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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Church Loses Another Emeritus General Authority

A comment on my blog reminded me that I had forgotten to report on the death of another emeritus General Authority, Elder Rulon G. Craven. He died on Friday at the age of 92. He actively served for the six years spanning 1990-1996. Funeral arrangements are still pending. To read the Church News article published in tribute of his life, click here. Though I was still a toddler when he was called and a preteen at the time of his release, I  have some memories of having heard his name before, though I can't say how or why that is. Elder Craven gave two remarkable addresses in his years as an active General Authority. Click here to read those talks.

Another great one in the kingdom has fallen. He will be missed. Funeral arrangements are still pending.

Thanks to you all for your readership, interst, and support.

Yet Another Temple Construction Progress Report Update

Given the fact that my last temple construction progress report was just yesterday, and given the fact that there has not been all that much to note in that progress, I thought today would be one where I did not post an update on that subject. However, while not much has changed with temples under construction, there has been a slight alteration in the way announced temples are listed on the LDS Church Temples site. All of them, no matter how close to a groundbreaking they might be, have now been termed to be in planning and approval. In light of that change in wording, I have felt it wise to downgrade the order of the Urdaneta Philippines temple. Doing so made a lot of sense in view of the fact that any other temple now announced might potentially have a groundbreaking announced and done well before anything is resolved in terms of the factors affecting what is causing the construction to be stalled. Let me know in the comments below if you disagree on that point. That said, here's the new report:

Temple Construction Progress Report (current as of 2/7/17)
Current Temple Status: 155 operating; scheduled for dedication; under construction; 2 groundbreakings scheduled; scheduled for rededication; 2 undergoing renovation; 8 announced. NOTE: In addition to the two groundbreakings already scheduled this year, the chances are very good that we will see several others also have a groundbreaking in 2017.

Dedication scheduled:
156. Paris France Temple: Interior artwork being shipped for hanging inside the temple; dedication scheduled for Sunday May 21, 2017.
157. Tucson Arizona Temple: Exterior architectural details gilded; installation of interior art glass and millwork nearing completion; president’s home undergoing renovation; dedication scheduled for Sunday August 13, 2017.
158. Meridian Idaho Temple: Interior painting and millwork underway; dedication scheduled for Sunday November 19, 2017.
159. Cedar City Utah Temple: Installing art glass windows; hanging drywall on interior; dedication scheduled for Sunday December 10, 2017.

Under Construction:
160. Rome Italy Temple: Interior work progressing; completion anticipated sometime between early and mid-2018.
161. Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple: Applying waterproofing membrane to exterior walls; setting rebar; roughing in plumbing; completion anticipated sometime between early and mid-2018.
162.  Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Concrete walls poured for steeple; attaching waterproofing membrane to exterior walls; completion anticipated sometime during mid-2018.
163. Concepcion Chile Temple: Exterior cladding going up on north wall; framing the interior walls; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
164. Durban South Africa Temple: Applying waterproof mastic to temple foundation; pouring exterior walls for missionary housing building; staking site for ancillary buildings; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
165. Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Setting concrete forms for parapet walls; completion anticipated sometime during 2019.
166.  Lisbon Portugal Temple: Excavation underway for temple; structural framing going up for meetinghouse; completion anticipated sometime during 2019.

Construction pending:
167. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Groundbreaking held Saturday December 3, 2016; completion anticipated sometime between 2018 and 2019 (assuming the delays that may be preventing construction are sufficiently resolved.)

Groundbreaking Scheduled:
168. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Preparing for groundbreaking; environmental license issued in November 2016; groundbreaking scheduled for Saturday March 4, 2017.
169. Arequipa Peru Temple: Preparing for groundbreaking; Erecting construction barrier; clearing and leveling site; groundbreaking scheduled for Saturday March 4, 2017.

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

Undergoing Renovation:
20. Jordan River Utah Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication anticipated sometime between early-and-mid 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.

