of the bunch to be rededicated. Once more is known about this process (including an exact closure date), I will pass that along.
7. Mesa Arizona Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in May 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2020.
NOTE: As previously noted, the stated purpose for this temple’s renovation is to bring electrical and mechanical systems up-to-date. And since this is the second time this temple has been renovated, it seems likely that it could be the first temple to be rededicated in 2020. As the process unfolds and more is known about its progress, I will pass along any adjustments to this line of thought.

NOTE ON FUTURE GROUNDBREAKINGS: During the month of July, I revised the order in which temples in this section were listed. About a week after doing so, I found out that I needed to revise and rethink that order again. The current order reflects the latest information I have (as of the late night hours of July 18). I should also note that the timing of any temple event is up to the Lord (based on conditions in each area), so these estimates should not in any way be taken as gospel or official until they are confirmed or denied by those who have the authorization to do so.

Announced:
171. Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple: Planning and preliminary construction phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking could take place sometime during early-to-mid 2018.
NOTE: If the information I have received about this temple and its progress is correct, the year of preconstruction which the contractor for this temple mentioned was needed prior to its groundbreaking began in March 2017. While there has been no evidence to corroborate that this process has indeed begun, it seemed to be enough for me to move this temple below Haiti’s first. Some have said that the surprise announcement of the Port-au-Prince groundbreaking may mean we could have other temples that will have a groundbreaking by the end of this year. But if that doesn’t happen, I think it is safe to assume and to assert that this temple will be the first to have a groundbreaking next year, and that it will happen sooner rather than later.
172. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting government approval and official site announcement; groundbreaking could take place sometime during early-to-mid 2018.
NOTE: While numerous delays prevented this temple from making any progress since its announcement almost seven years ago, those delays are at an end. Since it seems likely that the Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple will be the next one to have a groundbreaking (either before the end of this year or during the first part of next year), it seems logical to assume that this temple could follow shortly thereafter. More to come once more is known.
173. Harare Zimbabwe Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking could take place during mid-2018.
NOTE: As previously noted, shortly after this temple was announced in April 2016, Elder Hamilton made a statement that indicated a site announcement and groundbreaking would follow for this temple in short order once 2017 began. Nearly eight months of 2017 have come and gone with nothing new happening for this temple. For that reason, it seems safe to assume that it will be the third temple of this announced group to have a groundbreaking. While some have said it could happen by the end of this year, it seems more likely that it will not take place until the middle of next year at earliest. If my thinking in that regard changes, I will pass that along.
174. Saratoga Springs Utah: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place sometime during mid-2018.
NOTE: When I was encouraged to take another look at the order in which announced temples could have a subsequent groundbreaking, I felt impressed to find out, on average, how long it has taken for temples in Utah County to get from announcement to groundbreaking. Based on that average, it seems likely that, if a site is announced for it soon, this temple could have a groundbreaking at the time indicated above, and perhaps well ahead of the other temples listed below. If my thinking on that changes, I will pass it along.
175. Brasilia Brazil Temple: Planning phase; site inspected by Church engineers on June 21, 2017; groundbreaking may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
NOTE: Even though this temple has already had a site identified, and that site has been inspected by Church engineers, over the course of the last several months, I have done considerable study on when announced temples have gone on to have a groundbreaking. And that study, combined with valuable feedback from experts on this subject, has led me to believe that this temple’s groundbreaking is more likely to happen towards the middle or end of 2018 than the beginning of it, especially because other temples are almost certain to have a groundbreaking first. I will continue to pass along any updates to this line of thought and reasoning.
176. Greater Manila Philippines Temple: Planning phase; site confirmed; awaiting official name announcement; groundbreaking may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
NOTE: The note on the temple above applies to this temple as well. Though it has had a site confirmed already, because other temples are almost certain to have a groundbreaking prior to this one, it has felt wise to push this estimate back. In the meantime, we could also hear any day an announcement about the name for this second temple for the capital city of the Philippines. As more information is released, I will pass that along.
177. Pocatello Idaho: Planning phase; awaiting site confirmation; groundbreaking may take place sometime during late 2018-early 2019.
NOTE: Two potential locations have been noted as potential locations for this temple site. Until a site confirmation happens, a groundbreaking time-frame may be hard to pin down. However, Idaho is well within the “Mormon corridor (of which Arizona and Utah are also a part), and temples in that area generally get built relatively easily and quickly. That said, as previously noted, I have felt it wise to push the estimate for this temple’s groundbreaking back to this point because the temples above seem more likely to have a groundbreaking prior to this one. That said, there could be an equal chance that this temple could have a groundbreaking in either late 2018 or early 2019. I will pass along updates as I learn of them.
178. Nairobi Kenya Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; media event held June 14, 2017; groundbreaking may take place sometime during early 2019.
NOTE: I was pleased to hear of the media event held for this temple two months ago. During that event, Elder Joseph W. Sitati, the first GA Seventy from Kenya, mentioned that it usually takes a year or two after temple announcements for a groundbreaking to happen. Given that statement and the fact that the temples listed above this one will likely have a groundbreaking first, it seemed wise to adjust my estimate. If my thinking on this changes, I will pass that along.
179. Bangkok Thailand Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place during mid-2019.
NOTE: As noted previously, some Thai members and other members familiar with that country have speculated that an existing Church office building (owned since 2008) will be reconstructed into an edifice that not only houses Church offices, but the temple and a meetinghouse as well, similar in concept to the temples in Hong Kong China and Manhattan New York. If that is confirmed within the next year or so, I could see a groundbreaking happen at around this time. I will pass along any updates on this as I receive them.
180. Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: Growth trends in the Ivory Coast have led some to speculate that a second (and even a third) Ivory Coast temple could be among the 80 referenced above. Regarding this temple, until more is known about it, this estimate seems wise.
181. Quito Ecuador Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: Even though Ecuador’s first temple had a 14-year wait between its site announcement and groundbreaking, the growth of the Church in South America has been a clear indicator that the Church won’t have to wait that long for this groundbreaking. Because of the others listed above that are expected to have a groundbreaking first, it seems likely that the time-frame above will be likely for this temple’s groundbreaking. As always, I will adjust this as more becomes known.
182. Belem Brazil Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place during late 2019-early 2020.
NOTE: While it seems almost certain that the Brasilia Brazil Temple will have a groundbreaking sooner than this one (as we still do not know where in Belem this temple will be built), what is not known is whether this temple will indeed be the last of the current bunch to have a groundbreaking. As progress is made on temples in the next year or so, hopefully that will be cleared up. And, as always, I will continue to pass along updates and changes to this line of thinking.

