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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Latest Apostolic Age Averages

With the busy day I have had today (between having the 9 am church block following a short night and having temple recommend interviews on both the ward and stake levels and hearing of the groundbreaking set for the Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple), this is my first chance to share the latest information regarding the average ages of our 15 apostles.

Before doing so, I should like to note that this will be a shorter update compared to those I have lately done on this subject. After all, not all that much has changed in terms of how close President Monson and President Nelson are to reaching significant age and tenure milestones. Nor has very much changed in terms of how close our 14 apostles under 90 are to reaching that milestone. And there also has not been any change in terms of who among our apostles are closest in age to the averages shared here. But it is well worth noting the small changes that have taken place in this regard.

As of today, the average age of the First Presidency members is 83.07, while the average age of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stands at 74.62. With how old each apostle is (each of them have increased in age by about 0.02 years since last week), the average age of the 15 apostles overall is 76.31 years.

Again, I honestly can't say how those averages might compare with the week-to-week averages of these three groups over the history of the Church. But the limited research I have been able to do eon this subject leads me to believe that it is safe to say that some are much older than that average, and some are much younger.

It is absolutely amazing for me to track these averages week to week. Even if I never see much of an increase in the numbers involved, what it does absolutely indicate to me is that the promise of the Lord continues to be a reality. As the scripture says, they have been sanctified by the spirit unto the renewal of their bodies. As previously observed, President Nelson is well on track to become the oldest living apostle. I think he'll make it no problem. And with how well President Monson did in delivering that funeral tribute to Elder Rudd (still no word on how long he spoke, but by all accounts available, it was for an extended period of time), it may be a very good indicator that he is improving.

Someone asked me in response to an earlier post on the subject of apostolic age averages whether the Church was preparing anything special to mark President Monson's 90th birthday, which is this year. Because I wanted to be better informed about the question, I did my research. While there has been no announcement of any such event as yet, every time a Church president has previously reached a milestone birthday, particularly 90 or older, he is honored round about the day of his actual birthday. I am more than a little surprised that we haven't heard of any such event being planned for President Monson. But there is still time. President Hinckley's 90th birthday celebration was not announced by the Church News until about a month before the event. That might happen in this case. If it does, I would expect to hear about it perhaps 6 weeks before the event, as the month before falls right in the middle of the July recess for the General Authorities. Stay tuned for more on that as I hear of it.

In the meantime, I hope these posts are helpful to you all and that no one is bothered or offended by them. I thank those of you who have expressed an interest in these reports. I appreciate you all more than I can say. Any comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you.

Groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for the Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple

Got a very wonderful surprise today. In a comment on the LDS Church Growth blog, someone mentioned that the groundbreaking for the temple in Rio de Janeiro Brazil would take place on March 4. The source cited was an announcement in local congregations that the temple district will serve. After a little digging, I was able to verify this. I couldn't be happier or more excited about this news. The first of what I hope will be many temple groundbreakings in 2017, when construction commences on March 4, it will mean that for the first time in Church history (to my knowledge), we will have two temples simultaneously under construction in Brazil. Not sure how far apart Rio and Fortaleza are, or even if they are in the same region, but it is still awesome news.

While the information has yet to be officially verified by the Church, if the LDS Church Temples site reports it, I don't need any other verification. The information there has been proven time and time again to be reliable and thorough. So I have no doubt that an official announcement will follow soon and be featured on the Church's website. Without that official confirmation, I am putting all my trust in a source I have found to be accurate and above any reproach. But when that official confirmation is available, you can bet it will be featured prominently here.

This is wonderful news. As those who have extensively followed my blog know all too well, I was certain that we would see a groundbreaking happen in Arequipa Peru and a site announcement and groundbreaking in Harare Zimbabwe before we heard anything else. I have never been more elated to be proven wrong.

The big question now is, who might be asked to preside at this event? I could see any member of the First Presidency doing it (especially in light of the fact that both Presidents Monson and Eyring may have had a vast improvement in their health. There is also a strong case for any member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The apostle that presided at the last groundbreaking for a Brazilian temple (in Fortaleza) was Elder David A. Bednar.

That groundbreaking happened in 2011, even though construction just barely formally got started last year. Right now in Forteleza, the second floor exterior walls are being poured. With the fact that the Fortazelza construction took 5 years before it made any formal construction progress, it is still projected to be completed in 2019, which may mean we could see both Brazilian temples dedicated within a year or less from each other. I will post more on that as I observe or hear anything further.

In the meantime, getting back on the subject of apostles who might preside at the groundbreaking, we could also see Elder D. Todd Christofferson do it, as he will be the featured speaker at a Face-to-Face event for the Spanish-speaking youth of the Church. His seatmate, Elder Neil L. Andersen, is another Spanish-speaking apostle. Either of the three (Bednar, Christofferson, or Andersen) would be a good bet.

