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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Post

As everyone is aware, today is the day that Christianity and those who adhere to its' tenets celebrate Easter, the day each year when we remember how our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ rose from the tomb. We know from scriptural accounts that the Savior's mission neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary's cross. Our existence is eternal, having started long before birth and lasting eternally after death. This life is our chance to have experience and gain knowledge that will one day allow us to be perfected and to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. One of the guiding principles of this life is agency, the ability to choose what we will do and who we will become. But with that agency comes accountability. One day, all of us will be called upon to answer for what our actions have been in this life. That agency was so important to our Father's plan that he let 1/3 of his children fall away rather than let the others surrender it. Some, as they should, have used their agency to improve their lives and the world for those around them and those who will follow. Others use their agency as justification for poor choices that will ultimately lead to their physical and spiritual ruin.

Because our Father knew that His children would transgress the law from time to time, and that all would fall short of the glory of God, in His infinite mercy, He said He would provide a Savior, who would pay the price of our sins by atonement. When He asked for someone to volunteer for  hat task, our Older Brother, Jesus Christ, stepped up, promising that He would do it and that the glory of it would be given to His Father.

And so, the earth and mankind were created, and several generations passed. In due time, our Savior was born of a mortal mother and Immortal Father. In that sense, He became the Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh. He was raised as a normal child. All that is known of the early portion of His life is encapsulated in a single verse of scripture: "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." He gained a sense of His divine mission very quickly. At the age of 12, his earthly parents took him with them to Jerusalem for the Passover season.

When Passover concluded, his parents, believing Him to be with friends, soon found He was missing. When they looked for Him, they found Him teaching in the temple as He stood among priests and heard them and answered their questions. When His mother asked what He was doing, He said "Wist [Know] ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"

His ministry actively began around the time He was 30. He called 12 apostles to be "fishers of men". He did many miracles, taught the people regularly (including testifying of who He was and what He was sent here to do. Few understood His words, and many of His followers turned away. He asked the twelve apostles "Will ye also go away?" Peter, his chief apostle, answered "To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life." Jesus spent the remainder of His life lifting people's burdens, healing them of their afflictions, and encouraging them to live up to their divine potential. He never once condoned or excused sin, but He did teach a higher way of living, and the blessings that come from that higher way.

In the short time before His Crucifixion, He met with his apostles for what is now known as the Last Supper.  During that time, He announced that one among their number would betray Him. The apostles were overwhelmed by that notion, and, instead of pointing fingers at one another, searched inward. They each asked sorrowfully, "Lord, is it I?" Upon further inquiry from His beloved disciple John, Jesus indicated that His betrayer would be Judas Iscariot. He administered the sacrament to His apostles, teaching the reason for doing so. Leaving His First Presidency (Peter, James, and John) to watch at the gate, He went off by Himself to pray. Sensing the weight of what was coming, He asked His Father to "let this cup pass from [Him]", but, ultimately recognizing there was more at stake here, He said "Not as I will, but as Thou Wilt."

Three times He prayed, the agony and weight of it all increasing each time. Interspersed between these prayers were brief visits to check on His apostles. As they were asleep, He rebuked them simply but clearly: "Could ye not watch with me one hour?" Then, being in greater agony, He resumed His prayer.

As He carried the weight of transgression for all who had lived, were then living, and would live after that, not just on this earth, but on all the other worlds He had, under His Father's direction, created, He bled from every pore. And that sacrifice transcends anything that ever has been and ever will be done for mankind.

He described that suffering best in modern times in a revelation given through Joseph Smith to Martin Harris: "For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent.

"But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

"Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

"Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men."

As Jesus, Peter, James, and John, left the Garden of Gethsemane, they were met by Judas, who had indicated to the Roman soldiers that they would know which man was Jesus when he [Judas] kissed him. When Judas did kiss Jesus, He said "Betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?"

