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Monday, October 31, 2016

Star Valley Wyoming Temple Dedicated Yesterday/An Intriguing Theory and the Reasoning Behind It/Temple Construction Progress Update

The Star Valley Wyoming Temple was dedicated yesterday in three sessions. Much to my surprise, Elder David A. Bednar, who is the most junior of the top half of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles) was asked to preside, instead of a member of the First Presidency or someone more senior. It  is unprecedented in Church history for someone who is not in the First Presidency or one of the three most senior apostles not in the First Presidency to officiate at a temple dedication. In fact, Elder Bednar is the sixth most senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and is the ninth in overall apostolic seniority. It is unheard of for such a junior apostle to be assigned to preside at a temple dedication. I will venture a reason for this unprecedented action in just a moment. Before doing so, however, I was delighted to learn of the most likely reason for Elder Bednar's assignment. His wife, Sister Susan Bednar, is a Star Valley native. In a magnanimous gesture, Elder Bednar, after inviting his wife to add mortar to the cornerstone, invited Sister Barbara Perry, a Wyoming native and the wife of deceased apostle Elder L. Tom Perry, to take a turn applying mortar. It did my heart good to hear of that. For articles about the temple dedication and cultural celebration, click here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Now, if I may, I'd like to make a comment about another very probable reason for Elder Bednar's assignment. I have long felt and said that though I feel President Monson will call an additional counselor in the First Presidency to compensate for his and (possibly) President Eyring's bad health (to say nothing of President Eyring's wife's condition), I would not mention who I feel it might be until we knew more about the health of the Brethren. Since this is unprecedented, and due to the fact that Elder Bednar did fill this assignment this weekend, I thought I would let you know that Elder Bednar is the one I feel will be called to that position, if and when that happens.

I have done enough Church history to state with knowledge to back me up that nearly every person who has been called to be a member of the First Presidency did go through a sort of "vetting" process by being asked to preside at an important event usually conducted by the First Presidency. In this way, apostles are tested as to how they would handle being more in the public eye. I know for sure that it happened that way with President Eyring before his call as second counselor to President Hinckley in 2007, and it happened with President Hinckley before his call as a counselor to President Kimball in 1981. So my theory is not without precedent.

Additionally, Elder Bednar is in the unique position of being the junior apostle to Presidents Eyring and Uchtdorf, so his status as still somewhat of a junior apostle is not an issue. Also, he is still the third youngest apostle, which would mean he would add youth and vigor to the Presidency and considerably lower the average age of that body. Given the health of Presidents Monson and Eyring and Sister Eyring, it would probably then be advisable to call a new member to the Quorum of the Twelve, which would need its full strength due to the age and health of some of that body's senior members, while Elder Bednar devotes his full energy to the work of the First Presidency, opening the odds of someone younger than him being called to take his seat in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and thus lower the average ages also of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as a body and of the apostles overall. I would welcome thoughts about my theory in the comments below.

In the meantime, since it has been 9 days since I last posted my temple progress report and in light of the progress made since then, I thought i would end this post with the newest version of the report. Let me know your thoughts. I particularly want to get a feel for what you guys would think of my switching the Winnepeg and Arequipa temples in terms of when a groundbreaking might take place. It is an intriguing question as to which might happen first, and I could see listing them either as they are now or switched. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Temple Construction Progress Report (current as of 10/31/16)
Current Temple Status: 154 operating; 1 scheduled for dedication; 11 under construction; 3 undergoing renovation; 11 announced (As many as 3 groundbreaking announcements may be made soon).

Dedication scheduled:
155. Hartford Connecticut Temple: Preparing for dedication; dedication scheduled on Sunday November 20, 2016.

Under Construction:
156. Paris France Temple: Interior work underway; open house committee assembled; completion anticipated sometime during the first half of 2017.
157. Meridian Idaho Temple: Adding landscaping structures; installing fence posts and lamp posts; completion anticipated sometime in late 2017.
158. Cedar City Utah Temple: Installing sprinkler systems and planting bushes; completion anticipated sometime in late 2017.
159. Tucson Arizona Temple: Pouring concrete parking lot; adding landscaping structures; completion anticipated sometime in late 2017.
160. Rome Italy Temple: Interior work progressing; completion anticipated sometime in the first half of 2018.
161. Concepcion Chile Temple: Steeple framework going up; completion anticipated sometime in 2018.
162. Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple: Main level floors poured; completion anticipated sometime in 2018.
163. Durban South Africa Temple: Preparing to pour foundation; laying aggregate for parking; street entrance cut; hydroseeding sloped land; completion anticipated sometime in 2018.
164. Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Foundation walls going up; completion anticipated sometime in 2019.
165.  Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Erecting structural framing; completion anticipated sometime in 2019.
166. Lisbon Portugal Temple: Site clearing phase; construction fence erected; concrete bleachers removed; completion anticipated sometime in 2019.

Undergoing Renovation:
8. Idaho Falls Idaho Temple: Closed for renovation; finish work underway; resurfacing and restriping parking lot; rededication anticipated sometime during the first half of 2017.
20. Jordan River Utah Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication anticipated sometime in late 2017.
41. Frankfurt Germany Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication anticipated sometime in 2018.

Announced:
167. Arequipa Peru Temple: General contractor selected; construction anticipated to begin late 2016 or early 2017.
168. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Permitting phase; temple fireside held September 11, 2016; groundbreaking anticipated in either late 2016 or early 2017.
169. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Construction preparation phase; plans approved by local government; groundbreaking pending.
170. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
171. Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
172. Bangkok Thailand Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
173. Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
174. Quito Ecuador Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
175. Harare Zimbabwe Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
176. Belem Brazil Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
177. Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.

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 denotes changes from the last posted temple progress update.