ADDITIONAL GENERAL NOTE: Temple announcements within the last three years have come during the April General Conference. They may happen at any time the First Presidency feels inspired to make them, but that has been the pattern since 2015. Also, as noted above, Elder Larry Y. Wilson said in an interview recently that 80 temple sites are under consideration for an announcement within the next 15 years. So we could be entering another unprecedented era of temple announcements and construction. That is one big reason why I have expanded my list of temples that may potentially be announced. I also know that sites have been procured for future temples in Managua Nicaragua (which seems most likely, as it is the first of the top ten countries with the strongest LDS presence that does not yet have a temple, and such a temple was proposed by Elder Nelson in 2012), Auckland New Zealand, Port Moresby Papua New Guinea, Bentonville Arkansas, and Missoula Montana (which was proposed by Elder Bednar sometime in 2014). I have been told by many that an official announcement will happen once unit growth and activity in temples within such areas warrants those announcements. If there have been any other sites purchased elsewhere, they have not yet been made known. We also know that several potential temples have been proposed in several locations around the world by many of our prophets and apostles. The Lord will continue to inspire such temple announcements as they are needed, and all developments will continue to be included on subsequent versions of this report.
                                                                                                           
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 highlights changes from the last posted temple progress report.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Church News Updates

Hello, everyone! I am posting today with a few significant albeit minor Church news updates. First of all, this article describes how newly acquired fragments of the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon have come in to the hands of the Church History Department personnel who are busy working to preserve it. I hope each of you will enjoy the article about it as much as I did.

Next, this article shares remarks by well-respected BYU professor Brad R. Wilcos, who is often called upon to speak and share motivational or inspirational remarks with youth and young adults. Brother Wilcox focused his address on six types of salvation that are offered to all mankind through the grace and the atoning sacrifice of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.

Finally, while I myself never have been and never will be a big football fan, for any readers of my blog that do enjoy such things, this article features an interview with BYU athletic director Todd Holmoe, who spoke on what's ahead for BYU sports during the fall semester of 2017.

That does it for this update. I will be back before too much longer with an updated version of my temple construction progress report. For now, thank you for the privilege of your time, feel free to let me know your thoughts on this post if you feel so inclined, and may the Lord bless you all. Until I post again, I wish each and every one of you all the very best.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Sierra Leonean Church Members Help to Clean Connaught Hospital

Hello, everyone! I am posting yet again, this time to pass along a great news story from the Mormon Newsroom website. In this report featured on the Ghana Mormon Newsroom website, it was noted that Saints in the Freetown region are helping to clean and fix up a hospital in Connaught. It was nice to hear how, even in the midst of their own recovery from the aftermath of the Sierra Leone mudslide, members mobilized so quickly to take care of this much-needed cleanup project. I continue to hope and pray that Latter-day Saints throughout the world that are in the midst of natural disasters will be blessed. For now, thank you for the privilege of your time. Comments are welcome and appreciated. Until my next post, may the Lord bless you all.

Temple Construction Progress Update

Hello, everyone! I am back again, this time with an updated copy of my temple construction progress report. In light of the developments I reported several hours ago regarding temple progress, and because there have been a few other developments since that time (including one or two that I find significant, even if no one else shares that opinion), I wanted to pass along the updated version of that report. It has been interesting to see the day-to-day developments relating to temple construction progress on a day-to-day basis.

Just think of what has happened just over the last few months: we learned several other temple renovations were being planned, we had the unexpected announcements of both the rededication information for the Jordan River Utah Temple and the groundbreaking for the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple, and my thinking has been changed numerous times on which cities may soon get a temple, how soon temples that have not progressed beyond an announcement might have a groundbreaking, and the order in which temples that are or will be commencing construction or renovation might subsequently have a dedication or rededication. The study of these things has been a grounding influence and blessing to me as my wife and I continue to muddle through our various health issues.

So here is that report. Let me know your thoughts on these developments. In the meantime, thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord bless you all.

