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Friday, March 10, 2017

Temple Construction Progress Report

Hello again to you all. Today has been a massive blogging day. In addition to putting together the last post that I did and hearing of the continuing comments responding to my latest list of near-future possibilities for temple announcements (all of which I hope to read and respond to shortly here), the updates I have done in the last 24 hours to my temple construction progress report, especially hearing of the ongoing construction developments that have happened within that time and adding to this version of the report an estimation of when the groundbreakings for all of the announced temples, have made it necessary to share that update with all of you. Enjoy, and please let me know what your thoughts are. Here's the report:

Temple Construction Progress Update (current as of 3/10/17)
Current Temple Status: 155 operating; scheduled for dedication; 7 under construction; 3 more have construction pending, but all of them are anticipated to commence construction before summer this year; scheduled for rededication; 2 undergoing renovation; 2 renovations scheduled; 8 announced. NOTE: With two groundbreakings having already taken place this year, the chances are very good that we will see several others also have a groundbreaking in 2017, and, where I feel comfortable in doing so, I have now provided a window in which I am estimating that future groundbreakings for announced temples will take place.

Dedication scheduled:
156. Paris France Temple: Accepting reservations for public open house (that event is scheduled to take place from Saturday April 22-Saturday May 13 (excluding the Sundays of April 23 and 30 and May 7)); dedication scheduled for Sunday May 21, 2017.
157. Tucson Arizona Temple: Entrance doors and Holiness to the Lord plaque installed; accepting reservations for public open house beginning Monday May 15, 2017; (that event is scheduled to take place from Saturday June 3-Saturday June 24 (excluding the Sundays of June 4, 11, and 18)); 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 glass; 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: Making concrete pours for window openings and to seal tops of concrete block walls; completion anticipated sometime between early-and-mid 2018.
NOTE: For the two temples above, they seem to be interchangeable in terms of which one might potentially be completed and dedicated first. I am trying to keep an eye on any and all developments and will adjust their listings as necessary once more is known.
162.  Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Attaching waterproofing membrane to exterior walls; scaffolding removed from steeple 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 between mid-and-late 2018.
164. Durban South Africa Temple: Preparing for temple floor slab; backfilling missionary housing facility foundation; aloe plants added at entrance; completion anticipated sometime between mid-and-late 2018.
NOTE: For the two temples above, they seem to be interchangeable in terms of which one might potentially be completed and dedicated first. I am trying to keep an eye on any and all developments and will adjust their listings as necessary once more is known.
165. Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Parapet poured; some scaffolding coming down; preparing to pour tower base; completion anticipated sometime during early 2019.
166.  Lisbon Portugal Temple: Excavation completed for temple foundation; structural framing going up for meetinghouse; completion anticipated sometime during early 2019.
NOTE: For the two temples above, they seem to be interchangeable in terms of which one might potentially be completed and dedicated first. I am trying to keep an eye on any and all developments and will adjust their listings as necessary once more is known.

Construction pending:
167. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Groundbreaking held Saturday December 3, 2016; awaiting commencement of full-scale operations; construction might commence in April or May; if so, completion anticipated sometime between early-and-mid 2019.
NOTE: Once construction commences, it is anticipated to last around 20 months (approximately 1.67 years.) It is a smaller edifice that is being built to at the moment serve just the one stake in Manitoba. So it might be completed sooner than that. It all depends on how soon construction will be able to start, and how quickly it progresses after that.
168. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Groundbreaking held Saturday March 4, 2017; awaiting commencement of full-scale operations (initially expected sometime this week, now is just anticipated ASAP); completion anticipated sometime between early-and-mid 2019.
NOTE: Once construction commences, it is anticipated to last around 24 months (2 years) in view of it being the one and only building on the project.
ADDITONAL NOTE: For the two temples above, they seem to be interchangeable in terms of which one might potentially be completed and dedicated first. I am trying to keep an eye on any and all developments and will adjust their listings as necessary once more is known.
169. Arequipa Peru Temple: Groundbreaking held Saturday March 4, 2017 awaiting commencement of full-scale operations (initially expected sometime this week, now is just anticipated ASAP); completion anticipated sometime between late 2019 and early 2020.
NOTE: Once construction commences, it is anticipated to take roughly 28 months (2.25 years) to complete. This is because there are neighboring construction projects involved that will all be worked on simultaneously.

