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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Update: Church unit changes since September 14 of this year

Hello again, everyone! Since I last posted some thoughts about Church unit developments almost seven weeks ago, there have been significant changes. With only 9 of the 53 Sundays left in this year, so much has happened. As previous noted, on New Year's Day of this year, the Church had 3,266 stakes, 556 districts, and 30,304 congregations.

Noting that the Church now has 3,319 stakes, there has been a net increase of 53 stakes. With the 44 Sundays that have come and gone this year, that averages out to 1.2 new stakes per week. If that continues for the remaining 9 Sundays of this year, a minimum increase of 11 stakes is possible. Matthew Martinich, who keeps us all informed about Church growth on his blog devoted to that subject, has noted that the Church may have as many as 66 new stakes by the end of this year. Given that 5 stakes have also been discontinued thus far this year, that would be a net increase of 61 new stakes for the year, which means a net increase of 8 stakes, which is slightly lower than the 11 I referenced above.

Additionally, there are currently 545 districts, which is a net decrease of 11 districts. That said, when I have posted previously about Church growth that has happened or may yet happen, some have inquired how many of those 11 might have been upgraded to a stake. While that is a great question, that is not something I am comfortable answering. Posts like this represent my own thoughts on the growth of the Church that has or may yet occur, and the answers to such questions are well documented by others whom I respect as experts in the field of Church growth developments. With that in mind, those kinds of questions I would defer to those experts to answer. That said, I am grateful to those who have asked about that in the past, because it demonstrates that you are paying attention to things I have said in these posts. It will be interesting to see what the year-end number of districts is.

Next, I wanted to note that the number of congregations Church-wide has risen to 30,385. That means that, during these 42 Sundays that have come and gone, there has been a net increase of 81 congregations, or roughly 1.93 new congregations established each week. If that rate continues in the remaining 9 Sundays of this year, we could see 18 additional congregations established, at minimum. If a larger increase in the number of stakes occurs than what I have suggested here, many more congregations could be created. The one thing that is not as certain is how many congregations, if any, might be created during the final two Sundays of this year, when the world observes Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

Finally, I just wanted to note as well that, based on the Church''s announcement last week about how missionaries would be using technology more, and that missions would begin to be consolidated, we could see a change in the number of missions in the Church by the end of this year. There is also a possibility that the Church could wait to start that consolidation process until next year, when the assignment of new mission presidents will be announced.

Whatever might happen in regards to Church growth, you can depend on the LDS Church Growth blog (and, to a lesser extent, this one) to bring you the latest. That does it for this post. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord's blessings upon each of you in all you do.

Apostles in the news

Hello, everyone! While I intend to continue my series of blog posts about potential future temple sites in each of the Church's geographical areas later this week, in addition to general temple developments, there have been a number of news stories in the last 7-10 days about the ministry of our apostles and prophets, which all deserve to be mentioned on this blog. Let's dive right in to those.

As some of you may recall, in an earlier Church news update on this blog, I mentioned that Gerry Avant, who has worked on the staff of the LDS Church News publication for several decades, retired from her role as editor of that publication several months ago. But she has graciously consented to continue her contributions to that paper as a senior contributing editor. In a new series of articles, she takes the opportunity to reminisce about her various travels with apostles and prophets. In this article, she shares experiences she had traveling with President Gordon B. Hinckley in Asia, and the story behind the photo she snapped that became an iconic cover of the Ensign several months later.

Now, before going on to talk about the other articles about the travels of our apostles, I wanted to note one thing: many of the links I will share in the rest of this post are related to the ministry of two particularly apostles: Elders D. Todd Christofferson and Ronald A. Rasband. I have very much enjoyed reading about the ministry of all apostles, but it has seemed significant to me that these two have received quite frequent coverage. So what has that coverage entailed? Let's move on to that.

First of all, in all of Elder Rasband's many travels lately, he frequently has referenced what President Monson advised him to say to the people he visited shortly after his call to the apostleship. Elder Rasband has been very consistent in acknowledging that the same message President Monson asked him to share has not changed. It is so refreshing to be reminded that, even in the wake of President Monson's advanced age and health-related difficulties, he is still very much concerned about the members of the Church, and wants to convey the love he has for us all through the apostles that are sent to represent him and the Savior worldwide.

That said, we have this account of how Elder Rasband, on assignment to a stake conference in the Eastern United States, was blessed to find out that his visit coincided with an important anniversary of the Church in an area that he ministered in both as a missionary, and later on as a mission president. He said that he didn't know at the time he got the assignment that it would enable him to be part of that celebration, but that the Lord knew, which was a tender mercy he will always remember.

Elder Rasband also was assigned recently, along with his wife, and Primary General President Joy D. Jones and her husband (who were residents of the area years ago) to minister to those in California affected by the wildfires. This was an especially touching assignment for all who were involved. Elder Rasband wept openly with members who had experienced such great losses. And this was very personal for the Joneses, whose son, a fireman in his late 30s, volunteered to come and help fight these fires, only to lose his life as a result of having done so.

Elder Rasband's ministry to the Californian Saints is recounted hereherehere, and here. That last one is the summary of his ministry in California from Mormon Newsroom.

Now, to switch gears as I finish this post, I also wanted to share this story, also from Mormon Newsroom, focusing on how Elder Christofferson delivered an address in Spanish to journalists from Latin America. He praised them for their journalistic integrity, and was in turn praised by one of the organizers of the event at which he spoke, primarily because he had focused on the relationship between freedom of the press and freedom of religion, both guaranteed by the First Amendment of the US constitution. It was great to read about that.

That does it for this post. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray the Lord's blessings upon each one of you in all that you do.

Massive Updates Made to Temple Construction Progress Report

Hello, everyone! While I had promised 'earlier that I would only post updates in temple construction, and not the whole report, I need to make an exception to that today. Information I have received in the last 18 hours or so has changed my thinking on a lot of the information contained in the report, which in turn means a lot of red in it. I hope you will pardon my posting the full report, but it is necessary. Hope it may prove helpful to some of you. As always, any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best.

Temple Construction Progress (current as of 10/31/17)

NOTE ABOUT FUTURE TEMPLE CONSTRUCTION: I have previously referenced the statement made by Elder Larry Y. Wilson, who serves as the Temple Department Executive Director, to the effect that 80 temple locations are under active consideration for an announcement during the next 15 years. That statement, made in April 2017, means that we could have around 260 temples in various stages by April 2032. Whether or not all of those temples are announced by that time, it appears more than likely that the Church could have 200 of those temples in operation 2 years prior to that, as the Church marks its 200th anniversary (on Saturday April 6, 2030). The Church would just need to complete the 25 in various stages and announce and complete 18 others in the 12.43 years between now and then, which works out to 3 or 4 new temples dedicated per year. Given the fact that the Church will be maintaining at least that average for the next 2 or 3 years, it seems very likely that there will be 200 temples by that time, if not more.

CURRENT TEMPLE STATUS: The Church has 182 temples in various phases. There are 157 operating temples, with 2 that are currently conducting open house tours. There are additionally 9 others in various phases of construction; 1 more which had a groundbreaking before the end of last year and for which construction is anticipated to begin within the first or second quarter of next year; and 1 other had a groundbreaking on Saturday October 28, 2017, and full scale construction is anticipated to start sometime next week, In terms of temples undergoing renovations, 1 has a rededication scheduled during the middle of next year; 1 had been closed for restoration due to weather-related damage, and has since officially closed for renovation, with a private rededication anticipated during the middle of next year; 1 other is anticipated to have its rededication before the end of next year; 4 others have closed recently. There are also 5 other temples scheduled to close sometime next year, and closure dates have been announced for all but 1 of those. The remaining 12 are announced (with either a site announcement or groundbreaking pending).