But I could also see any member of the Presidency of the Seventy do it, or for that matter, any other General Authority Seventy. While Elder Ulisses Soares had originally been asked to preside at the most recent groundbreaking in Winnipeg, that role was actually filled by Elder Larry Y. Wilson, who serves as the Executive Director of the Church's Temple Department. In most cases, however, unless someone more senior is asked to do so, most of the time, groundbreakings in South America have traditionally been done by a member of the Area Presidency for the relevant area. The following are the current members of the Brazil Area Presidency: Elder Claudio R. M. Costa (currently the most senior General Authority Seventy); Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis (who has given two very masterful General Conference addresses and has been a GA Seventy for 9 years this April); or Elder W. Mark Bassett (who was among those called almost a year ago and gave his first General Conference address last October). I would welcome your thoughts on this point.

Additionally, in looking over the construction status for the Tucson Arizona Temple, there were also several updates that have happened there within the last little while. It is amazing to see the Lord's work unfolding in terms of temple construction.

As you can well appreciate, this news has necessitated an update of both my temple construction progress report and my list of upcoming temple-related events. Here they are, one right after the other. Please enjoy, and feel free to let me know if you have any feedback of any kind. I appreciate you all!

Temple Construction Progress Report (current as of 1/14/17)
Current Temple Status: 155 operating; scheduled for dedication; 11 under construction; 1 groundbreaking scheduled; scheduled for rededication; 2 undergoing renovation; 9 announced. NOTE: With one groundbreaking announced already this year, two more have the potential to be announced and scheduled very soon, and there may be several more groundbreakings than that in the year ahead.

Dedication scheduled:
156. Paris France Temple: Exterior lighting system operating; interior work underway; dedication scheduled for 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: Pavers installed in parking lot and west patron plaza; trees and landscaping rocks added to parking lot green spaces; 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.

Groundbreaking Scheduled:
168. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Preparing for groundbreaking; environmental license issued in November 2016; groundbreaking scheduled for Saturday March 4, 2017.

Rededication Scheduled:
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.

169. Arequipa Peru Temple: Construction preparation phase; awaiting groundbreaking announcement.
170. 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.
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 indicates 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. This indicates also that a site announcement is likely to happen sooner rather than later.
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.

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. 

Upcoming Temple Events (Text in parentheses indicates what the status of temples will be following the event listed):

1.      Saturday March 4—Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple Groundbreaking (155 operating; 1 scheduled for dedication; 12 under construction; 1 rededication scheduled; 2 undergoing renovation; 9 announced. NOTE: Two additional groundbreaking announcements may take place soon.)
NOTE: Since the announcement of the groundbreaking was made to units within the district the temple will serve, the details have yet to be verified, including regarding who might be asked to preside at the groundbreaking ceremony. It could be either of the counselors in the First Presidency or a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, with the most likely candidates being those apostles that have special ties to the area. Elder David A. Bednar presided at the last groundbreaking for a Brazilian temple in 2011. But we also have many apostles who speak Spanish and who may, at various times, have served in or around the region. It could also be that either a member of the Presidency of the Seventy or anyone in the Brazil Area Presidency (which now consists of Elders Claudio R. M. Costa, Marcos A. Aidukaitis, and W. Mark Bassett). More to come once more is known.
2.      Sunday May 21—Paris France Temple Dedication (156 operating; 11 under construction; 1 rededication scheduled; 2 undergoing renovation; 9 announced. NOTE: Two additional groundbreaking announcements may take place soon)
NOTE: As to who might be asked to preside at this dedication, previous precedent indicates it may be any member of the First Presidency (with my vote going to President Uchtdorf, as he is a European native) or any of the apostles.
3.      Sunday June 4—Idaho Falls Idaho Temple Rededication (156 operating; 10 under construction; 2 undergoing renovation; 10 announced (Up to 3 temples may soon have a groundbreaking scheduled.))
NOTE: Since the health of the brethren remains unclear, it is anyone’s guess who might be asked to preside at this dedication. I could see three possibilities at this point: President Henry B. Eyring, a former Ricks College president; Elder David A. Bednar, a former BYU-Idaho president; or Elder Neil L. Andersen, who is an Idaho native.

NOTE: A groundbreaking announcement is expected for the Arequipa Peru temple sometime early this year. Also anticipated is a site announcement for the Harare Zimbabwe Temple, with a groundbreaking to follow at the temple site within 4-6 weeks afterward. There are also at least 4 temples that will be dedicated, with 2 more rededicated. Additionally, there is a possibility that we may have any number of additional temple groundbreakings sometime during 2017.  I will keep an eye out for the announcements for such events and add them to this list as soon as I learn of them.