Rededication Scheduled:
8. Idaho Falls Idaho Temple: Closed for renovation; accepting reservations for public open house beginning Monday April 3, 2017; rededication 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.

Renovation Scheduled:
13. Oakland California Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in February 2018; rededication anticipated sometime between mid-and-late 2019.
16. Washington D. C. Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in March 2018; rededication anticipated sometime between early-and-mid 2020.

NOTE: In view of the fact that we have already had two temple groundbreaking events so far this year, it is more than likely that we could see several others announced during the remaining nine months or so until the end of the year. For the very first time as part of this construction progress update, I am featuring a potential groundbreaking time frame for the temples listed below. Enjoy!
Announced:
170. Harare Zimbabwe Temple: Approval and construction preparation phase; site announcement and groundbreaking anticipated sometime later this year (I am guessing that the actual event might be held sometime between the dedication of the Paris France Temple on May 21 and the rededication of the Idaho Falls Idaho temple on June 4. Time will tell how accurate that might be. I feel confident enough to venture a predicted groundbreaking date of May 27.
171. Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple: Planning and design phase; awaiting official site announcement. NOTE: According to member reports, a potential site has been identified but has yet to be confirmed. Also, until a site plan is announced, we may not hear of a groundbreaking being scheduled there. That said, it would make the most sense to me if such a groundbreaking happens sometime between mid-and-late 2017.
172. Bangkok Thailand Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement. NOTE: Some reports have indicated that a Church office building may be reconstructed as a multi-purpose building that will not only continue to house Church offices but also function simultaneously as both a meetinghouse and a temple as well, in the mold of existing edifices like the Hong Kong China and Manhattan New York temples. It could be that we will see a groundbreaking for the first Thai temple sometime between mid-and-late 2017 as well.
173. Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement. NOTE: Even though this was the last of the four temples that was announced most recently, and in spite of the fact that an official site has not yet been announced, the announced name for this second temple in Lima is indicative that it will be constructed somewhere in the Los Olivos District. For that reason, it seems appropriate to put this temple ahead of the rest of the others, and to say that a groundbreaking could take place there as soon as early 2018
174. Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
NOTE: The first of the three announced almost two years ago, the Ivory Coast Temple is one that has long been awaited by Latter-day Saints. If the significant growth in Cote D’Ivoire continues, the likelihood increases that additional temples may soon be announced there as well. I have heard rumors to the effect that there are at least two such sites under current consideration, but I have found nothing to substantiate this. Given where other temples are in their paths toward a groundbreaking, I feel it is not out of line to anticipate that we could see a groundbreaking for this temple taking place around the same time as the previous one, in early 2018.
175. Quito Ecuador Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
NOTE: Ecuador’s second temple, which will be based in that nation’s capital city, was announced less than a year ago. As one of three new temples for South America, a region in which the Church always has seen massive and extensive growth, this new Ecuadoran temple was announced around 33 years after the first Ecuadoran temple in Guayaquil. As a side note, the time intervening between the announcement of that first temple in that nation and its groundbreaking around 14 years after the fact ranks as the longest such time period in the history of the Church. I have every reason to believe that there will not be too much of a delay, and certainly nothing like the one for the first temple, in terms of the time between the site announcement for Quito and its groundbreaking, which I believe will happen somewhere around mid-2018.
176. Belem Brazil Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
NOTE: Brazil remains without a doubt one of the very fastest growing nations in terms of the Church’s presence there. Slated to be the ninth temple for Brazil, the one announced for Belem inches Brazil closer to reaching the number of operating temples in Utah, which, with the dedication slated in December for the Cedar City Utah Temple, will reach 17. Right now, Brazil is just over halfway there, with the Belem temple bringing that total to 9. If there is any merit at all into what I have heard about possible future temple sites for Brazil, that number could increase by at least five that I have heard some rumor about thus far, bringing the grand total of Brazilian temples in that case to 14. Getting back to speaking of this temple, if the Church is able to get started on it by having the groundbreaking happen in mid-2018, then we will once again see three temples simultaneously under construction in Brazil for the first time since 2000, and those three will continue to coincide in terms of simultaneous construction at least for the next nine months or so (0.75 years at minimum), which will mark the next temple dedication in Brazil.
177. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Stalled in planning and approval phase; awaiting official site announcement.
NOTE: This temple is technically ahead of those listed above in terms of its status as being in the planning and approval phase, because it is unclear (and perhaps unknown to all but a few) why progress has been stalled or how long those delays might last. For that reason, it is possible that we could see any or all of the temples above have their constructions commence before anything gets resolved with this one, and perhaps even have some others announced in the interim that will also have construction commence before anything is resolved here. There is more than a slight chance that this temple will become the one with the lengthiest period of time between its announcement and groundbreaking. The current record for that is 14 years, 4 months, and 11 days from the announcement date. The Urdaneta announcement date was October 2, 2010. In adding the time span to that date, we discover that this temple will have that distinction as of Thursday February 13, 2025, unless the delays are cleared up sometime before then. I for one am hoping with all the energy of my soul that we will never again have a temple that is delayed for that long, but time will tell.
NOTE: Given how much progress we have seen with temples recently, it is not hard to believe that we will see many more temples announced in the near future. There have been reports of several cities that have already had a site purchased already. These four have been identified by name: Managua Nicaragua, Port Moresby Papua New Guinea, Bentonville Arkansas, and Missoula Montana. If other potential temples have had a site purchased, they have yet to be identified as such. As the apostles travel, they sometimes have felt impressed to publicly propose a temple for the areas they visit. Such temples have been proposed in New Delhi India (in June 1992 by Elder Neal A. Maxwell); Vilnius Lithuania (in May 1993 by Elder M. Russell Ballard); Nairobi Kenya (in February 1998 by President Gordon B. Hinckley); Maracaibo Venezuela (in August 1999 by President Hinckley); Singapore (in January 2000 by President Hinckley); for the Southwest Salt Lake Valley (in October 2005 by President Hinckley; NOTE: While some contend that this temple announcement has already happened, verifiable sources widely available prove otherwise); Managua Nicaragua (in January 2012 by then-Elder Russell M. Nelson; the fact that it has not only been publicly proposed but has had a site purchased for it makes it very likely); Missoula Montana (sometime in 2014 by Elder David A. Bednar; while the report of this proposal has yet to be verified, the fact that there has been a purchase of a temple site seems to indicate that it is a most imminent possibility); and for the Kasai Region in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (in February 2016 by Elder Neil L. Andersen). I have heard many reports of several more temple sites being procured, but the nature of those reports are such that they have yet to be verified.