170. Harare Zimbabwe Temple: Planning and approval; official site announcement anticipated in 2017, with the groundbreaking anticipated to take place shortly following the site announcement.
171. Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official site announcement. NOTE: The LDS Church Temple website indicates that a potential site has been identified, though it has yet to be officially verified.
172. Bangkok Thailand Temple: Planning and approval; 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 repurposed to function as a temple, meetinghouse, and office building under one roof, in a similar fashion to those temples in Hong Kong China and Manhattan New York. This is most likely to be confirmed sooner rather than later.
173. Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official site announcement.
174. Quito Ecuador Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official site announcement.
175. Belem Brazil Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official site announcement.
176. Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple: Planning and approval; awaiting official site announcement. 177. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Stalled in planning and approval; 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. 

First Presidency Announces BYU-Pathway Worldwide/New President Announced for BYU-Idaho

In a huge windfall announcement affecting people seeking higher education around the world, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, represented Church leadership in a press conference that focused on the creation of a program called BYU-Pathway Worldwide. An online option meant to more fully assist those students worldwide that are seeking to complete their higher education, this new program will be based out of the Church's worldwide headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. This program, which is considered to be another branch of the Church's higher educational institutions, will initially be overseen by President Clark Gilbert, the man who, until today's announcement, had been serving as president of BYU-Idaho. This of course made necessary the calling and assignment of a new president for BYU-Idaho. And for that position, the Church has selected none other that renowned and well respected educator, who also uniquely happens to be the son of President Henry B. Eyring, Henry J. Eyring.

In annoucing the BYU-Pathway Worldwide Program, President Uchtdorf was accompanied at the press conference by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Elder Kim B. Clark, the commissioner of Church education. In the meantime, Elder Oaks also traveled to BYU-Idaho to make the announcement of the new president for BYU-Idaho. In his service as president, Henry J. will follow in the footsteps of his own father, who presided over the institution while it was still known as Rick College. The new President Eyring has for years been a fixture at the university as an academic vice president.

That said, I am sure that there will be more than a few who will make the argument that the appointment of Henry J. smacks of nepotism, and was influence or encouraged by his own father. But I'm sure in this, Henry B. would speak out to debunk those rumors, and, the the spirit of the words of President Gordon B. Hinckley as he responded to such concerns in speaking of his son's call as al general authority, would make no bones about the fact that he (Henry B.) did not advance his (Henry J.)'s name for that position, that he recused himself from participating, and that this call has come to Henry J. because he had a wonderful mother, not that he could recommend his father. I am sure that this decision had more to do with Henry J.'s scholastic achievements and contribution to the institution over which he will now preside than it has to do with any motivation on Henry B.'s part to see his son ascend to that position. Any other theory is ridiculous, unwarranted, and absolutely untrue.

That said, more information may be desired by my readers about this program and about the new president of BYU-Idaho. After I had heard the new program mentioned on the noon news locally, along with the promise that a new president would be announced later today for BYU-Idaho, I had to go to work. So this is my first chance to really read about both developments.

For that reason, to benefit any who might want to know more in either regard, I post links to this article (which focuses on the new BYU-Pathway Worldwide Program) and this article (discussing the appointment of President Henry J. Eyring.) Enjoy!

Any thoughts and feedback are welcome and appreciated. Thanks to you all for your kind attention to important developments like this.

Promised Updated Timeline by Which Future Temple-related Events Might Be Announced and Scheduled

And here I am yet again with the third post I promised. Just within the last 15 hours or so, I have had several reasons to want to update, refine, and retune my best guess estimates and predictions for when temple-related events might be announced and scheduled to take place. I will try to move as quickly as possible. As with other recent updates of this sort that I have done, please bear in mind that I will not be restating what has developed in terms of temple construction progress milestones. Those have been explored in the previous post or two.

That said, as you are all aware, the next temple-related events will be the already scheduled groundbreaking in Rio de Janeiro Brazil and the newly announced groundbreaking in Arequipa Peru on March 4. The Arequipa groundbreaking will be done by Elder Claudio R. M. Costa, the most senior General Authority Seventy who has served for almost six years as president of the Church’s Brazil Area. Presiding at the groundbreaking for the Arequipa Peru Temple will be Elder Carlos A. Godoy, who presides over the South America Northwest Area of the Church.

