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Thursday, March 10, 2016

General Conference Predictions

It's that time of year again, friends, when I post my General Conference predictions. In an effort to make my General Conference predictions more accurate, I have done research back as far as 20 years and have looked at the patterns I've observed. These predictions are the fruits of that research. I have particularly looked this time for patterns as far as how often the general authority seventies speak. The predictions for April include for the first time my educated guess as to the end of the year Church statistics for 2015. Some of the numbers, such as those for stakes and districts, and the number of temples dedicated and rededicated last year were easy to find. For the numbers of full-time missionaries, Church-service missionaries, Church members, ad wards and branches, I used a different formula than I have in years past. I won't try to explain how I arrived at these numbers, but rest assured, it's all been researched. I have also included my list of potential temple sites that President Monson may announce in April. I had a list of 30, and then did some statistical research to fine-tune that list for this prediction.

There are only a few things I am not sure of: whether I've got the correct seventies in the correct slots, how many seventies will speak (which varies based on the length of talks of all other speakers), and who exactly will represent the Presiding Bishopric in speaking at General Conference. With the changes announced shortly after the October General Conference, we have one member of the Bishopric (Bishop Waddell, the second counselor) who has not had a chance to speak in General Conference since his first talk as a general authority several years ago. So he could be the one asked to speak this time. However, in checking on the patterns of Presiding Bishopric speakers, it has typically been (at least for the last few years) in this order: Presiding Bishop, Second Counselor, First Counselor. Since Bishop Causse as the first counselor spoke in April 2015, it would make sense if he, as the Presiding Bishop, spoke this go round, as Bishop Stevenson would have been the one in October had he not been called to the apostleship. But a new bishopric may mean a new pattern. The pattern seems to be for a PB member to speak in the priesthood session every other conference, and its been more than a year since we had a PB member speak in the Priesthood Session. Bishop Causse is the one I put in this time, but we'll see what happens. Just know that if it's not Bishop Causse, it will likely be Bishop Waddell, and that it is more than likely that the PB member will speak in the priesthood session.

 I am excited about this general conference. It will mark the first time since they were called last conference that the newest apostles will be giving a full-length talk (15-20 minutes). There are likely to be several new temples, several new General Authorities, and a change in the Primary General Presidency. We will also get the chance to ratify by sustaining of the changes in the Presidency of the Seventy and the Presiding Bishopric. And while I don't know all of the Area Seventies that might be released this conference, we have quite a few that have been called to be mission presidents. So those changes are at least pretty definite.

That being said, here are my predictions for all of you that want to follow along.

April 2016 General Conference Predictions (Text in brackets indicated what actually happened.)
General Women’s
Rosemary M. Wixom
Linda K. Burton

Cheryl A. Esplin

Neill F. Marriott

President Henry B. Eyring
Saturday Morning
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
President Henry B. Eyring

President Russell M. Nelson

Elder Gerrit W. Gong

Mary R. Durham

Elder Yoon Hwan Choi

Elder Per G. Malm

Elder Gary E. Stevenson
Saturday Afternoon
President  Henry B. Eyring
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (Sustaining of Church Officers)

Church  Auditing Department Report, 2015
Kevin R. Jergensen

Statistical Report, 2015
Brook P. Hales

Elder Ronald A. Rasband

Elder M. Russell Ballard

Elder Patrick Kearon

Elder Mervyn B. Arnold

Elder Neil L. Andersen

Elder David A. Bednar
Saturday Priesthood
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Elder Dale G. Renlund

Bishop Gerald Causse

Stephen W. Owen

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

President Henry B. Eyring

President Thomas S. Monson
Sunday Morning
President Henry B. Eyring
President Thomas S. Monson

Elder Quentin L. Cook

Elder Donald L. Hallstrom

Bonnie L. Oscarson

Elder Jairo Mazzagardi

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Sunday Afternoon
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Elder Robert D. Hales