I love the way Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, one of my favorite apostles, described what happened in his April 2009 address "None Were With Him." Elder Holland said: "We know the divine plan required Jesus to be crucified, but it is wrenching to think that one of His special witnesses who sat at His feet, heard Him pray, watched Him heal, and felt His touch couldbetray Him and all that He was for 30 pieces of silver. Never in the history of this world has so little money purchased so much infamy."

There followed His arraignment twice before Pilate the Procurate, and once each before Annas and Caiaphas, who were the high priests of His day. Pilate was led to proclaim "I find no fault in this man."
In the meantime, Judas's betrayal was not the only apostolic faltering. While other disciples scattered, only Peter and John remained. In Peter's case, the Lord had prophesied "Before the cock crows, thou shalt deny me thrice." Those denials happened, after which the scriptures record that "Peter went out, and wept bitterly."

Thereafter, to satisfy a mob who sent up the cry of "Crucify Him", Pilate consented, washing his hands before the crowd, in an effort to absolve himself of responsibility. But his hands could not have been more blood-stained.

Jesus was turned over to the Roman soldiers, who cast lots for His clothing, place a crown of thorns on His head, and scourged Him. A scourge is made up of sharp objects intertwined with pieces of jagged rock and glass. So, with all of that, He bled even more.
These same soldiers made him bear further shame as they forced Him to carry His own cross. They urged Him forward until He could not carry it any further himself, then asked a man in the crowd to carry it the rest of the way. Positioned between two thieves, He was nailed to His cross,  while the thieves on either side of Him were merely roped to theirs. Nailed above His cross was a placard that read: "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." Many people found fault with this inscription, but it was allowed to stand as it was.
One of the thieves joined the crowd in implying that if Jesus was truly the Son of God, He should save Himself and them too. The other thief urged the first to be quiet and admitted that they deserved what they were getting, but that Jesus did not. He asked Jesus to remember him when he got back to His Father. Jesus prophesied: "This day thou shalt be with me in paradise."

Given vinegar to quench His thirst, Jesus once again began to feel the weight of everything He had previously experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane. To top it off, His Father withdrew for a time even the comfort of His presence, so that the Savior could finish what He had begun. But He was never truly alone. Only the comfort of His presence was withdrawn. I like to think that our Heavenly Father in reality was never closer to His Beloved Son than He was at that moment, just as none of us is truly alone in anything we might experience.

Being in great agony once again, Jesus cried, "My God, My God, why hast tho forsaken me?"
At last, the moment arrived. As Jesus knew He had done all that was required, He said, "Father, into Thy hands, I commend my spirit. It is finished." In so saying, He died.

Joseph of Arimathea begged the body of Jesus from the government to give Him a proper burial. His body was entombed there for three days, during which His spirit, as we know from modern scripture, ministered to the souls of the dead, organizing opportunities for those who had died and would die with a knowledge of these things to preach to those who had no such knowledge.

When Mary Magdalene came to the tomb on the third day, she found the stone rolled from the sepulcher, and two angels were there. They testified to her that He was risen, as He said He would be. For whatever reason, Mary did not understand what they were saying to her. She left them and continued to search for His body.

Jesus then appeared to her. The scriptures record that she did not know Him at first. He said, "Woman, why weepest thou?" She said: "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him." He called her by name, and instantly, she knew it was He that spoke to her. She called Him "Rabboni, which being interpreted, is master." She must have moved to reach for Him, because one translation of the Bible records that He responded: "Hold me not." He went on to explain that He had not yet ascended to His Father.

After His ascension, He appeared to His disciples. Thomas, who was not among the other ten at the time, said he would not believe that the Lord had been resurrected until he himself saw that this was true. Jesus appeared again to all the apostles, and told Thomas, "Because thou hast seen, thou hast believed. Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed."