Preparing for dedication; open house tours underway:
158. Meridian Idaho Temple: Accepting open house reservations; public open house tours underway; dedication scheduled for Sunday November 19, 2017.
NOTE: With construction having been completed on this temple, the open house is underway. Because Elder David A. Bednar broke ground for this temple, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has some role in the dedication, either as the one who presides, or by accompanying the apostle senior to him who will be asked to preside. Two senior apostles who will likely not be in attendance are Elders Oaks and Ballard, who are scheduled to speak at a Face-to-Face event for Young Single Adults that same evening. It will be interesting to see what happens there.
159. Cedar City Utah Temple: Accepting open house reservations; public open house tours underway; dedication scheduled for Sunday December 10, 2017.
NOTE: As I have previously noted, Elder M. Russell Ballard seems to have some role in supervising the three areas of the Church in Utah, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was born in St. George, which some consider a sister-city to Cedar City (not by proximity, but rather because the two are the major cities in Southern Utah). Either could be asked to preside, or to accompany the one who does. Utah temple dedications always have quite a few participants from Church leadership, and I anticipate that the dedication of this temple will be no different.

Under Construction; completion anticipated during 2018:
160. Concepcion Chile Temple: Angel Moroni on site awaiting installation; cladding progressing on east side of temple; installing exterior lighting; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
NOTE: This temple has been moved up gradually until it is now at the top of this list. As promised, I have revisited my thoughts about the dedication estimate, which I now believe may happen on Sunday August 12 or 19. As always, between now and whenever the actual date is announced, I will keep an eye out for any reason to change this estimate.
161. Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple: Plastering steeple and entrance walls; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
NOTE: In view of other changes that have been necessary, and in light of where other temples are in the construction process, I think it is safe to assume that this temple could be dedicated on Sunday September 9 or 16. As the next 8 months come and go, any changes that are necessary for this estimate will be made.
162.  Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Cladding tower; installing art glass and ornamental cornice; completion anticipated sometime during late 2018-early 2019.
NOTE: On October 26, 2017, many sources available to me moved this temple above the Rome Italy Temple. Because of this, it is my feeling that the dedication of this temple may happen on November 11 or 18. But I could also see that dedication being pushed back to December 9 or 16. I will keep an eye out for information in this regard, and will be sure to pass that along as soon as I can.

Under construction, completion anticipated during 2019:
Note about temple dedications anticipated during this year: The Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple, which had a groundbreaking on October 28, 2017, is anticipated to be completed within 12-18 months. With that in mind, and because of additional information I have received about the potential sequence of events during this year, the temples in this section have been renumbered. I will be sure to pass along any changes to this information as I learn of them.
163. Rome Italy Temple: Installing art glass, irrigation lines, decorative fence posts; completion anticipated sometime during late 2018-early 2019.
NOTE: As noted above, on October 26, 2017, the sources I have available for temple information moved Barranquilla ahead of this temple. According to new information I was able to find, it appears that this temple may be completed more towards the beginning of 2019 than the end of 2018. While I hope Rome will not have to wait another year before its dedication, I have no reason to doubt the information.
165. Durban South Africa Temple: Setting roof trusses for temple; completion anticipated sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: With the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple anticipated to be dedicated during this same time-frame, along with the rededication of each of the temples that closed prior to the end of October 2017, I have felt to alter my estimate for this temple’s dedication to sometime during early-to-mid June. If that changes, I will be sure to pass that along.
166. Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Stone cladding underway; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: With changes in this temple’s estimated completion having been made, and with those temples that are anticipated to be rededicated during 2019, it has seemed wise to adjust the estimate for this temple’s dedication to sometime during late August-early September 2019. Once more is known about any additional alterations that may be needed, I will be sure to pass that information along.
167. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Pouring upper walls of temple; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: Along with other adjustments I have made, I have felt that we may only see this temple dedicated in mid-to-late October 2019 (after General Conference). As with everything else, I will keep my eyes open for any new information, and will pass all of that along,
168. Lisbon Portugal Temple: Pouring upper walls of temple; meetinghouse cladding progressing; completion anticipated sometime during late 2019.
NOTE: With the adjustments that have been made to the other temples above this one, it seems obvious that a similar adjustment is needed here. Until more is known, I am thinking this temple will be dedicated sometime in mid-November. I will pass along any further adjustments I may make to this line of thought.  
169. Arequipa Peru Temple: Attaching vapor barrier; preparing to pour steeple base; completion anticipated sometime during late 2019.
NOTE: In light of the consistent progress this temple has made, and because of feedback I received on October 31, I am now convinced that the dedication of this temple will happen during 2019. As to a specific time-frame, I believe it could happen in mid-December. As always, I will be sure to pass along any changes to this estimate.

Construction pending:
170. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Groundbreaking held Saturday December 3, 2016; plans being slightly modified; full-scale operations anticipated to begin in the first or second quarter of 2018; completion anticipated sometime between early-to-mid 2020.
NOTE: If full-scale construction is able to begin for this temple by the end of the first half of 2018, and if the redesign of this temple does not change the estimate of 20 months that has been given for this temple’s construction time-frame, then this temple could be dedicated sometime during mid-to-late March. As with everything else, I will pass along any adjustments to this estimate as I make them.
164. Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple: Groundbreaking held on Saturday October 28, 2017; full-scale construction pending (anticipated to start later this week, barring anything unexpected); completion anticipated sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: If the news release from Haiti about the groundbreaking is correct, construction on this temple will likely only last around 18 months, making it possible that this temple could be dedicated sometime during early-to-mid May. That will depend on how quickly construction starts and how fast it progresses after that.

Scheduled for rededication:
20. Jordan River Utah Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication scheduled for Sunday May 20, 2018.

Undergoing renovation (in view of damage incurred by a natural disaster; anticipated to be reopened in a few months):
97. Houston Texas Temple: Closed for renovation (following damage incurred by flooding); may take some time to fix everything, will reopen in mid-2018, following a private rededication ceremony.
NOTE: The First Presidency announced on October 25 that this temple, previously closed for restoration, would need work that necessitates a renovation process. It is not anticipated to take too long to accomplish, and this temple is anticipated to reopen following a private dedication sometime next year (no open house, cultural celebration, or public dedication will be needed).

Undergoing Renovation (rededication anticipated within the next year or so):
41. Frankfurt Germany Temple: Closed for renovation; roof slab poured for basement addition; rededication anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
NOTE: As promised, I reevaluated my estimate for this temple’s rededication. Having done so, I am of the opinion that we could see that happen after the first two new temples are dedicated in 2018, and before the final two new ones are dedicated. That puts my revised estimate for that event on either Sunday October 21 or 28. I will be sure to pass along any changes I make to that estimate within the next 9-12 months.

Undergoing Renovation (rededication anticipated sometime during 2019):
80. Memphis Tennessee Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication anticipated sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: With the other adjustments I have made, it seems wise to adjust this temple’s completion estimate to sometime during mid-to-late March. But that will depend on how things progress. If I see anything that gives me a reason to adjust my thinking on this, I will pass that along.
95. Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple: Closed for renovation; angel Moroni removed from spire; rededication anticipated sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: With the confirmed alteration of this temple’s exterior look (which will match that of the Memphis Temple), it seems entirely possible that a rededication could take place sometime during mid-to-late April. As this renovation progresses, I will pass along any alterations to this estimate.
112. Asuncion Paraguay Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication anticipated sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
NOTE: Though the Church had previously specified on their temple website that the renovation closure for this temple was set for October 29, in the early morning hours of October 31, 2017, I happened to check the Church’s official site for this temple, and in doing so, I found out that a couple of endowment sessions were scheduled for that day. With that being the case, it seems likely that this temple has not officially closed for renovation, in which case, I have no idea when that will happen. In the meantime, I have felt it safe to assume that this temple, whenever it does close (perhaps later this week), could be rededicated in mid-to-late May. I am gathering information on all of this and will pass that along ASAP.