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Elder Juan A. Uceda

Elder Kent F. Richards

Elder Benjamin De Hoyos

Elder Steven E. Snow

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

April 2016 Predictions for changes in General Church Leadership
Presidency of the Seventy: Elder Gerrit W. Gong sustained as a new member to replace Elder Ronald A. Rasband, who became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in October 2015.
NOTE: Elder Rasband’s call to the apostleship in October 2015 left a vacancy in the Presidency of the Seventy that was not filled during General Conference but a couple of days later. Elder L. Whitney Clayton was named the new senior president of the Seventy (a position previously held by Elder Rasband), and Elder Gong was called to fill the vacancy. It makes sense that Elder Gong’s call will be ratified by sustaining vote during this conference.
First Quorum of the Seventy: Elder W. Christopher Waddell released in view of his new calling as Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric; new members sustained from the Second Quorum of the Seventy, Area Seventies, or the Church at large.
NOTE: Elder Waddell’s call as the new Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric had been announced in October 2015, shortly after General Conference. It makes sense that this change, along with any sustainings, will be ratified by sustaining vote during this conference.
Second Quorum of the Seventy: New members sustained from Area Seventies or Church at large.
NOTE: Members of the Second Quorum of the Seventy are usually sustained in April and released in October, so it makes sense that any sustainings would be presented in April.
Presiding Bishopric: Bishop Gary E. Stevenson released as Presiding Bishop in view of his call to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Bishop Gerald Causse released as First Counselor and sustained as the new Presiding Bishop; Bishop Dean M. Davies released as Second Counselor and sustained as the new First Counselor; Bishop W. Christopher Waddell sustained as the new Second Counselor.
NOTE: When Bishop Stevenson was called to the Twelve in October 2015, he retained the calling of Presiding Bishop until the changes noted above took place a few days after the conference, so these changes will need to be ratified by sustaining vote during this conference.
Area Seventies: Releases and sustainings for several Area Seventies.
NOTE: It seems to be a common practice for most releases and/or sustainings of Area Seventies to happen in April, when President Dieter F. Uchtdorf leads out in the sustaining of Church officers, while only a few releases and sustainings of Area Seventies happen in October, when President Henry B. Eyring leads out in the sustaining.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: We know that, at the very least, the following currently-serving Area Seventies, who have been called to be mission presidents, will be released: Kent J. Allen, Jeffrey D. Cummings, HernĂ¡n D. Ferreira, Brent J. Hillier, Alfred Kyungu, D. Zackary Smith, Wenceslao H. Svec, and Fabian I. Vallejo.
Primary General Presidency: Rosemary M. Wixom released as President, Cheryl A. Esplin released as First Counselor, and Mary R. Durham released as Second Counselor. New Primary General Presidency sustained, perhaps with Mary R. Durham being sustained as the new Primary General President or one of the counselors.
NOTE: Rosemary M. Wixom, the Primary General President, and her First Counselor Cheryl A. Esplin, have served since April 2010, a period spanning 6 years. In the earlier days of the Church, tenures of general auxiliary presidencies were not set to any specific length of time. But for at least the last 20 years, tenure lengths for general auxiliary presidencies are generally set at 5 years (with a minimum of 6 years if new presidency members are sustained without a total reorganization of the presidency). It makes sense that Sisters Wixom and Esplin would be released. It has been a relatively common practice for members of General Presidencies who have been in a year, as Mary R. Durham has, to be retained in a newly called presidency. So it would make sense if the changes above take place.

Prediction for Church Statistics at the end of 2015
Wards and Branches
Total Church Membership
Children of Record Increase
Convert Baptisms
Full-Time Missionaries
Church Service Missionaries
Temples Dedicated
5 (Cordoba Argentina, Payson Utah, Trujillo Peru, Indianapolis Indiana, Tijuana Mexico)
Temples Rededicated
2 (Mexico City Mexico, Montreal Quebec Canada)
Temples Operating

Temple Predictions: 3+ temples announced around the world, with the most likely candidates being American Samoa (Pago Pago); Arkansas (Bentonville); Paraguay (Ciudad del Este); Utah (Layton or Lehi); Brazil (Belo Horizonte); Venezuela (Maracaibo; temple proposed by President Hinckley); Philippines (Davao); Bolivia (La Paz); Texas (Fort Worth); Colorado (Colorado Springs); Austria (Vienna); Arizona (Chandler); Mexico (Guadalajara); Guatemala (Villa Nueva); Ecuador (Quito); New Zealand (Auckland); Texas (Katy); Idaho (Pocatello); Zimbabwe (Harare); Uganda; Kenya (Nairobi (proposed by President Hinckley); Nevada (Henderson); Peru (Iquitos);  California (Long Beach); Philippines (Quezon City); Mongolia (Ulaanbaatar) and Mexico (Cuernavaca).

Well, what do you think?