Temple Construction Progress Update (current as of 8/30/17)

NOTE ABOUT FUTURE TEMPLE CONSTRUCTION: As I have noted in many previous versions of this report, Elder Larry Y. Wilson, the Executive Director of the Church’s Temple Department stated that 80 potential temple sites are currently under active consideration for a subsequent announcement within the next 15 years. While many of those temples make it to a subsequent announcement, it is certain that a few of them could either be eliminated or replaced, with others added. If we take Elder Wilson at his word, that means that by sometime in 2032 (likely the end of that year), the Church could have at least 260 temples in any phase of construction. That being the case, it seems very safe to assume that the Church could easily have 200 operating temples either by or before the 200th anniversary of the Church’s restoration and reestablishment (which will take place on Saturday April 6, 2030). That will be easily doable if the Church dedicates 43 temples (the 25 currently in any phase and 18 new ones announced) in the 12.60 years between now and then, which works out to 3 or 4 temples that will need to be dedicated each year. For my part, I will be keeping my eyes open for any developments and will pass such news along as I hear of it.

CURRENT TEMPLE STATUS: 157 operating temples; 2 more have construction wrapping up prior to their dedications later this year; 9 others are in various construction phases; 1 had a groundbreaking last year, with full-scale construction anticipated in the very near future; 1 has a groundbreaking scheduled (which will take place in just under three months; 1 temple has a rededication scheduled; 1 other is undergoing renovation (with completion anticipated next year); another 4 have a renovation closure date set for later this year, with 5 others set to close early next year (the actual dates for those 5 will be set closer to the time); the remaining 12* are announced (with either a site announcement or groundbreaking pending). TOTAL: 182 temples in any stage.
*NOTE: Though this number had been italicized in previous versions of this report, I determined to put it in bold on August 6, 2017 because the number of announced temples is definite information, though it is always subject to change in the future based on other temple announcements or whenever groundbreakings will be set.

Construction nearing completion; dedication scheduled:
158. Meridian Idaho Temple: Finalizing landscaping and interior work; open house reservations will be accepted beginning on Monday September 25, 2017 (with the open house set to run between October 21 and November 11); dedication scheduled for Sunday November 19, 2017.
159. Cedar City Utah Temple: Hanging interior light fixtures; installing art glass; open house reservations will be accepted beginning Monday October 2, 2017 (with the open house set to run between October 27 and November 18); dedication scheduled for Sunday December 10, 2017.
NOTE: Yesterday, it was noted regarding this temple that landscaping was progressing. In a check done around the time when the 29th became the 30th, that information was no longer included on this temple’s status. This indicates to me that landscaping has concluded, which is a significant milestone, as it leaves just the temple’s interior to be finished.
                                                      
Under Construction (completion anticipated within the next 1-2 years):
160. Rome Italy Temple: Interior and exterior work progressing; construction office trailers donated to community organizations; office space relocated to patron housing; completion anticipated sometime during mid-2018.
161. Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple: Attaching roof decking; site grading of grounds underway; concrete poured for baptismal font; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
NOTE: Barring anything unexpected, I have felt it safe to assert my opinion that this temple’s completion will likely be closer to the middle of the year than the end of it, and I have felt that is especially true given that the three other temples below this one will likely be completed as the year comes to a close. If I get information that changes my thinking on this matter, I will pass it along.
162. Concepcion Chile Temple: Cladding progressing on tower and east and west walls; decorative fence installation underway; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
163.  Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Pouring concrete curbing and walkways; preparing to clad tower; completion anticipated sometime during late 2018.
164. Durban South Africa Temple: Temple roof slab poured; brick work continues at missionary housing; waterproofing and backfilling entrance buildings; completion anticipated sometime during late 2018-early 2019.
NOTE: In studying this temple’s potential completion time-frame, I have become convinced that the dedication for it will take place closer to the end of 2018 than the beginning of 2019. If my thinking on that theory changes, I will be sure to pass that along.

Under construction, completion anticipated within the next 2-3 years:  
165. Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Applying waterproofing membrane to temple exterior walls; meetinghouse exterior walls rising; completion anticipated sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: In view of my feeling that the Durban temple will be completed before the end of 2018, I am likewise as certain that this temple’s completion will be closer to the first part of 2019 than the middle of it, especially since we have operating temples scheduled for renovation that are anticipated to be completed closer to the middle of 2019 than the beginning of it. As with anything else, if my thinking on this changes, I will pass that along.
166. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Construction underway on temple substructure; completion anticipated sometime during mid-2019.
167. Lisbon Portugal Temple: Preparing to pour main floor of temple; meetinghouse cladding progressing; completion anticipated sometime during late 2019.
168. Arequipa Peru Temple: Setting rebar for second floor structural walls; completion anticipated sometime during late 2019.
NOTE: Since full-scale construction is still pending for the Winnipeg Manitoba Temple below, and since this temple has made very steady progress, I have changed my estimate for the completion of this temple to before the end of 2019. If I need to change that again, I will do so.

Construction pending (anticipated to start anytime):
169. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Groundbreaking held Saturday December 3, 2016; awaiting full-scale operations; acquiring building permits; completion anticipated sometime between late 2019-early 2020.
NOTE: On August 29, 2017, many sources available to me removed any estimated completion date from this temple. However, I ran the numbers, and those tell me that as long as the Church is able to start full-scale construction on this temple before the end of this year, then it is almost certain that a dedication could follow at around the time indicated below. If 2017 ends without any progress being made in that regard, I will reevaluate things.