Undergoing Renovation (rededication anticipated sometime during 2020):
18. Tokyo Japan Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication anticipated sometime during early-to-mid 2020.
NOTE: As has been noted previously regarding this temple, it is undergoing renovation primarily to upgrade and update electrical and mechanical systems. Since it is also a comparatively smaller one from the Kimball-era of small temples, it is easy to assume and to assert that a dedication could happen in mid-May 2020. As with everything else, I will be sure to pass along any updates to this estimate as I make them.

Temples Scheduled for Renovation (scheduled to close during 2018):
68. Raleigh North Carolina Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in January 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: I found out on October 31 that the January 10th date which was previously identified for this temple’s closure may not be accurate. Additionally, while I also know Church members in North Carolina who said that this temple’s renovation will not involve an expansion, it is possible that part of the renovation process will be changing its exterior to look like the temples in Memphis and Oklahoma City. If that is the case, then the rededication may be held sometime during mid-August 2019. I will pass along any new information as I find out about it.
94. Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on Thursday February 1, 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: As with the Raleigh Temple, I found out on October 31 that there may be reason to doubt the closure date that was once provided on this report. That said, if, as I suspect, this temple’s renovation changes it to look like the temples in Memphis and Oklahoma City, then its rededication could possibly take place sometime during mid-to-late September 2019. I will pass along any updates to this estimate as I make them.
13. Oakland California Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on Monday February 19, 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
NOTE: As previously noted, the stated purpose for this temple’s renovation is to upgrade and update electrical and mechanical systems. Therefore, an expansion is likely not part of those plans. Bearing in mind that this temple is anticipated to be rededicated prior to the end of 2019, I have felt that a 17-month estimate for this process would be appropriate. In running the resulting calculation, that would put this temple’s rededication happening sometime between late October-early November 2019. Obviously, as this renovation gets underway and makes progress, we will know more about how reasonable that estimate might be, and I will make any adjustments that may be needed.
16. Washington D. C. Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation on Sunday March 4, 2018; rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2020.
NOTE: With what is currently known about this temple’s renovation (having confirmed the exact date, and also knowing that it is mainly to upgrade and update the mechanical and electrical system), in taking the larger size of this temple into account (which will extend the process), a 32-month estimate seems appropriate. That would put this temple’s rededication sometime during mid-November 2020. As the next year unfolds, more will be known, and any adjustments will be provided.

Temples which have had a renovation announced but for which an exact closure date is not yet known:
7. Mesa Arizona Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in May 2018 (exact date has not yet been announced); rededication may take place sometime during mid-to-late 2020.
NOTE: As of October 8, 2017, no date has been made known for the beginning of this renovation. But because it has been renovated once before, and because the purpose of this renovation is to bring electrical and mechanical systems up-to-date, this temple will likely be rededicated prior to the rededication of the Washington DC temple, which is comparatively bigger and is closing for its first renovation two months before this closure. I am sticking with my initial estimate of 26 months for this process, which would put its rededication at some point in early-to-mid September 2020. Within the next year, this process will be well underway, and more will be known about any adjustments that may need to be made. Until then, it seems to be a sound adjustment to what I have previously stated.

NOTE ON ANNOUNCED TEMPLES: While I once felt confident in projecting potential groundbreaking estimates for these announced temples, on October 28, 2017, I determined that it would be best to simplify this section by listing these temples in their announced order, with the exception of those that are farther along. I will keep an eye out for any developments and reorder this list again as that becomes necessary.

Announced temples:
171. Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple: Planning and preliminary construction phase; awaiting official site announcement.
NOTE: As previously noted, the contractor for this temple said that a year of preliminary work would be needed prior to this temple’s groundbreaking. If, as previously indicated, that year began in March 2017, this temple could easily have its groundbreaking in the early-to-middle part of next year.
172. Brasilia Brazil Temple: Planning and approval; site inspected by Church engineers on June 21, 2017.
NOTE: This temple is this far up on the list because it has had a site identified and inspected. How soon a groundbreaking might happen is unclear.
173. Greater Manila Philippines Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official name announcement.
NOTE: As with the Brasilia temple, this temple is in this position on this list because a site has been identified. An official name is anticipated to be announced for this temple at some point in the near future. How soon a groundbreaking might happen is anyone’s guess.
174. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Awaiting government approval and official site announcement.
NOTE: This temple, announced in October 2010, has been subjected to numerous delays. While I hope to see a groundbreaking for it sooner rather than later, there could be more delays in store for this temple.
175. Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official site announcement.
176. Bangkok Thailand Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official site announcement.
NOTE: If, as some members have speculated, an existing Church office building is reconstructed into a multi-purpose building that will continue to serve as an office building but will also be a meetinghouse and temple (in the style of the Manhattan New York and Hong Kong China Temples), then this temple could easily see a groundbreaking sooner rather than later.
177. Quito Ecuador Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official site announcement.
178. Harare Zimbabwe Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official site announcement.
179. Belem Brazil Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official site announcement.
180. Nairobi Kenya Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official site announcement; media event held June 14, 2017.
181. Pocatello Idaho Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official site announcement.
NOTE: Two potential sites have been identified for this temple, one of which was annexed into Pocatello shortly after the temple was announced. Until there is an official announcement, the site location is anyone’s guess.
182. Saratoga Springs Utah Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official site announcement.

ADDITIONAL GENERAL NOTE: As noted above, Elder Larry Y. Wilson stated in an interview on the last day of April 2017 (as the Idaho Falls Temple Open House was underway) that the Church has 80 potential sites that are under consideration for an official announcement within the next 15 years. As previously noted, all of the last 12 temples that have been announced from January 2015 to now have seen that happen during April General Conference. So that may continue. But it is also true that such announcements can come any time the Church president or those authorized to do so in his behalf feel impressed to make them. Since 80 temples in 15 years averages out to 5 new announcements per year between now and sometime in 2032, we could be entering an era where a few are announced in each conference and when some will be announced in between each April and October. Future versions of this report will feature any and all ongoing developments in this regard. Stay tuned for that, and thank you for the privilege of your time.

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 highlights changes from the last posted temple progress report.

Correction: Asuncion Paraguay Temple May Not Be Closed for Renovation Yet

Hello again, everyone! A short while ago, on a hunch, I decided to check the Church's official temple website for information on the Asuncion Paraguay Temple. According to that page, there are two sessions available prior to this afternoon. If that is correct, then many (myself included) who thought that that temple was already closed for renovation were mistaken. I am doing my best to gather information that will answer this question, and hope to be able to post what I find out at some point later this afternoon or evening. It will be an interesting process, to be sure. If it is true that this temple is not yet closed for renovation, that is definitely news to me. That does it for this post. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each of you all the best and pray the Lord's blessings upon you all.

Who might preside at/attend the dedication of the Meridian Idaho Temple?

Hello again, everyone! Here is yet another late-night post from me, this one to explore the question of who might preside at (and who else might attend) the Meridian Idaho Temple dedication, which will take place on Sunday November 19th. As I have previously stated, Elder David A. Bednar presided at the 2014 groundbreaking ceremony for this temple. So it seems evident that he will be in attendance at its dedication, whether he is sent to preside over it, as he did for the Star Valley Wyoming Temple, or whether he will be accompanying the senior apostle who does so.

