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Sunday, August 9, 2020

Tribute to Elder Neil L. Andersen, Who Marks His 69th Birthday

Hello again, everyone! With today being August 9, Elder Neil L. Andersen is celebrating his 69h birthday today. So I wanted to post and share some highlights of his life and ministry in the Church. Let's get right into all of that. Neil Linden Andersen was born in Logan, Utah on this day in 1951 to Lyle and Kathryn Andersen. His family relocated to Pocatello when he was five to run a dairy farm. He served a full-time mission in France, then obtained a bachelor's degree in economics, eventually earning his MBA from Harvard, also in economics. During his time at BYU, he met and married his wife, Kathy Sue Anderson, and together they raised four children. He spent his professional career working various jobs. At the pinnacle of his career, he was Vice President of the Morton Plant Health System. He has served in the Church as a stake president’s counselor, stake president and mission president (assigned to the France Bordeaux Mission) from 1989-1992. Less than a year after his return, he was called to be a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Interestingly, his call as a General Authority occurred in the same conference as that of his future apostolic seatmate, Elder D. Todd Christofferson.

Through the next couple of decades as a Seventy, he served in a wide variety of Church assignments, including as executive director of the church's Audiovisual Department, assistant executive director of the Priesthood Department, and in the presidencies of the following areas: Europe West ,Utah North, Utah South, North America Southwest, North America Northeast, and the Brazil South Area (during which time he also served as the area president). In 2005, Elder Andersen was called to the Presidency of the Seventy, where he was assigned to preside over the Idaho Area (from 2005-2007). By the time his stewardship switched to the North Am erica Southwest Area (2007-2009), he had gone from being the second-least senior member of that Presidency to being the third-most-senior member. In 2008, with Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s call to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (in April) and the release of Senior President Elder Earl C. Tingey (in August, in preparation for his being granted emeritus status in the October General Conference), Elder Andersen then became the Senior President of the Seventy, a role in which he would only serve for around 8 months.

With the December 2008 death of Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, Elder Andersen was subsequently called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during the April 2009 General Conference. An interesting bit of trivia is the fact that Elders Christofferson, Andersen, and Rasband were all seatmates in the Presidency of the Seventy as of August 2007, and they would all go on to be apostolic seatmates, with their apostolic calls occurring in April 2008, April 2009, and October 2015 respectively. Since Elder Andersen's original call as a General Authority Seventy in April 1993, he has given a total of 28 addresses in General Conference (3 of which he gave as a General Authority Seventy, with 2 others given while he was a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, and the remaining 23 since his call to the QuorIum of the Twelve Apostles).

Elder Andersen continues to serve as the seventh in both senirotiy and chronological birth order among the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and ranks tenth among the 15 total apostles in both seniority and birth chronology. I gladly sustain him and each of his 14 apostolic colleagues as prophets, seers, and revelators, and am grateful to have been able to publish this tribute in honor of his birthday today. That does it for now. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, on any post at any time, as long as such comments are made in accordance with the established guidelines. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly added content, please feel free to subscribe. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Friday, August 7, 2020

UPDATED: Documents About the Temple Construction Program of the Church

Hello again, everyone! Given the updates this week on the timing for the groundbreakings of the San Pedro Sula Honduras and Brasília Brazil Temples,  I knew I had to again revisit my previously-offered thoughts given in several temple files.  Although I had last done so just two weeks ago, things have vastly changed within that time. Without further ado, let’s get right into all of those updated files once again.

We start, as always, with the updated sections of my temple construction progress report. The second document this go-round is a new one that I just put together earlier today. It details some general observations about the Church’s progress on breaking ground for the 18 temples this year, as Elder David A. Bednar had outlined 4 months ago.during General Conference.

The next document details the probable timing for temple groundbreakings that will or could take place within the next year or so,. I have also updated my list of temples that could have a groundbreaking this year and next year.
Similarly, I have updated the documents showing the probable timing for all known temple events and the document showing some data about temples for which no official information has been announced yet. In the interim, with today (August 6) marking Elder Gary E. Stevenson’s 65th birthday, on Sunday, Elder Neil L. Andersen will observe his 69th, and on Wednesday of next week, President Dallin H. Oaks will be celebrating his 88th.Having said all of that, I continue to also monitor all Church news and temple developments, and will be sure to bring word of those to you all as I become aware of such things.