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. 


Elder David A. Bednar Defends Traditional Marriage at a Multi-Faith Symposium in New York

In light of the Church's ongoing efforts to emphasize the importance of traditional marriage as the Lord's way of doing things, I was delighted to hear of a multi-faith symposium on that subject that was recently held in New York. At the request of those who organized the symposium, the First Presidency asked Elder David A. Bednar to represent the Church there. In his remarks, Elder Bednar not only focused on why traditional marriage is the Lord's way and how any alternative cannot meet with the same degree of success, but also how important it is that, to make marriage successful, husbands and wives should be focused more on what they are contributing to the marriage rather than what they might be getting out of it.

His remarks on what makes a marriage successful was yet another wake-up call for me. My wonderful eternal sweetheart Amy could not be better at putting my needs and what's best for our marriage so far ahead of what she is getting out of it. I, on the other hand, am constantly putting myself, and my own needs and wants ahead of those things I know she needs and that would be best for our marriage. And the strain that has developed somewhat in our relationship as a result of that is my own fault.

For that reason, I very much needed Elder Bednar's excellent message today. And I would invite any of you who would like to to read not only the summary of his remarks (click here to do so) but also a full transcript of what he said (which can be found here). Elder Bednar's remarks struck a chord with me today, and they were just what I needed from the apostle who is, hands down, my favorite among the other 15 (as his remarks always resonate with me particularly). I hope my having a favorite is not a problem. Technically, the Lord sees every apostle's contribution as equally valuable, and so favoritism should not be happening on the part of members of the Church, but the connection I have felt to everything that Elder Bednar has said in his going-on-13-years as an apostle has been unmistakable. If that makes me a terrible person, so be it.