It is so wonderful to have learned that these events will be held the same day. Not since October 17 of 2015 have we had two temples that have had a groundbreaking on the same day. On that day, ground was broken for the Tucson Arizona and Concepcion Chile Temples. So it is a very rare thing to have another two groundbreakings take place within a very short period of time.

I could also see the Church making a site announcement and subsequently holding a groundbreaking perhaps before the dedication of the Paris France temple on May 21. In addition to that dedication, we also have the rededication on June 4 for the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple. It will be amazing to see those events happen. As I have previously stated, I am especially excited to see the dedication of France’s first temple.

And in speaking in terms of future temple-related events, we cannot forget the other already scheduled dedications in Tucson Arizona on August 13, in Meridian Idaho on Sunday November 19, and in Cedar City Utah on December 10.

The next temples that could be dedicated or rededicated any time after that are Jordan River, Rome, Kinshasa, and Freiberg. When might those happen? I am more convinced than ever that we could see an official announcement for these milestones within the latter part of this year. I still believe that the Jordan River temple will likely be rededicated in mid-January, with the Rome and Kinshasa dedications to follow in late February and early March respectively, and the rededication in Freiberg to take place in late March or within the first two weeks following General Conference weekend in April.

Given the progress that has taken place in Barranquilla, that temple has now jumped ahead of so many others, and it is most likely that we could hear of the announcement of that dedication by sometime in March or April, with the dedication itself perhaps taking place in June. If not in June, then it could be pushed back to August.

I could see the temples in Concepcion and Durban being finished by the time fall starts in 2018. The dedications themselves could take place for mid-November (Concepcion) and early December (for Durban).

I could see the temples in Fortaleza and Lisbon having their construction completed by the final months of 2018, with their dedications to follow in the early months of 2019 (certainly by no later than March). The temple in Winnipeg, which has not progressed beyond the groundbreaking that took place in December of last year, but it is being built to initially serve just one stake. So I could see that temple being completed and having a dedication announced within the first few months of 2019, with the dedication itself to follow sometime in May of 2019.

In the meantime, depending on what develops in terms of the construction of the temples in Rio, Arequipa, and Harare, I could see all of them perhaps being finished by the end of June of 2019, and the dedications to follow perhaps in August (for Rio), September (for Arequipa) and late November or early December (for Harare).

What these changes mean, as I have stated before, is that the Church will add 4 new operating temples and have one rededication by the end of 2017, and five other dedications and the remaining two renovations completed in 2018. It is not likely that the Church will run out of temples to renovate anytime soon. If any of you have any theories regarding this subject, please let me know. And it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if some of the more recent temples were also scheduled for renovation.

One thing is certain: Any backlog that might have previously existed is now increases the likelihood that many more temples could be announced within the next two years. The exact number of those announcements remains to be seen, though I have given my thoughts regarding the most likely and most imminent picks.

Future groundbreakings may be more unpredictable to anticipate than I originally thought. I look at the groundbreaking in Winnipeg, and it happened much faster than usual. And with the way things unfolded in Rio and Arequipa, things happened very quickly there. As I have before observed as well, if construction begins in Harare anytime soon, it would make that temple historically significant in so very many ways.
I will say that I could see the next groundbreaking taking place for the first Haitian temple in Port-au-Prince. I have no reason to back this up. It’s just how I feel, and we could have the site announcement and the groundbreaking by or before the end of this year. We could also see the temples in Bangkok and Abidjan have its construction commence before the end of this year.

Without knowing how long the currently reported delays in Urdaneta might last, I  would certainly hope that they might be cleared up sufficiently by 2019, in addition to the other three that were announced last year.

I’m also very sure that many more temples could be announced within the next couple of years and have construction started as the Lord permits. I am very much looking forward to future events.

I continue to very much appreciate the feedback I get on things I post about here. Any and all comments on this new post are welcome. I look forward to the ongoing discussion of this important subject. Thanks!