Groundbreaking scheduled:
170. Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple: Ground being cleared; preparing for groundbreaking ceremony, which is scheduled for Saturday October 28, 2017; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2020.
NOTE: Based on the knowledge that this temple will be somewhat comparable in size to the Kinshasa DR Congo Temple, and because this temple’s groundbreaking will happen prior to the end of the year, I have felt an initial 3-year estimate for its completion would be appropriate. Once work gets underway in earnest on this temple (which, by all reports, looks to be able to happen by the Monday after the groundbreaking), we will know more about when it might be completed, which will continue to change depending on how fast work progresses. I will be sure to pass along any updates to my line of thought and reasoning on this.

Scheduled for rededication:
20. Jordan River Utah Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication scheduled for Sunday May 20, 2018.

Undergoing Renovation (rededication anticipated within the next year or so):
41. Frankfurt Germany Temple: Closed for renovation; roof slab poured for basement addition; rededication anticipated sometime during mid-2018.
NOTE: This temple appears to be on track to be dedicated sometime after both the rededication of the Jordan River Utah Temple and the dedication of the Rome Italy Temple. Once more is known about how soon that might be, I will pass the information along.

Renovations Scheduled (official closure dates announced):
80. Memphis Tennessee Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on September 29, 2017; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: As mentioned in previous versions of this report, all that is known about the renovation process for this temple is that it will alter both the interior and exterior appearance of it. While my study of the prospects for expansion of temples scheduled for renovation is ongoing, I learned in the last month that it may not be as likely as I thought that this temple’s renovation will involve an expansion. Once more is known, I will pass that along. Either way, the renovation begins in about a month.
18. Tokyo Japan Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on September 29, 2017; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2020.
NOTE: As previously mentioned, the stated purpose for this temple’s renovation is to bring electrical and mechanical systems up to date and up to code. While it is a smaller temple from the Kimball era, an expansion does not seem likely for this temple.
95. Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on October 14, 2017; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: As noted above on the Memphis temple, an expansion does not seem likely for this temple either. If I find information that suggests that is part of the plan, I will pass it along.
112. Asuncion Paraguay Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on October 29, 2017; rededication may take place sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: As this temple is the most recently dedicated of those scheduled for renovation, it is anticipated that the renovation process will be swifter. As mentioned above on both the Memphis and Oklahoma City temples, an expansion of this temple does not seem likely. Once more is known, I will pass that along.

Temples that have a renovation closure announced, but no official date made known yet:
68. Raleigh North Carolina Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in January 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: While a closure date has not yet been announced for this temple, it is possible that the closure could happen within the last week of 2017. In the meantime, as noted above on temples that will close in 2017, and based on feedback I received from a contact in North Carolina, an expansion for this temple does not seem to be in the plans. If I find information that changes my thinking on that, I will be sure to pass it along.
94. Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in February 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: This temple is listed above the Oakland one for now because they are in alphabetical order. Whenever a more precise closure date is known for either, I will pass that along. For now, as noted on other temples scheduled for renovation, I don’t know how likely it is that this temple could be expanded. Once I know more, I will pass that along as well.
13. Oakland California Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in February 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: When the renovation closure for this temple was announced, the Church stated it was necessary because the electrical and mechanical systems needed to be brought up-to-date. So it seems doubtful that anything else will be done during this renovation. Once we know more about what will be involved (including the exact closure date), I will pass that along.
16. Washington D. C. Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in March 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2020.
NOTE: The stated purpose for this temple’s renovation is to bring electrical and mechanical systems up-to-date. Because this temple is larger than both the Tokyo Japan and Mesa Arizona Temples, I am estimating that it will be the last of the bunch to be rededicated. Once more is known about this process (including an exact closure date), I will pass that along.
7. Mesa Arizona Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in May 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2020.
NOTE: As previously noted, the stated purpose for this temple’s renovation is to bring electrical and mechanical systems up-to-date. And since this is the second time this temple has been renovated, it seems likely that it could be the first temple to be rededicated in 2020. As the process unfolds and more is known about its progress, I will pass along any adjustments to this line of thought.

NOTE ON FUTURE GROUNDBREAKINGS: During the month of July, I revised the order in which temples in this section were listed. About a week after doing so, I found out that I needed to revise and rethink that order again. The current order reflects the latest information I have (as of the late night hours of July 18). I should also note that the timing of any temple event is up to the Lord (based on conditions in each area), so these estimates should not in any way be taken as gospel or official until they are confirmed or denied by those who have the authorization to do so.