While any of the leading Brethren could be in attendance, I know of two who will likely not be: Elders Dallin H. Oaks and M. Russell Ballard. Why do I think so? Because they have been asked to be part of a Face-to-Face regional gathering for the young single adults of the Church that evening at 6:00 PM MST. I don't know where that event is taking place, but I am assuming from Church headquarters in Salt Lake City. That being the case, with the last dedication session for the Meridian temple taking place at 3:00 PM, and with Meridian being nearly 400 miles from Salt Lake, it would be impossible for them to participate in the dedication and make it back on time for the event.

Since Elder Ulisses Soares is the Presidency of the Seventy member who currently supervises the Idaho Area of the Church, he will likely be in attendance as well. It is also sure that one or two representatives from the Temple Department will be on hand for this event as well.

Having shared these thoughts, I would love to hear from some of you. Who do you think might participate in this upcoming dedication? I look forward to your feedback. That does it for this post. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each of you all the best and pray the Lord's blessings upon you all.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Updated Thoughts about completion estimates for new temples and those undergoing renovation

Hello again, everyone! While it may be too early to know for sure, I thought I would post again, with my updated thoughts about the potential time-frames for future dedications and rededications between 2018 and 2020. These thoughts will, of course, change as additional information is provided, but I will give my best estimates, based on what is currently known.

Potential Timeline for temple-related events in 2018:
Monday January 1-Saturday June 30: Full-scale construction begins on Winnipeg Manitoba Temple
NOTE: This temple, which had a groundbreaking in December of 2016, did not progress at all in 2017. At present, plans are being modified, and full-scale construction could begin at any point during the first half of 2018. I hope that will happen sooner rather than later.
January: Raleigh North Carolina Temple Renovation Closure (already confirmed; exact date may not be as set in stone as I once believed.
February: Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple Renovation Closure (already confirmed; exact date may not be as set in stone as I once believed)
Monday February 19: Oakland California Temple Renovation Closure (already confirmed)
Sunday March 4: Washington DC Temple Renovation Closure (already confirmed)
May: Mesa Arizona Temple Renovation Closure (closure confirmed; comfirmation of exact date pending)
Sunday May 20: Jordan River Utah Temple Rededication (already confirmed)
Sunday June 3 or 10: Houston Texas Temple Rededication (private)
Sunday August 12 or 19: Concepcion Chile Temple Dedication (160th operating temple)
Sunday September 9 or 16: Kinshasa DR Congo Temple Dedication (161st operating temple)
Sunday October 21 or 28: Frankfurt Germany Temple Rededication
Sunday November 11 or 18 or December 9 or 16: Barranquilla Colombia Temple Dedication (162nd operating temple)
NOTE: While I had been hoping with all my heart that the Rome Italy Temple might be dedicated during 2018, and while that might still be possible, I learned from a few sources available to me that it is more likely that it will be dedicated in the early months of 2019. If that changes, I will pass that information along.

Potential Timeline for temple-related events in 2019:
Early-to-mid March: Rome Italy Temple Dedication (163rd operating temple)
Mid-to-late March: Memphis Tennessee Temple Rededication
Mid-to-late April: Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple Rededication
Early-to-mid May: Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple Dedication (164th operating temple)
Mid-to-late May: Asuncion Paraguay Temple Rededication (NOTE: As reported in an earlier post, it appears that this temple has not yet officially closed. Depending on when it actually does so, I may need to adjust this estimate.)
Early-to-mid June: Durban South Africa Temple Dedication (165th operating temple)
Mid-August: Raleigh North Carolina Temple Rededication
Late August-early September: Fortaleza Brazil Temple Dedication (166th operating temple)
Mid-to-late September: Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple Rededication
Mid-October: Rio de Janeiro Temple Dedication (167th operating temple)
Late October-early November: Oakland California Temple Rededication
Mid-November: Lisbon Portugal Temple Dedication (168th operating temple)
Mid-December: Arequipa Peru Temple Dedication (169th operating temple)
NOTE: With all the new and renovated temples that could be completed during 2019, it appears the year will be full of such events. But I also wouldn't be surprised if some of those were moved into 2020. I will keep my eyes out in that regard and pass along any new information I get.

Potential Timeline for temple-related events in 2020:
Mid-to-late March: Winnipeg Manitoba Temple Dedication (169th operating temple)
Mid-May: Tokyo Japan Temple Rededication
Early-to-mid September: Mesa Arizona Temple Rededication
Early-to-mid November: Washington DC Temple Rededication
NOTE: If, as I suspect, we have several temple groundbreakings in 2018 and 2019, then we could see a lot more temple-related events during 2020. It will be interesting to see what happens in that regard,

Until more is known, the information above reflects my best efforts to determine a probable time-frame for temple related events. As with everything else related to His Church, the Lord is in control of such things, including worldwide weather (though obviously, such things will also depend on any political obstacles, those working on such projects, and whether or not the correct equipment and resources are available). One thing of which you can be sure: to the best of my ability, I will do everything in my power to keep track of all such developments, and to relay those ASAP as I get news of them.

That does it for this post. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each of you all the best and pray the Lord's blessings upon you all.

BREAKING NEWS: Completion estimate provided for the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple

Hello again, everyone! I have some exciting news to report, which is a real game changer. According to many sources available to me, while we do not know when full-scale construction may begin for the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple, it is anticipated that it will be completed sometime during early-to-mid 2019, the same time-frame given for the completion of the Durban South Africa Temple, and for the rededications of the Memphis Tennessee, Oklahoma City Oklahoma, and Asuncion Paraguay Temples. As you can see, I have also confirmed the closure of the Asuncion Temple. With all of that in mind, it seems likely that the first few months of 2019 are going to be jam-packed with temple-related events. Since I just discovered this information, I have not yet had time to put together my thoughts about the potential sequence of events for next year. But I wanted to pass this news along, for what it may be worth. That does it for this post. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, which will, barring anything else unexpected, be another in the series that will discuss temple possibilities in the Asia Area of the Church, I wish each one of you all the best and pray the Lord's blessings upon you all.

Temple Site Possibilities: Africa West Area

Hello again, everyone! As we begin a new workweek, I am back with my third post about future temple possibilities. In this post, I will be sharing information I have compiled about prospective areas that could get a temple in the Africa West Area of the Church, then I will be inviting your comments. Let's get right into that.

First, let's talk about the general potential for future temples in the Church's Africa West Area. LDS growth experts have stated that there could be as many as 13 operating temples in this area by 2030. Given that statement, and the fact that there are only 3 such temples currently, that means 10 more will need to be announced in the next 13 years to make that possible. It could happen. I will explore some of those future possibilities later on in this post.

Before doing so, I wanted to share the information I have been able to compile about the current temples in the Africa West Area, and those that are in various stages in the construction process. There are three temples in that area at the moment, in Accra Ghana, in Aba Nigeria, and the one announced in 2015 for Abidjan in the Ivory Coast. As with the previous post, let's talk about each of these temples to set the background for locations I have felt may be prime locations for a temple.

Next, I want to talk about Nigeria. The Aba temple is the only one in that nation, and as far as I can tell, Aba is not home to one of the missions in Nigeria. That said, Nigeria does have six missions. The first such mission was created in Lagos in 1980, and since that time, 5 other missions have been established, including the Enugu, Calabar, Benin City, and Owerrri missions.

Additionally, the Aba Temple district covers 44 stakes and 16 districts, which in turn are comprised of 341 wards, and 249 branches, for a total of 590 congregations, which is a huge district by anyone's definition. Additionally, since the dedication of the Aba Temple in 2005, Nigeria has seen 22 new stakes created, along with 14 districts. It is clear to me that Nigeria could use another temple, and if the general growth in West Africa is any indication, that is bound to happen sooner rather than later.

