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Friday, January 13, 2017

Important Temple Construction Progress Update--Site Clearing Begins in Arequipa Peru

I have had one of those days when, even though I didn't sleep very long last night, I woke up relatively early and unable to get back to sleep. For that reason, I had been able to make a very early initial check of my favorite Church-related websites. Aside from the news of the apostles that will represent the Church at the inauguration of President Donald Trump, not much new had happened when I checked.

But because it has been so very quiet here at work so far (in view of the fact that I am only about 50 minutes into my 8 hour shift, and have had no calls come in yet), I felt impressed to check again. When I checked the LDS Church Temples website for the second time, I was elated to discover that progress had continued at the Arequipa Peru temple site, where a groundbreaking announcement is anticipated at any time now.

This update was personally interesting, touching, and had a most profound impact on me. As work continues to be quiet, I can't wait to share what I have read. Here is the newest copy of my temple construction progress report.

Temple Construction Progress Report (current as of 1/13/17)
Current Temple Status: 155 operating; scheduled for dedication; 11 under construction; scheduled for rededication; 2 undergoing renovation; 10 announced. NOTE: There is a more than likely possibility for several announced temples to have a groundbreaking announced during 2017. Two are very close to that so far this year, and there may be many more before too much longer.

Dedication scheduled:
156. Paris France Temple: Exterior lighting system operating; interior work underway; scheduled to be dedicated on Sunday May 21, 2017.

Under Construction:
157. Meridian Idaho Temple: Patron plazas and water feature added to temple grounds; interior finish work underway; completion anticipated sometime during late 2017.
158. Cedar City Utah Temple: Fencing progressing; entrance plaza created; landscaping areas defined; hanging drywall; completion anticipated sometime during late 2017.
159. Tucson Arizona Temple: Trees on site for planting; patron plazas and water featured added; installing lamp posts and art glass windows; completion anticipated sometime during late 2017.
160. Rome Italy Temple: Interior work progressing; completion anticipated sometime between early and mid-2018.
161. Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple: Building the exterior walls; completion anticipated sometime between early and mid-2018.
162. Concepcion Chile Temple: Attaching building wrap to exterior walls; adding landscaping structures; completion anticipated sometime during mid-2018.
163. Durban South Africa Temple: Pouring temple foundation; setting rebar for missionary housing walls; palm trees planted along entrance road; completion anticipated sometime during mid-2018.
164. Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Pouring walls for steeple base; completion anticipated sometime between late 2018 and early 2019.
165. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Groundbreaking held Saturday December 3, 2016; completion anticipated sometime between late 2018 and early 2019.
166. Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Second floor exterior walls poured; completion anticipated sometime during 2019.
167. Lisbon Portugal Temple: Excavation underway for temple and utility building; structural framing going up for meetinghouse; completion anticipated sometime during 2019.

Scheduled for rededication:
8. Idaho Falls Idaho Temple: Closed for renovation; finish work underway; rededication scheduled for Sunday June 4, 2017.

Undergoing Renovation:
20. Jordan River Utah Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication anticipated sometime between late 2017 and early 2018.
41. Frankfurt Germany Temple: Closed for renovation; some exterior stone removed; foundation exposed; old meetinghouse razed; rededication anticipated sometime between early and mid-2018.

Announced:
168. Arequipa Peru Temple: Clearing, leveling, and sureveying site;  awaiting groundbreaking announcement.
169. Harare Zimbabwe Temple: Approval and construction preparation phase; official site announcement anticipated in early 2017, with the groundbreaking anticipated to take place shortly following the site announcement.
170.  Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Government approval phase; preliminary environmental license issued in November 2016; groundbreaking pending.
171. Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement. NOTE: The LDS Church Temple website indicates that a potential site has been announced and that the temple itself is currently being designed. This is a sign that a site announcement is likely to happen sooner rather than later.
172. Bangkok Thailand Temple: Planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement. NOTE: As the above-mentioned website indicates for this temple, while no official temple site has been announced, there may be a possibility that a Church office building may be reconstructed into a multi-purpose edifice that may in part function as the temple. If that happens, it will be similar to the situation of the Hong Kong China and Manhattan New York temples.
173. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Stalled in planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
174. Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
175. Quito Ecuador 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 report. 