Because of how much this latest discourse from Elder Bednar was needed by me right now, I would like to address this next paragraph to him: Elder Bednar, even though you may never read this personally, I would like to thank you so much for your kind call to repentance. I have known for a while now that how I have viewed my marriage is not by any means okay, and have been worried more and more lately that if I am not able to change and not only be the man Amy fell in love with from the start, but to more importantly be the man she deserves and absolutely needs me to be, I might be in very real danger of losing this relationship, which should be the single most important one of my life, aside from that which I am trying to have with my Heavenly Father. Due to everything that has been happening with my life in general and with my health in particular, I have, sad to say, gone out of my way to avoid doing anything about my relationships with either the Lord generally or with Amy in particular. And the shambles in which my life currently stands is evidence that my careless attitude about both has causing much if not all of the suffering I am now experiencing.

I am therefore more convinced than ever that I need to fix things with both relationships. I know that it is never too late to make my heart right with the Lord, and I am hoping beyond hope that it is also not too late to fix things with Amy. Even though I have given her little reason to believe that I do love her, she is the very best thing that ever happened to me. I remember all too clearly how I told her when I proposed marriage to her for the first time nearly seven years ago that the only tragedy I could not bear to face in this life and in all the eternities to follow is if she was not there to share it with me. But when considering how I have come far too close lately to not having her in my life anymore, I need to amend that statement. As tragic as living without her would have been for all these years, I know that it would be a far greater tragedy if I had to live with the knowledge that she will no longer be part of my life after how wonderful the last seven years have been for me because she took a chance on me.

And so, in an effort to put the misconduct of the past behind me and look towards a future where I hope I will not be messing things up nearly as badly going forward as I have up to this point, I will press forward and do everything within my power to fix all the problems that exist in my marital relationship that are only there because I have been so careless, thoughtless, and selfish.

What really gets to me is that people in my life seem to be all too willing to stand by and let me make excuses for why I am not doing more to be successful in the covenants and promises I made with God and to Amy in the temple while at the same time and sometimes in the same breath these same people talk about how blessed Amy should feel to have someone like me in her life, and how she should be the one making all of the sacrifices to make our marriage work.

My poor, wonderful, devoted wife has given so much more than anyone ever gives her credit for just in the last seven years we have been together, aside from and in addition to all she already gave as the primary caregiver for her MS-stricken mother from the time she was 10 until her mother died 20 years later. She did some major detective work to find me, and she has always been willing to make whatever sacrifices have been needed just to keep us going. Because I could not or would not work (I'm not sure which) until she was no longer able to handle it anymore, she was the sole provider for us at a job that was physically, mentally and emotionally so very draining on her that she is still, almost five years after quitting that job because she couldn't do it anymore, dealing with everything in her health and psyche that the stress of that job messed up.

Additionally, I have continually justified my not feeling well as a valid reason to not do more than I absolutely have to. My health situation, such as it is, was the crutch I used to as an excuse to not look for work until she had to quit the job. And while it took two years to find employment, I was admittedly not taking that task as seriously as I could. I likely could have found employment much more speedily had I made providing for my family more of a priority. And when I finally got my first job at ROI, I started out committed to the job and to providing for my family. But when I had some severe health issues come up, even when they weren't a problem, I would use any excuse to not show up for the job. So it was no wonder that when the contract was broken with the company I was hired to assist, they said they couldn't find a place for me.

There followed a most painful five-month examination of my conduct and my intentions. In the depths of my despair about how much I had messed up my first opportunity, I found comfort in being approached by my first team leader from that first job, saying there was an opening on a campaign for which he was the project manager. He said that he recognized my situation but would be willing to justify keeping me on because he knew I would be at work as much as I could, and he promised me that if I ever had anything come up to keep me from work, he would ensure that my job could be preserved.

In consideration of that promise, I again started out committed to doing the job, being the very best and most committed and on-task employee on the ROI payroll. However, when I had some minor issues pop up with my health, I again blew my condition out or proportion and justified letting work down because I felt my job would be protected by that promise. Then my health actually did take a nosedive, and for the last three weeks I was on the ROI payroll, I was physically too ill to come in to work, and my absences were covered completely by notes from the doctors I had seen.

In the interim, sometime before all of this happened, the team leader that had trained me for this second opportunity left ROI to focus on her schooling, and the new team leader that was hired did not seem to share either my previous TL's concern for and understanding of my situation or that which the project manager had extended to me. She seemed to want me to get fired, and I was often stung by how little compassion, understanding, and sympathy she had for me and for what I was going through. I am sure she had the best interests of the company at heart, but her attitude didn't help.