Now, we turn our attention to Ghana. Before going into specifics on that nation, I wanted to note just how significant it is that I am talking about it now.  Just a short while ago, I received news that one of Ghana's districts had been upgraded to a stake on October 22. So that information will no doubt play a role in how soon a second temple might be announced for Ghana. That said, let's get into the specifics about Ghana.

That nation's first mission was created in Accra in 1985. 20 years later, the second mission was created in the Cape Coast area, and the final two missions were created within a year of each other, one in Kumasi, and a second for Accra. I don't know how the Church's announced intention to consolidate missions will affect Ghana. What I do know is that there are 20 stakes and 11 districts, which are in turn made up of 151 wards and 152 branches, which bring the total number of congregations in that nation to 303, which is a lot for one temple district,

Additionally, since the 2004 dedication of the one temple in Accra, Ghana has seen an increase of 3 missions, 14 stakes (including the one upgraded from a district), and 8 districts. That is significant growth any way it is considered. A second temple in Ghana makes a lot of sense for all of these reasons.

Now, a few words about the Ivory Coast. Only two missions are in that nation, both headquartered in Abidjan, the capital city, where that nation's first temple was announced in 2015. At the moment, the Ivory Coast has 13 stakes and 12 districts, which further break down into 106 wards and 101 branches. The total number of congregations in the Ivory Coast now number 207, which is a lot for one temple. And since the announcement of the Abidjan Temple on April 5 of 2015, the temple has not yet progressed to a groundbreaking. That said, since that temple was announced, the Ivory Coast has not only had its second mission established, but also 6 new stakes created, along with 10 districts. That kind of growth warrants another temple soon, but I also believe that we could even see a third in that nation within the next 30 years or less.

So, which temples made my list for the Africa West Area? I believe that a second temple in Nigeria is only a matter of time, and I have listed either Benin City or Lagos for that honor. So which might it be? Lagos seems more likely. It is 373.8 miles from the Aba temple. As the home city of the first mission to be established in Nigeria, there are five stakes there currently, which in turn have 41 wards and 5 branches, for a total of 46 congregations.

There is a compelling case in favor of Benin City as well. It is just under 200 miles from Aba, and even further from Lagos. The most recent mission created in Nigeria was established in Benin City. Benin City is also home to 6 stakes, which break down further into 51 wards and 14 branches, for a total of 65 congregations in that city.

As you can see, I have my own thoughts on the most likely location for Nigeria's second temple. But I see both cities getting a temple within the next 30 years or less.

In terms of Ghana's next temple, it seems apparent to me that Kumasi is the top contender, since there is a mission there (which has several branches within its jurisdiction). Additionally, I found three stakes in that city, which have a total of 22 wards and 15 branches, or a total of 37 congregations.

If and when the Ivory Coast gets another temple, I have felt that might be in Yamoussoukro, which is far enough away from Abidjan that a second temple there makes sense. While I didn't look at the geography of the Ivory Coast, I imagine that a second temple in Yamoussoukro would split the Abidjan district roughly in half. There may be other cities in that nation that could get a temple, but I think the next one there will be in Yamoussoukro.

Additionally on my list for the Africa West Area, I have Freetown Sierra Leone, Monrovia Liberia, and Lome Togo. Let's talk briefly about each.  The only mission in Sierra Leone was established around 10  years ago. Right now, there are 2 stakes and 6 districts, which are further divided into 17  wards and 48 branches, for a total of 65 congregations. Additionally, Sierra Leone ranks as the 6th in the top 10 nations that have the strongest Church presence but does not yet have a temple in any stage. That is significant, making Sierra Leone a high priority on my list of future temples for this area.

As far as a temple for Liberia, that makes sense for a couple of reasons. Monrovia is home to the only Liberian mission. Liberia also has two stakes (both in Monrovia) and two other districts. These four main units are divided further into 14 wards and 21 branches, for a total of 35 congregations. If we add the 2 districts (comprised of a total of 20 branches) that fall under the jurisdiction of the Monrovia mission, a temple there makes even more sense.

Finally, a temple for Lome Togo is a late addition to my list. In the nation of Togo, the Church operates no missions, but there are 2 stakes, which are further divided into 14 wards and 3 branches, or a total of 17 congregations. So a temple there makes a lot of sense, If not in the near future, then I see it happening prior to 2030.

Those are the choices I have on my personal list. That does it for this post. Any comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, especially any feedback any of you would care to give on my list. Thank you for the privilege of your time, and until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray the Lord's blessings upon you.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Temple Site Possibilities: Africa Southeast Area

Hello again, everyone! Here I am with the second in the series of posts I referenced just a few minutes ago. This post will examine potential future temple sites in the Africa Southeast Area of the Church. So, let's dive right in to it!

The Africa Southeast Area currently only has 1 temple in operation, the Johannesburg South Africa Temple. But there are also two under construction (in Durban South Africa and Kinshasa DR Congo). There are also two others announced (in Harare Zimbabwe, and Nairobi Kenya). Until all of these temples are a bit further along, it is difficult to know whether or not any others will be announced.

That said, the Kinshasa temple is anticipated to be dedicated next year, with Durban in 2019. Additionally, Elder Kevin S. Hamilton, who presides over the Africa Southeast Area, was quoted at some point in 2016 after the Harare temple was announced that a site announcement and groundbreaking would likely take place in short order during 2017. As we know, that has not happened as of yet, but may happen at some point early next year.

Also, our native Kenyan General Authority, Elder Joseph W. Sitati, represented the Church at a media event for the Nairobi Temple. He said that the Church usually takes a year or two after a temple announcement to announce a site (which, as far as I can tell, has been the average for temples in this area). So the groundbreaking for that temple might happen anytime in the next 2 or 3 years.

The Johannesburg Temple district is currently comprised of 54 stakes and 37 districts. Of those, a minimum of 17 stakes and 3 districts in DR Congo will be served by the Kinshasa Temple, and some surrounding nations that will be closer to the DR Congo than to South Africa will also be taken from the Jo-burg (as my mother, a native South African, affectionately calls it) district.

Additionally, other cities in South Africa will be part of the Durban SA Temple district, being closer to it than Jo-burg. And once both the Durban and Kinshasa Temples are completed, more will be known about their temple districts. And as the Harare and Nairobi Temples get further along in the construction process and are dedicated, that will also divide these districts further.

That said, in terms of potential future sites, I have the following possibilities: Antananarivo Madagascar; Maputo Mozambique; Lubumbashi DR Congo; and Cape Town South Africa.

First, Antananarivo is home to the only mission of the Church in Madagascar. In Madagascar, there are two stakes and two districts, which in turn comprise 14 wards and 15 branches, which totals 29 congregations, making that nation a strong contender for its own temple.

In Mozambique, Maputo is the headquarters of the only mission. Additionally, there are 3 stakes and 1 district, which in turn are comprised of 20 wards and 9 branches, bringing the total number of congregations in Mozambique to 29 as well.

As already noted, at minimum, the Kinshasa Temple will serve the 17 stakes and 3 districts in the DR Congo. Those stakes and districts are further subdivided into 137 wards and 42 branches, which is a total of 179 congregations. That is a lot of congregations for one temple, making it likely that another temple could be announced in that nation before too much longer. Additionally, the DR Congo is home to 3 missions. The first mission in that nation was established in Kinshasa, and the second one was created in Lubumbashi 7 years ago. Since that time, not only has another mission been created, but additionally, 6 stakes and 2 districts have also been created. Anyway that is considered, it is impressive. So I see a second temple in DR Congo as something that will happen sooner rather than later.