The Church has assigned two apostles to represent Church leadership at the inauguration of President Donald Trump

As has been a long-standing tradition dating back 100+ years, the Church has officially designated two apostles to represent Church leadership at the inauguration for President Donald Trump one week from today. This time, Elders D. Todd Christofferson and Gary E. Stevenson have been asked to do so. I am grateful to have been able to read about this today. These men will represent Church leadership very well.

In addition to Elder Christofferson attending the inauguration, he will represent the Brethren at a National Prayer Service the day following the inauguration. When I read that, I wondered for a moment why Elder Stevenson would not join him in doing that. But that is cleared up by the very next sentence of the article, which indicates that shortly after he and Elder Christofferson attend the inauguration, Elder Stevenson will depart directly from there to fill another Church assignment he has in South America.

This is the third inauguration of a US President since President Monson's tenure as prophet began almost 9 years ago (it will be exactly nine years in just three weeks from today). During that time, the Church has been well represented by those sent to such events. For President Barack Obama's first inauguration, which happened just before President Monson marked one year as Church President, the leading Brethren were represented at that event by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Elder M. Russell Ballard.

Four years later, it was the late Elder L. Tom Perry and Elder Quentin L. Cook who did so at President Obama's second inauguration. And now we have Elder Christofferson and Elder Stevenson asked to attend President Trump's inauguration this year. It marks the first time during President Monson's tenure that two apostles that were still relatively junior in terms of apostolic seniority have been asked to attend (with Elder Christofferson being the 11th and Elder Stevenson being the 14th).

However, I am aware of one of the most likely reasons for at least Elder Christofferson's assignment to this event. Unless things have changed, he has been for quite a while the senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles that chairs the Church Public Affairs Committee. As far as I know, he is still doing that. If I am in error on this point, please do let me know. In the meantime, click here to read the full news release from the Mormon Newsroom at lds.org that verifies this information.

It is interesting how busy the apostles have been. And this is particularly true in the case of Elder Christofferson, who has more frequently represented the Church at various important events just within the last year. And the information the news release shared about Elder Stevenson's back-to-back assignments indicates that even though the three newest apostles have n been in their callings for about 15 months, they are still being extensively asked to fill a variety of assignments. I think it is awesome to see how well our three newest apostles have adjusted so well to the mantle of the apostleship.

As those of you who regularly follow this blog know all too well, I have always had a great love and admiration for the service our apostles so willingly render. I have loved being able to report the latest things they are doing and the assignments they are filling. And within the last little while, I have so very much enjoyed posting about the latest milestones these 15 good men are reaching in terms of age and tenure length and so on. I look forward to doing so much more in the future.

Thank you so much for taking time to read my musings about the latest developments in this regard. I appreciate you all more than I can say. Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any feedback of any kind for me in regards to things posted on this blog. Such comments help me fine-tune the way I report developments in the future, and hearing the thoughts you have has greatly heightened my understanding of factors involved in matters on which I report. The sense of "community" I feel has been established here, even as small and insignificant as that may be in comparison with, say, the LDS Church Temples site maintained by Rick Satterfield or the Church Growth blogs maintained by Matthew Martinich, has continued to embolden me to share things like this that have personally impacted me. Thanks again.

Interesting posts and comment threads on Matthew Martinich's Church Growth Blog

While it took a while for Matthew Martinich, who is considered somewhat of an authority on the subject of Church growth, to post for the first time this year, he has done one or two most interesting ones within the last month. And the most intriguing thing about following those ongoing posts is the ensuing discussions that have taken place in the comments responding to the post topics. This one highlights the first units created in 2017, and includes an ongoing discussion on the subject of mission president assignments, particularly those that have been filled by General Authorities and the husbands of the general officers of the Church.

This one includes a link to the monthly newsletter of cumorah.com, a neighboring site maintained by Matt that highlights the growth and progress of the Church in various nations and countries of the world. This one highlights an apology from Matt that I feel is unnecessary, but which he did in reporting that his previous post about the imminent creation of the Church's first stake in Belize was proven to be in error.

This one focused on Church-related growth and developments in and around the region of Kurdistan Iraq. As is all too common in posts on Matt's blog, the conversation branched off to many other topics.