That does it for now. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, on any post at any time, as long as such comments are made in accordance with the established guidelines. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly added content, please feel free to subscribe. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

BREKING TEMPLE NEWS: First Presidency Announces Groundbreaking for the Brasilia Brazil Temple

Hello again, everyone! Yesterday, we got the news of the groundbreaking for the San Pedro Sula Honduras Temple. Roughly 24 hours later, more breaking temple news has been reported. The groundbreaking for the Brasilia Brazil Temnple has been set. Brzil's newest temple will have its' groundbreaking on Saturday September 26. Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella, who became the President of the Church's Brazil Area on August 1 of this year, will preside thereat.

With the rendering havng been released for that temple in February of this year, the size of this temple has already been specified as "a single-story temple of approximately 25,000 square feet", with plans for a new meetinghouse and paron housing being included with the temple. I threfore anticipate that the construction process will take between 2-3 years to complete. This groundbreaking will also mark the first time since May of last year that more than two temples have had a groundbreaking on any given month. Additionally, the Brasilia Brazil Temple groundbreaking will be both the tenth in Brazil and the nintth temple to have a groundbreaking in 2020. I am hopeful for one or two other grounct.Idbreaking announcements to come down the pike and be set for September or October, but we'll see what happens in that respect. In the meantime, this means I have additional updates to make on my many temple files. In the meantime, I continue to monitor all Church news updates and temple developments and will do my level best to bring word of those to you all as i become aware of those developments.

That does it for now. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, on any post at any time, as long as such comments are made in accordance with the established guidelines. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly added content, please feel free to subscribe. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Happy Birthday to Elder Gary E. Stevenson, Who Is 65 Today

Hello again, everyone! In these mid-morning hours of August 6,2020, per my customary tradition, I wanted to go ahead and post a tribute to Elder Gary E. Stevenson, who is 65 years old as of today. Let's dive right into thuis birthday tribute. Gary Evan Stevenson was born in Ogden, Utah in 1955 to Evan and Jean Stevenson. He grew up in the Cache Valley. He served full-time in the Japan Fukuoka Mission, after which he continued his secondary education at Utah State University's Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. During the course of his studies there, he met Lesa Jean Higley, whom he later married in the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple, and with whom he would raise four sons. He spent his professional career working as the COO of ICON Health & Fitness, and served on both the Marriott School of Management Advisory Council and also the USU Foundation Board. In the Church, he has served as a bishop and a stake president's counselor. From 2004-2007, he and his wife presided over the Japan Nagoya Mission. Less than a year after his return, he was among the first general authority seventies called during President Thomas S. Monson's prophetic administration in April 2008. In August of that same year, he was called to serve as First Counselor in the Asia North Area Presidency, marking his third return to Japan as a representative of the Church. The following year, he became the president of that same area, and he served in that assignment until April 2012, at which point, he was released as a General Authority Seventy and sustained as the Church's 14th Presiding Bishop.

In October 2015, with three vacancies in the apostleship due to the deaths of President Boyd K. Packer and Elders L. Tom Perry and Richard G. Scott, Elder Stevenson was unexpectedly summoned to meet with the First Presidency. He related that he felt sure that he was being notified that one of his counselors (Bishops Gerald Causse or Dean M. Davies) were being called to the apostleship. He was stunned when the apostolic call was instead extended to him personally. He was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 3, 2015, and was ordained an apostle on October 8, then released as Presiding Bishop one day later. His call to the apostleship marked the second time a current General Authority who had subsequently been called as Presiding Bishop was also eventually called to the apostleship. Previously, that had been the case with Elder Robert D. Hales, who was called as a General Authority in 1975, and as Presiding Bishop of the Church in 1985 before being called to the apostleship in 1994. Those two former Presiding Bishops of the Church would serve together in the apostleship for approximately two years before Elder Hales' passing on October 1, 2017.

2015 marked the first time since 1906 that the Church needed to fill more than two apostolic vacancies. 1906 that the Church had more than two apostolic vacancies to fill at the same time. In 1906, following the resignations of Matthias F. Cowley and John W. Taylor over the Church's repeal of the doctrine of plural marriage, and the death of another apostle, Marriner W. Merrill, the Church called George F. Richards, Orson F. Whitney, and David O. McKay, Of the three, Then-Elder McKay was the youngest, with Elder Whitney being the oldest, and Elder Richards fell in age between the two. This was an exception to the gneral rule that when more than one apostle was called on the same day, they are typically ordained in order from oldest to youngest. The three apostolic calls in 2015 saw a similar anomaly in that respect. Although Elders Ronald A. Rasband, Gary E. Stevenson, and Dale G. Renlund were all called to the apostleship on the same day of the week in the week prior to General Conference, Elder Rasband is the oldest, Elder Stevenson is the youngest, and Elder Renlund is in the middle of those three.