As I have pondered my feelings about Easter, and about the sacrifice which my Savior made for me personally, just as He did for every other individual that lived, was living, and ever will live, on this earth, I am reminded of two Easter hymns that have become favorites of mine, both original compositions by Sally DeFord, a musical genius who is also a member of the Church. These pieces are titled "In the Silent Garden" and "I Have Not Seen, Yet I Believe." First, "In the Silent Garden". Its' beautiful lyrics are:
Come at the dawn to the silent garden,
Brightly beams the morning sun.
Come at the dawn to the silent garden.
See what wonders the Lord hath done.

Come to the tomb in the silent garden,
Lo! the stone is rolled away!
Linger in awe, for the tomb lies empty:
See the place where his body lay.

Seek him no more in the silent garden,
Seek him not among the dead.
Find him in glory among the living,
Risen even as he said.

Victory is wrought in the silent garden.
Joy is born of an empty tomb.
Sing for the morning of our salvation
Christ hath brought us life anew!

(Chorus, after each verse)
He is risen! He is risen!
Risen unto endless life.
Weep no more in the silent garden
Death is swallowed up in Christ.

And here are the lyrics for the song "I Have Not Seen, Yet I Believe":

They heard his voice; they saw his face:
The promised Savior come to earth in days long past.
They saw him heal the sick and cause the lame to stand;
They watched as wind and waves were stilled at his command;
And though I did not see him calm the raging seas
His hand has calmed my troubled heart,
And I believe.
They heard his voice; they saw his face:
They heard his teachings of forgiveness, love and faith.
He blessed their little ones; he taught them how to pray;
He fed the multitudes who hungered by the way.
And though I did not taste the bread he bade them eat
His word is manna to my soul,
And I believe.
They saw him scourged and mocked to scorn,
They heard the angry crowd, they saw him crowned with thorns.
They watched him bend beneath our burden in the streets.
They saw the bitter nails that pierced his hands and feet.
And though I was not there to watch with them at Calvary
My spirit weeps,
I have not seen,
Yet I believe.
They heard his voice; they saw his face,
The risen Jesus, crowned with vict’ry o’er the grave.
And though I did not see his triumph over death,
Though I did not see him draw immortal breath,
I know he lived and died and lives again for me
My faith is sure:
I have not seen,
Yet I believe.
Without Christ's atonement, crucifixion, and resurrection, mankind would have perished. Because He suffered for all, the suffering of all of us will be temporary. He has borne it all, so He knows how to bear us up as we all face our own moments of trial, tribulation, and misery, all of which are a natural part of earth life. Because He walked alone, we never will have to.

As I have done with past testimonies I have offered on previous occasions, I offer what, for me, are two of the strongest testimonies recorded of Him. First, from the Doctrine and Covenants:

"And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

"For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—

"That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God."

And finally, this snippet from Bruce R. McConkie's stirring final testimony. This final testimony, as some of you might recall, was given in the final days of his life. He had been sick for quite a while, and he rose from his sickbed to deliver his final powerful witness of the Savior, which was given less than two weeks prior to his death. These were the words he spoke on that occasion.

"And now, as pertaining to this perfect atonement, wrought by the shedding of the blood of God—I testify that it took place in Gethsemane and at Golgotha, and as pertaining to Jesus Christ, I testify that he is the Son of the Living God and was crucified for the sins of the world. He is our Lord, our God, and our King. This I know of myself independent of any other person.

"I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears.

"But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way."

Now, I am not and likely never will be a special witness of Christ. As I have before observed, no man in his right mind seeks for such a calling. But I have come to know for myself without a single shred of doubt that Jesus Christ lived, died, and was resurrected. I know He will come again.

Many have looked on the timing of this world as though it were a weekday. And some contended a few years ago that we were in the "Friday" of time. But, as my patriarchal blessing reminds me, we are in the Saturday evening of time, which I would put as being somewhere between 5:00-8:00 pm.