So I was greatly stung by the abrupt text I received from her on the last Monday in February to the effect that if I did not come in to work by 3:00 PM on March 1, ROI would consider me as having abandoned my job, and I would then be required to turn in my badge. Amy and I did our best to resolve things through going over my TL's head to the project manager about her attitude towards me, but he merely reiterated what she had said. He did say that they could possibly consider putting me on FMLA or a health-related general leave of absence while I got my health in order.

But by the time I came in for the meeting as arranged, something had changed. I met not only with my project manager but also with the division manager for the company, whom I had not seen since resuming my employment two months prior to that. They told me that they sympathized with my situation on a personal level, and that they wished me a speedy recovery and every success in my life going forward, but that after considering what they felt would be best for ROI in general and the campaign to which I was assigned in particular, it was their feeling that my employment should be immediately terminated. The termination was no surprise. But what really blew me away is their indication that the deciding factor in this decision was that they had not heard from me at all before I arranged to meet with them.

I was stunned by this. I had made every effort every day I was going to miss to not only ensure that my absence for the day would be excused by a doctor's note, but I had also made every possible effort to keep my TL informed about what was going on with me, and particularly to let her know as soon as I knew I would not be able to be in for that day. Her disdain for me had reached a new low as she had apparently not passed my messages along to management.

All things considered, even though I felt terrible about losing both jobs at ROI, and particularly about how much I had used my health to justify previous absences and about letting them down so fully after having recommitted less than two months earlier to do everything I could to make this second chance with ROI work for everyone, the fact that my TL had essentially prevented management from knowing that I had spared no effort in contacting her to keep her informed of my situation,, that my absences were covered by doctor's notes, and that I was planning on coming in just as soon as I was medically cleared to do so, made me realize that I would be much better off without having to deal daily with someone who did not sympathize with my situation and who was essentially lying to management about what was going on with me.

And, only adding insult to injury, the Social Security Administration, who is supposed to constantly be reevaluating their decisions about how much SSI to give me, has not sent me any SSI whatsoever this year at all. Their estimates of my wages continue to be ridiculously exaggerated, despite the fact that I have been sending them my pay stubs as directed every month. It also does not help things that my contact at the SSA seems to be more concerned about using whatever SSA policies she is able to dig up to deny me of the SSI I should legally be getting in view of my situation than she does about doing the job she is supposed to be doing in being my advocate to the SSA and doing all she can to get me as much SSI as I should be getting. I have attempted to reach out to her on numerous occasions, and in January, I not only sent her my pay stubs for the month, but also sent her a letter detailing my concerns about how unjustly I am being dealt with in view of my situation, along with a copy of my W-2 form from ROI listing my actual gross earnings from 2016, and I attempted to make the point that my wages for the 7-1/2 months in question were equivalent to what she was estimating my average wages were for roughly a quarter of a year. I have also called her and left messages for her repeatedly asking her to reevaluate those ridiculous estimates and to try and make them more reasonable.

And what has been the results of my efforts to resolve this? Nothing has been sent to me at all in the way of SSI for either January or February, it looks like I will not be getting anything at all this month in spite of my reporting my job loss to her not only the day it happened but once or twice additionally between then. In fact, in response to my letter and my previous phone calls, she has felt like she needs to emphasize that I am the one misunderstanding the situation and the policies involved, and that it is my fault that their estimates are where they are. There has also been no response whatsoever in regards to my repeated attempts to get my SSI reinstated ASAP in the aftermath of the job loss.

In the meantime, because I was not able to work at all during the last pay period I had my job at ROI, I did not get anything from them for my final paycheck. So we have been forced to get by on the very small amount we have received for our tax return this year, and that is almost gone. Additionally, we have been having to get into even more debt just to get by, and our credit scores are suffering as a result while we are unable to make any headway whatsoever in paying our debts. Fortunately, our creditors are willing to give us whatever time we need to get things resolved and to pay our debts, but unless I can make some headway with the SSA and have my SSI reinstated, we will be absolutely destitute in relatively short order.