Announced:
171. Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple: Planning and preliminary construction phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking could take place sometime during early-to-mid 2018.
NOTE: If the information I have received about this temple and its progress is correct, the year of preconstruction which the contractor for this temple mentioned was needed prior to its groundbreaking began in March 2017. While there has been no evidence to corroborate that this process has indeed begun, it seemed to be enough for me to move this temple below Haiti’s first. Some have said that the surprise announcement of the Port-au-Prince groundbreaking may mean we could have other temples that will have a groundbreaking by the end of this year. But if that doesn’t happen, I think it is safe to assume and to assert that this temple will be the first to have a groundbreaking next year, and that it will happen sooner rather than later.
172. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting government approval and official site announcement; groundbreaking could take place sometime during early-to-mid 2018.
NOTE: While numerous delays prevented this temple from making any progress since its announcement almost seven years ago, those delays are at an end. Since it seems likely that the Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple will be the next one to have a groundbreaking (either before the end of this year or during the first part of next year), it seems logical to assume that this temple could follow shortly thereafter. More to come once more is known.
173. Harare Zimbabwe Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking could take place during mid-2018.
NOTE: As previously noted, shortly after this temple was announced in April 2016, Elder Hamilton made a statement that indicated a site announcement and groundbreaking would follow for this temple in short order once 2017 began. Nearly eight months of 2017 have come and gone with nothing new happening for this temple. For that reason, it seems safe to assume that it will be the third temple of this announced group to have a groundbreaking. While some have said it could happen by the end of this year, it seems more likely that it will not take place until the middle of next year at earliest. If my thinking in that regard changes, I will pass that along.
174. Saratoga Springs Utah: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place sometime during mid-2018.
NOTE: When I was encouraged to take another look at the order in which announced temples could have a subsequent groundbreaking, I felt impressed to find out, on average, how long it has taken for temples in Utah County to get from announcement to groundbreaking. Based on that average, it seems likely that, if a site is announced for it soon, this temple could have a groundbreaking at the time indicated above, and perhaps well ahead of the other temples listed below. If my thinking on that changes, I will pass it along.
175. Brasilia Brazil Temple: Planning phase; site inspected by Church engineers on June 21, 2017; groundbreaking may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
NOTE: Even though this temple has already had a site identified, and that site has been inspected by Church engineers, over the course of the last several months, I have done considerable study on when announced temples have gone on to have a groundbreaking. And that study, combined with valuable feedback from experts on this subject, has led me to believe that this temple’s groundbreaking is more likely to happen towards the middle or end of 2018 than the beginning of it, especially because other temples are almost certain to have a groundbreaking first. I will continue to pass along any updates to this line of thought and reasoning.
176. Greater Manila Philippines Temple: Planning phase; site confirmed; awaiting official name announcement; groundbreaking may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
NOTE: The note on the temple above applies to this temple as well. Though it has had a site confirmed already, because other temples are almost certain to have a groundbreaking prior to this one, it has felt wise to push this estimate back. In the meantime, we could also hear any day an announcement about the name for this second temple for the capital city of the Philippines. As more information is released, I will pass that along.
177. Pocatello Idaho: Planning phase; awaiting site confirmation; groundbreaking may take place sometime during late 2018-early 2019.
NOTE: Two potential locations have been noted as potential locations for this temple site. Until a site confirmation happens, a groundbreaking time-frame may be hard to pin down. However, Idaho is well within the “Mormon corridor (of which Arizona and Utah are also a part), and temples in that area generally get built relatively easily and quickly. That said, as previously noted, I have felt it wise to push the estimate for this temple’s groundbreaking back to this point because the temples above seem more likely to have a groundbreaking prior to this one. That said, there could be an equal chance that this temple could have a groundbreaking in either late 2018 or early 2019. I will pass along updates as I learn of them.
178. Nairobi Kenya Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; media event held June 14, 2017; groundbreaking may take place sometime during early 2019.
NOTE: I was pleased to hear of the media event held for this temple two months ago. During that event, Elder Joseph W. Sitati, the first GA Seventy from Kenya, mentioned that it usually takes a year or two after temple announcements for a groundbreaking to happen. Given that statement and the fact that the temples listed above this one will likely have a groundbreaking first, it seemed wise to adjust my estimate. If my thinking on this changes, I will pass that along.
179. Bangkok Thailand Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place during mid-2019.
NOTE: As noted previously, some Thai members and other members familiar with that country have speculated that an existing Church office building (owned since 2008) will be reconstructed into an edifice that not only houses Church offices, but the temple and a meetinghouse as well, similar in concept to the temples in Hong Kong China and Manhattan New York. If that is confirmed within the next year or so, I could see a groundbreaking happen at around this time. I will pass along any updates on this as I receive them.
180. Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: Growth trends in the Ivory Coast have led some to speculate that a second (and even a third) Ivory Coast temple could be among the 80 referenced above. Regarding this temple, until more is known about it, this estimate seems wise.
181. Quito Ecuador Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: Even though Ecuador’s first temple had a 14-year wait between its site announcement and groundbreaking, the growth of the Church in South America has been a clear indicator that the Church won’t have to wait that long for this groundbreaking. Because of the others listed above that are expected to have a groundbreaking first, it seems likely that the time-frame above will be likely for this temple’s groundbreaking. As always, I will adjust this as more becomes known.
182. Belem Brazil Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement; groundbreaking may take place during late 2019-early 2020.
NOTE: While it seems almost certain that the Brasilia Brazil Temple will have a groundbreaking sooner than this one (as we still do not know where in Belem this temple will be built), what is not known is whether this temple will indeed be the last of the current bunch to have a groundbreaking. As progress is made on temples in the next year or so, hopefully that will be cleared up. And, as always, I will continue to pass along updates and changes to this line of thinking.

ADDITIONAL GENERAL NOTE: Temple announcements within the last three years have come during the April General Conference. They may happen at any time the First Presidency feels inspired to make them, but that has been the pattern since 2015. Also, as noted above, Elder Larry Y. Wilson said in an interview recently that 80 temple sites are under consideration for an announcement within the next 15 years. So we could be entering another unprecedented era of temple announcements and construction. That is one big reason why I have expanded my list of temples that may potentially be announced. I also know that sites have been procured for future temples in Managua Nicaragua (which seems most likely, as it is the first of the top ten countries with the strongest LDS presence that does not yet have a temple, and such a temple was proposed by Elder Nelson in 2012), Auckland New Zealand, Port Moresby Papua New Guinea, Bentonville Arkansas, and Missoula Montana (which was proposed by Elder Bednar sometime in 2014). I have been told by many that an official announcement will happen once unit growth and activity in temples within such areas warrants those announcements. If there have been any other sites purchased elsewhere, they have not yet been made known. We also know that several potential temples have been proposed in several locations around the world by many of our prophets and apostles. The Lord will continue to inspire such temple announcements as they are needed, and all developments will continue to be included on subsequent versions of this report.
                                                                                                           
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 highlights changes from the last posted temple progress report.