That being the case, midnight, which will mark the time when Sunday comes, is drawing ever closer. We have been told by a parable of the Savior Himself that those who will be ready for His Second Coming will be those who have kept their lamps burning.

There once was a time in my life when I would have a meltdown if I ever missed a single instance of scripture reading or prayer. As my life has been more stressful lately, I have let those practices fall through the cracks, and both tend to be more acts that are done in times of need, stress, or absolute desperation rather than being part of my everyday routine.

But today, in preparing this post, I have immersed myself in scriptures and talks from previous General Conference. And I feel better at this moment than I have in a long time. It was as though the Lord was just waiting for me to pick things up again.

So on this Easter Sunday, I would not only like to leave my testimony of the resurrection of the Savior, but also of the importance of studying His words, as found in the scriptures and in the addresses given during General Conference. It was the Lord who told us that when the elders of the Church are moved upon by the Holy Ghost, whatever they say is scripture.

It is my hope and prayer, therefore, that as we commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we will also recommit ourselves to studying His life, His teachings, and those of our wonderfully inspired Church leaders who are striving to follow Him. It is my testimony that as we do these things, the Lord will bless us now and forever, and that we will thereby be prepared to meet Him when He comes again.

I witness that He will come again, and I leave this Easter testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Major Temple Developments Reported

This weekend, much has changed in terms of temple construction progress. First of all, a photograph submitted to the LDS Church Temples website shows that construction began in earnest last week on the Arequipa Peru Temple. This is an excellent sign, and means that we now only have one temple in the "construction pending" status: the Winnipeg Manitoba Temple. The one and only thing holding up construction there is a really bad Canadian winter. As seasonal changes in Canada coincide with when that happens in the United States, construction in Winnipeg could commence in earnest anytime between now and the end of June. In the meantime, we do also know that the construction of the Arequipa Peru Temple could be concluded in late 2019 or early 2020.

Additionally, I was overjoyed to find out from many sources that the Urdaneta Philippines Temple is no longer stalled in its progress towards a groundbreaking. While some reports indicate a site announcement and groundbreaking could take place sometime later this year, it seems more reasonable to assume that at least the groundbreaking will happen next year. But it does look like the Harare Zimbabwe Temple will be the next to have a groundbreaking, and that the Urdaneta Philippines Temple groundbreaking could follow within fairly short order.

This meant that I had to completely revise my estimates for when future groundbreakings will take place. So what I have done is put at the top of the announced section those temples that either have a site confirmed or a potential site identified, downgrading others for later on. And I am very excited that, contrary to what I had supposed, the Urdaneta Philippines Temple will not be the last one to have a groundbreaking or the last one to be dedicated.

This also meant that I needed to revisit my estimated timeline by which future temple-related events are most likely to happen. I am still working on that, trying my best to research every nuance as thoroughly as I can. And I will do my best to post the results of that research later on this week as I am able to.

Before the day is over today, I also hope to post a long-overdue update on the latest apostolic statistics. I will see how things go. In the meantime, my updated temple construction progress report follows. Enjoy, and let me know what you think. I look forward to the feedback.

Temple Construction Progress Update (current as of 4/16/17)
Current Temple Status: 155 operating; scheduled for dedication9 under construction; 1 more has construction pending, and may commence construction in May or June of this year; scheduled for rededication; 2 undergoing renovation; 6 renovations scheduled; 13 announced. NOTE: With two groundbreakings having already taken place this year, we could see several others before too much longer. For all of the announced temples that have not yet had a groundbreaking, I offer my best-guess estimate for when that might happen, to which I have recently made adjustments and corrections. One correction is noting that we might only see one other groundbreaking this year, though it seems that one is not as imminent as I originally was led to believe.

Dedication scheduled:
156. Paris France Temple: VIP/media tours started April 7; accepting reservations for public open house (which will run 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: Monument sign being installed; interior finish work underway; accepting reservations for public open house beginning Monday May 15, 2017; (which will run 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: Monument sign installed; architectural finishes being installed; dedication scheduled for Sunday November 19, 2017.
159. Cedar City Utah Temple: Planting flowers; interior paint and millwork installation underway; dedication scheduled for Sunday December 10, 2017.