While most of those who know me and the situations we are dealing with have expressed their opinion that what the SSA is doing is not okay and may not even be legal, it also doesn't help that some few of our friends seem to have no sympathy whatsoever for our plight, saying that we should remember to be kind and to keep in mind that my SSA contact is just trying to do her job. Call me crazy, but I don't see denying me of benefits I should be getting or the fact that my SSA contact is going out of her way to additionally ensure that further loopholes are found to get them out of their responsibility to give me the assistance I need as being an indication that she is just doing her job. If anything, it is quite the opposite. And those estimates she is giving me are way out of line because she has been made fully aware that I actually am only earning just over 50% of her estimate.

So, given this whole drama, unless I can get something to change by Monday, I will likely not only be sending my February pay stubs and another letter in to the SSA but also calling Myler Disability to get them involved in helping me resolve this. I do my best to always give people the benefit of the doubt and as many chances as they need to fix any misconduct on their part, and the result in this case has been that I am being stabbed in the back not just by the government that should be helping me but also by these friends of mine who seem to have more sympathy, compassion, and understanding for those who are wronging us than they have expressed for our plight.

Getting back to my point, which was lost in the details above, I was trying to say that our financial plight is not helping to avoid marital strife. I know that it doesn't help our marriage as well at all that I have at times been very imprudent in the financial decision I make. The result of this is that while I justify dropping large sums of money (which are taken from our already meager resources) for things I don't necessarily need right away and while Amy worries herself to the point of becoming even more ill than she is in trying to figure out if we can afford to get her things she actually does need and will use. As has been my pattern with my general attitude towards our marriage, I spend money like there's no tomorrow and leave her without what she needs because I am just that selfish an thoughtless.

And when I consider all that Amy has had to deal with as a result of not only other people's misconduct towards us (particularly in excusing what others are deliberately and maliciously doing to complicate things further) but more especially considering that this is in addition to everything she has dealt with in the past 7 years simply by virtue of wanting to keep the covenants she has made with the Lord and with me, Elder Bednar's comments about how marriage relationships should involve putting the needs of your spouse and what's best for the marriage ahead of one's own needs really hit home.

Sorry for how detailed to post has been. I hate having to burden any of you with our problems. The point I was trying to make in all this is that my marriage has been falling apart for a while, and it is all my fault. That Amy has stayed with me and not kicked me out of her life amd ended our marriage speaks volumes not just of her character and devotion to me but also how very much she loves me and is absolutely wiling to give me every chance to improve my attitude and behavior.

With that in mind, I will move forward. I don't know what I can do to properly atone for all I've put her through during the last 7 years, but with her assurance that she is not going anywhere and with the Lord's help, I will get things figured out. In the meantime, I would ask for your continued prayers in our behalf. We have felt those prayers many times when we have needed them previously.

And things are looking up. I realized last night that I was at a crossroad of sorts. I can either continue with my selfish thoughtlessness and lose my marriage in the process, or I can own up to how much I have messed things up and really get to work to fix it all. And I have chosen the latter. I don't want to have to deal with the shame and disgrace of a failed marriage and a former spouse who was in real doubt of how deep and genuine my professed love for her has been. And I couldn't bear to face the future without her or to have to deal with all the ramifications of a failed marriage. I am going to redouble my efforts to make it right. And I will not drop the ball again.

In light of that determination, I would also ask for your prayers regarding something else in my life. As my wife and I have counseled together about how we have been feeling, we have determined a couple of things that need to happen: First, with the new insurance we have obtained for Amy, we need to get her seen by a new group of doctors and get some determination regarding why she has not been feeling well and what can be done about that. Second, if possible, it would be much more practical an arrangement for me to be able to find a job I can do from home. That way, I never have to worry about whether or not I feel well enough to go in to work. I would just need to be concerned about my ability to talk on the phone and use a computer. I have one lead in that regard. I contacted someone about that job prospect the day before yesterday but have not heard back. I will be trying to follow up with her ASAP today.

If I get this job, it would be working from home for Young Living directly. And as I enjoyed being on that project with my first job at ROI, it should be no problem for me to work with Young Living again, this time directly, without a middle-man, and from home. The pay would be considerably more than I've received at either of the two ROI jobs I worked, and the benefits, if any, might be such that we could get Amy much better insurance coverage than she now has. My one issue, aside from not being able to reach my contact about that, is not knowing how much time I have left to apply for the position. I am hoping the hiring window is constantly open. As I said, I will be contacting again the person I have been told to reach about this later today. And, as a happy coincidence, that person is someone with whom I worked during my first ROI job who is also in my parents' ward and thus knows me well and could put in a good word for me with Young Living to ensure I get the job. I will keep you posted on all of that as I can.