If and when South Africa might get its third temple is going to depend on how busy the other two are, before, during and after the construction of all other temples that are or will be constructed in the Africa Southeast Area. Many people have contended that George may be a better candidate for South Africa's third temple, if and when that happens, but I know that Cape Town is the third of the three most populous cities in that nation, and I see it as being the better candidate.

Additionally, when the Durban Temple is dedicated, Cape Town will be the only South African city with an LDS mission that does not have its own temple. And while we don't know how the Jo-burg district may be divided with that of Durban, what we do know is that South Africa as a nation has 16 stakes and 8 districts, which in turn is divided into 107 wards and 75 branches. That brings the number of South African congregations to a total of 182, which is large for one or even two temples, even if not taking the other nations into account. That is why I have felt a third temple in Cape Town may make a lot of sense.

So there you have it. I have now "sounded off" about my temple picks for the Africa Southeast Area, and now I want to hear your thoughts. Is there merit in any or all of these selections, have I missed any that I should be considering, and how might the prospects for temples in this area change with the completion of those under construction and announced? Let me know.

That does it for this post. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each of you all the best and pray the Lord's blessings upon you.

Help Needed: Refining My Temple Site Predictions

Hello, everyone! This will be the first in a series of posts I will do over the next few days, and it serves as an introduction to these posts. As those who have been long-time followers of this blog are aware, for the last couple of years, my General Conference predictions, which are put together every six months well in advance of each conference, have included temple site predictions. Because I have come to value the comments I get in response to things I post, I am doing something I have not before done on this blog: requesting help in picking the most likely temple sites, especially in areas where I have found two or more locations that may be as likely as any others. I will share my thoughts and reasoning behind what I am thinking in this regard, then I will be giving all of you a chance to comment with your thoughts on what might be most likely. So, here goes!

As  I typically do, I am going to offer my list, in which I group potential temples first by area, then by potential likelihood within each area. I will provide any information I have that has led to my adding these locations to my list, then ask which locations you feel are more likely. And if there are factors I have not taken into consideration, that would be something else I would like to hear about. So, we will explore these possibilities over the next several days, going by each of the Church's geographical areas.

Before I end this introduction to the series of posts I will do, I want to thank you all for your valued input and support. Without it, I likely would overlook factors that may be very important to consider when looking into future temple site locations. With your help, I hope to make the list of temple site possibilities for the April 2018 General Conference the best and most accurate list I have ever done.

That does it for this post. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord bless each of you in all that you do.

Updated Age and Tenure Information for our current apostles

Hello again, everyone! Since I last offered a detailed report on the latest apostolic age and tenure milestones, over two months have come and gone, so it is high time to cover that topic again. Hopefully many of you will find this information interesting. For anyone not interested in this subject, feel free to bypass this post. For those sticking with me, the numbers I will be providing in this post are current as of today.

As always, I’d like to begin by talking about President Russell M. Nelson’s tenure as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He has now served as Quorum President for 2 years, 3 months, and 26 days, and in view of that length, has become the 17th longest-tenured Quorum President. On Monday December 18, he will become the 16th longest serving Quorum President, having served longer than Harold B. Lee. The tenure milestones he will observe after that are more spread out, but I will report on his progress towards those milestones in later updates. And as is true with any other details, however many additional milestones President Nelson observes during his tenure (however long that turns out to be) will be completely in the Lord’s hands.

For now, let’s turn our attention to President Monson. Our prophet quietly marked his 90th birthday on Monday August 21 (thereby becoming the 7th nonagenarian Church President), and did not attend General Conference earlier this month, which is understandable in view of the May 23 announcement that he would be stepping back from an active role in Church leadership. He has been Church President now for 9 years, 8 months, and 26 days. His next age milestone will be reached next March.

Our current First Presidency are the third-longest continuously-serving in Church history. Assuming President Monson is still alive at these times, they will become the second-longest serving First Presidency next year, on Wednesday September 12, and will become the longest serving First Presidency on Friday July 3, 2020. It will be interesting to see what happens there.

I wanted to insert a general note here about declining Church presidents: We had two recent examples of Church presidents being out of the public eye for years prior to their passing. The most recent instance was with President Benson, who became the Church President in November 1985, and last delivered his own message in General Conference in October 1988, though his counselors, at his request, read two addresses from him in April 1989, and one the following October; President Benson passed away in May of 1994, just over five years after he last personally spoke in General Conference.

The next most recent example of a Church president who was out of the public eye for years prior to his passing was, by a double coincidence, President Kimball, who was not only his predecessor in the Church Presidency, but had also been ordained an apostle just prior to but on the same day as President Benson’s apostolic ordination. It is interesting to me that two apostles ordained on the same day served as Church presidents back-to-back. President Kimball was ordained Church President in December 1973, and the last time he personally spoke more than once in General Conference was April 1981. One year later, President Kimball requested his personal secretary, D. Arthur Haycock, to read an address to open the conference, and the Church was delighted to hear President Kimball give a very brief address as the last speaker during the Sunday Afternoon Session.

Then, in April 1985, the second-to-last General Conference for which President Kimball was the Church President, he gave permission for a video to be put together for the Priesthood Session, which featured snippets of counsel he had given in the Priesthood Sessions during his Church Presidency. He passed away on November 5 of that same year.

So, from those examples, we see that the President of the Church may live for several years after he steps back from an active role in leading the Church. President Benson lived for over five years after his last address, and President Kimball was able to give a brief personal address (his last public appearance) three years before his passing. In this we see the Lord’s hand controlling who lives long enough to become the senior apostle and lead His Church, and when the Church presidency passes from one senior apostle to the next. President Monson could easily live several more years, or, if the Lord willed, could be called home before next April. Many have said President Nelson and then Elder Oaks will likely be the next Church presidents. President Nelson is just under three years older than President Monson, and Elder Oaks is just under five years younger than President Monson, so anything is possible. I for one am glad that these transitions are governed by the Lord.

That said, let’s turn our attention to apostolic age developments. Before getting into the specifics of the ages of our current apostles, I wanted to note one other thing: With the death of Elder Robert D. Hales, there are only the 14 apostles, and of them, one (Elder Christofferson), has a birthday in January. One other (Elder Rasband) observes his birthday in February, then three months later, two others are fairly close together (President Eyring at the end of May, and Elder Bednar in mid-June). In August, we have four apostolic birthdays, which, in calendrical order, are observed by Elders Stevenson, Andersen and Oaks, and President Monson, whose birthday is more towards the end of the month. Elder Ballard observed his birthday earlier this month, and President Uchtdorf and Elder Renlund will mark their birthdays a week apart next month. Rounding out the year, the 14th apostolic birthday is Elder Holland’s, which he observes at the beginning of December.

Now, in terms of specifics, President Monson is 90 years, 2 months, and 8 days old, which puts his decimal age at 90.19. President Eyring’s age now stands at 84 years, 4 months, 29 days, which is 84.41 years. Rounding out the First Presidency is President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, whose birthday is coming up a week from tomorrow, putting his age at 76 year, 11 months, and 23 days old, which is 76.98 years. So the First Presidency now has a combined life experience of 251.58 years, and their average age is 83.86 decimal years.
                                                                                                                          
With the current vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve, there are 11 members. As for their current ages, President Nelson is now 93 years, 1 month, and 20 days old, with a decimal age of 93.14 years. Elder Oaks, stands at 85 years, 2 months, and 17 days old (with a decimal age of  85.21 years). His birthday is coming up in August. Elder Ballard has reached the age of 88 years, 9 months, and 29 days old (which is 88.83 decimal years) as of today. Elder Holland, who, as mentioned, will observe his birthday in just over a month, is currently 76 years, 10 months, and 26 days old, making his decimal age 76.90 years.