Under Construction:
160. Rome Italy Temple: Angel Moroni installed on March 25, 2017; Christus and apostle statues installed at visitor’s center; installing art glass; completion anticipated sometime during early-to-mid 2018.
161. Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple: Concrete block set in place for base of tower; completion anticipated sometime during mid-2018.
162.  Barranquilla Colombia Temple: Exterior walls sheathed with rigid foam insulation; stoe cladding underway; completion anticipated sometime during 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 these estimates as necessary once more is known.
163. Concepcion Chile Temple: Exterior cladding progressing on north and west walls; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2018.
164. Durban South Africa Temple: Scaffolding erected in preparation for second-level exterior walls; floor slab poured for missionary housing; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-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 these estimates as necessary once more is known.
165. Fortaleza Brazil Temple: Erecting structural framing for temple tower; completion anticipated sometime during early 2019.
166. Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple: Construction barrier erected; completion anticipated sometime during mid-2019.
168.  Lisbon Portugal Temple: Pouring footings for temple foundation; structural framing continues for meetinghouse; completion anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
169. Arequipa Peru Temple: Construction trailers on site; construction barrier erected; completion anticipated sometime during late 2019-early 2020.

Construction pending:
167. Winnipeg Manitoba Temple: Groundbreaking held Saturday December 3, 2016; awaiting commencement of full-scale operations, which may occur in April or May 2017 (construction currently delayed by a very bad Canadian winter); completion anticipated sometime during mid-2019.

NOTE: Construction on this temple is expected to begin in earnest anytime within the next two months. That construction is anticipated to last 20 months (1.67 years). Right now, it seems that either this temple or the Rio de Janeiro Brazil Temple could be interchangeable in terms of their future completion. Once construction commences on this temple, I will feel more confident in trying to figure out which of the two will be completed first. Until that time, since work has begun in earnest on the Rio temple, I have tentatively put it ahead of this one.

Rededication Scheduled:
8. Idaho Falls Idaho Temple: Renovation completed; accepting reservations for public open house, which will run from Saturday April 22-Saturday May 20 (excluding the Sundays of April 23 & 30 and May 7 & 14); rededication scheduled for Sunday June 4, 2017.

Undergoing Renovation:
20. Jordan River Utah Temple: Closed for renovation; rededication anticipated sometime during early-to-mid 2018.
41. Frankfurt Germany Temple: Closed for renovation; building basement addition for new baptistry; rededication anticipated sometime during early-to mid-2018.

Renovation Scheduled:
80. Memphis Tennessee Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in October 2017; rededication anticipated sometime during early-to-mid 2019.
95. Oklahoma City Oklahoma Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in October 2017; rededication anticipated sometime during mid-2019.
18. Tokyo Japan Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in October 2017; rededication anticipated sometime during early-to-mid 2020.
112. Asuncion Paraguay Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in November 2017; rededication anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
13. Oakland California Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in February 2018; rededication anticipated sometime during mid-to-late 2019.
16. Washington D. C. Temple: Scheduled to close for renovation in March 2018; rededication anticipated sometime during early-to-mid 2020.
                                                                  
NOTE: In view of the fact that we have already had two temple groundbreaking events so far this year, it is entirely possible that we might see site announcements and groundbreakings for other temples in the near future. That said, it is interesting to consider that, while some of those groundbreakings might be more likely than others, ultimately, it is more difficult than I originally believed to try and pinpoint how soon those groundbreakings are likely to take place. Wanting to be as conservative in my estimates as I am able to be, I have adjusted some things. As always, I would be gratified to hear of such events happening much sooner than anyone expects. But for the moment, it seems wise to make some adjustments. Thanks.