But when the conversation came back around to Kurdistan, a church service missionary felt to point out to Matt how wrong she thought his post was in terms what what he had indicated. After reading her comment, I felt somewhat conflicted, on the one hand feeling defensive of Matt, whose information has been proven to be reliable for the most part, even though it was not uncommon to have him retract or clarify information on his blog when that becomes necessary. On the other hand, I was intrigued by what the sister service missionary shared about the actual developments she had witnessed firsthand. The next comment, which proved to be the last, was from Matt himself, who thanked her for the clarification and told her why he had written what he had written. This seemed to smooth things over well enough, for which I was very glad.

In the meantime, there was also one other post Matt did just before Christmas of which I wanted to make mention. He talked about how Nigeria had reached the landmark milestone of 500 wards and branches. The ensuing discussion is interesting. Click here to read both the post itself and the discussion that followed.

Interesting stuff as always! Enjoy! And, as always, any comments on Matt's blog posts of which I have made mention should be made at the location of the original posts. Thanks.

New Mission Presidents Announced for 2017

Even though, historically speaking, by this time in January in years past, mission presidents and any new missions have been announced for about a week, in light of the recent deaths of prominent current and former General Authorities just within the last 20 days or so, it is understandable (in my opinion) that this year's assignments were only announced today.

The biggest surprises for me in this regard (which were, on reflection, not as surprising as they initially appeared to be) were that the only new mission to take effect this year is the Utah Salt Lake City Church Headquarters Mission, and that, among those called to serve as mission presidents this year were not a few former Area Seventies, four currently serving ones (Pedro U. Adduru, Angel H. Alarcon, Winsor Balderrama (Sejas) and Abenir V. Pajaro, who will no doubt be among the many Area Seventies released this April (as service as a mission president renders continuing service in a specific geographical area impossible)) and one current General Authority, Elder Chi Hong (Sam) Wong, who joins the ranks of five or six other actively serving General Authorities that have served as a mission president during that same time.

I honestly can't qualify this next statement. I only make it based on my own study of the relevant time periods. But from that study, I can say with relative certainty that it was a common thing for apostles to serve as mission presidents while being active members of the Quorum of the Twelve, at least for the first 100 years or so of the Church's history. Then it seemed that, during President Spencer W. Kimball's tenure as prophet, many actively serving General Authorities served as mission presidents. I haven't been made aware of all those that might have so served during the tenure of Presidents Ezra Taft Benson, Howard W. Hunter, and Gordon B. Hinckley, but I can't say unequivocally that it did not happen at all. If that practice did go away during those years, it seems that President Thomas S. Monson has been inspired to bring it back.

As part of my desire to share what I know regarding Church news and developments, I share the following facts I am aware of in terms of those active General Authorities who have served, are serving or will start serving this year as mission presidents. This information was mentioned by me in a comment I posted recently in response to a post on the LDS Church Growth Blog. For what it's worth, here's that information:

Elder W. Craig Zwick served as an interim mission president because of the death of the current president. I guess the idea was to do a quick fix to ensure the mission work would carry on uninterrupted while the Church appointed a successor. Elder Zwick served for that short time in 2014 as president of the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission. Then, as mentioned above, Elder Michael John U. Teh currently serves as the president of the Taiwan Taichung Mission, having been called last year. Elder Wong has been called to serve as president of the Canada Vancouver Mission starting in July, which will neccesitate and result in a change being made in the Asia Area Presidency. Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita served from 2013-2015 as the president of the Japan Nagoya Mission. And during that same two year span, Elder Yoon Hwan Choi served as the president of the Seattle Washington Mission.
That said, I am not sure of all the factors that are involved in the decision to assign a currently serving General Authority to simultaneously lead a mission. I imagine most of it involves helping thosemissions grow in ways that they could not otherwise achieve. Slightly less important, it may be that some of these brethren did not have a chance to be a mission president prior to serving as a General Authority. Service as being a mission president is not by any means a prerequisite to being a General Authority, but it does help. Another reason may be the idea that a general authority who has had experience through various assignments around the world and at Church headquarters may serve to "tighten up" mission procedures and policies and bring them more in line with the Church's general mission.

It has been interesting to see the announcement of new mission presidents. For a list of those called,click here. Any comments on the subject of new mission presidents are always welcome and appreciated. Thanks.