Yet Another Update on Church Units

Hello again, everyone! I just wanted to note that, in addition to the update I provided on the number of stakes, districts, and congregations (which was posted earlier today), there have been quite a number of new wards and branches, branches upgraded to wards, wards downgraded to branches, and units that have been renamed. You can check out all of those intriguing changes here. Please note that on that page, stake and district changes are at the top, and any ward or branch changes are listed about halfway down that page. I know of many who have been confused about that, so I wanted to clarify that, for what it's worth.

For now, as always, thank you for the privilege of your time. Feel free to comment if you so desire. Until my next post, may the Lord continue to bless you all.

More Church News

Hello, everyone! I just wanted to briefly pass along more Church News. BYU-Provo has announced their devotional schedule for Fall Semester 2017, and it sounds like these events will be very inspirational. You can read more on that here.

During BYU Education Week, a representative from the Church Missionary Department gave a presentation encouraging any senior citizens attending that session to consider serving a mission. He stated that senior couples are greatly needed, and that there is currently a shortage of such couples in various missions and Church service opportunities worldwide. You can read more about that address here. Having served with both Welfare Services and as a temple worker, I can attest how important senior couples are to the Church and its progress not just in those fields, but also worldwide. I have seen so many older couples leave on missions and come back with incredible experiences to share. So to any senior couples reading this, I would add my encouragement to serve. You will not regret doing so, and the Church needs each and everyone one of you.

And the Church also released another update a few hours ago on how the flooding has impacted members, missionaries, and the Houston Texas Temple. You can find that update here/

That does it for this update. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Until my next post, may the Lord continue to bless you all.


Minor Temple Construction Progress Developments to Report

Hello, everyone! I am posting for the first time today (as I have not felt well up until now and have thus spent most of my day snoozing) to report some minor changes in temple construction progress. Let's dive right in to discuss those changes!

First of all, as some of you may have noticed in recent versions of the reports I have published here about temple construction progress, I have been tracking how much time there will be between the date of each report and the 200th anniversary of the gospel's restoration (Saturday April 6,, 2030, when, if tradition holds, at least some of the General Conference proceedings from that weekend will be broadcast live from the site of the restoration of the Church in Fayette, New York). As of today, there are 12.60 decimal years between now and then. The average number of temples that will need to be completed between now and then still sit at between 3-4 each year, which the Church can likely easily do.

It is also now just less than a month before open house tickets will be available for the Meridian Idaho Temple (with the open house set to start in less than two months and the dedication to follow in just about 2.5 months). Likewise, it is just over two months prior to the date when the open house tickets will be available for the Cedar City Utah Temple open house, with the open house starting just short of two months from today, and the dedication following in just over three months.

As we also know, the renovations for the Memphis Tennessee and Tokyo Japan Temples will start exactly one month from today, with the renovations for Oklahoma City set to start in about 1.5 months, and the Asuncion Paraguay renovation will start two months from today.

In the meantime, only minor progress has been reported on temples now under construction, with it being noted by several of my sources today that the Durban South Africa Temple roof slab has been poured completely. Also, with the Fortaleza Brazil Temple, the exterior walls of the meetinghouse are rising.

I also found this interesting: It appears now that, until further progress is made towards resolving the delays that are continuing to prevent full-scale construction from starting on the Winnipeg Manitoba Temple that many sources are not comfortable with trying to estimate a completion date for this temple. We do know that whenever full-scale construction does begin that it is anticipated to take 20 months or so to complete. That said, I have not seen a compelling enough reason that I should take out the completion estimate I have listed for that temple. But if there has been no further progress on this temple within the next couple of months, I will then consider it wiser to not list a completion date until construction does begin, because that will be around the time winter starts again in Winnipeg, and it will then be too late for that construction to begin during 2017. I encourage us all to continue to pray that whatever is delaying this process will be resolved sooner rather than later. Until more is known, I remain optimistic.

Aside from what I have noted here, there have been no other noticeable temple-related developments to report. I will continue to keep my eyes open for such developments and I will be sure to pass along any information as I receive it. In the meantime, thank you for the privilege of your time. Comments alre always welcome and appreciated. Until my next post, may the Lord be with and bless you alll.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Church News I missed reporting on

Hello, everyone! In looking at past Church News articles, I realized that there were two on which I had not reported that positively impacted me. Continuing the report of BYU Campus Education Week, a couple who work in the fields of psychotherapy (Dennis Ashton) and grief counseling (Joyce Ashton) spoke together on how married couples can hold on to faith in the midst of great affliction and loss. This especially touched me as my wife and I have had a lot of health challenges lately and as one of the hardest was finding out about and accepting the fact that, barring a miracle, we will not be able to have the children we always wanted. You can read more on what they said here.

As for the other article, that was also posted recently. The Church News, which published a viewpoint each week, posted this one about how, as then-Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught in the April 2006 Priesthood Session, each of us will be able to see the end from the beginning as we put ourselves and our circumstances and day-to-day difficulties into the capable hands of our loving Heavenly Father. I was touched by that message when it was given, and that is why President Uchtdorf has become one whose General Conference talks I almost always study repeatedly. He has such a tender way of putting things into perspective, and as I listen to his words or any words spoken by the other 14 apostles with whom he serves, I know how much of a difference it always makes in my own life. While I am sure each of us have our favorites among the Brethren, one thing of which I am absolutely certain is that they are truly inspired and could not be more aware of what each of us individually are going through.