Announced:
170. Harare Zimbabwe Temple: Approval and construction preparation phase; official site announcement anticipated later this year; groundbreaking may follow shortly thereafter.
NOTE: While the site announcement is pending, Elder Kevin S. Hamilton, who serves as the president of the Church’s Africa Southeast Area, has said that it will be announced later this year and that a groundbreaking would be anticipated sometime shortly thereafter. It is therefore not impossible to believe that this temple could have a groundbreaking sometime between mid-and-late 2017
171. Port-au-Prince Haiti Temple: Planning and approval phase; groundbreaking pending.
NOTE: On Sunday March 12, while presiding at a stake conference for the area in which the first Haitian temple will be built, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles officially confirmed that, just as members in the area had speculated, the plot of land behind an existing meetinghouse on the Route de Freres (French for “The Route of Brothers”) had been purchased as the official site for this temple. Since site confirmations generally precede groundbreakings by roughly a year, it is more than likely that a groundbreaking could be held sometime during early-to-mid 2018.
172. Urdaneta Philippines Temple: Awaiting government approval and official site announcement.
NOTE: Given the fact that the delays preventing this temple from progressing seem to be over, there have been reports that a groundbreaking could happen for this temple as soon as later this year. However, the nature of such reports are vague and uncertain enough that it could be pushed back to next year. Speaking optimistically, I would revise my estimate to say that, if progress continues unhindered, a groundbreaking could happen on this temple by early-to-mid 2018.
173. Brasilia Brazil Temple: Announced April 2, 2017; planning phase; site confirmed.
NOTE: As official site confirmations are not now done at the general Church level as much as they used to be previously, it is most likely that the site confirmed by priesthood leaders, which is located in the northern section of the city, near an arm of Paranoa Lake, will be the official site for the temple. This increases the likelihood that a groundbreaking for the temple could be held sooner rather than later, perhaps by mid-2018. If that happens, then it would be the first time in almost 20 years that the Church had three temples simultaneously under construction in Brazil.
174. Greater Manila Philippines Temple: Announced April 2, 2017; planning phase; site confirmed.
NOTE: The Church’s Philippines Facebook page has stated that this temple will be built on the southern side of the Manila metropolitan area in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. Because this statement essentially constitutes a site confirmation, it is very possible that we might see a groundbreaking for this temple by mid-2018, if not before. I will be keeping my eye out for developments as they happen and will revise my estimate as I am able to. If this groundbreaking happens as estimated, then we would have two temples simultaneously under construction in the Philippines for the very first time in Church history. Additionally. it is also not unreasonable to believe that the Church will be releasing an official name for this second temple for the capital city of the Philippines, as the official name for the second temple in Lima Peru was released within 3 weeks after it was announced. So I have no doubt that will happen for this temple. More to come once more is known.
175. Pocatello Idaho: Announced April 2, 2017; planning phase; probable site identified and annexed into Pocatello City.
NOTE: While many sites are reportedly under consideration for this temple, the most likely one is a 10-acre plot of land next to the Pocatello Idaho Highland Stake Center. If that is determined to be the right site for it, and if that is confirmed, we could see a groundbreaking for this temple by or before mid-2018, especially as US temples usually get started and finished so much sooner than temples elsewhere. Since so much is unknown currently about this temple, this seems like a safe revised estimate.
176. Saratoga Springs Utah: Announced April 2, 2017; planning phase.
NOTE: As the Church owns several acres of land in Saratoga Springs, there are several sites that might do well for Utah County’s newest temple. Temples in Utah in general and specifically in Utah County are so widely accepted and used that getting them started is just a matter of time. It is therefore entirely possible, especially if a site is confirmed anytime soon, that a groundbreaking could happen by mid-to-late 2018. Again, that will all depend on how quickly things progress with this temple.
177. Bangkok Thailand Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
NOTE: While local speculation is that an existing building that houses Church offices might be renovated and repurposed into a multi-purpose edifice that would house not only Church offices, but a meetinghouse and the temple as well (in similar fashion to what has been done for the Manhattan New York and Hong Kong China temples, it could very well be that we could see a groundbreaking for this temple sometime in mid-to-late 2018, if the site is confirmed through any means anytime soon. I will be keeping an eye on developments with this temple and will revise my estimate if needed once more is known.
178. Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
NOTE: The official name of this second temple for Peru’s capital city (released less than three weeks after it was announced) seems to indicate that it will be built in the Los Olivos district. That being the case, it is not hard to believe that we might see a groundbreaking for this temple sometime during early 2019.
179. Abidjan Ivory Coast Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
NOTE: The Church has seen substantial growth on the African continent in recent years. This is verified by the fact that, with the announcement of the 12 temples over the last three years during April General Conference, 3 (25%) of those have been in Africa. I would therefore hope that this temple, announced in 2015, would not have to wait too long for a groundbreaking, but I could see it happening sometime during early 2019, if not before.
180. Quito Ecuador Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
NOTE: While the first temple in Ecuador had a 14-year delay between its announcement and the subsequent groundbreaking (the second-longest such period in Church history), this temple is not nearly as likely to see such delays. The Church in South America has grown at an astonishing rate, and that is evidenced by the fact that 4 of the 12 temples announced most recently (25%) have been for South America. With the temples above most likely to have a groundbreaking first, it is very possible that we could see a groundbreaking for this time sometime during mid-2019, if not before.
181. Belem Brazil Temple: Planning phase; awaiting official site announcement.
NOTE: South America, as noted above, has been very receptive to the gospel. As a result, more temples are coming to that continent. And while this temple has not yet had a site identified or confirmed, Brazilian temples typically have been built very swiftly. While I am hoping to see it sooner, and while I will be happy to adjust my estimate going forward if that is necessary, it seems wise for the moment to revise my estimate and say that we could see a groundbreaking during mid-2019, which would ensure that we will have at least two temples under construction in Brazil at least for the next couple of years. I will revise my estimate if and when I am able to do so.
182. Nairobi Kenya Temple: Announced April 2, 2017; planning phase.
NOTE: It is becoming increasingly more likely that this African temple might be the last of the current bunch to have a groundbreaking. That said, with the Church growth that is occurring on the African continent, and with temples having gone up fairly quickly once a site is identified, I will revise my previous estimate and say that we will likely see a groundbreaking for this temple sometime during mid-to-late 2019.