Elder Bednar’s age now stands at 65 years, 4 months, and 14 days, having a decimal age of 65.37 years. Elder Cook, who is older than both President Uchtdorf and Elder Holland, marked his 77th birthday last month, making him 77 years, 1 month, and 29 days old, which makes his decimal age 77.14 years. As for Elder Christofferson, he is 72 years, 9 months, and 5 days old, while his decimal age has now reached 72.76 years. Elder Andersen is now 66 years, 2 months, and 20 days old, which makes his decimal age 66.22 years.

Elder Rasband, just over six months older than Elder Andersen, is currently 66 years, 8 months, and 23 days, which puts his decimal age at 66.73 years. Elder Stevenson, our youngest current apostle, is 62 years, 2 months, and 23 days old, or 62.23 decimal years. Elder Renlund, the least senior but second youngest apostle, who is nearing his 65th birthday, is 64 years, 11 months, and 16 days old, which makes his decimal age 64.96 years.

Because of the existing vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve, the 11 apostles in that group have a combined life experience of 819.72 years, putting the average age of those 11 apostles at 74.52 years. Our 14 apostles have a grand total of 1,071.3 years of life experience, which puts the average age of each of them at 76.52 years.

As I observed in another recent blog post, there is no minimum amount of age or experience required for any apostle. Therefore, whoever is called to fill the current vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles could be younger than Elder Stevenson, or could fit anywhere between any of the others in age. I do know that Elder George Q. Morris holds the distinction of being the oldest apostle called, and that call came when he was 80. My personal opinion is that the Church will opt for someone in their 50s or 60s who is well enough to do the extensive traveling required. It will be interesting to see where the new apostle fits in with the age of the other 14.

Now, if I may, I would like to share a few thoughts about present and future nonagenarian apostles. President Nelson, who is now over 93 years old, ranks as the 8th oldest apostle in Church history. Around 1.5 months from now, (on Friday December 22), he will become the 7th oldest apostle, having lived longer than Charles W. Penrose. His next nonagenarian milestone will not be observed until 2019.

As already noted, President Monson joined the ranks of apostolic nonagenarians on Monday August 21, 2017, becoming the 18th such apostle in Church history. Just over a month ago, he became the 17th oldest apostle, passing J. Reuben Clark. He will observe a few more milestones next year if he is still alive by then. In addition to however long he lives, any other milestones he may observe as a nonagenarian apostle will depend on how long President Nelson lives, and if President Monson outlives President Nelson, which may or may not happen.

Our other apostles will take varying lengths of time to join the list of nonagenarians, from Elder Ballard (who will do so in 11 months, and 9 days), to Elder Stevenson, who will do so in 27 years, 9 months, and 8 days. I am keeping an eye on all tenure and age developments relating to our apostles and will pass that information along as I am able to do so in the future.


That does it for this post. Any comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

November 2017 Ensign Supplement Pays Tribute to Elder Robert D. Hales

Hello, everyone! As has been the case in recent years, the Church has provided a supplement to the November 2017 Ensign,  which honors the life and teachings of Elder Robert D. Hales. You can find that supplement in text form here. In the coming days, the full layout of it will be made available. Just wanted to note that. That does it for this post. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord bless you all in all that you do.

Groundbreaking Held for the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple; Changes Made to Announced Temples Section of Report

Hello again, everyone! It is a busy season indeed for temple-related developments. In addition to the ongoing open houses for the Meridian Idaho and Cedar City Utah Temples, today ground was broken for the Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple.

That groundbreaking happened 6.5 hours ago, and Elder Walter F. Gonzalez, who presides over the Church's Caribbean Area, presided over that ceremony. Barring anything unexpected, full-scale construction is anticipated to begin sometime next week. The look of this temple is anticipated to be comparable to the look of the Kinshasa DR Congo Temple.

In terms of a potential completion time-frame, while some have said that could happen before the end of 2019, because there are so many new temples and existing temples that are being or shortly will be renovated and are anticipated to be dedicated or rededicated during 2019, it has seemed more likely that this temple could be dedicated sometime during 2020. The exact time-frame will depend on what happens between now and then,

As also noted, the Asuncion Paraguay Temple should be closing for renovation at the end of the day today. The weird thing is that, while I have looked at it every day, the only closure dates on the Church's official website for this temple are during 2018. As far as the plans go, if I am correct, then the design will be in the style of the renovation plans for the Memphis Tennessee and Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temples.

Additionally, I wanted to note that I have revised the section of my temple construction progress report for announced temples. As I thought about the information in that section, I felt impressed to alter the organization of that section. The potential future groundbreaking estimates seem a little too speculative to me until more information is provided.

We do know that the Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple may be the next to have a groundbreaking, if, as previously mentioned, the year of pre-planning that the contractor said was needed began in March of this year. Additionally, since the Brasilia Brazil and Greater Manila Philippines Temples have had a site announced, it has seemed wiser to have those further up on the list, while all other temples have now been grouped by the order in which they were announced.

As always, I will keep my eyes open for any other temple-related developments and will be sure to pass those along as I hear of them. That does it for this post. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time, and until my next post, may the Lord bless you all in all that you do.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Church releases October 2017 General Authorities Chart

Hello again, everyone! Among other big news of the day, I wanted to report that the Church has released the October 2017 General Authorities Chart. As expected, with the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the first six members of that Quorum (ranging from those called in the time of President Kimball to those called during President Hinckley's administration) are on the top row, with the 5 called during President Monson's tenure below. You can find that chart here; it will also be available in a smaller format in the November 2017 Ensign. As always, any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each of you all the best.

Cedar City Utah Temple Open House Begins; Asuncion Paraguay Temple closes for renovation on Sunday

Hello, everyone! In keeping with my new tradition of reporting minor updates in temple construction progress, I am pleased to report that open house tours for the Cedar City Utah Temple officially began today. Additionally, as already noted, on Sunday, the Asuncion Paraguay Temple is scheduled to close for renovation. And, as I noted in my last post, if the design being used for the Memphis and Oklahoma City renovations is intended to be the new standard, then we know what the Asuncion Paraguay Temple will look like once renovated. Just wanted to pass that information along. Except for those things, there is no new progress to report. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time, and until my next post, I wish each of you all the best.

A New Look for the Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple

Hello again, everyone! While I have no desire to take the focus away from the General Conference announcement, I wanted to let you all know that I discovered more yesterday about what is anticipated to change for the Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple. It is getting a new look. And what will it be? Many of you may remember the post I did earlier on this blog about the renovation process for the Memphis Tennessee Temple. It appears (unless I misunderstood what I was seeing) that the design for the Memphis renovation is identical to the new design for the Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple. This appears to be a standard design for temples built in a similar era. So I anticipate that this may be the new look of the other more recently-dedicated temples that are closing for renovation. If I find information that indicates anything else, you can be sure I will pass that along, as I always do.

That does it for this post. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord bless you all in all that you do.

Church Announces Changes to General Conference

Hello, everyone! Big news from the Church today. There are major changes coming to General Conference starting in April. The priesthood and women's sessions will now be held annually, with a priesthood session every April, and a women's session in October, both to be held at 6:00 pm MT on general conference Saturday. It is anticipated that this will help streamline these meetings, and that will eliminate the need to have any sessions the week before General Conference weekend every six months. It will be amazing to see how all of that comes together. I will also have to figure out how this might change my semiannual predictions. It will be interesting to see this process unfold. For more details, click here. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord bless you all in all that you do.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Temple Progress Reported

Hello, everyone! I am posting today with an update on temple construction progress that has been reported by a few sources available to me. So, let's get right into what these changes are and how that might affect the sequence of temple-related events for the next year or so.

