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Thursday, January 14, 2021

President Nelson Marks Three-Year Anniversary as Prophet; Looking Ahead to Temple Developments in 2021

 Hello again, everyone! Roughly 7-8 hours or so from now, it will have officially been 3 years exactly since President Russell M. Nelson was ordained and set apart as the new President of the Church. On this monumental anniversary day, albeit in unusual circumstances, we remember the rintroduction of him and his counselors to the world in a meeting broadcast from the annex of the Salt Lake Temple. We likewise remember that in a press conference held an hour or so after that meeting, the new leaders skillfully handled inquiries offered during a press conference

In the week or so leading up to today's anniversary, the Church News provided extensive coverage of the major milestones of the inspired leadership of these Brethren in general and the prophet in particular. Over the course of the last three years, there have been many highlights of the current prophet's inspired leadership. The ones that come to mind foremost are: the calling of two Brethren from ethnic minorities as apostles, efforts to help the Church achieve more complete compliance with doctrinal directives as found in the scriptures, and creating Churchwide unity in numerous other ways. 

Also worth mentioning is the emphasis on practices that require the wise use of agency, and that emphasize individual and familial responsibility, along with the reduction and simplification of the work of the Church. And yet, I'd also argue that all of this pales in comparison to the sheer volume of temple developments that have occurred under the current Church President. President Nelson has announced more temples in 3 years than many of his predecessors did in thrice or fourfold that amount of time. And with the announcement that came down the piike yesterday afternoon, a remaining total of 19 Nelsonian temples have not yet had any official information confirmed.

So President Nelson remains committed to keeping "the end in mind"as he himself put it when speaking from the annexx of the Salt Lake Temple for the first time as Church President. And there will be much more to come this year and for the foreseeable future. Having noted that, I wanted to pay tribute to this milestone for these Brethren by sharing the links to three files that demonstrate some of the temple highlights I anticipate we may see this year.  

It has been a yearly custom for the Church to announce new temple presidents every year, and if this year is no different, there will be between 8-13 first presidents for the Church's newest completed temples. And I've identified 58 existing temples which could also see new presidents called, though it is possible that other temples not on my list could see a new president called this year as well, depending on a wide range of unknown variables.

Additionally, there are many currently-operating temples which may, according to indicated parameters, soon be renovated. But factoring into the timing of any such plans is at least one key element, Temple renovations have been and can continue to be deferred at times when extended closure periods have allowed routine maintenance and upgrades that would usually occur during a full-scale renovation to take place at that time instead. 

For temples that have had extended closures occur in 2019 and last year, and for those that will have an extended closure this year, and particularly those which have seen closures in any 2 or all 3 of those years, a renovation could potentially be dleayed. It's also possible that the Church could hold off on renovating any of the temples listed until there are sufficient temples around similar areas that could compensate for and deal with the high activity in locations of temples currently on the potential renovation list. Hope that made sense.

I am grateful to have been able to share these thoughts, links, and files with you all here in honor of the milestone that is being observed by our current First Presidency today. I continue to minitor all Church news reports and temple updates and will be sure to bring you all word of the major highlights here in either new posts or the comments of existing posts as I become aware of all of that.

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, January 13, 2021

BREAKING TEMPLE NEWS: Location Confirmed and Exterior Rendering Released for the Tallahassee Florida Temple

Hello again, everyone! Within the last hour or so, the Newsroom has shared the announcement of the location and rendering for the Tallahassee Florida Temple. That temple, one of 3 in the United States to be announced in April of last year, will be located at 2440 Papillon Way in Tallahassee. The temple is planned to be a single-story edifice of approximately 29,000 square feet.  The design includes a domed cupola, atop which a single spire will be featured. And yet again, no angel Moroni has been included with the design of this Nelsonian-era temple.

In looking at the temple's size in comparison to the timing within which similiarly-sized temples have seen construction begin, I'd say to look for construction on this temple to begin in the mid-to-latter part of this year (probably somewhere between April-August). And the fact that it has had a rendering released would technically put that temple ahead of the Lindon Utah Temple in the queue (since only a site location and preliminary details have been noted on that temple). So now there is yet another reason for me to revise my previously-offered thoughts contained in the temple documents which I keep.

Look for that in the coming days. In the interim, here is an updated look at the data on the temples for which no information has been officially released yet. Given that we are still in mid-January of this year, I have no doubt there is much more to come this year. And that's not exclusively true of temples being built here in the United States. I wouldn't rule out the prospect of some major announcements being made to help clear the queue of more temples outside the United States in the near future.

As I am able to revise the information in the files I keep on temples, you can be sure I will be passing those updates along to you all here. 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 tat the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Monday, January 11, 2021

BREAKING NEWS: Renovation Announced for Church Office Building Plaza

Hello again, everyone! As many of you are almost certainly aware, the Salt Lake Temple and surrounding areas of Temple Square are undergoing extensive renovation. That process begn in December 2019, and is expected to wrap up at some point in 2024 (I am guessing personally that the completion may occur in the latter half or quarter of that year, but that has not been officially confirmed). At the time the plans were unveiled for that renovation, Church leaders had indicated that some parts of the renovation process might be detailed later as those plans were developed.

This afternoon, a renovation process was additionally announceed for the Church Office Building plaza. Among key elements, the current circulating water system and concrete deck are leaking, which in turn is creating a hazard for the parking facility directly underneath it. The renovation of the plaza will thus include a new waterproofing system and the addition of green space and gardens. The existing fountain will also be removed from its' current location and replaced with a large circle of flags from several key locations where the Church has an established presence.