In the meantime, thanks again for wading through this. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. But in regards to those, I would prefer it if no one used their opportunity to comment in order to take me to task for badmouthing my SSA contact. I do not feel I am being unfair to her in this regard, nor do I feel that she is doing her job very well at all. In fact, I have told her at least once that if I, in my efforts to be effective at the jobs I've had in customer service, were to ever treat those I talk to as if the issues they were trying to get resolved were their fault entirely, and if I had berated them for not doing as much as they could to resolve their own issues, I would not be employed very long. In fact, my lack of compassion and failure to appropriately do what I am hired to do would in that case give my employers sufficient grounds to terminate my job. And the fact that the government is getting away with denying me benefits I should be receiving and is going out of their way to find further loopholes to continue to do so is adding insult to injury. So any comments that I feel are unkind enough to imply that the fault is mine for merely asking someone to do their job will be deleted ASAP after I become aware of them. We are in a situation that is already far too strenuous, and I feel I would be within my rights to pursue legal action about this situation if that becomes necessary. But another part of the problem is that I have reached out repeatedly to Myler Disability, the law firm that is said to handle such issues best in Utah County, in an effort to ask them to step in and help us to get this resolved, but I have not yet heard anything about them. And today, I am feeling awfully ill physically (having a really bad fever, horrendous migraines, and excessive nausea and dizziness), and that may result in my being unable to contact them before they close. The past month, I have been a limp noodle on the sofa, literally, because I severely lacked the good health I need to get done what needs to be done. And with all of this going on right now, the last thing Amy needs is for me to be sitting idly by and wasting my days doing nothing of consequence while she does all the work around here.

Thanks again for wading through this, and for the many expressions of well-wishes, sympathy, empathy, and prayers we have already had from so many who know all too well what we are dealing with. We appreciate you all.

Change in the wording of Relief Society Purposes

Hello. A comment featured on the LDS Church Growth Blog noted that a change was announced today for the wording of the purposes of the Relief Society. The question was asked in conjunction with the announcement, what in particular has changed? To answer that question, first let's look at the old wording, then follow that up with the new wording. Relevant changes are in bold typeface.

Old:
"Relief Society helps prepare women for the blessings of eternal life as they increase faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and His Atonement, strengthen individuals, families and homes through ordinances and covenants and work in unity to help those in need."

New:
"Relief Society helps prepare woemn for the blessings of eternal life as they increase faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and His Antoment; strengthen individuals, families, and homes thorough Sunday gospel instruction, other Relief Society meetings, visiting teaching, and welfare and compassionate service."

Having compared the two, it appears that the prior version focused more on how the Lord was moving women worldwide to accomplish the purposes He has designed for them, while the updates made today are more geared towards how women will take more personal responsibility to ensure that they are exerting the effort needed to allow the Lord to change them, making it more active than passive. It is wonderful to see this amazing development.

Thaat is particularly true considering the fact that this may very well be one one of the very last developments coming from this Relief Society Presidency. I fully anticipate that our current one, sustained as it was in 2012, and with the standard 5-year service term that has been in place for general auxiliary presidencies as a general rule for the last several years. So it is more than likely that we will see a change in that presidency in just under a month's time. Perhaps the very last things that will be done by this presidency would be two general conference addresses, which, as I mentioned when posting my general conference predictions, should happen during the General Women's session (for second counselor Linda S. Reeves) and during either the Saturday Morning Session (when I predict we will hear the final address from General President Linda K. Burton) or Sunday Morning. (As it is a given that, if Sister Burton is released, she will speak during this conference. What is not so cut-and-dried is when exactly that will be. It has been the general rule at least for most of the last 10+ years that the auxiliary presidency members alternate between the two morning sessions. It has been known to happen during other sessions, but that, as I have indicated, is the exception.)

So that is my report on this change in wording for the Relief Society Purposes. Hope it has proven helpful to you. I appreciate your readership and support, and any comments you might want to share. Thanks so much for everything.