First, when posting a few days ago, I had noted that the lack of progress on the Rome Italy Temple would likely result in the Barranquilla Colombia Temple, which has progressed more consistently, being dedicated first. That opinion has now been verified. I for one hope that Rome will be dedicated before the end of 2018, but could see the Church pushing that dedication back to early 2019.

Until more is known, I think we will see the Concepcion Chile Temple dedicated in mid-August, with the Kinshasa DR Congo Temple following in mid-September, the rededication of the Frankfurt Germany Temple in mid-to-late October (following General Conference), the dedication of the Barranquilla Temple in mid-November, and the Rome dedication in December to round out the year.

Additionally today, progress was noted on the Lisbon Portugal Temple, where the upper walls of the temple are now being poured. And finally, the private rededication that will take place for the Houston Texas Temple may happen closer to the middle of next year than the early part. As with every temple-related development, I am keeping an eye out for news to the best of my ability, and will be sure to post any updates as I become aware of them.

That does it for this update. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Until my next post, I wish each of you all the best and pray the Lord's blessings upon you in all that you do.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

BREAKING NEWS: Houston Texas Temple Officially Closes for Renovation; Private Rededication to be held next year

Hello, everyone! After a day in which not much new Church news has been released, I happened upon this update indicating that the repairs on the Houston Texas Temple now require some minor renovation work, which, when completed at some point early next year, will be followed by a private rededication, There will not be a need for an open house, cultural celebration, or public rededication because the work is restorative. Just wanted to pass that information along. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time, and may the Lord bless you all in all that you do.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Three Important Items from Mormon Newsroom

Hello again, everyone! Mormon Newsroom has published a few significant news stories in the last several days that are worth a mention. In this article, a California congregation describes their experience of sharing their Church building for a year with a local Jewish congregation, which culminated in a Shabbat Service in which people from both faiths were in attendance. I appreciate very much how the Church is cultivating relationships with friends of other faiths in various ways.

In the meantime, Elder David A. Bednar, who is the member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles assigned to oversee the Africa West Area, traveled to Ghana to dedicate the brand new Missionary Training Center. You can read more about that here.

And finally, from the Newsroom Blog, we have this story detailing how Sister Carol F. McConkie of the Young Women General Presidency and Sister Sharon Eubank, who is both the director of LDS Charities and the First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, met with the First Lady of Peru regarding her desire to thank the Church for the Mormon Helping Hands that helped with local projects. They also presented the First lady with a framed copy of The Living Christ in Spanish.

That does it for this Church news update. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each of you all the best.

Significant Development Reported on Construction of the Durban South Africa Temple

Hello, everyone! Earlier today, I heard of significant developments for the Durban South Africa Temple, and this is the first chance I have had to post about it. For anyone following along, the previously detailed status of that temple has now been replaced with the note that roof trusses are being set for that temple.

That said, there are still some questions to settle in terms of the potential sequence of temple-related events, and I am working on that side of things as speedily as I can. I hope to post a concrete result of that study ASAP. Until that time, any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish each of you all the best.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Blog Report: How My Projected Version of the November 2017 Ensign Table of Contents Compared with the Actual Result

Hello again, everyone! Now that the PDF version of the November 2017 Ensign is available for all to see, I thought I would post about how the projected table of contents I put together compares to the actual thing. I hope this information may prove interesting to at least some of you. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. Until my next post, I wish you all the best.

Possible Table of Contents for the November 2017 Ensign (Parentheses indicate actual page numbers and content.)
Session
Page
Title
Speaker

2
Conference Summary for the 187th Semiannual General Conference


3
Indexes


4
Highlights from the 186th Semiannual General Conference

GW
8 (6)
Turn On Your Light
Sharon Eubank

11 (10)
Abiding in God and Repairing the Breach
Neill F. Marriott

14 (13)
Value beyond Measure
Joy D. Jones

17 (16)
Three Sisters
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
SAM
22 (21)
A Yearning for Home
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

26 (25)
The Needs before Us
Bonnie L. Oscarson

28
The Plan and the Proclamation
Elder Dallin H. Oaks

32
“I Have a Work for Thee”
Elder John C. Pingree Jr.

35 (36)
The Living Bread Which Came Down from Heaven
Elder D. Todd Christofferson

39 (40)
Be Ye Therefore Perfect—Eventually
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
SAA
43
The Sustaining of Church Officers
President Henry B. Eyring

45 (44)
Spiritual Eclipse
Elder Gary E. Stevenson

49 (48)
Repentance Is Always Positive
Stephen W. Owen

52 (51)
The Eternal Everyday
Elder Quentin L. Cook

56 (55)
By Divine Design
Elder Ronald A. Rasband

60 (58)
The Heart of the Widow
Elder O. Vincent Haleck

62 (60)
The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life be Like Without It?
President Russell M. Nelson
SPH
67 (64)
The Priesthood and the Savior’s Atoning Power
Elder Dale G. Renlund

70 (68)
The Truth of All Things
Elder David F. Evans

77 (75)
Earning the Trust of the Lord and Your Family
Elder Richard J. Maynes

79 (78)
Bearers of Heavenly Light
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

82 (81)
The Lord Leads His Church
President Henry B. Eyring
SUM
85
That Your Joy Might Be Full
Jean B. Bingham

87 (88)
Has the Day of Miracles Ceased?
Elder Donald L. Hallstrom

90
Exceeding Great & Precious Promises
Elder David A. Bednar

94
Turn to the Lord
Bishop W. Christopher Waddell

97
Lord, Wilt Thou Cause That My Eyes May Be Opened
Elder W. Craig Zwick

100
Fear Not To Do Good
President Henry B. Eyring
SUA
104
The Trek Continues!
Elder M. Russell Ballard

107
God’s Compelling Witness: The Book of Mormon
Tad R. Callister

109 (110)
Apart, but Still One
Elder Joni L. Koch

111 (112)
Do We Trust Him? Hard Is Good
Elder Stanley G. Ellis

114 (115)
Essential Truths—Our Need to Act
Elder Adilson de Paula Parrella

116 (117)
Seek Ye Out of the Best Books
Elder Ian S. Ardern

118 (119)
Love One Another as He Has Loved Us
Elder Jose L. Alonso

121 (122)
The Voice of the Lord
Elder Neil L. Andersen





72
General Authorities and General Officers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


125
(127)
Conference Story Index


126
In Memoriam: Elder Robert D. Hales
[Not included in this Ensign; such a tribute will be included as a supplemental publication accompanying the Ensign]

130
They Spoke To Us: Making General Conference Part of Our Lives
[Not included in this Ensign]

132
[126]
News of the Church
132: Report of General Conference [Not included in this Ensign]
133 [126]: Juan A. Uceda/Patrick Kearon
134 [127-136]: Other Church News (Temple Updates, etc.)
[Help in Times of Trouble; Three Temples Dedicated; Prophets, Apostles Minister Worldwide; Resources for the Hearing Impaired; New Scripture Translations; Missionary Training Centers; Sister Bingham at the United Nations]

137
Come Follow Me—For Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society (Introduction to and Instructions for New Curriculum)
[A New Direction for Sunday Meetings; Come Follow Me—For Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society; What Is Different; First Sunday Council Meetings; Second and Third Sunday Meetings; Fourth Sunday Meetings]

144
Last page of General Conference Ensign

NOTE: When putting this together originally, I had forgotten that the Church would be including a supplement to the Ensign to honor the life of Elder Robert D. Hales. The days when mentions of apostolic deaths are made in the regular magazines are passed. Just wanted to note that..