I also know that I am grateful for the opportunities that I have had over the years to allow the Lord to mold me through the hard times I have had. The one constant in the circumstances of my life that has always grounded me is the testimony I have that this life is merely a speck in the grand course of eternity, that "weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning", that, as said so well in one of our hymns, "trials make our faith grow stronger" and that there is no difficulty any of us will face that has not been experienced in full by our Savior. To any of my readers going through trials right now, I would encourage you with the words that have so often sustained me.

These words were the response the Savior gave to Joseph Smith when Brother Joseph was incarcerated in Liberty Jail on false charges for several months. Given the dismal conditions under which he and his companion prisoners were forced to live, and keeping in mind that he and they were not able to be with the rest of the Saints as they were driven from their homes in Missouri and greatly persecuted, he pleaded with the Lord to remember His suffering saints, asking why he had been forsaken and when the trials he and all the Saints were undergoing would come to an end. The Lord provided the following encouragement:

“My son [or, as He would say to women, my daughter], peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;

“And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.

“Thy friends do stand by thee, and shall hail thee again with warm hearts and hands.

“Thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither do they charge thee with transgression, as they did Job.

“And they who do charge thee with transgression, their hope shall be blasted, and their prospects shall melt away.”

This is encouraging to any of us who deal with trials of any kind. And it should likewise be helpful and reassuring to anyone who is subject, through no fault of their own, to unrighteous judgment and inaccurate conclusions.

Indeed, I have found that the entire content of D&C 121-123 very instructive on dealing with trials. I would further add a thought or two. In the 123rd section of the Doctrine & Covenants, the Lord describes many dire situations, some of which Joseph had actually gone through at that point, and others of which the Lord shared for the purpose of making His point. He concluded by saying that whatever happened to Joseph in particular and to any of us going through challenging trials, that “all these things will give [us] experience and will be for [our] good.” He then ends with this this powerful thought at the end of D&C 123: “The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than He?”

Just think of that. In earlier sections of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord talks about how, with what he experienced in the Garden and on the Cross, He is now able to fully serve in His divine role of “[our] advocate [or defense attorney] with the Father” who “is pleading [our] cause at [His] Father’s throne.”

I’m sorry. I got off on a bit of a tangent. My point was to demonstrate how, since the Savior has gone thorough what each of us has experienced, there is no trial He does not understand, no challenge, pain, or tribulation he has not himself vicariously experienced for us all, and therefore, no wounds He is not perfectly able to heal. To any of us (myself included), this should give us hope.

Since Christ gave all for us, what can we give to Him? As the days when He required animal sacrifice have long passed, all He asks is that we offer Him “a sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” I would also add that, while the course of mortality requires all of us to feel sadness, sorrow, pain, and illness at varying degrees at various times, perhaps one of the very best things we can do is to ensure that we are doing our level best to the fullest of our ability to not transgress His laws and commandments. If we can resolve that we will exert all our power to ensure that He has not experienced any unnecessary pain in our behalf, His eternal sacrifice will easily transcend any trial, tribulation, afflictions, or adversity that comes to us as a natural part of living in a less than perfect world.

Of course, even the very best of us will never be 100% perfect. That has only characterized the entirety of our existence. The Only Perfect Man I know of is the Savior. So while we exert every effort not to transgress, at times, it will happen. The key for us in those times is to not live too long with the burden of our sins and transgressions, and, as soon as we are able to do so, to initiate the process of repenting from our sins and doing our best to make them right and not repeat them, and to rely completely on His atonement to make up the difference for anything we do lack.


That this may be our blessing and privilege every day of our lives for whatever remains of our brief opportunities to experience this mortal life is my humble prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Two New Stakes Created

Hello, everyone! I am back again, this time to report on how the Church created two stakes yesterday: 1 YSA Stake (in Lethbridge Alberta; AFAIK, that is the first YSA stake to be created in Canada) and the Eagle Mountain Nolan Park Stake. I will not attempt to analyze what this might mean in the context of Church history, nor do I intend to report on which units comprise these new stakes. Other resources do that well, and it's not my specialty. Others do that so well, and I will not take that from them.

For the details that are known, you can find information here (the LDS Church Temples page devoted to newly created units) and also within the next few days or so on the LDS Church Growth Blog (where Matthew Martinich, a Church growth expert, will put these developments into their proper context). For now, I wanted to mention that, with recent unit developments, there has been a net increase of 37 stakes, a net decrease of 11 districts (though some of that is due to districts being upgraded to stakes) and a net increase of 53 wards and branches.

That said, I do also want to note what has been so well observed by a couple of you that have commented on this blog: the number of wards & branches do not reflect what are called "sensitive units" that are counted on the Church's end of year report but are not counted by many sources that track general units developments. I am told there are around 100 of those. That being the case, the number of stakes now stands at 3,303, while the number of districts is 545, and the total number of units counted by most sources is 30,357, with the actual number of total units somewhere around 30,475 or so. That does it for this update. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. For now, thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord continue to bless you all.

