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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Report on Elder Perry's funeral/Who will be the next apostle?/Payson Utah Temple Cultural Celebration

Elder Perry's funeral was Friday. President Henry B. Eyring conducted, the invocation was offered by Elder Russell M. Nelson, and the benediction was offered by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. Elder Perry's only son, Lee T. Perry, gave a beautiful tribute to his father. Elders Dallin H. Oaks and M. Russell Ballard both shared different portions of their final tender visit with Elder Perry. President Monson, looking hale and hearty, paid a beautiful tribute to Elder Perry. That should debunk some rumors about his health. Anyways, the Tabernacle Choir sang some of Elder Perry's favorite hymns. It was a beautiful service, with all testifying that they knew Elder Perry still lives and continues to carry on the work of salvation on the other side of the veil, unencumbered by the health conditions that hindered him for the last month or so of his life. I watched most of it when it originally aired (on Friday morning on a sub-channel of KSL (I overslept and missed the first 20 minutes or so)), then watched it in its entirety late last night. I think it went very well.

Now that the funeral is over, speculation can begin in earnest about who the new apostle will be. I offer my thoughts on the matter. As mentioned in a previous post, 6 of our 14 currently serving apostles came from the Presidency of the Seventy. So it is most likely that the apostle could come from that presidency. The most likely candidate? When Elder Ballard was called to be an apostle, he was the 3rd most senior member of the Presidency of the Seventy. When Elder Scott and Elder Christofferson were called to be apostles, (Scott in 1988 and Christofferson in 2008) they were both the 2nd most senior members of the Presidency of the Seventy. When President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Elder Quentin L. Cook were called as apostles, (Uchtdorf in 2004 and Cook in 2007) they were both at that time the 5th most senior member of the Presidency of the Seventy. And when Elder Neil L. Andersen was called to be an apostle, he was serving as the Senior President of the Seventy. So any one of the currently serving Presidency of the Seventy could be called. If I had to give my top three picks from this body, I would pick Elder Ronald A. Rasband (Senior President), Elder L. Whitney Clayton (2nd most senior member) or Elder Ulisses Soares (who as the 6th most senior member would also be an international apostle).

Two currently serving apostles (President Henry B. Eyring and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland) were serving as members of the First Quorum of the Seventy. So the new apostle might come from there. My top three picks would be Elder Michael John U. Teh (who would be the first Filipino apostle), or either Elder Joseph W. Sitati or Elder Edward Dube (either of whom would make history as the first black apostle of the Church), If I had to pick my top candidate for the First Quorum, it would be Elder Teh. In April 2008, after the First Presidency had been reorganized and there was a vacancy in the quorum) I was praying for the new apostle and felt distinctly that it would be Elder Teh. I didn't pray for Elder Teh by name at that time, and it was just as well because Elder Christofferson was called. But I just can't shake the hope that my gut feeling was right and that Elder Teh will be called as an apostle one day, perhaps even this time.

The new apostle could also come from the Presiding Bishopric. Elder Robert D. Hales was the Church's Presiding Bishop, and, Elder Eyring, prior to his call to the Seventy, served as his counselor. This means it's not out of the question for the new apostle to come from the Presiding Bishopric. The most likely candidate in my mind is Bishop Causse, who would be the first French apostle and also become the youngest apostle.

Of course, the Lord could surprise us by inspiring President Monson to call the new apostle from either the Second Quorum of the Seventy, Area Seventies, the Sunday School or Young Men's general presidencies, or the church at large. Whomever the Lord inspires President Monson to call will have my full support.

I also wanted to remind my readers that the Payson Utah Temple will be dedicated tomorrow. It looks like President Eyring will preside over that dedication, as he was there for the cultural celebration. If that's the case, this will be only the second temple President Eyring has dedicated solo. (The first was the San Salvador El Salvador in 2011, though he has rededicated or been the presiding member of the First Presidency at some sessions of other temples.) Four apostles (Elders Nelson, Oaks, Cook and Andersen) were also there and may participate in the dedicatory services tomorrow. There were three members of the Presidency of the Seventy there (Elder Rasband, Elder Hallstrom, and Elder Soares). Bishop Causse was there as well as Elder Richards, the Temple Department's Executive Director, and Sister McConkie of the Young Women General Presidency, and Sister Esplin of the Primary General Presidency. I hope the Church publishes who participates in which sessions, because that will make me feel a little better about not having the privilege of attending the dedication (which is only open to those living in the Payson Utah Temple District). I will report more on that as information becomes available.

In the meantime. I've "sounded off" enough for one day. I will try to post tomorrow with a report on the Payson Utah Temple Dedication participants and a general update. Until I write again, all the best!