The renovation of the Church Office Building Plaza, which will soon be underway, is expected to last around 18 months, at which point the focus will shift to the nearby Main Street plaza. The plans for that part of the renovation will be announced closer to the time it is anticipated to begin. The final focus of the renovations on Temple Square grounds will then shift to the areas surrounding the Church headquarters block. 

Once all of that and the temple renovation is completed, the entirety of the designed space around Temple Square will make it clear that it's connected to the newly-renovated temple. Further information is detailed by the Church News. I am grateful for this latest report, as it demonstrates that the renovation process for the Salt Lake Temple, including surrounding areas on Temple Square, remains on track. I continue to monitor all Church news and temple updates and will be sure to pass word of those along 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.

Friday, January 8, 2021

BREAKING NEWS: Elder Soares and His Wife Experienced Mild COVID-19 Bout During Holiday Break

Hello again, everyone! Not long ago, the Newsroom shared an updated report on COVID-19 among the current apostles. It has been noted that Elder Ulisses Soares and his wife, Rosana, were diagnosed with mild case s of COVID-19 at around the same time as the holiday break occurred for those at Church headquarters. Both have since made a full recovery. Given the mildness of the symptoms reported, the fact that they made a full recovery, and the fact that Church headquarters had closed for the Christmas and New Year's holiday observances were ample reasons why this information is just now being made public.

It has been an interesting anomaly to me to observe that only the three most junior apostles of the Church were the ones so far who have been confirmed as positive for the virus. But as my wife observed, the older and more senior leaders are likely being overly cautious, given their higher susceptibility. And there is a large part of my mind that does wonder whether something in the future for Elders Renlund, Gong, and Soares made it necessary for them to be the ones that have dealt with this so far.

Maybe I'm overanalyzing that side of things, but I have seen ample examples among the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that illustrate that, in some cases, longstanding health issues for them or their wives have shaped their ministries in remarkable ways. Foremost in my mind are Elders Neal A. Maxwell, David B. Haight, Robert D. Hales, Richard G. Scott, and Joseph B. Wirthlin. For each of these apostles, the health challenges they had in the course of their ministries shaped them in ways that I don't believe would have been possible otherwise.

It has been quite a year for apostolic developments, with the pandemic limiting travel on the part of top Church leadership. Though we don't have a lot of details, we also recall how Elder Holland had some health issues unrelated to the pandemic last year. In a subsequent interview with the Church News, Elder Holland talked about how, in the course of trying to figure out what was happening with his health, the doctors discovered and were able to manage a more significant issue that would otherwise have gone undetected.

I'm going to borrow a standard phrase from the Book of Mormon here: And thus we see that the Lord in His wisdom and mercy allows His servants in our day to experience their very own "thorns in the flesh." And in similitude to what happened to Paul in the New Testament, the very real "thorns of the flesh" that our recent and currwheent apostles have experienced, are experiencing, or may yet experience can give them motivation to mold their ministry based on the lessons learned therefrom.

In view of so many of my own personal experiences in terms of my health, I can attest to the fact that that pattern does not apply exclusively to apostles. I have had numerous times in my own life where circumstances I was dealing with in terms of my health did not make snese, where answers were hard to come by and solutions few and far between. And quite honestly, almost without exception, those experiences, as challenging as they were in the moment, have, in one way or another, led me to where I am and who I am today.

Above and beyond that, however, the news of the positive diagnoses of COVID-19 for our three junior apostles is hopefully a demonstration that, even when taking all the proper precautions, a positive diagnosis can occur. Just recently, COVID-19 has impacted some in my own family circle. So simply being cautious is not nearly enough. We need to be sure as individuals that we are mindful of what we owe to each other in the world that we all share. And I think sacrificing a little freedom now is well worth it if it ensures more freedom in the future My hope and prayer is that we will all be wise with respect to our attitudes and decisions relating to COVID-19.

And I for one am grateful that each of the three apostles and each of their spouses have been spared from further issues of discomfort or illness beyond what's been reported. I love, sustain, and pray for these good men and women who, in the midst of this global pandemic, are still filling their charge to uplift and inspire people and to be witnesses of Jesus Christ to all the world. May the Lord bless them all in their continued efforts.

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.

BREAKING NEWS: Church Creates One New Mission for 2021; Announces New Mission Presidents for 2021

Hello again, everyone! The Church News today shared a major announcement from the First Presidency. Effective July 1, one new mission, to be named the Mozambique Beira Mission, will be created. That will bring the number of total missions in the Church to 408 as of that date. Although it has become somewhat customary in recent yearz for the Church to announce the creation of multiple new missions and the consolidation of several others, as 2021 continues to unfold, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have obviously impacted today's announcement. 

Aside from the newly-created mission, a total of 105 new mission leaders have been called to serve around the world. At a glance, that includes one current GA Seventy (Elder Juan Pablo Villar, who is currently serving in the South America South Area Presidency), a number of current and former area seventies, and Sister Lisa L. Harkness, the current First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency.  I have no doubts that Matthew Martinich, author of the Church Growth Blog, will have analysis on this development at some point within the next week or two. 

In the meantime, I myself am planning to post a more extensive analysis of the list of new mission presidents as soon as I can complete that. Added at approximately 11:15 AM:  I have completed my analysis of the new assignments that will go into effect in July of this year, and I have compiled notes on it. In summary,  the list of new leaders includes, as mentioned, Elder Villar and Sister Harkness, 10 current area seventies, and 2 or 3 former area seventies. So there are bound to be changes noted in General Conference as a result of at least some of these calls. Having said that, we now return you to your previously-published content.

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 ud wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.