At the age of 60, Elder Stevenson was the youngest man called to the apostleship since Elder David A. Bednar (who was 52 at the time of his October 2004 apostolic call). He would retain his status as the youngest currently-serving apostle until the April 2018 call of Elder Ulisses Soares, who was 59 at the time of his call. With the apostolic calls of Elders Gerrit W. Gong (another apostle with strong connections to Asia) and Ulisses Soares in April 2018, Elder Stevenson is now the 9th in seniority in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the 12th in seniority among all current apostles. In terms of his age, he is the second-youngest among both the Quorum of the Twelve and the apostles overall. In his 11 years of service as a general authority, he has given 13 addresses in General Conference (1 as a General Authority Seventy, 2 as Presiding Bishop, and 10 since his call to the apostleship). All of these addresses, covering a wide variety of topics, are well worthy of your time, attention and review.

I gratefully sustain Elder Stevenson as a prophet, seer, and revelator, and appreciate this opportunity to post this tribute to him for his birthday. I similarly greatly admire and sustain each and every one of the other apostles in their God-given roles and responsibilities, and I am grateful to them for giving their time and talents to build up the kingdom of God, and to go wherever they are sent, bearing witness of the Savior at all times and in all circumstances. I share my witness that these men are called of God, and that we will be blessed as we give heed to their words. That does it for now. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, on any post at any time, as long as such comments are made in accordance with the established guidelines. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly added content, please feel free to subscribe. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

BREAKING TEMPLE NEWS: Exterior Rendering Released and Groundbreaking Announced for the San Pedro Sula Honduras Temple; Claiification Provided on Tooele Valley Utah Temple Referendum

Hello again, everyone! I had recently noted that the San Pedro Sula Honduras Temple was anticipated to be the next temple outside the United States to have a groundbreaking. Today, the First Presidency confirmed that theory with the release of the exterior rendering for that temple, and the news of the groundbreaking arrangements for it. That temple (another that will not feature the angel Moroni statue atop it) will have its' groundbreaking on Saturday September 5, the same day on which the groundbreaking for the Orem Utah Temple will occur Since Honduras is on Central Standard Time, there is no difference between what time it is here in Utah and what time it is in Honduras. Depending on the specific times at which the groundbreakings for the Orem Utah and San Pedro Sula Honduras Temples occur, one might occur ahead of the other, or they might occur at roughly the same time. No size has been specified for this temple, but based on the rendering thereof, I wouldn't be surprised if construction takes 2-3 years.

One other important note as well: Until the groundbreaking last month for the Feather River California Temple, the Church had had a somewhat long-standing precedent of a general authority presiding at temple groundbreakings. With the Feather River California Temple ground being broken by Area Seventy Elder Paul H. Watkins last month, that opened the prospect that other area seventies could be called upon for future groundbreakings. As of today, it appears that plans for the August 15 groundbreaking for the Salta Argentina Temple will still be done by the President of the South America South Area, Elder Benjamin De Hoyso, and that the Orem Utah Temple groundbreaking is still on track to be done by Utah Area President Elder Craig C. Christensen, but either could be subject to change. No matter what happens with these two temples, it has been announced by the First Presidency that Elder José Bernardo Hernandez Orellano, an area seventy called in April 2015 who is currently living and serving in San Pedro Sula Honduras, will preside at the groundbreaking for the temple in his city. This announcement opens the prospect that other temples could have a groundbreaking unexpectedly set.

In other temple news, a  new report on the signature-gathering efforts for the referendum on the Tooele Valley Utah Temple notes that, if the referendum is successful, due to city and state regulations, the earliest the question of the temple and the surrounding development could appear on a ballot in the Tooele Valley area is June of next year, so there would be a substantial and significant delay to that temple's construction time-frame if the referendum is successful. Hopefully it won't be in this case, because the Church hoped to build that temple relatively quickly to help with temple activity issues in the area during the period of time between now and 2024 (at which time the Salt Lake Temple is anticipated to be rededicated). If there is a delay for a year in the commencement of that process, that hope on the part of the Church might not be realized in this case.

Stay tuned for more updates on all such developments as I learn of them. In the meantime, due to the new developments for both of these temples, it looks as though I will definitely need to rework most of my files as a result of these developments, so also stay tuned for those updates as I am able to make them. That does it for now. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, on any post at any time, as long as such comments are made in accordance with the established guidelines. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly added content, please feel free to subscribe. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.