Church News Articles Describe Devastation in Texas; Face-to-Face with Young LDS Musical Artists

Hello, everyone! The Church News this evening released this article describing how Hurricane Harvey has devastated Texas, including how it has impacted Church members. Among the highlights of the article are that all missionaries are safe and accounted for, some Church buildings have sustained damage, and that some Church units cancelled their block meetings yesterday to allow members to focus on cleaning up and helping their neighbors, both their fellow Saints and friends of other faiths. As I previously reported a day or two ago, the Church has made preparations to send aid to the state of Texas, and it is badly needed.

Connected to that storm, the Deseret News published this article about the Houston Texas temple being threatened by the storm, along with reiterating missionaries safety and the damage done to some meetinghouses. That article mentions that the Houston Texas Temple Presidency is requesting prayers for that temple and those who serve there. The temple closed before the devastation began, and it is unknown at present when it will be able to reopen.

To stay up-to-date with the latest on the storm, how it is affecting local members and missionaries, and how each of us can help the Saints in that area at this time, click here. Updates will be regularly shared at that link until the devastation and the storm both end.

The Church News also released this article about the featured guests scheduled for the next Face-to-Face event for LDS youth. While I am not familiar with any of these artists, I am grateful to hear how they have used their talents to spread their testimonies. The youth of the Church will be greatly blessed by the opportunity to ask these talented individuals the questions they have.

That does it for this Church News update. Comments are welcome and appreciated. For now, thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord bless you all.

Minor Progress Reported on the Arequipa Peru Temple

Hello, all! This will just be a brief post to provide a minor update on the construction of the Arequipa Peru Temple. While I last reported that that temple was having rebar set for the main floor structural walls (as of yesterday), I got word today that rebar had expanded to the second floor structural walls. That was great to hear about, and I am happy to pass that minor update along. For now, any comments are welcome and appreciated, as they always are. Thank you for the privilege of your time, and until my next post, I wish you all the best.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Church Announces Removal of Restrictions on Who Can Serve As Temple Workers

Hello, everyone! Though this is somewhat older news (an article about it was originally published a few days ago), I was reminded of it just a few minutes ago and realized I hadn't focused on it in a blog post. This article, published in the Deseret News (the parent company of LDS Church News) describes how Church leaders have determined that both divorcees and single adult men over 30 years of age can serve as temple workers. This is somewhat big news. As a former temple worker myself, I remember how some of my former colleagues had to discontinue their temple service either because they reached the age of 30 or because, through no fault of their own, their marriages ended abruptly. This news especially touched me because I remember one particularly good brother who had served several years in the temple with his wife who had to be released because she found someone else. It was heartbreaking to hear about that. This news continues to demonstrate the Church making great strides to recognize that people in both of these unique situations may not always be so by choice. I applaud the Church's compassion in making this adjustment. Just wanted to note that, for what it may be worth to anyone. For now, thank you for the privilege of your time. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Until my next post, I wish you all the best.

Average Age Update For the Apostles

Hello, everyone! Given how I am feeling right now (my wife and I have felt unwell all weekend, and I was unable to get up and get going until about an hour ago), I won't be able to do the promised full-scale update on apostolic statistics. I did, however, want to share an update on the average ages of the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the 15 apostles overall.

With President Eyring having marked his birthday last May, President Monson six days ago, and President Uchtdorf's birthday coming up in November, their total years of life experience have now reached 251.07 years, and that averages out to 83.69 years.

As we are all aware, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is ranked not by age as it was originally, but by date of call and ordination. The birthdays of our quorum members go from January (for Elder Christofferson) to December (for Elder Holland), and the busiest month for apostolic birthdays is August each year, when 5 (1/3) of our current 15 apostles celebrate their birthdays. With that in mind, the life experience of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve stands at a total of 902.82, with the average age of that Quorum standing now at 75.24 years.

With simple addition, we conclude that the total life experience of all 15 apostles stands just short of 1154 years (it will probably be just above that by next week), it now stands exactly at 1153.90, which averages out to 76.93 years.

While we can clearly see how the deaths of President Packer and Elders Perry and Scott in 2015 and the subsequent calls of Elders Rasband, Stevenson, and Renlund in October that year have lowered those averages substantially, there are still so many who claim that the Church should enact some kind of emeritus status for the apostles (I have heard both 85 and 90 floated around commonly). But the practice of apostles serving for life is divinely directed, as is the process by which Church administration passes from one group of apostles to the next. Since the Lord is the one who put that into place, He is the only one who can change it, and I can guarantee he never will. Elder Bednar spoke in 2015 about the importance of the practice of LDS apostles serving for life, and he shared at that time the valuable lessons he had learned from the last General Conference addresses of the following Brethren:

Presidents James E. Faust (who passed away on August 10, 2007), and Gordon B. Hinckley (who passed away on January 27, 2008), Elders Joseph B. Wirthlin (who passed on December 1, 2008),and L. Tom Perry (who passed away on May 30, 2015), President Boyd K. Packer (who passed away on July 3, 2015), and Elder Richard G. Scott (who passed away on September 22, 2015).

If an emeritus status had been enacted for any of these Brethren, we would have missed the wonderful lmessages they were able to share in their final conference talks. I remember how much I was touched by each of these final messages. There is a reason why the Brethren always have and always will serve for life. I testify that this is true. And, as I have mentioned more frequently of late on this blog, you can be sure that anyone who suggests anything else, unless they are the President of the Church or representing him, are not being moved upon by the spirit of the Lord. It will never happen.

I testify that this is true and leave this information and this post with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.