ADDITIONAL GENERAL NOTE: Temple announcements are possible at any time, but the last twelve announcements have taken place during the April General Conference. I never want to rule out the possibility of announcements at other times, but that has been the pattern for the last three years. There have also been reports of several cities that have had a site purchased for a while now, and where an announcement might happen at any time. I know of at least five that have been identified to me by name: Managua Nicaragua, Auckland New Zealand, 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. The following temples have been publicly proposed by apostles at various and sundry times:  New Delhi India (in June 1992 by Elder Neal A. Maxwell; may not happen soon due to intense political and religious obstacles); Vilnius Lithuania (in May 1993 by Elder M. Russell Ballard, which may be more of a long-shot possibility); Maracaibo Venezuela (in August 1999 by President Hinckley, which is just waiting for the right conditions); Singapore (in January 2000 by President Hinckley, and is likely to be announced when the time is right); 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. It will be announced at the right time); Managua Nicaragua (in January 2012 by then-Elder Russell M. Nelson; very likely at any time due to Nicaragua being the #1 of the top ten world countries without a temple); Missoula Montana (sometime in 2014 by Elder David A. Bednar during a stake conference in the area; 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, though perhaps not as imminent as I once believed); and for the Kasai Region in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (in February 2016 by Elder Neil L. Andersen). There are likely several other sites that the Church has purchased for a potential temple, but those 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 highlights changes from the last posted temple progress report.